The cathedral tenor bell, weighing 33 cwt was rung, by Ringing Master Robert Perry, just before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. For such occasions, the bell is ‘half muffled’ by use of a leather pad secured to the bell’s clapper (pictured) to reduce the sound produced for every other strike on the bell. The resulting sound heard across Truro, is both haunting and very moving.
The only other regular occasion when half-muffled bells are heard is on Remembrance Sunday in November of each year, the cathedral bellringers having purchased a set of twelve muffles to enable this. Cathedral bellringing, like many other activities, has been severely restricted by Covid, with only very limited ringing for services on a few ‘socially distanced’ bells between ‘lockdowns’. As restrictions have been eased the bellringers, were able to ring handbells in High Cross for one of the Easter Sunday services; the first time some of us had seen each other in real life for many months!
Like all volunteer groups, the bellringers are keen to get back to a more normal situation, with some limited ‘socially distanced’ ringing post 17 May, subject to further advice and guidance, and perhaps something nearer ‘normal’ after 21 June, if the national ‘road map’ continues to plan. All the cathedral bells have not been rung together for over a year. During the pandemic, the bellringers have been active in considering the maintenance requirements of the bells, which comes with a cost attached and potential fundraising requirements.
Nationally, church bellringing is expected to ‘take a hit’ because of Covid with a potential decline in the number of bellringers, but more optimistically it does provide the opportunity to recruit new bellringers as new recruits seek to ‘do something new’ post-Covid. If you are interested in joining the bellringing team please contact Robert Perry firstname.lastname@example.org or Hayley Young email@example.com. We would love to see you!
Jo Wenborne (Cathedral Bellringers).