Learn to ring


The only requirements are that you can reach the ropes!
Bellringing is a fascinating hobby, requiring physical and mental coordination, and a sense of rhythm.

You don't need to be strong. The lighter bells don't need much effort at all - it's the knack that's important. People as young as 11 and well into their 60's can learn to ring. There is more information after these video clips.

Here are two short videos:
The first (3 mins) gives some general background on ringing.

Association of Ringing Teachers

The second video (15 mins) gives a more detailed insight into what 'learning to ring' actually involves. Producer/Director: Adam Bacon

For a really comprehensive introduction to ringing in the UK, watch this full-length (45 min) documentary.

A documentary made in 2006 by George Perrin about the English art of bellringing

What sort of commitment is expected?
Teaching each bellringer involves a significant amount of the instructor's time. We therefore ask that, once you have learned, you undertake to ring on at least two Sundays each month, that you are punctual and practice regularly to keep your skills up.

How long will it take?
There are various stages in learning to ring:

  • Basic technique - Level 1
    It takes around eight hours of practice to handle a tower bell on your own

  • Ringing with others - Level 2
    With more practice, you will learn to ring 'in time' with the rest of the band. Once you can do that, you will be ready to join us for service ringing on Sunday mornings (either at Chigwell, or at your local tower)

  • Change ringing - Level 3 onwards
    As a band, there are many patterns (or 'Methods') for us to learn. Many ringers are eager to move on to Level 3, as they begin to learn about change ringing. The limitless world of change ringing provides for a lifetime of further study and enjoyment, for those who choose to pursue it!

The fastest way to learn 'bell handling' (Level 1) is through intensive, one-to-one training (as in the above video) e.g. over two or three individual, half-day sessions. However some people prefer to come along to a weekly evening practice and learn 'in the gaps' (while the regular ringers take a break), accumulating their "rope time" and acquiring the skills over a few months.

Who will be teaching me?Youth, students, young people, school children can all learn to ring.  Try it if you're bored with nothing to do in the school holidays.
All our instructors are experienced ringers, so you will be in very good hands. Some are also members (or working towards membership) of the Association of Ringing Teachers.

Chigwell Ringing Centre serves the Essex and East London areas. If you live in another part of the UK, we will put you in touch with a local ringing teacher from your area.

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