Church of England Diocese of Coventry Ladbroke

Bell ringing

Ladbroke All Saints have a ring of five bells which were cast in 1873 and restored in April 2000. The treble is the lightest bell and weighs 652lbs (296kg) and the tenor is the heaviest at 1502lbs (682kg). Ladbroke is a member of the Coventry Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers.

Practice Night is Tuesdays  We would like to recruit new ringers to bolster the team in Ladbroke and anyone, 12 years and above, is very welcome to come to a practice night and see how it all works. Full training in bell handling is given. For further information please contact: our bell captain Keith on 01926 810037

Church Bell Ringing
This is a real British Folk Art. Bells have been the voices of the Church almost since Christianity began. The method of ringing as you find it now has been practised for almost 400 years. The voices which come from our Cathedrals and Churches may be those of small high-sounding bells weighing little more than a hundredweight (50kgs) to monsters of several tons.

Ringing the changes
In the seventeenth century the practice of turning the bell full circle with a rope and wheel to make it speak with its fullest tone was developed. From this evolved the art of not merely ringing a fixed pattern of notes, for instance straight down the scale, but of changing the order so that an almost infinite variety of different note patterns could be obtained. In any piece of ringing the order is never repeated, hence we really are ‘ringing the changes’.

How are bells rung?
A bell starts with its mouth facing down. By pulling the rope it is swung higher and higher until it can be rested with its mouth facing up. From this position it can be rotated full circle first one way and then the other. Only the rope is used to perform these operations. For each rotation the bell sounds once.

What is change ringing?
In change ringing the ringers use their skill at controlling their bells to make them ring in a continuously changing order. The patterns they ring are many centuries old and have strange names like “Grandsire Doubles”.

When the bells sound down the scale they are ringing ROUNDS.

A CHANGE is when the bells ring in an order other than rounds. In a set piece no change should be repeated.

The system of arranging the changes is termed a METHOD. There are many methods. They vary from the simple to the very complex.

A TOUCH can be as few as 24 changes and can take a few minutes to ring.

A PEAL is over 5000 changes and takes around three hours to ring.   Full peals were rung at Ladbroke in 1947, 1966, 1976 and 2016.


THE HISTORY OF LADBROKE'S BELLS

Ladbroke’s bells are heard most weeks, rung by villagers and visitors under the leadership of the Bell Captain. Bell ringing as practised in Britain is practically unknown elsewhere due to the way the bells are hung.

Since we have a peal of 5 bells it is always best to have at least 5 ringers. With 5 bells they can ring “Rounds”(12345123...and so on); Singles on 3 bells, Minimus on 4 and Doubles on 5. Since there is often a shortage of ringers, an unique variation “Ladbroke Surprise” was developed by an earlier Tower Captain and continued by Steve Doyle while he was Bell Captain.

Bells were rung originally to call villagers not only to prayer but also to fairs, festivals and other events since villagers in former years had no way to tell the time. Many of these were associated with drinking (and bell ringing itself is thirsty work – and used to be well paid !) so it is not surprising to find many pubs near churches called The Bell – just like ours.

The oldest bell ius belived to have been first cast by Joanna Sturdy around 1460. The Quarter Sessions order book has information on a case heard at the Michaelmas Sessions in 1656 regarding Thomas Rawbone, a parishioner who refused to pay the parish rate levied to meet the cost of a new bell. He indicated, however, that he was willing to pay towards the cost of the recasting of the two old bells that were also renewed at that time. 

By 1872 there were 4 bells but in such a poor state that they could no longer be rung, so in 1873 all they were recast and a 5th bell added by Taylors of Loughborough.

By the late 1990s they were out of tune and one of the wheels partially collapsed. A grant from the Diocesan Guild of Bell Ringers and a legacy financed their restoration in April 2000. To do this the bells were taken out of the tower via window which had centre mullion and some of the adjacent stonework cut out. After restoration at the Loughborough foundry the bells went back into the bell chamber via the window again.

The peal is tuned to F#

The 1st bell, the treble and lightest at 330kgms, bears the motto Cantate Dominum Canticum Novum (Sing to the Lord a new song) and has a rope border ornament.

The 2nd bell, a little heavier at 385 kg has old English characters that indicate the casting at 1450.  Its motto reads Sancta Caterina Sona Pro Nobis (Saint Catherine sound for us).

The 3rd bell 432 kg had an inscription to Henry Baglee and the notto Domine Salvam Fac Ecclesiam (O Lord make safe the church).

The 5th bell the tenor and heaviest at 745kgms had an inscription added at the 1873 recasting To The Glory of God and in memory of John Sabin Smith, liet:45th Regiment: who died in Burma August 10 1872.