[Bell Historians] Yesterday's CCC conference

David Bryant david at b...
Wed Nov 5 16:47:17 GMT 2003

> * My experience is that ringers do care about bells.

My experience is that the majority only care whether they go well, and a
smaller but still large number care what they sound like. Most do not care
who cast them, when, how old the frame is, etc.

> * Many ringers too have an interest in ringing history of which
> bell archaeology is a part. Perhaps you're confusing archaeology and
> history?

The two overlap to such a degree that it isn't possible to sensibly separate
them. I think any division between archaeology and history is false, and
arises from the fact that archaeology took prehistory as its remit in the
early twentieth century, abandoning more recent times which had been
considered 'archaeological' in the late nineteenth century. Fortunately, the
remit of archaeology has again now widened to include the recent past, and
if documentary records can be of use in studying a particular area or
subject then they should be used. In studying bells both documentary and
physical evidence can and should be used. In studying ringing history, both
will also be applicable - the design of now obsolete bell fittings and
frames can shed important light on the development of full-circle ringing,
and the various advances which have occurred through the centuries (and
particularly in the nineteenth) reflect the ringers' requirement of bells
which are easier to ring.

> * By alienating and dismissing the views of ringers, who you think
> don't know or care, you're not helping this cause. In fact it's playing
> into the hands of conservationists and bureaucracy.

I'm not alienating the views of ringers, and I don't think you are likely to
help matters by this statement of a 'them and us' situation regarding
ringers / conservationists. Of course the views of ringers should be taken
into account, as I would have thought my earlier statement about
conservationists having failed if bells become unringable should have
demonstrated. However, this must be tempered with sensible conservationist
input. There are many ringers who couldn't care less about historic
bellframes, and would quite happily cut them up for firewood without a
second thought. It would appear that there needs to be more understanding of
the other's point of view amongst both ringers and conservationists, and I
don't think a 'them and us' situation is going to help in the slightest.

Which brings me back to the point that if there was a society for bell
history (or archaeology, if you want to call it that) then perhaps there
would be more of a forum for discussion.


More information about the Bell-historians mailing list