[Bell Historians] The Death Knell for British Founding

Susan Dalton dalton.family at v...
Fri Apr 2 19:41:48 BST 2004

Very briefly (!) I would like to reply to Richard Offen's posting yesterday
re the CCC and all the furore in this week's RW before I get diverted by
reading other people's views (who was it who said 'never prejudice a book
review by actually reading the book'?)

I do believe that there has been a massive over-reaction to the CCC's (i.e.
its Bells & Clock Committee's) very reasonable intention to look afresh at
the criteria for putting bells and bell-frames on lists. Indeed I would
have thought that a fresh look - after about 3/4 of a century - at why bells
and frames should be listed ought to be welcomed universally. And it
follows that I believe in these lists, because I think they give useful
guidance to parishes, ringers, the trade and so on. So long as it remains

And yes, the lists should certainly give the reason why each bell/frame has
been listed.

Where I think things have gone wrong here is in the field of public
relations and consultation, and for this I think that the Council for the
Care of Churches in general, and the too-long-serving chairman of the Bells
& Clocks Committee in particular, are perhaps to a degree culpable. I
hasten to add that I have the highest regard for most (not quite all) of the
current members of said committee, however they might have been chosen and
appointed): they do their best to balance the needs of ringing (which is
part of 'worship and mission') and conservation (which is part of
'heritage') and they give their time and expertise freely.

As for the Council itself, it is a small and - to be honest - rather
marginalised Anglican outfit and I have had reason to think lately that it
is high time it looked carefully at whether conservation and heritage are
not getting too much the upper hand to the detriment of worship and mission,
and I have said as much to the current secretary (Paula Griffiths). After
all, we have the much-loved English Heritage to defend that corner, and one
might hope for the balance to be tipped just a little bit towards good (and
I emphasise the word good) new work from the CCC.

That's more than enough, I think!


>From: "Richard Offen" <richard.offen at o...>
>To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
>Subject: [Bell Historians] The Death Knell for British Founding
>Date: Thu, Apr 1, 2004, 8:18 pm

> What are people's thoughts on today's leading articles and letters in
> the Ringing World? Are the bell founders crying 'wolf'
> unecessarily? The lists are supposed only to be advisory: or are
> they considered mandatory by many DACs and advisers? How many bells
> are not on the list already that are likely to be affected by future
> work? Physical and historical merits of a bell or ring are easily
> judged, but how on earth are satisfactory criteria going to be
> developed for tonal quality.
[Answer: by consulting R O and C D in the first instance... CD]
> I can see considerable merit in having a systematic listing process
> for historic bell frames, we have lost far too many of these during
> the last hundred years - I was responsible for a good few frames
> ending their days on a bonfire in my years as an advisor
[You devil! CD]

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