Sanctus & Angelus Bells - and fire bells.

David Cawley dcawley at w...
Thu Aug 12 12:12:20 BST 2004

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I'd never thought before that we did something illegal - even though we don=
't have a special bell here on which to do it.

1. The "favoured" Angelus times are 8 a.m., 12 noon and 6 p.m. It is not un=
common in Anglo-Catholic (and other) churches. Especially when there is a t=
ime clock to do the thing for you. 3 x 3 x 3 x 9 blows, the threes being fo=
r the salutations (the Aves) and the 9 for the concluding prayer. Strangely=
, in Eastertide when the Regina Caeli (which has a 1-verse hymn and a praye=
r) is used instead of the Angelus, the same arrangement is customary. Ther=
e are of course variations - in continental Europe the nine blows are often=
replaced by a single bell set swinging.

2. Use depends on availability, amonst other things. So far as the Sanctus =
is concerned, we at St Mary de Castro sound three blows at the Sanctus prop=
er (Holy, Holy, Holy etc., then three at two points of Consecration, the Br=
ead and the Wine); at the same time an inside sacring bell is rung in the c=
hancel. At St Nicholas it is sounded at the Consecration only, on 'Great Ni=
ck' and at the Cathedral similarly on the flat 6th. St Margaret's doesn't. =
All except St Nicholas have detachable extension ropes for the purpose.

3. As to post-Reformation "Sanctus" bells - very often referred to as Ting-=
Tangs, Priests' Bells, Tink{l}er Bells, etc. Their use would have been alm=
ost solely as a sort of "Hurry Up" bell until the second part of the ninete=
enth century when people became aware of more "sacred" uses in some places.=
There were other 'specialised' uses - the traditional curfew and in some c=
ases 'waking' bells being examples - and sometimes a special bell was set a=
part, as with "Bell Harry" at Canterbury Cathedral, the present version of =
which was the treble of the old six in the NW tower, transferred to its pre=
sent use in 1726 to replace a 13th-century bell. Some have seen in the use=
of "waking" and "curfew" bells a survival of the medieval Angelus, but I d=
oubt it, especially the latter.=20=20=20

4. I know that the "Pancake" bell is rung at Olney - is it on a special bel=
l? It must occur elsewhere too.

5. A bell come to mind, I cannot think where, which although part of a ring=
alludes to the use of the church bells as fire alarms by rining the back c=
hange, being inscribed:

Here endeth the Sermon

DLC (Fr).
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