[Bell Historians] Perspectives

John Camp camp at lC3TRKBXwUuk9bG_How81f3YxCMaxe07BWfjgCIOY30PMys6Jz3dHx3XfpJleJVQbT3IeCcIC2AufxGS69UC.yahoo.invalid
Sat Sep 22 16:35:59 BST 2007

At 22:11 on 18 September 2007, David Bryant wrote:

> Ringing is a folk art which was hijacked by the Victorians. The link
> between change ringing and ringing for services is of relatively
> modern creation ...

I wonder how this analysis, which David repeats frequently, relates to a
quotation recently sent to change-ringers by Michael Day, describing a
thunderstorm in 1711.  It starts:

"In the Parish of Sampford-Courtney near Oakhampton in Devon, on the 7th of
October, about 3 or 4 a Clock in the Afternoon, there was a great darkness 
as the Minister was Catechising the Children, that he could hardly see 
with Spectacles: And as soon as Prayers were over, some young men went to 
ringing, as commonly they used to do; and there were several People in the 
Church Porch talking; and of a sudden, a great Fire-Ball fell in between 
them, and threw some one way, some another; but no one was hurted. The 
Ringers said, they never knew the Bells go so heavy in all their lives, 
and were forced to leave off: And being very weary, and looking out of the 
Belfrey into the Church, saw 4 Fire-Balls more, a little bigger than a 
Man's Fist, which of a sudden broke to pieces; so that the Church was full 
of Fire and Smoak."

This suggests an integral connection between church attendance and
ringing, even if it wasn't specifically ringing for service. Indeed,
since practically everyone went to church as a normal part of existence
at that time, it is highly improbable that ringing was separated from
church worship, as David likes to suggest.

John Camp


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