[Bell Historians] Service ringing (was Perspectives)

John Camp camp at EMb1LAlBgZoQBUxaD84RMagYfz3tAMsMzVNWeiVA7YE6dGNRv8b7xZFm2VlBbzb5QlL3Xhayg-QFtw.yahoo.invalid
Mon Sep 24 12:17:59 BST 2007

At 08:48 on 24 September 2007, Chris Pickford wrote:
> I, for one, support David's analysis on this. Nearly all the evidence
> I've seen points to ringing being a community activity first, and
> church-related second from the Reformation until the Victorian
> reformers came along.

I think that the problem is that we tend to look at the past in terms of
modern categories. I very much doubt whether, in the 18th Century,
ordinary people saw the same antithesis between 'religious' and
'secular', as we do today. Church-going was a normal part of life.
Ringing was an activity which happened in churches. Obviously it was
'church-related', in that sense. I imagine that an 18th Century ringer
would have looked at you strangely if you suggested that what he did had
nothing to do with the church.

> The example John cites - I'd be interested to know the exact source
> (is it a diary or newspaper extract?) - looks to me more like the
> bells being rung for pleasure immediately after service / prayers
> (i.e. as soon as the church was clear). Quite a lot of pleasure
> ringing - peals, for instance - took place on Sundays between services
> in the C18th and early C19th

From: Philosophical Transactions (the journal of the Royal Society),
Vol. 25, (1710-1712), pp. 528-529:

A Relation of the Effects of a Storm of Thunder and Lightning at
Sampford-Courtney in Devonshire, on October the 7th 1711. Communicated by 
John Chamberlayne Esq; F.R.S.

John Camp


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