[Bell Historians] Service ringing (was Perspectives)

Chris Pickford c.j.pickford.t21 at QFP4H_THZ6DcgtUtdCwPPhCjGWkJLKI8XNRHMVN83JpMCzTRcdEK-4yCnNEu8UjRPMmcpCc2Jojb-8cZFeKnMwWQpfyX.yahoo.invalid
Mon Sep 24 13:11:25 BST 2007

Can't disagree with John's main assertion here, as "looking at the past through the eyes of the present" is a pet hate of mine too (as is revisionism for the sake of it). But I still think that ringing drifted significantly from its association with the church and became a predominantly secular and community art in the C18th - hence the creation of town ringing societies, the whole competitive thing and a pride in the village bells that went beyond immediate religious allegiances. Of course, our general view of church life in the C18th is hugely coloured by Victorian "spin" too - and the established church was much more active and involved in the community than has been often claimed. 

John suggests "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." An interesting way of putting it. Turn it round, as think about how the clergy viewed ringers - Skinner's diary, for instance - and there's pretty clear evidence that ringing was regarded as somehow on the very edge of church activities. There are also a few letters from  ringers - and the many press reports collected by Cyril Wratten - that display a wholly independent flavour, barely touching on any link with the religious activities of the church.  

All food for thought

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