[Bell Historians] Service ringing (was Perspectives)
zen16073 at kRFhOgT0XY8t9fQW0N-OP-r85zzan_qXbgD5vtdx00HsivJLwAfhcqFajSTyAm2XKceMsRvIhtCOZkE.yahoo.invalid
Mon Sep 24 13:25:45 BST 2007
From: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com [mailto:bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com]
On Behalf Of Chris Pickford
Sent: 24 September 2007 13:11
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Bell Historians] Service ringing (was Perspectives)
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
I wonder how much of this had to do with the ordinances/acts passed during
the Interregnum. I have found two; one passed in 1644 which forbade ringing
for pleasure on a Sunday [Recreations and Pastimes.
And be it further Ordained, That no person or persons shall hereafter upon
the Lords-day, use, exercise, keep, maintain, or be present at any
wrastlings (sic), Shooting, Bowling, Ringing of Bells for Pleasure or
Pastime, Masque, Wake, otherwise called Feasts, Church-Ale, Dancing, Games,
Sport or Pastime whatsoever; upon pain, That every person so offending,
being above the age of fourteen years, shall lose, and forfeit five
shillings for every such offence.]
The other dates from June 1657 forbade the 'Ringing of Bells for pleasure,
or upon any other occasion, (saving for calling people together for the
publique (sic) Worship)'
I do wonder if the latter was promoted by someone who disliked the sound of
early attempts at change ringing.
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