[Bell Historians] Deadrope Ringing

Brian Meldon CanewdonBells at fjOn-SrLUI57yq3e_vgzZ5b8iwSz0Q__J3nWvmzc1C2G1s2ZGoQMOwRfZyArjepDhEN0Hstw5Rev83bHujA8VWoHduFltg.yahoo.invalid
Thu May 12 09:55:13 BST 2011


Ok then, I have had another look at what remains of the roping arrangements on the old five at Canewdon.

Firstly I can confirm that all five wheels have the garter hole at 12 o'clock and that there are no other garter holes. (However one section of the 3rd wheel is missing.) The hole on the second, although between the two top spokes, is however about an inch off from the precise 12 o'clock position.

The location of the pulley boxes are still clear on the 1st and 2nd and the location of the pulley boxes for the other bells are also discernable from what remains of the timber they were once mounted on. As I previously mentioned although the pulley boxes no longer exist I do have some old black and white photos of them in place on the 1st and 2nd and also a surviving pulley wheel.
>From this information it is clear that the pulleys were in line with the edge of the wheel vertically and about 3 or 4 inches below the lower edge of the wheel, although this varies slightly from bell to bell all were slightly below the lower edge of the wheel.

The rope hole through the floor was directly below the outer edge of the single wheel in the pulley box and vertically in line with the edge of the wheel. The pulley boxes had two wooden sheathes on the outside of the wheel that would have prevented the rope from jumping off the pulley wheel. There also exist wooden rope guides in the next floor down that are in turn in line with the holes above so it looks like the bells would have been rung from the ground floor with a long draft at some time. But the date of these rope guides is unknown and they may be later and date from after full circle ringing had stopped. (These guides are now hidden from view below the new floor in the new bell chamber.)
The ropes would have fallen in a in an irregular clockwise circle.  There would have been a large gap between the treble, two and three, a smaller gap between the 3 and 4 and then a larger gap to the tenor. The biggest gap would have been between the tenor and treble. The treble was too close to the wall to stand behind so the ringer would have had to stand to one side. 

The next interesting item is the tie around the 4th wheel at the normal garter hole position, this would indeed appear to be an attempt to get some degree of hand stroke when ringing. This is still in place and is formed of hemp rope of some age. There is also some indication of ware on the outer sheathes at this location suggesting that it has had some use in this configuration. 
This tie consists of the rope wrapped around the wheel edge three times and then the sections that would have been in contact with the main bell rope are bound together with the rope. Even now this is still a sturdy fitting.

On the 2nd wheel although there is no surviving rope in the normal garter hole position there is a block of wood on the outside of the sheath at this same location that would have clearly made this fitting more secure. It is of a different wood and has different fittings to the rest of the 2nd wheel that is dated 1716. The sheath on the other side to the block is too perished to make any proper assessment of ware. Closer inspection will be required on the other remaining wheel sections to see if they also have any previous fittings in this area, but they are also perished somewhat.

So there we have it, the old unringable bells at Canewdon are a dead rope ring of five that were later modified to have a partial hand stroke. All interesting stuff and more information to add in to my book about the bells for the next time I print some.

Brian Meldon


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