[Bell Historians] Ringing bells backwards as a signal
bobminor at aol.com
Sat Sep 25 10:31:10 BST 2021
Also, the lyrics to Bonnie Dundee mention the bells being rung backwards .
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On Sat, Sep 25, 2021 at 11:10, Gareth Davies<charollais at gmail.com> wrote: Matthew Robinson was a student at St John’s College, Cambridge in 1645. In his ‘Life’ (reputedly an autobiography), it is claimed that ‘...he had not settled himself many nights in quiet, till the king's army broke into the associated counties, took Huntingdon and in parties came near to Cambridge, on which alarum the bells rung backwards and the beacons were fired as if Hannibal had been at the gates: all the Cantabrigian students in four hours’ time were all fled,two and three on an horse and the rest footed it to friends in safer places.’
Very similar to the earlier Wigan example, though if I understand it correctly, Wigan was a royalist town unlike Cambridge.
> On 24 Sep 2021, at 22:25, Richard Smith <richard at ex-parrot.com> wrote:
> I'm sure we've all heard anecdotal accounts of bells being rung backwards, for example to signal an impending German invasion last century.
> I've just come across two much older examples.
> During the Civil War, in orders dated 2 Jan 1642/3, the Mayor of Wigan refers to the bells being rung backward as a signal in the event of an asault on the town. [Wigan Archives, D/D An/Bundle 16/11]
> During the Rising of the North, a letter possibly from Richard Lowther to the Earl of Westmorland dated 13? Nov 1569 refers to the Earl of Northumberland having taken Topcliffe Bridge and ringing the bells backwards. [Cal SP dom., Eliz. Add. 1566-79, p 105]
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