Rochester Cathedral

Company of Bell Ringers



Learning To Ring

Ringing can be a stimulating and challenging activity, there is much more to it than just pulling on a bell-rope!

If you are interested in learning to ring, we are able to teach you at the Cathedral. Experience has shown that children under the age of 11 find the bells too heavy to ring independently, although we can still teach the basics of ringing.

Generally, learning to ring begins by learning how to handle a bell. This involves developing a control of when the bell sounds in relation to the other bells that are ringing with you.

Once you are able to control a bell, you will quickly move on to mastering 'call-changes', which is where the order in which the bells are rung is determined by a conductor who instructs the ringers on the order in which the bells are to sound.

As you become more confident at this, we then move on to learning plain hunt, which is the basis of all of the methods (tunes) that we ring. This then leads to learning the work of these methods. Some are easy to learn, others more challenging. When we ring these methods, we do not use music, instead we memorise the patterns of the methods which are recorded in a form of notation known as a 'blue line'.

Although it is impossible to say how long does it take before you can ring a bell by yourself, it is usually only a few weeks. However, as with learning any other skill, the more time that you are able to practice, the quicker you will master some aspects of ringing.

Once you are able to ring a bell competently by yourself, you will be invited to join us for ringing on a Sunday morning for the main service as well as for other occasions.

Please note, in line with the Cathedral's policy on volunteers, we require you to submit the name of two referees and complete an application form in order to become a ringer at the Cathedral.

If you would like find out more about learning to ring at the Cathedral, contact us for more information.