We use the Association of Ringing Teachers’ “Learning the Ropes” Scheme to give each learner a thorough grounding in essential skills:
Ringers are controlling bells using just a rope – this is a knack that takes time to learn, and lessons at this stage are in small groups, with one teacher per learner, using one of our smaller bells,
Once you can safely and independently control your bell you will progress to:
Ringing Rounds (joining the Monday Practice)
One or two members of the band join the teaching session so that you can start to learn the art of ringing in the correct rhythm.
Once you are confidently ringing rounds, you will be ready to join our main practice on a Monday evening and work towards ringing with us on Sundays.
The next step after ringing Rounds, is to be able to follow instructions to change places with other bells. This requires good bell control, careful concentration, and the ability to follow instructions accurately.
Once this skill is mastered, ringers can join the service ringing band, and ring for morning or evening service on Sundays and occasionally on weekdays for special occasions.
This is a rewarding activity, using your skills in an all-age team to make a glorious sound….
An example of a method is reproduced on the left.
Most of our learners choose to progress further and learn to ring methods from memory. Most people find this challenging and it requires commitment and courage to persist to the point where you can ring correctly and musically from memory.
However the sense of achievement in mastering and performing a new method never fades – even years into their ringing career, some ringers take delight in challenging themselves to progress.
We have a culture of achievement, and celebration of individual milestones as well as a strong commitment to the teamwork which underpins everything we do.
The Local Ringing Community
Enthusiastic ringers are able to visit other local belfries and join in both their practice nights, and their Sunday Ringing if they wish. At first a member of the Christchurch band will accompany them to help them find their feet, but once they are familiar with the bells, they will be welcome to just “turn up and ring” when they wish.
Our district (which runs from Bournemouth through the Forest as far as Southampton) runs regular special practices to enable people to focus on specific methods for a Saturday afternoon or a weekday evening. This provides invaluable experience as local practice nights are “mixed ability.
3 young members of our band competed this summer as part of the Guild Youth Team the Ringing World National Youth Championships in London.
The District is keen to encourage younger ringers and there are six, well attended, Youth Practices held each year.
We adhere to the safeguarding practices of Christchurch Priory and the Diocese of Winchester.
All Age, Gender Free
We have a large band and aim to recruit 2 or 3 new members each year to ensure we remain sustainable in years to come. Once hooked on ringing, people can continue to ring all their lives, joining new bands as their lives take them to different parts of the country. Opportunities are equal regardless of gender, and ringers under 18 are free to access all aspects of ringing.
- Physical and Mental Exercise
- Confidence in a mixed-age group
- Memory and Concentration
- Punctuality and Organisation
What kind of ringer will you be?
Some stick to called changes, others simple methods, and some decide to learn more complex methods, and start to ring regularly with expert groups.
At the Priory We like to start people at the age of 10 to 12, to give them time to reach “Surprise Major” methods before they leave home at 18. Many Universities and most cities, have thriving Ringing Societies which can be a springboard to the highest levels of achievement.
With enthusiasm and commitment, you might become:
- A Conductor
- A Composer
- A Tower Captain
- A District Officer
- A Steeple Keeper