On two successive Saturdays in June, Iden church bells rang out to celebrate a wedding, with each wedding taking place on a perfect summers’ day. A very special English tradition.
It is possible to picture such a scene taking place hundreds of year ago; the peaceful location of a country church yard, no traffic sounds, with the bell ringers triumphantly ringing down the bells as the wedding group spilled out into the warm afternoon. People in Rye and surrounding villages would have been able to hear and enjoy the special sound of church bells rippling across the fields, proclaiming another happy wedding day celebration.
However what a shame it was that not one ringer came from Iden. Volunteers came from villages around, in which they ring for their own parish church, as well as coming cheerfully into Iden for monthly service and special occasions
To my personal knowledge the same ringers have demonstrated their skills for the past 18 years and more, cheerfully and professionally.
But bell ringing faces a terminal decline in numbers.
As this happens, expertise is lost, and the day will come when there are insufficient trained ringers to support training sessions. It will become harder for village churches to make use of their own church bells, either for special occasions or for regular Sunday services.
Once gone, the art of bell ringing cannot be revived, primarily because it is an oral tradition, relying on physical interactions rather than written knowledge.
So, if you are looking for a new hobby in which you can make a valuable contribution in keeping the art of bell ringing alive, why not find out more?
Just think, as a bell ringer you only need to practise one evening a week, you will be tutored very safely and carefully, and your hobby takes place in the dry.
You do not need to have enormous muscles or even able to hold a tune in your head. Age is neither an advantage nor a barrier.
When you can confidently handle the bell, you will be invited to join the team on a Sunday morning, (ringing before service), and home again for breakfast. I can tell you, after your first successful ring, you will be hooked. After all, not many hobbies give you the opportunity to broadcast to everyone within hearing distance.
Church Lane, Iden