Bellringers everywhere mark Magna Carta anniversary

cccbrRedMagna Carta mania is starting to sweep the land and church bell ringers everywhere have been encouraged to make their own contribution and be part of history. 14 June is the Grand Ringing Day, in conjunction with LiberTeas, where Communities across the UK (and overseas) are being encouraged to organise or attend a local event, to create a simultaneous moment of reflection and celebration of their freedoms and rights.

Many ringers have now formulated plans for commemorative ringing on 14 and 15 June and various options are being adopted including:

  • General ringing – possibly in conjunction with tower open days or LiberTeas
  • Pieces of ringing involving 800 changes (taking around 30 minutes)
  • Peals (continuous ringing without repetition lasting around three hours – the Gold Standard of ringing)
  • Quarter peals (continuous ringing lasting around 45 minutes)

800 blows in single bells relays of ringers chiming 50 or 100 blows each might also be rung at churches or schools which have just one bell!

A number of peal attempts are being planned including:

  • Guildford Cathedral : Runnymede Surprise Maximus on Sunday 14 June 2015
  • St John’s Church Egham on Monday morning 15 June 2015 whilst The Queen visits nearby Runnymede Meadows along with 6000 invited guests.
  • Barnes Church where Archbishop Steven Langton dedicated the new church in 1215 on his way back from supervising the sealing of Magna Carta.
  • Peal at Worcester Cathedral where King John is buried.
  • St Paul’s Cathedral peal of 5800 changes of Stedman Cinques starting at 1 pm on Saturday 13 June

There will be ringing along the line of King John’s progression from Odiham to Windsor and Runnymede. Odiham ringers are organising a ripple of ringing along the route King John may have taken. The towers along the way include Odiham,

Rotherwick, Heckfield, Eversley, Yateley, Sandhurst, Hawley, Yorktown (Camberley), Bagshot, Egham, Old Windsor and Wraysbury.

The BBC will broadcast ‘Bells on Sunday’ at 5.45am on Radio 4 on Sunday 14 June from All Saints Odiham. Festivities will begin in The Bury in Odiham at Noon, with the Greywell Handbell ringers entertaining the mustering crowd, before a Cascade of bell ringing commences at 12.15pm (to commemorate the year).

800 years ago the sealing of Magna Carta by King John for the barons marked the beginning of modern times, where a monarch does not wield absolute power. Bell ringers throughout Britain and beyond are joining in celebrations of the anniversary.

Chris Mew, President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, said

“The 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta is a great event, being celebrated around the United Kingdom and beyond. The ringing of church bells is a traditional way to mark great events and ringers everywhere have been planning for a long time how we will join in. To hear bells ringing at 3 pm on Sunday 14 June, while having tea as part of LiberTeas, makes the event even more memorable, linking past, present and future.”

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