MU Meeting 14th December – John Murfin: Bell-ringing

We had a lovely meeting this month – John Murfin gave us an interesting talk about bell-ringing and handbells and we finished by singing carols.

John explained that he started ringing bells 70 years ago. Bells are rung in Church for weddings, funerals, Coronations, and of course recently at the death of Queen Elizabeth, when the bells were rung muffled all over the country, for the solemn occasion. On the accession of King Charles, they were rung at St Luke’s in unison across the country, so they have been an important part of our lives and are used for sending out messages, both happy and sad.

Apparently a peal can be attempted but not necessarily completed as they can break down with all the changes. Peals are rung for practice, and bell-ringers can ring at other towers – even when they go on holiday.

There are a different number of bells in different churches and cathedrals, some having as many as 10 or 12 as at St. Nicholas in Liverpool. Their heaviest bell is 42cwt, but at nearby Liverpool Cathedral is the heaviest bell for a Full Circle, at 82cwt.

John showed us a video of handbell ringers, where they held and worked two bells each, the change being called by the leader.

To finish his talk John showed us a video of four people with a table full of handbells, playing the Alleluia Chorus, swapping round and taking turns playing all the bells – quite fantastic!

Wendy Macdonald then kindly accompanied us on the piano in the singing of some Christmas carols: we thank her for giving up her time.


Our next meeting will be in the New Year on Wednesday 18th January for our Epiphany service and party. We would ask you to please bring a plate of food just for yourself. (We used to bring food to share but Covid prevented that and we now ask you to just bring what you would like to eat.)  Could you also please bring your subs envelope? Thank you!

If you would like to join us, please come along, or contact Dorothy on 533704 or Carole on 533882 for details.

We hope you all have a lovely Christmas, and wish you health and happiness for the New Year of 2023.


Carole and Dorothy