Your correspondent doesn’t have a good head for heights, but he was delighted nonetheless to be invited onto the very top of St. Mary’s tower roof to fly the St. George’s flag this morning in preparation for his feast day, tomorrow, April 23rd.
This job is usually performed by Martyn Marriott, who deserves our thanks and praise (though he, modestly, wouldn’t accept!)
It is quite a scary place, atop the tower. Especially if you look up! (Strangely enough, looking down over the parapet isn’t bothersome at all, but looking up to the top of the flagpole made me feel quite dizzy).
After the flag-raising, came the bell-ringing. I know it to be a rhythmic and mathematical art requiring a lot of concentration and fiendishly good memory skills.
On a good day, I might say of myself that I had a reasonable sense of rhythm and an old school teacher of mine would definitely call me “amatuerishly mathematical”…but I still couldn’t really work out what was going on between the ringers: to an outsider like me, it just seemed rather magical. It was also rather noisier than I expected, as the changes were called with abrupt precision (hear, for example, about the 52 seconds mark in the video):
We were treated to a rendition of Stedman Triples (which is what’s in the video and is a very old ringing method dating from the 18th century where the tenor bell [the heaviest -and the one on the furthest right of the video] always rings last in the change), followed by some Cambridge Surprise Major.
Can I just say that the Bell Ringers were consummate hosts, putting up with annoying third parties like me with grace and ease? And also that their work for our church is deeply appreciated by all.