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Harpenden church holds tower open day to encourage potential bell ringers

PUBLISHED: 09:34 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:34 01 May 2019

St Nicholas Church Harpenden

St Nicholas Church Harpenden

Archant

A Harpenden church welcomed the public to an event where local residents can come and see how the bells work.

The open tower, where visitors had the opportunity to take a tour and ring the bells, took place at St Nicholas Church in Harpenden on Saturday April 27.

Deputy ringing master Andrew Cripps said guests could “climb the spiral staircase and see the clock room and the belfry, to see how they all work”.

Andrew said it might have attracted new bell ringers to the church: “We always need to add new ringers to make sure there are enough people to ring all the eight bells that we have.

“We would like several new people to learn. Ringing is a really enjoyable hobby, a good form of gentle exercise for body and mind and a great way to meet people.”

Andrew said the eight tower bells are important for the church, because they “remind people when services are about to take place, or to mark weddings or other events like the Jubilee or Armistice commemoration”.

He said: “The sound travels much further than the distance that people can see the church.

“Bell ringing is important because it is a tradition that has been part of British life for hundreds of years. The sound of bells the way we ring here is distinctive from bells in other countries which work in a different way.

“In the tower you can see the way the bell swings through a full circle, fixed to a wheel that is pulled by a rope.”

The bells were cast by John Taylor's foundry in Loughborough during 1990.

Sounding F sharp, the Tenor Bell is the heaviest) at more than 15cwt.

Two former bells, called Clock and Sanctus and dating to the 17th century, are hung above the new ring of eight.

Visit parishofharpenden.org/church-bells to find out more.

Alternatively, email Andrew Cripps on a.cripps1@ntlworld.com or tower secretary Jane Fransella on jane_fransella@btinternet.com.

St Nicholas Church is in the centre of Harpenden on Church Green.

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