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Ringers complete marathon handbell peal

Wednesday, 7th November 2007

Ringers complete marathon handbell peal

Six members of the Westminster Abbey Company of Ringers rang a peal on handbells in the Henry VII Chapel on Wednesday. They rang a method called Stedman Cinques and the peal comprised a little over 5,000 changes and lasted about three hours.

Change-ringing on handbells (as opposed to tune-ringing) follows the same rules as on tower bells, except that each ringer takes two bells - one in each hand. Each bell sounds once per change and each change is different.

In Stedman Cinques the largest bell (the tenor) rings last in each change and is largely responsible for setting the rhythm.

Because each ringer has to memorise the work of both his bells and ensure that they are placed in exactly the right place in each change, a great deal of concentration is required.

One serious error could have caused the peal to be lost.

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