A set of ‘Devon-style’ call changes have been composed to commemorate the Mayflower 400 events.
“Full-circle” church bellringing is almost exclusively found in churches with Anglican connections. Although church bells have been used to call people to prayer for many centuries, it has only been practised in its current form since the early 1700s. The Pilgrims would not have heard bell-ringing as we know it today. However, three of the bells in St. Clement’s church, Dartmouth were in existence at the time the Mayflower left the town in 1620. They were cast in 1480 by William Chamberlain of London and are still rung regularly today.
Nowadays, bells are still rung to call people to prayer, but also to celebrate local and national events, such as weddings, jubilees, etc, as well as for competitions and for recreation. Mayflower 400 is a significant national event which should be marked by peals of bells.
A team of bell ringers from Dartmouth and the surrounding area are planning to tour all Trail Towns to ring a number of special peals of 400 changes. The peals have been composed by members of the Dartmouth Bell Ringers. These will be rung on 6, 8, 10 or 12 bells and will take just over one hour each to ring. The proposed itinerary for the tour is as follows:
UK Tour – 15-23 August 2020
Worcester – up to 4 towers, including Cathedral (12 bells, 48-0-2)
Scrooby and Babworth – up to 5 local towers
Austerfield (6 bells, 12-0-22),
Gainborough (8 bells, 19-1-24)
Immingham (6 bells, 11-0-18)
Boston (10 bells, 21-1-10)
Harwich (8 bells, 13-2-22)
London – Rotherhithe (8 bells, 10-2-25) plus 5 other London towers
Southampton – up to 4 towers
Dartmouth – St Saviour’s (8 bells, 18-2-14), St Petrox (6 bells, 7-3-9), St Clement’s (6 bells, 7-2-11)
Plymouth – Minster (10 bells, 30-3-6) plus potential to ring at one Plymouth tower every night leading up to main Mayflower events in Plymouth, finishing at the Minster and on the Hoe with portable mini ring of bells
Netherlands Tour – 31 July-2 August 2020
Ypres (8 bells, 6-1-11)
Dordrecht (8 bells, 1-2-7)
The numbers in brackets signify the weight of the tenor (heaviest) bell in each tower, traditionally given in cwt-qtr-lb
The team taking part would like to spread the special “Devon Call Change” style of ringing to make it better known and to bring a quintessentially English art to the areas where the Mayflower has a significant impact. A usual set of changes is around 60 changes long and takes about 8 minutes to ring, so this will not only be a mental challenge to remember 400 changes but a physical one too.
All the above peals will be formally recorded in the Ringing World “Bellboard” database.