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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Ding-Dong (05/16/13)

TITLE: Mary's Bells
By lynn gipson


The bells of St. Mary's Church in Great Shefford, England were first installed in 1672. They were restored once in 1870 and faithfully rang until the 1960's, when they fell silent for half a century due to fractures in the framework of the bell tower.

They didn't ring again until the year 2011, when the parishioners raised the money to have the framework repaired and the bells restored, and the sweet melodies of St. Mary's bells began to sing out once more across Great Shefford.

St Mary's of Great Shefford is just one of several old churches to have their belfries restored for original use in recent years. Fund raising events and donations have allowed them the money to have these historic bells tolling once more.

In doing research for this article, I came across some facts I have never taken the time to learn. I'd never thought about all it takes to make those beautiful, harmonious peals, and I am fascinated by my discoveries of St. Mary's bells.

There are six tuned bells, each of a different note, which are operated by human bell ringers. A bell ringer is a person who tolls a bell by tugging on a large rope with great skill and timing to produce the appropriate ring.

These must be talented and brave people in my estimation. In the middle ages it was widely believed that the sounds of a these bells could disperse thunder, as many bell ringers were struck by lightning and killed during a time before the invention of lightning rods.

At St. Mary's of Great Shefford, there is a different series of bells rung for every occasion. A funeral, for instance, requires the single bell tone of a death toll. A bell ringer has pull the rope and hold it in a certain position in order to make that particular sound. This was the origination of the phrase, “For whom the bell tolls.”

Another series of tones are pealed out by the bell ringers to announce Church is in session on Sundays, and yet another signifies a wedding. These bells inform the community of whatever event is taking place at the church at any given time.

I am thrilled to hear about the restoration of these old church bells. Progress has given way to recordings of the sounds of ringing bells, but the authenticity of an actual church bell ringing cannot be duplicated.

Church bells sound like a spiritual message to me, as if God is speaking. When I hear them, I feel a sense of being in His presence. I pause and breathe slowly when each tone reverberates through my soul, and I am filled with peace.

In my lifetime, I have only had the privilege of hearing local Memphis church bells ring. One day, God willing, I am going to England to hear St. Mary's.

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This article has been read 378 times
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Karen Pourbabaee 05/24/13
Great piece on the history of church bells!I was fascinated too in my own research on carillons which have a minimum of 24 bells and requires a keyboard & trained musician to ring out the tunes on the bells.Bells have a heavenly sound, perhaps that's why they impact us so.
C D Swanson 05/25/13
I love introspective pieces, and this one was right up there with the best. I really enjoyed the historical aspect along with the story overall. Nicely done.

God bless~
Allison Egley 05/26/13
I like this. Very informative.

My only piece of red ink would be to get rid of the part where you say "in my research..." and just go on with the part about what you learned. :)

I too would love to hear the church bells in England. St. Mary's or any others! Nice job with this.
Noel Mitaxa 05/26/13
Congratulations on a story that is well-researched and very well-tolled. Very enjoyable read.
Judith Gayle Smith05/26/13
So informative, and it certainly rings a bell with me! In my time I have been a belle, and now all I can do is be a clapper in honor of your excellent research . . .
Christina Banks 05/27/13
Very interesting. I had never contemplated what went into ringing the bells like that.
Virgil Youngblood 05/27/13
Expanding this to include how bells are made would make this even more informative and, perhaps, commercially marketable. Very enjoyable.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/28/13
I enjoyed this very informative piece.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/29/13
This is quite interesting. Recently I had the pleasure of walking on Duke while the bell ringer was ringing. It gave me goosebumps. My son was telling me sometimes the ringer allows someone to watch him in the tower and how it really feels like God is right there enjoying the wonderful sound glorifying his name.Your story made me feel that way as well. Good job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/30/13
Congratulations for ranking 6 in your level and 24 overall! Happy Dance!