Good Chimes; Rachel Conner Went to Llandaff Cathedral to See What the Ancient Art of Bell-Ringing Is All about Club of the Week

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), March 22, 2011 | Go to article overview

Good Chimes; Rachel Conner Went to Llandaff Cathedral to See What the Ancient Art of Bell-Ringing Is All about Club of the Week


Byline: Rachel Conner

To the untrained eye, bell ringing looks easy enough, but it's much more than just pulling on a rope.

Watching the ringers practise for just a few minutes shows the challenges involved in trying to keep time.

Llandaff Cathedral is the only church in Cardiff - and one of only two in the whole of Wales - to have a ring of 12 bells, making the Llandaff ringers one of the most impressive bell-ringing groups around.

According to Bob Woodward, captain of the bell-ringing team, it can take around three years to gain enough experience to attempt some of the more complicated patterns.

David Llewellyn, 71, is the steeple keeper of the Llandaff bell tower. He has been ringing since he was 17, and is now responsible for maintaining the bells and looking after the ropes. He took me up the tower to get a closer look at the bells in action.

Ringers are usually protected from the noise by having a room between them and the bells.

As I climb the increasingly narrow spiral staircase to get to the top, I can see why. It's absolutely deafening next to the bells, some of which weigh more than a ton and have a diameter of several feet and it's not hard to believe the bells can be heard across the city.

The group comprises between 20 and 25 members who regularly turn up to practise and ring on a Sunday. However, as they have such a large ring of bells, more members are needed to make sure the 12 bells can always be manned during services.

One of the newest recruits, Jessica Arnold, is a first-year student at Cardiff University. …

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