- Cropredy Parish Council
ST MARY'S CHURCH - HANDBELL RINGERS
The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Cropredy handbell team was formed in 2006. The village had possessed a set of bells since 1927 when they were acquired by public subscription for £5. It is thought that the bells, numbering 25 in all, were made in the 19th century and had been languishing in a box for over 50 years until, in 2006, the vicar raised awareness of their existence and formed a group of complete novices. A team of six interested villagers were tutored by an expert from a neighbouring village and now consists of 10 members.
The bells were made by Taylors of Loughborough and have been augmented by two further bells from the Whitechapel Foundry so we now have two complete octaves in the key of G. Members customarily ring with a bell in each hand though some of us will play with two in each hand if the music so demands. We use number notation so it is not necessary to be able to read conventional music. We play mainly for our own pleasure, at church festival services and occasionally for various institutions in the area.
According to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry website, handbell ringing began in England about 300 years ago. Musical handbells, tuned in sets, were introduced in the late 17th century and became popular among tower bell ringers for practicing change ringing and eventually for playing simple tunes. Eventually tune playing went into decline but experienced a world wide revival in the 20th century.