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BellringersEnglish style bellringing is a fascinating activity that requires physical co-ordination, a sense of rhythm and good listening skills. It provides mental and physical stimulation, along with the social aspect of working with other ringers. Rounds on six
Image courtesy of Fortran Friends

Aspects of ringing

Look at these pages to find out about different aspects of bellringing:

How ringing works  
The sound of ringing 
Find out about ringing you hear 
What ringers get out of ringing 
Talks on ringing 
Changeringing shapes   
Ringing and maths  
Ringing music 
Ringing simulators
My counter-rotating dumbbell
Lots of ringing websites 
Ringing glossary  

My ringing career

Looking back at things I have done shows the breadth and richness that ringing has to offer. Follow the links to find out about many different aspects of the ringing world.


I learnt to ring in 1959 at St Wilfrid's, Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire (see pictures).

I rang with the Southwell Diocesan Guild and the East Derbyshire and West Notts Association .

When Kirkby was augmented to eight bells in 2001, I was in the band that rang the first peal on the eight.

I am a member of the Cambridge University Guild of Change Ringers. I rang at Guildford Cathedral before I married. I have rung at All Saints Wokingham  since the late 1970s.

I celebrated 50 years of ringing with a peal of Kirkby-in-Ashfield Surprise Major rung at Wokingham, with a band  including people who rang with me in Kirkby and Cambridge as well as Wokingham. ( details & picture )


A lot of my time is involved with training. I am chairman of the Oxford Diocesan Guild Education Committee and of the Sonning Deanery Branch.

I am a member of the Central Council of Church Bellringers. I chaired the Education Committee for 8 years and led the working group that set up the Ringing Foundation. I am chairman of the Biographies Committee. and former chairman of the Public Relations Committee .

I have run courses in many parts of the country, including over 30 listening courses .

My most unusual training assignment was to teach the actors who played bellringers in the Midsomer Murders episode ' Ring Out Your Dead'. See the article about making the programme.


I have written several books on ringing (mostly for CC Publications) including The Learning Curve, 102 articles about learning and teaching that were published between 1999-2007 in The Ringing World and The Tower Handbook (now on-line )

I wrote a series of articles about music in ringing  after being invited to give a talk to a group of musicians.

My book 'Living Heritage ', a social history of bellringing in Wokingham over the last 300 years, is written mainly for non-ringers. My book 'Bells & Bellringing ' was published by Shire Books.

Like most ringers, I have rung in hundreds of different towers in UK and abroad, enjoying the universal welcome that is characteristic in ringing. You can find details of over 6000 ringing towers in Dove's Guide. or find out more at Discover Bellringing 


I use modern teaching aids including simulators. I have produced training aids, including CDs and !Strike .

I made a counter-rotating dumbbell (which works with a simulator). I didn't realise it at the time, but it is based on a similar principle to that used by my namesake, the 18th century John Harrison in his early clocks.

Years ago, I built some interesting models  to represent how change ringing works. I do talks on the technology of bellringing, and the maths of ringing (for adults) and talks for school puplis on: the maths of ringing  or the music of ringing 


Explanation of how ringing works What ringers get out of ringing Links to lots of ringing websites Change Ringing Wiki Talks on ringing Ringing and maths Bellringing in the news

A few pictures (click to enlarge)

All Saints Wokingham – my home tower
St Wilfrid's Kirkby-in-Ashfield (early 1960s) where I learnt to ring
Inveraray tower dwarfs the town
See: Bell Tower website
Inveraray tower framed by trees
 See: Bell Tower website
Bird's eye view of a ringing practice
Ringing handbells on the river 
Bells are big – this one weighs ¾ ton
Bells ready to ring

All material Copyright © 1964 - 2013 John Harrison.

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