The Tower Handbook

6.5: Handbells

a: Should we keep our handbells in the tower?

It depends how secure your tower is and whether you ever use them. Even old handbells are valuable, so keep them safe. Store them with the handles straight, in a box fitted for the purpose or hanging on pegs. If people use them away from the tower, keep a written formal record of who takes them away.

b: What should we use them for?

Many towers have a set of handbells and never use them which is a pity. If you can ring them (and most people can learn at least to hunt two in hand) it provides another alternative way of making use of any time when you turn up short at the beginning of a practice. For an introduction to change ringing on handbells see Beginners Guide to Change Ringing on Handbells.

Handbells can also be a useful teaching aid to help learners become familiar with method ringing before they have fully mastered bell handling. You can also ring tunes on them. See section 9.8f.

c: What are hand chimes and bell plates?

They can be rung like handbells and produce a roughly bell-like sound but cost much less than a real handbell and are therefore more affordable as teaching aids. In hand chimes the sounding device is a metal bar and in bell plates it is a roughly triangular metal plate. Both have clappers, but the clapper of a bell plate always strikes the same side of the plate. A spring mechanism ensures it strikes properly at both strokes.


Currently hosted on