Our speaker on January 24 was Howard Robinson on the History of Bellringing. Its origins lie in timekeeping, calls to prayer, as a warning in a time of crisis and on special occasions.

They started to be used in churches starting in Italy c.400. He outlined how technology improved starting with bells mounted on wheels and showed all the details of how bells are rung today and the sequence of hand stroke and back stroke.

The ringing process is mathematical and ringing a quarter peal with 1260 changes takes around 40 minutes and a full peal of 5040 changes takes about three hours. These details may vary depending on the weight of bells and the method used.

The only bell foundry now working in Britain is Taylors of Loughborough, Whitechapel Foundry having closed two years ago, one of its last jobs being a 23 ton static bell for the London Olympics, rung by Bradley Wiggins.

Contrary to popular opinion Big Ben is not a tower but a static bell (which has a crack!).

Howard emphasised that bellringing is a pastime for all ages and invited us to take it up. Any misconception we may have had that ringing is simply a matter of pulling a rope was certainly dispelled by his revelation of how complicated the methods of change ringing are.

Interestingly, although it is practised overseas in countries with a British connection, such as Canada, Australia etc., it is unknown on the Continent.

We meet at 10am every Thursday at The Boathouse, Evesham Rowing Club. Our speaker on January 31 will be David Howe on Prime Ministers of Great Britain and on February 7 Bob Young will hold a Car Quiz.

Full details can be found on our website www.eveshamprobus.co.uk

Alan Smith