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Photographer's Note

This is a little challenging
On my way down from the Great St Mary's church in Cambridge, i saw this room full of big bells. However, the door was locked and i can only take this shot from a glass opening

The picture is dark, hence i cant use flash as it will reflect. In addition, doing a long exposure at spiral staircase will create vibration which render the pic blurry

A little history about this:

Great Four bells and a sanctus are mentioned in 1516 and it is believed they were at one time hung in a belfry in the churchyard (1594) until the new church tower was not completed until 1608. In 1611 the four bells were recast into a ring of five and augmented to six probably in 1621-2. Two more bells were added to make a ring of eight in 1667/8 and the lightest two of the old six recast. In 1722/3 Richard Phelps recast these bells and added as much metal again to increase the ring to a heavier ring of ten. The tenor was damaged and required recasting by Pack & Chapman in 1770 and the opportunity was taken to increase the ring to twelve. The new front bells were poor examples especially the treble which was shortly recast in 1773. The eleventh was recast in 1825, the tower restored in 1892, the two trebles recast in 1911 and the seventh recast in 1923 due to damage incurred when celebrating the Armistice in 1918. The final major work involved recasting the trebles yet again and rehanging the bells in a new metal frame. For the first time they were also hung to be rung clockwise. In 1992(?) the 9th cracked during practice ringing and this was repaired (welded) by Soundweld of Lode. The old ring of 12 bells were removed in the April 2009 and in July a new ring of 12 plus a flat 6th were installed by Taylors Eayre and Smith of Loughborough. Most of the old 12 were retained

Change-ringing
The bells are used for Change Ringing (sometimes called “English bell ringing''), in which each bell swings in a full circle. In Change Ringing the bells start and end each piece of ringing by ringing in a sequence called “Rounds” starting with the 1st and lightest bell (called the “Treble”) down the scale to the 12th and heaviest bell (called the “Tenor”). Change ringing is based upon ringing permutations of the 12 bells where the order of the bells may be altered by bells swapping their position in the sequence with an adjacent bell in a predefined manner (for example 123456789OET changing to 21436587O9TE).

Cheers,
Ralf

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Additional Photos by Ralf Lai (kim_gwan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 98 W: 0 N: 368] (1142)
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