National 'battle of the bells' competition comes to St John's Church Chilcompton

6th June 2024

120 bellringers will take part in ‘battle of the bells’ at the church of St John the Baptist in Chilcompton on Saturday 15 June.

Ten teams from around the country will compete for the coveted Taylor Trophy, in the final of The National 12 Bell Striking Contest. Although the competition is usually held in a large cathedrals or big cities, the contest committee recently decided to include village towers to represent the countrywide bell-ringing scene. Chilcompton was honoured to be asked to host this contest four years ago, but the pandemic delayed plans until now.

The competition is friendly but also a wonderful opportunity for bell ringers of all abilities and members of the general public to meet up, enjoy something to eat and drink in a festival-like atmosphere, whilst listening to some of the best bell ringing.The event is free to attend. The first team take to the bells at 11.30am. If all goes to plan, the final team will complete the competition ringing at around 4.30pm. 

The judges will be looking for good striking which is considered to occur when the ringing is absolutely regular, with a metronomic and even beat, so the space between each of the bells is exactly the same. This is achieved using physical, visual and listening skills, combined with team work.

The reigning champions from Birmingham will compete against teams from St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Portsmouth Cathedral, Guildford Cathedral, and many others. The Ancient Society of College Youths and Bristol will join a local team representing the host tower of Chilcompton. They will each complete a test piece of 288 changes of Cambridge Surprise Maximus. 

The team of judges will use the latest Hawk-ear software, which is the bellringing equivalent of Hawk-eye, regularly used by umpires in tennis and cricket. And an online radio broadcast will transmit the proceedings to all corners of the globe.


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