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For the musical ringing of bells, see Change ringing.
Bell-ringer (video)

A bell-ringer is a person who rings a bell, usually a church bell, by means of a rope or other mechanism.

Present-day activity[edit]

English full-circle bell ringers at Stoke Gabriel parish church, Devon, England

Although in some places the carillon, is used, or bells are imitated by electronic means, there are still a large number of active bell ringers in the world.

In England for instance it is estimated there are about 40,000 bell ringers ringing on rings of bells in the English full-circle style. This type of ringing cannot be automated because of the masses of the bells and the subtle changes in speed of striking that are required for change ringing.

Bell ringing saw a spectacular revival in Russia, with the growth of the Russian Orthodox Church, (see Russian Orthodox bell ringing).

Secrets of the skill of bell ringers in Russia passed from generation to generation, but in the 20th century this art was almost lost. The training took place only at workshops until 2008. Then the first permanent bell-ringer school opened in Moscow, under the leadership of Drozdihin Ilya.[1]

Historical Hazards[edit]

In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the sound of a bell could disperse thunder.[2] A large number of bell-ringers were electrocuted as a result. In France between the years 1753 and 1786, 103 bell-ringers were killed during thunderstorms as a result of holding on to wet bell ropes. The Parlement of Paris enforced an edict in 1786 to prohibit the practice.[3] Deaths likely continued until the 19th century, when the lightning rod came into general use.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Russia. The TV channel "Culture". The school bell ringers opens in Moscow". 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  2. ^ White, Andrew Dickson (1896). "Chapter XI : From "The Prince Of The Power Of The Air" To Meteorology". The Warfare of Science With Theology. 
  3. ^ Burke, James (1978). Connections. Boston: Little, Brown. p. 34. ISBN 0-316-11681-5.