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Handel called Britain 'The Ringing Isle' because he heard bells ringing everywhere he went. Behind the quintessentially English sound of bells ringing lies a unique way of hanging bells and a special way of ringing them that evolved in the late sixteenth century. Ringing has since developed and spread, with some 6,000 towers worldwide with bells hung in the English style, and most of them in England. Over 40,000 active ringers keep alive the traditions and skills of change ringing that have been handed down over many generations.
The book is an introduction to the world of bells and bell-ringing. It explains how bells are made and how a ringing installation works. It explains the nature of change ringing, which has mathematical as well as musical aspects. It provides insights into the ringing community--its origins and culture as well as its relationships with the Church and the community.