Ring for the King

Ringing of church bells for the Coronation of King Charles III - 6th May 2023

If you were anywhere near a church on Coronation weekend, you might have heard the bells being rung in celebration. (There was quite a lot last year, too, marking in turn the Platinum Jubilee and death of Elizabeth II, and the Accession of the King.)

Coronation Bellringing May 202

Ring for the King logo Colour-Photo of our Bell Ringers at St Mary's on Coronation Day, 6th May

In order to have the bells rung at as many churches as possible, those in NW Essex were divided into groups so bands could ring at several churches in succession. This benefits those towers that might only have a few ringers or where the bells are not rung regularly. Pictured is the band that rang here at St Mary’s at the start of our tour on the Saturday afternoon (photograph: Celia Bartlett), before heading to Littlebury, Wendens Ambo and other towers nearby.

Such landmark events are often a springboard for recruitment (I’ve rung with ringers who learned in time for the millennium, for example) and you might have seen stories in the news about training new ringers to (in the words of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers) “Ring for the King”. At Great Chishill, where the bells have recently been refurbished, I found myself ringing with two who I used to sing with in our church choir and who’d only started to learn a matter of weeks before. And at Rickling we were joined by a lady who hadn’t rung for twenty years but had heard the bells and came along to see if she could have a go.

As with the events of last year, it is a memory that will last. And, again, I find my mind wandering back to my grandparents who might have rung to celebrate the previous coronation and who lived, at the time, on a Queen Street, before moving to a Coronation Avenue. And they were the parents of my mother, Elizabeth, who married Philip.

Simon Potter