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Planned peal attempts


Earliest peal boardIntroduction

A peal results from ringing a method for 5,000 or more changes. Peals are usually rung for special occasions. The key rules for ringing a peal are: no change must be repeated, each ringer must ring the same bell continuously all the way through, no help to be given to the ringers by anyone not ringing, no use of memory aids is permitted, it will start and end in rounds and not have stopped at any point. At Saffron Walden the average time it takes to ring 5,000 changes on all 12 bells is about 3.5 hours.

A quarter peal, as the name suggests, must be at least 1,250 changes. Quarters are rung to mark special occasions or to enable a ringer or group of ringer to really learn a particular method. A quarter peal takes about 45 minutes to ring and we occasionally ring them before Evensong on Sunday or for other occasions. Click here for a list of quarters rung by the Society since 1977.

For particularly solemn occasions such as funerals or memorial services, the bells may be "fully-muffled" or "half-muffled" - that is the clapper is deadened on both sides or one side only, typically with a leather muffle. Fully muffled bells produce a quieter, mournful sound, while the sound of half-muffled bells is echo-like, as the muffled backstroke follows the "open" handstroke. 

Both peals and quarter peals are published in the weekly ringers' paper - the Ringing World. This national publication which covers all things bell ringing has been in continuous publication since 1911. It is taken by many ringers and a copy can be found in most towers. The Ringing World lists the tower at which the peal or quarter peal was rung, who rang the bells and the reason for doing it. It is a way of recording your achievement for posterity.

The first recorded peal at Saffron Walden was rung on Christmas Day 1753. The earliest peal board in the tower (pictured left) list peals from 1807-17 conducted by Richard Miller, while the series at the foot of the tower record the famous Surprise ringing performed by the Society in the 1890s. Click here for the history of peal ringing at Saffron Walden, for details of all known peals rung by the Society and for key peals associated with the Society.

Our most recent peals and quarter peals can be viewed by following this link to Campanophile and using the search facility.

A database of peals rung at Saffron Walden can be viewed by using this link to the Felstead Peal Database.

Planned peal attempts

We welcome requests from visiting bands of ringers who want to ring peals or quarter peals at Saffron Walden - however due to the position in the town centre the amount of ringing is strictly controlled. We are restricted to five peal attempts a year - approximately one each quarter, plus one for Great Ringing Day. We are currently running with a peal request waiting list of 3-4 years. For further information please contact the Society secretary.

Planned Peal Attempts

15 February 2014  
21 April 2014  
21 June 2014 Great Ringing Day
4 October 2014  
15 November 2014  


The peal fee is 7.50 / rope.

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