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Malvern Priory Hand Bells have a long history, as the original 12 hand bells, which were used in the bell Tower for practising change ringing, are more than 150 years old. They had not been used for very many years until they were rediscovered and brought into use to ring melodies, about five or six years ago and were rung firstly by some ladies of the choir and subsequently by some junior choristers. Since then the Priory Adult and Junior Teams were formed.
There have been two fundraising efforts, generously supported by the choir and congregation, to have the old hand bells renovated and retuned and to add extra hand bells to the set. There are now 24 hand bells in the set, which gives a much greater scope for ringing music in any key and three sturdy purpose built cases to keep the bells in for safety and security.
There are two teams of hand bell ringers - Adults and Juniors who meet each week to learn music of all genres, both sacred and secular.
The Adults meet on Friday afternoons at 4.15pm and the Juniors - who are mainly choristers, but don’t have to be - meet at 5.15pm - 6.00pm, before their choir rehearsal.
The Hand bells are rung at various times in the Priory including Welcome days, during Services, but particularly the Junior team ring on Good Friday and on Christmas Eve for the Christingle Service. The Junior Team also ring in the annual Choristers Concert in the Spring.
Junior Hand bell Team - June 2016
Some adult ringers also took part in the Priory Carol Service in 2015, ringing bells in a carol that had been especially written to imitate the Priory clock chimes in “Christ’s Bell” by Alfred Hollins, a composer who was visiting friends in Malvern in 1935/36, heard the chimes and was inspired to compose the piece for choir and hand bells.
At Christmas time the Adult team have visited care homes to ring carols and in 2015 rang carols at Croome Park, the local National Trust property. They have been invited to return to Croome on December 3rd 2016 to ring carols again.
Some members of the Adult Team at Croome Park in Dec 2015
The Adult Priory Team have also made contact with the Hand Bell Team at St Andrew’s Church, Ombersley, and spent a pleasant afternoon in July 2016 at the church with them ringing lovely music together, followed by a delicious tea.
The Ombersley Team will be paying the Priory Team a return visit in December.
Adult Team playing at Ombersley – July 2016
New hand bell ringers are always welcome to come and join either of the teams. You do not have to have experience of ringing, as we will show you how this is done.
If you would like to try this skill, then come to the adult ringing on Friday afternoons at 4.15pm or bring your junior to the 5.15pm session.
It would be helpful if you could let us know you are coming, so please contact us using this form.
On Sunday, 21st October, before the morning service, the Priory Junior Handbells Team rang, “An Autumn Carol”, with the Praise Group singing the carol. This was received with much applause from the congregation.