THE BELLS will ring out to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing.
A Bell Ringing Festival is being held which will see bell ringers from Holy Trinity in Stratford – where the Bard was baptised and buried – joined by over 50 ringing colleagues from the surrounding area.
The church’s bells will ring out eight times in six days at the start of special services and concerts at the church during teh landmark celebration of Shakespeare’s legacy.
The festival will allow residents of Stratford to hear the variety of the bells as they ring out full peals, quarter peals, and single bell tolls.
Quarter peals will be rung to celebrate the church service for the visit of the Stratford’s of the World (April 24 from 4.45pm); to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s burial (April 24 from 4.45pm), and the 90th birthday of The Queen (April 21
6.15pm). Each quarter peal will last about 50 minutes.
The tolling of the tenor bell at the conclusion of the RSC fireworks on the evening of Saturday April 23 is set to be particularly poignant, and will tie in with an informal procession from the theatre to the church, for the start of a candlelit vigil in church.
Holy Trinity deputy tower captain Jeanette Davey said: “Our tenor bell will toll at around 11pm. After the excitement of the day’s celebrations a single bell toll will remind everyone of the solemnity of the moment.
“To fit this ringing festival into our church’s already busy birthday weekend schedule has meant a great deal of coordination with many groups and organisations.
“We’ve been keen to accommodate the requests we have received and have had to co-ordinate with orchestral and choral rehearsals, performance times, and with BBC soundchecks – we’ve even moved a church service.”
The ringing festival starts lunchtime on Saturday (April 16) when there will be a celebratory full peal of bells. Full peals are rare and go on non stop for about three and half hours hours.
The final and rarest ringing event will be on Monday April 25, when a half-muffled quarter peal will be rung. Half-muffled ringing is a more solemn sound, usually rung to mark a funeral. On this occasion the ringing will be before the Evensong service being held to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s funeral.
Visit www.stratford-upon-avon.org/bell-ringing for further details.