Saturday, 17 December 2011

Bell to chime 2011 times

From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia.

At precisely 10.30pm on Christmas Eve, six bell ringers will begin tolling the bell of Dewsbury Minster in Yorkshire, 2011 times, to finish on the stroke of midnight. It's a 600-year-old custom, called the Devil's Knell.

The bells remind the townspeople of the number of years that have elapsed since the birth of Christ. It's supposed to mark the Devil's departure from the Earth.

In the 15th century a local knight, Sir Thomas de Soothill, in a fit of rage, murdered a servant boy by throwing him into a mill pond. To expiate his crime he gave the tenor bell, Black Tom, requiring it to be tolled at his own funeral. It is now rung on Christmas Eve to signify that the First Eucharist of Christmas proclaims the defeat of evil.

"We ring about 26 blows per minute" says bellringer Derek C. Johnstone.  "Each person takes his turn to ring 100 blows, then signs them off on a sheet.

"We have a target time chart to ensure we stay on track to finish at midnight.We ring from the comfort of the ringing chamber. The wind through the louvres  makes ringing an alpine sport."

The other ringers: Ronalda and Richard Johnstone, Gill and Denny Flynn, and Hazel Crabb.

The British Post Office issued a special stamp in 1986, commemorating this historic event.

The Anglo Dutch brewery in Dewsbury produces Devil's Knell beer, described as "A reddish ‘winter beer'".

No comments:

Post a Comment