A group of change-ringing bell ringers from England representing the historic organizations of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths and the Ancient Society of College Youths will ring two peals in St. Paul’s Tower on Monday, November 10. One peal will begin at 3 p.m., the other at 6 p.m.
A peal is a specific type of performance of change ringing. To be recognized as a peal by the Central Council for Church Bell Ringers, it must consist of at least 5,040 changes on up to seven working bells, or a minimum of 5,000 on higher numbers of bells and meet a number of other criteria.
This exercise usually takes just under three hours, depending on the weight of the bells. Led by Alan Regin, who achieved a goal of ringing 5,000 peals by his 50th birthday, the group also will ring peals at Houston’s other two towers — St. Thomas Episcopal Church and Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church.
Complete peals are so rare that only a few of St. Paul’s ringers, including Dawn Uebelhart, Michael Pirics, and Brett Chiquet, have completed one. Dawn also is a member of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths.
Bells for Peace
Traditionally, bells have been rung to symbolize the end of war and other major events. And, indeed, when the Armistice ending World War I was signed in 1918, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, bells of joy rang around the world, asking everyone, everywhere to work for lasting peace.
On this hundredth anniversary of the beginning of that war, it is a coincidence in timing that these British bell ringers will be ringing these peals on the cusp of the anniversary of the day that war ended.