Calling parishioners to church

Near St Helens Bells
From our garden we can see some of the steeple of St Helen’s Church.
Near St Helens Bells
Clink here to hear a sample of St Helen’s bells recorded this morning when the bells were calling parishioners to church.

When the bells were hung in 2006, according to my 2006 blog , the intention was “to make them quieter for the houses down below because of the way the bells are hung in relation to the louvre opening, but that the sound should travel further.”

9 thoughts on “Calling parishioners to church

  1. Spike

    “… to make them quieter for the houses down below …”

    That sounds like PR spin to ‘massage’ the locals ! Defeats the propagation of sound in air Physics that I am aware of.
    I would bet that they never conducted the field measurements to validate that statement.

  2. Mark

    Spike, not so. By bricking up the lower portions of the louvres on the inside of the bell chamber, the sound is stopped from exiting via the louvres which, due to their angle, would have directed the sound straight down to the surrounding houses. The brickwork blocks this and forces the sound upwards instead, to adjustable sound openings which are above the bells. The sound exits the tower further up and from the spire and carries further afield at a higher level. The bells are now very quiet around the church area, especially compared to the old bells.

    It’s not PR – just a realisation that bells need to be kept down to a reasonable level under the tower and yet still allowed to be heard at a distance. Accurate measurements WERE taken, both with the old bells before the sound control, and after the new bells were put in with the sound control. The figures show that quite a difference was made and these can be made available to anyone interested.

    It might be worth noting that a condition of the faculty for instaling the new bells (a legal requirement which has to be obtained for such things under church law) required acurate sound meausurements to be taken.

    With all due respect, obtaining facts always puts one in a better stance rather than simply speculating.

  3. Spike

    I know when a statement says “with respect” that an attempted insult is incoming !
    Glad to hear Mark’s view. However, if the sound field immediately adjacent to the tower is reduced by the baffles described, how is it possible for the sound to carry further – can’t have it both ways.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of those bells but there appeared to be a contradiction in the original statement.
    Enough on this.

  4. Mark

    I said with respect because that is how I think a reasoned debate should be. It’s not a screen for insults.

    Ths sound field adjacent to the tower is reduced by the sound baffles because these baffles are formed from thick concrete blocks which the sound does not penetrate. The sound is reflected off these hard-surfaced baffles (inside the tower) and it finds the only exits further up the tower. The upper openings are not fitted with directional louvres (just opened or closed shutters or, higher up, just a thin weather-proof membrane) so the sound disperses and radiates at a higher level above the roof tops. So, lower sound levels around the base of the tower and higher dispersed levels further up. The sound level readings show this to be the case.

    That’s not a contradiction, just a description of two different processes to produce, in effect, two different sound sources.

    “Enough on this”?

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