Suitable Hymns for Bell-Related Services

Hymn 1

Tune: Jerusalem

Ring out, glad bells! Arouse our hearts,
Shame our indifference and our strife;
Call us again to leave behind
All that impedes our spirit’s life --
And with your wide and son’rous mouths
Inspire our mouths to sing anew
The praise of Him who reigns above,
The righteous One, the Just, the True.

Your substance once was hid from sight
Mute in the darkness of the earth,
But by man’s skill, to give delight,
You were brought forth and given birth.
We are from nothing; may we be
Found, when this mortal life is done
True-cast by God the Father’s love
To bear the image of the Son.

Ring out, glad bells! From belfries dark
Call us, with loud resounding voice
Into that light which never dims,
Wherein the Holy Ones rejoice;
And, as your sound goes boldly out,
So may we go, to make Christ known,
Till all the sons of God shall shout
With endless joy before His throne!

Revd John H Matthews

Hymn 2

Tune: Woodlands

This Hymn may well be sung in place of Magnificat in BCP Evening Prayer, since its tune is that of the Hymn “Tell out my soul”, a familiar version of that canticle. It was composed by Peter Baelz, then Dean of Durham, for a service of re-dedication of the cathedral bells in 1980. Its opening verse, which may be repeated at the end, contains the names of those bells. It is a courtesy to ask the present Dean for permission to use the Hymn

Ring Christ, ring Mary, Benedict and Bede,
With Michael, till our hearts from sin be freed;
Ring Cuthbert, Oswald, Margaret and Hild,
Till, blessed Lord, our hearts with joy be filled.

Let bells peal forth the universal fame,
Creator Lord, of Thy mysterious name;
Conscience within, the boundless heavens above,
Disclose to faith the hidden name of Love.

Loudly proclaim with each insistent chime
How Thine eternity redeems our time;
Past sins forgiv’n, and future hopes restored,
Reveal Thy presence with us, gracious Lord.

Spirit divine, recast our faulty ways,
Make them ring true and echo to Thy praise;
Through every change of circumstance and choice
May we confess Thee with a single voice.

Call us to worship, call us to obey,
Call us to pilgrimage along life’s way;
Rouse us from sleep; renewed in mind and heart,
Call us to love Thee, Lord, since Love Thou art.

Peter R Baelz (1923-2001)

Hymn 3

Tune: Stuttgart; Austria

Raised aloft within the steeple,
  All our bells are set on high,
To fulfil their holy mission
  In their place ’twixt earth and sky.
Far and near our hearts shall hear them
  In our toil and in our rest,
Telling how, in one Communion,
  Of one Church, we all are blest.

When the birds sing early matins,
  And the God of nature praise,
These their nobler morning music
  To the God of grace shall raise:
And when evening shadows soften
  Cross and chancel, tower and aisle,
Blend their vesper benediction
  With the day’s departing smile.

When God’s day of rest and gladness
  Calls us to our Father’s home,
To His house and to His altar
  They shall bid His children come;
To the mourners they shall whisper
  That the dead in Christ are blest,
And our lost ones they shall welcome
  To their Father’s loving breast.

Thus in joy and thus in sadness
  Shall our bells, ’twixt earth and sky
Lift our hearts from earth to heaven,
Plead for man with God on high.
Consecrate them, Lord Jehovah,
  Holy may they be to Thee,
Whom we laud in adoration,
  Ever blessed Trinity.

Author Unknown

Hymn 4

Tune: Belfry Praise (A & M (R) 496)

An alternative arrangement by Anthony Furnivall
Another alternative arrangement by Laura E. Goodin

Unchanging God, who livest
Enthroned in realms on high,
To men the power thou givest
Thy name to magnify.
We raise the bells for ringing
With ready mind and will,
And come before thee, bringing
Our hearts, our strength, our skill.

We call, from tower and steeple,
Upon the day of days,
All faithful Christian people
To worship, prayer and praise;
We ring with joyous gladness
When man and wife are blessed;
We peal in muffled sadness
For loved ones laid to rest.

By union free and willing
The work of God is done;
Our Master’s prayer fulfilling,
We would in him be one:
One, as the Church our Mother
Would have her children stand,
Befriending one another,
A strong and steadfast band.

Our lives, like bells, while changing,
An ordered course pursue;
Through joys and sorrows ranging,
May all those lives ring true.
May we, through Christ forgiven,
Our faults and failures past,
Attain our place in heaven,
Called home to rest at last.

Henry Charles Wilder, 1904

Hymn 5

Tune: Old 100th (The Devon Ringers’ Hymn); or Gonfalon Royal (Hundred Hymns for Today 55)

O God, Who madest time and space
And needest not a dwelling place,
Yet for the need of Christian lands
Dost hallow temples made with hands:

Grant to us ringers, one and all,
Whom to Thy service Thou dost call,
That with the grace that comes from Thee,
We may Thy faithful servants be.

And grant, O Lord, the ringers’ call
On heedful ears may ever fall,
That, with the faithful in each place,
We too may kneel to seek Thy grace.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Praise, honour, might and glory be
From age to age eternally.

Author Unknown

Hymn 6

Tune: Marching (A & M (R) 182) or
Halton Halgate (A & M (R) 186)

Fling, ye bells, your songs to heaven,
Ring your music to the sky,
Sing the everlasting Gospel,
Lift your hearts to God on high;

Christian folk afar shall hear you,
Saints above take up your song,
Praising God in one communion
Through the ages all along.

O, by all thy former mercies
Shown within these hallowed walls;
By the vows we here have spoken,
By thy warnings and thy calls;

By the dear ones with Thee resting
Who beside us here have knelt,
By the griefs we laid before Thee,
By the comfort we have felt;

Watch, O Lord, in love we pray Thee,
O’er this consecrated place;
Here in years to come may numbers
Learn Thy name and seek Thy Face;

Till Thy Church’s work is ended
And the glorious day draws nigh,
When her children need no temple
In the House of Praise on high.

Author Unknown

Hymn 7

Tune: Wareham

O mighty God this earth is Thine,
And in its depths Thou didst enshrine
For man, such treasure as his skill
Might shape Thy purpose to fulfil.

Thus metal from the rock and mine
The founders gather to refine
And bells come forth, from towers to peal
The Church’s call to spiritual zeal.

So praise we give to craftsmen’s art,
And pray for strength to do our part;
That as we stand to ring each bell
No evil in our hearts may dwell.

Then shall the course of changes be
A clear, far sweeping harmony:
So men and women on their ways
May turn to join the Church’s praise.

O mighty God, the joy is ours
To sound thy welcome from our towers:
And when, at last, Thou callest “Stand!”,
Let mercy rule at Thy right hand.

Canon Charles Carew Cox,
for the Salisbury Guild.

Hymn 8

Tune: Melcombe (A & M (R) 4);
Winchester New; Old 100th

Ye joyful bells, ring out your praise,
That we our hearts to God may raise;
Ring out above our mortal strife,
And hail the Lord of love and life.

Ring in the love of Christ divine;
O come, dear Lord, and make us thine,
O come and aid our helplessness,
In this our life of strain and stress.

Ring in His majesty and power,
For us He vanquished death’s dark hour,
That He as man to live should deign,
And bend to suffer for our gain.

Ring in the tender, wondrous Lord,
To whom we sing with one accord;
Throughout the world our worship swells,
Ring adoration, joyful bells!

Author Unknown

Hymn 9

Tune: Moscow

Glad bells ring loud and clear
‘The Lord our God is here.’
We will adore,
With humble hearts aflame;
And everyone proclaim
With voice or bell, His name
For evermore.

Ring out loud bells again,
‘Christ Jesus comes to reign,
Where people pray.’
He comes when sinners call
With help for those who fall,
With light and life for all,
With love today.

Ring out again loud bells,
‘The Holy Spirit dwells,
Where hearts are true.’
He comes to sanctify,
To lift our prayers on high,
To cleanse and purify,
Heal and renew.

True bells for ever ring
‘Praise to our Heavenly King,
From every tower.’
Ring while the ages run,
‘Father and Blessed Son,
And Spirit with them one,
All love and power.’

Revd Wm J T Smith

Hymn 10

Tune: Lyndhurst; Pastor Pastorum

Holy Father! Bless them,
These our peal of bells,
Sanctify the message
Their sweet music tells.

Holy Saviour! Bless them,
So their call may ring
In men’s hearts and, hearing,
Souls to Thee may bring.

Holy Spirit! Bless them,
Bid them speak of Thee,
Of God’s love unending,
In their melody.

Grant the blessed tidings
They for ever tell,
May with glad thanksgiving
Heaven’s great anthem swell.

Author Unknown

Hymn 11

Tune: Laudate Dominum (A & M (R) 376)

Ring forth holy bells,
Ring forth from your tower
With music that tells
Of Christ’s saving power;
Ring forth in the hearing
Of old men and young,
And greet the God-fearing
With each iron tongue.

Ring forth merry chime,
Declaring to all
That now is the time
To come at Christ’s call;
To matron and maiden,
To father and boy,
To saint and sin-laden,
Give tidings of joy.

Loud, loud be your praise,
That all men may hear
The anthem ye raise
Resounding and clear;
Proclaim Christ is risen,
Exalted and crowned,
Hath open’d death’s prison
And set free the bound.

Hymn 12

Tune: Thornbury (A & M (R) 256)

The sacred bells of England
How gloriously they ring
From ancient tower and steeple,
For cottager, for king.
We love to hear their voices
While o’er the fields we roam,
How sweet to think the echo
May reach our heavenly home!

Church bells of happy England,
Your songs of olden time
Are chanted down the ages,
For vespers and for prime;
On merry Christmas morning,
On holy Easter Day,
Fulfil your festal calling,
Bid churchfolk up and pray.

Church bells of Christian England,
Ring out your message wide,
Whene’er our Lord is blessing
The bridegroom and the bride,
Or when the tenor tolling,
With passing-knoll we hear,
May one and all remember
A soul to God is near.

Ringers of happy England,
Who peal the earthly fanes
For Christ our Lord and Master
(He all your homage claims);
Complete your sacred office
While pilgrims on this strand,
That ye may swell the praises
In that eternal land.

Hymn 13

Tune: Morning Light (A & M (R) 307)

Come, ringers, man your belfries
And make a cheerful noise
To God who is the giver
Of all our earthly joys.
So ring your changes truly
With heart and mind and strength,
Let no-one be defaulting,
Success shall come at length.

Ye ringers, sound your message,
That people far and near
May come to God’s own temple
And love to worship there.
Unseen your service may be,
Yet known to God on high,
So on the Lord’s day fail not
His works to magnify.

Come, ringers, tell the tidings
That filled the silent night,
When in the Bethlehem stable
Was born the Lord of light.
For now each Christmas morning
This sinful world again
Must learn to bless its Saviour
And follow in His train.

Ye ringers, ’tis your honour
On Easter Day to swell
The word of Christ triumphant
O’er sin, and death and hell.
The Church’s consolation,
Her bells are pealing strong,
’Rejoice, your Lord is living,
Let sorrow turn to song’.

Come, ringers, in your thousands,
Be faithful to your art,
A band of Christian brothers,
Where ill will has no part.
So praise the Lord of Heaven,
And make His will your own,
That when He come in glory
Your service He may crown.

Hymn 14

Tune: The Evelyns (A & M (R) 225)

Ring the bells with gladness,
Praise the God of all,
Let the farthest homestead
Hear the towers’ call.
Ring to bring your brothers
Everywhere to pray
To our heavenly Father
On our Saviour’s day.

Ring the bells at Christmas!
Jesus Christ is born!
Jesus Christ the Savour,
Ring that blessed morn.
Ring the bells at Easter!
Feast of life and light;
Ring that death is driven
From the field of fight.

Ring the Lord’s ascending
To the home of heaven!
Ring the Spirit’s advent
With His bounties seven!
Let the tower’s music
Tell the Church’s creed,
How our God has helped us
In our every need.

Hymn 15

Tune: Hyfrydol

We who ring the bells of churches
Pealing out their tunes of praise,
Gather now to ring the changes
As our hearts and minds we raise.
‘Come and worship’, bells are ringing,
Join us in our hymns of love,
Share with us our joyful singing
From the earth to heav’n above.

As the bells are heard by people
And they listen to their call
Ringing out from tower and steeple
May they know God loves them all.
So in every generation
In town street and country lane
Bells ring over all the nation
And their voices never wane.

Tell the praise of him who calls us
To proclaim the good news now
Of our Saviour Lord Christ Jesus,
All the world before him bow:
Ring the tale of sins forgiven
Strength renewed and hope restored.
As the bells on earth, with heaven
Praise and glorify our Lord !

Some extra songs ...

Bus Driver’s Prayer

Our Father,
Who art in Hendon,
Harrow Road be Thy name.
Thy Kingston come,
Thy Wimbledon
In Erith, as it is in Hendon.
Give us this day our Berkhampstead
And forgive us our Westminsters
As we forgive those who Westminster against us.
Lead us not into Temple Station
And deliver us from Ealing,
For thine is the Kingston
The Purley and the Crawley,
For Iver and Iver,
Crouch End.

Ian Dury (1942 – 2000)

Handbells this evening

Tune: Lennon & McCartney’s
‘Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite’

For the benefit of Mr Blight
There will be a peal tonight on hand-held bells
Trimm and Gay will all be there
And Old Bailey CC Chair - hear the yells!
Over Lincs and Pudsey, Yorks for starters
Lastly through a course head of real firing!
We shall see Mr B challenge the world!

The celebrated Mr B
Performs his feat at Hux-ley in Kensington
Trimm and Gay will dance and sing
As Mr B tries hard to ring don’t be late
P G K D assures the exercise
His composition will be second to none
And of course cries will be hoarse if it is false!

The peal begins at half-past six
When Mr B performs his tricks without a round
And T & G will demonstrate
Ten whole turns they’ll undertake entirely sound
Having been some days in preparation
A splendid time is guaranteed for all
After tea, Mr B is topping the bill.

Roger Bailey (1942 – 2013)

Reproduced from
The Ringing World, 14 May 1999, page 461

Ringers’ Rawhide

Tune: The Theme from “Rawhide”

Keep shoutin’, shoutin’, shoutin’,
Though the band is doubtin’,
Just make sure of countin’ the peal.
Don’t try to ring around ’em,
Just crunch ’em and confound ’em -
Soon we’ll be orderin’ a meal.
My stomach’s calculatin’,
My beer will be waitin’,
Waitin’ at the end of the peal.

Ring ’em up, ring ’em down,
Run ’em in, run ’em out,
Run ’em on, roll ’em up behind!
Run ’em in, run ’em out,
Ring ’em up, ring ’em down,
Run ’em on, roll ’em up behind!

Keep callin’, callin’, callin’,
Though the sound’s appallin’,
All that counts is scorin’ the peal.
Through trips and clips and crunches,
We’re waitin’ for our lunches,
Hopin’ the local ale is real.
All the things we’re missin’,
Good vittles, beer and pissin’,
Are waitin’ at the end of the peal.

Ring ’em up, ring ’em down,
Run ’em in, run ’em out,
Run ’em on, roll ’em up behind!
Run ’em in, run ’em out,
Ring ’em up, ring ’em down,
Run ’em on, roll ’em up behind!


Simon Gay

HTML Version by Roger Bailey November 2005,
revised December 2006; June 2012; November 2013; March 2017; September 2017; November 2018 (mobile friendly); May 2023.

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