This is what I've been doing over the past few weeks. No, I'm not the stylish woman bellringing - but the man to the right, watching. My next novel features both embroidery and bellringing in 1930s Winchester.


There are 16 bells up in the Winchester Cathedral belfry. (Most cathedrals have 12, 14 at most. ) I have been up in the tower to watch these big boys being rung (though most refer to bells as "she"):

 wc bells

 Bellringing is complicated and kind of crazy, and I love it.

They've been ringing bells at Winchester for centuries, as demonstrated by this 15th-century graffiti in the ringing chamber:

bellringer carvingBellringers used to be given special coats like what this chap is wearing.
He also appears to have wings!


Up near the bells are a couple more chaps, 19th century this time, though confusingly, one of them wears a ruffled collar that was fashionable in the 17th century:


2018 02 28 15.12.15


Finally, some graffiti from the main part of the Cathedral - on the north wall of the Presbytery, for anyone who visits:


bellringer graffiti

It reads: "Harey Coppar was svorne bellryngar in the yer of our Lorde 1545"


I love this stuff. This is why I write historical novels: to find and interpret the marks from the past, the literal and figurative graffiti.