Ringers in Washington, DC were given clearance to ring the bells for the first time since the earthquake of August 23. The bells have been silent for nearly three months while the masons and engineers have inspected the Cathedral to determine if it is safe to ring; the swinging of the bells, the largest of which weighs 3588 pounds, sways the tower perceptibly.
The bells will be tested on Friday afternoon to make sure no stonework shifts. If all goes well, the ringers plan to attempt a quarter peal for the National Cathedral’s official reopening, the consecration of a new bishop on Saturday, and a second quarter peal on Sunday—a quarter peal is the ringing of 1250 or more changes, taking approximately 45 minutes. Many of the most experienced ringers had committed to ring in New York City returning Saturday afternoon, and the Washington Ringing Society will pay their travel costs to get back in time to ring. Everyone there wants to assemble the steadiest band possible; one ringer said they want “everyone who hears the ringing to be both shocked and awed” by the beauty of the bells and the ringing.
Two Miami ringers have close connections to the Washington Ringing Society: Rob divides his time between Miami and DC and rings in both places, and Thomas was trained to ring there.
Update: Rob will be in the bands for both the quarter peals, which will be Grandsire Royal (all ten bells).
Update: Friday’s test was successful. The quarter peal attempts will go forward and regular ringing at the Cathedral will recommence.
Ringers everywhere send their joy and best wishes to Washington in anticipation of the bells of the National Cathedral sounding again!