Churches bells were chimed across Brecon and Radnorshire on Monday to commemorate the extraordinary life and service of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

On Monday morning, prior to Her Late Majesty’s funeral, Brecon Bellringers came together to ring the bells at the Cathedral and nearby St Mary’s Church.

The instructions on the official response to the death of Her Majesty had a specific section on bellringing, detailing how and when the nation’s church bells should be rung. So when Her Majesty passed, Brecon Bellringers were ready for action.

The first task was to climb up to the belfry and fix muffles on the bells in both the Cathedral and St Mary’s Church. On solemn occasions bells are rung ‘half-muffled’ but the solemnity of the death of the monarch requires the bells to be ‘fully muffled’.

This means that leather pads to soften the sound are fixed to both sides of the clappers on all the bells except the tenor - the heaviest bell with the lowest note - which is muffled on one side only. The sound of the muted bells rung very slowly with a louder stroke on the tenor at regular intervals is sombre and moving .

The occasions for ringing between the announcement of the Queen’s death and the day of her funeral were also specified so that bells all over the country would be ringing at the same time.

The bells ring at Brecon Cathedral on the morning of the Queen’s funeral - tenor open at Backstroke

The special occasions for ringing specifically were on the day after the announcement of the Queen’s death, for the proclamation of King Charles III, and on the day of the funeral.

Brecon currently has too few ringers to ring the bells of the Cathedral and St Mary’s at the same time so on Friday, September 9 the Cathedral bells were rung at noon with members of the public standing in The Close to hear them. At the same time one of the ringers tolled St Mary’s tenor bell and was joined later by the rest of the ringers from the Cathedral.

Ringing for the Proclamation the next day was done on unmuffled bells, after which the muffles were re-fitted for the bells of the Cathedral and St Mary’s to be rung in turn on the day of the funeral.

Kath Johnson, Claire Alexander, Rosie Gibson, Tisha Jack, Paul Johnson, David Katz (Llanbedr), Sarah Dempsey and Jean Hudman

In between these events the muffled bells were rung for Sunday services at both churches.

The ringers said it was both moving and satisfying for them to contribute to the national act of mourning for and tribute to Queen Elizabeth with the distinctive and traditional sound of church bells.

The Brecon band of bellringers is enthusiastic but small and their ambition is to be able to ring all the bells of Brecon at the same time on important national and local occasions.

For this they need more ringers so, if you are interested in learning more about ringing and perhaps trying it yourself, please get in touch with their tower captain Paul Johnson via email at [email protected] or by phone on 01874 658670.