Your first lesson

Getting to know your bell rope



The fluffy woollen bit on the rope. They come in all sorts of interesting colours.

The Christmas Elf is holding onto the rope just below the sally.

Tail end

The bottom end of the rope.

When the bell is not being rung the rope is tied into a special knot so that people don't accidentally trip over it. You'll be taught all about "Elf and Safety" during your first lesson.

Doing things with the bell rope

Handstroke or Sally Stroke

When you make the bell ring using the sally.

Backstroke or Tail Stroke

When you make the bell ring using the tail end.


When you make the bell sound combining the handstroke and backstroke with the bell up.

What about the bell?

A bell can be up or down and you can stand it, chime it, hold it on the balance – so many new words to learn.

The bell is down

The bell is usually let down in-between lessons or practices, but don't rely on this. You will be taught how to safely check whether a bell is up or down during your first lesson.


Bell down

The bell is in the safe position with the mouth (the widest bit) at the bottom.


When you make the bell sound when it is down.

Catch when chiming

With the bell down and swinging but not sounding, you catch the bell to make it sound once.

The bell is up

The bell is usually left up during a practice session. This position can be dangerous, so be careful when the bell is in the up position and only do as your teacher instructs.


Bell Up

The bell is in the dangerous position with the mouth at the top.

Set or Stand

When the bell is up and at rest against the stay.


The bell is neither moving nor resting against the stay. The bell's mouth is pointing vertically upwards.

Pull Off

To make the bell start its full-circle swing.

In anticipation of your first lesson

This is what ringing looks like and what is happening when you're pulling on the rope.