There are many traditions when it comes to seeing in the New Year, and one of the oldest in the UK is the ringing of bells at midnight. This year I spend the New Year in Wales and was invited to ring in the 2018 at St David’s, Pembrokeshire. A quick visit to the pub was followed by a brisk walk through the streets of St David’s to the gatehouse, where the bells are to be found. Even t 11.25, there were many spectators in the ringing chamber – enough to require a rope across the door to stop anyone else from entering.
I was invited to ring in the first set of rounds, which lasted about 1o minutes. It was rather unnerving ringing with so many people watching and videoing. On two occasions, an observer leaned against the light switch and the room was plunged into darkness, but for the light of a solitary candle.
After a short break, a complete local band took the ropes for the final ring of 2017. Starting with the treble, each bell was requested to stand in turn, until the tenor was left to toll. Following this, at midnight, a quick burst of rounds saw in 2018.