Placing the Bell Muffle

Half muffled ringing is a special way of modifying the normal bell sound for sad and solemn occasions such as a funeral or the death of a statesman. Some Churches ring half muffled during lent. It is usual to muffle the backstroke, but a muffled handstroke may lend itself to hearing the 'music' in a quarter peal for a funeral. To ring the more usual open handstroke and muffled backstroke place the muffler on the ball of the clapper on the face opposite to where the rope rises from the ground pulley. As shown in the diagram.

Fully muffled ringing is reserved for the death of a reigning monarch. Both strokes are muffled, although optionally the tenor may be muffled at handstroke and left open at backstroke.


For safety reasons the bells must all be down before attaching or removing the muffles, even though this means climbing into the bell pit and working from under the bell.

Muffler Fitting

This shows the old type of universal muffle, these fits on any bell. They are held in position by a buckled strap in the groove between the ball and flight. A boot lace holds the top of the muff to the shaft. These can be very difficult to secure tightly enough to prevent them rotating and becoming ineffective.

Modern muffles are tailored to the size of the clapper ball and therefore only fit one bell. Velcro type material hold them securely in place. The manufacturer advises the use of non-slip paint on the ball area of the clapper.

SFS 4/2014