Half Muffled Bells
This is how the bell is half muffled. A leather tie is secured to one side the clapper to reduce the noise to a minimum. Usually only done for Rememberance Sunday, New Years Eve and sometimes for funerals.
At New Year St. Giles usually try to ring the old year out muffled and then after midnight ring the new year in open and joyfully. Even if it does keep the neighbours awake!
How it sounds
See the link below to hear the bells in action with the half muffles in place.
Fully Muffled Bells
The bells are occasionally fully muffled for mourning but the largest bell is always left only half muffled. This is still not common the last time this was done at Nether Whitacre was when the band rang a special quarter peal to celebrate the life of HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 2002. The only time the bells are completely muffled with no open stroke at all is reserved solely for when the Monarch of England dies. Needless to say at the current time few ringers alive today, have ever heard this type of ringing.
Late Night Ringing
Interestingly the bells are allowed to be rung late at night for the two special events of the year both at Christmastide. Firstly the midnight communion service is celebrated with the bells calling the world to welcome and celebrate Christs birthday and secondly the New Year is ushered in by the sorrowful mourning of the year just gone and the joyous welcome the unfettered bells ring out to the world just after midnight.