The Church of England Parish of

Kirdford with

Plaistow & Ifold

St John the Baptist,


Holy Trinity,



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KIPHRA was formed in 1985 when a set of very old handbells was found in Kirdford Church tower and local villagers decided to make music with them. KIPHRA stands for Kirdford, Ifold and Plaistow Handbell Ringers Association, which is a bit of a mouthful, so we shortened it to KIPHRA.

The old and incomplete set of bells we started with dated from the 1800s and had seen better days as they had been used by tower bell ringers for practice in the pub when the weather was inclement. Thanks to several generous donations, we now have a 5-octave set of modern American bells, which are far more versatile and easy to play.

Musical handbells are an English creation, and handbells of various types have been used for hundreds of years as single bells, mainly as a means of communication (for example, by town criers).

There is now a worldwide fraternity of handbell ringers including teams in America, Japan, Canada, Korea, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Great Britain.

Almost any music can be arranged for handbells and nowadays an increasing amount of music is written specially for handbells.

As well as handbells we also play chimes and our set of chimes was recently donated to us most generously by a founder member who was also our former Musical Director in the early days of KIPHRA.

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KIPHRA handbell ringers


Kirdford, Ifold & Plaistow Handbell Ringers Association


Welcome to the KIPHRA home page.

KIPHRA are a team of handbell ringers in West Sussex who play when and where we're asked, usually within a 30 mile radius of our three villages of Kirdfrord, Ifold and Plaistow.

We have performed on TV and radio, in Guildford Cathedral and, in 2013, at an International Festival of Modern Composers in Hastings (see picture below). Our present Musical Director even played handbells in the film 'The Madness of King George'.

We practise every Thursday at Kelsey Hall, Plaistow, 8-10pm under the expert guidance of our Musical Director Tim Willetts.

If you've never listened to Handbells before, come along to one of our concerts - we are sure you'll find it very entertaining!

We would love to have some new members. Anyone can learn to ring and you would be very welcome to come along and try it.


Our email address is:


An appreciative audience was treated to an enticing and eclectic programme performed by the Kirdford, Ifold and Plaistow Handbell Ringers Association (KIPHRA) in July.  The merry choir of ringers, under the internationally acclaimed Tim Willetts who was conducting, delivered compositions from Classical, Jazz, Pop and Contemporary genres.

Handel's dramatic composition of the Queen of Sheba aptly introduced the first half which went on to include pieces including Helman's 'Nocturne in C minor',  'Fly Me to the Moon' and a beautiful and harmonic arrangement of 'Gabriel's Oboe' (the theme tune to the 1986 film, 'The Mission').

Not belittling by any means an extensive ranges of cakes provided with a timely cup of tea in the interval, the second half opened with the newly formed Campanella 12-Bell group setting a mysterious ambiance as they skilfully performed the Miss Marple Theme.

The full handbell choir then joined together once again as the audience were tapping along to music that is traditionally a Hungarian dance – Czardas, arranged by Monti. 'Seasons of the Heart' and 'Echoes through Eternity' were amongst the gentle and moving arrangements performed before the finale of “Down by the Riverside”.  It was very hard to resist singing along! We all left happily humming with the tune to remain on our lips for some time to come!

Tim stylishly knitted together the programme under the theme of The World Cup – it's amazing how many sporting associations one can link to a handbell ringer's programme when one tries! This added to the light, welcoming atmosphere that continues to entice an enthusiastic crowd to the bi-annual KIPHRA concerts.  If you've not experienced one yet yourself, I would encourage you to keep a look out for the adverts for their renowned Christmas Concert* which is always atmospheric and sets the mood for Christmas perfectly!  

Lisa Bowman

* Date of Christmas Concert is Thursday 13th December. More details in due course.