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:


The 2017 Christmas festivities got off to a good start on December 7th when Foxbridge Golf Club hosted the annual KIPHRA Christmas Concert.  The ringers were resplendent in their purple tops as they stood behind a wonderful array of gleaming bells waiting for Tim Willetts, their Musical Director, to give them the signal to begin.  The opening number, “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, set the tone for what was to be a delightful, but unusual, evening.  Tim has always conducted the ringers and his upbeat style never ceases to entertain the audience.  This year however, he explained that as the troupe was a ringer short he would be ringing as well as conducting, a feat that he managed to do with ease

“In the Bleak Midwinter” was played in a gentle style that was both moving and atmospheric. This contrasted greatly to the next piece, “Angels from the Realms of Glory”, which was loud and brash, but “Bethlehem” followed in a much softer tone.  This theme continued as the sweet and moving  notes of “There is a Balm in Gilead” filled the room with soulful and melodic chimes.  The audience thoroughly enjoyed the group's playing of “ull ÒIt Came Upon the Midnight Clear” but it was the final tune before the interval that was the most spectacular.  As the group played “Farandole” it was obvious to all that this lively piece needed massive concentration which, along with the continual page turning, was a visual treat and proved that this group of Handbell Ringers are second to none.

During the interval the audience pondered over the Christmas Quiz whilst enjoying delicious Mince Pie squares and glasses of mulled wine or other liquid refreshments.  There was an array of prizes on offer in the raffle and those lucky enough to hold winning tickets were invited to collect their prizes at the end of the evening.  

The second half of the concert began with Tim inviting the audience to sing along to each piece.  “Jingle Bells” set the mood but the audience were a bit too vociferous and Tim had to intervene, requesting that they only joined in with the chorus!  However, “White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland” were traditional arrangements which were easy for everyone to sing along to.  The spirit of Christmas was well and truly in the air as the ringers played “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and, in what has become a KIPHRA tradition, there was a pause before the final piece was played.  With a flourish the ringers donned Santa hats and the evening ended with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

This local group have gone from strength to strength over the years.  They play both hand bells and chimes, a mixture that is quite enchanting, and they are always a joy to watch.  Tim conducts the group with humour and enthusiasm, and under his guidance they have shown that they are now more than capable of playing many complicated arrangements with ease.

Long may it continue!