An early reference to Change Ringing?
The English are serious, . . . They are good sailors and better pirates, cunning, treacherous and thievish; above three hundred are said to be hanged annually at London. , . . Hawking is the general sport of the gentry; they are more polite in eating than the French, devouring less bread, but more meat, which they roast to perfection. . . . They are powerful in the field, successful against their enemies, impatient of anything like slavery; vastly fond of great noises that fill the ear, such as the firing of cannon, drums, and the ringing of bells, so that it is common for a number of them, that have got a glass in their heads, to go up into some belfry, and ring the bells for hours together for the sake of exercise. If they see a foreigner very well made, or particularly handsome, they will say: 'It is a pity he is not an Englishman!'
A GERMAN VISITOR (in 1598)
Quoted by T H White in “England Have My Bones”