It is said that Tennyson chose the title for this poem after listening to the clang of the bells in a church tower on a wild and windy night. Church bells in England were traditionally rung by bell ringers at midnight on New Year’s Eve to signal the start of a new year. Tennyson either connected a rung peal of church bells with a stormy night to craft his poem or the sounds that he heard was that made by bells being tossed about by the wind and so sounding wild as opposed to tuneful. The choice of the word ‘wild’ suggests to me the personal turmoil and the national turmoil that reflected in the lines of the poem. Leaving the word out would have resulted in a less effective creation of tone and mood in the poem.