Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Audi Vide Tace

I received two letters on this; one from Roland Merrick, and one from Peter Richardson. Roland correctly identified the latin translation as listen, watch and be silent, but it was his suggestion that it was a variation on the Three Wise Monkeys theme that caught my eye. I'd never thought of that parallel.

Peter Richardson's letter wasn't actually a letter. He just enclosed a copy of the front sheet of the July 1997 Newsletter. It showed I had provided a short article on the meaning of AUDI VIDE TACE and its likely origin. Hmmm; yes, one can forget things. . . and thank you, Peter, for the kindly way you chose to remind me. My excuse is that I had to fill a small space on the night before printing. What to do? Ah, what about asking a question to generate a letter or two, and possibly an article. . . ? What about AUDI VIDE TACE. . . ?

My 1997 article suggested AUDI VIDE TACE came from Charles Troyte's book Change Ringing, originally published in 1869, in which the preface to the first edition ends with those words as advice. His free translation was Keep your eyes and ears about you and hold your tongue. That book ran to at least four editions and certainly penetrated the North Cotswolds area, as my own copy used to belong to Harry Baker of Ebrington (the same Harry Baker in my Editorial and in the Spencer Jones Cup article). However, Roland's suggestion about the Three Monkeys theme might point to those words being much more ancient, and that Troyte copied them from elsewhere.

90th anniversary badge

The 1997 article was a follow-up to an editorial question to the membership about commissioning a 90th anniversary badge based on the original pre-WW2 Guild badge, which is quite different to the present metal badge. A sketch of the original badge appeared in that Newsletter. A recent conversation with a FSG member revealed that Tony Brazier had one of these very rare badges. That set me thinking: contact Phyllis to ask whether she still has it and, if so, whether it could be photographed so that it can be seen for real by the membership. As you can see, this is what happened.

In a later Newsletter I asked who was responsible for the FSG badge we have now, but no-one seemed to know. I cannot believe its origins are in the old Guild, and think someone designed it for the refounded Guild within living memory. Tony Brazier may have done, but Phyllis didn't think so (unfortunately Tony was no longer with us when the question was asked). I shall ask the question again: who was responsible for the design of the present FSG badge?