Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Recent Mid-Week Monthly Tours

The monthly outings continue to be well supported and enjoyable.

The October Outing, organised by Hilary Aslett, found us in North Buckinghamshire. Our first tower was St Mary, Bletchley (Milton Keynes), with its 8 bells (15½cwt), which are an interesting mix of Abraham Rudhall, Robert Stainbank, old Taylor, modern Taylor and early G&J! The next tower, the 8, 12cwt, at St Faith, Newton Longville, were almost equally mixed, with John Briant, old Taylor, old M&S and modern M&S. We had lunch at The Swan Inn, Stewkley, after which we travelled to St Mary, Great Brickhill. The bells, 8, 14cwt, were a 6 until 2009. We ended a good days ringing on the light 6 (9cwt) at Holy Trinity, Drayton Parslow, where the tenor is a rare bell by Bartholomew Atton, 1591. Thank you Hilary for a most interesting day.

The November Outing was organised by Sandra Parker and brought us comfortably close to home in Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The first tower was All Saints, Church Lench, with its 6, 14cwt. The 5th here is dated 1600 and is the earliest known bell cast by Henry Farmer of Evesham. St Egwin's, Norton, was the next tower. Its 8 bells (13cwt) were soon ringing away. The 2-for-1 lunch deal at The Norton Grange, a few yards away, was most useful – and good value! The two afternoon towers contained complete rings. The first was the pretty little 6, 8cwt, at St James, Harvington. These bells, all Taylor 1947, were hung as a chime in the base of the distinctive copper-clad spire until 1998. They are now in the belfry of the very ancient tower. The last tower was St Matthew, Salford Priors, which has an 8, 15cwt, by Gillett & Johnston, 1945. They provided a good end to a pleasant day's ringing. Thank you, Sandra!

The December outing, organised by Paul Evans, took us to the North Worcs/West Warks area. The first tower was St Giles, Packwood, with its 8 bells (7cwt). Then it was on to the 8 (12½cwt) at St Mary Magdalen, Tanworth in Arden. (I remember being told these bells - a complete ring by Mears & Stainbank, 1949 - are known as the Mears' Mistake, because they are outstandingly good! Ed) We had a pleasant Christmas lunch at the Rose and Crown, Portway. After lunch we rang on the 8 bells (10½cwt) at St Leonard, Beoley, Redditch. We ended a very pleasant day on the 8 bells (12cwt) at St Lawrence, Alvechurch, which have just been rehung by Whites with recast trebles and a recast tenor. Thank you, Paul.

We all went off wishing each other a Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year.

These outings always seem to bring out the best in ringing and Friendship amongst many of us from many parts of the Four Shires, or even more Shires.

Frank Spiers