Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Guild Walking Tour Saturday 6th October

After heavy overnight rain our luck with the weather held for the 6th year running and the day was gloriously sunny but without the heat wave conditions (nearly 30C) which we walked in last year (thank goodness).

This year we were very pleased to welcome Cameron, Alex, Lorna, Becky and Chris from Kids in Charge who have learnt to ring at the Harry Windsor Ringing Centre in Kineton and very proficient ringers they are, too. They have a monthly meeting and this year incorporated the walkng tour into their programme. Also to Catherine Jamieson and Fiona Dyson who accompanied them. This brought the total numbers to 17, which was a big improvement on previous years.

The tour commenced with the bells of St Thomas a Becket at Sutton-under-Brailes, a ground floor ring of 5 located (unusually) in the porch. Thank you to Jean Bryant for opening up and making us welcome and helping with the obligatory group photo.

The obligatory group photo at Sutton-under-Brailes

Because of the muddy conditions many of the group opted to walk the first stage to Brailes along the road, but those with suitable boots opted for the field route. We all joined up at Brailes and ascended the tower where we were able to go out onto the leaded roof and admire the views and also, as it was just before 12, we were able to go above the ringing chamber to watch the 12 o'clock performance by the mechanical chiming barrel. Dating from 1710 it was a real treat to see.

1710 technology at Brailes

Despite some initial trepidation about ringing bells much heavier than those most of us were used to, everyone did indeed ring at some stage and we were able to leave them up ready for Harvest Festival the following day. At this point the more intrepid were able to ascend right to the tower roof to get truly panoramic views. A special thank you to Stuart and Michael for being such hospitable hosts and allowing us to experience all that this unique tower has to offer.

On the roof of Brailes Church tower

Sandwiches were then eaten in the churchyard and those who wanted a pub lunch repaired to The George and very tasty the meals looked too. To avoid anyone having to hang about, the sandwich eaters were able to set off with the map on the next leg to Cherington.

This time it was all on grass including a stretch on the Golf Course. By the time the Pub Lunchers reached Cherington we could hear the bells being raised and then the final ringing took place on the lovely bells of St John the Baptist, a ground floor ring of 6, where some good touches of Bob Doubles and Bob Minor were rung. Then it was just a short walk back to the cars at Sutton.

A big thank you to Jean Bryant of Sutton, Paul Marriott of Cherington and Stuart and Michael Cummings of Brailes for making the churches available for us and to everyone who came along and who made it such a happy friendly day.

David and Alex Rogers, Lorna Jackson, Chris Langford, Isobel Murphy, Stuart and Michael Cummings, Allen Turner, Claire and Benedict (and Stanley) Kimpton, Cameron Townsend, Rebecca Hawkins, Fiona Dyson, Catherine Jamieson, Matthew Arnold and Ginny White.

Words: Wendy Mace;  photos: Stuart & Michael Cummings

(Wendy tells me she is unlikely to be able to organise more walks in the future, as calls on her time in other directions are increasing. I am sure everyone will join with me in thanking her for those she has organised.

At the Committee meeting on December 4th Michael Haynes offered to arrange the 2013 tour. Thank you Michael; it's over to you….. Ed)