Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Recent Mid-Week Monthly Tours

The Mid-Week outings are still well attended, with ringers coming from around the Midlands.

The April outing, organised by Pat Halls, took us to Oxfordshire. The first tower, St Lawrence, Caversfield, with its light ring of 5 (5cwt), presented an easy start! Of note here were the graves of 40 airmen, mostly aircrew from Australia, who were killed in WW2. We then progressed to St Mary, Ambrosden for something of a contrast: a heavyish 8 (20cwt). The ring included a rare and listed bell by Edward Hemins. Lunch was taken at the Red Lion in Islip, after which we sampled the light bells of St Nicholas, Islip (8, 9cwt). From there we progressed to St Mary the V, Charlton-on-Otmoor, where we rang their heavyish 6 (15cwt), which was a good mix of ancient and modern. A day of contrasts in bells: thank you Pat.

Joy Pluckrose organised the May outing, which took us to Leicestershire. We met at Market Harborough. St Dionysius has 10 bells, 18cwt. The back 8 are Taylors, 1901, with two trebles dated 1990 from the Dutch foundry of Eijsbouts. This seemed strange to me, as Loughborough is so close. There is a peal board here recording a peal of Stedman Triples in 1936, conducted by Arthur Manning. Arthur came to live in Broom, near Bidford-on-Avon, as manager of Broom Flour Mills. He was a member of Bidford Church choir. He was a Bidford ringer, but also wanted good method ringing, so went to Stratford and Evesham, too. He is buried in Bidford cemetery. I was one of six ringers who carried his coffin at his funeral. Also at Market Harborough was a plaque to Jack Gardner, Heavyweight Champion of Great Britain. We were in the Grenadier Guards together as amateur boxers. We won the London District Championship; he the heavyweight and I the light-heavyweight.  On to the next tower, which was the 6 (14cwt) at SS Peter & Paul, Great Bowden. These were mostly old bells by Watts and Eayre, and a modern Taylor treble. Lunch was taken at The Black Horse, Foxton. We motored to Illston on the Hill, where the bells of St Michael & AA (6, 9cwt) were enjoyed. Our last tower was St John the Bapt, Billesdon, where the 8 (12cwt) made a good conclusion to the day. The tenor here is a very ancient bell by Johannes de York, dated about 1400. Thank you for the day, Joy.

The  June tour, arranged  by  Chris Seers,  took us into north and east Gloucestershire. We had 5 towers instead of the normal 4. The first tower gave us an easy start on a warm but overcast day: St Laurence, Wyck Rissington, whose 4 bells (6cwt) have just been rehung by Whites of Appleton. And a good job they’ve made of these, too, as they ring very easily. The next tower was St John the B, Great Rissington, where the bells (6, 11cwt) are rung from the chancel crossing as at Broadway and Fairford. We then went to St Mary Mag, Sherborne (6, 10cwt), which is next to the rather fine Sherborne House. There an old bell in this ring dated about 1400; the founder is unidentifiable. Lunch was at The Sherborne Arms, Aldsworth, after which we went to Coln St Aldwyn, with the unusual dedication of the Decollation of St John. There are 8 bells (8cwt). The last tower of the day was St Mary, Bibury, with its complete ring of 6 (9cwt) by Abraham Rudhall II, dated 1723. These were very nice and an excellent end to an excellent day. Thank you Chris.

Frank Spiers