Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Tercentenary of Fabian Stedman's burial

Fabian Stedman, the inventor of Stedman's Principle in about 1670, was buried on November 16th 1713 in the Church of St Andrew Undershaft in London. His Principle has become one of the foundations of change ringing and is regularly rung from Doubles to Cinques (and sometimes beyond). The Central Council encouraged towers to ring Stedman on the 300th anniversary of his burial.

The Guild managed to do this on two known occasions (if there are others, please let me know, Ed). Firstly, an account from Freda Cleaver:-

From L-R: Ian Sturgess, Ted Copson, Peter Kenealy, Rosemary Cole, Richard L-S, Ian Stonehouse (visiting ringer), Michael Cummings, Michael Haynes, Freda, Stuart Cummings, John Nicholls.

As there was no usual FSG Saturday evening practice scheduled for 16th November (due to the Guild's Inter-Shire Striking Competition at Harvington that afternoon, Ed) it seemed an excellent opportunity to get together with other ringers and spend the whole evening ringing just Stedman here at Welford-on-Avon. It turned out to be a most interesting and enjoyable evening and Rosemary, one of our own ringers, rang Stedman Triples for the first time and Stuart rang Stedman Doubles. Richard very kindly called the touches for us and I never realised there could be so many bobs and singles in just one touch. It was great fun and quite challenging.  Several of us ended up in the Shakespeare pub to round off a most enjoyable evening.

Continuing the Stedman celebrations on Sunday 17th we first rang Stedman on 3 bells and then on 4 bells before the first Service but managed Stedman Doubles before the second service. No hope of ringing Stedman Triples here on a Sunday unfortunately. 

The second event actually preceded the Welford event. It occurred at the conclusion of the Guild's Inter-Shire Striking Competition, when two of the judges said they hadn't rung at Harvington. A band was formed and the bells were risen. A touch of St Clement's Minor wasn't overly successful. Somebody suggested Stedman Doubles would be appropriate; so 300 changes were duly rung in deference to the man himself. The band was 1 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 2 Bill Nash, 3 Alan Marchbank (judge for Oxfordshire), John Nicholls, 5 Chris Povey (C), 6 Andrew Gunn. RIP Fabian Stedman.