Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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From the Archives 100 years ago

The Guild continued to flourish in contented and stable fashion as the Old Minute Book records. The Great War was only months away. 'Canon fodder' had not yet entered their language. There were two meetings in this quarter.

April 30th '14:

The Spring Meeting of the Guild was held at Moreton-in-Marsh on Thursday 30th April 1914, and it is very gratifying to record another successful gathering. Owing to time of starting the Competitions being fixed an  hour  earlier, there proved to be ample time to complete them before Divine Service. Five teams competed, namely, Campden, Longborough, Shipston-on-Stour, Saintbury, and Willersey. Mr F J Johnson, of Hinton again officiated as Judge and awarded the honours as follows,

Rising & Sinking         Round Ringing
Willersey    97%         Willersey    99%
Shipston     94%         Longborough  94%
Campden      92%         Saintbury    97%
Saintbury    86%         Shipston     96%
Longborough  92%         Campden      94%
Call Changes             Method
Willersey    99%         Shipston     96%
Saintbury    98%         Longborough  94%
Longborough  97%         Willersey    86%
Campden      96%
Shipston     94%

Divine Service was held at 4-30pm the Preacher being The Rev Spencer Jones. Tea was laid at The Crown Hotel, when members and friends to number of 46 sat down.  Afterwards  the  business  meeting washeld, presided over by The Rev Spencer Jones. Letters of apology for absence was (sic) from the Rev J W Stoneman, Rev H Highly, and the Rev D Lloyd. The Minutes having been read and passed, the Secretary presented the Balance Sheet which showed that the income for the past year amounted to £12-15-10½ and the expenditure £4-11-4. There was therefore a balance in hand of £8-4-6½, an increase of £2-17-2 on the previous year.

The Sec in his Report stated that during the preceding year 2 more Belfry's (sic) had joined the Guild while 14 more ordinary and 3 Honorary members had been elected. The Sec reported that the question of the monthly visits to Towers having fallen rather flat, no Belfry having taken steps in that direction, he strongly urged the members to secure the services of a Paid Instructor to pay periodical visits to each tower, and thereby improve and strengthen the Intelectual (sic) work of the Guild. The Sec also recommended the adoption of some printed Rules, thus bringing the Society into line with others. A vote of thanks to the retiring President (The Rev Canon Houghton) was heartily accorded, on the proposition of the Chairman, sec by Mr A White, who testified to the good solid work done for the benefit of the Guild, both by his wise counsel, and generous financial support. The Chairman then distributed the Certificates to the winners of the Competitions at the previous meeting. The next business was the election of the Officers for the ensuing 12 months, and on the Proposition of Mr H Hallett, sec by Mr Harris (Campden) the present Secretary was nominated for re-election, but he declined to act again, unless the Guild could its way to make him remuneration for loss of time in carrying out the work which the office entailed. It was then pro by Mr Hinton sec by Mr A Williams that the question be left to the Committee to decide, Mr A White was thereupon unanimously re-elected. Mr H Jarrett was also re-elected Treasurer.

In pursuance of his recommendation given in his half-yearly Report, the Sec Pro and Mr W Harris seconded, that the Guild appoint a paid Instructor. Carried unanimously. It was Pro by the Secretary seconded by Mr J Williams that Mr F Bird (Shipston) be appointed. Mr Bird consented and he was unanimously elected, the Committee will settle details.

On the question of the proposed Printed Rules, it was proposed, seconded and carried that we adopt same. This was also left with the Committee to formulate and lay before the next meeting.

It was pro by the Secretary seconded by Mr H Bird that the next meeting of the Guild be held at Saintbury. Carried. Votes of thanks to the Officers for their services during the past year, and to the Rector for presiding closed the meeting. Touches were as usual rung on the Tower Bells during the evening.

Hubert D'Este East

The 1913 accounts make interesting reading. The internet shows inflation has risen since 1913 by a multiplier of about 100, so the income by 2013 standards was about £1200, expenditure was roughly £450 and the amount in hand about £800. The comparable 2013 figures are income £1772, expenditure £927 and balance in hand about £1200 (all figures disregarding the Bell Restoration Fund income and expenditure, as the Old Guild had no such fund — and neither did it have a Newsletter with its attendant production cost). Unfortunately we do not know how many members the Guild had in 1913. Total Guild membership in 2013 was 174, which was very likely a lot more than 1913. However, the Old Guild had Honorary members, who were moneyed gentlemen and members of the clergy who weren't ringers but who wished to support — and be seen to support - 'good causes' financially. The Old Guild was clearly sufficiently well off to propose to pay the Hon Secretary and to propose to engage for a fee for the services of a ringing Instructor. Ed

A special Committee meeting was held at The Rectory, Moreton-in-Marsh on Friday 22nd May, 14 at 7.00pm, The Rev Spencer Jones presiding.

The first business was the new Rules, and after a prolonged discussion, various Rules were framed and ordered to be submitted to the next Half-yearly meeting for them to be sanctioned or otherwise.

On the question of the Secretary's Salary it was proposed by Mr Hinton (Saintbury) seconded by Mr T Williams (Longborough) that the sum of £2-0-0 be granted to the Secretary for this years (sic) salary. This was carried unanimously.

The Committee also decided to pay the Instructor 5/- per lesson per Belfry, one-third of which must be paid by the members of the visited Belfry. Also that the Instructor must acquaint the Secretary of the date and name of the place visited as early as possible. A hearty vote of thanks to the Rector for the use of the Room and presiding concluded the proceedings.

Spencer Jones

Using the 100 times multiplier again shows the Secretary's salary at 2013 rates was about £200. Just imagine the outcry from the members now if the present Committee decided to pay the Hon Sec anything at all. Additionally, the Instructor would have received the present day rate of £25 per hour (about £8 of which to be found by the members in the tower visited and £16 per hour from the Guild). Imagine the ridicule that would be heaped upon a member if he or she were to propose engaging a paid ringing Instructor now! The Old Minute Book provides amazing snapshots in time and cultures from Society of 100 years ago. Ed

From the Archives 40 years ago

As if to compensate for two meetings in this quarter in 1914, there were no meetings within this period in 1974!