Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Tales from the tower

The following is a note John Kinchin wrote for the Church Magazine of St Lawrence, Mickleton. There are many parts in it that will strike a chord in other towers in the area, and I reproduce it here for that reason. Ed.

It is a pleasure to report that the St Lawrence ringers notched up a win in the recent Striking Competition of the North Cotswolds Branch of the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers. The event was held at St Nicholas, Saintbury, on Saturday 25th October. Seven teams participated on the six heaviest bells. These bells are an absolute delight to ring — everything in their favour. No wonder teams visiting the area always wish to make their mark at this regrettably-redundant church. The St Lawrence ringers had only three faults; their nearest rival, Great Rissington, had just five faults. PHEW!

On the previous Saturday we were unable to raise a team for the Four Shires Guild's striking competition — absolutely shocking. We have participated in this competition annually over the past forty years and have regularly won it. What is going wrong?

In my opening sentence I purposely omitted the word 'MICKLETON ringers'. We are just two now, with one in the learning stage. Without friends from Ilmington, Quinton and Ebrington, all would be lost. Mickleton bells would be silenced for Service ringing and special occasions. Longborough entered three teams and Great Rissington two, with mostly young people in the bands. What is wrong with young Mickletonians? Come and help us maintain this wonderful tradition.

All praise to Longborough (essentially Denzil Spear) and Great Rissington (essentially Jeremy Meyrick) for raising the bar in this way. I can attest to the excellence of Great Rissington's ringing. I was the judge. Ed