Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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In January 2013, Claire Penny and I were talking about things ringing after a practice. The comment was made that we needed to aim for something in our ringing to stretch ourselves. Over the coming days this came out as, ‘Let's try and ring Plain Bob Caters this year’.

Moving into February the call came: ‘Would you like to go and ring at Escrick (Yorks) and try Plain Bob Caters, and then ring at a couple of towers in York?’ So, Friday 14th March found us in Escrick on a Friday night. Having not rung much on 10, this was a nervous evening but ultimately successful and we went on to have some enjoyable ringing in York the following day.

A few days later, still very happy that this year's challenge was past, came the fateful conversation: “I’ve been thinking! Why don't we attempt to ring from Plain Bob Minimus to Plain Bob Maximus this year?” and this started the trip through Plain Bob from Minimus to Maximus.

Having rung Bob Caters, Bob Major fell easily on the end of the March curry-and-quarter night, followed in April by Bob Minor. May Bank holiday saw us with an unsuspecting treble ringer ringing Bob Minimus on the simulator at Offenham. July and the Editor's Birthday Quarter saw Bob Royal being successfully bagged; and two days later what we thought would be the hardest quarter to get, Bob Doubles, was completed.

July also saw us back in Escrick for a day where one of the quarters rung was Bob Triples, as one of us had missed it the first time we rang it in the year. This then left the big ones Bob Cinques and Bob Maximus. After much ‘well, we have got to ten - shall we stop here?’ and a couple of attempts to organise enough ringers, the end of November saw Bob Cinques fall at the Bell Tower and also the first quarter on 12 for the Four Shires Guild we believe. (Er, not quite. The Editor led you astray: see Editorial for sackcloth and ashes..….. )

With no time left in the year, we changed the rules and said within a year of ringing the first quarter we would ring them all. With the Bell Tower in its weakened state and having used up any favours we had with ringers round here it was back to Escrick, and after a false start came the successful completion of this challenge.

We would like to thank everyone who rang in these quarters and the various towers that we rang them in. And the conversation in the car on the way home after the Maximus? What shall we attempt this year?

The Quarters in date order:

1293 Plain Bob Caters, Friday March 14th , Escrick (St Helens)

1344 Plain Bob Major, Friday March 28th Badsey (St James)

1260 Plain Bob Minor, Friday April 25th Middle Littleton (St Nicholas)

1272 Plain Bob Minimus, Monday 5th May Offenham (St Mary & St Milburgh)

1260 Plain Bob Royal, Thursday 3rd July Evesham (The Bell Tower)

1260 Plain Bob Doubles, Saturday 5th July Offenham (St Mary & St Milburgh)

1260 Plain Bob Triples, Saturday 12th July Escrick (St Helens)

1320 Plain Bob Cinques, Saturday 29th November Evesham (The Bell Tower)

1320 Plain Bob Maximus, Saturday 7th February Escrick (St Helens)

Matthew Kemble.