(Affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers)
Mr John Nicholls
Mrs Phyllis Brazier
The Rev Dr Peter Newing
Rev Dr Peter Newing
Mr Peter Quinn
Mr Richard Lewis-Skeath
Mr Chris Povey
Mr Michael Dane
Mr Michael Fairfax
Mr Trevor Hobday
Mr Peter Kenealy
Mr Stuart Cummings
Mr Chris Mew
Mr Chris Povey
Mr Chris Povey
Mrs Sandra Parker
Mrs Isobel Murphy
Mr Chris Povey
Mr Andrew Gunn
Mr Peter Kenealy
Mrs Jackie Hands
Mr John Carroll
Mr Stuart Cummings
Mr Michael Haynes
Mr Matthew Kemble
New Year's greetings to all. I hope your ringing in 2016 will be enjoyable and successful.
The Church of England is entering a phase of great change. Some of it will affect us. You will see from 'The Chaplain's Thoughts' there are likely to be significant changes for churches with small congregations, that some may become 'Festival Churches' with far fewer Services. As Peter suggests, the need for bells at such churches will therefore decrease greatly, but he highlights the need to ring the bells when Services are held – and encourages us to ensure this happens. Also, too, where such a church lacks a steeplekeeper, those who are able should arrange with the PCCs to look in occasionally to check over installations, otherwise birds may enter and create a truly filthy mess in a very short time. While there, a check over of ropes and other wearable items is a good plan. The PCCs of Festival Churches are likely to be very short of money, so any voluntary assistance we can give will, I'm sure, be gratefully received. Non-ringers can't do what we can do.
Additionally, the faculty rules will have changed by the time you read this. What you can do to bells without permission and what you can't do without permission. You might not be a steeplekeeper or an occasional maintainer of bells, but you ought to be aware of the new Rules in case someone suggests things are done to your bells that doesn't comply with the new law. Your PCC will be pleased if you know something about it. See New Faculty rules.
John Kinchin's recent experiences in visiting towers to ring on Sundays is significant – and I guess it's happened to most of us: insufficient ringers. It certainly has to me. Mickleton is indeed fortunate to ring as often and as fully as they do. There are other towers around that manage similarly, but very few compared to those that don't. Peter Newing's plea to ringers to visit Festival Churches (if such occurs) occasionally is well made, but we shall need to organise ourselves so that we have a rota to visit other towers on a regular basis to ensure bells are rung at least once a month. Yes, it will mean devoting more time in some cases to the amount we ring now, and also accepting that it will cost something to travel to various places, but I think we should 'give something back' to an activity we enjoy - and costs us little.
Another 20-pager hits the streets, with contributions from all the four Shires this time (and I had to carry bits over to April, too) Wonderful.
Chris Povey, Editor
(The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily the views of the Four Shires Guild or its Committee. The Guild endorses no products or manufacturers advertised within the Newsletter – but would not allow such advertisements where the goods or services are knowingly questionable.)
It is said the Church of England now has more Churches facing closure, especially in the countryside in rural Dioceses. The Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend John Inge, has recently published a report It recommends that parishes which have fewer than ten regular worshippers might like to become 'Festival Churches', which means remaining open, but only having, say, four Services a year at such times as Christmas, Easter, Harvest Thanksgiving and Remembrance Sunday. They would be open for Christenings, Marriages and Funerals when needed.
What is important for bellringers is that ringers in the area, who are probably already peripatetic, try to make sure that they ring the bells when a Service is held, but this might be difficult at Christmas and Easter when all Churches have Services.
Rev Dr Peter Newing
(The Report to which Peter refers may be viewed in full at:-
We all see small congregations at the Churches at which we ring, and it is easy to conclude the CofE has to introduce changes before much longer. From what I can deduce, the Report is effectively suggesting a half-way house between a church remaining fully open for Services every Sunday and the other end of the scale, the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) approach, where the Churches it owns and cares for are effectively mothballed but are still places of worship. An example of the latter is Saintbury, which is open most days and a small handful of Services are allowed to be held. However, the CCT owns these Churches and they alone give permission for all activities, including ringing, that occurs within them. The Report seems to suggest a similar mothballing regime, except that the PCC retains ownership – but the PCC will also retain the costs of maintenance and the cost of running the Services. Unlike most CCT Churches, weddings, baptisms and funerals may still occur at Festival Churches, and the fees for such will presumably go the PCC – which, again presumably, will still have to pay a quota to the Diocese, but this may be reduced in-line with the reduced use.
Peter's message to we ringers to ensure bells at Festival Churches are rung for at least their Festival Services is well made and sufficiently in advance for us to consider how we should accommodate those Churches in this way if the recommendations in the Report are agreed. We must avoid bells becoming unringable through lack of use. It is also important that ringers help to pay, either in money or in time, for the upkeep of bells, generally but particularly in Festival Churches, where PCC finances may well be stretched and will not run to maintaining bells. Ed)
The Committee met on Tuesday 17th November at the Wellesbourne Church Centre. Jackie Hands presented apologies. The main points are:
1) The Minutes of the Aug meeting were agreed.
2) Matters arising were:-
Old Minute Book: Chris and Steve Bowley will meet soon to take it to Gloucester;
Striking Comp certificates: Peter Q presented some suggestions in A4, but to reduce to A5;
Guild badged clothing: the meeting was shown two finished garments. It was agreed to transfer to the new company near Tewkesbury. Prices are good and delivery is simple. Matthew agreed to become the new contact point for garments and an initial advert for the clothing will appear in the Jan Newsletter and on the website;
Inter-Shire Competition: John N said all arrangements were finalised: 2.00pm start at Shipston-on-Stour on 21st November;
Guild Xmas Party: Stuart reported all arrangements finalised for Badsey Church on 12th Dec after the early-start practice. It was agreed to donate £25 to Badsey for the use of the Church.
4) Reports: the following are highlights:-
Guild Master: Peter Q distributed details of the menu for the Annual Dinner. This will appear in the Jan Newsletter and on the website. A Speaker was discussed: Chris to approach a suggested person re this;
Hon Secretary: Chris had earlier circulated details of the quote from EIG regarding the Guild's insurances. It was agreed to renew. The 11 proposals for membership arising from the AGM were reported and their elections were considered as the Rules dictate. They are: Milla Jackson (Welford), Mick Downing (Ditto), Elizabeth Spencer (Pebworth), Pat Bell (Ditto), Jackie Roberts (Moreton-in-Marsh), Chris Roberts (Ditto), Julia Lucas (Alveston), Elizabeth Green (Ditto) John Harbottle (Ditto), John Liggitt (Harvington), Chris Gooding (Willersey). Their elections were confirmed;
Treasurer: Michael D presented his report: no comments and accepted.
Ringing Master: reported that Saturday practices were running well. There had been literally one or two when insufficient attended, but on average about 15. He would liaise with Nick Allsopp regarding his suggestion for a Q peal day or weekend. He reported he had decided to give the Guild's Merit Award to the Pebworth team for their performance in the recent Brazier Trophy competition;
Newsletter Editor: reported that he is well advanced with the Jan Newsletter. It was agreed a note re HM the Queen's 90th birthday in April should go in, plus a note about St George's Day ringing;
CCCBR: Chris said three items of interest had appeared recently: 'Festival Churches' (see Chaplain's Thoughts: Ed), new Faculty Jurisdiction Rules for bell maintenance (see following article: Ed), and CDM Regulations that involve major bell work (see p.10. Ed).
5) Bell Restoration Fund: the application from Sherbourne was considered and it was agreed to offer £150 towards refurbishment of their clappers;
Adlestropupdate: it is hoped the faculty for the work will be issued by Xmas;
PillertonHersey: funds for this rehang and augmentation project are about half-way. The redundant bell from Adlestrop will go to this project to augment to 4.
There were no new applications.
6) Items for discussion:-
Update on recent events:-
Guild Walk: this ran successfully, with a number of ringers attending;
AGM & Striking Comps: agreed as a very good event throughout.
Ringing Tour: this will be on 2nd July. Richard said he is happy to arrange and asked whether there would be interest in hiring a coach this time. He would drive it. There was. Richard to investigate and arrange;
MinimusStriking Competition: will be on Saturday 17th September. Location to be decided;
Guild Walk: will be on 24th Sept. Michael Haynes has almost arranged all this. It will be in the Hook Norton area and could include a visit to the brewery;
AGM/Striking Comps: to be on 15th Oct: location to be decided;
Q peal day or weekend: to be decided.
Guild Accounts Examiner: Chris reported that Robert Hall was willing to take over from Mike Fairfax, who announced his resignation at the AGM. Agreed nem con.
Stuart reported lead had been taken off Cherington Church's roof;
John C asked whether another pig roast event could be staged.
8) Next Meeting: Tues 17th Feb 2016.
Future Committee meeting dates: 17th May, 16th Aug, 15th Nov .
(NB: these notes do not supplant the formally-agreed Minutes.)
IF YOU ARE A STEEPLEKEEPER OR AN OCCASIONAL MAINTAINER OF BELLS, YOU NEED TO READ THIS ARTICLE:-
A new Church of England law has been passed in Parliament and it will become applicable in all dioceses from 1st January 2016. It is the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015. It covers work to all aspects of a Church, and this includes bells. It is an English law and those that undertake work within churches need to know and understand what it says, otherwise penalties can be applied to those who transgress (as has always been the case with the current Ecclesiastical laws).
This article concerns only work to bells. It is aimed at those who undertake such maintenance work.
The current Ecclesiastical laws have always contained clauses that allow bell maintenance to be undertaken without seeking permission from the Diocese. These clauses were usually known as 'de minimis', or more latterly Minor Matters. At present each diocese has its own de minimis clauses, some of which allow more work than others. The basic allowance is something like 'oiling, greasing and replacing stays and ropes' with appropriate tightening where required thrown in. If anything beyond de minimis is required, then permission from the Archdeacon must be sought. Major work requires a faculty. The new law will provide consistency across the dioceses – and the new law kicks in now. It is therefore sensible to be aware of how it will affect bell maintenance from the start.
Now, I understand how some steeplekeepers will feel: “They're 'my' bells and I do everything that's necessary to keep them in good condition, and I shall continue to do that regardless.” Yes, I'm a steeplekeeper, too, but we steeplekeepers look after the bells on behalf of the PCC, ie the legal owners. We can put the PCC in the dock very quickly if we do something we shouldn't, particularly if it has a permanently damaging effect on the bell. Fire and brimstone might then be the least of our worries!
So what can we do without permission and what can we do with permission? The Church Buildings Council has issued some Guidelines and I reproduce these below:-
This guidance is given by the Church Buildings Council to all parochial church councils.
From 1st January 2016, it will be possible to carry out a range of works to bells without a faculty: see List A and List B in Schedule 1 to the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015. Carrying out works in List A or List B is subject to conditions set out in the list. It is a condition of carrying out any works to bells under List A or List B that regard is had to this guidance.
Additionally, in the case of List B works, the approval of the archdeacon must be obtained before they are carried out and the archdeacon may apply additional conditions.
Use of the phrase
fit condition to be rung
In the Schedule to the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules the word 'rung' in the phrase 'in a fit condition to be rung' should be given its ordinary English meaning, rather than a technical meaning. It is therefore always to be understood in context. This means that if a bell is set up for full circle ringing, it has to be in a fit condition for that. If a bell is set up for chiming, it is to be in a fit condition to be chimed using the mechanism provided.
Because of the diversity of work to bell installations there will always be anomalies where the works proposed do not fit comfortably into either list. Where this is the case then the parish should contact their Archdeacon who will seek advice from the DAC/Bell Adviser and advise if a faculty is required or not. When work to bells has an impact on a turret clock the DAC Clock Adviser should be consulted.
The works in List A may be undertaken without faculty and without informing the Archdeacon. They are to allow for the routine maintenance and inspection of bells that are in regular use and where there is a tower captain, or other person, who has sufficient skills and knowledge to ensure that the work is done with due regard to Health and Safety and the protection of historically significant parts of the installation.
List A is not appropriate for work when a bell needs to be lifted from its bearings or for making alterations to an installation.
Regular visual inspection of the belfry and regular removal of any debris that may be carried into it is vital for the safe and long lasting operation of the installation. It is good practice to only visit the tower when there is someone else present in the church and always to notify someone that you are inspecting the bells and when you expect to complete your work.
If necessary training in belfry maintenance is available from the Towers and Belfries Committee of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (www.cccbr.org.uk). The bell trade occasionally runs training events on maintenance and will normally be pleased to offer advice in this area. It is appropriate to consider putting a contract in place for maintenance, especially if no one is available locally with the necessary skills and experience.
Works in List B require the Archdeacon to be consulted and they will take advice from the DAC and its bells adviser before giving notice that the proposals may be undertaken without a faculty, or advising that they require a full faculty application.
As with List A These works should only be carried out by persons with sufficient skills and knowledge to complete the work to a satisfactory standard, with due regard to Health and Safety and the protection of historically significant parts of the installation. This may require a bellhanger to carry out or oversee the works.
Although a series of relatively minor works may be all that is necessary to bring an installation back into use, the provisions of List B are principally for bells in regular use. If an installation is being brought back into use after a period of over 5 years a professional bell hanger must be consulted to see that all aspects of the ring are fit for use.
List B cannot be used for works that require the removal of the bell from the belfry or for works that involve drilling, or other work that would make a lasting change to the bell.
When a wrought iron clapper is replaced with one of a different material, it is good practice to retain the original clapper in the tower.
Church House London
11 September 2015
Works allowable in List A (reproduced directly from the new Rules)
A3. Bells etc.
(1) The inspection and routine maintenance of bells, bell fittings and bell frames.
Specified condition: No tonal alterations are made to any bell. No bell is lifted from its bearings;
(2) The repair and maintenance of clappers, crown staples (including re-bushing) and bell wheels.
Specified condition: Works do not include the re-soling or re-rimming of a bell wheel. No bell is lifted from its bearings;
(3) The repair or replacement of bell stays, pulleys, bell ropes (including in Ellacombe apparatus), rope bosses, sliders or slider gear.
Specified condition: No bell is lifted from its bearings;
(4) The repainting of metal bell frames and metal bell fittings.
Specified condition: No bell is lifted from its bearings
Works allowable in List B (reproduced directly from the new Rules)
B2. Bells etc.
(1) The lifting of a bell to allow the cleaning of bearings and housings Specified condition: Regard is had to any guidance issued by the Church Buildings Council. The bell is currently in a fit condition to be rung;
(2) The like for like replacement of—
(a) bearings and their housings
(c) crown staple assembly
(d) steel or cast iron headstocks
Specified condition: Regard is had to any guidance issued by the Church Buildings Council. The bell is currently in a fit condition to be rung. The works do not involve the drilling or turning of the bell;
(3) The replacement of—
(a) bell bolts
(b) a wrought iron clapper shaft with a wooden-shafted clapper
Specified condition: Regard is had to any guidance issued by the Church Buildings Council. The bell is currently in a fit condition to be rung;
(4) The treatment of timber bell frames with preservative or insecticide materials;
(5) The re-pinning or re-facing of hammers in Ellacombe apparatus. Specified condition: Regard is had to any guidance issued by the Church Buildings Council. The bells are currently in a fit condition to be rung;
(6) The introduction of peal boards in a location not normally visible to the public.
A copy of the legislation in full may be found on the internet under:-
If you are a steeplekeeper or an occasional maintainer of bells, there should be sufficient above to convince you it does apply to the tower and bells on which you are working, and that it is necessary to comply with the Rules. I hope so, because it is the law as it applies to Church of England churches from 1st January 2016 (ie before you receive this Newsletter).
The AGM & Striking Comps at Pebworth came and went and what an excellent day it was! I think it was one of the best we've had for some time. Not only did we have a Brazier Trophy competition, something that's not been run for 2 or 3 years, but we had three teams competing. In addition, the Newing Shield competition attracted four 'real' teams, ie no scratch teams involved.
The Guild Service was also a delight, with a goodly number of members attending. Our thanks go to the Rev Debbie Forman for conducting it; and to her husband for playing the organ. Debbie and Martin Penny are to be thanked, too, for allowing us to use the bells; and how useful it is to have Pebworth bells back in operation again.
Lastly, the AGM itself was held in the Village Hall and it was good to have in excess of 30 members attending. The tea and eats were, as usual, very welcome, and thanks go to Stuart and Michael Cummings for master-minding the domestics, and to Stefanie Whittle and her kitchen staff for undertaking the serving duties. There was one non-member who worked very hard from what I could see, and that was Eliza L-S. Thank you Eliza; your efforts were very much appreciated.
Who won the Newing Shield? Guess. Mickleton of course - and they won it in very fine style, too. They produced a lovely piece of ringing that everybody knew was going to win. Hearty congratulations to them. These longstanding winners of The Newing Shield will go down in the Guild's history as a band genuinely 'of distinction'. The judges said they took the bells at a leisurely pace, no rushing and tearing about,– and quite obviously there's nothing wrong with that.
The line-up of Guild Officers and Committee did not change, although one position other than those did. Mike Fairfax, long-standing supporter of the Guild who has served it in many positions including Guild Master, decided not to continue as one of the Accounts Examiners. Thank you Mike – and rightly an Honorary Life Member of the Guild - for all the work you have done as an Accounts Examiner and all the other time and effort you have given the Guild in other positions over so many years. It is hugely appreciated.
The Annual General Meeting of the Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers was held on Saturday 17th October 2015 in Pebworth Village Hall following the Striking Competitions and the Guild Service held at St Peter's Church. The President, John Nicholls, was in the Chair. Members attending numbered 33. Handouts of the agenda, Minutes of 2014 AGM, Guild accounts, Guild Master's report were available (all had appeared in various Guild Newsletters during the year).
1 Apologies: were received from Rev Peter Newing (Vice-President) Hilary & John Bolton, Jackie Hands, Paul & Sylvia Smith, David Adams, Robert Hall, Matthew Kemble, Claire Penny, Steve Bowley. The Meeting remembered Rob Harvey, who had died in March
2 Minutes of the Last Meeting: The Chairman asked whether these Minutes may be taken as read, to which agreement was given. No issues of accuracy were raised. The Minutes were accepted as a true record and were signed as such by the Chairman.
3 Matters arising: There was none.
4 Guild Master's Report 2014-2015: appeared in the October Newsletter and was taken as read. Nothing arising: accepted.
5 Treasurer's Report: The Guild accounts to 31st December 2014 appeared in the April 2014 Newsletter and were taken as read. Since appearing in the Newsletter they have been examined and nothing of note was discovered. Michael Dane proposed and Chris Povey seconded that the accounts be adopted. The proposal was carried. The Examiners are to sign the formal copy. Roger Hunt asked how many members the Guild had at present. The Secretary said the recent Newsletter distribution list indicates about 215.
6 Election of Officers:
Guild Master: Richard Lewis-Skeath proposed and Michael Haynes seconded Peter Quinn, who had indicated his willingness to stand again. There being no other candidates, Peter was re-elected.
Ringing Master: Freda Cleaver proposed and John Carroll seconded Richard Lewis-Skeath as Ringing Master. There being no other candidates, Richard was re-elected.
Secretary: Michael Haynes proposed proposed and John Carroll seconded Chris Povey. There being no other candidates Chris was re-elected.Treasurer:Anita Harrison proposed and Martin Penny seconded Michael Dane. There being no other candidates, Michael was re-elected.
7 Election of the Committee and Accounts Examiners: The existing Committee were individually re-elected as follows:
|Peter Kenealy||Christina Ireland||John Nicholls|
|Jackie Hands||John Nicholls||Richard Lewis-Skeath|
|John Carroll||Michael Dane||Michael Haynes|
|Stuart Cummings||Chris Povey||Martin Penny|
|Michael Haynes||John Carroll||Richard Lewis-Skeath|
|Matthew Kemble||Roger Hunt||Georgie Roberts|
Accounts Examiners: Mike Fairfax had indicated that he did not wish to continue as Accounts Examiner. Nothing to this effect had been received from Trevor Hobday, so it was assumed he was happy to continue. Offers to fill this post were invited, but there were no takers. Martin Penny asked why the Guild has two Examiners, as he examines as a single Examiner accounts with greater turnovers. The Guild has two Examiners, as it is in the Guild Rules. He proposed the Guild consider having just one; seconded by Anita Harrison. On a show of hands, about 15 members were in support. The Committee will consider this as a way forward if no second Examiner can be found. Such will require a formal rule change.
8 Confirmation of New Members:
New members whose elections were ratified by the Committee since the last AGM were:-
Nigel Green Quinton
Pam Sutton Quinton
Gerald Phillips Quinton
Julia Phillips Quinton
John Tolley Unattached
Len Morley Shipston-on-Stour
Pauline Morley Shipston-on-Stour
Julie Lawrence Shipston-on-Stour
Simon Adams Unattached (via peal rung)
Peter Hayward Unattached (ditto)
Roderic Bickerton Unattached (ditto)
Andrew Dean Ebrington
Georgie Roberts Evesham
Claire Allen Offenham
Colin Allen Offenham
Rob Newman Unattached
Thelma James Unattached
Murry Newbury Unattached
Christine Seers Unattached
Lucy Gwynne Unattached
Fiona Gibson Bretforton
Nana Hirayama Bretforton
Alan Curry Bretforton
Nigel Ladds Childswickham
Alison Lees Childswickham
Graham Lee Childswickham
Philip Milward Childswickham
Colin Sagar Childswickham
Jackie Saville Childswickham
Carol Wade Childswickham
Bill Wadsworth Childswickham
Martin Pleasance Ebrington
Anita Harrison Offenham
Proposals and secondings were made for the election of new members to be ratified by the Committee at their next meeting:-
Milla Jackson (Welford) Freda Cleaver John Nicholls
Mick Downing (Ditto) Freda Cleaver John Nicholls
Elizabeth Spencer (Pebworth) Martin Penny Georgie Roberts
Pat Bell (Ditto) Martin Penny Georgie Roberts
Chris Roberts (Moreton-in-Marsh) Richard L-S John Nicholls
Jackie Roberts (Ditto) Richard L-S John Nicholls
Julia Lucas (Alveston) John Carroll Michael Haynes
Elizabeth Green (Ditto) John Carroll Michael Haynes
John Harbottle (Ditto) John Carroll Michael Haynes
John Liggitt (Harvington) Anthony Wheeler Roger Hunt
Chris Gooding (Willersey) Chris Povey Richard L-S
9 Any other Business:
Sally Austin asked what the position was with the three Oxon towers thought to be charging to ring there. The Sec and Stuart Cummings confirmed it was only Kingham that was charging and that visits to Chipping Norton and Churchill were to be investigated.
Nick Allsopp suggested the Guild has a quarter peal day or weekend and proposed such. Richard Lewis-Skeath seconded. To be arranged by the Ringing Master.
Stuart Cummings thanked all those who brought food for the tea, and thanked Stef Whittle and her team for all the hard work in the kitchen.
10 Results of the Striking Competitions:
The Brazier Trophy competition was held this year, judged by John & Lucy Gwynne. The results were:-
1st Pebworth 45 faults
2nd Willersey 81 faults
3rd Offenham 85 faults
The Newing Shield competition was also judged by John and Lucy Gwynne. The results were as follows:-
1st Mickleton Method: 20 faults Rise:8/10 Fall: 8/10
Awarded the Newing Shield
2nd Moreton. Method; 31 faults Rise: 8/10 Fall: 9/10
Awarded the Spencer Jones Cup
3rd Wellesbourne Method: 56 faults Rise: 7/10 Fall: 6/10
4th Alveston Method: 70 faults Rise: 5/10 Fall: 6/10
The Merit Award was awarded to the Pebworth team.
The awards will be presented at the Guild's Annual Dinner in February 2016
The Meeting closed with the Chairman thanking the Church authorities and the judges, and those resigning members for their time in post.
These Minutes are subject to final acceptance at the 2016 AGM.
There was no meeting between that of 27th October 1915 (reproduced in the last Newsletter) and 7th April 1916.
The Four Shires walking and ringing tour, organised by Michael Haynes (to whom thanks. Ed) took place on Saturday 26th September 2015. We met at Whichford (8,13cwt), where we rang from 10.00-10.45am. At this point there were eight ringers: Michael Haynes, Peter Kenealy, Stuart and Michael Cummings, Alison Merryweather-Clark, Sue Bacon, John Carroll with Molly the dog, and Jane Gilbert. The following methods were rung: Winchendon Place Bob Doubles, Cambridge Surprise Minor and Grandsire Triples.
Four of us then walked from Whichford to Cherington Church (6,6cwt), where Morris's 240 of Grandsire Doubles was conducted by John Carroll. We rang some plain courses of Stedman Doubles and then St Martin's and St Simon's Spliced Doubles, again conducted by John Carroll.
After that four of us went to the Cherington Arms pub for a well-earned lunch; and Molly the dog came, too.
After lunch, four of us, plus Molly, walked from Cherington to Great Wolford Church (6,12cwt) where the others, plus the Murphy family, were waiting. The extra ringers allowed us to ring a variety of methods and we managed plain hunt doubles, Kent Treble Bob Minor, Cambridge Surprise Minor, St Clement's College Bob Minor, Stedman Doubles, and St Simon's and St Martin's Spliced Doubles.
After photos of the group were taken here, four of us walked back to Whichford, where our cars were waiting. A very enjoyable day was had by all.
Advance Notice: Michael is already arranging the walking/ringing tour for next year! It will take place on Saturday 24th September. It is to involve walking from Wychford to Wiggington (Michael has already booked lunch at the White Swan Inn) to Swerford and back to Wychford and may include a visit to the Hook Norton brewery at 1.30pm (for which there will be a charge of £12.50). Ed
The heading above was that used by my illustrious predecessor, Pam Copson, in 1994, for an article I wrote for the Newsletter about a visit to the French bellfoundry of Cornille-Harvard situated at Villedieu-les-Poêles on the Cherbourg peninsular. There are two bellfoundries in France and a tour in our campervan last September around the southern and eastern parts of France allowed me to visit the other one, Fonderie-Paccard, which is situated a few kilometres south of Annecy. A foundry was established in 1796 by Antoine Paccard, and the business has continued through seven Paccard generations to the present.
We entered the entrance to the museum and were greeted by a very pretty lady, who spoke impeccable English. She told us a tour had just started and that we could join it if we wished, but it was in French if we didn't mind. OK, we'd pick up the odd word — possibly. I did hear 'Anglais' in the commentary and was told later that this was a mention of John of Arc, who was burned at the stake by the English — oh, Les Anglais! After this we entered a small cinema for a film about the casting in 1998 by Paccard of The World Peace Bell, 33 tons in weight (that's not a misprint: 33 tons) for a location in Kentucky, USA. Again, this was in French, but the visuals were excellent and made up for a lot. Seeing the 'beginning to end' of such a large bell was fascinating. It is a swinging bell. Helen and I had been promised another film, in English this time, about the casting in 1986 of three large bells for Toronto. These were 19 tons, 10 tons and 6 tons. Big ones by any stretch of the imagination, but small compared with the 33 tonner. Again, this was an excellent film, and in some ways it was more interesting, because there was a greater concentration on the technical side of their bellfounding.
After this we were given a tour of the foundry itself and our guide was the pretty lady from the museum. The lady was Madame Anne Paccard, wife of the technical director, Phillipe. Fonderie-Paccard use the 'lost wax' technique (as many continental founders do), whereby a false bell is either made in wax or coated with wax, to which all the external decoration (also in wax) is applied. The cope or the mould for the external surface is then constructed, after which the whole assembly is heated up to melt the wax. This leaves the cope with a beautifully smooth surface, which in turn gives lost wax bells their trade-mark very shiny finish. In most cases they are left golden; not blacked-up as here. English founders make their moulds differently, which doesn't involve wax coatings. There were various newly-cast bells in the foundry awaiting delivery, including a 4 ton bell; and all were glistening in polished bellmetal (see photo). Very pretty.
The museum has a small electrically-struck mini-carillon in the foyer. Anne Paccard is an accomplished singer. She demonstrated the quality of this carillon most effectively at the end of the tour by using it as an accompaniment. She sang various pieces for us, one of which was Edelweiss, sung in English. Whether this was for Helen and me I don't know, but the French people would know the tune if not the words. Anne Paccard has a superb voice; and the carillon was excellent.
Afterwards Anne introduced me to her husband Phillipe, who also speaks impeccable English. Paccard produce mainly swinging/stationary bells and carillons, and have a number of major carillons to their credit worldwide. They and the English bellfounders are unlikely to compete unless large carillon work is proposed. Some Paccard bells have reached these shores, but only as a chime. St John the Evangelist's Church, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, has four bells by G & F Paccard, dated 1891. There's probably an interesting story about how these bells came to be in the UK, but I don't know it.
Thank you Anne and Phillipe for your hospitality. It was good to meet you; and we had an excellent time.
PS: Anne told Helen the French equivalent of 'a pan' (as in,
That bell sounds like a pan) is 'une casserole'!!
Fourteen ringers gathered at Colwall, Herefordshire, on Saturday 5 September for the start of the 2015 Welford tour, arranged by Freda Cleaver, Rosemary Cole and Ian Sturgess.
St James Gt Church, (10 bells 10-1-5) stands about a mile outside the village amidst pretty country lanes and just to the west of the majestic Malvern Hills. When I first visited this tower nearly forty years ago on the way back from the Hereford ringing course, I remember a not terribly pleasing ring of eight. Wow, how times have changed! The bells I remember were thoroughly restored and augmented to ten in 1998 by Eayre & Smith and are now very pleasing to ring. Inside the ringing room, the visitor can still see remnants of the Seage's silent ringing apparatus, invented by Epaphrus Seage, an Exeter printing engineer in about 1875, which allowed ringers in years gone by to practise their craft without disturbing the neighbours.
St John the Baptist, Eastnor (6 bells 9cwt) stands adjacent to a large green in the centre of the village, close by Eastnor Castle and home of James Hervey-Bathurst. The building is a mock 19thC or revival castle designed by Robert Smirke, the architect of the British Museum.
The church is very old and contains some interesting features, including the Mortuary chapel of the Somers Cox family and was designed by George Gilbert Scott. The bells are rung from a ground floor ringing chamber and they go well and sound okay. The tenor bell is an early example of a Rudhall bell and dates back to 1689. (Very early: the earliest surviving, by Abraham Rudhall I, is dated 1684. It's the 4th of the 6 at Oddington. Ed)
Lunch followed at The Wellington, only a few minutes' drive from Eastnor church, on the main road between Malvern and Ledbury. The food and beer were excellent and a much welcomed opportunity to re-charge the battery in convivial company and surroundings.
The first tower after lunch was All Saints, Coddington (6 bells 10-1-20), where the church is 13thC although the tower was rebuilt in 1865. The pleasing exterior of the church, with extensive views into Herefordshire made a lovely start to our afternoon's activities. The ringing room is bright and airy and the Taylor bells, cast in 1866, go very well. Fundraising for a complete refurbishment commenced 2001, which included a new steel frame and retuning, the work being eventually undertaken by Haywood Mills Associates and completed by September 2005 They are now an easy going six and allowed ringers of all abilities to enjoy some really good ringing.
The final tower of the day was St James Church, Cradley, (8 bells 13-2-20), situated in a lovely village setting just a few miles west of the Malvern Hills. The earliest surviving parts of the current church are Norman, and it has a massive stone tower. The interior is curious because of its timber framing, but there is no explanation given as to why such an attractive interior is encased within a stone outer casing
The bells, originally a six, including bells cast by Abraham Rudhall II and John Taylor and Co, were increased to eight with the addition of two new trebles in 2000. They all go well and sound very pleasing within the tower.
Cradley proved to be most suitable tower to round off a pleasant days ringing in Herefordshire and our sincere thanks go to Freda, Rosemary and Ian for all their practical arrangements.
Three intrepid Four Shires members crossed the border on 12th September to Shipton under Wychwood, on the other side.
The purpose of this arduous journey? To help the locals celebrate the 900th anniversary of St Mary's Church by ringing a peal. This was the first peal on the bells for some 25 years to the exact day of the last one (actually 26 years: last one on 12/9/1989. Ed), and with the Bishop visiting the following day. There were also a number of notable firsts among the ringers present. No pressure there then!
We started well, settled the nerves, then the conductor called stand at about 1/2 hour in, a missed call. Off we went again with some excellent ringing, until the last quarter where tiredness took its toll. We survived a couple of near fire-outs by the skin of our teeth and the skill of the conductor, and finally came round in a leisurely 3 hours 17 mins.
Keith Murphy deserves a special mention for his admirable tenor ringing (not the easiest of bells) for nearly 4 hours (he was later to comment it was the hardest peal he had ever rung), as well as the conductor who guided us to a successful conclusion.
We were greeted in the church by the rest of Shipton ringing community with most welcome refreshments and the odd beer to celebrate.
(3-17 for a 15cwt ring. Poor Keith! I've included this peal report — rung for the ODG - because it was clearly an 'adventure' with which Guild members were involved on such a notable occasion, and that it was rung by those who are rarely seen in the peal columns. Also, of course, it was written by Chris Seers, whose writings I enjoy. Congrats to all! Ed)
Many ringers (if not all?) will probably have visited St Mary & All Saints' Church when visiting that lovely town of Chesterfield — best known for its crooked spire. Here was yet another opportunity for your scribe to take steps (literally — there is a 45-step spiral stone staircase to the ringing chamber) to ring on their ten bells (tenor 25cwt). This would be another 'First Tower' visit for me.
An exploratory visit to the church on Saturday afternoon was of little help. The two 'welcoming' ladies (also manning the bookstall) confirmed they had bells. That was about it! Fortunately a gentleman standing nearby overheard the conversation, and advised that the Tower Captain was seriously ill in hospital. He suggested I arrive around 9.50am because they normally started 10-ish.
Next morning I did as had been advised and on stepping into the church I was welcomed by the Sidesman, busily preparing hymn books, etc, for handout. He was a ringer, too, and appeared to be jack-of-all-trades at the church. He directed me to an outer door, from whence I climbed those 45 steps into a large, well maintained ringing chamber. I was greeted by the deputy captain, who quite frankly appeared to do all the necessary work involved, for example, he was going to fit the muffles in a fortnight's time for their Remembrance Sunday Service. We exchanged the usual campanological pleasantries while awaiting (hopefully) more ringers.
The Sidesman/ringer then arrived (on time) and a fourth gentleman stumbled into the chamber, out of breath, at 10.05am. The bells needed rising — not a particularly good noise on a Sunday morning! Another ringer arrived some five minutes later (despite, he said, having had an extra hour in bed). A fifth bell was rung up individually. Thereafter we rang elementary call-changes and plain hunting — on bells that are in continuous demand from visiting bands.
So here is yet another example of present day lack of ringers — a countrywide problem it appears. We really are fortunate at St Lawrence, Mickleton, to ring regularly all our eight bells for Sunday Services and special occasions — thanks to only three resident ringers and those joining us from nearby villages.
Despite the very basic ringing, like that at the St David's Cathedral I wrote about recently, it was a very interesting and enjoyable occasion.
The Inter-Shire Trophy Competition took place on Saturday 21st November at St Edmund's Church, Shipston-on-Stour. This competition, which alternates with the Minimus (Mini-Mouse) Striking Competition, is the one in which the Guild plays host to the striking competition winners of Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire. It may be unique in running such an event.
Firstly, I have to apologise for a brief coverage of the event and the consequent lack of photos of the teams. I had intended doing all this, but immediately after the judging finished (I was the Worcestershire-nominated judge), I received a text saying a member of my family had been taken to hospital and I had to rush away.
Teams this year came from Lillington (for Warwickshire), Faringdon (for Oxfordshire), Mickleton (for Gloucestershire) and Pershore (for Worcestershire). The teams assembled in the rear of the Church, which houses a very nice reception area with kitchen and toilets, ready for the draw. Len Morley masterminded the laying-out of the food that Guild members had brought — there was lots (to Bill's joy) - and the tea/coffee making. The judges, four in number, were bundled off into the North Porch prior to the draw at 2.00pm. Saturday was bright but cold, so, having been told in the morning the porch was to be where we would sit largely motionless, I wrapped up in the expectation we would have to fight a draught from a North wind through the door. As it happens, the porch wasn't such a bad place in which to be cocooned. The glass in the doors afforded ample light, and the doors themselves fitted well; draughts were insignificant. I've judged in much worse!
The Competition itself is on Guild Competition lines, that is, rising and falling is included. While it might be usual to us, it is very unusual elsewhere (unless you are in Devon or Cornwall!). These two aspects were probably the biggest challenge to the teams — Mickleton excluded of course.
When judging, you have the opportunity to concentrate entirely on listening to the bells. Yes, of course we listen when we are ringing, but we have to control the bells at the same time — and the bells sound different in the Ringing Chamber to that heard outside: perhaps louder or softer; perhaps harder to hear one or more bells among the others. The porch proved to be a good place to hear the bells. They all sounded even and at just the right volume.
All the teams performed without any nasties, but that was expected; they were 'la crème de la crème' of each county! The results were quickly computed by the judges and without major disagreement were graded. They were announced by Bill Nash and were as follows:-
1st Lillington (for Warwicksire) and were awarded the Inter-Shire Trophy.
2nd Mickleton (for Gloucestershire)
It is the Guild's custom in this event to announce only those teams in first and second place. Congratulations to the Lillington team; and to Mickleton, too, who I understand were surprised and delighted to have reached second place — but then we know they are good!
The Guild's thanks go to all the teams taking part — we hope you enjoyed it — and to the Vicar of St Edmund's, the Rev Andrew Coleby, for permission to use the Church and the bells.
Lastly, the Guild is very much on show to our visitors at this event and we are indebted to Len for managing so well the essentials of hosting, the food and the drinks, but of course this extends to all who provided food.
The ringers' survey I mentioned in the last Newsletter has temporarily stalled. I guess it will restart early this year. The results should be interesting.
The Towers & Belfries Committee met at Evesham on October 31st. Although the business was fairly routine this time (except for advances in measuring the dynamic movement of towers while the bells are ringing, but I won't describe those details here other than to say this is being steered by a very clever person who works for the Building Research Establishment). The new diocesan steeplekeeping proposals, those not requiring permission and those requiring permission, were discussed. See New Faculty rules.
One item was of particular importance: the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015. 'What's that?' you might say. It's more usually known as the CDM Regs. It's part of Health & Safety legislation and controls responsibility for undertaking all types of construction work in this country. It's been around a long time, initially in 1994, and was updated in 2007 and then this year. The first edition of CDM excluded certain aspects of work, including bellhanging work, but the 2007 edition did include it — but it's fair to say the two major parties involved, PCCs as the Client and bellhanging companies as the Contractor preferred to 'look the other way' with any of it. The present edition of CDM, as from April of last year, is now very clear that work undertaken by PCCs — including bellhanging work — is included. Will this legislation involve the average ringer? The answer has to be 'no — but read the last paragraph of this article. If your church is considering professional work to the bells and you are involved with progressing such work, you need to be aware that CDM will apply (not could; it will). Don't let the PCC tell you differently. If they don't comply, the responsibilities for the various actions they need to undertake will automatically fall onto them, whether they like it or not. Also, the PCC should expect various items of paperwork from their chosen bellhanging contractor. Is this a new thing for PCCs? Yes and no. They are likely to have met CDM when undertaking other aspects of professional work around the Church. However, they are very likely to have been steered by the Church Architect in such cases. As it is rare for the Church Architect to be involved with bell work, PCCs have probably been encouraged to think such work does not apply. It does now. While CDM includes 'Regulations' in its title, please be aware it is a law and contravention can involve penalties.
The Towers & Belfries Committee will be writing an Information Leaflet outlining briefly the requirements of CDM, and how it affects PCCs and contractors. This leaflet will form part of the collection distributed by the CC's Tower Stewardship Committee.
(Although you as a ringer might never come into contact with CDM involving bell work, you may encounter it as a private person. If you require professional building work to be undertaken on your house, this work is also subject to CDM and you as the owner will need to comply with CDM. Far-fetched? Read the HSE Guides to find out. Be aware; be very aware! Ignorance of the law is no defence.)
Chris Povey (one of the Guild's CC Rep — and a member of the CC's Towers & Belfries Committee)
Following our visit to Dorsington (see last newsletter) just a mile or so away as the crow flies is the church of St James the Great at Long Marston with a large bell cast by John Rudhall in 1829.
Refurbishment work here in 2012 required the bell to have its cast-in staple drilled out in the tower as the church organ pipes prevented the bell ( 32½" diameter) from being removed out of the vestry [my photograph shows the bell underneath the drilling table receiving attention].
It wasn't a comfortable environment to work in, with access via a cupboard with hardly room to clamber onto the ladder! The wooden floor above is split into two levels a few inches apart (enough to trip against frequently...) but the smell was the worst element to cope with as bats roosted there. All the walls were lined with plastic sheeting to try and keep the bat droppings from falling inside the tower and the plastic literally ran with bat urine.
Fortunately the work proceeded quickly other than the realisation when delivering the drilling table (33"x36") that it too wouldn't get through the vestry doorway (I'll leave it to you to decide what happened then.......).
There is also a small sanctus bell.
Roger de Flaedenburg
Whoever said that the best ideas are always born in the pub after ringing (and also possibly after a few beverages have been consumed) was absolutely correct — at least in Hook Norton! We, of course, have an unfair advantage in that our village is home to a fantastic brewery and we were in the Brewery Tap at the time.
In mid-September, we were discussing our entry to the second Bi-annual Christmas Tree Festival to be held in the church. The main issue being that our past entry's creativity set a precedent for future years and had also exhausted most of our creative juices (not to mention nearly setting light to the District Nurse with an angle grinder, but that's another story!)
So, having decided that we should enter again this year, we needed the “new idea”. This came in the form of an old bell wheel in Mick's garage and some plastic sheeting that had been used for signage and needed to be recycled. We just needed to find some greenery - kindly supplied by Tim. Thus “Ding Dong Merrily on high” was given new meaning.
The festival itself was a great success — featuring 30 trees made by groups in the village. Creativity was at an all-time high and the event raised over £1000. Most importantly we had great fun conceiving and creating it!
(This article also appeared in the Christmas edition of The Ringing World)
October, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, saw us in Northamptonshire, a surprisingly rural county, known as The Cotswolds without the tourists (and prices!).
First up Wilby a lovely 8cwt, anti-clockwise 6: ground floor, easy and light, albeit with a slightly shouty tenor. I just love it when history comes to life, and in Wilby Jenny Ball and Brenda Dixon are immortalised on one of the peal boards. An interesting take on bellringers rules hangs in the ringing chamber, as well as a wall sign for 'anti-climb' paint should anyone fancy trying!
On to Higham Ferrers, 10, 22cwt. At 17, numbers were a bit depleted as we missed the Coventry contingent and a few others limiting what we rang here. Nonetheless we executed some very respectable Grandsire Caters. The ringing chamber was an open gallery, with a beautiful ornate church and lovely carved screens. These are a recently augmented 10 by Taylors, and were sublime. Worth the trip alone, just to ring on these - if only all bells were like this!
A watchful owl on the windowsill had been relocated from the church roof as he failed to scare away the pigeons. Obviously doing good in the ringing chamber as no pigeons there. More history with Alan Marks and Brenda on another peal board, and some original wooden "Sally Jugs" hang on the wall, which used to whistle when the ropes passed through.
A good value lunch at The Olde Victoria (no Cotswold prices here) conveniently near the church in Burton Latimer, where we were greeted by a splash of colour with winter pansies and fushias, and thoughtful heating in the ringing chamber, another balcony ring. Some respectable Cambridge & Plain Bob was achieved at this, sharp, crisp and easy to ring 10cwt 8.
Finally on to Barton Seagrave, and here my notes run out as we were greeted by an open spiral staircase in the corner, which filled me with dread. It was modern and looked solid and I was assured quite safe, but fear defies logic. The open framework leads to open views across the height of the church as you climb. I was persuaded to go up, and then spent the next half-an-hour wondering how I was going to get down. I recall this is an anti-clockwise 8, which challenged our usual habitual ringing. Just for the record I did get down the stairs, with some encouragement and at least part of the way sat down, which seemed much more stable to me!
Thanks to Jenny Ball for some exceptional bells, and an introduction to rural Northamptonshire on a lovely autumn day.
It's little known that on November 19, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address and football player Pelé scored his 1,000th goal. Surely history does not have too many more interesting facts than these? Our goals on this particular day were to ring the bells at four splendid Northamptonshire addresses.
Crick, to use words stolen from its online guide, is a village set in the pleasantly rolling countryside of Northamptonshire and yet close to good communications to major UK cities. We can vouch for the good communications as we were not unduly delayed in getting to our destination despite the November rain. After taking a peak at a delightfully skewed window in the church, we stomped up the cut-away safety steps using the correct leg for each step and through the trapdoor into the ringing chamber.
During ringing, we did have some tower wobble which may or may not explain, or have some connection with the skewed window! The back bells in particular were to some degree odd struck but despite this, we managed some creditable Grandsire and Stedman Triples, a half course of Yorkshire and some call changes.
Moving on to Braunston we found a church that was undergoing some urgent restoration work. According to the local paper, a piece of masonry crashed to the floor at the end of a Sunday service, just as the vicar was telling worshippers to 'Go in Peace'. The same paper described the church as 'The Cathedral of the Canals', an epithet that I suspect would be claimed by a number of churches across the country. This part of the world can certainly lay claim to be the 'safety stairway capital'. These unusual steps appeared again in Braunston.
The bells were pretty good, none of the odd striking found at Crick, but they were very quiet. Quiet bells need quiet ringers so there were plenty of ssssshhhhh signs to be seen (but not heard). Heard outside by the general population of Braunston was Bob Minor, St. Clements, Cambridge, Beverley, Stedman and Winchendon Place.
I've been to Flore before. This was our third address and it's got a great village sign in concrete that's only one letter away from being a well-known margarine. I also can't help feeling the font is similar, too. See what I mean!
After we fought our way through what seemed like thousands of parents in 4x4's picking up at the nearby school, we rung Norwich, Bob Minor, London, Kent, Stedman, Cambridge and St. Clements. Never were so many entertained by so few, although we did number just over twenty for most of the towers.
Our final address of the day was Weedon Bec. This is very close to Flore and the parish church of SS Peter and Paul is at the south of the village hemmed in and overlooked from both the Grand Union Canal embankment and the West Coast Main Line viaduct. According to Pevsner, it has a Norman west tower. The village is generally known as Weedon and has pretty much ditched the Bec (sorry!).
By the end of the day ringers tend to get tired so a ground floor ring without any tricky safety steps was most welcome. Methods were half courses of Cambridge and Yorkshire, Plain Bob Major, Stedman and Plain Bob Triples.
Our thanks go to Jill and Mike Harvey from Weedon for arranging an event that sits well with all the other events that have happened throughout history on November 19.
Travelling down the Fosse Way in the morning, I wondered what the support for this meeting would be like: the meeting in December is always a week earlier — would people remember- and how many people would be caught up in Christmas preparations. I needn't have worried — one of the best turn outs of the Year, with several newer faces intermingled with the regulars!
The 8 bells at our first tower of Blockley could be described as 'character bells', each with its own idiosyncrasy, and a peal that went at its own pace. Even the most experienced took time to settle in but the bands managed to ring Grandsire, Plain Bob, Stedman and Oxford Bob Triples. Triples fared better than Major, and the bells definitely had the upper hand when Lincolnshire was attempted. (Blockley PCC are very actively considering a full rehang for these bells: new bellframe and new fittings throughout. The rehang may occur later this year or early 2017. I had not realised how hard they've become to ring and how necessary a rehang is until I rang there recently. Ed)
On next to Moreton-in-Marsh (8). We were a little worried as to whether we would all fit in the belfry but with a lot of juggling we were all accommodated. These are a peal that definitely needs to be 'pushed' along to get the best out of them, and some good ringing resulted here with courses of Plain Bob, Stedman, Grandsire and the elusive Lincolnshire which had come to grief at Blockley. The last ring here was a very creditable course of Double Norwich.
A last-minute change of venue for lunch saw the ringers at 'The Fox' at Broadwell: highly recommended for its speed of service, its efficiency and the quality of the food. A really good choice.
Lunch over and on to Great Wolford, an easy-going 6, where we were able to ring some good changes of Plain Bob, London, Norwich, Stedman and St Clements. What fascinated us all here was the 'crib-board' used by locals for their call-changes, the unique rope guides and the completely plain walls devoid of any boards, notices, pictures etc which we are used to seeing in belfries.
What thoughtful people the organisers were by choosing a ground floor ring as the last tower of the day — Todenham (6). Despite the seemingly long draught, the bells were easily managed and a pleasure to ring. Plain Bob, London, Wells, and St Clements were the chosen methods.
As always people tend to drift home at the last tower but not before Isobel thoughtfully treated us all to Festive Mince pies! John thanked Isobel for organising such a successful day (no doubt ably helped by Keith) and for all her efforts throughout the year to coordinate the meetings and look after the finances.
There are still outings to be organised for 2016 and no doubt Isobel would be delighted to hear from Volunteers!
Wellesbourne, Warks, 5 Oct, 1264 Spliced Major (Plain, Little): 1 Chris Mew (C), 2 Simon Oram, 3 John Carroll, 4 Karen French, 5 Robert Reeves, 6 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 7 John Nicholls, 8 Peter Quinn. Rung to mark the 50th birthday of Noel French.
Salford Priors, Warks,12 Oct, 1260 Erin Triples: 1 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 2 Mark Sayers, 3 Julie Doyle, 4 John Nicholls, 5 Simon Oram, 6 Michael Dane, 7 Chris Mew (C), 8 Peter Quinn. 1st in principle - 3, 5.
Offenham, Worcs, 18 Oct, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: 1 Claire Allen, 2 Matthew Kemble, 3 Chris Povey, 4 Georgie Roberts, 5 Martin Penny (C), 6 Roland Merrick. To mark the anniversary of the rebuilding of Offenham Church by Fredrick Preedy. 1st Q on the Treble: 1. (Congratulations Claire!)
Stratford-on-Avon, Warks, 25 Oct, 1280 Plain Bob Major: 1 Mark Sayers, 2 Will Jones, 3 Rosemary Hemmings, 4 Roger Hunt, 5 Matthew Kemble, 6 Michael Haynes, 7 Chris Povey, 8 Richard Lewis-Skeath (C). Rung to mark the 600th anniversary this day of the Battle of Agincourt. Also 25th wedding anniversary compliments to Charles and Ann Wilson.
Bretforton, Worcs, 26 Oct, 1344 Superlative S Major: 1 Simon Oram, 2 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 3 Peter Quinn, 4 John Gwynne, 5 Steve Bowley, 6 Nick Allsopp, 7 John Nicholls, 8 Roger Hunt (C). A treat for the conductor on his birthday at his home tower.
Longborough, Glos, 13 Nov, 1260 Doubles (Stedman, Grandsire, Rev Canterbury, Plain, St Simon's St Martin's) 1 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 2 Roger Hunt, 3 Michael Probert, 4 Len Morley, 5 Alison T Merryweather-Clarke (C), 6 Stef Whittle. Rung wishing Anne Skeath, mother of 1, a very happy birthday. An S@S quarter peal.
Wellesbourne, Warks, 23 Nov, 1280 Yorkshire S Major: 1 Chris Mew (C), 2 James Ingham, 3 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 4 Karen M French, 5 D Kempton, 6 Michael Dane, 7 John Nicholls, 8 Mark Sayers. Triple engagement compliments to Richard Lewis-Skeath to Stefanie Whittle; Sophia Lewis-Skeath to Ian Stonehouse and George Kempton to Lauren Edmunds. (Should have rung Triples… Ed)
Pebworth, Worcs, 29 Nov, 1260 Minor (720 Cambridge S, 540 Plain Bob): 1 Roland Merrick, 2 Freda Cleaver, 3 Matthew Kemble, 4 Chris Povey, 5 Roger Hunt, 6 Martin Penny (C). For Evensong.
Offenham, Worcs, 5 Dec, 1260 Doubles (Plain Bob, April Day, Grandsire): 1 Bob Topp, 2 Freda Cleaver, 3 Chris Povey, 4 Claire Penny, 5 Martin Penny (C), 6 Roland Merrick. For the Christmas Tree Festival.
Pebworth, Worcs, 24 Dec, 1260 Doubles (Grandsire, Plain): 1 Claire Penny, 2 Georgie Roberts, 3 Chris Povey, 4 Roland Merrick, 5 Martin Penny (C), 6 Claire Allen. For the Crib Service.
Broadwell, Glos, 5 Dec, 1260 Doubles (Stedman, Plain Bob, Grandsire): 1 Rob Newman, 2 Steve Bowley, 3 Sue Bacon, 4 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 5 Roger Hunt (C), 6 Michael Chester. Wishing a speedy recovery to Christina Ireland of Evesham following a replacement hip procedure.
Wellesbourne, Warks, 14 Dec, 1280 Spliced S Major (Cambridge, Superlative, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire): 1 Michael Dane, 2 Peter Quinn, 3 F Keddie, 4 Mark Sayers, 5 D Kempton, 6 Chris Mew (C), 7 John Nicholls, 8 Richard Lewis-Skeath.
Little Comberton, Worcs, 19 Dec, 1260 Doubles (2m):1 Stef Whittle, 2 Steve Bowley, 3 Alison R Williams, 4 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 5 Roger Hunt (C), 6 Roy Williams. A 75th birthday compliment to Dave 'Sauce' Saunders, Tower Captain
Great Comberton, Worcs, 19 Dec, 1260 Doubles (7m):1 Roger Hunt, 2 Steve Bowley, 3 Roy Williams (C), 4 Alison R Williams, 5 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 6 Stef Whittle. In thanksgiving for the life of Freda P Willgress, Alison's mother, who died 15 December, aged 78.
Cropthorne, Worcs,19 Dec, 1260 Doubles (11m/v): 1 Steve Bowley, 2 Roy Williams (C), 3 Alison R Williams, 4 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 5 Roger H Hunt, 6 Stef Whittle. A wedding compliment to Emily Jones & Andrew Groom following their marriage at Fladbury earlier this afternoon. The band wish to associate Thelma James & Rob Newman with this quarter.
Saintbury, Glos, 31st Dec, 1260 Plain Bob Triples: 1 Sarah Chadburn, 2 Chris Povey, 3 Jenny Chadburn, 4 Claire Penny, 5 Martin Penny, 6 Richard Lewis-Skeath, Robert Chadburn (C), 8 James Allen. The traditional end-of-year Q at Saintbury. 1st blows in method: 2. (Congratulations Jenny! You rang well. Ed)
Willersey, Glos, 31st Dec, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: 1 Stef Whittle, 2 Steve Bowley, 3 Richard Lewis-Skeath, 4 Sarah Chadburn, 5 Robert Chadburn (C), 6 Roger Hunt. Engagement compliment to Stef and Richard.
(Please let me have details. I cannot guarantee to see them on Campanophile, Bellboard, or wherever. I do some, but probably not all. Ed
The big news this time concerns three Guild members (see quarter peal at Wellesbourne, 23 Nov). They are Sophia Lewis-Skeath (now Mrs Sophia Stonehouse), Richard Lewis-Skeath and Stef Whittle. Sophia said 'Yes' to Ian Stonehouse, and she and Ian were married on 23rd December: see below. At much the same time as Sophia said 'Yes' to Ian, Richard popped a similar question to Stef, to which she also answered 'Yes'. All involved are supremely happy and I'm sure Guild members wish both couples very rosy futures together.
The wedding: in spite of the windy and wet weather that has been the norm for December, the sun shone largely all day for Sophia and Ian's wedding at Holy Trinity Church, Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire. As expected it attracted a large number of ringers from the county (Ian is an accomplished ringer), FSG members and other ringers from as far away as Bath. A quarter peal was rung by some before the Service. Benjamin acted as Best Man to Ian, whereas Eliza was Sophia's bridesmaid. There was open ringing afterwards, plus a very well struck touch of Bob Minor of handbells by an experienced band. The reception was held in the Church Hall, which is attached to the Church. A nicely informal gathering occurred with drinks and seasonal nibbles. It was clearly a happy day for all concerned.
Adlestrop: the faculty to proceed with the rehanging work was received on 10th December, so Adlestrop will soon have a light ring of 6, tenor about 5cwt. It will be all go in the tower now. Due to the lack of bell-sized floor hatches and the church clock being under the bells, the bells and frame will be removed and replaced via a larger (and safer) roof hatch. The bell work will proceed in parallel with a project to repoint the tower, the necessary scaffolding being used for both purposes. Whitechapel Bell Foundry will remove as much as they can internally through the access hatches that do exist, but the major items will then wait for the scaffolding to be erected. More on progress in the next Newsletter. It's unlikely the bells will ring out for Easter, but a wedding is booked for June, so that's the target. For those of a nervous nature, the access to the Ringing Room is due to be altered, but not immediately. The PCC have plans to construct an internal porch, to stop the wind blowing up the nave on cold days. The roof of this porch will provide an upper floor from which to access the Ringing Room via a much shorter ladder. Access to the upper floor will be by steps at the side of the porch. This 'Phase 2' project is expected to be completed within 2 years. Adlestrop's redundant 2nd bell will be going to Pillerton Hersey to assist with that rehang.
…… and another. Thank you, El Pres!
1 Bells are usually muffled for this occasion (11,3) 10 Associate wisdom with canines. (5) 11 The important building across the Atlantic. (2,7) 12 Let down after ringing. (7) 13 Little ones are rascals. (7) 14 The horse sounds as if it disagrees. (5) 16 E.g. Scots Pine. (9) 19 In confused days a soft drink could give you this. (9) 20 A bell-shaped flower grown from a bulb. (5) 22 Sunday. (7) 25 Poetic. (7) 27 2015 was the 600th anniversary of this famous battle. (9) 28 Up in the air - unless you go under the bar! (5) 29 Let us hope keen learners and ropes are this. (5,9)
2 A mountain plant often sung about. (9) 3 An early anaesthetic and solvent. (5) 4 '________ as ocean's tide, rolling in fullest pride Hymns A&M. (9) 5 A Northener goes to the Royal meeting (5) 6 Sole entitlement to an artistic work. (9) 7 The same again. (5) 8 Russian Boris. (7) 9 Pilfered. (6) 15 Pecking order. (9) 17 It is worn on the shoulder. (9) 18 An apparatus for striking inside the bells with hammers operated from below; named after its originator. (9) 19 The Ladies' side. (7) 21 Used to rest one's head. (6) 23 Fish - or excellent in teen-talk. (5) 24 A spooky visit? (5) 26 A surviving reminder. (5)
It has become customary to conclude the year's activities with a Christmas Party. This year's party was held on 12th December in Badsey Church following a shortened practice there. Hilary and John Bolton invited us to use the community facilities the Church has now, and these suited very well indeed.
Twenty-two members attended. Food was plentiful (oh Bill, where were you to help clear up…?) and drinks were provided either by what members brought, or by teas and coffees served up via the Church’s domestic facilities.
To finish this very pleasant evening, we sang a number of carols, accompanied by Steve Bowley on the piano and Sue Bacon with her guitar. The raffle and other donations made £59, which, after donating £25 to Badsey Church for the use of the venue, placed £34 into the Bell Restoration Fund.
Our thanks to Hilary and John for encouraging us to this excellent venue; and to the PCC for allowing it.
For any alterations to this programme, check the Four Shires Guild web-site or Campanophile. The Calendar part of the FSG web-site gives further information about each Saturday night tower (just single-click the tower name), including a location map.
Meetings are from 7.30pm until 9.00pm unless otherwise stated. All are welcome. You do not have to be a Four Shires Guild member and we are especially pleased if members of the local band wish to come along and ring.
The Guild carries Public Liability insurance through the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group for all its activities. Non-members attending these activities are also covered by this insurance, providing they abide fully by the Guild's Health & Safety and Child Protection policies. (Both policies now appear on the FSG web-site, so their contents are available to all, whether members or non-members.)
Please contribute something, however small (or large). You would be surprised the things people enjoy reading about.. They will all be welcome…. and don't worry if you think your handwriting is unintelligible. It can normally be translated. Just send the stuff in!
(Caretaker) Newsletter Editor: Chris Povey
It helps me hugely if you send articles to me by email, so I can cut-and-paste. If sending articles in this way, please use MS Word format for written articles, jpg format for photos, and scanned items in pdf or jpg formats. (I have the facility to scan photo prints if you haven't.) Please let me know ownership of photos for acknowledgement where relevant. If you have a long article, you might consider breaking it into parts.
|Guild Annual Dinner||Sat 6th Feb 2016. At the White Hart Royal Hotel, Moreton|
|Ringing Tour||Sat 2nd July, details to be announced.|
|Minimus Striking Comp||Sat 17th September, location and details to be announced.|
|Walking & Ringing Tour||Sat 24th September, advance details available. See Advance Notice|
|AGM & Striking Comps||Sat 15th October, location and details to be announced.|
|Guild Christmas Party||Sat 10th December, location and details to be announced.|