2007 Tour

Saturday 19th May - this year we decided to try out some relatively local churches. Since we were local we decided to forego a coach and take a few cars. We met up as usual at the Village Hall and 10 of us set off in three cars at 9:30am.

The three churches we planned to visit in the morning are just over the border in Gloucestershire. There is some information about the churches we visited provided by The Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers.


Things did not start very well. Since we were only travelling about 10 miles to Saintbury we set off in a convoy, but I was not very careful about keeping an eye on the person following me. The Church is not very easy to find and the car that I managed to "lose" spent 15 minutes trying to find it. The Parish Church of St Nicholas is built of the local cotswold stone and is located in a spectacular setting part way up the Cotswold hills just Northwest of Broadway.

Everything about ringing here was very nice, the room provided plenty of space to ring and was at ground level, the guides for the ropes were very much in sympathy with the church and the 8 bells rang easily and sounded delightful. I rang up bell #6 followed by some call changes, then Plain Hunt of 7 on Bell #7 and some more call changes and finally rang down on the Tenor.

Before setting off again we exchanged mobile phone numbers!


Our next stop was only 5 or 6 miles to the Southwest in Buckland. No mistakes this time, we all arrived together. The Parish Church of St Michael is also built of the local cotswold stone.

The ringing room was on the ground floor and is only big enough for those actually ringing the 6 bells. The sound of the bells from inside the ringing room was quite quiet and you have to pay attention to hear your bell.I rang up bell #2 and rang down bell #3. We also rang some call changes and we also managed a few plain courses of Plain Bob Doubles which I rang on bell #3.


Our last stop of the morning was just a couple more miles to the Southwest at Stanton. The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels is also built of the local cotswold stone.

The ringing room was another small one on the ground floor but also seemed to be used as a store room so there was very little room to ring. I don't think they ring very regularly so that may explain the "clutter". The 6 bells are also arranged as an anti-clockwise ring so added a little more to the challenge. I rang up bell #4, in contrast to Buckland these bells were very loud. We rang a variety of call changes and Plain Hunt and then had a go at Plain Bob Doubles which I once again rang on bell #3. It took us a few attempts to get the hang of doing it anti-clockwise but we eventually succeeded. I ended by ringing down bell #4.

photo of engine 5542

We finished ringing at Stanton at 11:45am and didn't have to be at our first ring of the afternoon until 2:00pm so decided to go to the nearby Steam Railroad run by the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway [train icon that appears on map] at Toddington. We had a brief shower just as we arrived but just managed to see a train departing for Cheltenham. The shower passed very quickly and everyone tucked in to whatever that had brought as a packed lunch. As is traditional, Beryl had made a couple of cakes to share. Lemon drizzle cakes with a chocolate icing. A couple of the ringers also turned out to be steam engine enthusiasts (fanatics ?) which could explain how we so conveniently ended up there for lunch.

The afternoon part of the tour was to take in three towers on the Northern edge of Bredon Hill back in Worcestershire. The Worcestershire & Districts Change Ringing Association has some additional information on the towers.

Little Comberton

We started the afternoon at the village of Little Comberton [1] which is about 10 miles Northwest of Toddington. Two ringers that couldn't make the morning part of our tour were waiting for us when we arrived. The Parish Church of St Peter is a solid looking tower built of the local cotswold stone. The ringing room is at the top of a spiral stone staircase that accessed from the outside of the tower. The tails were quite short and the sallies very low which meant you had to catch the rope above the sally. It was hard work ringing these bells, I rang bells #3; #4; #5 and #6, you had to work on both the hand and backstrokes. Oh, and the tower moved quite noticeably when the bells were being rung. The bell tower has 6 bells.

Elmley Castle

We then retraced our path a little and moved to Elmley Castle [2, 3]. The Parish Church of St Mary is a squat, solid looking tower. The ringing room was reached by climbing a short flight of stairs. It was a large, spacious, red carpeted room with a glass wall looking over the main body of the church. It was a really nice place to ring and the bells were very easy to work with even though they were quite heavy (tenor is 17cwt). I do not have much of an ear but they did not sound very melodious to me. I rang up bell #5 and then rang some call changes and Plain Hunt on the Tenor and finally ended by ringing down bell #3. The bell tower has 6 bells.

Managed another quick slice of Beryl's cake then off again!

Great Comberton

We then drove back through Little Comberton to get to Great Comberton [4]! The Parish Church of St Michael was yet another cotswold stone tower. Some of our party had left us after Elmley Castle since they had some evening arrangements. Just as well, the access to the ringing room was a challenging climb. There is a small door in the outside of the tower that opens on to a narrow spiral staircase which only leads up part of the way. A sharp turn up a large step and then along a very low sloping flight of steps eventually leads to the ringing room.

The ringing room was not very large and included a large clock mechanism. The bells are similar in weight to our own and actually rang quite nicely. The red, yellow and black sallies were the only ones we'd rung all day that were anything other than red, white and blue. The bell tower has 6 bells.

Following on from the tour the team moved on to the Norton Grange Pub for an evening meal. I had a prior engagement so couldn't join them but I hear that they had a good time.

This was another enjoyable trip, we'd better start working on the arrangements for the next one!

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