The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


GUILD OF DEVONSHIRE RINGERS

Newsletter No 40 : December 2000

RINGING ROUND DEVON is the quarterly newsletter of The Guild of Devonshire Ringers, and is circulated free to all affiliated towers.

Any individual members who wish to purchase a copy should contact Lester Yeo. The cost is two pounds and fifty pence for four issues (cheques made payable to Guild of Devonshire Ringers).

Items for inclusion may be sent by e-mail to [email protected] .


EXETER 2 BRISTOL 2

On Saturday 11 November, fourteen of the Exeter Cathedral Ringers travelled to Bristol for a Roses style competition held at four different towers in the centre of the city. This was to be a relaxed, social occasion, using the opportunity to promote the links between the ringers of Exeter and Bristol. To add to the element of fun of the day, each team won two stages, leaving us all square at the end. A return fixture will be arranged to see if we can do better next time!

The afternoon started when we all met at S John-on-the-Wall church for the six bell competition. The test piece here was the traditional Devon call changes of sixty on thirds, rung in true call change style. Each of the two teams rang the test piece, critically listened to by the judges for the day - David and Cecilia Pipe from Birmingham. We then moved on to All Saints for the eight bell for a musical touch of Oxford Bob Triples, and then Christ Church for a course of Cambridge Royal.

Finally, we walked down Corn Street to S Stephen's and into the church common room where tea, coffee, food and (for the slightly more thirsty!) beer was laid on by the S Stephen's ringers. Here the set piece was to be a two course touch of Stedman Cinques. Fortunately, Bristol went first so we were able to enjoy the food and drinks, but then it was our turn! We didn't disgrace ourselves ringing on their bells and felt very happy with all the performances throughout the afternoon.

David Pipe gave the results: Exeter the clear winners of the six bell, and also the eight bell although this one was not so clear cut. Bristol won the ten bell with a very controlled bit of ringing on some very difficult bells - 2 - 1 to Exeter Cathedral. David said the twelve bell was also a very close call, but the home team just came through victorious. There was no trophy to award to the winners (probably just as well!), but instead the S Stephen's ringers presented a framed mediaeval map of the City of Bristol which will hang in the ringing chamber at the Cathedral.

I believe an excellent afternoon was had by all, and it is certainly an event that needs repeating in the Exeter area next year. The Exeter Cathedral team thank Fred Mitchell for his organisation, and of course all the S Stephen's ringers. Let's hope we can have another good day next autumn, and maybe Exeter Cathedral will do one better and win.... watch this space!
Matthew Hilling


DEVON RINGERS COUNCIL

Both the Association and Guild have approved the proposals for a county-wide council for Devon ringers.

Accordingly, the Guild will elect its representatives at the next Annual Meeting, and the first meeting of the new council will be held in September.

In the meantime, the informal Ring in 2000 Committee will continue to meet to co-ordinate any joint initiatives, although the Association has chosen its DRC reps for the 2001-3 triennium.

They are Colin Adams, Jeremy Darke, Janice Gist, Mervyn Phillips and Maurice Sharland. Association secretary Frank Bye will also be on the council.

The Council will also promote use of the St Petrock's Ringing Centre, which is currently out of action due to building work. However five winter training sessions are planned - the dates and venues still to be fixed.

These include a seminar on judging call-change competitions, a 'Ladies' Ringing Day', and sessions on rope splicing and bell maintenance. Also planned (for the third Saturday in March) is an introduction to the two traditions of Devon ringing entitled 'How the Other Half Rings'.


TOLERANCE

Over the last few years the co-operation between our two ringing traditions in Devon has increased tremendously. Initiatives such as Ring In 2000 have shown how much common ground we have. However we must never forget that a critical comment (which could easily be made unconsciously) can cause untold damage to our relationships with each other.

On behalf of all those who have worked so hard over recent years to improve the situation, can I make a plea to all ringers to show tolerance especially when we are in the company of ringers of the opposite tradition to the one we usually practise. A thoughtless sentence when visiting another tower can cause deep offence.

Both our ringing societies in Devon have a past to be proud of and a future to look forward to, but toleration and co-operation are important to ensure that they both continue to thrive. We must remember that in the greater church and secular community the differences between our ringing styles can seem very difficult to understand and our disputes can appear petty.

This article is being submitted to the newsletters of both the Guild and Association. There is no suggestion that one tradition is more prone to intolerance than the other, or that this is something which is peculiar to Devon.
Martin Mansley


The Devon Ringers Carol Service


Saturday 16th December 2000 5.00 pm.
Holy Cross Church Crediton
(with the 'Harmony 400' Handbell Ensemble)

Collection in aid of Hospice South West

Ringing will be as follows:
2-4pm Newton St Cyres
2-4pm Bow
3-5pm Crediton
6-8pm Crediton
6-8pm Sandford
6-8pm Shobrooke

Tea will be available in the Boniface Centre in aid of the bell fund from 3 to 5pm and from 6 to 8pm.
Car parking behind the church and in the school playground opposite.


Guild: striking competitions

GOOD DAY FOR EXETER BRANCH

Following last year's format of holding both the inter-tower and inter-branch competitions on the same day, our annual striking competitions took place on Saturday 21st October and were hosted by the Mid Devon Branch.

It was a gloomy, damp start at East Ogwell, where augmentation has recently taken place to create a pretty six of about 6cwt. We received a very friendly welcome from the tower captain, Mr Pugh, who sat in the church and listened to all the bands as they took their turn. The long draught caused a few problems to the less experienced, but everyone acquitted themselves well and each of the competition touches was brought round successfully. Guild Master Peter Bill, together with Don Roberts, judged the ringing from the shelter of their car, parked in the meadow just below the church, and gave their comments and results as follows:

Exeter St Mark 8 faults
Stoke Damerel 11.5 faults
Tavistock 20 faults
Tiverton St Paul 22 faults
Heavitree 33.75 faults

After lunch we adjourned to Wolborough for the inter-branch eight-bell competition for the Andrews trophy. By now the weather had improved no end and the afternoon was the sunny, autumnal occasion we have come to expect over the years, with members standing in the churchyard to listen to the ringing.

As always we had the warmest of receptions from Peter and Catherine Heale, our hosts for the event, and they had ensured that the church was cosy and inviting and that there was a good supply of hot drinks and biscuits available. For anyone who has not rung at Wolborough recently, the newly extended floor and elegant screen built of wood and glass have transformed the belfry beyond all recognition. It is now truly a pleasure to ring these fine bells in a much more inviting and better protected environment.

Five branches were ready to try their hand at the prescribed touch of Little Grandsire Triples; this rather deceptive method demands more concentration than might appear at first glance, but it is musical and will roll along very nicely if the effort is made. Unfortunately the Mid Devon Branch came to grief after a good start and were unable to complete the touch. The judge, Ian Avery, then gave us his verdict and awarded the trophy to Matthew Hilling, the conductor of the Exeter branch band:

Exeter Branch 25 faults
South West Branch 44 faults
East Branch 72 faults
North East Branch 84 faults


THE RINGING ROADSHOW 2001

Sponsored by The Ringing World and the Central Council at Keele University, Staffordshire

The Ringing World will be there, as will many members of the Central Council - come and talk to them - they're all human!

Many of the Council's committees will have stands with displays of a wide range of ringing-related activities

Other attractions include many stalls displaying and selling a whole galaxy of goodies such as books ancient and modern, computer software, bell jewellery, knitwear, ropes and muffles, handbells and handbell music and much, much more

The leading founders and installation people will be there

Several mini-rings to try out will be there and a number of towers open for grabbers will be there

Who else should be there? YOU

BOOK THE DATE NOW
SATURDAY 31 MARCH 2001
10.30AM - 5PM,
ADMISSION IS FREE
COACH FROM DEVON PLANNED


PUBLICITY LEAFLET

The Ring In 2000 leaflet is available from Wendy Campbell for helping to recruit new ringers. Don't leave it in the tower - that would be preaching to the converted. Even in the church might not be the best place, unless there's a flower festival! Doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms or public libraries are more likely places to catch lapsed ringers and possible new ones (my dentist used to be a bell-ringer and I keep trying to persuade him to return!).

The leaflet shows that ringing is for all ages, and gives a good balance between the two ringing traditions in Devon. Contact Wendy for more details.


Buckfast prepares to celebrate

EIGHTY YEARS OF RINGING

Devon is unique in Britain in having the only ring of twelve in a Catholic church - the melodious bells of Buckfast Abbey. The Community have kindly extracted some passages from their Chronicle which concerns the bells and the Buckfast ringers.

1921
January 22nd was a red-letter day in the Abbey's history. It set its seal upon an important undertaking connected with the restoration of the Abbey, and the success of which us due to our generous friend, Sir Robert Harvey of Dundridge. We refer to the solemn inauguration of our peal of bells...

The Abbey Choir sang two or three motets from the tower gallery , and after a short prayer read by the Abbot, two sets of ringers from Newton Abbot set the bells ringing, much to the delight of those present... We may be proud of the thorough manner in which Messrs Aggett & Sons (Chagford) have fixed our bells. The solid oak frame on which they rest can safely compare with the best to be found anywhere, and the chiming mechanism is quite effective. Our Brothers have already made considerable progress in the art of bell-ringing, and the Dart valley re-echoes with gladness on festive days.

1931
We are well used to the sound of bells at Buckfast, but the change ringing which we heard on October 25th was such an extraordinary event for us, that it is worthy of special mention. Under the auspices of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers, an expert band of bell-ringers from all parts of England met at the Abbey, and rang a peal of Stedman Cinques, comprising five thousand and seven changes. This was the first time such a peal has been rung on the Abbey bells and it was fascinating to hear the changes progressing rhythmically for three hours and fifty minutes without interruption. We must congratulate the composer of the peal, John Carter, and the sturdy ringers who maintained such skilful precision under the strain of such a long effort.

1935
On May 15th the great Hosanna bell was cast for Buckfast Abbey at the foundry of Messrs John Taylor & Company, Loughborough... It is hoped that the bell will be in position for Easter, next year.

Christmas at Buckfast this year, while lacking nothing of the customary solemnity of the rites in chant and ceremony, will, not inappropriately perhaps, come to us in magnum silentium, in a great silence, as there will be no joyous bells pealing out upon the midnight air from the lofty tower... A few days after we had heard them ringing for the solemnity of the third anniversary of the Dedication of the Abbey, the bells were lowered slowly, one by one, by means of a double-handed winch, to the ground. 'Mary', the heaviest, took thirty-five minutes to lower. All have gone to Messrs Taylor's foundry to be re-cast in a new scale in perfect assonance with their new brother...

1936
It will be of interest no doubt to readers to know more of our work on the tower and new belfry. There has been work going on ever since the bells were taken off to be recast... It was now of great importance not to throw any thrust on the tower walls at the higher level. This problem was solved by Mr White in a masterly manner. The new floor to the bell-chamber, which is at a 20 foot higher level, is supported by iron stanchions and framework rising from the previous bell floor, which will henceforth be the ringing room... The reinforced netted flooring... consists of hollow brick laid in rows separated by four inches of concrete reinforced with soft steel rods.

1938
It was on March 28 that Hosanna gained her lofty nest - indeed she looks like some great bird with her chickens all around her looking to the strong mother for protection and the cluck of encouragement. In the evening Brother Oswald Taylor made the simple profession of a lay brother. No doubt the two events will seem to many of suggest a mystical comparison one with the other.

1945
The recent heavy demand for our Fathers to do week-end duty in many parishes of the diocese has often reduced our number of bell-ringers to less than those required for a peal on Sunday. It was therefore a pleasure, even greater than usual, to welcome the members of the Devonshire Bell Ringers Association and to hear all our bells rung by these experts. They came of June 9th, for their annual meeting, and spent some four hours in the belfry whence we heard some fine scientific change ringing.

1960
The first peal rung on the bells since their recasting was on 9 October 1937 when twelve non-resident members of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers rang Stedman Cinques... Three years later all church bells in the country were silenced by order of the government; they were to be rung only in the case of invasion. Fortunately the next time the bells were heard was not for an invasion but for the victory at El Alamein. One of our regular ringers, Dom Paulinus Angold, was serving as an army chaplain at Alamein.

Since the war the community have (sic) made great strides at bellringing. In 1955 Dom Adalbert handed over the captaincy of the bells to Dom Oswald. Up to this time the community had rung only call changes... But under the tutorship of the late Mr J.E. Lilley the Abbey ringers made a determined effort to master half-pull ringing... In the last few years great progress has been made, due mainly to help received from members of the Devon Guild, among whom special thanks are due to Mr E.M. Atkins, Mr W.G. Lavers and Mr A.L. Bennett who rang in the first touch at Christmas 1921,

Two years ago Br Paschal rang the treble to a peal of Grandsire Triples, at Wolborough, and six of the Abbey band, namely: Dom Benet, Dom Paulinus, Dom Oswald, Dom Christopher, Br Paschal and Dom Anthony rang a quarter peal of 1,320 Plain Bob Doubles without any outside help. During the present year three of the community rang in a peal of Plain Bob Minor and in a quarter of the same method. Since the bells were hung in their permanent home, six peals of Stedman Cinques have been rung on them, also one of Grandsire Cinques, and one each of Yorkshire and Cambridge Surprise Maximus, and one each of Plain Bob Major and Minor. On the day of the jubilee itself the band rang a quarter peal of Triples on the heavy eight. It was hoped to honour the occasion with a full peal but unfortunately the plan had to be abandoned.

The picture below shows the view looking down from the old ringing platform.


St Andrew's: diary of a new recruit

HANDS ON THE SALLY

It was a cold October evening when my husband and I were introduced to the pleasure and pain of bell ringing. Some weeks earlier my husband had read an article in our local newspaper about how St Andrews, the Church we were married in needed more bell ringers to ring in the millennium and anyone interested should get in touch with the Tower Captain.

My husband was very keen, I wasn't so sure. I was three years passed the age life was supposed to begin at, I have no co-ordination, anyone who saw me in the aerobics class will testify to that and I have no musical talent so I didn't think I could learn to ring. We did indeed ring in the millennium, although I did have someone standing beside me but I did ring on my own shortly after. I have found the process of learning painfully slow, literally, I still get blisters. In the beginning I couldn't even remember which stroke was hand or which was back, then a kind soul suggested I thought of the phase "hands on the sally" and that did the trick. Just learning to tie the rope correctly took me months. It sometimes seems that for every step forward, I take two steps back. I still have some problems, but I can honestly say I have never been made to feel stupid; I even let the rope go one Sunday morning!

We ring regularly on Sundays, and have done a few weddings, the first of which was quite exciting. My husband is a quicker learner and has already rung his first quarter peal. Recently while on holiday in the USA, we managed to get a ring in Old North Church Boston, which was quite an experience in 90 F with a huge fan blowing the ropes! We did not choose easy bells on which to learn, our tower has a 35cwt tenor in a ring of ten, which are in desperate need of restoration and fund raising is still on going. I may never be a great bell ringer but I shall endeavour to improve with the help of my very patient teachers.
Christine


South West Branch: outing to Torquay

SUNSHINE AND SHOWERS

Sunshine and showers were the order of the day as members of the branch met at Paignton early in October to ring five towers in the Torbay area. Paignton parish church is not the easiest to get to by car it must be said, a bit tricky on a Saturday morning if you have never been before, the traffic was quite mad.

Seven of the twelve towers in the branch were represented, about 18 ringers formed the core of the party and stuck together all day. Other members joined at various towers during the day and some left as their own commitments allowed but most stayed the course and all gelled together really well.

Congratulations indeed to David Pike branch Ringer Master for organising the outing and his innovative idea to visit five not -the usual six towers- so allowing good one and a quarter hours time at most towers and a whopping one and at St Marychurch, this meant that we could really get a feel for each tower and get our eye in before we left for the next venue, a great help to those of us who had never rang these places before. Something to be learnt here for anyone organising future outings, quality not quantity.

Cockington was the only other tower we rang before lunch and what a delightful little Church it is, set in lovely park land peaceful after the bustle of Paignton. What wonderfully inquisitive and nosey creatures we humans are, when the lady Church official unlocked the tower door all the tourists in the Church followed us up to the ringing chamber. It was standing room only but with a few well chosen words on the dangers of bell ringing from David and John Steere we lost most of them. Nice 6 here everyone enjoyed the experience, the atmosphere certainly began to warm up and all relaxed somewhat as being such a cramped chamber we were virtually sitting on each others' knees.

Lunchtime followed everyone making their own arrangements, several partook of their flasks and sandwiches in the grounds at Cockington, delightful spot until they realised they had been locked in and had to retreat by a rear gate.

First stop in the afternoon was Upton, 8 bells and some good ringing with method and call changes ensued, though the majority were method ringers it must be said that the call change ringers and novices amongst us were looked after exceptionally well by the more experienced members and all had equal share of the ringing, David made sure of that.

Babbacombe next and a similar eight, we were joined there by more members, another good session followed confidence and the convivial atmosphere growing by the minute. My admiration was growing also for the three young lads amongst the group, Peter Murphy, Mark Williams and Christopher Peirce they rang brilliantly all day and did themselves proud. Lovely to see young blood amongst the group, it bodes well for the future, we just need more of them.

St. Marychurch with its magnificent 10 was the grand finale they sounded great, handled like a dream. the ringing here was probably the best of the day as much a pleasure to just sit, watch and listen, as ring. The senior hands were probably right to be cautious and not rise all 10 together but I had confidence in you all, maybe another time. Smiling happy faces all round as we descended the tower en route to our evening meal, was it just me or did anyone else feel decidedly dizzy when they stepped out at the bottom of the tower. Low point of the day, there were none, how could there be, when ringers get together you are among a grand group of friendly folk. High point was surely the ring of ten at St. Marychurch I'm sure everyone enjoyed it.

All decamped at the Hare & Hounds, Kingskerswell for our evening meal, which again forward planning and prior booking by David ensured everyone sat together. I think all there would agree the meal, atmosphere and company were great, a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing end to the days outing.

On a more personal note my wife and I who are new to ringing with limited experience would like to thank everyone who helped us during the course of the day, much appreciated. Special mention, and thanks to Mr Pike senior and Fergus under whose guidance I was able to ring a little plain hunting on the tenor at St. Marychurch, my first attempt, it certainly rounded off an excellent day out.


Uffculme: joint ringing with Cullompton

WEDDING BELLS

Cullompton and Uffculme ringers have been doing a lot of joint ringing over the last three years while Cullompton bells have been out of action due to a crumbling tower. The work on Cullompton tower has now finished and the band is waiting for the mortar to set before commencing to ring again. Two such joint ringing events took place in August.

On Saturday 12 August at the wedding of Uffculme and Cullompton ringer Chris Hellier to Jenny Spring the ringers gave the couple a surprise handbell 'guard of honour' as they emerged from Cullompton church which recorded tower bell sounds came from speakers perched in the belfry.

On Saturday 19 August the Uffculme bells rang for the wedding of Lisa Cork to Darren Walker. Lisa's father Bill is vice-captain at Uffculme.

In celebration of both these weddings, ringers of Cullompton and Uffculme rang in a quarter peal at a 'neutral' tower.

Kentisbeare. 19 Aug, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: Jean Osborne 1, Terry Hargreaves 2, Matthew Weighell 3, Mike Hilson 4, Richard Shere (C) 5, Alan Spear 6.


Newton St Cyres: veteran ringer's birthday

REG REACHES 98

Vice president Reg Bray celebrated his 98th birthday in October, which was marked as a usual by a peal of Grandsire Triples at Newton St Cyres, where he still rings regularly. The band was met by local ringers Andrew Digby and Bob Coates, who said that they believe Reg is now the oldest person still ringing for Sunday service. Unfortunately the weather was so bad, Reg did not want to venture out that day.

The photograph shows Reg with the Newton St Cyres ringers a few years ago. Readers are asked to identify some well know faces.

NEWTON ST CYRES, Devon. SS Cyr and Julitta
Saturday 28 October in 2 hours 32 minutes
5040 GRANDSIRE TRIPLES
(JJ Parker's twelve part)
Robert DS Brown 1
Paul J Pascoe 2
Ian W Avery 3
E William Ford 4
Michael C Hansford 5
Lester J Yeo 6
Michael EC Mears (C) 7
Michael R Rose 8


Guild: Open Day and Quarter Peal Week

RAISING MONEY FOR BELL RESTORATION

The Devon Bells Open Day along the A361 corridor was superbly organised by Don Roberts and very successful.

Ringers from all over the country came to grab the twenty two towers on the August bank holiday.

Unfortunately one or two of the advertised towers became unavailable at the last moment, such as Romansleigh, where the architect declared the bells unringable only a day or so before the grab.

During the Quarter peal week at the end of September, thirty quarter peals were rung, including five first quarters, many firsts in methods, and first as conductor for Philip Mudge before he left for university in Southampton. Alan Spear celebrated fifty years ringing in a quarter at Burlescombe.

Thanks to all the ringers, and especially to organiser Janet Coles, the Guild raised £249 which will be given to the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund.


Farway: augmentation planned

NEW SIX FOR EAST DEVON

The parishioners of Farway in East Devon are planning to rehang the three bells in St Michael's church tower in a frame for six, and if possible to have the three extra bells cast. The tenor there is a mediaeval bell from the Exeter foundry and described by Ellacombe as 'a very fine bell'.


East Devon: Striking Competition

TEN TEAMS FIGHT FOR SUMMERS SHIELD

On Saturday 8th July ten teams assembled at Harpford for the East Devon branch annual six bell striking competition. Unfortunately, due to illness, Ron Trickey was unable to judge the event, but many thanks to Ralph Bucknall of Seaton who stepped in at the last minute.

This year the teams were competing for the newly acquired Edward Summers Memorial Shield, and this was presented by Kath Summers to Sidmouth.

Results:

Sidmouth 81.75
Honiton 74.50
Shute 60.00
Honiton 57.25
Shute 56.00
Ottery St Mary 49.75
Buckerell/Awliscombe 48.00
Ottery St Mary 41.00
Sidmouth 28.75
Buckerell/Awliscombe 25.00

It is hoped that the few branch members who helped with the ringing will encourage their own towers to enter a team next year.

During the afternoon cream teas were served in the village hall which was organised by Kath with help from one of our visitors, Mary Coles.

From Harpford the ringers travelled to West Hill, where Gordon Bird and his wife had organised a super barbecue for all, which was a nice end to a warm sociable day, enjoyed by all.


Association: new record set

SINGLE CONDUCTOR CALLS EXTENT OF CALL CHANGES

During 1990, eight intrepid, foolhardy ringers met on a fine March day to ring for over six and a half hours and record a first in their art -- 5040 unrepeated call changes.

Ten years on, it was decided to repeat the performance, but this time, one mad individual (the writer) decided that he was going to conduct the entire performance himself from memory.

The method itself sees 5040 calls being made to produce all combinations on seven bells. In theory calls are made at every handstroke -- this producing 10,080 rows, every combination being rung twice. In reality, however, this is not always possible; as the striking standards come and go over the five and a half hour period, so does the frequency of calling! For example, during the first four courses (840 calls) only four handstrokes were missed.

To get traditional call-change ringers up to this length of ringing, warm-ups had been arranged over the last ten months, starting with 1000 (in 1 hr12m) in December and the date touch of 2000 (2hr18m).

The peal was rung as a tribute to the tower captain, Herbert 'Pickles' Pascoe, who this year celebrates seventy years of ringing and for a long time has been captain at Buckland in the Moor. The ringers at this tower have been for a great many years, at the forefront of Devon eight bell call-change ringing. It is a fitting achievement therefore that this performance be attributed to this wonderful tower and its bells.
Paul J Pascoe

This peal was started at 10.09am and immediately a good pitch and standard of striking was set. Each of the first eight courses (of 210 calls) were rung in just over thirteen minutes and this speed did not deviate above 14 minutes 14 seconds throughout. The composition itself was more easily split into six parts, and the timings for these varied from 52 minutes in the first part to 59 minutes in the fourth and fifth parts, where the striking and pitch of the bells dictated slightly slower callings. The peal itself returned into rounds at 3.42pm, a total of 5 hours 33 minutes.
Alan Brown.

Devon Association of Bellringers
BUCKLAND IN THE MOOR, Devon
S Peter (7cwt)
Saturday 30 September 2000
5 hours 33 minutes
5040 UNREPEATED CALL CHANGES
Comp PJ & GH Pascoe
1 Mark Lovall
2 Suzanne D Driscoll
3 Paul J Pascoe (C)
4 Christine K Pascoe
5 Brian Redstone
6 Chris S Pascoe
7 Graham H Pascoe
8 Alan Brown


DR J DUNCAN WEAVER

Duncan Weaver, of Roborough in North Devon died suddenly and unexpectedly in the early hours of the morning of Tuesday 28 November. With his wife Heather, he had been a strong supporter of method ringing in North Devon since their arrival there in the mid eighties from East Grinstead, and had served as Ringing Master of the St Brannock's Society.

We hope to publish a full obituary in due course, and send our condolences to Heather. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.


Morebath: from the Mid Devon Gazette

COURTNEY FAMILY SURE KNOW THE ROPES

Bellringing in St George's Church, Morebath, has become a family affair for the Courtneys, with mother Sue (right) and her three children, including Daniel (left) and Eleanor, all taking part.

Daniel, 14, who started about three years ago, recently rang his first extent of Plain Bob Doubles on the treble bell at Brushford. Last month, Daniel was elected a member of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers.

Eleanor, 13, and Robert, 10, complete the family line-up under tower captain Jim Vellacott, who has been training a growing group of young ringers at Morebath. Daniel was persuaded to start by Mr Vellacott, who used to be a neighbour of the family, and Eleanor began about a year later.

When Robert decided during the summer he wanted to join his brother and sister, Sue agreed to go along as well. Sue said, "I am not as good as Daniel and Eleanor, but it is good fun and good exercise. It takes a lot of concentration. Practice sessions are held in Morebath on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm.


SWEATSHIRTS AND RINGING BOOKS

People who are interested in ringing books may like to know that the Guild Secretary has received a catalogue list from Church Green Books, who sell secondhand books on bells and bellringing. They have some 250 items for sale, with prices ranging from 20p to £250 (plus p&p).

Wendy has also had several members enquiring about the next consignment of sweatshirts, so will be compiling an order in due course. If anyone would like one of the Guild's embroidered sweatshirts or polo shirts - huge range of other garments also available from the catalogue - then please contact her.

If you would prefer an embroidered badge to sew onto your own sweatshirt, then these are also available. For details e-mail to [email protected] lineone.net .


EAST DEVON LEVEL APPROACH

At present many of the East Devon Towers are struggling to find enough ringers for services and practices. At our last Branch meeting it was it was decided to attempt to progress at various levels. Richard Coley runs the plain hunt sessions, Don Salter - Stedman Doubles, Crispin Denny - Cambridge and Derek Ballard - Surprise Major. If anyone is interested in joining us you would be most welcome. To the ringers from outside the Branch who have contributed so much already - a big Thank You.


FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

The Taw, Torridge and Tamar mid week group continues to be popular and successful. Now in its fourth year, members attending rarely fall below fifteen, and on two occasions have exceeded twenty. Regular attenders come from as far afield as Swindon, Wiltshire, East Somerset and, if the tower is a rarer one, Grappenhall in Cheshire!

Many of the members are now attempting more complex methods, including Surprise Minor and Major, and a most enjoyable practice was held at Thorverton, when we tackled Grandsire and Stedman Caters. The first annual dinner has been organised for Thursday 11 January -- this specifically for wives, partners etc. as a special treat! Do join us in 2001 -- it is a very enjoyable mid-week treat!
Don Lawson


Salcombe: Ernie Brazier writes about ringing tour

THE COTSWOLD CAPER

Salcombe ringers have always been keen and ambitious. Within a year of having the bells installed at Salcombe the ringers were off on their first outing which included ringing at Buckfast Abbey. Competition ringing showed a dramatic improvement over four years from low in the results to a second place this year and promotion to senior level.

Outings have been undertaken every year and last October saw the fifteen strong group heading for a two day outing to the Cotswolds. Over the two days 11 churches were visited, including two eight bell towers at Tetbury and Burford. These provided wonderful Rolls Royce ringing on superb bells and were highlights, yet the usual sixes in small village churches provided just as much satisfaction and fun.

The group will long remember the five at Coln St Dennis. St James was built by monastic Normans only seventy years after the Battle of Hastings and the tower, nave and sanctuary remain unaltered. The tower is a squat affair over the chancel and the ring of five is barely eight feet above the heads of the ringers and bell ropes and beams are well mixed together. The noise was deafening, and the heavy bells eager to come down and one bell stood automatically at tail stroke having been lodged in a beam!

Regrettably the captain at St Andrews, Chedworth had died the evening before the visit and the group had the privilege of ringing the bells half muffled in tribute and memoriam.

The anticlockwise ring at Windrush caught some members looking the wrong way and Japanese tourists crowding the ground floor ringing space at St Mary's. Bibury, all photoflash and jabber, provided and unusual hazard.

The leisure of a two day trip away benefits both ringing and social life, we really did enjoy ourselves enormously, as the bar bill at the Fossebridge Inn can testify.

The talk in the tower is that next year will be a two day trip ringing the churches of the City of London - Salcombe being ambitious again!


FIRST QUARTERS

Congratulations to Howard Allen, Andrew Digby, Steven King, Peter Murphy, Vanessa Pay, Catherine Thorpe, R Wadling and Christopher Wills who have recently rung their first quarter peal, and to Phlip Mudge, who rang his first as conductor.

Torquay (Babbacombe). 22 Jul, 1260 Grandsire Triples: Donald Roberts 1, Steven Came 2, Rowena Mansley 3, Robert Southwood 4, Simon Glanfield 5, Philip Stevens 6, Martin Mansley (C) 7, Christopher Wills (1st Q.) 8

Kings Nympton. 6 Aug, 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: Vanessa Pay (1st att) 1, D Wilford 2, RA Thorne 3, T Spearing 4, P Pay 5, Mandy Spearing 6

Tavistock. 24 Sep, 1260 Grandsire Triples: Doreen Mudge 1, Yvonne Porter 2, Donna Baker 3, Sheila Williams 4, Philip Mudge (1st as C) 5, Andrew Mudge 6, George Mudge 7, Jim East 8.

Bampton. 26 Sep, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: Tony Trigg 1, Jean Parkinson 2, Jane Lindsey 3, Wilfred Dunn 4, Mike Hilson (C) 5, Howard Allen (1st att.) 6.

Teignmouth (S Michael). 26 Sep, 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: R Wadling (1st Q) 1, Doreen Dawson 2, Brian Dawson 3, Richard Barter 4, Martin Dodd (C) 5, John Lidstone 6.

Silverton. 27 Sep, 1260 Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles: Steven King (1st att.) 1, Terry Hargreaves 2, Leslie Boyce 3, Sheila Scofield 4, Richard Shere (C) 5, Albert Campbell 6.

Halberton. 29 Sep, 1260 Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles: Catherine Thorpe (1st att) 1, Sheila Scofield (Jt C) 2, Jane Lindsey (Jt C) 3, Jean Osborne 4, Leslie Boyce (Jt C) 5, Alan Spear 6.

Exeter (Heavitree). 1 Oct, 1260 Grandsire Triples: Andrew Digby (1st Q) 1, Valerie Oates 2, Matthew Hilling (C) 3, Robert Grange 4, Wendy Campbell 4, Tony Osborne 6, Ian Campbell 7, Pam Miller 8.

Tavistock. 8 Oct, 1260 Grandsire Triples: Peter Murphy (1st Q) 1, Sheila Williams 2, Yvonne Porter 3, Donna Baker 4, Neil Williams 5, George Mudge 6, Andrew Mudge 7, Jim East 8.


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Pages written by Ian Campbell

Updated 15/12/2000