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 RRD@lyeo.freeserve.co.uk.
Most, if not all, the bells in Devon rang on New Year's Day to welcome the beginning of the Millennium year. A selection of photographs is available here.
Whitchurch. 25 Sept, 1280 Doubles (6m): Margaret Hearn (1st Q) 1, Rogenia Bond 2, Anthony Parry (C) 3, Jane Doidge 4, Paul Forbes-Harper 5, Linda Medford 6
Torquay (St Marychurch). 27 Sept, 1260 Doubles (2p/2m): Rowena Mansley 1, Don Roberts 2, Nigel Birt 3, Claire Beck 4, Martin Mansley (C) 5, Helen Mansley (1st Q) 6
Stoke Damerel. 10 Oct, 1260 Grandsire Doubles: Mark Williams (1st Q) 1, Christopher Pierce (1st Q.) 2, John Steere 3, Paul Jones 4, Steve Pierce (C), John Beswetherick (1st Q) 6
Kingskerswell. 24 Oct, 1260 PB Doubles: Maureen Stevens 1, T King 2, M Mansley 3, Rebekah Hartley (1st iside) 4, P Stevens 5, P Lister (1st Q) 6. (No C given).
Plymouth (Emmanuel). 5 Dec, 1290 Plain Bob Doubles: Gill Madge (1st Q) 1, DJ Crocker 2, JF Bowler 3, CH Wardle 4, Alena J Wardle 5 (C), Jill Larbelestier 6
Honiton (S Paul). 8 Dec. 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: Ron Trickey 1, Anne Stenning 2, John Levin 3, Dean Bowden 4, Derek Ballard (1st as C.) 5, Brian Samuels 6
Plymouth (Emmanuel). 19 Dec, 1320 Grandsire Doubles: Christine M Cope (1st Q) 1, Jill Larbalestier 2, Alena J Wardle 3, CH Wardle 4, D Crocker (C), G Larbelestier 6
Babbacombe. 31 Jan, 1269 Doubles (10m): Kathryn Goodhew 1, Claire Beck 2, Steve Came 3, Tim King 4, Simon Glanfield (C) 5, David Heath (1st Q) 6
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has recently posed questions to the DPA Registrar in an effort to get some 'official' guidance on the question of whether it is necessary to obtain written consent from all members of a ringing society prior to their personal information being processed or published.
The DPA Registrar has indicated that it should not be necessary to obtain an individual member's written consent provided that:
As Guild Secretary, I am acutely aware of how privileged I am to have access to members' personal information: addresses, telephone numbers (often ex-directory) and e-mail addresses. I guard my own privacy very jealously and am careful not to jeopardise that of other people. With regard to dissemination of information via the Guild, there are three main areas which members should be aware of:
So, that's it in a nutshell! You can sleep easy in the knowledge that very minimal personal information about you is being held on computer by your friendly ringing society - but it's going to be a lot less than the local supermarket who knows more about your habits via your credit card purchases than you'd probably like.
Ringing in East Devon has lost one of its brightest stars with the passing in early January 2000 of Edward Summers. Edward would be the last person to want a fuss made, but the fact is that he has been an inspiration to so many of us, with his wit and good humour and his desire to progress and help others to do the same, and we cannot let his passing go unmarked.
Ed served for some time as chairman of the East Devon Branch and through his enthusiasm and leadership a number of initiatives to develop the art in East Devon have grown and thrived. Edward organised the East Devon Branch six-bell striking competition for the past few years. This is a competition very much in his image, being as much to do with fun and good fellowship as with improving striking. It is no coincidence that Buckerell, where he was tower captain for many years is the venue for the increasingly successful Cambridge Minor practices. Until his illness Ed was a regular at these practices, striving to get his head round the blue line with increasing success. Any practice with Ed present could guarantee two things, enthusiastic ringing and a good story . . . and that's another thing: Ed was always ready to join in a tour, whether for quarter peals or just for grabbing. He loved to see other towers and meet other people. Ed never pushed himself forward or gave himself airs; he just rang for the joy of it.
Ed learnt to ring in Awliscombe; he certainly was part of the Ottery band when he was at Salston Barton Farm just outside Ottery, and he was earlier part of the Sidbury band. More recently Ed was captain at Buckerell where he has nurtured a strong, young band. Being captain of Buckerell did not stop him becoming a regular member of the Honiton and the Ottery bands. In fact at Ottery, Ed seldom missed a Sunday morning's ringing before rushing off to Buckerell to ring there and discharge his duties as churchwarden.
Goodbye Ed, and thanks for everything.
Ringing in the Millennium has introduced many new members into the towers of the South West Branch. Significant efforts were made either to ring in the New Year at midnight, soberly and in style while the dignitaries were dawdling in the Dome, or more formally in the 15 minute interregnum at the dedicated service on New Year's Day. This was a chance for the beginners to strike their best rounds and for their teachers to reflect that these new recruits would now be available to summon the faithful regularly to Sunday services in the years to come.
The following are some details of the towers that rang successfully. The relatively new band at Charleton St Mary rang on New Year's Day and assisted at South Pool where a new band is being set up. Ermington's experienced band rang a fine touch at midday, and nearby Galmpton managed a credible ring lasting 45 minutes with a band that included a 12 year old learner, whose first grasp of a sally has been a week earlier at Christmas. The newly formed and eager band at Kelly rang at both midnight and midday to an appreciative congregation and local community.
In Plymouth itself the tower at Emmanuel had 14 ringers competing for ropes, all of whom rang at the midnight and midday services with the experienced ringers achieving a fine touch of Stedman Triples. At St Budeaux the regulars were assisted at the midday service by an Emmanuel ringer to make up the six. The difficult bells at St Andrew's were rung by the valiant regulars and several novices, and produced some nice rounds at midday. Stokes' advanced beginners and core of experienced regulars rang accomplished touches at midnight and midday.
Further afield the local band with several new recruits at Salcombe not only rang the New Year in at their own tower but also assisted at ringing in five other towers on New Year's Day. Sydenham, Whitchurch and the newly augmented ten-bell ring at Tavistock were also all heard to ring on New Year's Day. Finally, ringing occurred in all the 25 towers of the Woodleigh Deaneries. The new ringers at Slapton managed some well-struck rounds and at Malborough 86-year old William Elliott rang the tenor.
For the new recruits who had especially geared themselves up for the Millennium ring, this was the experience of a lifetime. Thanks to the many hours of tuition invested in them by the experienced ringers they will go on to develop their skills and are already planning the next big event - RING OUT 2000 on 31st December.
The Guild competitions will take place in the Mid Devon branch on Saturday 21 October. The method for the eight-bell competition, possibly to be held at Wolborough, will be Little Grandsire Triples, and here is the touch for the test piece, together with a number of other short touches to help branch teams to practise this simple but different method.
Competition Touch 270 changes
Some other short touches:
SPCK Bookshop in Exeter have started stocking Pam Copson's excellent little books for ringers. So if you need a copy quickly for one of your learners, it is even easier to get hold of one.
5th January 2000
I was delighted to receive the wonderful donation of £447.00 for the Children's Hospice. Would you please express our sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed towards this gift raised from the collection at the Ringers Carol Service at Exeter Cathedral. Your very kind and thoughtful support for our Appeal is truly appreciated.
I thought you would be interested in what one mother wrote recently of our service:- "Little Bridge House is more than a beautiful building, it is a network made up of very special people who care and it is there to help families in whichever way they wish ... when the end of a child's life is near, Little Bridge House will be there to support you; helping you to do things the way you want with a quiet and dignified reverence. .... When you have a child diagnosed with a terminal illness you start to build - you build and develop memories for a time when that child will no longer be there. We have many very precious memories - a lot of them are at Little Bridge House"
Thank you therefore for being part of that network of special people who care and for your support in ensuring Little Bridge House can continue to be there to provide families with these precious memories. Your help has made a real difference to their lives.
Yours sincerely, Jill Farwell Administrator.
By Paul Pascoe
Call changes! Many ringers will have different views on this subject. However, in Devon, call-change ringers live in harmony with method ringing colleagues, promoting high standards in striking, together with, of course, raising and lowering in peal.
With the advent of the new millennium (or at least the year 2000, for those who aren't a year ahead) it was decided to do something special. So it was that eight ringers met on Tuesday 28th December at Buckland-in-the-Moor, and successfully completed 1000 unrepeated call changes (i.e. Each row following a call must not be repeated at any previous / subsequent call).
The composition was arranged to include all the musical sequences of Queens, Westminsters, Tittums, and of course a reversal, with calls being made very handstroke. For five of the band it was the longest length they had ever rung, and it is a credit to all those involved that the striking was excellent throughout.
What will be next I wonder? Probably not another 5040 as completed in 1990, but maybe 2000 for next year - the thinking cap will have to be put on again!
BUCKLAND-IN-THE-MOOR, Devon, St Peter
Tues Dec 28 1999 1h12 (8)
1000 Unrepeated Call Changes
Comp. P J Pascoe
1 Paul J. Pascoe
2 Pat L. Johnstone
3 Suzanne D. Driscoll
4 Christine K. Heath
5 Neil R. Holloway
6 Chris S. Pascoe
7 Graham H. Pascoe
8 Bernard S. Miners
Scrutineer: Ray Mugridge
Longest length: 3,4,5,6,8
The Guild sends its good wishes to Frank Mack who had a number of minor strokes this winter, and hopes he will make a prompt recovery.
Fortunately he is active and still able to do a little ringing, although peals and quarters are at the moment out of the question!
At the Cathedral Society AGM in January, the secretary announced that the original minute book dating back to the foundation of the current society in 1915, was now full, and a new book would need to be purchased. The early entries are rather brief but describe accurately the activity of the Society.
At a meeting in the Deanery, it was resolved to reorganise the band which in future should form a society in connection with the Guild, consisting of fourteen paid ringers; thirteen days later the members met to elect their officers, with Frank Davey and Arthur Searle as joint ringing masters and Tom Laver as secretary. Members had to be associated with the Guild through a local tower, and competent to ring 500 Grandsire Caters. For their pains, they would be paid five guineas for each paid ringing day (presumably, although the rules are not clear, that was the payment for the whole band!). Paid ringing days were to be Christmas, Easter and Whitsun, together with the birthday and accession day of the sovereign, and St Peter's Day. Fines would be paid by members for misdemeanours, such as "wearing hat", lateness or "using obscene language in the Belfry".
The band was given a set of handbells in 1917 by John Richards, described in the minute book, as "an old ringer and resident in Catherine Street, close to the Cathedral". The number of ringers was increased to sixteen in 1923, this being "the necessary complement to ring the twelve bells", and in 1929, the joint mastership ceased, and Frank Davey became sole ringing master. Mr Davey was forced to resign from the band for health reasons in 1932 - he died the following year - and J R Sandover served as master until October 1937. He was succeeded by Charles Glass.
In 1939, "a letter was read from Mr G R Newton, Ringing Master at Liverpool Cathedral asking for information as to the conduct of the Society, and the Secretary was authorised to forward a copy of the rules and to suggest that an invitation might be sent to attend the opening ceremony". In 1941, the secretary (Tom Laver) reported to the meeting that he had resigned in March and because no-one could be found to succeed him, had resumed the office. At the same meeting, "following discussion upon the order of the MOHS that all bells be only used by the military as a warning in event of enemy invasion, it was the opinion of the meeting that the chimes only should be used to avoid damage to the bells by inexperienced operators." When the band was lifted in 1942, the Thomas eight were rung to celebrate the Allied victory in Egypt and Christmas Day. At Christmas the following year, ten bells were rung "with the help of two visiting ringers".
Fred Wreford succeeded Tom Laver in 1951 as secretary, when the number of members was increased to eighteen, and Bill Howe was elected Ringing Master. Tom Laver had been secretary for thirty-five years, and after his funeral later that year, the Stafford ten was rung in the evening as a knell. A proposal was made in 1952 that ringing at practices should be limited to Caters and upwards, but this was rejected. The following year, Canon McLaren retired from the chapter, and so as Vice President of the Society, a position he had held since its inception. At the same meeting, Miss Elizabeth Brown was elected a member, "the first lady ever to be a member of the Society in the whole history of the bells and ringing at the Cathedral".
In 1958 Tom Bartlett died; he had been a member of the band for 42 years and treasurer for 35 of them. In 1961 Fred Wreford was elected Ringing Master, and Charles Yates succeeded him as Secretary. the following year saw the first annual dinner of the Society, but at the next meeting, "a discussion took place to consider the best way to meet the cost of the Annual Dinner which was on a much grander scale. It was agreed that each member should contribute 12/-."
By 1966, the request was made that "our repertoire should be expanded by more even bell ringing and less Grandsire" The Ringing Master endorsed this view but commented that "it was only possible to ring what the members present could ring. It was not his policy to sacrifice good striking for the sake of experiments into realms of methods of which some members had little knowledge." The following year, the bells were broadcast on the wireless on Christmas Day, "and appreciation for the excellent striking of Grandsire Cinques had been received from all parts of the country."
To be continued...
Yet again, the first weekend of February saw Exeter swamped by vast numbers of ECG members past and present, and even the odd friend (some odder than others). With 64 people attending, the joint highest ever, the 2000 dinner was set to be a success, and so it proved to be.
The initial meet at the Mill on the Exe on Friday night broke the ice nicely, and was a good opportunity to catch up with the events of the past year. The master was in good stead, having composed the majority of his speech already, breaking with tradition somewhat; this said, nerves were no easy thing to allay!
The Saturday saw a leisurely start (actually the whole of the itinerary was fairly relaxed) for the ringing around the Teignmouth area, encompassing some interesting rings and even more exciting ringing. Kick off for the dinner was moved forward this year by half an hour, ostensibly to give more time barn-dancing, but more likely so that the master could get the speech over and done with quicker.
This years guest speaker was Iain Somerfield, from the Bristol University society, continuing our strong links with Bristol. The food was good, the company fun, the speeches excellent and the dancing... entertaining. It seems that certain members of the ECG have not been blessed with dancing feet!
Sunday was spent in Exeter, ringing at the various towers, and after lunch ringing at the Cathedral rounded off a very enjoyable weekend. Thanks are due to Ed Oakeley and Michael Esbester for the organisation and their hard work; and if by any chance you too feel that this is THE event not to be missed, save space in your diary for the first weekend in February 2001, when we do it all again!
The arrangements for the Guild Festival Day which includes the annual meeting for business are well in hand. The date of the meeting is fixed for 24 June, and the venue is St Peter's, Tiverton. It is hoped that the new Bishop of Exeter as patron of the Guild might be able to attend, and that a social event will conclude the day, which will include a number of opportunities for ringers to develop their skills.
As parking in Tiverton can be a problem, especially on a summer Saturday, it is intended to have a central school playground available for ringers' cars. More details will follow in due course.
Congratulations to Lynette Costello who celebrated her marriage to Gerard Duddridge on Saturday 4 March. The service was at St Andrew's, Exwick (one bell), and was followed by a reception at the Royal Clarence in Exeter.
Repointing the tower stonework at Bampton started in May, and the bells will be out of action until Easter, as this work is reported running well behind schedule.
Don Roberts is organising on behalf of the Guild an open day for towers along the A361 corridor. This is planned to happen on the August Bank Holiday, 28 August, and it is hoped that visitors from up-country will come to grab the towers between Junction 27 and Barnstaple, and so contribute towards the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund.
Stewards will be needed at each tower, so please put this date in your diary now, and be available to help.
Uffculme ringer Mike Hilson (above, with Frances, his wife) has said a special thank you to staff at the RD&E Hospital who helped him in his battle against leukaemia.
Mike is vice-chairman of the Willand Square Dance Club, and organised a special event for club members and friends, which raised £100 for Exeter Leukaemia Fund.
Initially he was treated for a tooth abscess as he went to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party as president of the Institute of gas Engineers. But the swelling did not go away and eighteen months ago further tests revealed that he had non-hodgkins lymphoma.
Mike underwent a course of chemotherapy in Yarty ward at the Wonford hospital, and learnt of the plans to build a new £1.7 million unit to double the existing facilities to treat leukaemias.
A scan of Guild reports makes it clear that big changes are afoot in the South West Branch. For much of the 1970s, there were only four affiliated towers (one of them unringable!) and at one point fewer than fifty members. At the turn of the Millennium, things are very different. Twelve towers now benefit from their affiliation, and membership has grown to over a hundred.
Growth involves more challenging change, however. Thirty years ago, a leisurely half-hour drive would bring the Plymouth ringers to our, then, most far-flung outpost at Whitchurch. Today, to cover the nearly fifty miles which separate Kelly and Salcombe (arguable our most historic and newest towers) can take up to a couple of hours contending with the milk tankers, muck spreaders and seasonal visitors.
Another complication is that the needs of new bands to develop basic skills are very different from those of surprise royal ringers who now have two rings of ten at their disposal in the Branch. It is important for more able ringers to remember their own early mistakes and struggles to learn, and that learners should not feel intimidated by people they perceive as experts.
At our recent AGM, we asked ourselves the question, "What is the Branch for?" What can we do to respond to the needs of ringers whose experience, interests and location are so much more diverse than ever before? The EU has a word for it. yes, we think the answer to our problem could be subsidiarity.
The word is ugly, but we think the concept is elegant - that is that we do not attempt to do at the centre what can most effectively be done close to where the need is felt. In practice, we think that we need to recognise the distinct characteristics of the South Hams, the Tavistock Deanery, and Plymouth and to offer support to and draw strength from these areas with more sensitivity to their differences.
This is not to suggest that the Branch should be split, but that we need to extend the process begun eighty years ago when the Branches were formed within the Guild to bring it closer to its roots. The proof of this pudding will be in the eating as we try to develop and refine ways of putting the ideas into practice.
On Thursday, 17th February, Bill Ford rang a peal of London S Royal (No. 3) to mark his 73rd birthday, which proves that you are never too old to learn as long as you have the enthusiasm and determination. Since Bill returned to live at Thorverton in the 1980s, he has increased his method repertoire to the extent that he completed the standard eight surprise major methods as well as ringing eight-spliced for the first time, all after the age of 60. He then turned his energies to getting Thorverton augmented to ten. This was completed in the Autumn of 1994, and since then there has been no stopping him. He has rung a number of royal methods as well as Stedman Caters, and he was particularly pleased to ring a peal of Swindon S Royal to mark his 70th birthday. As well as ringing peals, Bill has been very active on the quarter-peal front, with spliced triples and various caters methods being on the menu.
As well as paying tribute to his own ringing achievements, we should not forget the contribution he has made to the achievements of others. His work on sound-proofing etc. and his willingness to meet visiting peal bands should never be underestimated. One has only to look at the progress in ten-bell ringing in Devon since the early 1990s to realise this. It just leaves me to say well done, Bill, I hope I can ring as well as you at 70, and thank you for all your help and encouragement over the years. Here's to next year's birthday peal - Bristol perhaps?
Guild of Devonshire Ringers
THORVERTON St Thomas of Canterbury
Thursday, 17th February 2000; 2 hr 53 min
5040 London S Royal (No. 3)
Comp. J Clatworthy
1 Elisabeth A G Bowden
2 Matthew J Hilling
3 Timothy E Barnaby
4 Lester J Yeo
5 Pauline Champion
6 Jill M Hansford
7 E William Ford
8 John Hill
9 Michael R Rose
10 Michael E C Mears (Cond)
At the annual meeting of the South West Branch in January 2000, Yvonne Porter relinquished her appointment as Branch Secretary after ten years service. She received gifts and good wishes from a well attended meeting at Tavistock.
Yvonne celebrates fifty years as a bell ringer in May 2000. She learnt to ring in Wales and was a member of the Chepstow tower under the Llandaff and Monmouth Diocesan Association. Her first peal was at Mathern and her current total of peals is 155.
She later moved to Plymouth where she has resided for 45 years, and joined the Guild of Devonshire Ringers in 1955. During this time Yvonne held office as General Secretary to the Guild for eleven years in addition to being Secretary to the South West Branch. She was Guild Master (the first lady to old this office) in 1989 and is now a Vice President. She was initially a member of St Andrews band, but for the past twenty years has been a member of Stoke Damerel church where she rings and is a member of the church choir.
Her most memorable peal was on the front octave of Buckfast Abbey on 23 November 1963 when the bells were half muffled following the assassination of President Kennedy.
In addition to being a member of and attending meetings of the Ladies Guild throughout the country and joining in canal based ringing holidays, Yvonne is a voluntary worker for the National trust at Buckland Abbey, assisting the League of Friends in their charity shop and participating in organised twice-weekly, all the year round, walks on Dartmoor.
The Guild is grateful to Yvonne for her loyalty and substantial contribution to ringing in Devon. We wish her good health and the ability to continue her activities for many years.
(The new secretary of the SW Branch is Clare Stagg. Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Guild quarter peal week last autumn was so successful that another one is planned. Thirty quarters were rung, including several first - and one first for forty years! Congratulations to Pat Hatchett on returning to QP ringing!
£471 goes to the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund from the Guild as a result. We are grateful to Janet Coles for co-ordinating the occasion, collecting money and sending everything up to the Ringing World.
This year's week is from 23 September to 1 October.
by Steve Rogers
The appeal for new bells at Crediton Parish Church has received a helping hand.
The Dutch town of Dokkum and the municipality of Dongeradeel have each pledged 2,5000 guilders towards the fund, approximately £15000 in total.
The bells are nearly worn out and last year a campaign to raise £100,000 to recast them was launched. Already fundraisers have collected more than one fifth of this and the new cash will give the appeal fresh impetus.
Dokkum's link with Crediton dates back to early Saxon times, when St Boniface of Crediton - who brought Christianity to Holland and Germany - was murdered there by robbers.
The Rector of Crediton, the Rev Anthony Geering said: "It is a very nice gesture. Both the town of Dokkum and Dongeradeel - their equivalent of Mid Devon - have contributed towards the fund.
"The Mayor of Dokkum is retiring. We have had a good relationship with him over the years and this is his swansong gift. They have helped us before with contributions to the Boniface Centre and firms in Dokkum have provided gifts in kind such as cutlery."
The campaign co-ordinator Bill Parr said: "As far as local fundraising goes, we are still ticking over.
"We have made a repair to the tenor bell to keep it in action on a temporary basis. This meant we were able to have a full peal ringing at Christmas and New Year's Eve as well as for two weddings over the period. We also rang them at noon on January 1."
Crediton's current bells date from 1774. They were not cast at a proper foundry, so they are of a poorer quality than those as at nearby churches such as Tiverton.
It is hoped the appeal will have enough money for a new set of 10 bells.
On reading my nice new copy of Ringing Round Devon hot off the press today, and in particular the article headed 'Matt collects two trophies', I was somewhat startled to read that the Exeter band had rung with a steady measured bear. Now, I was a member of the winning band and, try as I may, I cannot recall seeing a bear in the belfry at any point during the ringing. Was it hiding under the table? Behind the door? Or was I just being unobservant?
WORRIED OF EXETER
(Many apologies for the minor typographical errors - this should, of course, have read, 'a steady measured boat' - ed.)
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