Any opinions expressed in Interchange do not necessarily represent those of the Guild or the Association, or the Devon Ringer’s Council.
The programme, a mixture of bell ringing and poetry readings, started with a reading of In Memorandum by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Half-muffled ringing and a lower followed. The call change ringers who rose the bells and rang two halves of the peal on thirds were Colin Adams, Jon Bint, Maurice Sharland, Stephanie Ewings, Graham Sharland and Ryan Brodie.
Poetry and different aspects of bell ringing followed. The poets and writers works were read by Wendy Campbell, Daphne Sharland, Lester Yeo and Chris Clayton, were as diverse as John Clare, John Bunyan, and of course John Betjeman. Call changes and method ringing interspersed with readings followed. The method ringers, who rang Plain Hunt, Stedman, and Kent Treble Bob Minor were Ian Avery, Martin Mansley, Graham Tucker, Peter Bill, Ian Campbell and John Hill. We were also treated to some hand bell ringing by members of the method team and a well-sung rendition of The Bell Ringing (Northlew) in good Devonshire style by Jon Bint.
The hour long Exploration finished with a reading from The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers and a chance for members of the audience to try their hand at the bells. An interesting and varied performance well organised. Thanks also to Tim King for his technical expertise with lighting etc.
Contributed by Chris Clayton.
The half-muffled ringing - also showing the audience and readers
This 50 page directory is still available and as all costs have been covered, any further money collected, as a result of sales, will go to the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund. Well over half of the 1000 copies have been sold. If your tower does not have one or two, make sure you purchase one before it is too late. The book contains valuable information especially if planning trips within Devon. Copies are available from Paul Pascoe. £5.00 plus 50p P & P.
A bellringer who says he was injured when a bell rope broke and sent him crashing to the floor is suing for damages. It is stated that during the course of his duties as a steward of the congregation, he was required to rise into the air from the floor whilst holding the bell rope. As he did so, and whilst two metres above the floor, the rope broke causing him to fall to the floor. The person spent three weeks in hospital for treatment to a knee fracture and will require reconstructive surgery. The church is in Australia.
Wonderful news from St Michael's Church. The bells are back in the tower! The rededication service of the bells took place on the Michaelmas Day, Wednesday September 29 at 7.30pm by the Bishop of Exeter, Rt. Rev. Michael Langrish with about 250 people attending. A new steel and cast iron frame now holding the peal of eight bells was first hoisted up above the clock chamber and gently set in its holding pockets. Masons from Helmores, the local building firm secured the frame in place ready for the refurbished bells. It was a slow process involving the use of a block and tackle, evidence that some old methods remain. These are exciting times and the industrious supporters of the project are still walking on air due to the outstanding results of their campaign to raise £60,000 in just two years. The work for the engineers' from Nicholson's of Bridport is high risk, they were precariously poised on a steel beam above a 40 foot drop, guiding the tenor bell as it was hoisted at about the rate of 15 inches each minute. The task of manoeuvring it sideways to make space for the next bell involved the use of feet as well as hands. Meanwhile, Helmore's men kept their spirits cheerful whilst removing old masonry by the bucket-load, climbing and descending the leg-aching spiral staircase repeatedly. These Llewellin and James bells are rather special and are a pleasure to ring. The bells have not been re-tuned.
After years of fund-raising and months of silent Sunday mornings, Crediton's Church of the Holy Cross's the new peal of 10 bells, re-cast over the summer from the previous eight old iron bells, were dedicated at a special service at the church by Michael Langrish, the new Bishop of Exeter. The church was full, with guests including various bell sponsors, the mayor of Crediton and the chairman of the Guild of Devon Ringers. Following the service there will be an exhibition of bell-ringing by the Devon Association of Bellringers and the Association of Ringers. The demonstration featured the champion six bell tower, being Eggbuckland, the champion eight bell tower ringers of Devon, being Kingsteignton and a team of ringers from Exeter Cathedral who will ring method on the ten bells. There was a reception in the Boniface Centre, Crediton, following the service and a picture display and information about the bells restoration project and a sound track of the old and new bells. The new tenor bell at the Church of the Holy Cross, Crediton, has been decorated and photographed for a Christmas card in aid of church funds. The cards cost 50p or £2.50 for a pack of six from the parish church shop or by ringing Howard Egglestone.
The bells of a Devon church are set to chime again following a five-year restoration project. The restoration project has resulted in a peal of ten new bells for the town's parish church after a huge fundraising effort and a lot of hard work by local parishioners. The peal was created from the old bells with the help of a £120,000 appeal. Bill Parr, captain of the Crediton parish bellringers, said: "The majority of the funds have come from local events and sponsors, with some donations from bodies such as the Sports Council." The old bells, originally cast in Crediton in 1774 by a bell founder from Cornwall, with the tenor, the largest bell, then being re-cast in 1814 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, had deteriorated so much that they were out of tune. The worn out fittings made the bells increasingly difficult to ring. Mr Parr said: "The new bells are electronically tuned and have modern bearings which will make them much better than the old ones to ring". The old bells were removed from the church in April by a team of enthusiastic volunteers under the direction of Reg McKenzie, of Nicholson Engineering. The bells, weighing a massive five tons (5,080kg), were then transported to London to be melted down and re-cast at the famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry. On October 2, as part of Crediton Carnival, the new bells were paraded through the parish on their own float.
Pictures of the old bells being removed and the new ones being installed are available from http://www.creditonparishchurch.org.uk/Bells.html
Striking Recordings on Dartmoor
This is advance warning of a special event which is not to be missed! On Saturday 6th August 2005 at St. Pancras Church, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, members of the public and bellringing enthusiasts are invited join in the launch event of a new definitive set of CD recordings of bellringing on Dartmoor. The day will be a celebration of the Dartmoor Changes project which made sound recordings of all the churches (with ringable peals) within the boundaries of Dartmoor National Park in 2003/2004. The event will coincide with Widecombe’s annual invitational striking competition. At 10:00am the CD will be launched to the sounds of a moorland dream team of ringers, who will demonstrate some of the ringing patterns distinctive to Dartmoor and Devon.
Until 8:00pm St. Pancras will be host to a variety of displays and activities that will tell you all you need to know about bell ringing on Dartmoor. Photographs of all the 32 Dartmoor towers and their teams will be on view, various bell ringers will be on hand to talk about ringing on Dartmoor and in Devon, the project video Ring of Bells will be screened throughout the day, nearby towers will be open for tours and guest ringers, there will be a ‘guess the tower’ competition, and much more.
The Widecombe-in-the-Moor striking competition begins at 2pm, and members of the public will be treated to the very best of ringing in Devon. As the bells are rung, Andy Stevens, bell ringer, musician and bird song specialist, will lead several listening walks through the lanes and across nearby moorland, providing a commentary to participants on bellringing on Dartmoor. Andy has plenty of stories which will be of interest to bellringing beginners and aficionados, too! The Dartmoor Changes 3-CD set will be on sale throughout the day. The all-in-one CD set and booklet will include essays and information about bell ringing on Dartmoor and in Devon, photographs of various towers and teams, and selected recordings of all the 32 towers from the project as well as a excerpts from interviews with members of local communities talking about the importance of bell ringing to them.
Dartmoor Changes is being funded through a Local Heritage Initiative award. If you have any questions about the launch, or would like to reserve a copy of the CD please contact Nancy Sinclair or Cat Radford at email@example.com.
Steven Came has successfully completed the Law Society's Solicitor's Final Exams at Exeter University and has now entered into an 18-month training contract with the Torquay solicitors WBW. Andrew Cooper, senior partner at the firm's Torquay office, said: "Steven has done very well indeed and he has now joined the firm's wills, trust and probate department specialising in dealing in particular with senior citizens and planning for retirement." Steven grew up in Paignton attending Torquay Boys' Grammar School. He obtained a degree in mathematics at Kings College in London and worked in financial services for Plymouth City Council before joining WBW Solicitors in 1992. He is married with three daughters and lives in Torquay. He is captain of the All Saints Babbacombe Bellringers.
We hope you are aware that the next Ringing Roadshow will be held at Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire on 10th September 2005. This has been widely publicised in The Ringing World and there is a web site ( www.ringingroadshow2005.org.uk) which gives up-to-date information on the event (to which we’d like your association web site to link, if you have one). However, the organising team is acutely aware of the need to contact as many ringers as possible, not all of whom take The Ringing World or have access to the Internet. To meet this need, we are contacting all Ringing Association Secretaries and Public Relations Officers, seeking assistance in publicising the event. This is just a preliminary notice but we intend to follow it up with additional publicity material over the coming months.
The 2005 Roadshow will follow the pattern set at Lincoln last year. It is expected that around 80 exhibitors will attend (over 60 have already signed on) ranging from the major bellhanging companies to small groups of fund raisers and there’ll be a variety of attractions such as mini-rings for ringers to try out. There will be a number of computer-based exhibitors with software, CDs, and videos for sale. Most of the Central Council Committees will be represented, offering advice on a whole range of topics.
Newbury is centrally located with good communications to motorways and the Racecourse has its own railway station. The event will be held in the new Grandstand. Current plans are for the ground floor to be occupied by larger exhibitors, the first floor by smaller, single-unit exhibitors and the second floor will accommodate seminars and handbells. Seminars planned include talks on a variety of topics and workshops on subjects of interest to ringers, for example rope splicing, tower maintenance, simulators etc. There will be handbell performances as well as opportunities to try ringing both tunes and changes. Refreshments will be provided by the Racecourse at reasonable cost or you can bring a picnic. Liquid refreshments will also be available. There will be free parking for cars and caravans and disabled facilities. Everything, in fact, for a day, or even a weekend, out!
The Roadshow presents an opportunity for fund raising, for example by booking a stand at a modest outlay to sell artefacts. There are also opportunities for commercial organisations to supply such services as printing and audio-visual systems and to provide mementoes, such as mugs, T-shirts, badges, pens etc. The team would be pleased to hear from anyone interested in these aspects. The Roadshows are the major “shop windows” for ringing and we are aiming to make Roadshow 2005 the best yet. Billed last year as “organised by ringers for ringers”, Roadshow 2003 was highly successful. See you at Newbury!
The Patronal Festival weekend of St Mary's Church, Hemyock, began with the sound of the bells being rung by a visiting team from Teignmouth. In the afternoon, a large crowd gathered for the annual garden fete, held at The Rectory by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Michael Chitty, raising £670. The garden was full of visitors for most of the afternoon, enjoying a variety of stalls ranging from cakes and preserves to plants and bric-a-brac. The bellringers caused much amusement with their human fruit machine while the Rev Ron White played requests on his piano accordion - or for a few pence more would even stop playing!
The Rev Preb Michael Hart has spent more than a third of his ministry in Heavitree, where worshippers at the St Michael and All Angels Church were joined by those from St Lawrence's, St Paul's and St Mary Steps. More than 200 packed the city church to celebrate his 40th anniversary in the priesthood. The Rev Preb Michael Hart’s interests include his dogs, gardening, bell ringing and the choir.
Maurice Davies’ won an award for innovation in “My Church Needs One of Those” Awards. These are designs to show how theology meets new technology. The belleplates, a low cost alternative to traditional bronze handbells, went onto the market in 1992. They are now used in more than 30 countries. Mr Davies said “I think it’s become a ministry for so many people have benefited by making music together. It’s helping spread the word of God”.
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