The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 39 : September 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 .

Plymouth: first new ring for hundred years


The Parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Laira, Plymouth was dedicated by the Bishop of Exeter in 1914. The Lady Chapel is in the south aisle and the bell tower is situated above it. In 1913, when the church was completed a single bell was installed in the bell tower which bore the inscription "Adeste Fidelis" - "Oh come all ye faithful".

The inspiration to acquire a ring of bells for Laira came from Julia House, with the support and advice of Ron Dove who had been on numerous ringing tours in Devon and Cornwall in the 1980's and 1990's. In June 1993 Julia took Ron to a morning service at St Mary's. Afterwards Ron took measurements of the ringing chamber which were to form the basis for negotiations with the Whitechapel foundry and Nicholson's bellhangers for supplying and hanging the bells.

At the outset a long period of consultation was undertaken and key members of the local ringing community involved including David Farnham, tower captain at Cornwood and George Mudge, tower captain (at that time) at Whitchurch. The original plan had been to re-tune the Adeste Fidelis bell and cast 5 new bells. This plan was revised and a much more ambitious scheme to install a ring of 8 bells recommended, removing the 1913 bell, which was subsequently donated to make up a ring of 6 at a tower in Skipton. A comprehensive sound control scheme was drawn up to avoid annoyance to the many residents living in houses densely packed around the church. Nicholsons provided a frame layout of cast-iron and steel for 8 bells.

It was not until July 1998 that the Faculty to authorise the work on the bells signalled the formation of the fund-raising Laira Tower Bells Committee. 60,000 promotional leaflets were printed which were delivered to every member of the Parish almost single-handedly by Julia. The tenor bell was generously donated by Ron Dove himself. Miss Olive Luce of Lamerton donated the 5th. Julia donated the 6th in memory of her mother and father, Albert and Annette. Julia with her sister Anna Mary donated the treble in memory of their brother John Nicholas. Applications to the Millennium Fund and the Manifold Trust were unsuccessful. Requests for support was transmitted to each of the 213 Parish churches in the Diocese of Exeter. Numerous donations, large and small, were received.

When one-third of the total cost of the bells (£19,000) has been raised, a definitive order was placed with Nicholson's, in May 1999. The second instalment, which was a further third of the final cost, was to be payable when the bells were cast at Whitechapel. This took place on Maundy Thursday, April 20th 2000, when a single bell, the 4th was cast. Five more bells, the treble 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th were cast on the 19 May when four members of the Laira congregation including Julia travelled up to the Whitechapel foundry with Andrew Nicholson. Three days later the 6th and the 8th were cast, watched by Julia and Olive Luce who startled passengers in the Supersaver section of Virgin Trains by popping a bottle of champagne on their trip back to Plymouth! The bells were then transported to Nicholson's yard at Bridport for completion of the frames and fittings. On 19th June a 45 seater coach was commissioned to take members of the congregation to view their new bells.

The Dedication and Baptism of the newly named "Trinity Bells" took place at a celebration of solemn mass on the 12th July 2000 celebrated by the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, John Richards. Ron Dove not only came down to the Service of Dedication, but subsequently resided at the Pearn Nursing Home for two weeks which enabled him to listen to the first peal of Grandsire Triples* which was achieved on Saturday 22nd July. Half-way through this peal, a local resident, formerly one of the most vociferous opponents of the bells project, hammered on the West door and was allowed in. She presented an envelope to Julia (not ringing) which when opened proved to contain a letter of congratulations and a cheque for £15 to support the appeal!

*Rung by: John Mitchelmore 1, Yvonne Porter 2, Clare Stagg 3, Chris Ricketts 4, Dave Farnham 5, John Steere 6, Fergus Stracey (conductor)7, Mike Tann 8.

Association: June newsletter published


'Devon Calls', the Association's new newsletter, is always well worth reading, although the most recent issue contains mostly detailed analysis of the results of the Association's five competitions.

The results of the novice competition (both sections won by Dartmouth towers!) are simply listed, but the eight bell competition and the six bell qualifiers and finals and shown in order of ringing, giving each judge's marks (with the top ringing shown separately) and the time each team took. In addition bar charts of the scores are also included.


Barfield handbell ringers are to give a concert at Bampton in October. As well as including a wide range of tunes, the planned programme also contains poems and readings by Margaret Wallace and some change ringing.

The team was started by Bill Butler in 1965, drawing its members from the tower bell ringers at St Mary's, Thatcham, Berks. They met once a week at his home in Barfield Road - hence the name - to practise tune ringing on the sixteen handbells purchased by the Thatcham ringers from James Shaw of Bradford in 1885. The bells had been preserved in the ringing chamber of the tower and were in remarkably good condition.

The team has progressed, and now has a complete five chromatic octave set of bells with another two and a half chromatic octave set of duplicates, making ninety three bells in all.

After the concert the few remaining tapes of the Barfield ringers' last recording will be available at £3.50 each. All the profit from this sale will be given to St Michael's Church.


Team No 158 of The Handbell Ringers of Great Britain


In Music and Verse
St Michael's Church, Bampton
Saturday, 28 October 2000 at 7p.m.

Guild Festival


John Scott was the keynote speaker at the Guild festival day, which was superbly organised by the members of the North East branch and based at the Castle School in Tiverton, the former grammar school which Bill Ford, Don Salter and Richard Bowden had all attended in the 1940s.

With a mixture of open ringing, dedicated workshops to suit all abilities and interests, a generous lunch, the Guild service at St Peter's, and a social event in the pub afterwards, the branch has set a benchmark it will be difficult to match. The only sadness was the remembrance of Frank Mack and Ed Summers, two very active Guild members, who had died earlier this year.

Thirty-odd people listened to John Scott's morning talk on Devon bells and ringers, a review of the ringing characters and interesting bells encountered by him during his lifetime among the bells. The talk was illustrated with slides and a tape was made of the talk, which it is hoped to make available.

John mentioned some of the leaders of the exercise in Devon, people such as Tom Myers of St Andrew's, Plymouth, where John used to attend practice as a young man used to ringing call changes at Buckland Monachorum; people such as Preb. EV Cox (who had the talent of being able to be 'extraordinarily rude to people without upsetting them') and Fred Wreford, from John's days as a curate in Exeter; people such as Maurice Atkins, who finally managed to steer a band of resident members through a peal of Surprise Major, and Reg Bray, still ringing in his late nineties at Newton St Cyres, where John was vicar for so long.

Barbara Jones' drawings of a call change competition, for Tom Ingram's book 'Bells in England' (Frederick Muller, 1954) were shown, and John identified some of the ringers - including Tom Ridgeman, a young Tom Wright, and a very young Mervyn Way!

The history of bells and bellfounding in the county was also outlined, from the oldest bell (at Haccombe) and the oldest ringing bell (at Petersmarland), through the Exeter foundries, the Pennington, Bilbie and Purdue foundries to the work of Whitechapel and Taylor's today.

Workshops included tune ringing on handbells, computers in ringing, and the opportunity to practise different levels of method on tower bells; David Trist from the St Petrock's Ringing Centre organised a call-change master-class in the morning, and in the afternoon there was a look at the history of Devon-style call change ringing and the construction of call change peals.

The business meeting after lunch was conducted efficiently and rapidly by Guild President George Mudge, and Peter Bill was elected Guild Master. Former NE branch Ringing Master, and Tower Captain of Culmstock, Ron Trickey, was added to the roll of Vice-Presidents.

John Scott asked for the second position as Bells and Belfries to be kept vacant, so that the Diocese's appointee as adviser to the DAC could be considered in due course to take on the Guild post. The meeting also approved the appointment of Mary Mears to succeed Frank as a trustee for the Bell Restoration Fund.

The proposals to set up a non-executive Devon ringers' council were approved by the Guild, and will be discussed at the Association's meeting in November. If both societies give their approval to the idea, the Guild would elect its first representatives at the next AGM.

That meeting will take place in the Exeter branch next June; a date was fixed at the meeting on the understanding that it would not clash with the national twelve bell final. Since then, it has been announced that the twelve bell will be held on Saturday 30 June at South Petherton in Somerset, and so it being suggested that the Guild Festival for 2001 be on Saturday 23 June. This suggestion will need to be approved by the Committee meeting in January.

An Association team rang the service touch and the Guild Service of Prayer and Praise contained some tune ringing by the St Marychurch Handbell ringers. Taking the service was the Revd Tony Gibson, the Rector of St Peter's, but Alan Macdonald the Rural Dean came to show his support, and Brian Drake and Frank Bye, chairman and secretary of the Association were also present. After the service the bells were rung by the eight branch ringing masters or their nominees.


The Devon Association committee is planning to celebrate the Millennium year by arranging a festival for all its affiliated towers on Saturday 9 September.

This will not be a competition but an opportunity for teams to meet and ring at Powderham and Exminster. Each participating tower will be given a certificate to show they have taken part in the celebrations.


The Grand Draw for 2000 in aid of the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund was made at the Association major final at Churchstow on 27 May.

Winners were Mrs C Barnett (St Giles in the Wood), Heard (Beaford), J Darke (Crewkerne), G Hill (Tavistock), D Hill (Bishopsteignton), B Gurr (Shirwell), N Gillard (Drewsteignton), R King (Sandford), V Bartlett (Dartington), Davis (Combe Martin), W Barnes (Thame), Joseph (c/o Conibeare).

Buckfast: obituary of ringing monk


On 14th October, 1927, William Robert Dowling, a young man of sixteen (he was born on 13th August, 1911), travelled from his home in Plymouth to join the Benedictine monastery at Buckfast Abbey. At that time the community was occupied with the great task of building the Abbey Church. There had been an Abbey at Buckfast from at least 1018 A.D.. until it was closed by Henry VIII in 1539. The community which William Dowling was to join had settled at Buckfast in 1882 and was determined to rebuild the monastery which had lay in ruins for over three hundred years.

William's father was a shipwright in Devonport dockyard. He loved to tell the story of how his father would test the straightness of a ship's keel by setting up cards with a hole in their centre along its length to see that a light source at one end could be viewed at the other. The naval top brass would be invited to inspect, and Mr. Dowling would delight in watching them, rather bleary-eyed after a good lunch, struggling to focus sufficiently to approve the workmanship.

William inherited his father's craftsmanship as well as his sense of humour. His talents were recognised and it was no time before he was set to work with the other monk builders of the church. He was clothed as a novice on 24th April, 1928, being given the religious name Pascal, and for the next eleven years he toiled every day on the building, seeing it through to its completion.

Finishing his building work, he was assigned to help Brother Adam with the beekeeping, a task to which he brought much skill and hard work for some thirty years. Thereafter he was assigned to the kitchen, and for twelve years provided all the meals for the community. Throughout his life Br. Pascal put his manual dexterity to good use at the service of the community; indeed, he was someone who could turn his hand to anything. He was a sufficiently skilled carpenter to construct a fine zither, which he also taught himself to play. Through proficiency at playing a number of other instruments and a good voice, he contributed much to the musical ambience of the monastery. In his younger years Br. Pascal was a keen bell ringer, having rung in most of the churches in Devon. He felt honoured to be a Vice President of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers, and for the Guild he rang seven peals, between 1959 and 1976; the first of these, Grandsire Triples at Wolborough, was rung by the Mid Devon branch and included two other first pealers. His second peal was at Buckfast and included two of his brethren.

Like all good monks, the concept of retirement was foreign to Br. Pascal. He served the community in many of the domestic tasks which are essential to its life until a stroke brought an end to active service early in 1999. Nevertheless, he continued to be a daily presence at the Divine Office and the community's Mass until a week before he died peacefully on Sunday 5th March, 2000. Br. Pascal was the last surviving member of our community who had participated in the building of the Abbey and so we now have only our memories to connect us with that great example of faith and perseverance in the service of God.

Frank Devereux Mack 1930 - 2000


Tributes have been pouring in for Frank Mack who died on 1 June in the Exeter Hospice at Wonford. Last summer he learnt that he had a tumour, and underwent an operation, which was apparently successful. However following the UBSCR dinner in January, he had what appeared to be two minor strokes, which were shown to be caused by a brain tumour. Frank made light of his condition and was obviously determined to keep ringing as long as possible. His last peal was with the first Tuesday band at Pig-le-Tower on 1 February and the following Saturday an Exeter Cathedral band peal attempt of Cambridge Maximus at St Woolos, Newport, was set up as Frank was having difficulties. He carried on ringing for service, ringing his final quarter on Sunday 2 April.

Frank learn to ring in 1945 at Churcham, near Gloucester, where his father was incumbent, and in 1949 went to Bristol University to study Zoology, Botany and Geology; there he joined the UBSCR and met Mary Kennelly, who was at the time the society's treasurer. After completing his degree and doing his national service, Frank married Mary in 1954. He rang his first peal in 1951 at Olveston, and remained in Bristol until 1959, ringing at St Mary Redcliffe, St Stephen's and St Thomas, and teaching at St George's Grammar School. In 1958 Frank was appointed Branch Ringing Master and rang in many peals, including the first peal at Bristol Cathedral.

Frank and Mary moved to Exmouth in 1959, and Frank began teaching at Exmouth Grammar School. He joined the band at Withycombe Raleigh and was soon elected to the Cathedral society. In 1963 he began experiments which led to a ring of horse bells being hung in an aluminium frame fixed to the ceiling of his Exmouth garage. A quarter peal was rung on the bells in 1964 and a peal in June 1965, claimed as rung on the lightest ring of bells in the world (the tenor weighs 1lb 10oz). In 1970 he hung a ring of ten handbells in his attic; two quarters were rung on them in the 1970s but the first peal did not take place until last October; this peal of Grandsire Caters is believed to have been the lightest ten bell peal ever rung (tenor 5lb 8oz). The two rings featured in a 1982 TV programme called 'Game for a Laugh' introduced by Henry Kelly.

In 1992, the new ten at Withycombe Raleigh were dedicated; Frank had started a fund in 1970 for replacing the old timber frame and augmenting the eight by adding a bell at each end of the octave. The treble was cast in 1976 and in 1988 a bell from Peterborough Cathedral was acquired, to be the new tenor. This bell sat in the drive outside Frank's garage for several years!

Frank was the first Master of the Guild, back in 1971, and the only person to have served as Master twice - his second term of office was in 1987. He served the Guild as a Central Council Representative from 1978, and worked hard as a member of the Towers and Belfries Committee. With John Scott, he had been the Guild's bell adviser, as well as advisor to the Diocese, which involved inspections of towers throughout the county; as a result they were producing a comprehensive survey of the bells of the county to replace HT Ellacombe's 1872 Church Bells of Devon. When the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund was set up jointly by the Guild and Association, Frank became its secretary and treasurer. He was Ringing Master at the Cathedral from 1978 to 1986 and President of the UBSCR from 1984 to 1987. Frank's peal total stands at 1736, and includes peals at St Paul's, Liverpool, Redcliffe, Worcester and Southwark, long lengths of Major, Stedman Triples and Grandsire Caters, and of course peals on his own bells.

Withycombe Raleigh church was packed for his funeral service on June 7th, with ringing friends from all over the country present, as well as colleagues from school and church and fellow bridge players. The bells were rung half-muffled to Grandsire Caters before the service, and the Peter Bell in the north tower of the cathedral was tolled. John Scott, in his address, spoke of our unwitting encounters with God, and of Frank's faith, and love of his family, his commitment to teaching and high standards of ringing as signs of the Holy Spirit at work. A number of peals and quarters were rung in his memory - by the University of Bristol Society, by the College Youths, by a band of small bell enthusiasts, and of course by the Guild. A specially arranged half-muffled peal of Grandsire Caters was rung at Withycombe on Monday 19 June by representatives from the whole of his ringing career; at the same time a predominantly Exeter Cathedral band rang the same method half-muffled at Thorverton.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.


By Michael Mears

I first met Frank when I was a shy, impressionable fourteen-year-old in the very early stages of my ringing career. He brought some of his Withycombe Raleigh band to join our practice at Newton St Cyres, prior to taking part in the Devon Association eight-bell competition there later in the month. I, like many other youngsters over the years, was initially terrified of him. He stood there with slightly hunched shoulders, head slightly to one side, with the scowl I was to become all too familiar with in later years, and barking out instructions to the rest of the band. I came across him only infrequently over the next few years, and only really got to know him when I reached my early twenties and started ringing peals with him. The slightly hunched shoulders and scowl remained as I first remembered but I soon discovered that his bark was, fortunately, a lot worse than his bite. He would always let you know what he thought of the ringing you had just taken part in but once you knew him you didn't take offence at his post-peal/quarter comments and opinions.

As you can imagine, from a period of thirty-odd years and in the region of a thousand peals together, I have many memories. Along with many others, I found it very amusing watching him after he'd made a mistake - looking up his rope or trying to get dust out of his eye. Some of the post-peal excuses, if he was having a bad day, also caused amusement, e.g. 'Sorry about the mistakes, but I couldn't see the Treble because of the shadows,' or 'I'm sorry I messed up the Queens, but the light in the stairs dazzled me.' One of the most famous incidents happened at Buckfast Abbey some years ago, when he was taking part in a peal attempt of Stedman Cinques with the Bristol University Society. His rope slipped wheel early in the proceedings, causing the bell to set itself - fortunately they had time to start again. I remember teasing him about his 'sloppy handling' only to be told that it was not his handling but the wind that was responsible. The strong wind had blown the rain into the tower and made the rope very stiff, eventually causing it to slip wheel - quite obvious really!

I can remember having a few blazing arguments over the years, probably because we were both very stubborn, but Frank was one of those wonderful people who would have forgotten all about it half an hour later and everything would be back to normal.

Although I got to know him mostly because of his peal ringing, there are other aspects of Frank's ringing that I remember. He was Ringing Master at Exeter Cathedral when I first started attending regularly and I will always be grateful for his encouragement. The first time I rang on his garage ring I marvelled at the expertise of the installation and could only wonder at the patience required to ensure every detail was correct. His rope splicing was first class, obviously the perfectionist in him showing through.

Away from ringing, I shared his interest in the countryside and walking the hills of Scotland. It was as a result of travelling with him and the occasional walk with him that I took a lot more notice of flowers and wildlife when out on Dartmoor or the coastal footpath. I also worked with Frank for a time, because after retiring from teaching he became an usher at the Crown Court in Exeter. He proved to be flexible and reliable and was well thought of by the Judges, such respect not being easily attained.

However, it is mostly as a peal ringer that I remember Frank. I am not sure of the exact total I rang with him, but it was certainly in the region of a thousand, rung over nearly 25 years. He rang his first peal in 1951 while he lived in Bristol and his 100th peal was rung at Buckfast Abbey in 1964. His hundredth peal for the Guild was rung at Exeter Cathedral, his beloved Stedman Cinques, conducted by his great friend Tudor Edwards. He rang his 500th peal at Morchard Bishop in 1982 and his 1000th peal at Zeal Monachorum in December 1990. His 1500th peal was rung at Withycombe Raleigh in November 1996 and his 1700th peal, the last milestone he passed, at Exeter St Mark in September 1999. He rang his first peal for the Guild in 1959 and apart from 1964, rang Guild peals in every year, including 2000, his final total for the Guild being in the region of 1100.

Frank rang in many ground-breaking peals for the Guild, including the first of 8-spliced Surprise Major, the first of Surprise Royal and the first of Surprise Maximus by resident Guild bands. He took a great pride in ringing the simple thing as well, being particularly keen on Grandsire Caters and Stedman Cinques. He did not strive to ring complex methods and multi-spliced. However, when we started to ring more difficult things in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he wanted to be part of it and his rock-solid treble ringing was a very important contribution.

When I first started ringing with Frank, he tended to ring mostly towards the back end, but in later years he became a first-class front-ender, especially when we started ringing more ten-bell peals. He was a founder member of the Thursday-night peal band and as far as I'm concerned, he's irreplaceable - ever reliable, ever willing.

I could continue writing about Frank for considerably longer, but I think what I remember most about him is his willingness to help and his commitment. He would always be ready to ring a peal of something simple for someone's first peal and he would approach it in the same way as a peal of Stedman Cinques or Surprise Maximus. I would be interested to know how many first peals of firsts in methods he took part in over the years. A lot of Devon ringers wouldn't be ringing what they are today without his solid support in their early peal-ringing days. A fine example to us all.

Thanks to Mike Mears and Dick Bowden for their contribution towards this tribute to Frank - ed.

North East Branch: Obituary


John (Jack) Kelland was a steadfast ringer in the North East Branch area for over 60 years. Although coming from a musical family notable for being able to raise a family band of musicians to play at village dances and other events, Jack had to teach himself to ring at Huntsham as a teenager. The regimes at home on the farm and in the tower at Huntsham were both very strict in those pre-war days. Sir Gilbert Acland Troyte would telephone his land agent from the House of Commons in the week asking him to instruct the tenant-farmer ringers to be present for Sunday ringing. Despite this, one Sunday morning they met short and Jack was able to step forward to make up the band. Jack continued ringing at Huntsham (and singing in the choir) from the 1930s until ill health prevented him from ringing in the early 1990s; in the 1970s he became tower captain and steeplekeeper.

Ringing and playing in the Tiverton Town Band were probably two of the principal ways in which Jack got some relief from the hard life of a bachelor farmer. In the late 1950s he started coming into Tiverton to ring at St Peter's, becoming Vice Captain in 1976. Like many in the North East Branch he frequently strayed into "foreign territory", across the border, ringing regularly at Ashbrittle and Chipstaple. Although he got his Guild Certificate early as a teenager (at the same Calverleigh meeting as Bill Ware got his), his ringing achievements were more to do with regular support at Huntsham and Tiverton, rather than spectacular individual ringing performances. That said, he rang many quarter peals in the area and called at least one peal of Grandsire Doubles at Huntsham. In 1993 Jack was elected a Vice President of the Guild in recognition of his long service to ringing in Devon.

For many years Jack kept up his regular ringing commitments, his band practices and concerts and on other nights he could often be found serving behind the bar in the Huntsham Club. Sadly in the mid 1990s ill health began to trouble him and three years ago he became confined to a nursing home in Tiverton. With his passing on July 28th this year, we have lost one of the few remaining farmer-ringers in the area who hitherto have done so much to sustain church life in the smaller rural communities. He will be much missed.

The following Quarter Peal was rung in his memory:
Tiverton, St Peter - Monday 14th August
1260 Grandsire Triples
1. David Smith
2. Jean Parkinson
3. Sheila Scofield
4. Wilfred Dunn
5. Jane Lindsay
6. Leslie Boyce
7. Matthew Weighell(c)
8. Alan Spear
Rung in thanksgiving for the life of Robert John Kelland, ringer at Huntsham and Vice Captain at St Peter's for many years.

I am indebted to Bill Ware for much of the information about Jack Kelland Leslie Boyce


The Guild Secretary now has an e-mail account at home, and - yes - she does look at it every day! So still works, but for preference, please use .

All tower contacts known to have e-mail accounts have recently been approached and asked if they would be willing to have their details place on the Guild Website. If anyone has been missed, or if there are members lurking out there who have an e-mail address and are keeping quiet about it, please let Wendy Campbell know. The list of Guild towers with such a contact is growing longer all the time; in a holiday destination region such as ours, there are visitors out there looking for somewhere to go on practice night, and some of them try the Guild Web pages for suggestions. If there is a contact e-mail address for them to check out, so much the better.


'Tower Changes' is the name of a little booklet produced by the Central Council giving guidance on the correct procedure if bands wish to do any kind of work on their bells and fittings.

The booklet gives information on the legal requirements; not everyone realises that Anglican church buildings are exempt from planning permission but any major work done in them requires permission from the diocese in the form of a Faculty. Minor work, such as the replacement of old bell ropes, can be done without reference to the diocese, but where there is any doubt, the judgement of the archdeacon is necessary. Where bells are concerned, the support of the Diocesan Adviser is essential, and other sources of advice are also listed in the pamphlet.

Interestingly, the criteria by which work on bells is to be judged are also mentioned: they are, first and foremost, the musical value of the bells, then their historical and archaeological value, and lastly the resources of the parish. An appendix also gives the guidelines for the assessment of bellframes.

Clearly, any tower considering rehanging or augmentation will benefit from a copy of this booklet before bringing any proposals before their P.C.C. It is available from the CC Towers and Belfries Committee.


Paul Rapson of Fawley, Southampton is manufacturing traditional painted peal boards at a reasonable cost, as well as parchment or card records. A colour brochure will soon be available. For further details email at .

Fund-raising for bell restoration


Once more a Quarter Peal week will be held in the autumn when bands are invited to ring quarters and raise money for the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund. Organiser Janet Coles says, 'The idea is to get as many different people as possible to ring a quarter peal during this period. The cost is £1 per rope on top of any tower fee payable'. Bands may also wish to have their quarter peal sponsored in order to raise further money.

All the money, together with the quarter peal details, should be sent to Janet, who will produce a report for publication in The Ringing World and forward the proceeds to the Guild Treasurer to form part of the Guild's contribution to the DCBRF. In 1999, thirty-two quarters were rung and over £400 raised.

This year's QP 'week' runs from Saturday 23 September until Sunday 1 October.

Honiton: Lester Yeo visits town's oldest building


I was recently given a copy of a little book by Elizabeth Brown entitled 'Ancient Leper Chapels in Devon' which describes three tiny churches in the county, which had formally been attached to leper hospitals.

St Mary Magdalene at Taddiport is now used as a daughter church in Torrington, and St Laurence's Crediton is also still in use, but St Margaret's, Honiton, after having been the home of a pentecostalist church, is now in private ownership, and the fittings have been removed. The owner is removing the alterations made by the pentecostalists and wants the building to have some of its previous air of antiquity. She kindly gave me the booklet and allowed me to ring the Angelus on the single bell.

The bell hangs at the west end, not in a tower or bellcote, but within the gable end, behind a louvred panel. It is attached to a wheel and can be swung chimed. I have a newspaper cutting dated 20 July 1982, showing that when restoration work was done on the chapel, the bell was taken down and inspected. At that time, its frame was rotten and the brackets practically rusted through. The photograph shows the bell with Walt Summers of Honiton United Charities and builders Simon Young and Wilf Readhead. Bearing the inscription 'God preserve His house', it apparently had not been used for years, but now has a rope complete with golden sally, thanks to the kindness of the Withycombe Raleigh ringers, and is clearly visible from inside the building through a perspex panel.

The chapel, which is reputed to be Honiton's oldest building, stands above Exeter Road, some way from the town centre, in the triangle formed by Beggars Lane and the Sidmouth Rd, surrounded by a series of thatched buildings, all now private dwellings, on both sides of the main road. It is 32 feet long and has a tall traceried east window and small Tudor windows on the north and south walls, but is not, unfortunately, open to the public.


Congratulations to Nina Wilson, Simeon Bayton and Peter Pay who have recently rung their first quarter peal.

Galmpton, Devon. 27 Nov, 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: Ann Cotton 1, Nina Wilson (1st Q.) 2, Clare Stagg 3, Dominic Beer 4, Fergus Stracey (C) 5, Mike Tann 6.

Galmpton, Devon. 25 Apr, 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: Simeon Bayton (1st Q.) 1, Clare Stagg 2, David Matthews 3, Dominic Beer 4, Tim Bayton (C) 5, Alexandra Hajok 6.

Cotleigh, Devon. 28 Apr, 1260 Doubles (3m): Laurie Palmer 1, Jim Shepherd 2, Stan Huish 3, Reg Beale 4, Don Salter (C) 5, John Lester 6.

Kings Nympton, Devon. 24 May. 1320 Plain Bob Doubles: Kate Dover 1, David Wilford (Jt C.) 2, Terry Spearing (Jt C.) 3, Ron Thorne (Jt C.) 4, Peter Pay (1st Q.) 5, T Selwood 6.

NE Branch: John Hutchings Cup


Given to the North East Branch in memory of John Hutchings, ringer at Silverton and Branch Ringing Master, the Cup use has changed its use slightly over the years. First it was awarded to the ringer making most progress and then to the tower progressing most in a year. Now, after some discussion with Silverton ringers, it has been decided to use it in a Branch striking competition.

In June this year three towers met at Silverton on a Thursday evening to ring 15 courses of Plain Hunt. First up were a "scratch team", drawn out of the hat - two from each tower, which put together a creditable performance. Second to ring were St Paul's Tiverton who sportingly fielded a band with several newcomers to method ringing. After starting well the team unfortunately lost their way and had to stand their bells. The home team of Silverton had been practising for the event and this showed in some very steady hunting on the night. Finally St Peter's Tiverton rang with a team which included one of their latest recruits.

After retiring from the churchyard to the Lamb Inn and getting pints underway, Matt Hilling and Robert Grange gave their judges' analysis. The results were: 1. Silverton 18 faults; 2. St Peter's 23 faults; 3. Scratch team 42 faults; St Paul's did not complete the test piece and were disqualified.

We are grateful to Matt and Robert for agreeing to judge and for their helpful and encouraging comments on the ringing and to Silverton ringers for the arrangements which included an excellent buffet at the Lamb. All of this contributed to a successful and convivial evening.


It was suggested at the AGM that next year's meeting should be held on the Saturday when the 12-bell final was NOT being held. Unfortunately we picked the wrong one - sorry fellas - so it's going to be the 23rd June after all. But if you want to hear some good 12-bell ringing, the final is taking place not too far away at South Petherton on 30th June. John Scott on Devon Bells and Bellringers


Many of those attending the Guild Festival in Tiverton back in June heard Preb. John Scott give a fascinating and very entertaining talk. It covered both his recollections of ringing in Devon towers with sketches of some of the great Devon ringing characters and some aspects of the history and technology of the bells in some of those towers.

A recording was made of the talk and the questions and answers after. Audio tapes (60 mins) make a fine memento of a very enjoyable Festival day and a fitting record of John's unrivalled knowledge of Devon ringing. They are available from North East Branch Secretary, Leslie Boyce at £4 inc postage. Proceeds will go to the DCBRF. A video recording of the session was also made. The light levels were not ideal for this, but a serviceable record was made and if anyone is interested in having a copy this can also be arranged.

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Pages written by Ian Campbell

Updated 17/9/2000