The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 42 : June 2001

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). It is also available on line on the Guild's website at .

Any comments and inaccuracies in articles contained in this newsletter are the responsibility of the individual contributors, and the opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Guild.

Items for inclusion may be sent to .

Fremington: restoration planned


The peal of six at St Peter's, Fremington, in North Devon has been silent for thirty years but it is hoped that this will soon change. An enthusiastic group of fundraisers has to date raised 19,000 of the 35,000 necessary to break the silence.

It is an interesting and historic ring, the back four being listed as worthy of preservation by the Council for the Care of Churches. Their dates are Treble (1889), 2nd (1889), 3rd (1410-1440), 4th (15th century), 5th (1705) and Tenor (1664).

But there is an interesting problem. Two of the six are too big to remove from the tower for retuning! For this purpose, and for the future use of ringers, the PCC hope to reinstate a former doorway at the base of the tower which was stoned-in 150 years ago. Furthermore a bridge will be need to gain access to this doorway!

The appeal would be delighted to hear from any readers of RRD who feel that they could help with a donation. If you can help, please send a cheque payable to "St Peter's Bells Appeal" to the Revd P Hockey, The Vicarage, Fremington, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 2NX.


Devon has of course been badly affected by the Foot and Mouth epidemic, and this has necessarily curtailed much ringing activity.

The Association cancelled its annual dinner and all its competitions, and the Exeter Branch outing in May did not take place.

Many towers in the countryside have been silent, apart from a single bell rung at noon as a mark of solidarity. The St Brannock Society reports how their attendances have been cut and practices restricted to the towns.

Worst of all, RRD has learnt that ringers Trevor Bowden of Bridgerule, and Lester Quance of Shebbear had all their livestock destroyed as a result of the epidemic.

The Guild's sympathy goes to them, and to all other ringers affected in any way, both those in the agricultural industry and those in the holiday trade.


From the Central Council

1. Keep bell ropes locked away at ground floor rings of bells.

2. Keep the bell chamber door locked, especially if it is accessible without passing through the ringing chamber.

3. Display warning / danger and fire exit notices on appropriate doors

4. Install a prominent red light to indicate if anyone is in the bell chamber.

5. Never allow anyone to work alone in the tower whether the bells are up or down.

6. Avoid working in the bell chamber when the bells are up.

7. Put muffles on clappers only when the bells are down.

8. Ensure that non-ringing visitors are always accompanied by ringers.

9. Only allow appointed experienced ringers to be responsible for teaching.

10. Only allow an inexperienced visiting ringer to ring if an experienced ringer stands close behind him or her.


For further information contact the Chairman of the Towers and Belfries Committee of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers:
Adrian Dempster

St Peter, Tiverton: peal board for anniversary peal


In 1995, a peal of Stedman was rung on the fine bells of St Peter's, Tiverton, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the first peal of Stedman Triples on the bells, which was also the first of Stedman by a resident Guild band. A peal board has now been given to the tower by Richard Bowden in memory of Frank Mack.

The peal's conductor, John Pladdys, made the suggestion after visiting the "Foilprint" manufacturer at Kintbury. Richard contacted the firm and designed the plaque which is in a silver grey anodised finish with black lettering, mounted on a solid walnut board.

"By happy coincidence the plaque was made by Derek Clements, himself a ringer, whose grandfather, William S Clements, rang the fifth to the original peal of Stedman Triples in 1895", writes Richard.

"Derek used to live in Tiverton and went to the Grammar School there at the same time as myself although we could not recall that we knew one another in the 1940s. However we have now met up at the Roadshow at Keele where Derek had a stand."


A Devon church architect was concerned about one of the pinnacles and advised the tower captain that ringing should be reduced. "You should only ring one bell at a time, with a ten second interval between each stroke," he said.

"But that's impossible," replied the tower captain. "Well, in that case," continued the architect, "the only way to stop further damage to the tower is to ring the bells fully muffled!"


At the last AGM, the members of the Guild asked for a sub-committee to be set up to consider, and if necessary, revise the Guild rules. Copies of the draft rules, which have been approved by the General Committee, have been circulated with the annual report for consideration at the AGM at Heavitree. The changes proposed are slight in effect, and in the main are intended to avoid some of the ambiguity perceived in the existing set of rules. The most significant changes are:

1. The "cultivation of method ringing" would be restored as one of the purposes of the Guild (Rule 1.3)

2. The Branch structure of the Guild would be clarified (Rules 2.1, 4.3a)

3. Mechanisms for leaving the Guild (Rules 2.2c, 3.2), converting from Non-Resident Life Membership to Ringing Membership (Rule 2.4d), and converting from Honorary to Ringing Membership (Rule 2.5f) would be provided.

4. The class of "Associate Members" would be removed (former Rule 2.4).

5. The Suffragan Bishops and Archdeacons would be associate patrons, rather than vice presidents (Rule 4.1)

6. A standing committee would be created, consisting of the President, Master, Secretary and Treasurer, with two co-opted members (Rule 4.2h).


The 2001 AGM of the ECG took place in the Imperial on Tuesday, May 1st.

The following were elected:-

Master - Alison Halford
Treasurer - Chris Upton
Secretary - Malcolm Evans
Publicity: Claire Davis
Handbells: Ian Campbell
Records sec/International rep: Will Wooderson

National Twelve Bell eliminators


The Exeter Cathedral band rang fifth and were placed fifth in the eliminator contest for the National Twelve Bell Competition held at St Woolos, Newport, with a mark of 53%. They faced stiff competition ringing against Bristol, St Paul's and the Cumberlands. The final is to be held at South Petherton, not too far into Somerset, on Saturday 30 June, and should be worth attending even if a Devon band is not ringing.


After the gloom and sadness of the last three months, writes Anne Thorne, we can see light coming at the end of the tunnel. The Foot and Mouth epidemic has affected us all and curtailed ringing in the Area. The St Brannock's practices have continued in the towns, and it is good to report that Bridgerule started ringing again on May 21.

Guild members will be sad to learn that Gerald Arscott of Chittlehampton, a friend to many ringers throughout the Guild, lost his two year old granddaughter in a car crash in April.

The Quarter Peal day in March was much reduced but two good quarters were scored at Appledore and Braunton. We congratulate Henry Trewin on his first peal of Surprise Major on a working bell. This was rung at Kilkhampton on March 17th, and Henry wishes to thank the conductor Michael Mears.

On a brighter note, the sun is shining at last and we can look forward again. The St Brannock's outing takes place on Saturday 16 June, and will be going to North Cornwall. We shall also be acting as hosts to the Guild striking competition in October.

Since receiving these notes from Anne, RRD has learnt that St Brannock Society member David Snowdon (Buckland Brewer and Weare Giffard) has suffered a stroke and is in hospital. We offer our best wishes for his prompt recovery.


Leading Church Insurers give guidance

There is often confusion regarding the extent of cover provided for bellringing under church insurance policies. The following paragraphs are therefore aimed at clarifying the position in respect of policies issued by Ecclesiastical Insurance.

Church policies arranged by Ecclesiastical include Public Liability cover to protect the interests of the Insured (Vicar, Churchwardens and PCC). This insurance will provide an indemnity to the Insured against legal liability for accidental death of or bodily injury to a third party or accidental loss of or damage to third party material property (other than property in the custody or control of the Insured) arising in connection with church business and authorised church activities anywhere in the United Kingdom. The limit of indemnity selected will vary from church to church although Ecclesiastical recommends a minimum limit of indemnity of 2m.

At the request of the Insured, the Public Liability Insurance will also extend to provide an indemnity to any authorised volunteers involved in church business and activities.

Bellringing would be regarded as an authorised church activity provided that it is undertaken on behalf of the Insured and under the Insured's management control. Bellringers operating within this framework would also be deemed to be authorised volunteers for the purpose of the insurance.

The cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions which require that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent injury loss or damage occurring and failure to take such precautions may prejudice the insurance cover. A duty therefore, exists upon the Insured to adopt 'best practice' which would include adopting safety procedures when operating the bells, adherence to relevant legislation including (but not limited to) the Health & Safety at Work, etc, Act and the Manual Handling Regulations and following child protection guidelines as outlined under the House of Bishop's Policy Document.

Some church policies also include a measure of personal accident insurance for authorised volunteers. Under this cover, a range of benefits are provided to an individual injured by accident (irrespective of whether legal liability exists) whilst engaged in church business or authorised activities anywhere in the United Kingdom.

As previously mentioned, bellringing under the authority and control of the Insured would be deemed as an authorised church activity and individual bellringers regarded as authorised volunteers.

The above comments are of necessity general in nature and relate to church insurances issued by Ecclesiastical. An individual church insurance policy will provide more specific detail regarding the level and extent of cover available.

If you would like to discuss your individual policy or if you have any queries, please call Ecclesiastical's local Insurance Consultant and Surveyor David Scriven at

PERSONAL INSURANCE In some cases, individuals may want to ring voluntarily, but not as part of a church activity and in this instance cover for public liability will not normally be provided under the church insurance.

However, if the individual has a household contents insurance policy directly with Ecclesiastical, not only would personal liability be covered but the bells will be covered as well under the portable possessions section (subject to adequate sums insured and items being specified if their value is in excess of 1,500). Portable possessions - covers all personal items taken away from the home. Liability - 2 million for accidental bodily injury or accidental damage to property including up to 90 days outside the British Isles.

In addition, Ecclesiastical's Voucher Scheme can help church fundraising by giving a 25 voucher each time a new household policy is taken out. A 10 voucher is given on each subsequent renewal so can aid the church's income for years to come. For a household quote call 0800 336622 Mon-Fri 8.30am - 5.30pm Calls may be monitored or recorded.


The band that rang a peal to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of St mark's bells, with the parish's churchwardens, curate and vicar.


Following a most enjoyable few days on the Isle of Man in August 2000, the Society turned its attention to the other island destinations with bells and settled on Guernsey, one of the attractions being that it was an easy scheduled flight from Exeter airport for most of the party. The island is blessed with four excellent rings of bells and there was a 100% success rate with quarter peals.

The Society also tried its hand at Torteval, a three bell tower with no slays or sliders (well, they're interesting) and then moved on to the mini-ring at Les Cloches des Anes. The present non-ringing owners have been living in the converted chapel for about a year and spoke of their surprise at inheriting six bells when they purchased their house. They seemed unfazed at a dozen strangers walking in off the street to ring their bells and are showing real interest in finding out more about the art for themselves.

The Guernsey ringers were most welcoming and generous. In particular Helen Tucker did so much in timetabling, opening towers and standing around on cold days; she worked hard in the delicate negotiations with the new owners of Les Cloches des Anes and paved the way for others to enjoy these lovely little bells in the future.


Bob Southwood has now retired and writes, "We are slowly but surely getting ourselves straight and I am initially enjoying the prospect of seven day weekends, although I have no doubt I shall find myself keeping busy, having Permission to Officiate and with at least two vacancies in the deanery."

Central Council


Many towers are susceptible to complaints about the noise of the bells, and the Central Council has recently produced some guidelines on ensuring the acceptability of the sound of ringing. Guild Secretary, Wendy Campbell has a copy available for loan.

The booklet summarises the acceptability levels for loudness: "There are no numerically defined statutory or national standards for the external loudness of bells although some standards are emerging for other types of noise source. The purpose of bells is for them to be heard... Where bells do not cause any problem, there are strong arguments for having them as loud as possible... People living near to a church usually expect to hear bells on Sundays for weddings or practice nights. However ringing for long periods of the day, especially at times when people may be tying to relax, is likely to be less acceptable particularly if the bells are loud... The risk of such a problem will depend on the time and duration of ringing. It could be greater in hot weather when people have their windows open and are making use of their gardens. On such occasion, and where it is unnecessary for the bells to be heard outside the tower, it may be appropriate to apply similar guidance to that used for other types of noise.

"Such guidance includes that given in the Department of the Environment Planning Policy Guidance note PPG 24 'Planning and Noise' issued for guidance of planning authorities. It refers to certain World Health Organisation Guidelines which suggest that general daytime outdoor noise levels of less than 55 dB LAeq (free-field) are desirable to prevent any significant community annoyance... It is also generally accepted that a noise is only marginally likely to cause complaint when its 'rating noise level'... Is 5 dB above the residual background level, and may be expected to cause complaint when it is 10 dB above background. Where it is intended to apply numerical criteria, measurements must be made and interpreted... By a person competent to do so."

The Guidelines suggest establishing patterns for regular and additional ringing, controlling the interval between extra ringing rather than having a set number each year, and taking into account other local activities (from events in nearby public buildings to people using their gardens). Special ringing events should be publicised, and "bands should make an effort to maintain good striking". Ringers are encouraged to be vigilant for planning applications for building noise-sensitive developments close to churches. Only when complaints are believed to be justifiable, do the guidelines suggest installing variable sound control, and they contain suggestions how this may be implemented.

"In the most serious cases of complaint, it is possible that the noise from bell-ringing could interfere so unreasonably with somebody's normal lifestyle that it could be judged to be a statutory nuisance. When this is the case, the environmental health officer from the local authority is duty bound to serve an abatement notice (specifying) what steps are required... If no appeal is lodged within the time limit, then it is deemed to have been accepted in full. It is therefore essential that expert advice should be sought immediately such a notice is received".


To John and Maris Burr who have moved to Devon from Calne in Wiltshire. RRD hopes that they will find plenty of ringing in the county!

ECG: Forty at Annual Dinner


The official meeting location for the Friday evening was again the Imperial (the J D Weatherspoon pub in Exeter). But as most people were travelling to Exeter on the Friday evening after work it wasn't until late when there were enough people to make it worth sitting around a table. Unfortunately, due to the huge number of people in the Imperial some of the current residents didn't find the rest, so sat on their own and had their own little party. It wasn't until they got to the dinner itself that they realised! So we sat and conversed - catching up with old friends and stories before going our separate ways to rest for the night.

Saturday morning started early. And even earlier for the keen ones who didn't have six people to get through one shower all before 9am. [Perhaps the ringing started a little too early!] So that meant that there were only five ringers at the first tower which made ringing on six a little bit difficult. Nevertheless, things improved as another car load arrived at Christow to enable all the bells to be rung on these quite nice bells which don't get rung very often. It appears the trebles don't get rung at all as when the bells were raised, the sallies were almost nowhere to be seen and certainly couldn't be reached, and the tails were about 3 foot too long!

Soon it was lunch time, and all enjoyed huge portions and great food at the pub in Longdown. The afternoon's ringing at Tedburn St Mary and Newton St Cyres went without a hitch (might be something to do with the beer?).

Next was the whole reason for the weekend. The dinner itself. Members and friends starting gathering in the private bar of The Rougemont Hotel at about 7pm. What a transformation! From a group of casual, rough, ordinary people to smart, sophisticated and ready to kill! Everyone sat down at their allocated positions and the normal formalities began. The food came, it was eaten and the empty plates taken away. This didn't seem to take as long as usual - probably to do with there only being forty people to serve. Then the speeches. First the Master. Chris gave a run down of the events of the past year. With there only being four undergraduate members at the moment, the events have been few and far between. But he managed to waffle for long enough for Richard Newman to win the sweepstake (well done, Richard!). Next followed the handbells, a quick course of Plain Bob Major, which was about the best we have rung for a good few years, by: David Macey 1-2, David Atkins 3-4, John Longridge 5-6, Matthew Hilling 7-8. Next up was Alison, the esteemed Secretary. With the dinner being arranged at the last possible moment there weren't any messages to read out, except for a postcard received from Michael Esbester all the way from Sydney. He expressed his disappointment at not being able to come, but felt that 20,000 miles was just a bit too far.

The guest speaker this year was the one and only Ian Campbell. Yes, he is a member, but he is also Ringing Master at Exeter Cathedral and has been ringing in Exeter for about the last 25 years. So we asked him to speak about how ringing has changed over the years - the ups and downs. He gave a very witty account of how similar bell ringing actually is with other hobbies; in particular line dancing! They too have to learn all the steps - the blue line - and keep in rhythm and how easy it is to do the line dancing if everybody else knows what they are doing and how difficult it is if nobody knows what they are doing. Ian said he could relate to that! Then came the highlight of the evening - the barn dance. Nearly everyone participated and the band yet again kept going all the way to the bitter end.

Sunday morning was ringing - there's a surprise. It's nice to have a good turn out at such an early hour. Coffee, doughnuts, tea, cookies, pastries, vanilla thing, you name it, it was eaten at the Boston Tea Party before an excellent lunch at The Malthouse. The usual venue of The Mill on the Exe was unavailable due to being under water! The weekend was rounded off with general ringing at the Cathedral which ranged from rounds and call changes on all numbers through to Stedman Triples and Grandsire Cinques. Something for everyone. Doesn't time fly when you are having fun!

Those who stayed the course and made it to the Cathedral on Sunday afternoon!

Mid Devon:


Setting up the pins at the Mid Devon branch skittles evening held at East Ogwell.


The Towers and Belfries Committee of the Central Council have published some notes on the installation of radio transmitters in church towers, by mobile telephone companies, given that it is very profitable for the church concerned. Indeed the committee reports that in one instance, the company were prepared to rehang the bells at a lower level in order to free space for their equipment. However, ringers often express concerns about levels of radiation, and there are often real problems arising from a lack of understanding of the operation of bells on the part on the contractors who carry out the installation and maintenance.

The leaflet makes the point that phone company workers will require access to the installation from time to time and may have no knowledge of the dangers associated with tower bells. The installers may, unless prevented, foul the movement of the bells with incorrectly placed cables or equipment, or make access to the bells difficult or impossible. Therefore parishes considering letting their church towers be used as a mobile phone transmitter must therefore ensure that all these issues are agreed before work commences.

As regards fears of radiation, legislation relating to the safe level of microwave frequency radio fields means that the level of radiation is a tenth of that of a microwave, and "there is no danger to health from an installation carried out in accordance with this legislation". The guidelines document is available from the Guild Secretary.


A number of errors crept into the publication of quarters of Grandsire Major in the last issue. In particular the 1344 should have appeared as:

	2	5	2345678
	-	-	572634
	-	-	645372
	-	-	326745
	-	-	753426
	-	-	467253
	-	S	634527
	Calling the tenor in and out at 3.

On the internet edition of RRD, Owen Northwood's 1280 appeared incorrectly. This has now been altered. Thanks to all who pointed out these errors, especially to Owen himself who wrote:

"I became a non-resident life member of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers way back in the 1950s after ringing several peals around the Teignmouth area, and have been back to ring, anonymously, several times while on holiday. Happy memories of ringing at both Exeter Cathedral and Buckfast Abbey and the wonderful hospitality of your Guild members."


Some issues ago, RRD published an article on bell-jingles, the most famous of which being 'Oranges and Lemons' about the bells of the City of London. We have discovered a Victorian bell-jingle describing the churchmanship of the Torquay parishes, which may be of interest, It was published in the 'Torquay Directory' (28 July 1858) and is quoted in 'The Torbay Towns' by Anne Born (Chichester, 1989).

What the Church Bells Say

We're before all by law
Say the chimes of old Tor.
And we stick to its letter
And so much the better!

But we get more people
Says Upton's tall steeple.
And we go the broad way;
(Where it ends we don't say).

At low ebb our divinity
Says the tinkle of Trinity.
But although we dissent
From one half the church meant
Yet we still without Fayle
Should remain in her pale.

I both ring in the Dons
Says the bell of St John's,
And have no end of swells
Whom the fashion impells,
Till they try very hard
How to measure by Yard.
(And 'twould be a good deed
If they could but succeed!)

I'd escape all remarks!
Says via media St Mark's.
To achieve this one aim
I'm judicious and tame.

I'm just left in the lurch
Says poor Cockington Church.
I'm so quiet and small
I'm scarce noticed at all.

These are sad senseless times
Says St Mary-Church chimes.
One can't do the least thing,
Go to Church and there sing,
But some silly folks cry
You have Rome in your eye.
And yet we less than they
Drive the world that there way.

Holy Trinity is now a sports centre and St Mark's a theatre. Torre church is of course now used by the Greek Orthodox community.


On Saturday 23 June 2001
at Heavitree, Exeter


9.30 - 10.30 Open ringing at Pinhoe (8)
9.45 Registration opens with information, displays and coffee at St Michael's School, South Lawn Terrace, Heavitree (parking available)
10.45 Introduction and welcome at St Michael's School to the day's events from the Guild Officers
11.00 Morning Lecture and Workshops (see below)
12.45 - 1.45 Buffet lunch at the school
2.00 - 3.00 Guild Annual Meeting
3.30 - 4.45 Afternoon Workshops (see below)
4.15 - 5.30 Tea available in the Rifford Room, Heavitree Church
5.00 - 5.45 Open ringing at Heavitree
5.45 Ringers' Service of Prayer and Praise at Heavitree Church including St Marychurch Handbell Ringers

Members wishing to register for workshops should inform Martin Mansley (Education Officer) or Wendy Campbell (General Secretary). Application forms available from Branch Secretaries.

Lunch tickets 5 from Valerie Oates, address in Guild report. Please enclose a 9x4 stamped addressed envelope and make cheques/postal orders payable to GDR Exeter Branch


ROPESIGHT with Steve Coleman Well known teacher and writer on all aspects of ringing, Steven Coleman, will give a lecture on ropesight - of interest to learners and teachers alike! - in the morning session.

CALL CHANGE MASTERCLASSES An ideal opportunity to learn about Devon call changes, including raising and lowering, on both eight (morning session) and six (afternoon session)

TUNE RINGING The St Mary- church Handbell Ringers will hold a workshop on 'off the table' tune ringing, using standard music notation, in both morning and afternoon sessions.

THEORY Ian Campbell will explain some of the theory of change ringing - such as how to understand place notation, and simple touches. Morning session.

CONDUCTING with Steve Coleman In the afternoon session, Steve Coleman, author of 'The Bob Caller's Companion' will give an introduction to the vast subject of calling and conducting.

PLAIN HUNT A practical session (afternoon) for ringers who are beginning method ringing.

BOB DOUBLES An opportunity to practice Bob Doubles for those who can already plain hunt (In the afternoon).

DOUBLES AND MINOR The chance this afternoon to ring something new on six; learn a method and there will be a band who will ring it with you.

TRIPLES Plain Bob, Grandsire and Stedman are on offer in this afternoon session.

MAJOR Anything from Plain Bob to Eight-Spliced will be on offer this afternoon.

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Pages written by Ian Campbell