A newsletter for the entire Devon ringing community

December 2002

Eight for Widecombe-in-the-Moor

Widecombe is also known as the Cathedral of the Moor and in true style, two further bells have been added in a very short time. It all started in September 2002 when Mary Mousley, a Churchwarden's wife asked if she could donate a good sum of money towards installing 8 bells in Widecombe tower. The new frame had already made provision for this to happen at some in the future. Mike Pascoe, captain of Widecombe also thought it would be a good idea for his family to finance the purchase of one of the bells. In a very short time the project took off, the faculty was obtained and the PCC agreed to fund the remainder of the work.

Ernest Pascoe, usually rang No.2 so it is fitting that the new No.2 will bear an inscription to the memory of him and his brothers. Ern and his brothers have all been dedicated and passionate call change ringers. This bell will be a tribute to them.

Ern started ringing as a young boy as did his three brothers. "Pickles" and Henry are both well known in ringing circles and Francis rang the tenor at Buckland. When Ern moved to Widecombe in 1948 he was part of the famous Widecombe team captained by Bill Miners (father of Bernard) all of whom were truly awesome in the 1960s. When Bill died in 1970, Ern took over the Captain's role until he died in 1994 at the age of 74 when his son, Michael became Captain and still is today.

Installation is due to took place in the week beginning 9th December 2002. The bells were cast at Whitechapel Foundry on 19th November and installed by Andrew Nicholson. As expected Widecombe bellringers will be proud to have first go by testing the bells as their Captain states they will need a lot of practice at eight bell ringing. The dedication will take place as soon as possible after Christmas.

Ringers from all over will be welcome, as always. Please contact Mike, details below.


No.1 "John & Mary Mousley of Norleigh - Ruby Wedding 2002.

No.2 "In memory of Ern Pascoe & brothers, bellringers, by the Pascoe Family.

All enquiries to Mike Pascoe, Widecombe-in-the-Moor.

The Devon Association of Ringers peal at Widecombe-in-the-Moor,
Tuesday 19 November 2002 in 2'47 (12). 5040 Doubles (7m)
(1-6) Reverse Canterbury, (7-12)Winchendon Place, (13-18) St Nicholas, (19-24) Plain Bob, (25-30) St Simons, (31-36) St Martins, (37-42) Grandsire.

1 Graham H Pascoe (1st peal)
2 Pauline Champion (Conductor)
3 Lester J Yeo
4 Timothy M Bayton
5 Paul J Pascoe
6 Brett Baldwin (1st peal)

Last peal on the bells before augmentation to 8 - the new trebles having been cast today. The band extend their thoughts to Angela and David Ridley at this difficult time.

Paul's (5) second peal of doubles out of the several hundreds he has rung. Brett's (6) second method ringing experience. Graham (1) only rung 5 quarters, three on tenor and two on treble. The attempt was to mark the first last and only peal on the rehung bells. This is not the first Association peal as there was a similar case at Tavistock recently.

Congratulations to all concerned.

Teignmouth Bell Project-

£60,000 needed

The present church of St Michael the Archangel in Teignmouth is the third church to occupy the site. There was, it is said, an earlier church building on what are locally known as "Church Rocks" - now under the sea. The tower houses eight bells all cast at the same time in 1897. The bells are of particular interest because they are the only remaining complete ring of eight bells by the now defunct founder, Llewellyn and James of Bristol. The tenor interestingly, weighing just over a ton, was cast from the metal of three medieval bells and is now sadly out of action because of worn and broken fittings. There is also considerable wear and damage to other bell fittings and the tower itself.

The work, which the Project proposes to carry out is to replace the existing frames, hang the bells lower to relieve stress on the tower and rehang the bells retaining as many of the existing fittings as possible, where these are original. The estimate of this work is 60,000. If you have any skills or a desire that all the Teignmouth bells can be heard again in full or require further information please contact Martin Dodd, Teignmouth. Any donations can be sent to the above.

The Teignmouth Bells Project -

a 'blow-in' view

In Teignmouth, so I'm told, newcomers are referred to as 'blow-ins'. I'm intrigued by this 'blow-in' expression; it seems to me to have a non-judgemental overtone which I rather like. It seems to say: 'Yes, you are new to the town; you are welcome; we are used to being joined by people like you and we hope you like it here'. There's a certain wariness behind the words, certainly, but it's nothing like the contemptuous expression 'furriner' as used in Cornwall (and I speak as a Cornishman !)

My wife and I arrived in Teignmouth in January, 2002, and on our second evening here decided to take a break from cardboard boxes and piles of books to go to bell practice at St. Michael's. Inevitably we heard the saga of the bells - the tenor being out of action and so on. We sensed the strong will to get something done. In fact, of course, quite a lot had been done. Three firms of bell-hangers had been approached and had given estimates for an assortment of restoration schemes, estimates which varied from just under 40 000 to rather over 60 000. John Scott and James Clarke had visited and given a written opinion. Several people had given generous donations to a restoration fund. There was a lot to talk about and there in the middle of it all was Tower Captain Martin Dodd. If we are 'blow-ins' how does one describe enthusiastic long-time locals with seemingly unlimited energy - a Mars bar prize is offered to the best equivalent expression !

Early in August, Martin convened a meeting of ringers to discuss how best to accelerate the restoration. Out of this was born the Steering Group of the Teignmouth Bells Project. Conspicuous action was to be the order of the day. A mini-fete was organised for the August Bank Holiday weekend. Martin had large notices prepared for putting up at strategic points around the town. "Are we allowed to do this?" I asked. "I don't know" said Martin, "just go and put them up". So I did and so far have not been arrested.

John Scott and James Clarke visited the tower again in September and with their help we drew up a 'shopping list' of work to be done so that later we can go to the bellhangers again and, effectively, say to them: "This is what we want you to do." We are trying to keep our heritage obligations in mind. This is a rather special ring of bells. The bells themselves are a complete 'as cast' set by Llewellin and James of Bristol; they have never been modified from when they were originally hung in 1897. We intend to keep them that way. So, our shopping list comprises re-hanging in a new double frame, three above five, with new bearings and other associated fittings so that the damage which the old frame is doing to the tower is stopped and the heaviest bells swing east-west , the direction in which the tower is strongest. During the period October 2nd to October 16th we set ourselves the task of delivering a fund-raising and explanatory brochure to every house in Teignmouth. Over 6000 brochures were delivered. We had some interesting experiences along the way. One deliverer attempted an overgrown driveway after dark and got his legs bound together with brambles. Another survived 52 steps up to just one letterbox. 'Are you from the Heart Foundation ?' asked one householder. 'No' came the reply. 'but I might well need their services before I've finished delivering these brochures'. Yet another put a hand through a letterbox to get the brochure through the inner flap and was rewarded by a terrier hanging on to his fingers.

Anyway, what has all this done for the Project? How are we doing ? At the most recent count we have over 1300 in a restricted account with the PCC and 4200 ready to be handed over in due course. Thank you, it's going well but there's a long way still to go. What about grants etc ? Yes, such things will be applied for but most grant-givers relate the size of their contributions not only to the amount required but also to the amount raised by one's own efforts. So, as they say, 'Onward and Upward' (literally in our case !)

Alan Furse

All Saints, Huntsham need £60,000

There is an appeal to get the Troyte's ring of eight up and ringing again. You could join the Huntsham Society of Change Ringers, founded by Charles Troyte in 1870. Life membership will cost £15.00 and you will receive a certificate. Further details and Gift Aid forms are available from Mike Hatchett, Bampton. Cheques should be made payable to Huntsham Tower and Bell Fund.

Complaints about Totnes clock chimes

Totnes made media interest in October by the Vicar's decision to mute the clock chimes at St Mary's. The point of interest may be that the Vicar wanted the town council to be responsible for the clock equipment, including the chiming mechanism. This was justified by him by suggesting that it would be "much healthier" if the responsibility for the clock was handed to a democratically elected town council. The council's finance committee is backing the town council takeover on the basis that it is a town clock rather than a church clock. The chimes were reconnected after decibel readings had been taken. The chimes were installed for Queen Victoria's jubilee.

Crediton Church Bells

100,000 needed

The Governors of the Parish church have agreed to proceed with a new ring of ten bells to be cast from the existing eight bells and rehung in a new frame. The original bells were cast in Crediton in 1774 by John Pennington IV. The 27 cwt tenor was recast by Thomas Mears in 1814 at Whitechapel. The bells at Crediton have never been retuned and the last major work was in 1913. It is hoped that an easy going peal of bells hung on modern ball bearings will ease the problems of recruiting and training young ringers. The appeal has reached half way and it is hoped to complete the new ring soon. If you wish to endow a bell an inscription can be cast into that bell commemorating the donor's wishes. In this manner a bell can provide a living memorial for hundreds of years as it sounds out. The cost of endowing a single bell will be between 5,000 and 8,000. Other sums will be welcomed and a permanent memorial plaque will record those who make major endowments. Fund raising events have been the police band, coffee provided to the Retired Ringers and also a Fashion Show held at the Boniface Centre which raised over 500. Further information on this unique opportunity is available from the captain, Bill Parr on 01363 773118. Cheques payable to Crediton Bells Appeal.

St Sidwell's Church

This Exeter church featured in an article in the Express and Echo on 2 July 2002. The legend is that the 10 bell peal used to be considered one of the most beautiful in Devon. The church is located by a Roman cemetery and is likely to have been used as a mausoleum. There may have been some sort of church on the site by the early 11th century. A further church was built in the 14th century and modified in 1812, the church was badly damaged during the blitz. The tower was cut in half and the interior gutted. The church was rebuilt in 1957.

Reg Bray of Newton St Cyres

Happy 100th birthday

Popular Reg has lived in Newton St Cyres all his life and his 100th birthday was on 28 October. Reg started ringing at the age of 12 with six other school pals. He recalls that they were ringing when the Vicar confronted them, they should not have been ringing because of the war-and they all gave up. After the war, Reg returned to ringing and has rung at Newton St Cyres ever since, still regularly ringing for services. Reg maintains that ringing has kept him healthy. See feature on Newton St Cyres.

Special feature on Newton St Cyres

For about a thousand years the Christian Community in Newton St Cyres has been worshipping on the site where the church is. The village grew up on the fertile red soil where a narrowing of the Shuttern valley makes it easy to cross the brook - the ford is still there at the far end of the village green - and on the bluff on the western side of the valley they built their church. It overlooks the village and can be seen by travellers on the road between Exeter and Crediton. The oldest part of the building is the tower, probably being built in the late 1200's. The stair turret was added about 1600.

The weather vane is a fine piece of 18th century ironwork. The sundial is set in the wall of the tower. The clock was made in 1711 and worked until 1905 when it was left to rust. The dial and clock face were completely refurbished in 1970 by a parishioner and an electrical driving mechanism was fitted to the clock.

The story of Cyr and Julitta, the Patron Saints, can be seen in the three panels of the Lady Chapel altarpiece. The originals were painted in the 15th century and are held in the Courtauld Institute Gallery in London. On the left Julitta, a Roman lady who lived in Iconium in Asia Minor, is standing before the local Governor, defying the Emperor Diocletian's edict that banned Christianity. Her 4-year-old son Cyr stands beside her. In the middle picture Cyr appears twice, once on his knees praying and secondly having been taken up on the Governor's knee. The Governor is trying to persuade him to get his mother to give up the Faith, but Cyr slaps his face saying, "I am a Christian too!" In the right hand panel the Governor stabs Cyr in the face and throws him down the steps; meanwhile Julitta is being put to death in a barbarous fashion and Cyr, in his dying breath, encourages her to be brave and hold to the Faith. How is it that such a story appears as the basis for the Patronal Dedication to a small church in Mid Devon? After all Iconium was in what is now Turkey and the returning English Crusaders probably brought over the story to this country. There are few other churches with the same dedication as that in England.

The bells are rung from a glazed-in gallery. William Evans of Chepstow, who had been recasting some of the Cathedral bells, recast the four original bells in Exeter in 1733. Another bell was added in 1908 to make a ring of six, and in 1951, two more were cast to make an octave; one of the new bells being given by the Newton St Cyres ringers and inscribed with their names. The tenor bell weighs 123/4 cwt.

Ringing Roadshow 2003

Lincolnshire Showground
Saturday 26 July 2003
10:30 to 5:00

The showground is 4 miles north of the City centre. The Roadshow will be a marvellous happy day out for ringers and their families. There will be lots of fun and all sorts of information to discover.

Catering is being supplied by people used to dealing with large numbers at that location. It is a day out organised by ringers, for ringers. Absolutely everything to do with bells will be there, and this event follows and builds upon the success of previous Roadshows.

Lincoln is planning for an attendance of 3,000 people. Relax in a beer tent selling a range of Batemans ales and maybe a special brew as well as a special Ringing Roadshow 2003 labelled and bottled ale. Listen to bells on fairground organs, enjoy the beautiful sound of a carillon and have a go at change ringing on handbells. You can listen to top quality handbell music, talk to the bellfounders, bell engineers and bellhangers.

Buy and order bellropes, handbells and buy your loved one some bell jewellery. You can buy books of all sorts and have a go on a mini ring. You can buy CDs and a whole range of bellringing software. You can purchase knitware, order peal boards and have a go at a frog race!

You can talk to Central Council Committees, people dedicated to serving the needs of the exercise. You can browse many association stands and discuss projects with English Heritage. You can go to any of six very varied seminars. You could enjoy a ring at a tower or two on the way home as well as on mini rings during the day. There is only one thing you cannot do: you simply cannot miss the Ringing Roadshow!

An unbroken tradition

If any tower needs leaflets to promote bellringing please do not hesitate to contact Jeremy Darke, Secretary of Devon Association.