The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 45 : March 2002

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 subscribe 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 .

North East Branch: £4000 National Lottery Award

Branch funded for Bampton dumb bell

"What do you want the award for?" the woman asked. "A dumb bell" I replied. I could almost hear the cogs turning. "A dumb bell?" Now, how do I explain this? I thought. She was thinking of a dumbbell - well I suppose a dumb bell is a useful accessory to bodily health and strength, but it does tend to lift the user rather than the reverse.

Or a dumb belle - now there's a thought - can you get Awards for All for a Marilyn Monroe look alike - just think, perhaps no ringing chamber should be without a full-size model of the dumb belle variety. I hastily suppressed that thought and concentrated on explaining what a ringing dumb bell is. "Well" she said very doubtfully "you could try the Awards for All, but they are very heavily oversubscribed and there may not be too much chance of you getting one." What a challenge? So of course I asked for an application form.

When you think about it, ringing fulfils all the criteria required by the Awards for All. They are looking for a community activity, i.e., people in a local area or people who share a common interest or need. Well, that's ringing isn't it? Then they want to "encourage people to become actively involved in local groups and projects ... that are open and accessible to everyone who wishes to take part." Just look around a ringing chamber during a practice evening or Sunday service ringing - yes we definitely fulfil that criteria.

Next "increase skill and creativity by supporting activities which help to develop people and organisations, encourage talent and raise standards" - that's us again. And finally "support local projects that improve people's opportunities, welfare or environment, especially those most disadvantaged in society" Again, ringing is open to everyone, of any ethnic origin, any age between 8 and, well, 88 (or over), of any walk of life - it is good for mind and body - and a dumb bell would improve the environment by eliminating noise when people are learning to handle a bell. Yes, yes, yes - the more we read the details the more we felt that we did indeed have a chance of an award.

We completed the application form carefully and in detail and submitted it - and waited. Contact was made a couple of times and then it went quiet, but our "referee" told us that she had been contacted and had replied, so we knew that our application hadn't been rejected - yet. And it hadn't been - at the beginning of January we received the great news that Awards for All had been really generous and had awarded us a grant to cover the total amount requested - just over 4,000.

All the affiliated towers in our Branch have been given the opportunity to place a bid before the Committee if they would like to be the host tower for the new dumb bell, and the working party, set up to ensure the project goes ahead without delay, has decided upon the bid submitted by Bampton. This has been ratified by the full Committee.

And the Dumb Belle - well, who knows, perhaps she will appear on the side of the dumb bell - we shall see! As the saying goes "watch this space". JL

Education Opportunities

As well as the Guild Festival in June, two further days are planned by the Guild's education officer, Martin Mansley. On July 20th at Pinhoe, Stedman Triples will be the order of the day, and on November 30, students will be able to concentrate on Major methods. Martin has asked branches to ensure they have an education representative to work with him in planning training events. The Guild also has an education fund which can help finance training done within the branches.

St Petrock Master-classes

The St Petrock's Ringing Centre programme of master-classes for the spring has been circulated and towers should have received a copy. Sessions of special interest to Guild members include 'How the other half rings' on March 16, and one on rope splicing at the end of March. In April an afternoon session is planned for those teaching learners, who would like to learn and share teaching techniques.

2002 Festival

The South West Branch is making plans to host the Guild Festival this year on Saturday 29 June. The intention is to base the afternoon activities - the festival is the Guild's major training opportunity - around Plympton, with a service at St Andrew's, Plymouth before an evening meal in the city centre. This will give members an opportunity to sample the recently restored ring of ten at the mother church of the city.

Cathedral ringers start new year at Westminster Abbey

New Year's Day ringing of the Abbey's bells was this year provided by the Exeter Cathedral ringers. The twenty-two visiting ringers were welcomed to the Abbey by David Hilling and Chris Rogers, conductor and secretary respectively of the Abbey's Company of Ringers. "We are pleased to share the Abbey ringing experience with other capable ringing groups" said David Hilling. Previous New Year's Day ringing visitors have included York Minster, Bristol Cathedral, Birmingham Cathedral and Great St Mary's, Cambridge.

Dr Ian Campbell, of the Exeter Cathedral Society of Ringers, replied: "We are delighted to be ringing the bells at Westminster Abbey on New Year's Day and we are grateful to the Abbey Company of Ringers for inviting us. The Exeter Cathedral band is composed of ringers from Exeter and other churches in Devon, Lyme Regis in Dorset, Wellington in Somerset and Tavistock in South Devon, Everyone travelled to London especially for the occasion". After ringing the Abbey bells they visited St Margaret's and rang the bells there, and on 2nd January the Cathedral band also sampled the bells at St Sepulchre's Holborn Viaduct, St Michael's Cornhill and St Leonard's Shoreditch."
Reproduced from Abbey Week.

The Cathedral band rang two long touches of Grandsire Caters and a quarter peal to enable everyone to have a ring.

Westminster Abbey, London. Tuesday Jan 1 2002.
1263 Stedman Caters in 50 minutes.
1 Pauline Champion
2 Sue Sawyer
3 Peter Bill
4 Wendy Campbell
5 John Hill
6 Paul Pascoe
7 Matthew Hilling (C)
8 Ian Campbell
9 Andrew Nicholson
10 Ian Avery

Rules revision

The working-party on the Guild rules has met and begun its task of revising the rules again, keeping in mind some of the comments and criticisms made at the last revision.

Members are invited to send suggestions to the Guild Secretary as soon as possible.

It is hoped that a draft will be circulated with the annual report so that further comments can be incorporated before presentation to the General committee in January for its recommendation.

Members of the working party are Wendy Campbell, John Scott, Mike Mears, Tony Osborne, Lester Yeo and George Mudge.

From the Express and Echo

Exeter bell at British Academy

Towards the end of 2003 a major exhibition will be held at the British Academy in London, entitled Gothic Glory.

Objects from both Exeter's Guildhall and from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum will be included.

The Guildhall will contribute two of the set of four Waits' chains, while the museum is sending its life-size wooden sculpture of St peter and the 15th century tenor bell cast in the foundry of Robert Norton. Both are at present displayed in the museum's mediaeval gallery.

In the late Middle Ages bell casting was a complicated and sometimes dangerous craft skill. In each casting, large quantities of molten bell metal were poured into an underground casting pit, where a cavity corresponding to the final shape of the bell had been prepared between clay moulds.

The final tone of the bell depended on its precise thickness in its various parts; in a successful casting its different notes are in harmony.

Robert Norton's bells are highly regarded for their beautiful tone.

The bell which hangs above St Pancras' Church in the Guildhall Shopping Centre is one of these. The museum's example came from Halse, near Taunton. John Allen Curator of Antiquities

Date touches for 2002

2002 Plain Bob Triples

John Foster W 4/O M H 23456 2 2 54326 2 3 64523 - 3 2 65243 SS S 62543 2 2 45263 2 35462 X - 24536 - 2 25346 - 2 23456 Contains Queens, Tittums and Whittingtons. 2002 Plain Bob Triples John Foster W 4/O M H 23456 2 2 54326 2 3 64523 - 3 2 65243 S 62543 2 2 45263 2 35462 X - 24536 - 2 25346 - - 34256 S 64253 S - 23456 Contains Kings, Queens, Tittums and Whittingtons

Kingsteignton: ringing on new mini-ring

First quarter at "Kings Ting-Tong"

The first quarter peal has been rung on James and Elaine Grant's mini-ring in its temporary home in Ian Avery's garage in Kingsteignton. James called 1296 changes of Cambridge Minor on 15 January from the 10lb tenor, cast by Richard Bowditch, and hung by Matthew Higby of Chilcompton. It is hoped to ring the first peal on the bells soon, and to have a regular monthly peal attempt. The bells will be hung in the Grant's house in Bishopsteignton when the extension is completed, and will be thenceforth known as "Bishop's Ting-Tong".

Kennerleigh: bells to be refurbished

Lightest ring in Devon Church?

Bellhanger Matthew Higby has been asked to refurbish the 2cwt chime of eight at Kennerleigh near Crediton, and to ensure that the bells can be heard more widely. Apparently local farmers complained that they could not hear the bell being chimed at noon during the F&M epidemic! Matthew is also quoting for the back six to be hung for ringing, and hopes the PCC will take up the suggestion enthusiastically. Although he says he would hang them to ring as if they were much heavier, this project would make Kennerleigh the lightest ring in a Devon church.

Handbell success

Members and friends will be pleased to hear that due to handbell practice sessions at lunch times ECG members have successfully scored a quarter peal. This is especially impressive as it is the first quarter peal on handbells for two of the three ringers. Well done!

Exeter, Devon
Laver Building, Exeter University
Wednesday 06 March 2002 in 32 mins
1260 Plain Bob Minor
1-2 David Maynard
3-4 Matthew Hilling
5-6 Ian Campbell (C)
First quarter in hand: 1-2 and 5-6.

The ECG has changed its practice night to Wednesdays at St David's in Exeter.

Staverton: Notorious bells rehung

A leap of faith

After some three years of frantic fund raising and although still some thousands short of the target figure of £35000 the PCC took a leap of faith early in 2001 and commissioned Nicholsons to carry out a full restoration of the ring of six at the parish church of Saint Paul de Leon.

The work commenced on the 23rd April and in five days we were left with a completely empty belfry. The bells had for many years been notoriously difficult to handle and ring well, the tenor being particularly bad. The bells had previously been arranged to swing north-south and had last been rehung by Harry Stokes of Woodbury in 1927. The work now undertaken involved rehanging the bells with mainly new ringing fittings in a new bellframe of conventional design. Whilst the bells were away the cracked fourth and fifth bells were welded by Soundweld of Lode and all six were tuned at the Whitechapel Bellfoundry.

Local builders commenced work cutting pockets to take the new foundation girders on 24th October and also arranging to lower the belfry floor by some two feet on new steel joists. We arranged a well supported trip to Bridport on Saturday 27th October to see the bells in their new frame at Nicholson's works after which the whole installation was dismantled and the new frame and fabricated steel headstocks were sent away for galvanising and at 10 a.m. on 12th November an eager band of volunteers greeted the low loader which delivered the foundation girders, frame and bells back to Staverton.

Then followed five days of intense activity as piece by piece the whole installation was hoisted back into the tower and assembled. The builders returned the following week to build in the foundation girders after which the bellhangers and volunteers spent the week commencing 26th November making final adjustments and reconnecting the clock chiming culminating with an inaugural ring on the evening of 30th November. Fourteen ringers from various points of the Diocese assembled including six Cathedral ringers who thrilled the listeners with a wonderful touch of method after which we retired to the Sea Trout to wet the bells.

Our thanks are due to Andrew Nicholson and his team for a job well done, to all who made donations great and small, to fundraisers and to everyone who helped with the donkey work. The clock weights are now being cased in and the bells will be rededicated by Bishop John Garton at the Patronal Evensong to be held on 10th March at 6.30 p.m.

From the Ringing World

Butterflies in the belfry

Nearly three years ago you kindly published a letter from me asking if tower captains would look in their bells to see if any butterflies were hibernating there. I had responses from five people covering 18 towers of which only five had butterflies in them Clearly this sample was not big enough to draw any conclusions

My friend and naturalist The Rev Tom Gladwin and some of his friends are looking to publish an article on this subject in a journal called The Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation some time next year. The Journal is published six times a year and it is an important national publication now into Volume 113.

I have volunteered to ask you if would publish another request for information on the subject. Records of bells with and without butterflies are equally important as is the address or map reference.

I am hoping with the increasing use of web sites and email, which don't involve. the chore of envelopes, stamps and letter boxes. we might get a better response


Guild Library

The Library is currently housed in the Devon and Exeter Institution in the Cathedral Close, which enables it to be easily accessible to Guild members. However it needs to find a new home, and so Guild Librarian John Scott is looking for secure, geographically central and dry premises, where 60 feet of shelving could easily be erected, and where members can refer to this fascinating collection of ringing books and documents.

Devon Bells Weekend

Following a very successful open day in 2000, Don Roberts has kindly agreed to organise another this year, following an anticlockwise route around Dartmoor with 25 towers open, on the August Bank Holiday. That same weekend St Petrock's are organising a national call-change competition at Drewsteignton, and inviting teams from all over the UK to try their hands at traditional Devon call changes.

These two events are being co-ordinated by the Devon Ringers' Council, who will organise further events on the Sunday, in order to make a long weekend for the visitors Guild members are asked to keep the weekend clear and be available to help. All profits will go to the Devon Church bell restoration Fund.

Cathedral: Bristol Max scored

Six firsts and first for Guild

An Exeter Cathedral band has succeeded in ringing the first peal of Bristol S Maximus for the Guild. The band gathered at Buckfast Abbey at 1pm on Saturday 12 January and after 3 hours and 48 minutes the peal ran round. This was not an easy achievement and is the result of many practice touches and hours of learning. Everyone should be congratulated on the huge effort that went in to making this a success.

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Exeter Cathedral Society

Buckfast Abbey, Devon Saturday 12 January 2002 in 3h 48 (41) 5090 BRISTOL S MAXIMUS Comp: J Clatworthy

1 Matthew J Hilling (C) 2 Howard W Egglestone 3 Pauline Champion 4 Lester J Yeo 5 P Wendy Campbell 6 Paul J Pascoe 7 John Hill 8 George E Mudge 9 Peter L Bill 10 Ian L C Campbell 11 Reginald T McKenzie 12 Michael E C Mears

First peal of Bristol S Maximus: 3,4,5,6,8,10 & for the Guild.

Withycombe Raleigh Revised

by John Foster, Tower Captain

Following a fortnight's activity the revised ring at Withycombe rang out for the first time in two weeks, which for us is a long time without bells, on Friday 25th January. All those who attended, including the Tower Captain of the Cathedral and his good lady, thought that they were much improved, Caters and Royal being rung all the evening. Even Ian turned the tenor in and commented on how much easier it was to ring.

Work has taken place on the notoriously "heavy" tenor and six of the other bells, to bring them all in line with each other and balance them as a 10. This work has included the replacement of 6 clappers, the modification of 5 crown staples and three bells, including the tenor, having their hangs adjusted. The tenor has been taken 3/4 inch towards the head stock by reducing the wooden pad. The reason for this size of the pad became apparent when we tried to get it off the bell, the canon stubs were still under it and it had been reamed out to cover them over! Needless to say a 9-inch cutting blade soon solved that. With the adjustments made, by speeding up the swing of the tenor and slowing down 3 and 4, and adjusting clapper/hang/wheels ratios as required, the whole ring is now much easier to ring and it is easier to strike up a good rhythm. In fact the first two quarters on the bells showed that the times had been reduced by an average of 2 minutes. The first peal was 5 minutes less than the usual Saturday morning times. We look forward to seeing how the Thursday band gets on with them.

As always with new clappers they still have to bed in, and once this has happened the next task is to balance the sound and get the trebles a little louder. We also took the opportunity of replacing some pulley blocks as the old ones were getting a little worn out. After all in the 10 years since they became a 10 there have been over 100 peals, 150 quarters, ringing every Sunday, practice nights, at least 20 weddings a year, that is not also counting the lost peals, lost quarters and visitors!

The work was carried out by Nicholson Engineering, with local labour as required and we are grateful to Andrew for his assistance with this project, his comments on the bells and suggestions on how we could improve them. There are a few little things to iron out, the sound and the kick on the seventh, by the way the tenor does not kick anymore, and then they will be as good as we can get them. So we will have, as they say in lager ads, Probably the Best 10 in Devon!

ECG: 35th Annual Dinner

Past and present members have excellent weekend

Saturday 2nd February saw 54 members, friends and guests gather at The Thistle Hotel in Exeter for the 35th annual dinner of the Exeter Colleges Guild. Once again, the dinner was made into a weekend event with new faces meeting some older faces in the Imperial on Friday night. One pint lead to two pints which lead to three pints... need I say more? This was all ended very abruptly when one of the bouncers overhead one of the gathered company saying to "chill out". When the reply came "I am chilled" we made a very swift retreat and everyone returned to their respective accommodation!

Saturday morning dawned early for some, and a little later for others. The minibus did a tour of Exeter collecting its passengers from all over the city before making its way to Tiverton. Fortunately we arrived early enough for a visit to the bakers for cakes which was on the way from where the minibus was parked to the first tower - St Paul's. The ringing here was over all too soon on the fine light 6, which then meant walking past the bakers again for yet more cakes! On to the 8 at St Peter's where we were joined by the "late starters" and we even managed to bring round a touch of 8-spliced. Lunch in the pub at Tiverton before moving on to Cullompton and then the "interesting" 8 at Bradninch brought the ringing day to a close. Back to Exeter for a whistle stop tour to leave everyone where we found them, allowing just enough time to return home dress ourselves up (some more than others!) and off to the dinner.

The dinner itself was the usual combination of food, beer, wine and socialising. The seven tables were seated around the dance floor with the now usual ECG format of not having a top table. The various speakers are spread around the room so that everyone feels a part of the atmosphere. Once the eating was over, the formalities could continue with first the Secretary, Malcolm Evans, to welcome the guests. Malcolm spoke of those that were unable to attend for various reasons, and welcomed our guest speaker Steve Coleman. Next it was time for three of the current students to show off what they had learnt in our handbell sessions which have been running for just about 10 weeks now. Malcolm Evans 1-2, David Maynard 3-4 and Alison Halford 5-6 successfully brought round a plain course of Plain Bob Minor - a huge achievement under such pressured conditions. We look forward to some more progress and spliced surprise major next year!

Steve Coleman was next to take the floor. Steve had been doing his homework. He had asked Malcolm for some information on the ECG. How about the most recent Newsletter? Have we ever had a newsletter? OK, so how about the most recent report? Well, needless to say Steve ended up on the website. Fortunately he was able to pick up a few snippets of information and also suggested some improvements. How about a "cupid's corner"? And he even had his own bellringers' chat-up lines written... although I am not sure that anyone would dare try them! What about changing the rules? Second thoughts, the rules are good just the way they are - non existent. Finally Steve proposed the toast and we all drank to the health of the ECG.

Now it was the turn of the experts(?). Not to be shown up by the current undergrads we decided on a plain course of Grandsire Caters which luckily enough ended in rounds after quite a well struck course: David Macey 1-2, Matthew Hilling 3-4, John Longridge 5-6, David Atkins 7-8 and Ian Campbell 9-10.

The much awaited Master's speech was next on the agenda. Alison spoke of the events of the past year - the joint outing with the University of Bristol ringers', the BBQ on the beach, the Freshers Fair (when quite a few new members signed up) and the change of practice night to a Wednesday to enable more people to attend. The sweepstake was won by Stephen Chambers, but I don't think his winnings quite stretched to a round of drinks! With the daffodil toast proposed by Phil Nichols and all past members eating their daffodil head the formalities were over, and the barn dance could begin. This year must have been different somehow as even our President John Longridge and Past Master Michael Esbester were seen on the dance floor. Everyone present must have taken part, but all too soon it was over, and people made their way to their beds.

Sunday was normal ringing in the morning - a little too early for some - followed by coffee, and more coffee for sobering up. Lunch at the Malthouse on Haven Banks was well attended, although most people were still half asleep. Then to the Cathedral for the traditional ringing to round off an excellent weekend.

Please check out the website for further information and news on the ECG:

Guild: Competitions

Stedman is the method

The annual competitions will be held this year in the Exeter branch area on 19 October with ringing at the cathedral afterwards. The six bell competitions for local bands will be in the morning at Holcombe Burnell, and the inter-branch eight bell competition will be at Pinhoe in the afternoon, where the judge will be the ringing master of Westminster Abbey, David Hilling. The object of this competition is to extend the range of methods and develop the ability of ringers within the branches, and the method chosen by the committee is Stedman Triples.

Wendy Campbell will shortly be sending out the usual letter with all the details, including the touch, but Matthew Hilling has provided some further information, including some hints and tips on how to call the touch. He says, "Don't be frightened that the touch looks too hard. In fact it is very simple to call, and although the 'odd bobs' may be unfamiliar to some people, with eight months to practice the touch there should be no problems!"

The test piece touch is a 3 part with part ends of Queens, Tittums and Rounds:

216 Stedman Triples
	7143526	5
	1274365	2
	1243765	1
	3521674	3
P	3517246	1
	Twice repeated

The observation bell is the treble as this comes back to being quick bell at the end of each part. The calling is: Position 3 (4-5 down before slows), 5 (first half turn), 6 (second half turn), 9 (4-5 up to make bob after slow) The figures above are the six ends produced following a bob after the number of sixes shown on the right hand side. The last line is the part end which is a plain six (indicated by the P on the left) which is produced one six after the last bob in each part.

Things to watch out for:

A useful shorter touch that can be used to practise 'odd-bobs' is this well-known touch:

144 Stedman Triples
	3425167	1
	4675312	3
	6543712	1
	5123674	3
	1372546	2
	3215746	1
P	3254167
Observation: Call seventh 6-7 up, in and out quick, 6-7 down, in and out quick. Hint: Watch out for the bob at he beginning of the second part - it comes immediately after the end of the first part, and will be with the 6th again.

If anyone requires further help or more figures, then please contact Matthew Hilling on email:

Devon Ringers Carol Service

Ringers help children's lifeline

An invitation to hold the Devon Ringers' Carol Service at St Eustachius' church, Tavistock was gladly accepted, and this came to fruition on Saturday 15th December. The church was well filled, although by no means to capacity, and ringers from every corner of Devon enjoyed the familiar pattern of carols, readings and handbells. As usual the congregation was were augmented by a large choir of ringers and others who had worked hard prior to the event under the baton of Ian Avery.

This year all were treated to the skills of the Lamerton Handbell Ringers, who performed carols and other seasonal pieces to an exceptional standard. They also joined together with the congregation in a melodious rendition of the ringers' hymn 'Ring out, ye bells below' to the tune of 'Tavistock'. The Guild secretary says that she found herself moved to tears and has asked for this to be a regular feature in future years (the carol, not the tears!).

The Guild and Association have been in the habit of remembering those less fortunate than ourselves and donating the collection made at the carol service to Children's Hospice South West at Little Bridge House in Fremington. All were therefore very pleased to welcome Mr Bill Griffin, the regional fund-raising manager, to give a short address on the work of the hospice, which receives no state aid.

The congregation learned that it is an absolute lifeline to those parents and relatives with children who are terminally ill, but that the running costs are more than a million pounds per annum. The collection this time made £379.75.

The next carol service is to be held, by popular demand, at Exeter Cathedral, on Saturday 14th December, starting at 3pm.

David Snowdon 1944 - 2001

An Appreciation

David was a mature 31 years old when he first expressed a wish to learn to ring. His job had brought him to the Bideford area from his home in the Bude area. David was a distribution engineer with the local electricity supply company. His job was a vocation and was often to keep him from ringing as much as he would like to have done. There always seemed to be an emergency which would keep him away from home and ringing, particularly during the winter when the Atlantic gales of these parts played havoc with the overhead power cable network.

For some reason, David was directed to Buckland Brewer and to the Tower Captain Roy Blight. This fortunate occurrence was to lead to an involvement with this parish for the rest of his life. Roy has told me that he started one evening by showing David how to raise and lower a bell as this was his customary introduction. Roy was surprised and delighted when David said, "Would you kindly shown me that again?". This is the only time Roy has had a pupil with the presence of mind to ask that of him and so it was done with the usual explanation. David then calmly proceeded to raise the bell without further assistance and by later on in the evening was ringing rounds with the rest of the band.

This approach was typical of the excellent observation and attention to detail that David showed in his approach to the rest of his ringing development, and I am sure to the rest of his life and work. Soon after becoming a proficient call-change ringer, David's natural curiosity led him to investigate the possibility of learning method ringing.

It was not long before David had become one of the stalwarts of The St Brannock's Society, ringing his first quarter and first peal in 1978. David was always true to his adopted parish however and always maintained his close ties with - and service to - Buckland Brewer tower and congregation. Again his natural curiosity led him to study and research the working of the Taylor foundry during their operation in the village. He had soon located and taken note of those surviving bells in Devon and Cornwall.

David's quiet modesty belied his ability and he quickly became in demand at call-change competitions and local peals and quarters as a reliable participant. We have not been able to locate any peal / quarter peal records kept by David, but with the help of Michael Mears and Lester Yeo, I have traced some thirty-four peals. These started with the tenor of Grandsire and moved on to the treble to Bob Minor in conventional Westcountry tradition. Here however David left convention behind and rang Cambridge Major for his first inside. Steady progress with never more than four in any one year, led him to the first of several peals of 8-spliced.

As alluded to earlier, he also became a great help to Buckland church. The Team Rector through most of those years who enjoyed that support was the Revd Bill Blakey, who recently left the parish. During the funeral Lester Yeo read a lovely letter from Bill, remembering many of the occasions they had enjoyed in their service to Buckland Brewer.

Bill referred to David's quiet and deep faith, his service as PCC Treasurer, as teacher of ringers, as Mr electrical Fix-it, and of course to his hobby of printing and the thousands of festival certificates produced by him, which adorn ringing chamber walls all over the area. Lester, who was a personal friend, expressed his thanks to David's wife Celia and to their children Paul and Jessica, for asking him to say a few words. He recalled many personal memories and the occasions on which they rang together, including some special peals, especially their first together, appropriately Buckland Brewer Delight Minor.

David was a member of the Ancient Society of College Youths and rang (we think) two peals with the society. He was current Chairman of the Hartland Deanery Society of Ringers, and a past Secretary of the Torridge Valley Guild.

The Church was of course full for the funeral, as predicted by Bill Blakey, and local ringers formed a Guard of Honour for Dave and his family, as they left. The local band rang the bells half muffled before and after the service, and later they were rung open by any who wished to stay and pay their respects in this way.

So farewell, David, we shall all miss you and be the poorer for your passing. May God bless you and Celia, Paul and Jessica.
James Clarke

Quarter Peal week

The annual QP week has been an excellent and successful way of raising money for Bell restoration as well as providing the opportunity, for example, for learners to ring their first quarter. This year, the week will take place between 28 September and 6 October.

New rates for subs

Subscriptions are due by the end of March, and as a result of a decision made by the Guild at least AGM, are now fixed at £5 (£2.50 for junior and senior members). The peal fee is a tenth of the subscription and therefore is now 50p.


Queenie Retter

Queenie Retter ringing at Honiton Clust in 1947

Queenie Retter was born in Clyst Honiton in 1922. She joined the Church choir at about 9 years of age and sang in it for nearly 70 years in total. She began ringing in 1943 when the wartime ban on bell ringing was lifted. She was a member of the Clyst Honiton band for 59 years. Queenie also served as a church warden for 34 years. Queenie and George were married at Clyst Honiton on May 13 1950 by Prebendary E.V. Cox.

Queenie passed away suddenly at home on 26 January, the evening before she was due to attend the licensing service of the new Priest-in-Charge of the church, which was held at Rockbeare.

The funeral service was held at Clyst Honiton Church on 6 February and was conducted by Rev. H. Whitty and Rev J. Copus. The bells were rung open both before and after the service, instead of half muffled, as a thanksgiving for Queenie's life.

Queenie and George began ringing together in May 1943. They then started to learn change ringing on 28 September 1943 and were elected members of the Devonshire Guild 14 February 1944. They rang their first peal at Whimple on 26 February 1944 and were awarded their Guild Certificates at the Branch Meeting held at Broadclyst on 14 March 1944.

Queenie was mainly a service ringer. Her records show that she rang 233 quarter peals, although a more likely number is 240 - 250 since 3 or 4 years records have been mislaid. The greater part of these quarters were for Sunday services. She rang her first quarter peal on the 2nd at Rockbeare on 16 January 1944. It was Grandsire Doubles. Her last quarter peal was Plain Bob Major which she rang in 1995. In her lifetime she conducted just one quarter peal which was of Grandsire Doubles.

She rang a total of 15 Peals, 13 of which were for the Devonshire Guild, 1 for the Lincoln Diocesan Guild at Surfleet conducted by Rupert Richardson, and 1 with the Norwich diocesan Guild conducted by Nolan Golden. The peals she rang were as follows:

Grandsire Doubles 1
Grandsire Triples 7
Stedman Triples 2
Oxford Bob Triples 1
Plain Bob Major 3
Kent Treble Bob major 1

Her last peal was of Stedman Triples in 1954.

Queenie was for many years a member the Ladies' Guild and could often be seen during the 1970's with her daughter Ann. Queenie enjoyed going to ringing meetings, often talking later on about the little things that happened during them such as the way lady ringers were few in numbers in her early years of ringing, or of going to Buckfast Abbey for the first time in the 1940's and being told that if she was going she must wear a hat! She went to many meetings during the 1960's and 1970's with daughters Margaret and Ann.

Queenie was really looking forward to the peal attempt at Clyst Honiton for her 80th birthday on 11 February. She felt it was both a great honour and very much of a surprise when Rob Franklyn put the proposition to her.

To end on a light note, Queenie's only quarter peal she called was Grandsire Doubles, the 10 1/2 callings, rung before the 8.00am service on Whitsunday, 9 June 1946. How did she manage it at that time of day - she called it from the 2!

More recently, Queenie was instrumental in getting new clappers fitted to the bells in 1994, and, being a Church Warden in getting the Church Council to agree to go ahead with the work, and then in 2000 it was she who managed to get their agreement to have the bell frame painted.

George would like to thank all ringers for their cards, messages of sympathy, for attending the funeral service and for ringing both before and after the service. The touch of Stedman Triples, Queenie's favourite method, was beautifully struck. He would also like to thank everyone for the kindness shown to himself and the girls at this time, and also to thank the ringers who participated in the peal on 11 February, which was rung in her memory.


Ted Bickle 1918-2002

Ted had two loves in his life, music and Barbara. The first introduced him to the second, and the two remained passionately entwined for 70 years of their lives. In Barbara's words their lives together were "preordained". Both were born in the Alexandra Nursing Home, Stoke and were largely raised and educated at Lifton where they joined the church choir. Ted also began his life-time association with bell ringing in Lifton which remained an important aspect of his life from the age of 12 years until shortly before his death.

Leaving school at the age of 14, Ted became a motor fitter and then in order to gain more training, at the age of 18 years joined the RAF as an engineer apprentice. During the 2nd world war he was posted to India for four and a half years, which left an indelible mark on his character and was a repository of numerous jokes and anecdotes all recounted with a classic twinkle in his eye.

Ted wrote the classic daily letter to Barbara during his time in India and sang in numerous choirs on a regular basis but did not participate in bell ringing again until he was demobbed in 1945 just two years after he and Barbara married.

Shortly after the family arrived, Ted and Barbara joined the church and choir at Cornwood at the invitation of the then organist and Ted enthusiastically took to ringing once again. Sundays were hectic with two journeys to Cornwood, choir, bell ringing and organisation of the offspring. This happy association lasted until the mid 1960s when the Cornwood choir largely dispersed and Ted migrated to St Budeaux to continue with bell ringing and he and Barbara joined the Saltash Augmented District Choir and the Cantilena Singers in Plymouth.

During that time Ted rang around the county and acquired a large number of friends in the Exercise. He was also responsible for teaching at a number of towers including Eggbuckland and participating in numerous tower outings and competitions.

Finally in 1984, when the incumbent of St Budeaux banished ringers who were not regular worshippers at the church, Ted joined the Emmanuel band. According to Jack Sims he simply appeared in the tower on New Years Eve 1984 and from that point on learnt method ringing on Sunday mornings in Emmanuel. He loved the musical sound of Grandsire Doubles and regularly rang the treble including a quarter peal in July 1998. In Jack's words he was also a marvellous tenor man and regularly rang in that position for Stedman and Grandsire Triples. His relaxed manner and sense of humour were also invaluable company at ringing for weddings particularly at St Budeaux and he often said wryly "the money keeps me out of the workhouse!"

He will be greatly missed by Devon ringers who collectively send their heartfelt condolences to Barbara.

Disclaimer - please read

Pages written by Ian Campbell

Updated 13/3/2002