The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 49 : March 2003

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 .

NE Branch: Mike Hatchett describes the branch's training plans

Ringing centre named after former President

During the last few years, the enthusiasm of Richard Shere, the North East Branch Education Officer, has resulted in a series of training courses stretching from Plain hunt Doubles to Plan Bob major. Until the light ring of eight at Huntsham becomes available, the NE Branch does not have a suitable tower for training events involving significant open ringing. Therefore at present our training programme is principally held at Thorverton and Pinhoe, and we are enormously grateful to Bill Ford and Robert Franklin for making their bells available to us.

In late October 2002 the NE Branch practice Bell, funded principally by an award from the lottery funded Awards for All Programme, was installed by Nicholson Engineering in Bampton tower together with its computer and ABEL simulator. We are most grateful for the help given by Jim Vellacott (Morebath) and Lynda and Ken Smith (Tiverton) during the installation of bell and simulator. During November 2002 we held a very successful Open day for affiliated towers in the branch. Further Open days will be held during 2003 for affiliated towers in the Dunster Branch of the Bath and Wells Association and for other Devon ringers outside the NE Branch. The Bampton practice bell, as it has become known, is now being used regularly to develop striking skills and to improve bell handling.

Knowing that the Founders' Company had made a significant sum available to the central Council Ringing centres Committee, we were encouraged to submit a bid for recognition as a Ringing centre and thus obtain a grant towards the cost of audiovisual equipment,. Our bid was based on the following principles: the Bampton Practice Bell would be used for training bell-handling, to develop striking skills and to enable individuals to use the Abel simulator to improve their method ringing skills. Bampton would also be used as the location of 'Sharing Experience' workshops on bell handling and striking. Huntsham, when it becomes available, will be equipped with a sound management system enabling the bells to be rung frequently and for extended periods. Therefore most open ringing training events on six and eight bells will then take place at Huntsham. Both Bampton and Huntsham are will equipped with convenient Community halls and supportive church communities. Until Huntsham is available our Open Ringing Training Programme would continue in a peripatetic way, with events held at suitable local towers, even though these may involved significant travelling.

In December 2002 we were delighted to learn that we had been recognised by the Central Council Ringing Centres Committee and had been awarded £600 towards the purchase of audio-visual equipment. Our Ringing Centre is called the Troyte Centre for Change Ringing and during the last few weeks, we have been quite purchasing and installing new equipment. Once again Ken and Lynda Smith from Tiverton have been of immense help in selecting and setting up equipment for us.

Our first task will be to survey affiliated towers in the branch, to identify their training and development needs and interests, and then to plan a programme to meet those needs. Invitations to other will be made where there is spare capacity at workshops. Until Huntsham is available we plan to concentrate on one day events, which will enable us to gain experience of serving the needs and interests of our local ringers. Once we can use Huntsham we propose some rather more ambitious projects including short residential workshops, theme holidays, ringing festivals and progressive quarter peal programmes.

Further information is available from the Branch Training Officer, Michael Hatchett.

Ringing Roadshow

Lincolnshire Showground

Saturday 26 July
10.30 to 5.00

Readers will already be aware that the Ringing Roadshow is taking place this summer in Lincoln. Full details appeared in the 'Interchange' pages of the last issue of RRD, and ringers are planning their trip north.

A series of seminars are planned, and will take place at 11:00am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm. From the list below (not in any particular order) you can choose to attend:

Guild eight bell competition

St Simon's Triples

The method for the Guild eight bell competition on Saturday 18th October at St Peter's, Tiverton, is St Simon's Triples.

The committee felt that with these bells it would be necessary to break from the tradition of alternating Major and Triples methods for the test piece! The method is given here, as well as five quarter peals for bands to ring as practice.

1260 Changes
W  M  H  23456
-     -  64352
   -     56342
   -  -  34562

1260 Changes
B  O  M  23456
   -  -  26543
-        63245
-        35642

1260 Changes
W  M  H  23456
      -  42356
-  -  -  65324
      -  36524

1260 Changes
W  M  H  23456
-  -  -  65432
      -  46532
      -  54632
5 part

1288 Changes
45362 IN 4H B M
36524 IN H 2SW 2SB 2H B M
52643 IN B M
64235 IN B M
23456 IN B M
4 = BSBS 
48 cru's
Queens Tittums Whittingtons

Rule change suggested for six bell competition

Following a resolution at the Guild AGM on festival day, the General Committee is recommending the following rule change for the six bell competition to allow a wider range of teams to enter but remain within the spirit of the competition as one between towers.

If approved by the membership, the new rules concerning eligibility for entry would read:

1. Each team eligible for entry shall fall into one of the following categories:

(a) Affiliated towers of the Guild may enter one or more teams, each containing at least four Guild members who ring regularly for Sunday service at the tower. Other participating ringers will be drawn from Guild members of the same branch.

(b) Branches may each enter one or more team, each containing at least four members of the branch not attached to a Guild tower. Other participating ringers will be drawn from Guild members who ring regularly within the same Branch.

2. Each team may include one person who is ringing for another team; this ringer must not ring the same bell for each team.


Bryan Frank Coles (1932-2002)

Bryan Coles was born at Sidbury on 11th December 1932 and lived his entire life in the county with all but five years based in the Sid valley. His parents were tenant farmers at Goosemoor Farm on the Sidbury Manor Estate so it was perhaps inevitable that he would spend most of his working life connected with the land.

Bryan left school at the age of 14 to work for his parents on the farm. He became friendly with Edward and Kath Summers who farmed the neighbouring Filcombe Farm. When he was thrown out of the choir at the age of 15, Edward suggested he try bell ringing at Sidbury. It was the start of a lifetime's friendship as Edward taught Bryan all he knew about both bell ringing and farming. Bryan would later describe Edward as probably more of a father to him than his own father.

Bryan was an active and loyal member of the Sidbury band from the time he learnt until he moved to Exminster in 1996. He also managed to combine being a member of the Sidmouth band during the time that he lived in the town and was also a member of the Exeter Cathedral band during the 1960s and 70s.

Although never a prolific peal ringer Bryan would be available for tower and East Devon local peal attempts. He much preferred to indulge in open days and the odd quarter peal. His most active period came in the last 10 years of his life, influenced by his daughter Janet, during which he rang at least 200 quarters.

Bryan held many ringing posts and was a great servant to ringing in Devon and East Devon in particular. While a member at the Cathedral he served as Treasurer and helped to raise money for the Silver Jubilee bell. He was Chairman of the East Devon Branch of the GDR for many years and Guild Ringing Master for a year. He also served on the committee of the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund until just before his death. Bryan was also the official "bell ringer" at Court Leet, the traditional rent day on the Sidbury Manor estate.

Away from ringing Bryan joined the Colaton Raleigh and District Young Farmers and took part in many of their events even including an exchange trip to Denmark. He was a keen ploughman in his younger days taking part in many competitions and being judged the best local ploughman for three years out of five in the 1950's. It was through Young Farmers that he met Mary Arscott, a farmer's daughter from Clyst Honiton. When the opportunity arose to take over the neighbouring farm in Sidbury Bryan and Mary decided to marry. This took place at Clyst Honiton church on 12th October 1963. He always used to claim that Mary proposed to him, a claim that probably wasn't true but she undoubtedly gave him a hefty shove in the right direction.

When he became too old for Young Farmers, Bryan joined the Colaton Raleigh & District Ploughing Association and became active in judging local ploughing matches. This culminated in being invited to join the judging panel at the National Ploughing Championships in each of the last 5 years. He became Treasurer of the local Association, a post he held for many years up until his recent illness.

Mary and Bryan were keen ballroom dancers and were founder members of the Sidmouth College Old Time and Modern Sequence Dance Club. Bryan was light on his feet earning the nickname "Twinkle-Toes".

Bryan was the best father that his children Roger and Janet could have wished for - having never really grown up himself! The last 2 years of his life provided him with a new source of pride and pleasure in the form of his grand-daughter Rebecca.

Even during his final illness Bryan managed to maintain his sense of humour. He would suggest that the tablets used to control his cancer was what he used to use to fatten his chickens and would describe the chemotherapy fluid as sheepdip. The number of cuddles he managed to con the female nurses out of was amazing, even with Mary at his bedside at the time.

174 friends and family squeezed into the parish church of SS Peter & Giles at Sidbury for Bryan's funeral, which was conducted by the Revd John Lee. Hymns including the ringers' hymn and "We Plough the Fields and Scatter" reflected Bryan's love of the land and of ringing; the service was preceded and followed by half muffled ringing.

May you rest in peace Bryan and may your family and friends take comfort that your seemingly early calling from this life is because your talents are obviously required at a higher level.

Donald Carter

Devon Ringers Council

CD recordings started

Recordings have started for the Compact Disc being produced by the Devon Ringers Council in aid of the Devon Church bell restoration fund.

The CD will have recordings of both top quality call change ringing and method ringing from all around the county and on a range of bells. It will have a retail price of £9.99 plus postage and packing. It is hoped to launch it at the Ringing Roadshow on 26 July.

The CD is also available at a reduced price to subscribers. For full details, please contact Lester Yeo

General Committee

Insurance and Bell to commemorate Guild presidents

The Committee met as usual in January and considered the following:


Only a third of the members responded to the survey on insurance, but those that did were 75% in favour. The recommendation to the Guild is that the Guild subscription should be raised to allow for individual accident insurance for each eligible member.

President's bell

The Guild is not being asked to help with the restoration of its home tower Huntsham, but a request was received to consider giving towards the President's bell. It was decided to recommend to the AGM that the Guild pay the cost of the inscription, listing the names of all Guild presidents, and open a fund for donations towards the cost of the bell.

John Scott announced that he was retiring as Diocesan bells advisor, a post he had held since May 1961, and would continue to work with James Clarke his successor, who would also become chairman of the DCBRF. John said that he would pass on to James 'ten fat files to add to EV Cox's slim notebook'!

Martin Mansley will be standing down as education office at the annual meeting, and a successor is needed (see job description elsewhere in RRD).

New look for Guild website

The Guild's website has been further improved, with the addition of photographs of (almost) all affiliated towers, as well as details of practice night and email contacts. The Guild's policy is not to include any other contact details. The pages can be found at

Because of the difficulty of publishing contact details on the internet, it is unlikely that the Devon ringers directory will appear on a website, but listing of all contacts are available from Association secretary Jereme Darke.

ECG: Annual Dinner

Balloons entertain diners at new dinner venue

The 36th Annual Dinner was held in the smart new venue of the Southgate Hotel. The weekend of festivities got off to a good start on Friday night, with a large gathering in the Imperial. It was an excellent chance to catch up and relax before the dinner day itself. Having finished the last of the Kaleidoscope bitter, it was time to go home!

Saturday morning was graced by unusually clement weather, and the minibus group was in high spirits as we set off for Plymouth. We found the first tower, St. Mary's. Plympton without trouble, and after meeting the other contingents enjoyed some good ringing on the heavy eight. The next tower, after engaging the problems of traffic and parking in Plymouth city centre, was St Andrew's, where we managed Grandsire Caters and Little Bob Royal on the fine ring of ten. Some people had their first experience of ten bell ringing, and seemed to enjoy it.

After a quick lunch in a local Wetherspoon pub, we headed off for Laira. We were met by more people here, who had driven down for the afternoon. This was just as well as some people had to leave at lunchtime, one for an exam back in Exeter! Ringing included 8-spliced and some very good Stedman on the superb eight at St Mary's, with welcome refreshments kindly provided by the local ringers. Our final tower was St. Edward's, Eggbuckland, where the day's ringing was brought to a good conclusion.

The dinner was extremely enjoyable, with good food, friendly service, fine wine and balloon modelling. Hats, flowers and even a donkey were among the interesting inflatables provided by the entertainer. After the eating had finished, ECG Secretary Matt Durling welcomed the guests and gave some apologies for absence. This was followed by a course of Grandsire Caters on the society handbells. Ringing were 1-2 Richard Newman, 3-4 Matthew Hilling, 5-6 John Longridge, 7-8 David Atkins, 9-10 Ian Campbell.

After this the Master gave an account of the past year's activities. The ever popular barn dance then commenced, with the usual enthusiasm and flair. The band put on an excellent performance, and there have been suggestions to have the caller back as a guest speaker! Nearly everyone danced at least once, although after such a good meal it was not as attractive as the bar to some people.

Normal Sunday ringing was enjoyed by most people, the change of venue not depleting the numbers at St David's as had been feared. Ringing for Evensong at the Cathedral provided the finishing touch to a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Taw, Torridge and Tamar group

A West Country Welcome

By Louise James

'Everybody Welcome'. How often have you read that, only to be greeted by blank faces and total indifference when you arrive at the ringing meeting or practice? Well, you obviously haven't been to a Taw, Torridge and Tamar monthly meeting.

During the year our days out have taken us as far afield as Plymouth (Laira) and Roche to the South, and Georgeham and West Down to the North. Any fears that the organisers have about travelling times and distances affecting numbers are soon quashed as the loyal group converges(early) at the first tower, where the main topic of conversation is the choice on the menu for lunch!

As well as attracting ringers from all corners of Devon and Cornwall, we are regularly joined by ringers from Wells and Bristol, plus two from the Swindon area who brave the elements on their motorbike. Their feat was surpassed this year by one visitor who travelled from Cheshire to ring at Berrynarbor, and another who drove down from Buckinghamshire, leaving at 5.45am for our Gillett and Johnson towers day, arriving home at 9.30pm and work the next day! His letter arrived on the Saturday thanking everyone for making him so welcome... which brings me back to the beginning. No matter what you can ring-we cater for everything from call changes to Surprise Major-the next time you see the advert in the Ringing World, take up the offer it really is a good day out.

Thanks must go to Don Lawson, Henry Trewin and Richard Stevens for organising the towers, and pub lunches during the last year. Our new Year starts with the annual dinner in January at Kilkhampton and then... watch for the advert.


David Coles

During last year Honiton ringers and friends were shocked to learn of the severity of Dave's health and saddened by his death on October 16th at the age of 66. Dave started ringing at Honiton in 1991 and had been a member of the Guild since 1992.

He could always be relied on for Sunday Service ringing and, until his wife's illness, attended practices on Thursday evenings, and had been a joint Tower Keeper at Honiton since 1994. A good humoured man of many talents, he was known as a builder of wooden stools, which were much coveted as prizes at the Christmas Draw.

Honiton will shortly be having new ropes and from donations at his funeral the no 6 rope will be dedicated to his memory.

Our sympathies go out to Joanie and his twin daughters Fran & Jo and their family at their sad loss. He will be deeply missed by us all.

SW Branch: Lamerton

Carols and Stedman at handbell workshop

The evening of Friday 6th December saw a handbell workshop at Lamerton. The event, hosted by Geoff and Valerie Hill, was held at New Court Farm. Around twenty people turned up for a very enjoyable evening, where two teams were grouped using two sets of bells.

Tune ringing was the order of the day. With Christmas just around the corner, many of the well-known carols were given a good airing. After some two hours, both teams came together, and with the aid of duplicate bells performed a few massed ringing pieces on Lamerton's four chromatic octave set of Whitechapel bells.

The final part of the evening was rounded off by the Guild Ringing Master Fergus Stracey, steering one of us lesser mortals through a plain course of Stedman triples - bad enough with one tower bells let alone two handbells! The highlight of this, apart from actually coming round, was trying to do the same on our biggest octave - 18G to 25G. Christine's arms are now about four inches longer than they were before!

At the end of all the ringing, everyone enjoyed a buffet supper in the farmhouse kitchen in Valerie's usual fine culinary style. Here's looking forward to the next one!

Exeter Cathedral: Bristol Max

Local band sets new record

The Exeter Cathedral band successfully rang its first peal of Bristol S Maximus at Exeter Cathedral. The previous week, the same band rang a practice peal at South Petherton, ringing the same bells as at the Cathedral. And to make sure the method was completely ingrained a quarter peal at the Cathedral itself was also rung.

The band duly arrived at Exeter Cathedral on the Saturday afternoon and raised the bells. The tenor ringer changed into his shorts and placed his drink on the box. When Michael Mears said "Go Bristol" the pace was set - fairly brisk and very positive. The first course was rung well, with no mistakes, and the pace got faster until the band had to be asked to lift the backstrokes! After two hours and thirty minutes, the tenor ringer reached for his drink, and showered the strapper in sticky orange squash! "Can't stop now, we're doing really well"!

After three hours and fifty-three minutes of tough concentration and a lot of pulling, "That's all" was called and the band retired, extremely pleased and very happy, for a well earned pint of beer.

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Exeter Cathedral Society
Exeter, Devon
Cathedral of S Peter
Saturday 30 November 2002 in 3h 53 (72)
5042 Bristol S Maximus
Comp: P N Mounsey 
Ian W Avery		1
Howard W Egglestone	2
Peter L Bill		3
Lester J Yeo		4
John Hill		5
Wendy Campbell		6 
Ian L C Campbell	7
George E Mudge		8
Pauline C Champion	9
Reginald T McKenzie	10
Michael E C Mears (c) 	11
Matthew J Hilling	12
Paul J Pascoe		12

First peal of Bristol S Maximus at Exeter Cathedral by the Exeter Cathedral Society

SW branch:

Devon Ringer makes bellringing jumpers

Clare Stagg from the South West Branch started her knitwear business over 20 years ago designing and making knitwear at her shop at the Sorley Tunnel Adventure Farm (an working organic farm running as a tourist attraction) just outside Kingsbridge. She uses natural fibres such as wool and cotton, mostly machine washable, and produces knitwear of all types for men, women and children in hundreds of different designs. Customers can choose their own colours from a large range.

About 5 years ago she started designing jumpers for ringers which combined her interests in method ringing with her work. She makes them to measure with blue lines in most methods to order (some are too long to fit on a jumper!). People often want the method which is special to them, such as the one they are learning at the time or something that was rung for a special occasion such as their wedding. Clare has sent them all over the world including America and Australia.

If you would like to find out more look at her new website at

Devon ringers' carol service Service a worthy prelude to Christmas

The annual Devon Bellringers' Carol Service returned to Exeter Cathedral this year. The day started with the final rehearsal of the choir assembled and led by Ian Avery. At 1-30 the Cathedral bells were open for ringing and a large number of ringers made the long journey up to the ringing room. The Cathedral ringers were particularly pleased that a large number of Devon Association members took the opportunity (many for the first time) to ring these unique bells.

The service got underway at 3-00 pm. The Bidding prayer was given by Rev. Michael Hart, rector of Heavitree, and the service took the fairly traditional form of six lessons and carols. In a departure from previous services the Choir used the staging in front of the organ and faced down the Nave. Their contributions included The Shepherd's Farewell by Berlioz, Torches by Joubert and Sir David Willcocks arrangement of the Sussex Carol. We again had the services of Harmony 400 with their impressive array of handbells. They, as always, gave a highly polished performance which included The Fantasia on English Carols, Joy to the world and their ever popular arrangement of Silent Night.

The Service included six readings given by ringers from various towers through-out the diocese. These were mainly the traditional telling of the Christmas story but also included John Betjeman's Church of England thoughts on hearing the bells of Magdalen Tower. The Collection was for the Children's Hospice and was made during a spirited rendition of the Ringers' Hymn to the tune Tavistock with the whole assembled congregation, choir and handbells all giving of their best. It must have inspired us all as the collection reached over £500.

At the end of the service the Cathedral ringers rang a closing touch but there was still energy left for open ringing on the 6 at St. Petrock's and the 8 at Alphington.

This was once again an inspiring service and a worthy prelude to the festivities of Christmas. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make it happen. Make a note of the date for next year (Sat. 20th December 3-00pm) when we will be the guests of Barnstaple parish church.
Martin Mansley

The following letter was received by the Guild secretary from the Children's Hospice South West:

Thank you so much for sending the wonderful donation of £517.64 for the Children's Hospice, raised from the Carol Service. Would you please pass on our most grateful thanks to everyone who contributed towards this gift. Your very kind and thoughtful support for our Appeal is truly appreciated.

Everyone associated with Children's Hospice South West is looking forward to this New Year and finishing the building work at Little Bridge House, continuing with preparations for the new Children's Hospice near Bristol, and generally meeting the needs of very sick children and their families throughout the South West. It is thanks to you, and others like you, that we can look forward with confidence. As always, therefore, many, many thanks for your thoughtful support.

Finally, please forgive the delay in acknowledging your kind gift. We pride ourselves on thanking supporters very promptly but owing to staff sickness, a backlog of letters accumulated over the Christmas period. Once again, therefore, many, many apologies for the delay in replying.

Yours sincerely
Jill Farwell
Executive Director

Education Officer

WANTED. Person to oversee the planning and execution of a training programme for the guild as a whole. This includes short training courses for two or three people lasting about an hour or so. (e.g. Conducting) up to more ambitious full day courses on all topics of interest to ringers. The job also includes supporting and liaising with the branches on their local training initiatives. This would include liaising with the Central Council Education Committee. The Education Officer also oversees the Education fund in liaison with the Guild Treasurer.

The post holder should have experience of teaching bell handling and an interest in teaching and learning how to teach. Patience and a sense of humour are vital!

Peals Analysis

Methods rung to end of 2002 (Part One)

Below is the first part of an analysis of all the peals rung by the Guild up to the end of 2002. This shows all peals rung on higher numbers, and indicates the number rung and the first year in which the Guild rang the method. The methods are arranged chronologically. Where a year is shown in brackets, this indicates the first year an entirely resident band rang the method. An asterisk indicates the first peal in the method.

Method			Total	First rung

Cambridge Surprise	14	1932 (1993)
Yorkshire Surprise	4	1956
Plain Bob		4	1964
New Cambridge Surprise	1	1996
Bristol Surprise	4	2002

Grandsire		10	1926
Stedman			27	1927

Kent Treble Bob		5	1903
Plain Bob		30	1903
Cambridge Surprise	60	1937 (1984)
Yorkshire Surprise	31	1948 (1984)
Pudsey Surprise		4	1963
Little Bob		2	1971
London Surprise (No3) 	11	1973 (1994)
Superlative S (No 2)	4	1976
Lindsey Surprise	1	1986
Spliced Surprise (3m)	6	1988
Lyme Surprise		2	1989
Oakham Surprise		3	1990
Albanian Surprise	1	1992
Swindon Surprise	3	1992
Lincolnshire Surprise	8	1993
Withycombe Raleigh S*	1	1993
Bristol Surprise	4	1993
Spliced Surprise (4m)	5	1993
Spliced Surprise (5m)	4	1993
Spliced Surprise (6m)	2	1993
Spliced Surprise (7m)	2	1994
Spliced Surprise (8m)	5	1994
Rutland Surprise	3	1994
Brindley Surprise*	1	1994
Prittlewell Surprise	2	1994
Diseworth Surprise	1	1994
Littleport Little S	2	1994
Raddon Surprise*	1	1995
Ewerby Surprise		1	1995
East Devon Surprise*	1	1995
Hampstead Surprise	1	1995
Isleworth Surprise	1	1996
Cairngorm Surprise	1	1996
Grandsire		1	1996
Vermuyden Surprise	1	1996
Wembley Surprise	1	1996
Spliced Surprise (10m)	1	1996
Abingdon Surprise	1	1997
York Surprise		1	1997
Spliced Surprise (9m)	1	1997
Spliced Surprise (14m)	1	1997
Kilpeck Surprise	1	1997
Ben Macdui Surprise	1	1999
Quinquaginta Surprise	1	1999
Jamboree Surprise	1	1999
Clyde Surprise		1	2000
Lockington Surprise	1	2000
Kinloss Surprise	1	2000
London Surprise (No. 1)	1	2000
London Surprise (No. 2)	1	2000
Emily Surprise		1	2001
London Surprise (No. 4)	1	2001
Xantha Surprise		1	2001
Mortlake Surprise	1	2001
Yeovil Town Surprise	1	2001
Goldsborough Surprise	1	2001
New Cambridge Surprise	1	2001
Ardessie Surprise	1	2002
Pontefract Surprise	1	2002
Triton Delight		1	2002
Argyll Surprise		1	2002
Double Norwich Court 	1	2002	
Zelah Surprise		1	2002
Irrawaddy Surprise	1	2002
Moray Firth Surprise	1	2002
Spliced (2m)		1	2002
Uplyme Surprise		1	2002
Fullerton Surprise	1	2002
Quenby Hall Surprise	1	2002

Caters & Royal Spliced: 
Caters (2m), Royal (1m)	2	1996

Grandsire		130	1891
Stedman			41	1892
Erin			1	1913
Plain Bob		1	1991
Spliced (2m)		3	1995
Double Norwich Court 	1	2002

Andrew Kingsnorth visits a tower in the Ukraine

The Zvon Peal

The excellent article by Kenneth Price; "Russian Bells: Singing Icons of Orthodoxy" The Ringing World November 29th 2002), describes the re-introduction of bell ringing in Russia and the former Soviet Union since the collapse of communism in 1991. This article instantly solved for me the mystery and mechanisms of Russian bell-ringing.

Last summer we had been lucky enough to visit the Caves monastery situated on the beautiful uplands beside the Dnipro river overlooking the southern part of Kiev, Ukraine. For nearly 1000 years the Lavra (caves) monastery has been the acknowledged holy place for the eastern orthodox Christian church after Saint Antonius took his vows and settled with other monks in the hills behind Kiev. Now the monastery and its buildings are spread over a large area including the caves complexes, numerous religious buildings, chapels, libraries, meeting places and include the Assumption cathedral and the Big Bell Tower of the Lavra erected 1731-1744. Many of these buildings were ravaged and destroyed during the communist era but are now being renovated, remodelled and reconstructed.

The Big Bell Tower is impressive, being of Prussian architectural origin and 96.5 meters high and the tallest individually standing belfry in the territory of the former Russian empire. Standing on the highest point of the hills, its silhouette can be seen from afar and from the city of Kiev itself (see photo right). The gilded dome, Doric columns and rich decorations make a magnificent site.

The bells are situated on the 3rd tier and it was to here that we climbed one hot and sunny August Saturday to listen to a one hour zvon (peal), which we now know according to the article by Kenneth Price to be one of seven ways of ringing bells in the Orthodox Church. The bell ringer ascended a ladder and stood on a small platform, which was open to the elements. There were two tenors both operated by a foot pedal attached to a rope and thence the clapper, one operated by the chief bell ringer and the other by his assistant. The slow booming of these larger bells was then joined by a harmonious tune played by the chief bell-ringer on eight smaller bells by means of ropes attached to their clappers and pulled individually - a remarkable feat.

Needless to say it requires considerable training and experience to ring bells of the Orthodox Church and the official position of Bell Ringer of the Caves monastery is a relatively well-paid and respected position. Should you wish to listen to the result of this skill and dedication in a Zvon peal, I have a 60 minute recording of a superb performance from the Big Bell Tower of the Lavra!

New officers for Aylesbeare and ECG

The ECG Annual General Meeting was held at St David's on Wednesday 12th February. The following officers were elected:

Ringing Master - David Maynard
Secretary - Matthew Durling
Treasurer - Kathryn Ward
Deputy Ringing Master - Heather Nelson
Publicity Officer - Alex Rowan
Quarter Peal Secretary - Fiona Knott

The Secretary of the Aylesbeare Branch is now Sylvia Johns, Aylesbeare.

Quarter peal week

Many firsts rung

During this year's quarter peal week, the Guild managed to ring quarters across the county, many of which contain first of some kind. Methods ranged from Lincolnshire Maximus to Bob Doubles, and included the first blows of Western Pathfinder Treble Bob Minor.

Particular congratulations go to Frances Brebner, Alan Furse, Alexa Didcott (first quarter), Susan Lloyd (first inside), Julia House (first on eight) and Jane Lindsay (first on ten).

£357 was raised for the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund. Many thanks to all those who took part and to all the incumbents for the use of their bells.

Change of email address for NE Branch secretary

NE Branch secretary Jane Lindsay's has a new e-mail address. She can now be contacted at She asks, 'Please remove zamlin from your records'.

Devon Method Ringing in the 1870s

John and Richard Acland Troyte published a book in 1879 entitled 'The Change Ringers' guide', which listed the activity of towers where method ringing was practised. The following extract from the entry for the Devon towers may be of interest.

Name of Society		No	Weight and 					
or Steeple		of 	Note of		Methods 	Practice
			Bells	Tenor		Practised	Nights	REMARKS

BROADCLYST		6	20 E		G.S.		W.	Stedman being learnt
BUDLEIGH,EAST		6	10 A		G.		T., Th.
EXETER. St Sidwell	8	23 Eb		G.		T., Th.	Sunday ringing 8.30 A.M.
HUNTSHAM		8	13 G		G.S.TB.		M.	Meeting can be arranged any night
									Sunday ringing in Afternoon
 Holy Trinity		6	14 G		G.		T.		
MONKLEIGH		6	9 Ab		G.		W. 	Sat		
PLYMOUTH								Any Change ringer communicating 
 Charles		8	23		G.S.		T.	with Mr. BANNISTER will be gladly
 Dockyard Chapel	8	13		G.S.		W.	received and a special meeting
 Stoke Damerel		6	14		G.S.		M.	arranged if necessary
 St Andrew's		10	32		G.S.		Sat.	
ST. MARY CHURCH		8	18½ Eb		T. 		Th	Not much ringing: a struggling Guild.
UPLOMAN (sic)		6	9½ Ab		G.S.		W.
WOODBURY		6	23 G		G.		M., T

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Updated 23/03/2003