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 £2.50 for four issues (cheques made payable to Guild of Devonshire Ringers). It is also available on line on the Guild's website at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/gdr/, which holds back issues.
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 [email protected] .
A Local Heritage Initiative award of £24,827 has just been given to Princetown-based Aune Head Arts (AHA) for their new project Dartmoor Changes.
Between July 2003 and May 2004 church bells will be ringing as they're recorded for this unusual arts project to celebrate call-change ringing and method ringing in twenty-eight communities across Dartmoor.
According to Andy Stevens, Joint Project-Coordinator: "As part of the project we'll have a series of listening walks around the churches whilst the bells are being rung -- I'll be walking the routes in advance to find places where the bells can be heard as they filter through trees, bounce off hillsides and drift across valleys.
"Free to the general public, the walks will include a talk with the ringers about the history and significance of the tower's bells and a visit to the ringing chamber -- if safety permits we'll let people climb up to the bell chambers and see the bells. There will be six listening walks. I'm looking for locations where I can put together easy circular walks, where there is a nearby pub so that afterwards the walkers and the ringers can share a pint and talk about their experiences".
Richard Povall, Chairman of Aune Head Arts and Joint Project-Coordinator with Andy, explained that the project has a number of aspects: "From the recordings we will make an audio CD of each of the towers. We plan to do three sets of recordings in each location -- one in the bell chamber, one in the ringing chamber, and one from the surrounding landscape.
"There is more to the project, however, than just the sound of the bells. We will also be recording interviews with the ringers and with parish residents and others about the significance of the bells to them, to village life, how the bells feature in differing secular and non-secular celebrations and occasions, etc.. We'll also be taking photographs throughout the process. The interviews and photographs will be compiled into an annotated CD Rom.
"Toward the end of this 18-month project we will also be hosting two celebrations of bell ringing -- one on the north moor and one on the south moor. We don't have details about these events as yet, but they will probably occur in October, 2005."
"And, that's not quite all", Richard says: "Aune Head Arts has also hired two respected Devon artists, Jonnie Williams and Marcus Vergette, to produce an artists' video about bells and bell ringing as a companion to the project." We are delighted that AHA has received such a major award from the Local Heritage Initiative.
"We hope that Dartmoor Changes will raise awareness of the significance of bell ringing to the customs, traditions and cultural heritage in these twenty-eight communities (within the boundaries of the Dartmoor National Park) to local residents as well as to visitors."
"We hope some new bell ringing enthusiasts are discovered too!", says Andy. "If anyone would like to get involved in any aspect of the project, please email [email protected]"
Wonderful weather, beautiful bells and convivial company-this was the setting for the East Devon Branch annual six bell striking competition at St Michael's, Farway. Eight teams comprising some thirty plus members of the Branch took part. A raffle was held during the afternoon with the proceeds going to Branch funds.
The results of the competitions were as follows:
Awliscombe / Buckerell 44 faults
Sidmouth A 47 faults
Sidmouth B 49 faults
Honiton A 64 faults
Buckerell / Awliscombe 65 faults
Honiton B 92 faults
Ottery St Mary 92 faults
Farway 108 faults
We were delighted that Mrs Kath Summers was able to be present and award the trophy. The photograph above shows Kath with Roger Sprigg who received the trophy on behalf of the winning team. Kath was not content to take part purely in an official capacity-she insisted on slaving away in the kitchen in very warm conditions assisting Ann Moss and Pam Bailey in providing much needed liquid refreshment as well as delicious cream teas and cakes.
Congratulations to all the teams who took part. Particular mention must be made of the home team. Farway tower entered a completely local band (including the conductor) - it is just two years since they started ringing.
We were delighted to see the Revd Bob Southwood who kindly stepped in at short notice to judge the competition and whose constructive comments were much appreciated.
Thanks to all who contributed in so many ways to make this such an enjoyable afternoon.
Practice night at Topsham on Thursday 10 July was preceded by a quarter of Reverse Canterbury P B Minor to mark Ken Buckingham's 80th birthday on that day. Although not a ringer, Ken's wife accompanied him to practice that evening.
The band was:
Treble Maureen E Hawkins 2 Celia M Deem 3 Derek J Hawkins 4 Brian Horrell 5 Roger King Tenor Neil E Deem (C)
I have only known Ken for about two years, but I understand that before his retirement he rang regularly in Slough and Windsor. When he first moved to Devon he lived and rang at Broadhempston, later moving to Topsham where he regularly rings for both practices and services.
I previously saw Ken in May and he indicated to me that he would like a quarter to be rung to mark the occasion. The above band which rings here on the second Thursday of alternate months was only too happy to make his wish come true, and wish him many more years of active retirement and ringing.
Guild officers were asked to arrange insurance cover for Guild members by the Annual meeting, held during the Guild's festival day at and around Chittlehampton. In June.. A ceiling of £750 was fixed for the premium which would cover Guild ringing members for public liability but not against accidents, which in most cases would be covered by the insurance of the local church. The decision was made, with only a few voting against, after a long and complicated discussion, in the tiny, packed church room.
Derek Hawkins was elected Master for the coming year. Derek learnt to ring as a call-change ringer, but discovered method ringing, and was tower captain at Dawlish for many years, as well as being a member of the Cathedral band. He is a keen quarter-peal ringer, and is appropriately the Guild quarter peal secretary. All other officers were re-elected, with the exception of Martin Mansley, who did not wish to stand again as Education officer. Unfortunately nobody was willing to stand for this post, which currently remains vacant. Any claims for financial help for training should therefore be made directly to the Guild Treasurer.
Derek Hawkins receives the Master's badge from outgoing master, Fergus Stracey
The Guild voted to provide some funding for the casting of a bell at the Guild's 'home tower', Huntsham, which is becoming part of a ringing centre in North-East Devon. The bell, to be known as the Presidents' bell, will bear the names of all the Guild's presidents, and current president George Mudge will be writing to towers asking for donations to a special fund, in addition to the money voted by the Guild towards the project. A further £800 was voted as a direct contribution to the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund, and the guild quarter peal week, will be a further opportunity for members to raise money for the fund; this year it runs from 1 to 9 November.
The next Festival will be held in the Mid Devon Branch on Saturday 12 June. It was noted that this was the same day as the Association Major Festival, but the meeting felt this would not cause too many difficulties for those who are active members of both societies.
The rule for eligibility for entering the Guild's six bell competition, due to take place at Burlescombe in October, was revised, and now allows for branches to enter a team consisting mostly of 'unattached' members. The new rule reads:
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 from the same Branch. Each team representing a tower may include one ringer who is also ringing for another team provided that he/she rings regularly at both towers on Sundays; the ringer must not ring the same bell for each team.
(b) Branches may enter one or more teams, 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 but who are not ringing in another team.
This year's hosts, the North and North West Branch provided efficient service, both marshalling cars and refreshing thirsty ringers. Many ringers came to take part in the workshops, which were helpful and positive. It was also an opportunity to explore Derek Ballard's ringing programme, Beltower, and to order an advance copy of the Devon ringing CD, whereas during the sermon in the Guild service, the congregation were asked to make free association with various words, just as people automatically associate the sound of bells with the Christian church.
The 2003 Ringing Roadshow was held at Lincoln agricultural show ground on Saturday 26 July, and attracted a record attendance. In fact, rumours were circulating during the show that the organisers had run out of entrance tickets.
The date was the first weekend of the school holidays, and so many ringers from the South West not daunted by the distance were deterred by the traffic. A well-known Oxfordshire bell hanger said it had taken him five hours to get to Lincoln from Oxford, rather than the two and a half expected.
Nevertheless, Guild and Association members were represented there, both on the stalls and displays and as visitors. A group of ringers came from the Cadbury Deanery, and another party was organised by David Trout of Egg Buckland.
The Devon Ringers Council representing the two county societies had a stand for the sale of the CD of Devon bell ringing, staffed by Jonathan Bint, and Lester and Pat Yeo. What with advance sales to Guild and Association members, by the end of the day, almost £1800-worth of CDs had been sold, meaning a generous sum will be given to the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund.
Many of the CDs sold were to ringers with Devon connections such as Tom Ridgeman, Bob Newton, Jim Phillips, Tina Sanderson (nee Cooper), Simon Reading, Martin Whiteley and Derek Clements.
Jonathan Bint and Lester Yeo selling CDs at the Devon Ringers Council stall
Across the gangway from the Devon stall was Tony Parry (Whitchurch), introducing people to the Campanophile website, and also nearby was the large display from Nicholson Engineering. Andrew (Exeter Cathedral) said afterwards how worthwhile the day had been.
Tony Parry at the Campanophile stand
Andrew and Linda of Nicholson Engineering
Also in the hall, Fergus Stracey and Clare Stagg (Galmpton) were selling her ringing-themed knitwear, whilst Derek Ballard, and the Beltower ringing software were stationed in the marquee, a short distance away.
Clare Stagg shows off her ringers' knitwear
Derek Ballard and Beltower
An excellent occasion for meeting old friends, and seeing the strength of the exercise. One learner was overwhelmed by the numbers present and commented that he did not realise how many ringers there were in the country!
Sentiments like the above are often heard in towers up and down the country, but is it true? Unfortunately the way the central council works is that committees such as the methods committee and the Peals analysis committee have to work to past decisions - this means that each year there are peals and methods rung which do not conform to these decisions. Therefore, at the Annual meeting they have to ask the full council to make decisions on these methods and peals. Often quite some time is taken up on this minority business. It is widely reported and can often make it seem that all the council does is talk about technical issues.
In fact the truth is quite a long way from this. The majority of the work of the council is done by committees throughout the year and it is probably worth looking in more detail at some of these to see what they do.
Towers and Belfries. This committee is available to any tower to give advice on towers and bells. This would include problems with installations including advice on sound problems either inside or outside the tower. In Devon, John Scott and James Clarke are members of this committee. They also arrange courses and seminars on different aspects of tower maintenance which recently included the way towers move when bells are rung. Regular meetings are held between the Central Council and bodies such as English heritage and the Council for the Care of Churches. Often the deliberations of these bodies result in problems in our churches so it is important to have a dialogue at the highest level so that problems can be minimised.
Education. This committee works very hard to improve training at all levels. A video has been produced which is useful to trainers who are often tower captains who have had no formal training in how to teach ringing and are often thrown in at the deep end as the only person in the tower willing to have a go. Seminars are available - usually held over a week-end which includes teaching bell handling and listening skills - both very important to all towers.
Public Relations. This committee works hard to publicise the work of ringers both in local and national news media. They were at the forefront of the Ring in 2000 campaign and oversee the very successful Road Shows which have now been running for several years. They also run a complaints hot line which gives ready advice to any tower who has a problem with complainants.
Publications. The publications committee produce a wide range of books for ringers. These vary from text books on method ringing to highly technical books on the theory of ringing. There are also very useful books such as the tower handbook with a wide variety of information for ringers. There are several which are useful to tower keepers or bands embarking on bell restoration.
This is just a taste of the work of the Council. In the wider world having a body which is highly respected means that ringers have a powerful voice in the church community and in the secular world as well.
All ringers, therefore, have the Council at their service when they need help. Why not talk to one of your CC reps to find out more? They are there to represent you. Guild reps are Leslie Boyce, Don Roberts, James Clarke and Martin Mansley. Association Reps are Paul Pascoe and Mervyn Way.
Around twenty four ringers and guests set out on 31st May with the promise of sunshine which soon proved illusory as the clouds, though not the rain, settled down for a typical English Summers' day. First stop was Dunster, whose easy going eight got everyone off to an encouraging start. St. Audries was next, with its clock hammer that refused to move out of the way until persuaded by the application of some hi-tec science; to wit, one lump of wood carefully (?) wedged against the wire by a former Ringing Master with some good planning skills.
Lunch at the Windmill renewed our strength before driving round the Northern edge of the hills to Holford, whose Church had been rebuilt in 1840 with the assistance of the great, great, great grandfather of one of our ringers - Rod Moffat (Uffculme). The princely, (even extortionate) sum of 5 shillings had been paid at the time - is it any wonder the C. of E. is always asking for money, if this is an example of its profligacy! Back across the hills then to Combe Florey, of Waugh fame (?infamy?) and a splendid tea on the Vicarage lawns at Lydeard St. Lawrence, courtesy of the Vicar and her ladies. Milverton's eight rounded off another successful Branch outing, with thanks again to Mike Hatchett for his usual splendid organisation. David Smith
PINHOE, Devon, St Michael & All Angels Mon Jul 7 2003 2h51(10) 5040 St Simon's Bob Triples Comp: P J Sanderson 1. Ian W Avery 2. Andrew P Digby 3. Brian V Mountjoy 4. Philip Stevens 5. Matthew H Weighell 6. Richard A M Newman 7. Michael E C Mears (C) 8. Bryan Tuckett 1st Peal: 8
A number of ringers have recently moved to Devon. Following the relocation of the met office, Lynne and Phil Hughes are now living in Dawlish, and Ian and Ann Smith have finally retired to Mary Tavy, after many years' regular visits from East Grinstead.
Three former ECG members have returned to the county: Kathy Gray (nee Ball) is now living in Talaton, Rosie Green is back in Exeter, and Helen Weedon has a teaching post at Sandford.
The Central Council offers to run courses for Guilds and branches on most topics, but their two main courses are 'Management, Teaching and Maintenance' (for tower captains) and 'Listening Skills'.
'Listening skills' is a one day seminar suitable for all ringers, especially those who are keen to understand the listening skill better. It is particularly suitable for teachers of ringers since they will pass on what they learn to a larger number of people. The aims include:
All that is needed is a venue (a hall or meeting room, with a nearby tower), some ringers who are prepared to act as helpers, and enough participants (the working limit is 18).
Those taking part could easily bring a packed lunch so the only refreshment needed would be hot drinks and biscuits. Any of the Guild branches could easily host this course of its own members (and indeed one branch has already done this!).
The Management, Teaching and Maintenance Course is a weekend course aimed to develop the key skills needed to sustain a healthy band and tower. It is suitable for all ringers who have mastered the basics and wish, either now or in the future, to make a contribution towards running their tower. It is particularly suitable for those who find themselves in charge of a tower because no one else can be found to undertake the task or anyone hoping to revive the ringing at an inactive tower.
Its aims include
A small hall, with one or two side rooms, is required, and access to a number of local towers. As this is a residential course, accommodation may be required as well as meals.
The tutors give their time free of charge but a standard rate of £40 per tutor is charged irrespective of travelling distance covered. In addition accommodation for the tutors will need to be provided. The Ringing Centres in the county may wish to consider hosting this course, and invite tower captains and others from a wider area to attend.
If anyone requires further details about either of these courses, or of other training opportunities, they can contact the Education Committee chairman John Harrison at [email protected]
Woodbury tower monthly practices will be held on the first Wednesday of each month. Bands are welcome to visit on these or other Wednesday evenings to ring between 8.00 and 9.30pm (choir practice ends at 8pm).
Since Tower captain Jonathan Lear was ill last year, attendances had fallen dramatically. Fortunately all eight bells are rung on a Sunday morning, and occasionally Grandsire or Plain Bob Doubles is attempted, but sometimes only three people turned up to the practices.
Jonathan is now well again, and hopes that by concentrating the practice on one Wednesday a month, at least eight ringers will turn up every time! "We will also try to perfect our striking/ call change ringing prior to trying to teach method", he says.
The band is advertising locally for new ringers, through parish magazines, and an open evening is planned, followed by a 'crash course' dedicated solely to them.
Running alongside all, this activity, he intends to get invite tenders from the bell hangers for making these challenging but rewarding bells a little easier to ring.
The organisers of the appeal to rehang and restore Huntsham bells have now placed an official order, subject to the award of a Faculty, with the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and have paid a deposit of £16,674.55, which represents one third of the cost of their work. This has fixed the Whitechapel price provided work starts before the end of 2004. Huntsham bells were given to the church by local squire Charles Troyte, the first President of the Devon Guild.
Fund raising work continues and is on course to reach the Huntsham PCC's requirement that £50,000 is raised or promised before it will give permission for work to start. Hopefully this target will be reached early next year.
During the last few months two separate 'ear-marked' funds have been created. One of these is to raise £3000 for the new Troyte bell and other is to raise the £3500 needed for the new Presidents' bell. Responsibility for raising the funds for the Troyte bell has been accepted by the Huntsham village community, now somewhat smaller in size than it was in Troyte's day. The Troyte bell fund was launched at the Huntsham Fete on 5 July and by 23 August this fund had reached £2300. The Huntsham community is confident that the remaining £700 will be secure well before Christmas 2003.
The second special fund is for the Presidents' Bell. At the Guild AGM this year at Chittlehampton, the Guild voted to allocate £700 to this fund and all affiliated towers will soon be receiving a letter from the President encouraging members to make a contribution to the Presidents' bell.
During the last year the organisers have been engaged in discussions with English Heritage regarding the amount of detail they require on record drawings of the existing bell frame. Dr Peter Pay is producing these drawings and it is hoped that English heritage will soon fully support the project. At present, the English Heritage support is conditional and the Faculty application is help up until their full support is granted.
The Public Relations Committee of the Central Council has recently produced a new version of the leaflet Bells in Your Care, which was being sent out to Church of England dioceses at the end of July, for distribution, if possible, in the next clergy mailing. It is also being sent to theological colleges and courses in the autumn, and to other denominations where appropriate.
The leaflet provided useful information for priests and churchwardens who have bells in their care, but is unlikely to turn an unringable vicar into a ringable one! It gives some background to bell ringing, explaining the difference between a 'ring' and a 'chime', and that the skill in ringing lies in 'controlling the bell as it swings full circle so that it can be made to sound at a precise point - like, indeed, any other musical instrument.
Incumbents and church wardens are advised to visit the tower as soon as possible, and to go amongst the bells in the company of the tower captain. Interestingly it doesn't suggest that they should make an effort to meet the other ringers!
Answers are given to ten of the most frequently asked questions:
What makes a successful outing? The organiser of the Exeter branch novelty outing in June set the following objectives:
Accordingly, an interesting itinerary was planned, including a preliminary visit to a tea shop, and the discovery of one church with three bells in the middle of a field, a long walk from any road. The Rector subsequently gave permission for the branch to ring there, subject to the churchwarden's permission, but when he was approached he told us that not only was a rope broken, but also that the bells had recently been rehung dead in a frame apparently made from redundant electricity pylons. A further tower (four bells) had to be dropped from the route at the last minute, when the local reported that one of the pulleys had gone oval.
Instead the Branch visited the following towers:
Ashbrittle. An interesting six, with connections with Newton St Cyres and the Quick family, and one of the ropes ended in a tassel. An enormous and ancient yew tree grows in the churchyard, so old that it was standing there while Stonehenge was being built.
Stawley. The ringing chamber of this ground floor ring was immaculate and the bells were well looked after. What made them eligible for a novelty outing was the tuning: they are the front five of a ring of eight.
Bathealton. A Victorian church with a ring of four, rung regularly.. Only three years ago there was no floor between the bell chamber and the ringing chamber, and they are still remarkably loud. Any calls had to be made in the handstroke gap in order to be audible.
Clatworthy. Ian Campbell was sent up the tower with an oil can before the branch could ring here, but the four bells were delightful. No electricity in the church, a dilapidated chamber organ, pumped by hand, and a visitor's book filled with the signatures of people called Clatworthy.
First objective met satisfactorily.
On four Plain Bob is the obvious first choice. An easy move on to Double Bob. Other methods rung during the day included Cloister Doubles (Stedman but only with Quick sixes), Bristol Minimus (three bells ring three leads of Bristol Major and the treble fills in the gaps), Erin Minimus (six blows behind) and Norwich Minimus.
Second objective met satisfactorily.
Wiveliscombe only has one café, but Gerard the proprietor was happy for the party to eat up all his cakes, sitting in the square outside, while he prepared for an evening party, providing as much tea and coffee as people could drink. And a delightful pub was found on the way home, where everyone was able to sit outside in the summer sunshine and enjoy a hot meal and a pint or a J20 together.
Third objective met satisfactorily. A successful outing.
A long serving member of the East Devon Branch (George Passmore from Colyton) died recently.
St Mary's Hemyock have transferred their affiliation from the East Devon Branch to the North East Branch. They are in a benefice in which both the other parishes are members of the North East branch and this obviously seems a natural move.
Linda Holway, the tower captain at Hemyock, had already reported this possible move in the Guild Report.
The third part of the peal analysis shows all peals of Major (other than Surprise), Triples, Minor and Doubles rung by the Guild up to the end of 2002. The number rung is indicated and the first year in which the Guild rang the method.. A method name in bold indicates the first peal in the method
Method Total First rung Plain, Treble Bob, Miscellaneous Major Kent TB 31 1875 Double Norwich CB 71 1892 Plain Bob 189 1902 Oxford TB 2 1937 Double Oxford Bob 1 1950 Little Bob 14 1952 Kent & Oxford TB 4 1953 Grandsire 3 1968 Hunslet Imperial Bob 1 1972 Plain & Little Bob 1 1988 Double Coslany CB 1 2001 Major (2) 1 2002 Major (4) 1 2002
Delight Major Luigi 1 1987 Ian's 1 1987 Luppitt 1 1988 Cairngorm McWT 1 1990 Great Uncle Bulgaria 1 1991 Paddington 1 1991 Orinoco 1 1992 Jefford 1 1992 Brindley 1 1992 Bishop Thomas 1 1993 Parklands 1 1993 St Brannock's 3 1993 Oldebie 1 1994 Shere 1 1994 Anniversary 1 1998 Triples Grandsire 583 1875 Stedman 137 1879 Single Oxford Bob 8 1950 Plain Bob 18 1957 2 methods 1 1961 Minor: Plain, Treble Bob, Delight Plain Bob 183 1910 Double Court Bob 1 1950 Kent Treble Bob 8 1951 St Clement's College Bob 1 1953 Double Oxford Bob 1 1953 Oxford Treble Bob 1 1954 Oswald Delight 1 1972 Buckland Brewer Delight 1 1983 Canterbury Delight 1 2001 Old Oxford Delight 1 2002 Mixed Minor 2 methods 18 1912 3 methods 19 1912 7 methods 56 1912 4 methods 31 1951 6 methods 5 1954 5 methods 20 1971 10 methods 1 1978 8 methods 2 1981 11 methods 1 1981 9 methods 1 1988 Single Surprise Minor Cambridge 142 1928 London 9 1953 Surfleet 1 1981 Ipswich 4 1981 Carlisle 1 1982 Durham 1 1982 Beverley 2 1982 York 2 1982 Norwich 1 1985 Wooler 1 1986 Chester 2 1986 Bourne 3 1986 Annable's London 1 1986 Woolfardisworthy 1 1987 Shirwell 1 1987 Bacup 1 1988 Primrose 1 1988 Norfolk 1 1988 Munden 1 1988 Bishop's Tawton 1 1988 Sandiacre 1 1988 Superlative 1 1988 Cunecastre 1 1989 Stamford 1 1989 Rossendale 1 1989 Wearmouth 1 1990 Warkworth 1 1990 Northumberland 1 1990 Berwick 1 1990 Westminster 2 1990 Lightfoot 1 1991 Hexham 1 1991 Bamborough 1 1991 Multi-Method Surprise Minor 7 methods 161 1972 10 methods 6 1972 13 methods 2 1973 16 methods 5 1977 20 methods 6 1977 24 methods 6 1977 26 methods 1 1977 19 methods 2 1978 32 methods 1 1978 40 methods 1 1978 50 methods 1 1978 2 methods 1 1979 17 methods 4 1980 4 methods 8 1981 5 methods 6 1982 14 methods 10 1982 42 methods 1 1982 8 methods 2 1983 11 methods 31 1983 18 methods 10 1984 12 methods 14 1984 25 methods 3 1984 27 methods 1 1985 30 methods 1 1985 35 methods 3 1985 21 methods 6 1986 23 methods 1 1988 9 methods 8 1990 3 methods 3 1993 5 methods 11 1993 28 methods 1 1997 41 methods 2 1998 29 methods 1 1988 Doubles & Minor 3 methods Doubles + 4 methods Minor 1 1981 Doubles: Single Method/Variation Grandsire 169 1910 Stedman 16 1931 All Saints 1 1955 Reverse Canterbury 1 1956 Plain Bob 6 1957 Reverse St Bartholomew 1 1957 Doubles: Multi Methods/Variations 2 methods/variations 13 1939 3 methods/variations 7 1940 11 methods/variations 6 1940 9 methods/variations 4 1941 6 methods/variations 4 1947 21 methods/variations 4 1954 4 methods/variations 6 1954 14 methods/variations 5 1954 5 methods/variations 3 1955 28 methods/variations 1 1955 8 methods/variations 1 1955 7 methods/variations 24 1959 13 methods/variations 4 1965 42 methods/variations 4 1978 15 methods/variations 1 1979 76 methods/variations 1 1979 16 methods/variations 2 1983 18 methods/variations 1 1984 64 methods/variations 1 1985 84 methods/variations 1 1985 100 methods/variations 1 1985
The first action taken by the Centre, following its recognition by the Central Council at the end of 2002, was to survey the needs and interests of towers affiliated to the North East Branch of the Guild. We now have a clearer view of the development and training needs and interests of those towers which responded to the survey and this information will influence our training programme for the next few years.
During the summer, we held a five-week course in ringing Surprise Minor methods, at Thorverton. Until Huntsham is available, we do not have a convenient tower which can be used for regular open ringing. We are therefore heavily indebted to Bill ford for his continued support and for making Thorverton available to us on a regular basis. The summer months present difficulties regarding regular attendance and a number of those for whom this course was particularly appropriate could not attend because of holidays and other summer activities. However, with only one exception we managed to ring the selected methods on each occasion.
We make regular use of the Bampton Practice bell. This is proving particularly valuable in developing bell handling and listening skills. We are finding that many quite experienced ringers ring almost entirely by 'rope sight' and the practice bell provides good opportunities to develop better striking. We are also finding that the initial stages of bell handling can be streamlined by having frequent sessions with the practice bell linked to the simulator. In this way listening is given higher priority than ropesight. We plan two workshops during the autumn which will enable us to share our experiences with others on the development of bell-handling and listening skills.
On 9 August we held our first one-day training course on 'Conducting Plain Bob Minor'. This was designed and run specifically for the Dunster Branch of the Bath and Wells D.A. During the morning we held the theory session and then, after lunch we put theory into practice at Chipstaple and each course member conducted a touch of Plain Bob Minor. During the afternoon touches of Plain Bob Minor were conducted from each bell and the afternoon ended appropriately with tea and cakes.
Dot (not her real name) learnt to ring many years ago but never really got beyond the basics. When she retired to Devon, she decided she would like to take up the hobby again, but she lived in a village with no bells.
So she looked in the church porches of neighbouring parishes; nothing. She kept her ears open for the sound of bells ringing; nothing. She even went to a nearby vicarage to ask for advice; nothing.
It was eighteen months before she finally found a practice night, and has discovered that there are five towers nearer to her home, all of which ring regularly.
I was working one evening in an office in and picked up the local parish magazine. It contained articles about the church fete, the local playgroup, the flower rota. I noticed the names of the local ringers, who were involved in the life of the church. But there was nothing about the ringing.
The parish directory mentioned the organist, the sacristan, the brownie leader, and the health and safety officer. But not the tower captain or tower correspondent, or that the bells were rung before services and for practice.
Dot's story and that parish magazine set me thinking. Successful recruitment of new ringers depends on effective publicity. If someone in your parish wants to learn to ring, or to return to ringing, they need to know who to contact and when to turn up.
Every active tower will want to have this information in the porch, on the weekly notices, in the parish magazine, on the tower door - somewhere where people will see it.
It also, of course, needs to be kept up to date.
As a historical record of ringing across the county, it is unrivalled.
The CD contains a full colour eight page booklet, giving details of what is being rung and some historical background to the bells.
All profits go to the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund.
For further details please contact lyeo @supanet.com or listen to the sound clips and get further details from the Guild Web Pages.
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