The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 54 : June 2004

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, 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 .


The June 2004 edition of Interchange, the newsletter for the entire Devon ringing community, is available here.

Death of Bob Southwood

Guild mourns past President

Bellringers were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of former Guild president, Robert Southwood. He had been suffering from respiratory problems for some time and was admitted to Torbay Hospital on Friday 28 May with breathing difficulties. He died the same evening.

Bob had until recently been Archpriest of Haccombe and Vicar of Combeinteignhead and Stokeinteignead, and previously Vicar of Ernesettle. Born in 1931, he learnt to ring in the Plymouth area and rang in many notable peals of the Guild, before seeking ordination and serving his curacies in the Winchester diocese, at Christchurch Priory and Fordingbridge. He retired from active ministry but still continued to celebrate the Eucharist, and even though his health was waning, his enthusiasm never dimmed.

Following the retirement of Brian Pidgeon in 1986, Bob was the obvious choice to be Guild president, and claimed to have been the only person to have been simultaneously Guild Master and Guild President (if only for a few minutes!). It was with great difficulty that he was persuaded that it was time for him to retire from the post in 1998, and was presented with an engraved glass bowl. He had served in a number of other branch and Guild offices, including as chairman of the Mid Devon branch from 1983 to 2002. In recent years his particular contribution to ringing in the county has been in the co-ordination and planning of the Devon ringers carol service each year. The Guild will miss him deeply and sends condolences to his family.

A full obituary will appear in the next edition of RRD.


Troyte's Bells are taken out

The plans to rehang and restore Huntsham bells have moved a stage further, with the granting of a faculty, and the bells and fittings were removed by a mobile crane on Friday 28 May. A whole day had been set aside for the complicated piece of work, but the bells were out of their fittings before the crane arrived, and on their way to the foundry by lunchtime. The photograph left shows two of the local volunteers in the belfry before one of the bells was lifted out of the tower.

The old bells were taken to Whitechapel and the two new bells are due to be cast at the end of July. The team of volunteers has removed the old frame, and the new frame should be ready for installation by early September.

Already £50,000 has been raised, and donations towards the Guild Presidents' Bell are still being received. Supporters of the appeal are invited to a service of celebration on Sunday 20 June at 6.30pm.

The new bells will be blessed on Sunday 26 September, and the dedication of the Troyte Ringing Centre will be by the Bishop of Exeter on Sunday 31 October.

To view the brand new Troyte Ringing Centre Website just go to

The tenor bell coming through the tower roof

Association results

Many Guild members like to keep abreast of the results of the Association competitions. With the Major Final still to take place on the date of publication, the results of all the Association competitions this year are as follows:

Devon Eight (Winkleigh)
1 Kingsteignton 20½
2= Buckland in Moor 36½
2= Chittlehampton 36½
4 Paignton 40
5 Tavistock 40¼
6 Okehampton 45¾
7 High Bickington 53½
8 Exeter Cathedral 70
9 Chagford 72½
10 Kingsbridge 75
11 Alphington 116

Devon 6 Bell South Qualifier ( Loddiswell)
1 Egg Buckland A 29¼
2 Dunsford 48¼
3 Egg Buckland B 49¼
4 South Brent 55¼
5 Lamerton 57½
6 West Alvington 62¼
7 Collaton St Mary 71¼
8 Holbeton 88¾
9 Drewsteignton 95
10 Stoke Gabriel 97¾
11 Kenn 101½
12 Lydford 118¾
13 Ide 146½

Devon 6 Bell North Qualifier ( St Giles in the Wood)
1 Mortehoe 22¼
2 Molland 34½
3 West Down 34¾
4 Littleham 38¼
5 Burrington 55
6 Black Torrington 55¼
7 Iddesleigh 55¾
8 Exeter St Petrocks 63¼
9 Mariansleigh 81
10 Warkleigh 82½
11 Colebrooke 102¼
12 Pyworthy 134

Devon 6 Bell Minor Final (Offwell)
1 Black Torrington 29¾
2 Stoke Gabriel 33½
3 Drewsteignton 39½
4 Iddesleigh 41
5 Exeter St Petrocks 45 ½
6 Collaton St Mary 46¾
7 Mariansleigh 87¾

Devon Association Novice Competition (Holcombe Burnell)
(10 minutes rounds)

1 Petersmarland 16½
2 Inwardleigh 31
3 South Pool B 35¾
4 Dartmouth St S B 56
5 Alphington B 57½

(Half 60 on Thirds)
1 Dolton 21¾
2 Dartmouth St S A 23½
3 Chagford 27½
4 Lydford 29½
5 Upton Torquay 33¾
6 Holcombe Burnell 35¾
7 Alphington A 36¼
8 St Giles / Wood 47½
9 East Portlemouth 49½
10 South Pool A 53¼
11 South Tawton 55
12 Sherford 64½
13 Doddiscombesleigh 80
14 Ide 92¼

Guild grapples with Child Protection

Some ringers have expressed worries about the new Church of England guidelines for Child Protection, which require every member of a local band to complete a application for a free police check. Fortunately no-one can question the underlying principle that belfries should be demonstrably a safe place for those under the age of eighteen.

Each Anglican diocese is responsible for its own policy, which meets the needs of the church locally. Therefore Denise Stockford, the Exeter Diocesan child protection officer has been invited to address the Guild at its annual festival, so that ringers know what is involved, and so that she can learn from them what the specific issues the ringing exercise presents in devising a workable and effective child protection policy .

Although the day-to-day working of the diocese's policy will be the responsibility of each Church Council, the Guild will need to consider its policy and principles at Guild and branch meetings.

The Central Council's suggested guidelines on good practice for working with children are given at the back of the Ringing World Diary. In addition each tower and PCC are to receive a leaflet about Child protection issues.

If you have any concerns on this matter, make sure you attend the Guild festival at St marychurch in June!


on Saturday 12th June 2004
At St Marychurch


10.30-11.00 registration and coffee at St Mary's, Wolborough
11.00-13.00 morning workshops on 6, 8 and 10 bells:

Members wishing to take advantage of these workshops should get in touch with the Education Officer (Tim King) or the General Secretary (Wendy Campbell)

13.00-14.00 Lunch: parish hall, St Marychurch
14.00-14.45 Child protection: A presentation on the C of E's child protection guidelines, by Denise Stockford, Diocesan Child Protection Officer
14.45-15.15 service ringing
15.15 Ringers' service at St Marychurch
16.00 Guild Annual Meeting

Nominations for Guild offices may be made in advance, in writing to the General Secretary, indicating proposer and seconder and the candidate's willingness to stand. Further nominations may be made from the floor of the meeting, as must all proposals for the Guild Master

Lunch tickets £6 from Peter Clements. Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope and make cheques / postal orders payable to 'Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Mid Devon Branch'.


Significant anniversaries marked by peals

Castle Orchard Surprise Royal, a new and specially devised method, was rung to celebrate Bill and Ena Ford's golden wedding on Saturday 27 March. Castle Orchard is the name of the Ford family home, where the couple have lived since returning to Thorverton.

After the peal, the ringers including Dick Bowden, whom Bill has known since his youth, and Brian Bladon, from his Swindon days, joined the Ford family in the Bell Inn for their celebrations. A further peal - of Grandsire Caters - was rung the following Monday.

Braunton tower captain Mike Rose was 65 on Sunday 2nd May, so on Monday two complimentary peals were rung by the Guild in North Devon.

In the morning the band rang Terbium S Major at Georgeham in which Mike took part (Terbium is an element with the atomic number 65) and in the afternoon a peal of 7-Surprise was rung at Weare Giffard. The composition was Peter Ellis's so-called "65" special, which has 162 of the 168 65's at backstroke!

South West Branch:

A Pilgrim's Progress

I told of my journey to the door that opened on to the garden of delights that I perceived method ringing to be. Glimpsing imposing blooms through a mist of bewilderment and incomprehension, I stepped eagerly over the threshold, and forthwith found myself flat on my face at the bottom of a ha-ha.

The clambering out up the other face began with an introduction to Plain Hunt. The concept of ascending and descending a staircase registered fairly quickly but that does not provide much help in deciding which bell to be over at any one step. Then again, book learning is one thing; execution of it is another. Everything happens so quickly. If six bells are ringing, thirty rounds every sixty seconds, the interval between the striking of each bell is one a third of second. At each blow one's bell starts and finishes at rest. I do not know what its speed may be at the bottom of the swing but it must be going at a fair old rate of knots and your sally is going up and down like a bunjee jumper. All the other bells are striking while this is going on, so there is not a great deal of time or calm for meditation. The margin for error being so small, perfect control of the bell has to underpin one's efforts to ring it.

That was something I found I did not have. And that was after I had managed to ring call-changes for ten years to my own satisfaction, even if to no-one else's. It was a shock when I realised that I would not be able to manage method ringing until I could stand a bell at will, not only at handstroke but also at backstroke.

Eventually, having got the hang of plain hunting, I was introduced to Plain Bob Doubles. 'Don't worry', I was told, 'You are just plain hunting'. By all means think me thick but it was a long time before I realised that all that that meant was that, being on treble, I didn't have to do any fancy stuff like dodging up or down or making seconds or long fifths. The fool's paradise lasted until some time after when it was suggested that I grasp the rope of the second and get stuck in. 'Count your places' I had been told again and again. But doing that did not tell me what I regarded as the vital piece of information, which was what bell you follow to reach each place. I may be wallowing in a slough of self-deception but I feel that in the initial stages of learning I could never have made any progress without first knowing which bell to follow.

Crabwise I have edged towards the truth which is that any attempt to learn which bell to follow in all but elementary methods is doomed to failure. No doubt, I had been told but had not grasped that familiarity with the rhythm of the bells, ropesight and counting places obviate any perceived need to learn bell orders. St Helen's and Grandsire Doubles gave me an entrée to ropesight and that in its turn helped me towards the beginning of a feeling for rhythm.

While I was still at the stage of following the bell order in Bob Doubles, a shout of 'Bob' penetrated my concentration. Panic enwrapped me but a certain amount of nodding and eyebrow raising by my colleagues kept me going for a blow or two. It was all very confusing because the bell order seemed mysteriously to change whenever 'Bob' was called. That call went on being a consternation trigger until a feeling for rhythm and ropesight began to supersede the crutch of remembering the order of the bells to be followed.

Came the day when Bob Minor replaced Bob Doubles. This threw me completely. How did I identify which bell to lead off? The advice was effectively 'Just close your eyes and go by the rhythm'. So with deep misgivings I did that and to my astonishment it worked for the two blows at lead, ropesight taking over again when I opened my eyes two or three seconds later.

On then to last Thursday night's practice. When those who had to go early had gone, there were still six of us left to ring. 'Can you stand up for three quarters of an hour?' I was asked. Slightly miffed, not feeling so decrepit as my appearance might have suggested that I was, I replied, 'Yes of course I can'. 'Right then, we'll ring a quarter peal of Bob Doubles'. For all that it had some time before been intimated to me that I should eventually be called upon to do this, the requirement came like a clap of thunder from a cloudless sky.

So, full of foreboding, I found myself unexpectedly flying through the air into the deep end. The intermittent nodding, smiling, eyebrow raising and turning towards me of my mentors kept me going. Three quarters of an hour after being pushed into my cold bath I heard with relief 'that's all' and 'Stand'. The fraught eternity of apprehension of disaster was at an end. I was still on my feet and what a happy lot we all were. Especially me.

Dawn is breaking and I am looking for the sunrise.

Huntsham: Dorothy L Sayers Society

Nine Tailors anniversary

Dorothy L Sayers is reputed to have received the inspiration for her famous detective novel 'The Nine Tailors' by picking up a second hand copy of Guild President Charles Troyte's book on change ringing. To mark the centenary of its publication, a celebration weekend at Huntsham, Troyte's home, has been planned for 10 and 11 July.

Events include a talk on the Troyte brothers, 'Excited about the bells' a play by Sayers celebrating her family life, and, if permission is granted, a tour of Huntsham Court, the family home.

The weekend has been designed to provide a leisurely opportunity for people with different interests - historical, literary, Christian and change ringing - to come together to discuss and enjoy events which have been shaped by the Aclands, the Troytes, Killerton, Huntsham and Sayers herself.

Tickets and further details are available from Mike and Pat Hatchett.

Crediton: bells leave for Whitechapel

An exciting and memorable challenge

A bell is lowered from the tower through the church sheathed in plastic dust sheeting

After five hard years of fund raising, the £120,000 target to restore Crediton bells is now tantalisingly close and the decision taken to carry out the work in 2004.

On April 13th, 2004 the first phase, the removal of the eight old bells and the nineteenth century bell frame from the tower was begun. Six days later the bell chamber stood empty awaiting the autumn and the arrival of a new peal of bells.

That simple statement does little to convey the size of the task and the work involved. Reg. McKenzie of Nicholson Engineering was the only "professional" on site. His assistance was a small army of enthusiastic volunteers. The central tower of Holy Cross offers some daunting logistical problems for a project of this size. Everything removed from the tower has to be painstakingly winched down 80 feet to the floor of the church at the crossing. The interior of the church must be protected from the dirt and dust, which may fall from the open trapdoors. Likewise the floor of the church, as all materials must be removed along the main aisle to the West door for transfer to a storage area some twenty yards east of the church.

The tenor bell, the largest of the eight, weighs over twenty seven cwt and nine of the largest beams measure twenty feet in length and weigh around five cwt Throw in the fact that there were three funerals during the six days, when work had to stop and the building restored to its usual pristine state, and it will be understood that the project offered an exciting and quite memorable challenge!

2004, then, sees the climax of the project. There is still a great deal of work to do, although the first stage, the removal of the old bells with their frame, has been completed very successfully. Much of the work is being done by volunteers done and this will save substantial sums, but a great deal of organizational effort is still needed from the fund-raising committee.

Something like £20,000 is needed to complete the project. If you can help with this, or if you have any queries regarding the appeal, the project or any other matter concerning bells or bell-ringing in the Crediton area, please contact Howard Egglestone at

One of the bells is taken away for transportation by fork-lift truck

Milestone Quarter Peals at Ting-Tong

Back in the early 1990's, Elaine Grant was heading rapidly towards her thousandth quarter peal. The eight hundredth came along in February '93, the 900th in March 94, and son Thomas in October 1994. From this point Elaine's quarter peal ringing slowed down rather a lot. Fast forward to 2004, Thomas has learned to ring and is ringing quarter peals, and Elaine has realised that her 1000th is getting very close.

Determined to mark the occasion, she decides to ring a six bell quarter with as many members of her close family as possible in the band. James (husband), Thomas, Janet (Mum) and Norman (Janet's partner) are all lined up and Ian Avery is chosen as the sixth ringer. Having a handy ring of six bells in the spare bedroom eases the tower selection process somewhat!

Just one small snag, Norman hasn't been ringing for very long and has never rung a quarter peal. A practice quarter is lined up as a confidence booster for Norman and he duly scores his first quarter on 14th March - well done Norman!

Sunday 14th March 2004
at Bishopsteignton (Bishops-Ting-Tong)

1260 Plain Bob Doubles
in 29 minutes

1 Thomas L Grant
2 Elaine Grant
3 Janet R. Clutterbuck
4 Ian W. Avery
5 James Grant (C)
6 Norman Maudsley

First quarter peal for Norman.

Never a prolific conductor, Elaine nevertheless decides to call the 1000th quarter herself to bring her grand conducting total to four! The quarter is duly rung on 10th April, some ten years after the 900th. Coincidentally, this is Thomas' tenth quarter peal so he reaches double figures at the same time as his mum reaches four.

Saturday 10th April 2004
at Bishopsteignton (Bishops-Ting-Tong)

1260 Grandsire Doubles
in 31 minutes

1 Thomas L. Grant
2 James Grant
3 Elaine Grant (C)
4 Janet R. Clutterbuck
5 Ian W. Avery
6 Norman Maudsley

1000th quarter peal for Elaine

Elaine rang her first quarter in 1980 with both her mother and sister (also ringing their first quarters) in the band. 1991 was her most prolific year with 181, and 1998 her least with 1. Dawlish is the leading tower with 73 quarters. The lightest set of bells to a quarter was Mary Mack's bedroom ring and the heaviest was Liverpool Cathedral. She has rung 988 quarters on tower bells (of which 21 have been on mini-rings) and 12 in hand.

In terms of number of changing bells, Elaine has rung 2 quarters of minimus (including one handbell performance in a car parked in Bristol!), 73 doubles, 322 minor, 116 triples, 324 major, 47 caters, 49 royal, 45 cinques, 19 maximus, 1 sextuples and 2 of spliced triples and major. Husband James is her leading ringer, they have rung 861 together, and Alan Sinden is her leading conductor having called 279 of her quarters.

East Devon: Education officer at work

Educating Ottery

Branch Education Officer, Richard Coley, recently gave a talk to the Ottery St Mary Heritage Society about the history of Ottery Parish Church. Richard spoke to a packed church and took the opportunity to devote part of the talk to ringing. Many interesting facts were given about ringing both locally, in the UK and further afield and the talk included a few light-hearted stories.

A model bell was used to good effect to demonstrate how bells are chimed and rung full circle. Being a ground floor ring, local ringers were able to give a practical demonstration of raising in peal, rounds, call changes into Queens, Plain Hunt and Plain Bob Doubles and lowering in peal.

The audience were then given the opportunity to chime a bell and Richard and the ringers were only too pleased to answer individual questions. The evening was rounded off with coffee during which many appreciative comments were heard.

It remains to be seen whether Richard's talk will bring in new recruits but one thing is certain, members of the Heritage Society went away with a much better understanding of ringing.


Four Ringers in Great West Run

Andrew Digby, David Macey, Rob Franklin, and Matthew Hilling all completed the Great West Run at the beginning of May. After months of gruelling training in wind, rain and snow, all four finished the half marathon around the streets of Exeter with very respectable times.

Andrew, Rob and Matt had each been sponsored for the run: Rob in aid of the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund, and Andrew and Matt in aid of the augmentation project at St Mark's Exeter. All have raised a substantial amount of money. David decided to do it for fun!

Position Name Time
352 Andrew Digby 1:41:23
552 David Macey 1:47:06
572 Rob Franklin 1:47:40
617 Matthew Hilling 1:48:53

Firsts in East Devon

Congratulations to two East Devon members who recently rang their first Quarter Peal inside to Plain Bob Doubles. Both quarter peals took place at Ottery St Mary:

Maureen Davey from Shute
Bruce Odlin from Ottery St Mary

More quarter peals are planned to take place on a monthly basis prior to Sunday Evensong either at Ottery St Mary or elsewhere when it is hoped that ringers will take the opportunity to score a 'first'. Watch this space!!

Awliscombe ropes to be dedicated

A service will take place at St Michael & All Angels, Awliscombe on Sunday 25 July to dedicate the new bell ropes. These have been given in memory of a former parishioner.

Methods around Okehampton

Further to last month's piece on the practices at Exbourne, Mike Brady says, 'We have rather changed our objectives now. Before we stopped at Exbourne we got one of our call-change ringers through a pretty respectable quarter peal ringing the treble.

'However, what we are now doing is using Friday evenings to extend the efforts that some of us have been making on Tuesdays to get a learners' band going. Alison Waterson has been instrumental in that (her three children are included!) and started last Summer. These youngsters came second in the recent Association Novices' Competition with only Alison herself standing with them (on the tenor).

'Including the five older children and three call change ringers (who have spent literally hours practising ringing rounds and call changes with open handstroke at top!) we have eight learners. On Fridays we practice at a six bell tower and once a month at an eight ( which will become more frequent in due course and provided regular support is forthcoming). Seven of them are now plain hunting on six and eight, and four are treble bob hunting, to which they are all being introduced, the idea being to produce a Surprise band and hopefully by-pass the usual Grandsire route, which around here is associated with hacking away with "experienced" bad strikers at local meetings.

'Striking is paramount. At our practices a learner is usually the only learner in an episode, and there are never more than two. We are very fortunate that a few faithful people have been prepared to travel considerable distances to help out and stand with the learners.

'I doubt if we could really manage more learners at present. We could use supporting ringers who are good strikers (even if not competent method ringers) and are willing to dedicate themselves two or three Fridays a month for hunting, treble bob and exercises, which is not everyone's idea of fun.'

- The Bells of Devon -

The first comprehensive contacts directory for all Devon towers

Also lists rings of 1, 'lost rings', and chimes of 3 or more bells

A MUST HAVE for any ringer exploring Devon!

All proceeds to Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund

Available at £5.00 + 50p P&P from Paul Pascoe. Please make cheques payable to "The Bells of Devon".

Exeter Colleges: hectic calendar

Tragic demise of mascot

The ECG's hectic calendar has continued apace for the last three months. The highlight was of course the annual joint outing with the Bristol University society, organised this year by Bristol and covering the area around Yeovil. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all despite the tragic demise of the ECG's latest mascot. The handbell ringing has also continued apace, earning us to obtain a degree of infamy within ringing circles. Recent quarters have included Bob Minor and Major, Little Bob Major and Oxford Treble Bob Major. The ECG has now rung 47 quarters, both in hand and on tower bells, this (academic) year as well as four peals, and we're hoping to bring up our half century very soon.

Planning is also continuing for our summer tour to York and the Southern Universities striking competition weekend, which will be hosted by us in October. Anyone at a loose end on a Wednesday night is welcome to join us at St. David's, where we mostly ring Grandsire and Plain Bob Triples. A full report of all our latest antics, both ringing and social, can be found on our website at

Exeter St Mark's Augmentation

Exeter, St Marks Augmentation Fund

OPEN DAY around East Devon
Saturday 5th June 2004
27 towers all open for 1 hour

Day tickets: £13.
Children under 16: £7.
Family rate available.
Otherwise £1 per tower.
More information and last minute changes from the website:

Many thanks to all those who supported our Supper and Quiz Evening. Due to your generosity we made a total profit of just over £420.

Planned events include an Open Day around East Devon at the beginning of June, and a barn dance in Exminster village hall with an excellent band on Saturday 9th October.

No previous barn dancing experience necessary... Just come and have some fun!

Exeter, St Marks Augmentation Fund

Saturday 9th October 2004
Victory Hall, Exminster

Tickets available shortly
for further information call Janet Coles

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Pages formatted by Ian Campbell

Updated 4/6/2004