The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


GUILD OF DEVONSHIRE RINGERS

Newsletter No 53 : March 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 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] .


North Devon: Terry Hampton honoured

St Brannock's Society elects first Vice-President!

In January, members of the St Brannock's Society at its AGM. discussed how the Society could best pay tribute to its most reliable and enduring member. Since retiring to North Devon in 1985, Terry Hampton has shared his great talents with the method ringers of North Devon, to their immense benefit. It was therefore decided to create a new 'office;' in which he could bask, sure in the knowledge that he would have no work for it.

For those who don't know Terry, James Clarke has written a short potted resume of his ringing career. As you read this, you will soon come to realise why we have been so fortunate in having this great and unassuming talent in our midst.

Terry learned to ring at Boldmere near Sutton Coldfield in 1945, when the ringers appealed for learners so that the bells could be rung for V.E. Day. He must have done pretty well, for at some later stage he fell under the spell and great influence of George Fearn and into his peal band. As a past Secretary of the St Martin's Guild and still a Life Vice-President, he still has many friends back home in 'Brum'. Whilst ringing with us in the late eighties, he would often nonchalantly remark that he would be in Birmingham art the weekend, for a peal of Bristol Max at the cathedral. This I can assure you, was very humbling for a band just struggling to ring the basic methods on eight!

Terry has never been a conductor-officially that is. We have never heard him call 'Go Grandsire' or 'London' or whatever, but when people start to get lost, Terry has always something helpful to say. We know that he has rung well over 1000 peals (the 134th to reach that milestone) and we think that he has called none of them. This must be a record in itself.

The employment found by Terry upon leaving school, was with the Dunlop Tyre Co. As in his ringing career, he did well and eventually became a designer of tyres for motor car racing. This led to his travelling the world and attending many Grands Prix. Very romantic stuff for an old 'petrol-head' such as me and therefore held in even greater esteem. He was employed at Dunlop, until his retirement and subsequent move to Devon.

We are grateful to Mrs Anne Hampton and other less important contributors such as Rod Pipe and John Anderson, for the information contained above. James M Clarke Honorary Scribe to the St Brannock's Society


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: Tim Bayton and Paul Pascoe, 'Braddons Mews', 27 Braddons Street, Torquay, Devon. TQ1 1QH. Please make cheques payable to "The Bells of Devon".


Teignmouth Bells Project

No new tuning for unique L&J bells

Circumstances seem to change so quickly that it is a bit difficult to provide an up-to-date assessment of the exact situation. Fund raising is still a priority; the momentum is there and events are planned up to and including the beginning of next Autumn. As ever, the list of forthcoming events is posted on our website at www.teignmouthbellproject.co.uk. We were confident enough in our financial security to feel able to recommend to the PCC that they place an order for the work back in December and Andrew Nicholson has done a great deal of planning. This includes a fairly tight schedule with site work due to begin in mid May and to finish in late August.

At the same time the PCC applied for a DAC certificate, the precursor to the formal application for a Faculty. We had site visits from Graham Pledger of English Heritage and Dr. David Knight of the Council for the Care of Churches. Both of these had comments about the proposals but expressed themselves generally in favour of the replacement of the existing frame with a new one with modern fittings. It seems that, unusually for the time, Llewellins and James had attempted some tuning before the installation in 1897 which is of some historical interest. The whole issue of whether or not the bells should be tuned to modern standards has been much debated by us, the PCC and, as it seems, the DAC and it came as no great surprise that the DAC have granted us a Certificate, one condition of which is that the bells shall remain in the existing state as far as tuning is concerned. The PCC has decided to accept this situation.

At the time of writing office-type work is going on to deal with the rest of the requirements of the Faculty application so that Andrew Nicholson's proposed timetable can become a reality.

In the local press here in Teignmouth we have expressed our grateful thanks to the many businesses and individuals who have supported our efforts over the past 18 months and seem happy to continue to do so. We would like to extend this expression of gratitude to our fellow ringers in Devon and, indeed, beyond. You continue to be a source of encouragement and inspiration.

We cannot emphasise too strongly that the effort is not over yet. We are committed to considerable expense and although the light is definitely there at the end of the tunnel, there is still a tunnel!

Alan Furse
Secretary, Teignmouth Bells Project


Musbury : new tower captain

Death of Cecil Mitchell

It is with very deep regret that we report that the Tower Captain of St Michael's, Musbury, Cecil Mitchell, died in January after a short illness. Cecil never let us down on practice nights or Sunday ringing. He will be deeply missed by us all.

A quarter peal of Plain Bob Minor was rung before Cecil's funeral by visiting ringers, Alan J Lee, Sue M Sawyer, Brian G Williams, Graham P. Tucker, Matthew H Weighell and Neil A Williams (Cond.).

We welcome Michael Ellis as our new Tower Captain and we will continue to practice on Monday nights. However, at the time of writing we have not rung for several weeks for various reasons, but hope to get together at least twice a month and make an effort to visit other towers regularly.

Visitors are very welcome but please ring beforehand.
Tower Captain: Michael Ellis. email [email protected].


Peals and quarters

Congratulations to Rusty Hartley on ringing her first peal in celebration of her eighteenth birthday. She rang the second to a peal of Lincolnshire Surprise Major at Wolborough on Friday 16 January.

Congratulations also to Bill Ford who rang his first peal of Bristol Surprise Royal, at Thorverton the following day.

Another peal of note was at Combe Martin, where Mike Rose called Grandsire Triples. This was a first for Mike Squires, the local tower captain, as well as for tenor ringer John Barnes, the captain of Georgeham, who has been learning to ring 'scientific' with the St Brannock's Society. This was the 49th peal by the society, whose members are now contemplating what to ring for the fiftieth.

Ten Guild members rang their first quarter during the Guild Quarter peal week in November-Gilbert Gubb, James Whittaker, Ginny Brown, Carla Dawes, Steven Martin, Hannah Westlake, Elizabeth Jackson, Jeanette Squires, Steven Martin and James Kerslake. In addition, Andrew Strachan rang his first quarter for over twenty years, and Martin Turner his first for thirty!

Another first quarter-pealer was Edward Fishwick who rang the tenor at Abbotsham for a quarter rung in memory of Len Mitchell's father. While Len was at home from Liverpool for the funeral, John Ross quickly sorted out a band, which included Len's daughter Rachel ringing her first inside, and John Roberts, the local captain ringing the treble. John says that for Eddie it is not likely to be the first of many.


Barnstaple: Devon Ringers' Carol Service

Over £200 for Hospice

Ringers of both traditions from the whole county (although mainly from the North) came to St Peter's for the annual carol service. As usual the collection was given to the Children's hospice and raised £227.40.


Exeter Cathedral:

Peal book in memory of Frank Mack

The noble ringing chamber at Exeter Cathedral has been the scene of some of the finest performances in the history of the Exercise.

As we passed the millennium it was realised that 2002 would see the centenary of the first peal on the bells and that this historic milestone should be marked in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately the year 2000 also saw the death of Frank Mack, a member of the Cathedral Company for forty years and a great servant to ringing beyond Exeter. It had been note that the cathedral did not have a peal book and it was therefore resolved by the Society that the first hundred years of peal ringing at the Cathedral should be recorded in an appropriate manner and that the book should be dedicated to the memory of Frank.

Frank himself had recorded brief details of all peals rung from 1902-1999 and Wendy Campbell and Mike Mears carried out the research and produced detailed records of all peals. Readers who have visited Thorverton will be aware of the calligraphy skills of E William Ford, and will remarkably little persuasion Bill agreed to write up all the peals. Starting in 2001, Bill has taken over two years to produce 117 pages of beautifully scripted peal records. The book is now handsomely bound in a dark blue goatskin cover with gold lettering. The frontispiece is a memorial to Frank Mack and lists his long association with the cathedral as a member and officer of the Society.

Analysis of the peals rung in the hundred years provides fascinating reading. What giants of the Art appear as one flicks through. But no-one surpasses Frank. When he died Frank had taken part in more than one third of all the peals rung there. His forty peals at the cathedral is the most by any ringer and it is therefore entirely suitable that this magnificent book is in his memory.

After its dedication on 1 March, the peal book will be on permanent display in the ringing chamber.

The peal book, handsomely bound in blue goatskin

The dedication page remembering Frank Mack

Cathedral's first peal book

RRD has been loaned the 'Peal and Touch Book' of the 'Exeter Cathedral Change Ringing Society' which records the peals and long touches rung at the Cathedral between 1902 and 1930. In the fly leaf are inserted two sheets of handwritten notes written by Frank Davey recording the first change ringing in the tower:

About the year 1889 the Cathedral Ringers were comprised chiefly of round ringers, but among them were those who had learnt half-pull or scientific at other church towers, and were continually asking if they might try change ringing. The old hands were at times favourable, at other times they forbade them trying, saying soon the change ringers would house them right out. But perseverance conquered for on November 9th 1889 two six-scores of Grandsire Doubles were rung on the Cobthorne six and it is very possibly the first plain course was rung soon after on the Stafford eight. Messrs F & E Shepherd, J Moss, T Mudge, C Couter, F Davey, W Drake, T Lake and J Bastin who belonged to the Cathedral Band assisted by other members of the Devon Guild, B Mundy & S Binfield. They were encouraged by Ferris Shepherd who was the instructor to the Guild at the time.

On October 10th 1892 a band of ringers arranged by the Revd Maitland Kelly, master of the Devon Guild & Revd GF Coleridge, Vicar of Crowthorne, Berks. Arranged for a band of visitors to come to Devon for a week's ringing and missionary work, much interest was taken by the local ringers at the various places where they rang. They rang six peals successfully and during their visit rang on the Cathedral Bells the first course of Grandsire Cators (sic) ever accomplished on the Bells. The following were those who rang on the cathedral bells. Messrs H.G. Trewin 1. J.W. Taylor 2. E.A. Pitstow 3. H.J. Pitstow 4. Revd F.E. Robinson 5. W.W. Gifford 6. F. Shepherd 7. Revd G.F. Coleridge 8. J.W. Washbrook 9. Revd W.S, Willett, E Shepherd, B Mundy and J.W. Carnell 10. This occupied six minutes, was found to be very hard work. The local men rang the minor eight with the 9th covering so that the visitors could hear them.

One footnote is of interest. An extent of Bob Minor is recorded with the subscription, 'This is placed here to record the first 720 ever rung in the tower and not as a fine performance'!


Exeter Branch: targeted practices

First experimental branch practice

Wednesday 18 February was the first of a number of experimental practice nights at various towers within the Exeter Branch. The practice took place at St David's, Exeter. The intention of the Branch is to nominate a small number of experienced ringers to help the local ringers to practice methods which they cannot manage without outside help.

About twelve ringers from the tower attended and methods rung ranged from Plain Hunt to Bristol with the emphasis mainly on Plain Bob and Grandsire.

At the end of the practice we had a short discussion on the merits of this format instead of the normal Branch Practice open to all. The general opinion from those it was intended to help was that this format is preferable as they are able to get more out of such an event.

It is a format which would seem to be a way to help those who need it but perhaps feel a general practice is not for them and for whatever reason do not usually attend .


Mid Devon Branch: training day

Chance to ring Quarters

On Saturday 7th February the Mid Devon branch held a training day at Wolborough. The form is to change this year in that the normal training in the morning was done in the morning but in the afternoon there was the chance to ring some quarter peals. It was hoped to attempt at least two quarters at once in the afternoon with probably six in all. This means that there would be limited space for the less experienced. However, Martin Mansley hopes to start regular quarter peals for branch members to accommodate everyone as soon as possible.

The morning gave the branch their first taste of the ringing centre at Wolborough. This is now just about up and running and the management committee is very keen for it to be used regularly so this is a good opportunity to see how it might fit into your programme of activities.

PS Please note that there is an error on the small branch programmes for Branch members. The May meeting is on Sat 15th May at Buckfast Abbey ( We hope!!).


Listening Walk --

More Church Bells on Dartmoor

At 10:30am on Saturday March 27th at Shaugh Prior, and 10:30am on Saturday April 17th at Walkhampton, the public is invited to participate in listening walks as part of Aune Head Arts' Dartmoor Changes project which is celebrating change ringing and method ringing in thirty-three communities across Dartmoor.

These walks are part of a series of six listening walks being hosted during the course of the project -- the walks are all free and open to all. During the walks the sounds of the church bells will be heard filtering through woodland, echoing down village lanes and drifting across fields and moorland. These ringing sessions are being recorded for a special CD which will contain recordings of thirty-three church towers within the Dartmoor National Park -- the CD will be available in late autumn 2004.

The plan is to start by meeting the ringers, learning a bit of history about bell ringing on Dartmoor and in Devon and (safety permitting) viewing the bells. Whilst the bells are rung the walkers will be taken on a circular route around the parish, most of which will be within earshot of the bells. Each walk will take up to an hour, wind and weather permitting. The routes will include some 'ups' and 'downs'. Given the changeable weather on Dartmoor walkers should be prepared to encounter a bit of mud and possibly rain -- waterproofs and wellies may be the order of the day. While walking will be on footpaths, tracks, verges and lanes, suitable footwear is a definite consideration. The two walks will be led by Andy Stevens, Co-Project Coordinator. Andy is an experienced bell ringer, musician and sound engineer.

After returning, walkers will be able to visit the ringing chamber and chat with the bell ringers a bit more. As one of the intentions of the project is to recruit new bell ringers on Dartmoor, walkers who are 12 and over can try their hand at bell ringing (under supervision and within the restrictions of the Church's insurance policy).

We will aim to finish listening and ringing by about 1:00pm -- thus a pub lunch and further conversation with the ringers will an optional conclusion to the event.

At Shaugh Prior we will meet outside the church at 10:30am (OS 2.5" map grid reference SX543631). There is on-street parking. Walkhampton Parish Church, where the meeting time is also 10:30am, is remote from the village (OS 2.5" map reference SX537702). There is a large car park adjacent.

Anyone interested in joining these walks, or who would like more details, can contact: Emma Bush at AHA on 01822 890 539, [email protected]. Dartmoor Changes is being funded through a Local Heritage Initiative award.


Two touches for Guild competition

224 Double Norwich

2345678
-------
8675423
3527486
6482735
5738264
4263578 B 5
8576432 S 6
2437856 B 7
-------
6853724
4725368
8362547
7546283
3284756 B 5
6758342 S 6
2345678 B 7
-------

224 Plain Bob Major

2345678
-------
3527486
5738264
5786342 B
5764823 B
7452638
4273586
2348765 S
-------
4826357
8645273
8657432 B
8673524 B
6382745
3264857
2345678 S
-------


East Devon Branch - Colyton and Musbury

New rector for Colyton team

A new Rector, Revd. Nicholas Edwards will be officially licensed at St Andrew, Colyton on Sunday 22 February - the bells will be rung for an hour before the service. The Benefice covers 4 parishes, Colyton, Branscombe, Musbury and Southleigh.


St Marks Augmentation Project - Latest News

A successful wine tasting evening was held on Saturday 13 December organised by Peter Bill and friends. About 70 people took part in the quiz which was the main focus of the evening. Including the raffle tickets and extra bottles of wine that were sold that evening we made just over £400 profit. This was a very good start to our fund raising activities.

The project was formally launched at the Eucharist Service at St Mark's on 26th January. We put up display boards to give an indication of all aspects of "ringing life" (See photo above). Many of the parishioners have never ventured up the tower so this was a good opportunity to talk to them and explain about the augmentation project.

An application has been made to the Charity Commissioners to obtain Charitable Status for the project. Hopefully we will have a response on this very soon. We shall then be able to make use of the Gift Aid Scheme and claim tax back on all donations.

Our next fund raising event will be a SUPPER & QUIZ EVENING on Saturday 24 April in St Mark's Church Hall. Tickets priced at £7.50 to include a three course meal (Soup, Main Course and Sweet) and a complimentary first drink (beer or wine or soft drink) are available from any member of the St Marks band (contact Wendy Campbell) or by post from Maureen Hawkins on receipt of a cheque made payable to St Mark's Bellringers and an SAE.

An 'Open Day' is planned in East Devon on Saturday 5 June 2004. Most of the letters seeking permission have now been sent out and we expect to be able to make about 25 towers available throughout the day - in return for a small payment!

On Sunday 25 July we will be looking after the Car Boot sale at Marsh Barton. Volunteers to help with this will be welcome. It is an early start, but promises to be a fun time with the added bonus of us netting approximately £400 - £500.

A Barn Dance is being arranged for Saturday 9 October in the evening at Exminster village hall. More details of this event will be given in the next edition of RRD. The band we have booked come recommended from the ECG Annual Dinner, and we shall also be serving food, beer and wine.


An appraisal of the problem

The real cost of ringing

  1. There are something over 350 rings of bells hung for full circle ringing in Devon.
  2. The life expectancy of a frame and its fittings is in the order of a hundred years, probably longer with good maintenance, possibly shorter with no real care and attention. This suggests that there should be three or four rehanging projects each year.
  3. Some kind of survey of the condition of our towers would identify the real size of the problem facing ringers in Devon over the next thirty years.
  4. With an average re-hang in the order of £40,000, the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund would endeavour to make grants of £4000 for each major project
  5. This would mean annual outgoings from the fund of over £12,000 per year. And an annual income to match that.


Tail Ends

Martin Spencer Thomas is now the chairman of the Aylesbeare branch. His address is [email protected]

George Retter after a spell in hospital is now staying in a residential home in Exeter. He would welcome visitors.

Donations received for the Guild Presidents' bell at Huntsham have now exceeded £2500 (towards a target of £3500). This includes a donation of £700 directly from Guild funds. Mike Hatchett asks RRD to pass on thanks to all who have contributed so far. Those contributing £50 or more will have their name permanently recorded in the tower. The target of £40,000 for fund raising during 2003 was exceeded, and it is expected that work will begin soon.


Quarters at the Devon Fours

Given that there are fourteen rings of four in Devon, it is a great shame that the eight towers with ringable bells are visited so rarely. On higher numbers, it is true, methods are more demanding and great skill is required to ring accurately in the small gap between other bells, but on very low numbers great skill is also required as the spacing of the bells is much wider, so even the untrained ear will notice the slightest of clips.

These ringers must surely be the first band to ring a quarter peal together at every one of county's the ringable fours and for the excellent standard of ringing achieved. Furthermore, it should be noted that all 11 of the standard minimus methods were rung as sets of "Bob", "Canterbury", "Court", "St Nicholas'", "Double", "Single" and "Reverse", before completing this progression with a quarter peal of all 11 methods. The conductor is also probably the first person to have conducted a quarter at every one of the ringable Devon four bell towers.

Many thanks to all the towers both for allowing us to ring and for the hospitality we received.

Northleigh, Devon. 20 July 2003. 1260 Minimus (Buzbury, Erin, Plain Bob, Double Bob, Reverse Bob). Tim Bayton (C) 1, Sue Sawyer 2, Richard Shere 3, Paul Pascoe 4.
Meeth, Devon. 19 October 2003. 1260 Minimus (Bastow, Erin, Single Canterbury, Double Canterbury, Reverse Canterbury). Tim Bayton (C) 1, Sue Sawyer 2, Richard Shere 3, Paul Pascoe 4.
Bondleigh, Devon. 19 October 2003. 1260 Minimus (Bastow, Erin, Single Court, Double Court, Reverse Court). Richard Shere 1, Sue Sawyer 2, Paul Pascoe 3, Tim Bayton (C) 4.
George Nympton, Devon. 13 December 2003. 1260 Minimus (Bastow, Erin, St Nicholas', Reverse St Nicholas'). Sue Sawyer 1, Tim Bayton (C) 2, Richard Shere 3, Paul Pascoe 4.
Cheldon, Devon. 13 December 2003. 1260 Minimus (Bastow, Erin, Double Bob, Double Canterbury, Double Court). Richard Shere 1, Sue Sawyer 2, Paul Pascoe 3, Tim Bayton (C) 4.
Torbryan, Devon. 2 January 2004. 1260 Minimus (Bastow, Plain Bob, Single Canterbury, Single Court, St Nicholas'). Sue Sawyer 1, Richard Shere 2, Tim Bayton (C) 3, Paul Pascoe 4.
Brendon, Devon. 3 January 2004. 1260 Minimus (Bastow, Reverse Bob, Reverse Canterbury, Reverse Court, Reverse St Nicholas'). Richard Shere 1, Sue Sawyer 2, Paul Pascoe 3, Tim Bayton (C) 4.
Southleigh, Devon. 12 January 2004. 1272 Minimus (11m: Standard 11). Richard Shere 1, Sue Sawyer 2, Tim Bayton (C) 3, Paul Pascoe 4. The band have now rung a quarter together at all the ringable fours in Devon, within six months.

TMB & PJP


50th Anniversary Clanger

The long awaited centenary of Emmanuel bells has suffered a slight set back. Although the ringers were only anticipating lots of jolly ringing and a celebratory trip to the local pub, our vicar has other plans. For the benefit of the unsuspecting congregation, he plans to project video footage of both the ringers in action in the belfry and the bells swinging in the bell chamber, complete with sound track, which will appear on a huge screen in church.

The hiccup has occurred because our novice ringer Barbara (retired head teacher), who was researching the bells' history for the Plymouth Schools' Week Event, innocently remarked that the bells were cast in 1904. Cries of disbelief were heard, since we have been staring at peal board for years, commemorating the 50th anniversary peal being rung on December 5th 1953, to say nothing of the huge brass plate above the belfry door to mark the dedication on December 6th 1903. Further consternation was felt when the parish records made no mention of the bells at all in that year. Worse still, a quick trip up the tower revealed the undeniable fact that the figure 1904 was cast in bronze on each and every bell.

It would appear that our benefactor, a Mrs. Pauline Eugenie Tilby, whose original bequest was for bells at St Matthias North Hill, 2 miles nearer the city, ran into some heavy opposition. Objections were raised that the bells would prove too noisy for those within the nearby hospital at Greenbank. The outcome of this was that the bells were suddenly and unexpectedly re-directed to Emmanuel in the leafy suburbs of Mannamead.

So Barbara was right, the bells were not cast until 1904. The dedication was on Saturday April 2nd 1904 and the inaugural peal was rung the next day, Easter Day April 3rd, by a team from the Three Towns' Branch of the Devon Guild of Ringers. The benefactor was a parishioner elsewhere and to whom the brass plaque above the belfry door is dedicated; the date December 6th was the date of her death. All of which means that the 50th anniversary peal was rung, as it turned out, to commemorate a most generous lady.

The peal was rung on Sunday 7th December 2003 after the Sunday morning service.
Jill Larbalestier

GUILD OF DEVONSHIRE RINGERS
PLYMOUTH, Devon, Emmanuel
Sunday 7 December 2003
In 3 hours
5040 Grandsire Triples, 
composition J Vicars

1	Jill Larbalestier
2	Christine Cope
3	John Steere
4	Geoff Larbalestier
5	Christopher Wardle
6	Fergus Stracey
7	Alena Wardle (Cond.)
8	John Bowler
Rung to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Eugenie Pauline Tileby in whose memory the bells were gifted. 1st peal: 1 & 2 . 1st peal as conductor


Exeter Colleges Guild: Annual Dinner

Even noisier than usual

As is traditional the weekend started with a gathering in the Imperial. The evening provided a good opportunity for the new members to meet the past members of the society. It was also good to see lots of friends and supporters there. The atmosphere was lively and even noisier than usual. At some point during the hilarity the crocodile got burst and Alex lost his meal. The current students gave updates and amusing anecdotes about the recent goings on of the society and a great deal of beer got drunk.

Saturday's outing was to the area East of Exeter, and first stop was Ottery St Mary. Having arrived twenty minutes early we enjoyed a good breakfast before making our way to the beautiful medieval church. The interior has survived the Reformation and the Victorian era surprisingly well, the decoration and the Lady Chapel being of particular interest. We enjoyed some good ringing on the superb sounding ring of eight, including Stedman Triples and Cambridge Major. After stopping to take a few photos now that it had actually stopped raining we set off for Honiton. Again arriving early we stopped for a cup of tea in the church hall and Shaun had a quick blast on the organ. Having overcome some confusion over who was supposed to be letting us in, the churchwarden opened up for us. The open staircase inside the ringing chamber caused some amusement, and there was some respectable ringing.

Outing well-researched

Next was the grab everyone was really looking forward to - the pub at Sidbury! The outing had been well researched and the beer was absolutely excellent. We even found a friend for the gnome, and they posed together at the bar! We also found an interesting old photo of some regulars from a Dorset pub in the 1890s who had over 250 years drinking experience between the four of them... Having paid a visit to the unusual wishing well, we crossed the road to sample the glorious Taylor eight at Sidbury church.

Here we met up with the peal band, who reported a successful peal of Yorkshire Major at Colyton - a real achievement for the society. With the reinforcements we had some of the best ringing of the day, including some very good leads of London. Back in the bus we made our way to Sidmouth to much musical accompaniment. We enjoyed some good ringing on the pleasant 10 at St. Nicholas, including Yorkshire Royal and some very good Grandsire Caters. Many of the new students also had their first go at ringing on ten and did extremely well. Everyone seemed to enjoy the outing greatly, although there were a few complaints that 2 hours was nowhere near enough time to get ready!

Mysterious chutney

Assembling at the Southgate Hotel for the pre-dinner drinks, we met many more guests who had been unable to make the outing. The room had been decorated skilfully, with some really good helium balloons. An excellent menu had been prepared for us and everyone was happy with the food, which was very tasty. If anyone knows where the chutney that came with the cheese board was from, I would be interested to know! Ian Campbell then spoke about the handbell group and this was followed by a well-struck course of Plain Bob Major by, 1-2 Kathryn Louise Ward, 3-4 David Maynard, 5-6 Matthew Hilling, 7-8 Ian Campbell.

Serious business begins

Kathryn Ward then gave an account of the societies achievements over the previous 12 months, after which the Master spoke about more light-hearted aspects of the year's activities. This was followed by a course of Grandsire Caters on the society handbells, 1-2 Andrew Digby, 3-4 David Maynard, 5-6 John Longridge, 7-8 David Atkins, 9-10 Matthew Hilling. The serious business of barn dancing then began. The dancing seemed especially lively this year and one or two people took a tumble in the course of the excitement! The band were absolutely superb and I'm sure everyone is looking forward to seeing them again next year.

Sunday ringing was a little early for some people, as was coffee at the Boston Tea Party! Those of us who did make it in time had a very sociable morning however, which was followed by lunch on the Quay. Ringing at Exeter Cathedral for the afternoon service was of a respectable standard, and included a very good touch of Grandsire Cinques. Once again it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, and it is to be hoped that just as many members will return for next year's event.

Some of the more energetic people at the Exeter Colleges Guild dinner


Exeter Colleges Guild AGM

The ECG AGM was held at St David's on Wednesday 18 February, following our targeted practice. David Maynard gave an account of the year's activities and achievements, and Heather Nelson spoke about the task of organising next year's dinner. The following Officers were elected: Ringing Master - Dominic Meredith, Deputy Master - Alex Rowan, Secretary - Philippa Rossiter, Treasurer - Kathryn Louise Ward, Stock Officer/Quarter Peal Secretary - James Whittaker, Publicity Officer - Vicky Wills.

Photo, Front Row, L-R: Kathryn Ward, James Whittaker, Pip Rossiter. Back Row, L-R: Alex Rowan, Dominic Meredith, Vicky Wills


Method practice at Exbourne seeks new venue

The PCC at Exbourne has stopped the Friday method practice there. As a number of the ringers seem to be making good progress and enjoying it, the general consensus was that the practice should continue elsewhere.

Accordingly, the method practice will be going to a different tower around here each week until organiser Michael Brady can get something permanent fixed up.


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