The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 55 : September 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 .

A large print edition is available from the editor. Phone 01363 775989 for details.

Nicholson Engineering Open Day

Crediton bells centrepiece of show

Nicholson Engineering, of Bridport in Dorset, is to hold an open day on 18th September from 10am - 4pm and cordially invites all ringers and others interested in visiting their extensive Church Bell Works. The centre-piece of the exhibition will be the brand new ring of ten bells (tenor 26-2-23 in D and made to Gillett & Johnston profiles) hanging with all new fittings in their new 13 bell frame.

The Church Bell Works at Bridport is extensive, covering some 6000sq.ft, and includes a blacksmiths shop, joiners shop and frame erection area along with all the other myriad facets of a large and busy bellhanging company. Experienced staff will be on hand throughout the day to discuss the various processes and to give demonstrations of their craft.

There will be no charge for entry as we feel sure that our visitors will wish to give generously in support of this worthwhile charity. A barbecue will be operating from 11.30 - 2.30 approx. and all proceeds from this and any donations which those attending may wish to make will go towards the work of Cancer Research UK.

For those family members less interested in bells, Bridport will be host to a major street market on the day and the town is situated just a mile from the beautiful and spectacular West Dorset Coast which was the first stretch of British coastline to be granted World Heritage Status.

Whether coming for an hour or two, for the day or for longer you are assured of the warmest of welcomes.


Andrew Nicholson

Competition towers

The towers for the Guild competitions on 16 October have now been arranged in the South West Branch.

Bere Ferrers has been booked for the six bell competition, provisionally from 11 - 1 and Buckland Monachorum in the afternoon for the eight bell provisionally from 2 to 4.30.

Would teams wishing to take part please contact Wendy Campbell. Time slots can be booked for the six bell competition in the morning.

The methods for the eight bell competition are either Plain Bob or Double Norwich. Touches have been circulated and have appeared in the March issue of RRD.

From the archive

The Guild band that rang the record length of 10,640 Plain Bob Major in five hours 14 minutes at Buckland in the Moor on 2nd October 1965. Back row: Colin Reeves (Exeter) 3, Margaret A Bould (Tavistock) 2, Robert A Southwood (Plympton) 4, D Roy Bould (Tavistock) 7, Frank D Mack (Exmouth) 6, Derek Jewell (Combe Martin) 1, Clive G Bryant (Exeter) 5, Norman Mallett (Exeter) 8 and conductor. The peal was rung in memory of E Maurice Atkins, late general secretary of the Guild.. (Photo courtesy of Norman Mallett)

East Devon Branch: Striking Competition

Sidmouth ringers win at Buckerell

Nerves, tension, adrenaline – all these factors were in evidence at the East Devon Branch Striking Competition held at Buckerell on Saturday 10 July as 9 teams competed for the Edward Summers Memorial Trophy. The teams were made up of some 45 branch members and 7 towers. Proceedings were temporarily halted when a rope broke as Tried and Tested were giving of their best!! This unexpected interval also allowed the judges to get out of their car and stretch their legs. However the rope was quickly changed and ringing recommenced.

The standard of ringing was high and the results were awaited with a mixture of eagerness and apprehension. The results are given below and we were all delighted that Mrs Kath Summers was able to be with us to present the Trophy to James Harris – member of the Sid Valley Dodgers’ team.

Sid Valley Dodgers (Sidmouth) 86%
Honiton 85.5%
Awliscombe/Buckerell B 85%
Shute A 83%
Luppitt 80%
Awliscombe/Buckerell A 79%
Tried and Tested (Sidmouth) 76.5%
Shute B 76%
Ottery St Mary 75%

Many thanks to all who supported this event. Special thanks must go to Martin Mansley and Tim King for coming over to judge the competition at short notice and for enduring somewhere in the region of 3 hours sitting in their car! Their words of advice and encouragement were much appreciated and we were so pleased that they joined us for a pint and a couple of games of skittles afterwards.

Laira: first attempt at a quarter

Our First Quarter Peal!

Since we’ve been practising it has been our main ambition to ring a Quarter peal. On Friday 11th of June we had our first attempt at a quarter peal, this meant ringing solidly for approximately 50 minutes! We were to ring Grandsire Doubles, a quarter peal of which consisted of 1,260 changes!

It was touch and go all the way through, requiring complete concentration. A few false moves and it could send us all off track muddling us up completely. But Fergus Stracey, the conductor, put us right every time. He psychically knew what we were thinking each time we went wrong, automatically he’d guide us to which bell came down next. It was extremely satisfying each time I came to lead again, with Clare’s smile and Geoff’s nod I effortlessly hopped over each bell. Unable to conceal my excitement I giggled and grinned. Soon what felt like 25 minutes was actually 50 minutes and to my disbelief it was time to stand! We’d done it!

We were delighted, after winning our shield last year and now we’ve completed our first quarter we’re looking forward to more competitions and maybe even one-day a peal!

Josephine Maddick aged 18

Atherington: restoration in view

Bells’ removal stops further damage

Atherington bells and frame have been removed at last. The proposals for rehanging in a new frame, hopefully lower in the tower, are currently being developed, but it may be some time before the bells return to the tower, as the parish has a small population with which to raise the necessary funds. At least the removal of the frame means that its corrosion is no longer causing greater damage to the tower.

Luppitt: Jack Sage’s 90th

Bells ring for birthday

The bells of St Mary's Church, Luppitt, rang on Saturday 14th August to celebrate the 90th birthday of Mr John Sage. Mr Sage started ringing in the 1920's, and he took part in the first peal rung by a Luppitt band. We send our congratulations and best wishes.

Tavistock: Andrew Mudge marries Kelly Vicary

Grandsire rung during wedding

August 14th, was warm and sunny, a great day for the wedding of Andrew Mudge and Kelly Vicary. The Bridegroom with his mother, father, and brother joined in the ringing before the service.

The service was conducted by the Reverend John Rawlings. Grandsire Triples was rung during the service by George, Doreen, Andrew and Phil. A guard of honour of handbells was provided by Geoff and Valerie Hill, Ian Smith and Colin Kneebone as the couple left the Church.

A quarter peal of Grandsire Caters was run following the service by

1. Geoff Hill
2. Yvonne Porter
3. Donna Baker
4. Kate Jennings
5. Sheila Williams
6. Ann Smith
7. Jim East
8. David Pike
9. Ian Smith (c)
10. Colin Kneebone

The reception was held at the Ordulph Arms - Tavistock. Many friends and family joined in the celebration until late into the evening.

Points from peals

Recent footnotes include:

Lamerton, Sunday 27th June a peal for Shirley Hill's wedding.

Thorverton, Thursday 3rd June, 5003 Grandsire Caters rung in memory of Rev Robert Southwood.

Pinhoe, Thursday 5th August, 5120 Superlative S Major rung to celebrate the Silver Wedding anniversary of Pat and Lester Yeo.

Tim Bayton completed the standard eight Surprise major to peals by ringing a peal of London at Broadclyst on 14th July.

Andrew Digby completed the standard eight Surprise Major to peals by taking part in a peal of Superlative S Major at Pinhoe on 5th August. Andrew also rang his first peal of Spliced S Royal, at Withycombe Raleigh on 19th August.

The peal of Cooktown Orchid at Terling on 20 August was rung barefoot.

New Devon CYs elected

I don't know if it is worthy of mention but Andrew Digby, Geoff Hill and Clare Stagg were elected as members of The Ancient Society Of College Youths on Tuesday 10th August.


Presidents’ bell funded

The President’s bell at Huntsham has now been fully funded (£3,500) by Devon ringers and their friends, and this element of the Tower and Bell Fund is now closed. Michael Hatchett and his team thank Guild members most sincerely for their wonderful support.

Website review

Calling touches and simple quarter peals is very daunting for many ringers, especially when there are expert ringers around who do it so well, and make it look so easy. Laura Duncan, from Edenbridge in Kent kept notes of her progress to call touches for simple methods, and has found that they were useful to other ringers.

They collect together much of what she has learnt so far. They were written this so that she might have a record of what she thought as she was learning, before she took it all for granted, and she has put it online for other ringers because she noticed that there wasn't anything similar on the web. As she has learnt, she has added more pages and tries to explain everything fully and simply.

Laura writes. “It surprised me that calling a touch is actually not too difficult, so I would encourage anyone thinking about trying for the first time to give it a go. You may find it useful to have a blue line of the relevant methods to hand as you read the following pages.”

Lundy: bells ready for hanging

Devon’s newest ten

The two new trebles for St Helen’s,.Lundy, have been cast at Loughborough and are in process of being fitted out at Melbourne. The Faculty has arrived and the bell-hanging crew is assembled, travelling out with the bells on Tuesday 28th September 10 am from Ilfracombe.

The hanging should be completed and ready for a tryout when the main Festival Week party arrives on Saturday 2nd October.

The annual Lundy Open Day is on Saturday 9th October. The two new bells are to be dedicated at a short service to be held soon after the boat arrives. There will be open ringing on the new 10 from about 1300 to boat time and all are very welcome.

The MV Oldenburg's sailing times for that day are: Depart Ilfracombe 1000 arrive Lundy 1200. Return Depart Lundy 1600 arrive Ilfracombe 1800

Day return ticket price is £28 adults / £14 for children under 16.

You can book on the day or in advance from the Lundy Shore Office

Teignmouth: back in action this month

Dedication at Michaelmas

The rehung bells of St Michael’s, Teignmouth are to be rededicated by the Lord Bishop of Exeter on Wednesday September 29th 2004 (St. Michael’s Day) at 7.30 pm. This represents a great deal of hard work by a small but committed team faced with the task of raising a large sum of money for these unique Llewellin and James bells.

John Came

Guild member John Came, lately of Loddiswell, died on 28 August following a heart attack whilst swimming in the sea in the South Hams. He was enjoying a day out with his son, Stephen, and family, to whom the Guild sends condolences

A private family cremation in planned for Friday 10 September with two services to celebrate his life — one at Loddiswell on Friday 10 September at 2pm and the other at Collaton St Mary on Friday 17 September at 2pm when the ashes will be interred. Reception afterwards at Parkers Arms. The request has been made that bells are not muffled. Family flowers only.

Child Protection leaflet

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers at the AGM requested that a committee be formed by the Devon Ringers Council on behalf of all ringers in Devon. This will be formed of three Guild and three Association members to meet with the Diocesan authorities to make a start on discussing this very contentious subject. It is felt better to have a dialogue with the appropriate people as soon as possible. The Central Council guidelines are being circulated with RRD to Guild towers but they do not necessarily represent the policy that will eventually be used in Devon.

GDR SW Branch Quarter Peal Week 5 –13 June 2004

The South West Branch decided to hold a Quarter Peal Week in June to raise funds for the DCBRF and the help members progress with their ringing. Over £40 was raised, and the following quarters were the result.

Stoke Damerel, Devon 13 June 1260 Plain Bob Triples. Yvonne Porter 1, John Steere 2, Christopher Peirce 3, Clare Stagg 4, Fergus Stracey 5, Paul Jones 6, John Mitchelmore ( C ) 7, Ian Avent 8. To celebrate the life of the Revd. Bob Southwood

Tavistock, Devon 6 June 1263 Stedman Triples. Geoffrey Hill 1, Ann Smith 2, John Cooke 3, Edwin Davis 4, Jim East 5, George Mudge 6, Ian Smith ( C ) 7, Colin Kneebone 8. Rung in remembrance of Revd. Bob Southwood

Lydford, Devon 9 June 1320 Cambridge Surprise Minor. Geoffrey Hill 1, Ann Smith 2, Jim East 3, John Cooke 4, Ian Smith 5 Neil Williams ( C ) 6. 80th birthday compliment to Henry Lovell

New Court, Lamerton, Devon (Hand Bells) 18 June 1080 Mixed Doubles (Grandsire & Plain Bob). Valerie Hill 1&2, Geoffrey Hill 3&4 ( C ), Colin Kneebone 5&6. Rung in remembrance of Ron Wearing, Leader of The Wearing Family Handbell Ringers of Gulworthy, Tavistock, Devon on the eve of his funeral.

Bere Ferrers, Devon 5 June 1320 Cambridge Surprise Minor. Anne Body 1, Clare Stagg 2, Jane Kingsnorth 3, Fergus Stracey 4, John Body 5, David Crocker ( C ) 6. 1st in method 3

Bickleigh, Devon 5 June 1320 Cambridge Surprise Minor. David Crocker 1, Andrew Kingsnorth 2, Clare Stagg 3, Anne Body 4, John Body 5, Fergus Stracey ( C ) 6. 1st in method 2

Laira, Plymouth, Devon 1250 Yorkshire Surprise Major. John Body 1, Anne Body 2, Don Crocker 3, Christine Cope 4, Robert W Brown 5, Owen Borlase 6, Fergus Stracey 7, David Crocker ( C ) 8. 1st in method 4 & 6

Emmanuel, Plymouth, Devon 5 June 1280 London Surprise Major. Owen Borlase 1, Anne Body 2, Clare Stagg 3, Robert W Brown 4, Don Crocker 5, David Crocker 6, John Body 7, Fergus Stracey ( C ) 8. 1st in method 3

Emmanuel, Plymouth, Devon 5 June 1320 Norwich Surprise Minor. Clare Stagg 1, Christine Cope 2, Robert W Brown 3, Don Crocker 4, David Crocker 5, Fergus Stracey ( C ) 6. 1st in method 2. In memory of Revd Bob Southwood

Laira, Plymouth, Devon 11 June 1260 Grandsire Doubles. Josephine Maddick 1, Geoffrey Larbalestier 2, Julia House 3, Clare Stagg 4, Fergus Stracey ( C ) 5, Sam Wetherill 6. 1st quarter peal 1 & 6, 1st in method 3

Young Bell Ringer's Cycling Tour 2005

Sunday 24 July - Saturday 30 July

The YBRCT is a moderately paced cycling/ringing tour. In 2005 the tour will be based at Buckden Towers near Huntingdon. The accommodation is either “youth hostel” style 20-bed dormitories or more luxurious twin-bedded or family rooms in the adjacent Retreat House.

The ringing normally consists of about 6 towers each day spaced out over a route of about 25 miles. The terrain is fairly gentle, rolling and mostly rural. Whilst a semi-invalid couch-potato would not enjoy the tour, any reasonably active person should find it no problem.

Our ringing includes everything from rounds/call-changes to eight-spliced and as long as you can ring a bell safely and strike it in rounds you will get on alright. Our party normally number around 35 and includes people in the early stages of their ringing career. I believe we are a sociable crowd and enjoy the social side of the event as well as the ringing and cycling. We have been delighted to witness an increase in young families in recent years but on the other hand, quite a few young people turn up on their own and quickly fit in to the company. We have quite a few “older people” too!

I arrange everything for you, from supper on the Sunday night to breakfast on the Saturday morning, including booking towers and insurance. Bed, breakfast & evening meal are included in my charge to you. You just pay me your money and turn up - as simple as that.

Cost inclusive of B, B and evening meal, all administrative costs and insurance. Over 12 - £130 in the dormitory accommodation (For costs in Retreat Centre e-mail me)

For more information see (see “cycle tour”)

Exeter branch: tour of unringables

Guano and dreams

Almost ten years ago, the Exeter branch visited a number of the old city centre towers with one or more bells which could not be rung. One of the highlights was seeing how a Guild officer could not chime bob minimus on the only surviving Pennington four! The disappointments of that outing included a lock-out at St Martin’s — the curate had brought the wrong key — and not being able to see the bell at the Sacred Heart, as the ladder was unsafe.

Requests for a repeat outing were noted, and the omissions rectified. The bell at St Martin’s proved to be notable, taking up most of the available space in a tiny tower. St Stephen’s proved to be as remembered, where the three bells had been destroyed in the war and Taylors’ had case a small bell out of the surviving metal, sounded by an internal spring lever clapper.

St Mary Arches were certainly safer than at the time of the last visit, with a new handrail installed to make the climb less hazardous. However the chiming mechanism had been disabled, and it was clear that the bells are not used. It was noted that Ellacombe had made a number of mistakes in recording the inscriptions. Once again branch members chimed the two bells at St Olave’s using the three chiming hammers, but access was again impossible without long ladders.

St Mary Steps was most disappointing, as since the last visit, other visitors had gained access and left guano everywhere; there were also a number of their nests and eggs, and the chiming apparatus was gummed up. It proved too unpleasant to check the details of the inscription (although one bad mistake by Ellacombe was noted), but some Bob Minimus was successfully chimed this time!

The assistant priest at Sacred Heart met us together with one of the parish and took us up the replacement ladder to see the single bell, hung for ringing but now clocked, cast by Murphy’s of Dublin in 1884 and dedicated to St Boniface. The diameter was measured and the inscription recorded, before the view from the top of the tower was sampled.

The final port of call was St Michael’s, Mount Dinham, where it was easy to dream of the classic Taylor ten that might have been, and to drop hints to our guide that should they receive a donation of £150 thousand.… The fittings there are derelict and the single bell (the tenor of the non-existent ring?) is hammer-chimed, although a cloth muffle on the clapper suggests that it was swung not so long ago.

NE Branch Competition

Cullompton win John Hutchings Cup

Judges Mike and Mary Mears commented how pleased they were to see that a Branch Striking Competition could have as many as 5 teams entering.

The event was held at Silverton on June 4th on a very sunny evening, with teams invited to ring 240 changes of any method, including repeated plain hunt. In the event bands rang plain courses or touches of Grandsire or Plain Bob and the evening went well with no team unable to complete their intended piece.

Competitors and judges then repaired to the Lamb Inn for the verdict, presentation of the Cup by the Branch Chair, David Smith, and refreshment.

The results were as follows:

1. Cullompton 22.5 faults
2. Tiverton, St Paul 49 faults
3. Bampton 71.5 faults
4. Silverton 78.5 faults
5. Tiverton, St Peter 128.5 faults

Contact for Shute and Colyton

Please note the email address for the tower email contact at Colyton and Shute has changed (from to:

Plymouth: Emmanuel

Repairs to gudgeon pin

For the attention of anyone planning a late summer or autumn outing in the Plymouth direction: We are sorry to say that Emmanuel Bells will not be available until we have had repairs to the 5th (gudgeon pin) carried out. After which we hope that the "go" will be very much improved.

Jill Larbalestier

Excited about the bells

Troyte, ‘DLS’ and ‘The Nine Tailors’

“I’m most awfully excited about the bells!” So wrote Dorothy L. Sayers from boarding school to her parents in 1910. Her father, the Revd. Henry Sayers, had decided to restore and augment the bells of his church, St. Mary’s, Bluntisham in Cambridgeshire. Dorothy took a keen interest in the project – so much so that the bellhangers complained that they could not get on with their work for answering all the questions from Miss Dorothy!

In 1934 Dorothy L. Sayers published The Nine Tailors, a murder mystery centred on “Fenchurch St. Paul” and its bell tower. Dorothy had been nothing but meticulous in her research. Writing in the same year she remarked: “I bought an old copy of Troyte’s little manual. I was wandering down the Charing Cross Road when I saw, outside one of the bookshops, a little old book with a label saying “Change Ringing: 2/-“. So I bought it. I learnt all I know from this book.”

The 70th anniversary of the publication of The Nine Tailors has been thoroughly well celebrated by the Dorothy L. Sayers Society with visits to both the Whitechapel and Loughborough bell foundries and to Bluntisham. A bright, warm weekend in July saw members of the Society, local ringers and villagers gathering in Huntsham for a series of events organised by Mike and Pat Hatchett and the D.L.S. Society.

Mike Hatchett opened the proceedings with a talk about the history of the Troyte family and their links with the Aclands of Killerton. He also outlined the contributions of each of the Troyte brothers, Charles, John and Reginald, to the development of ringing in the second half of the 19th century. The initiative of Charles Troyte in helping to found the Guild of Devonshire Ringers is probably well-known in Devon, but the involvement of John in setting up the Oxford University Society and Charles in establishing the Central Council is less familiar. Mike has written up much of the Troyte story in a previous issue of Ringing Round Devon (No. 44. Dec 2001).

Following Mike’s fascinating talk, we proceeded from the church to the former Rectory where Church Treasurer, Penny Pulver, and her husband George managed to serve a sumptuous supper to about sixty people. The assembled gathering then made their way back to All Saints for a performance of “Excited about the Bells – a celebration of the life of Dorothy L. Sayers and her family during their years at Bluntisham”. This was based on her own words taken from her letters, her poetry and the music particularly associated with her days at school together with a linking commentary from her father and mother. The performance gave a fascinating insight into clerical family life in the early years of the 20th century and revealed the development of Dorothy’s formidable intellect, but also how this was tempered by her humanity and good humour. On display in Huntsham church were Dorothy’s own annotated copy of Troyte’s Change Ringing and the Rusty Dagger awarded by the Crime Writers’ Association for The Nine Tailors, along with some of the early Huntsham pealboards which had been brought down from the tower during the restoration work currently being undertaken.

The Sunday programme began with mattins and continued with a further talk from Mike Hatchett, this time about the Huntsham tower and bells project – proceeds from the weekend went to the project. After lunch the party then proceeded to Killerton to explore the Acland connection with the Troyte family.

Mike Hatchett is to be congratulated on putting together such an interesting, enjoyable and well-organised programme. We look forward to returning to Huntsham in November for the re-dedication of the bells upon completion of the restoration project.

Leslie Boyce

Bridgerule: fund raising for rehanging

Almost halfway there!

James Clarke, the Diocesan bells adviser, was at Bridgerule recently to assist with the formation of a faculty submission to enable the frame to be repaired. He was told by Canon Ryder and Trevor Bowden that fund raising is going well and that they are well on the way towards the halfway mark.

They have yet to make applications for grants and therefore are looking forward to some useful promises from those sources. The band are now putting their energy into fundraising rather than ringing, but hope to be ringing again by next Summer.

Ringing in Brushford post WW2

By Ray Smith

Like many young lads, I graduated to the Ringing Chamber from the ranks of Server at Eucharist and Church Choir. There were only five Taylor Bells when I started to learn and I was allocated No. 3 and that was where I stayed! It seems, looking back that this was a tradition, you were only allowed to ring one bell! The others were fiercely guarded and could be regarded as forbidden territory. After a year or so, a sixth bell, a new treble was added so I was now No. 4!

My next door neighbour, Bill Troake, was responsible for introducing me to the joy of Change Ringing. Bill, was a veteran of the first world war and had suffered badly from gas attacks at the front. Despite this he was a cheerful man and most knowledgeable on the subject of ringing and bee keeping!

The team at Brushford was very much an all male preserve in those days and most of the team were employed at the local sawmill and as a result were minus a few index fingers! Alby Riggs was the Tower Captain and I recall that he had an exercise book with call changes written out, which was ceremonially propped up on an old music stand. As far as I recall, we adopted the 'Up Change' convention with closed hand stroke at lead! The highlight of our calendar was ringing in the New Year and for someone in their early teens this was indeed a great occasion. Particularly being allowed to have a small Pale Ale after the ring - the bottles were left outside the Tower Door on a very old flat top gravestone!

Another big occasion I remember well was when the BBC did a broadcast of Evensong and we had to ring before the service, I don't think we got further than rounds but it sounded good over the airwaves.

I well remember Bill Troake telling me that he had tried very hard to get the team interested in method ringing but Alby Riggs had made it very clear, "....he didn't hold wi that old scientific". So at that early age I only got to see something of the mysteries of Plain Hunt on paper when Bill traced out the Blue Line for me. At that stage I must confess that it did not mean much to me.

On reflection there was never a broken stay and I regret to say that I never had an opportunity to go up into the Belfry and see how the bells actually worked! A friend of mine rang at Dulverton so I often had a chance to ring there for Evensong, they also were a call-change only tower.

The time came for me to do my National Service and so my ringing came to an abrupt end - I only wish that I had continued my interest since I was posted to areas where there were some wonderful towers, Lichfield in particular. As it was, my technical education took precedence and I toiled part-time to become an Electrical Engineer. When I settled in Wiltshire I should have rekindled my ringing interest but frequent excursions overseas on business seemed to take over.

So, this brings me to my present situation where I am most happy to say that I am now back in the ringing fold 'Down-Under' after a break of 50 years!

My wife and I retired to Goulburn N.S.W. just over two years ago and before purchasing a home we rented a unit just adjacent to St Saviour's Cathedral. We moved in on a Monday and much to my surprise and pleasure the bells started ringing that evening. A couple of weeks later I ventured down to the Tower and decided that I would see if I could still ring! I well remember the words of Bill Troake, ".. ..just like riding a bike, you won't forget". The Tower Captain handed me a rope and I was faced with my first pull for 50 years - I had not expected the difficulty of a very long draught! It felt as though I was wrestling with a python! It took a few pulls before I felt I was making a reasonable show of striking and then we were into some call changes which I coped with even though there did not seem to be the same respect for either "Up" or "Down" conventions - just seemed to be a free for all approach! Life was much easier with Alby and his exercise book!

I discovered that the team was very much in the learner/ improver grade - the Tower Captain plus one other was more experienced. The question was then posed did I ring Method - would I like to try Plain Hunt! A very quick explanation followed and I was thrown into this seething mass of trying to work out where I should be next! One of the team members profoundly announced that I would never ring method if I did not count my place. This was something new, what on earth was he talking about! Not wishing to show my ignorance I kept quiet and decided that I had better look that one up! Another go was suggested at Plain Hunt but I may as well have been asked to pray in tongues because it made no sense to me. The Tower Captain gave me a piece of paper and started to talk about the Blue Line and the Coursing Order but it all sounded gibberish to me. I quickly realised that I would have to go away and try and sort this out before the next practice night. The problem, confirmed by subsequent experience of ringing in Sydney, seemed to be that there was no spare experienced person to act as a minder for the uninitiated like me, who could stand at ones elbow and point one in the right direction. I quickly began to despair that I had left it far too late to get into method ringing! However, my engineering background and determined nature told me that there must be a logical way around this problem - thereby hangs another tale!

Goulburn is in the Southern Highlands of N.S.W. located about 250 Km from Sydney and 90 Kms from Canberra. The cathedral was designed by Edmund Blackett and built in 1884. It is the mother church of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. Due to lack of finance the tower was not completed until 1988, it was most fortunate that the Government provided finance as a grant to celebrate the Bi-centennial year. It was also possible to procure a ring of eight Taylor bells from St. Marks in Leicester, tenor 21cwt. In 1994 a further two bells were added following a memorial bequest and we now have a fine ring of ten. Plans are being made to augment the ring to twelve plus a flat No. 6.

"Lincolnshire Bells and Bellfounders”

The above book was sold out very soon after publication and the compiler and editor John Ketteringham is considering publishing a reprint if there are enough subscribers to cover most of the cost.

The book is a record of around 2400 Lincolnshire bells hung mainly in churches but school and house bells are also included. The earliest of these dates from circa 1150 and over 300 bells are pre-Reformation. As much as possible is included in the book about each bell including inscription, weight and diameter. The fittings are also of considerable interest with many of the bell frames of great age.

The total number of pages in the reprint will be about 400 which will include a list of subscribers.

For further details, please contact Dr John Ketteringham MBE by email at

Exploring Devon – with 3 bell towers

Whilst on our travels gaining information for ‘The Bells of Devon’, it has been amazing to see what can happen in villages where bells are not rung on a regular basis. 3 Bell towers, for many, are a waste of time and many would look down on towers where less than 5 or 6 bells are available. But in reality they are just as important as every other church tower – they call people to worship.

It’s not as easy as you may think to get good striking on these lower numbers either – try it you might be pleasantly surprised!

On one occasion the Churchwarden of a 3 bell tower told us that the ropes were not in a good state and asked where the parish might purchase a set of second hand ones. Generously, the ringers of Upton, Torquay donated three ropes for us to take along and, after checking the fittings and putting on the new ropes the bells were heard again. Churchwardens and other parishioners, who were all interested in the prospect of seeing their bells being rung, turned out on a cold and weather beaten morning and the smiles and pleasure on their faces was certainly worth the trek.

Since our initial visit, a working party has been organised to try and prevent the weather from doing any further damage to their tower and its bells. We have also been lucky enough to return to the tower and ring a quarter peal – believed to be the first to be rung on the bells. Again, enthusiastic friends of the church met us and we hope this tower continues to go from strength to strength.

On another occasion, after planning to ring at another 3 bell tower a notice had been put on the church notice board to say that we were coming, we were met with a kettle ready to brew some coffee and, after some rope adjustment, we were able to score a wonderful quarter on this unique anticlockwise three. After we had finished another local arrived and thanked us profusely. She informed us that she had phoned a former parishioner who had recently moved to Lincolnshire. They had been so pleased to be able to hear the bells ringing over the phone that they had wished that they could have been there!!

One personal highlight though, was to ring what we believe to be, the first quarter on the bells at Honeychurch. We were met by the Churchwarden who had lit what seemed like 100 candles (as the Church has no electricity) and we were able to score a quarter that evening by candlelight. If ringing at 3 and 4 bell towers produces such a wonderful response from the locals as we have seen in the past 18 months then we certainly look forward to ringing at many more.

For more information on all the towers in this county, why not purchase your own copy of the new publication, ‘The Bells of Devon’, which is being sold in aid of the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund. It includes contacts for all the ringable towers with 3 or more bells, information on chimes of three or more bells and all the lost rings in the county of the last 150 years. It also contains a list of all the known single bells hung for full-circle ringing – but that’s another story.


- 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 or Paul Pascoe

Please make cheques payable to “The Bells of Devon”.

Bob Southwood

RRD is very sorry not to be able to publish in this issue, an obituary of the Guild’s immediate past president, Bob Southwood, whose death was announced last quarter.

Unfortunately it has not been possible to gather all the relevant information in time, but Bob’s many friends and admirers will, we hope, be able to read of his career in due course.

Disclaimer - please read

Pages formatted by Ian Campbell

Updated 12/9/2004