The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 60 : December 2005

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, and more information and pictures on many items.

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 by email to .

The December 2005 version of Interchange, a newsletter for all ringers in Devon, is available here.

Withycombe Raleigh: launch of augmentation appeal

A New Light Twelve for Devon?

An appeal to augment Withycombe Raleigh to twelve, with the addition of a flat sixth has been launched.. With the growth of 12-bell ringing in Devon, this ambitious project has been contemplated for the last few years. In the West Country there are only two rings of twelve west of Taunton, neither of which is available on a weekly basis for the training and the encouragement of twelve bell ringing. A new light twelve at Withycombe Raleigh would provide just such a ring..

Following a generous offer to donate the trebles, it was decided at a recent tower meeting to proceed with the project. Estimates for the casting and hanging of the three bells have been received, and Nicholson Engineering has been awarded the contract for the work. The result of a commissioned surveyor’s report was favourable, (i.e. the tower will not fall down!) and the Rector and PCC have gladly given us their blessing to proceed. All that remains is to raise the grand sum of £17,800 which covers the cost of the framework, the flat 6th , the fixtures and fittings and the hanging.

To this end, the band will be planning all the usual fund raising activities: an open day in the Exeter/East Devon area (date to be announced), car boot sales, begging and threatening letters, the sale of postcards and greetings cards depicting the church (donated by a local paper merchant and printing company). Should they raise funds above the target figure, they will be looking to help the PCC with a donation to their funds for re-pointing of the tower.

If any reader would like to help by making a donation, however small or large, or by purchasing some cards, please contact John Foster (e-mail: for details of where to send your donations. The appeal has been granted charity status (Reg. No. 1112089), enabling all donations to be gift aided, and allowing the Inland Revenue to contribute to the project. Cheques/PO’s payable should be made payable to The Withycombe Raleigh Church Bell Restoration Fund.

John Foster

Tower Captain, Withycombe Raleigh

Ringing for Trafalgar

The Central Council announced the following events with a Devon flavour to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. It is not clear who was in the peal band from Lipput (presumably Luppitt?), where Plymworthy is, who rang the quarter at Whitestone, and why Howard Egglestone has usurped the captaincy at Crediton.

Bagshot, Surrey (John Bauld writes: “In Bagshot we are having a Peal rung by visitors from Lipput in Devon on November 6th which is when the coach bearing the news arrived in London. Bagshot is one of the places where the coach from Falmouth to London stopped to change horses 200 years ago.”)

Crediton, Devon, Holy Cross (Tower Captain, Howard Egglestone, writes, “Crediton had thirteen men at the battle. The most notable was our vicar, Reverend John Rudall, who was chaplain aboard HMS Sovereign the flagship of Admiral Collingwood, who was Nelson's second in command. The Royal Sovereign was the first ship to engage the enemy and Rudall would have been in the thick of the action. He had two sons serving in the fleet, one on the Royal Sovereign and the other on HMS Defiance. A special service of thanksgiving was held at Crediton church on December 11th 1805. To mark the anniversary of the battle is to be an attempt to ring the first peal on the recently cast ten bells by members of the Devon Guild, many who were involved with the restoration.”

Plymworthy, Devon (ringing on 21st October)

Tavistock, Devon, St. Eustachius

Whitestone, Devon (a quarter peal will be attempted)

A peal and a couple of quarters were rung in this connection in West Devon:

Thursday 20th October. Buckfastleigh. 5088 Trafalgar Surprise Major. Ian Avery 1, Mervyn Way 2, Ann Smith 3, Jill Hansford 4, Mike Rose 5, Pauline Champion 6, Paul Pascoe 7, Ian Smith (C) 8.

Friday 21st October. Okehampton. 1376 Trafalgar Surprise Major. Mike Brady 1, Joan Clarke 2, Hilary Beresford 3, John Conduct 4, Louise James 5, Alison Waterson 6, Mike Rose 7, Ian Smith (C) 8.

Friday 21st October. Tavistock. 1805 Grandsire Caters. Sheila Williams 1, Kate Jennings 2, Donna Baker 3, John Cook 4, Ann Smith 5, Jim East 6, George Mudge 7, David Pike 8, Ian Smith (C) 9, Bryan Tuckett 10. Specially composed for the occasion by IVJS. (starting with a full Stedman quick six and a Grandsire single at the end!).

N/NW Branch: AGM at Appledore

Fireworks at Meeting

Eight new members were elected to the Guild at the AGM of the N/NW Branch held on Saturday November 5th at Appledore.

These eight, four of whom are young people, form the group which has been taught and encouraged by Dennis Beresford of Petrockstowe. Much emphasis has been placed on good handling and striking before progression into method ringing and this has been achieved by a keen group of helpers meeting faithfully for practice in different towers around Okehampton. In recognition of his teaching and support to the group, the meeting enthusiastically and unanimously voted that Dennis should be elected as an Honorary Member.

The Guild Master, John Langabeer, and Guild Secretary, Wendy Campbell made the journey to join the branch for the meeting, tea and ringing.

The meeting commenced with a period of silence as the ringers recalled three members who had passed away since our last AGM. They were Derek Jewell and Frank Draper of Combe Martin and Harry Stacey, a long-standing member of the North-West Branch.

Reports from the Branch Ringing Master and Chairman recalled a year where activities had been disrupted by the incapacity of key members. However there had been useful practices and the July meeting followed by supper had been very enjoyable. The outing to the Ringing Road show had been very successful and it was a shame that more people had not been able to attend. It was agreed to continue with Branch practices on the first Saturday of each month, except January and to organise another training day, probably in May. There will be a branch outing in September. With branch finances in a healthy state it was proposed to send a donation of £100 to the Devon Bell Restoration Fund. The St Brannock’s Society had rung several quarter peals for the Sponsored Quarter Peal week.

The new members were elected as already noted and St Peter’s, Fremington were welcomed into affiliation with the Guild.

All the officers were re-elected, namely:
Chairman: James Clarke
Ringing Master: Mandy Spearing
Hon Secretary/Treasurer: Anne Thorne
Committee Member: Joan Clarke

It had not been possible to hold this meeting at Bridgerule as planned, due to the delay in starting work on the new frame. This was now due to start very shortly. Hopefully the Branch will be able to meet in Bridgerule for our AGM next year, on the second Saturday of November, the 11th. This year the meeting coincided with Guy Fawkes Day and the members left the meeting to a loud and colourful display over Appledore. Those with pets felt that they should be with them and not leave them on their own on such a night!

Ottery Ringing Outing to Minehead

This year the ringers were very pleased once again to be invited to attend the annual ringing outing. This year it was ringing in towers around the Minehead area.

The day was one enjoyed by all who came and was a very good chance for the learners who came to ring in towers unfamiliar to them. On behalf of the East Devon branch we would like to thank Richard Coley for taking the time to organise the event and we are all very much looking forward to the next one.

George Retter 1927-2005

George Retter, tower captain of Honiton Clyst, Devon, died on 6 October 2005 aged 78. He was a long-time and very well known resident of the village, although he was born in his grandmother’s house at Luppitt. But he moved to Honiton Clyst at the age of five, so could properly be called a local man.

George began ringing in June 1943 and started learning change ringing that autumn. He followed his father as tower captain at Honiton Clyst and ensured that the bells were rehung whilst the church had the money. Despite the fact that he was a reluctant motorist, he rang in many local churches and would cycle long distances to attempt a peal or quarter. The story is told of how he was unable to find anyone to call his first peal, so learnt the composition and called it himself; George was always meticulous in his conducting!

A member of Exeter Cathedral band for many years, George particularly enjoyed Stedman and Single Oxford Bob Triples. One of his peals included his father on tenor and his grandfather on the treble. He served as Chairman and Ringing Master for the Aylesbeare Deanery Branch of the Devon Guild, but always declined to stand as Guild Master. His last peal was at Pinhoe, the first on the newly augmented eight, in 1996.

As well as ringing, George enjoyed dancing and gardening. By trade, he was a thatcher, who learnt his skill from his father and grandfather. He was painstaking in his work as well. A ringing friend asked him to look at his thatched roof. “Oh” said George, “that won’t last the winter”. “When can you come and see to it?” “In about three years time”, replied George.

Another thing he learnt from his father was how to handle a scythe, and he put this skill to good use in the churchyard where he was laid to rest with his wife Queenie. As sexton, he kept an eye on the heating system in the church and up to about four years ago was still digging graves in the churchyard by hand, at the age of 73.

As the Revd John Copus said in his address to a packed church, “Such men as George by and large have uneventful lives, but live lives of great and constant usefulness. They are the bedrock of all that is held dear in a country community. It is impossible to sum up a long life in these few moments, but he will be remembered with great affection by all who knew him as a village acquaintance and as a friend”.

A Cathedral band rang after the funeral service on 14 October. A number of peals were rung in his memory, and friends and members of the Aylesbeare branch rang the following quarter:

Clyst Honiton, Devon. 17 October 2005. 1288 Grandsire Triples in 51 minutes

1, Mary Mack; 2, Susan Sturdy; 3, Robert Perry; 4, Brian Horrell; 5, John Langabeer; 6, Tony Williams; 7, Donald Carter (c); 8, Robert Franklin. Rung in memory of George Elston Retter 1927 - 2005

Dawlish: quarter peal progress

An exciting year

In December 2004, we started monthly quarter peals at Dawlish, with the aim of progressing members of the local band. A year on, we are proud to have scored fourteen quarters, as follows: six of Doubles, three of Minor, three of Triples and two of Major, in various methods. Most were rung for evensong, and two were arranged for special reasons: one half muffled as a tribute to Tony Woodville’s late mother, the other much more joyfully for Tony’s sixtieth birthday!

Jenny Clarke, Peter Twibill (covering) and Roxanne Hughes all rang their first quarter. Megan Smith rang her first of Minor, while other quarters were in a new method for one of the band, or for a fledgling conductor to call!

Thanks must go to the ringers from other towers who helped out, and the guest conductors. Perhaps next year we can ring one with an all local band?

East Devon Branch: Guild Striking Competitions

Glorious weather and ringing

As I write this report there is still a little snow on the ground, albeit the consistency of a Slush Puppy drink, so it is difficult to remember that only six weeks ago we enjoyed the most gloriously warm day to hold our striking competitions.

The 6-bell event was held in the morning at Feniton. Here Ian Walker and his local ringers served coffee and a mouth-watering selection of cakes to the participating bands. Some garden chairs had thoughtfully been provided just outside the church door and because of the warmth of the day, the area soon took on the air of a French pavement café. Guild Master John Langabeer brought along his camper van so that he and fellow judges Ian Campbell and Michael Cannon could be sheltered in the event of bad weather. The van was parked just out of view of the tower door so as to be scrupulously fair, but a careful observer could see that the judges were extremely comfortable in their deckchairs behind a small table covered with unidentified items of food and drink.

After lunch and just before the commencement of the 8-bell competition, John, Michael and Ian delivered their verdict and presented the John Fidler cup to Matt Hilling, captain of the Exeter St Mark band:

1st Exeter St Mark: 10 faults
2nd Exeter Cathedral: 12 faults
3rd Tavistock: 15 faults
4th Withycombe Raleigh: 20 faults
5th Sidmouth: 32 faults

The venue for the afternoon’s inter-branch competition was Sidbury, where Andrew Clarke and the local ringers laid on an excellent tea in the church. Our judges, David and Felicity (Flick) Warwick, warned us that they might be a little late arriving because of morning commitments, but in the event they made good time from Wimborne Minster and were ready to start work just as the first band assembled to ring. This year the choice was between ringing Grandsire Triples or the deceptively simple Single Court Triples. Three bands chose to rise to the challenge with the latter method and successfully completed the set touch. One conductor happily told me that it was only the second time his band had managed to do this, and he was delighted at their timing! The judges returned to the church to make their pronouncement; David made comprehensive and constructive comments on each performance and Flick gave the results in traditional reverse order before presenting Matt with his second trophy of the day!

1st Exeter (Single Court): 6 faults
2nd South West (Single Court): 19 faults
3rd Exeter (Grandsire): 19 faults
4th Aylesbeare (Grandsire): 30 faults
5th North East (Single Court): 31 faults
6th Mid Devon (Grandsire): 36 faults
7th East (Grandsire): 55 faults

The North East (Grandsire) band did not complete the test piece.


Novice competition for Guild?

Lester Yeo has floated the idea of a Guild novice competition for method style (i.e. open handstroke lead) call change ringing. The Association already holds a novice competition (with closed handstrokes) and it has proved to be very popular, so if anyone is interested or has views on how we might run a similar event, please contact Lester direct.

Comments received already include:

I think this is a good idea - something to encourage learners without too much pressure. The Kent County has a similar competition in which the rules state that not more than 3 members of the band should have rung a peal. It works well.

I would suggest a novice competition for hunters would be more appropriate. This could be incorporated in the established Guild Striking festivals

As already mentioned the Kent Association (or at least my district) holds annual call change competitions with open handstroke leads. Numbers tend to fluctuate but inexperienced bands do enjoy themselves and it often helps improve the quality of Sunday service ringing, The definition of a suitable band has caused some problems in the past. The Surrey Association (who have a similar competition) say one ringer who has never rung a quarter must be included. Personally I think that a better restriction might be on the number of ringers who have rung in the Guild method competitions as this would ensure that the less experienced ringers in the tower get a chance to take part in a competition.

I find the issue around peal ringers quarter peal ringers etc confuses the issues - surely we can all be grown up enough to enter into the spirit of the day - a novice competition is about helping ringers improve by giving them a target to aim at and practice towards, it would be a pretty poor show if someone put in a crack band just to win it. Keep the rules loose and if anyone try's it on disqualify them on the scrutinisers discretion

Although I do see the point of open handstroke Call Changes as a step towards method ringing I would prefer a novice competition to be for Plain Hunt. At least two branches allow plain hunt as one way of entering their competitions - however, they are not competing against like for like as the other teams are likely to be more experienced. The point of a novice competition would be all teams at a similar level. I also wonder if this would sit more happily on the same day as the Guild inter tower six bell comp. than that comp now sits with the inter branch Eight bell comp.

Further comments are welcome. Please email

NE Branch Dinner

Branch in Poacher’s Pocket

27 members of the NE Branch attended the annual Branch dinner at the Poacher’s Pocket, near Burlescombe, on Saturday 26th November. Good food and drink was followed by some light entertainment organised by Martin Clough, Branch Secretary. This included an hilarious rendition of the 12 days of Christmas involving all 27 diners standing and sitting at different points depending on various categorisations.

At one point Richard Shere had to sing a solo, being the only person present who was under fifty and surprisingly there were only three who were true Devonians to sing for the eleven pipers piping. Entertainment finished with a Pam Ayres recitation by Connie Kape. An evening not to be forgotten.

Photos thanks to Tony Trigg (NE Chair).

How small is the world of campanology?

...asks Michael Cannon

We all know how the world has shrunk during the last century or so but this also applies in campanological circles. We mention bell ringing and everyone knows someone who knows someone else etc. From my own experience this small world of ours continues to shrink apace and you may be amused by some of the following.

I learned to ring in Bath in the 60's and rang my first peal in 1966 at Bathford. During the 70's I often rang at St Michael's where I would occasionally come across a young student called Pat Woodley who is now, of course, Pat Yeo. In 1985 I became godfather to the daughter of the tower captain of St Mary's Chippenham, whose son is the godson of Martin Mansley from St Marychurch. In 1989 I moved with my job to Abingdon-on-Thames where one of the ringers whilst a student at Birmingham University used to go out with one of the Bath ringers who lodged with me for a while. I had a great friend who rang just outside Bath who, I discovered when I went to Abingdon, not only went to the same school in St Albans but was in the same year as the tower captain at St Helens, Abingdon. When I joined the Abingdon band I used to ring with Bob Bennett who was in this country for a while. It transpired that I rang in a quarter peal with him at Christchurch Cathedral, New Zealand in 1972 when I was on a visit there. Another Abingdon ringer, Priscilla Morris was at Exeter University with Graham and Lesley Tucker.

In 1997, I was elected Assistant Ringing Master of the Old North Berks branch of the ODG and the person who took over from me, who is now the Ringing Master, was Nicola Turner (nee Crichton) who used to be tower captain at St Mark’s here in Exeter and at the time lived in Exminster where Lesley and I now live. After moving here in 2002, I discover that a number of ringing friends that I used to ring with around Bath are here as well - Pauline Champion, Reg McKenzie, Alan Sinden and Donald Carter. Donald left the Bath area to go to Oxford just before I did and then moved down here just before I did!

As if this was not enough, on 12th November I rang in a Remembrance Day quarter peal at Heavitree. One of the other ringers, who had not rung a quarter for some years, was Kathy Gray (nee Ball) and the last time her name and mine were mentioned in the same quarter peal was when I rang in one to celebrate her birth over 35 years ago when I was still living in Bath!

Another string of coincidences is where I learned to ring, at Batheaston, and eventually was tower captain for 12 years, I became involved in the rehang and augmentation of the bells from 6 to 8. Some 20 years later I became involved in the rehang and augmentation to 10 of the heavy going 8 at St Mary's Bathwick. This included working as a volunteer "labourer" for Whitechapel and driving a lorry to London to collect some of the bells and fittings. Whilst still at Abingdon I was on the bells restoration committee for St Helens and was proud to be there when we made the decision to sell the existing 20cwt 10 and go for a new 15cwt 10. By the time this newsletter is published all these bells will have been cast, however I have just heard that the 2nd, cast some weeks ago, turned out to be flat (in pitch not in shape!) and Taylors have decided to break it up and recast it at no extra cost. So here I am in Exeter watching with great interest the developments of the augmentation at St Marks.

To me this sums up the joy of ringing. The friends we make, the challenges that are faced together, the camaraderie, the friendly banter, the support of fellow ringers and the fact that distance is no object in ringing circles. Coupled with this of course is the service we provide in ringing out God's message to all.

Michael Cannon, Publicity Officer, Exeter Branch

Network for Ringing Training

What is it?

A network of ringers who are involved in ringing training run by the Central Council Education Committee. Many members join the email list but a digest is sent if members do not want to join the list or do not have internet access.

What happens?

Members of the list send questions or problems and other members suggest solutions.

What sort of questions?

Anything on training related topics. Examples are a trainer having problems curing a handling fault in a learner and asking advice. Another example is a tower captain seeking advice on ways of progressing from one method to another. There are many topics discussed.

Who joins?

Anyone interested in ringing training is welcome to join. Members range from the ringer who has recently learned to ring but is the best ringer in a new tower so has been given the job of teaching handling, to very experienced trainers whose knowledge is invaluable but, who can always learn more from the experiences of others. Several members from overseas towers in places such as Australia and USA are keen participants in the discussions.

Are their plans for development?

Yes. The vision is that as membership rises and the network expands then there will be more contact between members “on the ground” who can support each other practically with help to run training and other mutual support. Investigations are taking place about ways of running regional NRT activities to support members.

How do I join?

Send a blank email to then complete the form you will be sent.

Please consider joining as the network improves with every member who contributes.

Martin Mansley
CC Education Committee

Twelve Bell Extravaganza!

Saturday 5 November & Sunday 6 November 2005.

What a weekend! From one extreme to the other…

The Exeter Cathedral band have been practising Avon Delight Maximus so some members of the Cathedral Society (helped by a few from Bristol) went to Shepton Beauchamp to ring a peal of it. A good peal was duly rung. The following day, a completely resident Devon band made the journey to Southampton to ring on the mini-ring of twelve housed in the University Chapel. This was the first time the band had rung on such a light twelve and despite all the difficulties involved with handling etc we developed a good rhythm and scored a respectable peal.

The people stand in order of ringing: front row (l-r) 1-6, back row (l-r) 7-12.

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Shepton Beauchamp, Somerset
Saturday 5 November 2005 in 3h 22 (10-3-16)
5042 Avon D Maximus
Comp: D G Hull
1 Ian W Avery
2 Howard W Egglestone
3 Pauline Champion
4 Andrea B Beaumont
5 Ann Smith
6 Oliver Coldrick
7 Matthew J Hilling (C)
8 Anthony J Cox
9 Paul J Pascoe
10 Joseph St J Beaumont
11 Ian V J Smith
12 Michael E C Mears
First peal of Avon D Maximus: 3,5,9,11 & for the Guild.

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Southampton, Hampshire, The Hartley 12
Sunday 6 November 2005 in 2h 43 (15lbs)
5042 Yorkshire S Maximus
Comp: M P A Wilby
1 Ian W Avery
2 Matthew J Hilling (C)
3 Paul J Pascoe
4 P Wendy Campbell
5 Lester J Yeo
6 Peter L Bill
7 Pauline Champion
8 Andrew P Digby
9 Ian L C Campbell
10 Ian V J Smith
11 James Grant
12 Michael E C Mears

No news—good news?

Someone recently observed that there never appeared to be anything about Ringing in the Diocesan magazine or rarely was there anything about Bell Ringers or Tower Captains in individual Churches or Deanery newsletters and suggested that there might be an opportunity of involving the clergy in some of our ringing activities.

Does this mean the diocese is not interested in the ministry of bellringers? Certainly RRD has been sent to the editor of the Exeter Diocesan News regularly for many years. An article about the bell at Blessed Sacrament, Heavitree appeared in Catholic South West in the summer.

Devon Association


Call change competitions for the Association have been arranged as follows:

11 March (Novice): Lustleigh
22 April (8 bell): Luppitt
13 May (Qualifier North): Goodleigh
13 May (Qualifier South): Churston Ferrers
27 May (Minor Final): Kenn
10 June (Major Final): Westleigh

Exeter: Branch odds and ends

James Caswell rang his first peal on Sat 12th Nov. Grandsire Triples at Pinhoe in 2h49. He rang very well - even correcting mistakes from some who should have known better!

At St Mark's, Kate & Oliver Tucker continue to make good progress, both having recently rung quarter peals "inside" to Grandsire Triples. They are both now ringing treble bob. We are also pleased to welcome the Martin family to Devon who are all welcome additions to St Mark's practices. John and Erica's daughters Rachael and Hannah are now ringing plain hunt very competently, and were recently seen trying out the rather larger bells at Exeter Cathedral! The new trebles for St Mark's are due to be installed in early February.

Cathedral local band quarter peal of Avon Delight Maximus: after months of practice at this difficult method an entirely local band met to ring a quarter peal on Sun 25th Sep. The quarter passed without too much trouble - a huge achievement on such large and difficult bells. This method has now become standard fare at all practices. The open practice at the Cathedral in November was packed out with lots of visitors (about 50!) most of whom were celebrating Tony Woodville's 60th birthday. It is always pleasing to see visitors coming along - anyone is welcome on the third Saturday of the month (6-8pm). Meet at the base of the South Tower.

Following the AGM at Heavitree in November, the new Branch Secretary is Rebecca Rickard (Heavitree) and the Branch Publicity Officer. Michael Cannon (Heavitree) (home) (work).

The Exeter Branch officers had a meeting the other evening to arrange the 2006 calendar which should be available at the beginning of the new year. It was decided that along with the monthly surprise practices and general practices, regular quarter peals should be attempted supported by a core band of regulars. These will be aimed at those who want to progress in a particular method. Please do not wait to be invited, do ask any branch officer if you would like to be involved - whatever the method. This will be a new venture for the branch and with your help we hope to make it worthwhile so please do not waste this valuable opportunity. Also by request is a return of the "Steam and Skittles" evening. This will be in September at the Royal Oak in Exminster - date to be confirmed.

The Fireworks Party was held on Saturday 5 November 2005, as usual at the Tucker household. This year about 30 people socialising around the kitchen table. A good firework display (thanks to Ian and Tim) was watched before it started raining, but the bonfire kept going.

Look out for the new Branch Ringing Calendar with all the details of 2006 events.

North East Branch:

Practices and meetings for 2006
07 JAN	Halberton			Branch Quarterly
18 JAN	Castle Primary School Tiverton 	Committee Meeting
25 JAN	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
08 FEB	TBA				St Simon & St Clements		6 Bell
22 FEB	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
08 MAR	TBA				General Practice		6 Bell
22 MAR	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
01 APR	St Peter			Branch Quarterly
26 APR	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
03 MAY  Castle Primary School Tiverton 	Committee Meeting
10 MAY	TBA				Single Oxford & St Nicholas	6 Bell
20 MAY					Branch outing 	(Venue to be agreed)
24 MAY	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
09 JUN	John Hutchings Competition 	(Subject to agreement with Silverton)
14 JUN	TBA				General Practice		6 Bell
28 JUN	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
01 JUL	Broadhembury			Branch Quarterly
26 JUL	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
09 AUG	TBA				Double Oxford & Stedman		6 Bell
06 SEP	Castle Primary School Tiverton 	Committee Meeting
13 SEP	TBA				General Practice		6 Bell
07 OCT	Hemyock 			AGM & Quarterly
11 OCT	Castle Primary School Tiverton 	Committee Meeting	
25 OCT	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
08 NOV	TBA				Treble (Minor) Dodging & Rhyl	6 Bell
22 NOV	Huntsham			Advanced training		8 Bell
13 DEC	TBA				General Practice		6 Bell

CD Review

Dartmoor Changes

Aune Head Arts

Most bell ringing recordings aim to reproduce the sound of the bell s from a musical point of view. Fine bells are chosen, the best ringers gathered and only the best ringing makes it on to the soundtrack. The end result is a top quality performance, such as the famous Redcliffe LP.

Aune Head Arts have taken a different approach. By choosing a geographical area, the Dartmoor National Park, in which to record comprehensively, Andy Stevens has included a mixture of bells, good and bad, in this triple CD set, and a mixture of ringing. To this he has added some clock chimes, some interviews, and even a ringing song, to produce something so far unique: an accurate portrait of the art of bell ringing on Dartmoor. Rather than a musical artefact, this is an historical one, especially as it includes some bells that might not otherwise be heard, such as the chiming on the soon-to-be-restored unringable and unmusical five at Sampford Spiney.

Most of the ringing is by the local team of ringers, although where there was no team, others have been brought in. This means that the ringing is mostly call-changes, and there is some of the expected high standard: the complete peal of Sixty on thirds at South Brent is quite memorable. Inevitably, not all the ringing is of such a high standard, and the CD set disposes of the myth that all Devon call-change ringers strike perfectly! The three tracks with method ringing come as a pleasant change, although it is unfortunate that as the towers are included in alphabetical order, they are found together in the first CD.

Some of the recording is very imaginative. Extraneous noise has not been excluded, and the ringing at Buckfast Abbey, with the bourdon bell being raised, is very atmospheric. The track from Ilsington captures perfectly the different sound of the bells as one approaches a tower, with neighbouring buildings affecting the acoustics; finally the microphone enters the church, the sound of the bells changes again, and is replaced by the organ playing before a service. Other tracks are recorded outside the church, and inside with the caller’s voice clearly audible.

There is a well-produced booklet to accompany the set, which is cased in a DVD-type case. It is unfortunate that all three CDs are stored on the same spigot, rather than in book format, but this is apparently to keep costs down. An editor’s error has meant that the recording of the six bells of St Petrock's, Lydford, was not included in the set. Instead Lydford ringers are ringing at, I believe, Sourton.

The CD set is available from Aune Head Arts at a cost of £15 plus p&p.

Email for details.


Mid Devon Branch

Changes in the Branch

The AGM took place in Teignmouth on 26th November. Ringing started with an attempted quarter of Rutland, (sadly lost) at St Michael’s, where the bells were re-hung a little over a year ago. General ringing followed at St James's, then back at St. Michael's, rounded off by a service, tea and meeting in the usual fashion. Russell Chamberlain was re-elected as chairman, Martin Manley as ringing master and Peter Clements as treasurer. But changes were afoot: Tim King became assistant ringing master, Lynne Hughes secretary, and Alan Furse general committee member.

Guild certificates were presented to new members Roxanne Hughes and Sophie Hughes, and to Jenny Clark. Kingskerswell received the Edden Clapper Trophy: well deserved progress in change ringing there.

The exiting idea was proposed of a ringing / fun day to bring together young ringers, and it is intended that this could be a Guild, not branch, event… watch out for details later!

And finally Teignmouth ringers are to dress as Victorians to ring at Newton Abbot Clock Tower. The mind boggles.


Lynne Hughes’s contact details are:

Crediton: PowerPoint record of bells project

Rebirth of the Bells

The recasting and augmentation of Crediton bells has been one of the high points for Devon ringers during 2005, with an old, heavy-going and unmusical eight being replaced with a delightful Whitechapel ten. Indeed the back eight can lay claim to be the best eight in Devon, rivalling Heavitree, Broadclyst and Tiverton. The project was an enormous undertaking of which Bill Parr, Howard Egglestone and the other Crediton ringers can rightly be proud.

A record of the bell restoration scheme is now complete and available. It is a double CD-ROM set consisting mainly of a PowerPoint presentation of some 83 minutes being photo diary of the whole project, produced by Ed Rossmiller and Bill Jerman. The presentation is in three parts, recording the old bells and their removal, the recasting, and the installation and dedication of the new bells. The accompanying CD-ROM in the set contains some 2000 photographs taken by various photographers during the project.

As a record of the work done, the presentation is very comprehensive indeed, and all those involved with the project will want to own a copy. In the same, way, anybody contemplating a similar project may want to watch it in order to understand the size of the undertaking and the complexities involved! The use of a dust tunnel, for example, to allow the old bells to be removed from a central tower without causing damage to the fittings of the church, is quite amazing. Some of the photographs, especially the overhead shots, are superb, with some interesting light effects, and the photographer has managed to capture the likeness of some well-know Devon ringers involved in the volunteer work of installing the bells, with character and imagination.

There are some criticisms to make too. The music is often intrusive and inappropriate, reminiscent of the fairground (why Sousa’s Washington Post, for example?) or Charlie Chaplin films. More commentary would have been more interesting and informative. The editing too, both of sound and image is at time disjointed, with sudden breaks in sound, and distracting use of the gimmicks of PowerPoint.

But as an historical record, the Presentation is excellent, concluding with some well-struck Stedman Caters being brought round on the new bells. In fact, the listener has expected to hear the ten at the try-out, but is only granted the lovely front six (and some verbal asides when one bell isn’t set at the end of the rounds!). So the ten bell ringing at the end, especially when contrasted to the sound of the old eight is a marvellous finish to the show. What a shame we weren’t also treated to the two peals of Call Changes rung by Egg Buckland and Kingsteignton at the dedication.

The accompanying CD holds a vast number of photographs in three folders, mostly taken by Frances Sandiford Rossmiller and Ed Rossmiller, with others taken by Mike Clarke and Ian Campbell. The notes state that the photos are suitable for making prints up to postcard size for personal use.

The CD ROM set is now available from Bill Jerman. The price is £10.00 (add £1.00 for posting and packing in U.K. and £2.50 for overseas). Cheques to be made out to W. Jerman. It is only suitable for use in a PC computer, and for those without PowerPoint, contains a PowerPoint viewer utility for installation.


Uffculme: branch competition

Fred Edward’s Shield

For the last two years insufficient entries have lead to the cancellation of this competition named after a former captain of Uffculme. 2005 was different and once again Uffculme was able to host the competition on Saturday 19th November. 4 teams from the NE branch met on the night for our home-grown Judges, Ron Trickey and Alan Spear to mark the Call-change touch known as ‘Queen’s Changes’. Although the rules permit a method touch to be rung, all teams opted for the call-change option. The final results gave only 16 faults between the 1st and last teams, with St Peter’s, Tiverton winning the Shield. The evening was rounded off by an excellent buffet at ‘The Ostler’.

Results were:
Tiverton St Peter 26 ¾ faults
Uffculme 32 ½ faults
Tiverton St Paul 37 ½ faults
Bampton 42 ½ faults

Rev George Frederick Coleridge, M.A.

Following the Bell News peal week report in the last issues of RRD, we have been sent a copy of an article about the noted Devonian and ringer, George Coleridge, who organised that week. The article, provided by Richard Bowden, appeared first in the 1st May 1907 edition of ‘The Bellringer’.

The Rev George Frederick Coleridge, M.A. was born at Cadbury Vicarage, Devon, on November 10th 1857. He was educated at the Ayshford Grammar School, Uffculme, the preparatory school of a large number of scions of Devonian Families, at Chardstock, Dorset, and S. Edmund’s College, Salisbury, proceeding in due course to Keble College, Oxford.

His first real interest in bells and Towers was aroused when robbing Jackdaws nests, for the toothsome delicacy found therein; later he came under the tuition of Mr. R. Brimblecombe a ‘judge’ much sought after in Devon Prize Ringings. This worthy taught him the necessity for most accurate striking in rounds and from time to time journeyed with him to various Prize Ringing Meetings, where raising and falling in peal took precedence of all else in the county. Little was done in the way of ringing either at Chardstock or Salisbury, but at the former School certain kindred spirits would surreptitiously lock themselves in the Towers of the Parish Church and practise with lashed clappers: - at Salisbury the budding youth was at all times welcomed in the towers of S. Thomas, S. Edmund and S. Martin, on rare state occasions when the Bells were rung. On matriculating at Oxford, he at once joined the University Society, and found himself in the company of several who have made their mark in the Ringing world, notably the Revs. H.A. Cockey, W.S., Willitt, J.F. Hastings, J.C.D.P. Davies; to the latter he is indebted for almost all his early instruction in Change Ringing, the exhortation and example of his old mentor Mr. Brimblecombe as to accuracy of striking above all else being never forgotten. With the consent of the authorities Seage’s Dumb practice apparatus was installed in the Tower of New College, and Minor Methods were quickly mastered; various Towers in the neighbourhood of Oxford were visited in turn by six members of the O.U.S.C.R. and numerous 720’s were rung. Soon the embryo band of enthusiasts had attained such proficiency that it was felt that a peal of Triples was within reach, and, with the aid of Mr. W.J. Smith of the City Society at the Tenor, this was successfully rung on June 9th, 1879. Stedman Triples quickly followed, undergraduate Ringers being kindly welcomed to membership in the City Society’ four peals were rung during the next six months by mixed bands of the two Societies, Stedman Caters being scored at Appleton.

Having succeeded his friend Mr. Davies as master of the University Society, Mr Coleridge had the pleasure of ringing in the first peal of Stedman Triples by the Society unaided. Taking Holy Orders in 1884 and licensed to the curacy of Caversham, Oxon, the Ringers naturally became his special care—rapid progress in Minor was made and in a comparatively short time, Mr. Coleridge took part in upwards of 250 Minor peals in some 14 different methods with the local band. Such progress won a long promised gift of a treble and the then Chairman of the Great Western Ry., giving a 2nd bell, the two were dedicated on Easter Eve, 1891, and on Easter Monday the first peal of Bob Major was rung by the local band, followed six weeks later by a peal of 5040 Double Norwich Court Bob Major, being Mr. Coleridge’s 100th Peal, and the only one he has ever conducted. Stedman and Superlative followed, and doubtless Cambridge, London and Bristol Surprise, which the ringers quickly tackled, would have been added to the list, had not the call come, after 10 years of happy work to take up new duties as Vicar of Crowthorne, Berks. Here he has been for the last 13 years content to pull his simple little ‘ting-tang’ for the Daily Services, and to accept such invitations for a Peal as strenuous singlehanded work in a large parish permits.

Mr Coleridge has been a member of the Ancient Society of College Youths since 1879 and may generally be seen at the Annual Dinner. He is also a member of numerous County and Diocesan Associations and Guilds; has been on the Committee of the Oxford Guild for 23 years, and has been an elected member of the central Council from its foundation, representing the same Guild.

Standing 6ft. 4¾ in. in his stockings, and weighing upwards of 17½ stone, he is able to manage most Tenors with ease, and when any hard job is on hand may generally be found at the heavy end, yet much prefers to sneak round to the Treble or second when vacant.

He has taken part in many ringing ‘week’s notable ‘down West’ but has never rung more than 9 peals in any 6 consecutive days. He would far sooner ring a Plain Course struck with unerring accuracy than a 5000 in which the striking was even momentarily indifferent; his sense of time, and compass is acute, but at the same time he is so unmusical that a ring of bells in or out of tune is all the same to him. He holds strongly to the opinion that nine-tenths of the peals rung should never be recorded owing to inaccuracy of striking, and that hundreds if not thousands of men who ring peal have never yet learnt to ring rounds properly, or even handle a rope.

News from the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund

There have been no changes in the personnel administering the Fund over the past 12 months, though in September Ian Smith took over from Mary Mears as Secretary, Mary retaining the function of Treasurer.

At the beginning of the year the Fund stood at £17,258. Since that time grants totalling £5,900 have been paid. These were £3,000 to Crediton, where the old eight were recast into a new ring of ten and hung in a new metal frame; £2,000 to Ide, where the six bells were rehung; and three smaller grants covering work to chiming bells, £450 to Westward Ho, £250 to Haccombe and £200 to Milton Combe.

To these must be added £3,000 to Huntsham, where the old eight were remodelled into a lighter ring more appropriate to the tower, using the former 7th as the tenor; this grant being paid since the last AGM but before the end of the year.

Income during the year has amounted to £6,235, including £2,500 from the Association Draw, £1,000 from sales of the Tower Directory produced by Paul Pascoe and Tim Bayton, £1,000 from the Guild as agreed at their AGM in June, and £400 from the Guild 2004 Quarter Peal Week; sundry donations and interest making up the balance. As ever, we are most grateful for any donation, no matter how small.

At present the Fund stands at £17,593, including £5093 in the Lloyds TSB current account, and £12,500 invested in the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England deposit account.

Grants previously agreed, but not yet taken up include £1,000 to Rewe, £2,000 to Berry Pomeroy, £400 to Roseash, and £250 to Kennerleigh.

At the meeting on the morning of the Association AGM the following grants were agreed:
Bridgerule £3000
Hartland £500
Germansweek £500
Plymouth, Emmanuel £1500

Application Forms for grants have been sent to Atherington, Buckland Filleigh, Bratton Clovelly, Bridford, Upton Pyne and Harpford; and more recently to Littlehempston, Sampford Spiney, Lustleigh and East Worlington.

Assuming that all of the agreed grants are taken up, the uncommitted balance of the Fund stands at only £8443. .

Although it is extremely unlikely that all of this money would be called upon within the next year or so, we cannot afford to be complacent, and it is therefore important that we continue to stress the need for more funds. In this connection, and without wishing to appear too morbid, could I ask that any who are making a will in the future consider making a legacy to the Fund. Also do not forget the advantage of Gift Aid, being one of the few ways we can actually get money back from the Government.

In this way we can continue to make perhaps even more meaningful donations to bell restoration in the county.


Donations and queries re grant cheques, etc., should still come to Mary but all other enquiries and correspondence, including applications for grants, should now be sent to Ian V J Smith. Email


Don't forget to look at the December 2005 version of Interchange, a newsletter for all ringers in Devon, which is available here.

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Pages formatted by Ian Campbell

Updated 29/12/2005