Striking Recordings on Dartmoor
A special event which is not to be missed! On Saturday 6th August at St. Pancras Church, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, members of the public and ringing enthusiasts are invited join in the launch event of a new definitive set of CD recordings of ringing on Dartmoor.
The day will be a celebration of the Dartmoor Changes project which made sound recordings of all the churches (with ringable peals) within the boundaries of Dartmoor National Park in 2003/2004. The event will coincide with Widecombe's annual invitational 6-bell striking competition. At 10am the CD will be launched to the sounds of a celebration team of moorland ringers, made up of representatives from some of the towers recorded, who will have come together specially to demonstrate some of the traditional ringing patterns distinctive to Dartmoor and Devon.
Until 8pm St. Pancras will be host to a variety of displays and activities of all you need to know about bell ringing on Dartmoor. Photographs of all the 32 Dartmoor towers and their teams will be on view, various bell ringers will be on hand to talk about ringing on Dartmoor and in Devon, the project video Ring of Bells will be screened throughout the day, nearby towers will be open for tours and guest ringers, there will be a 'guess the tower' competition, and much more.
The Widecombe-in-the-Moor striking competition begins at 2pm, and members of the public will be treated to the very best of ringing in Devon. As the bells are rung, Andy Stevens, bell ringer, musician and bird song specialist, will lead several listening walks through the lanes and across nearby moorland, providing a commentary to participants on ringing on Dartmoor. Andy has plenty of stories which will be of interest to bellringing beginners and aficionados, too!
The Dartmoor Changes 3-CD set will be on sale throughout the day. The accompanying 24 page booklet includes essays and information about bell ringing on Dartmoor and in Devon, photographs from the project, selected recordings of all the 32 towers as well as excerpts from interviews with members of local communities talking about the importance of ringing to them.
Dartmoor Changes is being funded through a Local Heritage Initiative award. If you have any questions about the launch, or would like to reserve a copy of the CD, please contact Nancy Sinclair or Cat Radford at [email protected]
An article dealing with bell ringing for Trafalgar Day 2005 recently appeared in The Ringing World.
Already many towers in the UK and from abroad have "signed up" for this event and more are coming in every day. It is hoped that as many towers as possible in Devon (both Guild and Association) will join in the ringing and respond to Richard Offen's appeal. Some towers are using the occasion to attempt something new such as Trafalgar Surprise, Nelson's Victory Treble Bob or, a date touch of Stedman or Grandsire Triples.
Another event, organised separately from the round the world bell ringing, is The New Trafalgar Dispatch. This is a recreation of the drive from Falmouth by the RN lieutenant, who delivered Vice Admiral Collingwood's dispatch to the Admiralty in 1805. County committees for this project may contact local towers direct should bell ringing be included in the programme.
At its January meeting, the members of the Devon Ringers Council elected new officers for the next three years. Martin Mansley stepped down at convenor (the council does not have a chairman), and Maurice Sharland was unanimously acclaimed to succeed him. Lester Yeo was elected as his deputy and Ian Avery remains clerk of the council.
The council will be working closely with the Association in running a stand at the Ringers Roadshow in September. The stand will focus on Devon call-change ringing, with a view to making it better appreciated by ringers in other parts of the country.
To mark the release of a new CD of recordings of all churches with ringable peals within the boundaries of Dartmoor National Park, Devon Today reporter Kirstie Newton was been invited to St Petrock's in South Brent, where a team of a dozen bell-ringers could show her the ropes. The piece will appear probably in the July issue of the magazine (or possibly in the August issue).
Kirstie brought along a photographer who was able to take some shots of the South Brent team ringing for a service to mark the Archdeacon's visitation. She remarked how they count among their ranks ringers a wide range of ages and occupations. Some have been ringing for decades, following the family tradition; others like Denver, 18, are comparatively new to the pastime. Angus, 85, started ringing at the age of 70. "I'm a late starter," he told Kirstie. "I had my first wind- surfing lesson at 65, and my first jet-ski experience at 70." "And his first girlfriend at 80," someone added mischievously, to roars of laughter.
South Brent is unusual, possibly unique, in that the tower captain is officially called the Lord Chief, and the ringers still possess their nineteenth century minute book, which was still in use until very recently. It tells how ringers were offered a flagon of cider and an ounce of tobacco to celebrate the opening of the first train passing through South Brent on Brunel's Great Western Railway.
Brent's current Lord Chief is Suzanne Driscoll, who started ringing aged 11, following in the footsteps of her father, Ray Mugridge, who still rings alongside her now. Now 45, she showed Kirstie her first girlish signature in the tower minute book, and the minutes of the meeting four years ago when she was elected Lord Chief.
"There was a group of us girls back then - all our dads did it, so we just fell into it. It was good fun," she remembered. "I took it up again when I came back to South Brent, and it plays a big part in my life now. With all the friends you make through ringing, you're never lonely, and there's always something to do.
Picture shows 'Devon Today' reporter Kirstie Newton with Suzanne Driscoll, Lord Chief of the Brent ringers and Ray Mugridge, looking at their nineteenth century minute book.
The results of the South Devon qualifier were known throughout the county the very same evening, thanks to 'DevonRinging', a new internet mailing sponsored by the Devon Ringers Council.
Often ringers point out that they haven't heard the results of a competition, or that such-and-such a person has died. With the support of the Devon Ringers Council, Guild education officer Tim King set up a system to make this news get out more efficiently (at least to those with internet access).
DevonRinging is a new e-mail list for all wanting to receive news about ringing and ringers in Devon. All subscribers receive all e-mails sent to the list, The intention is to use the list to publicise coming events, as well as news of births, marriages and deaths, competition results, and anything else of interest to Devon ringers.
DevonRinging is not meant to be a list for gossip or to discuss matters of general ringing interest, but items about training will be acceptable.
To subscribe (there is of course no charge), you should send an e-mail to [email protected] and follow the instructions.
Visitors to Coldridge Parish Church were treated to a trip up the tower on the May Bank Holiday. After climbing up the 150 steps, the group, which included some local residents, were able to see their homes from a new perspective. On the way the party, escorted by Tower Captain Alan Quick, stopped in the clock room to view the clock mechanism, and then on the next level, the six church bells.
(From the Crediton Country Courier)
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