The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 59 : September 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.

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 .

Exeter Colleges: historic first

Quarter peal rung on wine glasses

The band, complete with glasses just after finishing the quarter

History of the 'bells'

During exam week in February 2005, three Exeter students with nothing better to do with their time decided to try to fit some sort of clapper into a selection of wine glasses. The idea was to create a set of 'handbells' on which changes could be rung. Within minutes the kitchen at 91 Bonhay Road, Exeter was converted into the 'foundry'.

Over the next 3 hours the team of three (Tim, Pip and Shaun) experimented with different clapper assemblies including combinations of paper clips, clothes pegs, chess pieces, pencils, parts of coat hangers, electrical cable, blu-tack and solder until a suitable method of striking the glasses was found. The next problem was to select 6 suitably 'in tune' glasses (from the cupboard) to use as the 'bells'. This is where Shaun's musical knowledge proved to be invaluable. After choosing the best six, both the fourth and tenor needed tuning work (again this was Shaun's field of expertise). Unfortunately, there was not much we could do about the exact harmonics of the 'bells' and therefore these are certainly not Simpson tuned nor are they most tonally pleasing ring I have ever listened too! Finally after about 4 hours of work and a 'try out' on the new bells, we had our product;

I must add, only 3 wine glasses were broken during the founding.

The Quarter

Time passed with the glasses sat in the cupboard out of harm's way, waiting for an appropriate quarter peal opportunity. This didn't come until 20th June, when the first quarter was rung on the 'bells' at the first attempt. With some delicate ringing styles (especially on 3-4) 1260 changes was completed without a single crack. Originally the plan was to record the entire piece, but when Tim tried to replay the quarter he realised that he had pressed the wrong button (Grrrrrhhhhh)! Nevertheless, the bells rang a further 120 changes so that a recording could be made. Still no cracks! How much longer will the glasses last?

Wine Glass Enthusiasts Society
Exeter, Devon, 91 Bonhay Road
Monday, 20 June 2005 in 30mins (700ml in G).
1260 Plain Bob Minor. 
1-2 Dominic D Meredith, 3-4 David G Maynard,  5-6 Tim E Rose (c)

200th quarter as conductor. Believed to be the first quarter rung on drinking vessels.

Pip Rossiter and Shaun Brown should be associated with this quarter for their invaluable help in the process of founding the bells!

Further details of this achievement including more photos and sound clips can be found here.

NNW Branch: monthly advanced quarters

Tawstock turns up trumps

Back in the summer of 2002, I had the idea of starting a regular monthly advanced Surprise quarter peal attempt to include some ringers who do not ring many peals, but would like a "bit of a challenge".

I already had a nucleus of willing ringers, but importantly I needed a regular tower and here I am indebted to Ken Jennings and the Revd John Carvosso for the use of Tawstock bells.

Not being a conductor in the true sense of the word, I realised that I had to adopt the maxim of the late George Fearn of Birmingham Cathedral who used to say to his band, "You keep yourselves right and I'll make sure all the calls are in the right place!"

I am pleased to say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained", and can report that we have been very successful, having scored quarters in fourteen Surprise Major methods, new to the ringers, plus three also of Bristol as firsts for one or two of the band.

There are never any practice sessions and everyone has just four weeks between attempts to learn the new chosen method — and then in "cold"".

We now have our sights set on London and Belfast — who knows, "who dares wins!"
Don Lawson.

Guild Striking Competitions

The inter-tower 6-bell will be held at Feniton on the morning of Saturday 15th October, between 10am and 12 noon approximately. Everyone is very welcome. Please contact Wendy Campbell for further details and to book a time to come and participate. Email

The inter-branch 8-bell competition will be held in the afternoon at Sidbury. The draw for order of ringing will be held at 2pm. Remember: there is a choice of set touches this year - bands may ring either Grandsire Triples or Single Court Triples. Again, please contact Wendy if you need further information.

Farway: quarter pealers

Two more firsts

Having returned to ringing after several years, Ali Phelps-Lowman from Farway recently scored her first quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles inside and Graham Fish (who gallantly agreed to ring with less than two hours notice) provided solid tenor ringing to achieve his first quarter peal. Congratulations to both ringers.

Cullompton: peal at rare tower marks ringer's achievement

Pauline reaches the thousand

Congratulations to Pauline Champion, tower captain at Broadhembury, who rang her thousandth peal in June. Although many of her peals were rung before she moved to Devon, she has been a regular peal ringer within the county throughout her ringing career.

Pauline's thousandth — Bristol Surprise Royal — was, by special arrangement, at St Andrew's, Cullompton, where she rings regularly, and was also her hundredth peal of Bristol!

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Cullompton, Devon (St Andrew)
Saturday 25 June 2005
In 3 hours 18 minutes

Composed by David J Pipe

1	Ian W Avery
2	P Wendy Campbell
3	Lester J Yeo
4	Pauline Champion
5	David G Massey
6	Matthew J Hilling
7	Alan Champion
8	John A Foster
9	Reginald T McKenzie
10	Michael EC Mears (Cond.)

1000th peal: 4

Aylesbeare: Guild Festival and Annual Meeting

John Langabeer elected Guild Master

John Langabeer is the new master of the Devon Guild, following the annual meeting held at the Guild Festival in June at Aylesbeare. John is the ringing master of the Aylesbeare Deanery branch, and rings at Clyst St George, as well as giving support to Pinhoe, Honiton Clyst and many other towers in the area. A peal at St David's, the following week celebrated his exalted status!

Although there were a good number of people at the festival, it was not quite sufficient for the business meeting to be quorate, and so the proposed Guild rules could not be put to the vote. The Guild committee met afterward to approve the remaining business of the meeting. A thousand pounds was voted to be passed to the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund. It was also agreed that Central Council representatives should be paid their travelling expenses at 15p per mile.

The joint working party on Child Protection issues presented an interim report, indicating that the diocesan CP office had been impressed with their work, but that its recommendations needed to be approved by the diocese. These included a standard agreement to be completed by potential learners before they begin to be taught, so that they and their parents are aware of what is involved.

The Festival next year will take place on 17 June in the East Devon Branch, based on Honiton.

Yealmpton Call Change Competition

Invitation to novice teams

Teams are invited to enter a novice competition is to be held on the 29th October 2005 at St Bartholomew's Church Yealmpton. This is meant to be a fun day with the intention to encourage novice ringers.

There are two sections.

  1. Round ringing for 5 minutes with one minute to 'settle' before judging commences.
  2. Call changes: half of the peal known as 60 on thirds (either half) no rising or lowering. Judging commences with the first change and end with the last change.

There is a limited amount of car parking in front of the church, and a car park a short distance from the church. There will be also three other open towers on the day.

If teams require refreshments please inform competition secretary when booking. The entry fee is £2 per section per team (same as last year). Any team thought not to be honouring the spirit of the competition will be discouraged from entering. Rules can be sent on request or on the day.

Brian Meek is the contact. His email address is

South West Branch: handbell concert

Date for your diary

Handbell teams from Lamerton and from the South West Groups are giving an evening concert at Emmanuel, Plymouth, in aid of their Bell Restoration Project, from 7 p.m. on Saturday Nov 12 2005 .

This concert will also provide a chance for YOU to try tunes, carols, plain hunt, or method with 1 or 2 bells in hand.

Come and enjoy yourselves. Refreshments will be available. e-mail Jill on or Clare Stagg on for more details at the beginning of November.

Dartmoor Changes: launch of compact disc

Grand day out at Widecombe

Widecombe in the Moor received even more visitors than usual on the first Saturday in August, when Aune Head Arts launched its new compact disc set 'Dartmoor Changes' with an exhibition on ringing, on the day of the annual competition. A unique video link was set up to allow visitors to watch the ringers in the ringing chamber, and although competing teams were given the opportunity to turn off the camera, in fact none did, and ringers and non-ringers alike were given an unprecedented view of the competition.

In the church house, the video made in connection with the project was shown, and one the honoured visitors was Fr Paulinus, ninety-year old tower captain at Buckfast Abbey, whose bells were heavily featured in the film.

Local towers were open, and Andy Stevens led a number of listening walks during the day. The Devon Ringers Council had a stand explaining the special traditions of ringing in the county. George Tribe's miniature ring was on display, and the Frank Mack demonstration bell gave experienced ringers the change to test their handling skill on such a small bell, and non-ringers to have a go at ringing. Cat and Nancy from Aune Head Arts, who had watched so much ringing during the course of the project, both had their first lesson, and were handling competently within a few minutes. A number of lapsed ringers on holiday in Devon also promised to resume after ringing on the small bell.

Aune Head Arts mounted an impressive display about the CDs with photographs of all the locations where recording had taken place. The CD set was on sale, and represents a unparalleled record of the bells in a specified district. Whereas other recordings have concentrated on good ringing, this set aims at comprehensiveness, which means that, although not all the ringing is of a high standard, future generations will be able to hear the actual sound of, for example, the tenor at Sampford Spiney, which may be recast when the bells are restored.

Copies of this limited edition three CD set are available from AHA at £15 plus £1.50 for p&p. Contact on 01822 890539, or email There are more details and a chance to listen in on the AHA website

For the record, the results in the competition were as follows:

1. Eggbuckland 11.5
2. Lamerton 38
3. Exeter St Petrock 46.5
4. South Tawton 48
5. South Brent 50
6. Dunsford 52
7. Buckland in the Moor 53.5
8= Chagford 54.5
8= Stoke Gabriel 54.5
10. Burrington 56
11. West Alvington 56.5
12. Collaton St Mary 71
13. North Bovey 84

First peal of Surprise in hand for the Guild

By the end of July 2004 Andrew Digby, David Maynard, Matt Hilling and Ian Campbell had rung a couple of peals of Oxford Treble Bob Major and decided it would be fun to have a go at Yorkshire Surprise. The first few practices consisted of trying to ring a plain course which took a long time to get to grips with! Once they had mastered the plain course on our own bells Matt and David realised they had to do all that learning again if they were to ring a touch. After much more practice a quarter peal was attempted, and finally scored one on 28 October. A few more quarters were rung soon after this, and at about this time it was discovered that the thirtieth anniversary of the first ECG peal of Surprise was only a month away!

Ever on the lookout for a challenge it was decided to go for a peal on the anniversary, which if scored would be the first peal of Surprise on handbells for the ECG. The band got into serious practice and rang several long quarters - parts of the 3 part composition intended to be rung. Everyone recognised this as a long shot, out of the group only Matt had rung a peal of surprise in hand before, and that on the tenors, now he was tasked with ringing 5-6, calling the peal and keeping the rest of the band on the straight and narrow! Although the band had been ringing together regularly, none of us had rung more than ten handbell peals at this time.

The four ringers met in the Harrison Building on a Tuesday evening in mid December and attempted the peal, which started well. However after just over an hour the ringing broke down and the peal was lost. After this setback the project was put on the back burner for a bit, and in the spring simpler methods on 10 bells were the objective, scoring peals of Little Bob and Kent Treble Bob Royal and Grandsire Caters.

In June they decided to return to the challenge, and soon got back in training. The next attempt for the peal started well and the first two parts were rung without serious incident, however only courses from the end a serious mistake developed which resulted in the peal being lost after just over two hours. Another attempt the following week was abandoned after an hour due to the heat. All the time the method was becoming more familiar and each time the ringing seemed more confident.

The peal was eventually scored in fine style on Tuesday 5 July. The ringing started a rather brisk pace, but a comment from the conductor got it back in check. Following this the rhythm developed and the ringing was for the most part controlled and accurate. Although there were still minor trips, most were immediately self-corrected. Rounds came up cleanly (and in the right place!!!) a little after 8 pm. There was a great sense of relief, which lasted until Matt suggested brightly "So when shall we do that again?"

This certainly represents a considerable achievement for the Devon Guild and also for the ECG, as well as a personal success for those who took part. What will they tackle next?

Guild of Devonshire Ringers (Exeter Colleges Guild) 
Exeter, Devon, Harrison Building, Exeter University 
Tuesday 5 July 2005 in 2 hours 18 minutes (15 in C) 
5088 YORKSHIRE SURPRISE MAJOR composed by Donald F Morrison
1-2 	Andrew P Digby 
3-4 	David G Maynard 
5-6 	Matthew J Hilling (C) 
7-8 	Ian L C Campbell
First of Surprise in hand for the Guild and for all except 5-6. First of Surprise in hand as 
Silver wedding anniversary compliment to Mike and Mary Mears.

Bell Ringing and Safeguarding Children

Any organisation which enjoys working with children and young people has a duty of care towards them. These guidelines from Exeter Diocese can assist local towers in ensuring that their children are safe, and that leaders are protected.

General Guidelines

(taken from the 1999 Exeter Diocesan policy)

Named Child Protection Representatives


Leaders must always be able to contact the parent or guardian of a child in their care. Therefore a register of all children attending must be maintained and be available at each gathering. It should contain details of name, address and telephone number of the child's home and a secondary contact number in case the parents are not available.

Physical Contact

Bell ringing, on occasions, involves physical contact. It is important that children give consent to such contact and that the parents or carer understand that such contact may be necessary in the teaching process, by those with a clear teaching role.

Concerns about a Child

When abuse if reported, alleged or suspected

Where the evidence or the allegation is clear:

If the suspicions are unclear or you are not sure what to do:


The Diocesan Child Protection Unit is at
Diocesan House, Palace Gate, Exeter EX1 1HX
01392 424199

Social Services are also available for help and guidance
Devon 01392 382331 Torbay 01803 208559
Plymouth South 01752 305600 North 01752 305608
Emergency (24hrs) 0845 6000388

NE Branch: John Hutchings Competition

Cullompton take trophy

On Friday 10 June, five teams entered the annual method competition at Silverton for the John Hutchings trophy. The test piece was a Touch of 240 changes of either Plain Bob or Grandsire Doubles. Judges, Bill Ford & Ron Trickey placed the bands as follows:

1st Cullompton 12 Faults
2nd Bampton 35 Faults
3rd Tiverton St Peter 44 Faults
4th Hemyock 51 Faults
5th Silverton 105 Faults

Congratulations to Cullompton for a convincing victory, and well done to all towers in the branch who entered a team. We hope to see Cullompton do well in the Guild competition in October at Feniton.

Doings in Devonshire 3

From the Bell News of October 1895

The final instalment of Canon Coleridge's report on a peal tour in Devon at the end of the 19th century.. The band have been ringing at Revelstoke and Newton Ferrers.

On the way back the village of Yealmpton, built on the steep side of a hill, was passed through, and Mr. E. Pitstow initiated into the mysteries of cider-making, and with the aid of a straw, into the qualities of pure, unfermented apple-juice. At Plympton station Mr. Woolcombe was found to take farewell of the band, the ringers heartily thanking him for the great pains he had taken to make their stay in every respect enjoyable.

Dinner in Exeter

Arriving at Exeter, the St. Sidwell's band became hosts for the evening, and a right merry one was spent, with Mr. Harry Hems in the chair. Song, speech and sentiment followed in quick succession.

Mr. Hems, who produced 300 cigarettes for the party, welcomed the visitors, hoping they had enjoyed their tour in a county rich in beauty and traditions, and expressing a universally-felt desire to see them again soon.

The Rev. G. F. Coleridge, in reply, gave an amusing account of the week's proceedings, coupled with regret, shared in by the whole band, at the enforced absence of Mr. Taylor and Mr. Hounslow.

Mr. Gifford, in giving "The Devonshire Guild" spoke in high terms of its Secretary, Mr Kelly, and of the promising young men everywhere to be seen, especially at Withecombe.

Mr. F. Shepherd, replying, said that the visit would do much good, and would cause the Guild to be more than ever respected all over the county.

Mr. Washbrook said that the St. Sidwell's Society members did all the attempted to do thoroughly well: he felt it an honour to come into Devon and to meet such ringers and such hosts.

Mr. Mundy was pleased to meet men in a high position in the Exercise — it was a stimulant to themselves and others. He concluded by referring in high terms to the energetic labours of Mr. Kelly.

A loving cup, presented by Mr. S. Herbert to the Society, a facsimile of a processional cup carried before a Fetish priest, was then passed round, after which Mr. Herbert gave "The Chairman," observing that he was big bell ringer, having married a belle of St. Sidwell's, and had moreover done much for the Society through influence and by pocket.

The truth of this remark was at once apparent, for Mr. Hems in reply, said that all the evening it had been dinned into his ears that anew ceiling was a necessity; as church-warden he had no funds for such a purpose, but as a private individual, he would see that the work was carried out within a few days.

This statement was rapturously applauded. "Auld Lang Syne" brought the proceedings to a termination, a most enjoyable evening having been spent.


On Saturday, the band journeyed to Thorverton, where that keen enthusiast, Mr J. Ridler, station- master, welcomed them. Superlative was attempted, and some of the finest ringing of the week accomplished, but all efforts were doomed to disappointment, a quarter-peal which earned high encomiums from villagers and others, being all that was brought round. The vicar (Rev. S. Childs Clarke), of musical fame, gave lunch, and invited the band to try again on the Sunday; this they were unable to do, as two of the band had to return to the duties of the morrow, and another to the solace of wife and home.

Exeter St Sidwell's

A meeting of the Guild was held at St. Sidwell's Institute in the afternoon, when about eighty ringers assembled at tea by way of welcome; our readers will not thanks for giving a report of the speeches, so we refrain, and instead, accompany the five remaining visitors and five St Sidwell's men to the tower for Stedman Caters, where "all went merry as a marriage bell" for just 3 hrs. 17 mins., when in the coming round-course it was discovered that a change-course had occurred a few sixes previously, so "stand" was called, to the great disappointment of those in the tower and the large concourse of ringers and their friends outside all ready to raise hearty cheers on the completion of the last peal on the programme.

Final thoughts

Thus ends the records of "Doings in Devon." The records of peals rung was not indeed large, but the successful accomplishment of peals was not the sole and only object of the visit; its chief object was to give a display of change-ringing which was to lead the round-ringers of Devon to understand that there was " a more excellent way" than that to which they were accustomed. This was certainly accomplished — nothing but praise of the fine striking was heard on all sides: two instances will suffice, we give them in the vernacular: Said one, a leader of a noted band of round-ringers — "I give 'ee credit, zur, vor the way yew drowed auver tha chaanges. Yew've a doed it za wull as us could, yew hev"; while another who had journeyed into Revelstoke to listen was heard to exclaim in an oracular tome—"Aw ees, they be all uv em prize-ringers, um be." Let us hope that much good may be done; be that as it may, the hospitality of the men of Devon will long live in the memories of the band, while the admirable arrangements of Mr. Kelly, whereby the tour was enjoyed at practically no expense (save travelling and belfry taxes), earned their highest appreciation.

NB Coleridge attributed the loss of the two peals at Thorverton and St Sidwell's to "the over- hospitality of our Plympton friends, the many good things, including "zider and crame", certainly affecting one or two of the band, and making them liable to change course".

Exeter branch: world's oldest ringer

Vice-president Reg dies at 102.

Guild vice-president Reg Bray died at 1.30am in the morning of 2 July.

Reg last rang on his 102nd birthday, having learnt to ring during the Great War. He appeared in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest active bell ringer, as well being as the longest serving ringer at any tower having been a member of the band at Newton St Cyres for ninety-odd years.

Newton church was full for his funeral, and a half-muffled peal of Grandsire Triples was rung by the Guild afterwards. Most of the band had rung in his regular birthday peals in recent years.

A full obituary will appear in due course.

Plenty of time to practice

Single Court!

Bands practising Single Court Triples for the guild eight-bell competition may appreciate this quarter-peal and these practice touches, kindly provided by Matt Hilling. The competition touch appeared in the last two issues of RRD.

1260 Single Court Bob Triples 
Edward W Martin 
23456 B W H 
32465 2 - 
32546 - - 
42356 3 - 
three part 
752346 B 
637524 B 
456372 B 
234567 B 
234567 		234567 
752346 B 	253746 
735624 		672534 B 
467352 B 	657423 
436275 		346572 B 
524367 B 	354267 
532746 		723546 B 
675324 B 	752634 
637452 		467523 B 
246375 B 	456372 
234567 		234567 B 

762534 S 
437562 S 
264537 S 
732564 S 
467532 S 
234567 S 
234567 		234567 		234567 
253746 		752346 B 	253746 
672534 B 	735624 		672534 B 
657423 		467352 B 	657423 
346572 B 	436275 		346572 B 
354267 		423567 		253467 B 
325746 		754236 B 	245736 
673254 B 	725643 		672453 B 
627435 		367254 B 	647325 
546273 B 	326475 		536472 B 
524367 		342567 		245367 B 
532746 		753426 B 	234756 
675324 B 	745632 		672345 B 
637452 		267453 B 	637524 
246375 B 	246375 		456372 B 
234567 		234567 		234567 B

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Updated 16/10/2005