The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 62 : June 2006

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). RRD 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 .


on Saturday 17th June 2006

at Awliscombe


09.45-10.45 General ringing: Ottery St Mary (8) and Buckerell (6)

10.30-11.30 Coffee and informal registration at Awliscombe Village Hall
(car park attached to the hall and shared with the pub)

Talk/demonstration on rope splicing: Paddy Priscott

(Nominations for Guild officers may be made in advance, in writing to the General Secretary, indicating proposer and seconder and the candidate’s willingness to stand. Further nominations may be made from the floor of the meeting, as must all proposals for the Guild Master)

12.30 2-course buffet lunch: Awliscombe Village Hall

14.00 Talk by John Scott: ‘55 Years in Devon Towers’

14.00-16.00 Afternoon workshops on 6 and 8 bells: open to all
Members wishing to take advantage of these workshops are encouraged to get in touch with the Education Officer (Tim King, or the Guild Secretary (Wendy Campbell, Alternatively they can book in at registration time

From 15.45 Tea: Awliscombe Village Hall/general ringing at Awliscombe

16.30 Ringers’ service at Awliscombe

18.00-20.00 Open ringing at Exeter Cathedral

Buffet lunch: £5.

Names in advance please to Ann Moss (

Since the circulation of the draft rules, it has been discovered that the Devon Bell Restoration fund trustees should be appointed by the Guild. The proposed rules will now incorporate this change.

North East Branch: outing to Somerset

Bells, Trains and a Bus

North East Branch outing on the 20th May started off at Bishops Lydeard Station, with forty of us, mostly ringers but with a good contingent of partners and friends, boarded the 10.20 train to Minehead. Les Boyce and John Kape our ringing masters used the journey time to check what everyone could ring and wanted to ring and to finalise plans. Steam hauled and running smoothly in the sunshine we passed through the idyllic countryside towards our first tower. St. Michael’s Minehead (10) is at the top of the hill, so Martin Clough to whose superb organisation we are indebted, had laid on a small bus, which ran a shuttle from the station. Then on by bus to St George’s Dunster (8), where those not ringing could do some shopping. (I believe the Luttrell Arms was also visited!). Bus down to Dunster station and with tea and cake served on the train, we were off back to Bishops Lydeard for a ring at St. Mary’s (8). During the day we had rung Grandsire Caters, Bob Major, Stedman and Grandsire Triples and Call Changes, so everyone had a turn. To complete the day we walked around the corner to the Bell Inn for a very satisfactory supper. No rain, quite a bit of sunshine; altogether a very good day out.

Topsham: Golden Wedding Anniversary

Harvey family celebrate with quarter

On Saturday the 18th February a Quarter Peal was rung at St Margaret’s Topsham to mark Bill and Val Harvey’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. Bill has been a ringer for over 60 years and is the head of a local ringing clan, which includes wife Val, daughter Wendy and Granddaughter Natalie. Both Wendy and Natalie rang in the quarter.

The quarter was a fitting way to mark the occasion as Bill first rang at Topsham in 1962 when he was posted to Topsham as the local policeman and is still a full time member of the band.

After the Quarter a surprise party was held in the Globe Hotel.

Topsham, Devon
St Margaret
Saturday, 18 February 2006 in 45min
(12 cwt)
1260 Plain Bob Minor
1 William J Harvey
2 Wendy M Harvey
3 Natalie A Harvey
4 David A Wills
5 David F Farnham
6 Robert D S Brown (C)

Rung as a golden wedding anniversary compliment to Bill and Val Harvey married 50 years to the day at Plymstock Church, Devon

Exeter Branch: annual train and ringing outing

Only two towers

This year's event took about 30 of us into Cornwall to ring at Bodmin and St Germans and a ride on the Bodmin and Wenford Steam Railway. The day dawned warm and sunny as we met at St Davids station to catch the 8.15 train to take us into Kernow.

Spot on time we arrived at Bodmin Parkway (formerly Bodmin Road) where we crossed over the footbridge to catch the steam train to Bodmin. We pulled out of the station and began a steep climb towards Bodmin itself. The incline here is 1 in 37 which is very steep for a normal adhesion railway, in comparison the incline from Exeter St David’s to Central is 1 in 39. It was a pleasure to ride in early BR carriages (known as Mark 1 stock) which I found more comfortable than the modern “plastic train” that we had just alighted from! We were hauled by a 0-6-0 Pannier tank no. 4612 built at Swindon in February 1942. She spent most of her working life in the Swindon and Bristol areas until withdrawal in 1965. After spending 17 years in a South Wales scrapyard she was bought as a source of spares for a similar locomotive but then sold again luckily this time for restoration to working order which was completed in 2001.

After arrival at Bodmin we made our way to St Petroc’s and enjoyed the pleasant 17 cwt 8. Methods varied from call changes to Bristol and I believe all of us enjoyed these bells (see photo)..

We then enjoyed a leisurely lunch break where fine local hostelries were sought, tried and tested (well these things are expected are’nt they?). Following this very pleasant interlude it was time to return to the railway and catch the 14.20 to Boscarne Junction. Being a volunteer fireman on the Ffestiniog Railway, I was lucky enough to be invited to ride on the footplate and enjoyed the exchange of views of the crew as we compared the locomotive we were on to the Ffestiniog types that I work on. This time we were hauled by a 2-6-2 Prairie tank engine built at Swindon in November 1928. She worked in the Birmingham area until being transferred to Newton Abbot in 1937 to work the Kingsbridge branch ending her days working out of Truro, Falmouth and Newquay before being withdrawn and sent to Barry scrapyard. Here she spent 25 years before being purchased for restoration and finally returning to steam in 2003. At Boscarne the locomotive was detached then run round the train before hauling us back to Bodmin where we caught the 15.10 to Bodmin Parkway. Again I was invited to ride on the footplate as the engine that hauled us in the morning returned us to Bodmin Parkway . I reluctantly left the atmosphere of a steam locomotive cab with its smell of warm oil and steam and burning coal to board another “plastic train” that took us to our next stop at St Germans .

At St Germans we alighted from the train and walked through this fascinating little village towards the imposing entrance to the St Germans estate where just before the gates stood the church of St Germanus. Another interesting church that was built originally with two towers but now has just the one. Here we rang on what can be described as a challenging 11cwt 8 where it seemed that none of the local ringers were more than 4’ 6” tall as the ropes were very long! These long ropes and the long draught caught one or two of us out and there was a delay during the ringing where a rope slipped wheel . Luckily the key to the bell chamber was found and normal ringing soon resumed after re-roping the wheel. During our visit there was some kind of treasure hunt going on in the church as a number of people kept coming in clutching pieces of paper and hurriedly writing down clues. Of course this meant that being a ground floor ring we had a number of fascinated onlookers. Apparently one person was overheard to ask who Bob was and why was someone shouting at him!

The day was going fast as we caught the 17.15 train back to Exeter enjoying the evening sun as we did so. This really was a most enjoyable day. We may only have rung at two towers but that is not what the day was about. It was a combination of excellent weather, great company, superb scenery, a pleasant nostalgic journey on a “proper” train and some enjoyable ringing as well and all for just under £20. Thanks must go to Ken Vingoe who did much of the ground work, Ian Campbell and Becka Rickard who all did such a splendid job to give us such an excellent day out.

Michael Cannon

South-West Branch: Spring Outing

Tintagel and Bodmin Moor

On Saturday 8th April a small group of ringers from the South-West Branch gathered on the windswept cliff tops overlooking the Atlantic Ocean to ring the six bells of Tintagel parish church. Few churches in England can have a more dramatic location and it must be interesting ringing for Midnight Mass if a full blown gale is coming off the Atlantic!

The church is largely Norman and has been added to over the centuries. The interior is dignified and has many attractive and sensitive modern fittings. The bells are a 7 cwt six from four different founders. Gillett and Johnston retuned and rehung them in 1939 and they make a pretty and easy going peal of bells. Some locals came to the church to express their delight at hearing the bells being rung and an American tourist took our photographs!

We then headed inland to the valley of the River Camel, which looked beautiful in the spring sunshine. Advent church is to be found at the end of an unmetalled road and parking was at a premium. The church has recently been restored and is a credit to the craftsmen involved.

Some ringers were rather nervous at the thought at ringing on a 3 cwt six but the recent rehang and augmentation has made the bells very easy to handle. It was especially pleasing to see Mischa Thompson ringing for the first time in over a year after a shoulder injury.

We had to climb right up onto the edge of Bodmin Moor to reach our next tower in the village of St. Breward. Another place where you know when the wind is blowing! The church retains a Norman arcade on the north side of the nave and the tower is large enough for eight bells. Of the bells themselves, the middle four are Pennington’s from 1758 with a Warner tenor (1885) and Mears and Stainbank treble (1878). Lunch followed in the excellent Old Inn.

After feeding and watering we headed off to the village of St. Tudy with the flag of St. Piran flying proudly from the tower and one of the best maintained churchyards around. The bells turned out to be the best of the day following a restoration and partial recast by Taylor’s in 1974.

A short journey took us to the church of St. Kew where a complete 15th century stained glass window has recently been restored to its full glory. The bells are a 12 cwt six with two Rudhall trebles dated 1818, a Mears and Stainbank 3rd from 1869, a Llewellin and James fourth and fifth from 1904 and a Taylor’s tenor from 1931.

Our only eight of the day was next at the church of St. Mabyn. A rather tall tower and an 8 cwt rung from the ground floor was a little concerning and this was made worse by the fact that stay on the treble had been broken in the afternoon whilst the bells were being rung for a wedding.

However, we did manage to ring some respectable Stedman and a half course of Cambridge Major. The bells themselves are a largely Pennington’s back six augmented by Gillett and Johnston in 1932. Unfortunately the trebles rather dominate the other bells as they are harmonically tuned.

Blisland, the last church of the day, was one of the late John Betjeman’s favourites and it is easy to see why. The bells were all cast by Pennington in 1790 and are tuned to a minor key. They are not the easiest bells but, despite everyone feeling tired, we still managed some good touches.

With beautiful spring weather, some beautiful churches and good company we had a lovely day out.

I would like to thank all the tower captains who allowed us to ring and all those who came along to support the day, even if they could only stay for a few towers.

David Pike

Dawlish: minute books

Tower refuses to join Devon Guild

Don’t panic, this was back in 1919! Dawlish is lucky enough to possess minute books covering the years 1895-1939 and more recently 1965-8. Though mostly consisting of lists of who attended annual meetings (interesting in itself) and of fines, fees and collections, there are also several interesting points :

1911 Bells augmented to eight, and details of ringing at the dedication.

1914 Rang for the bishop dedicating the South Chapel.

1917-19 Mention of three ‘senior’ ringers serving their country in the 1st World War, at least two of whom survived it to go on ringing, though one member of the ‘junior band’ was killed in action.

1919 Invited by the Guild of Devonshire Ringers to join and take up ‘scientific ringing’, but declined.

1926 Decided to ring instead of chime on Sunday mornings.

1931 Joined the Devon Association.

1939 Concern over coming out to ring during the Black Out.

1952 Bells rehung on one level in a metal frame.

1960’s Entering several Kenn Deanery Festivals.

1968 Rang for the wedding of the Prime Minister’s son (Robin Wilson) who married a local girl in Dawlish.

From one or two other notes, it seems likely that ringing has continued at Dawlish from at least 1884 to the present day, apart from the 2nd World War and the two years from 1963 to 1965. Long may it continue.

Lynne Hughes.

Thorverton: one more thousandth pealer

Significant Ringers ring London Royal

Thorverton bells were put to good use on the May Day Bank Holiday Monday, when two peals were rung. The afternoon peal was the thousandth for Lester Yeo, who had helped to augment the bells back in 1994, and the band consisted of ringers who had played a significant part in his ringing career over the last thirty-six years. For example, Paul Mounsey, who called the peal, had conducted Lester’s second peal in 1976, and proposed him for membership of the ASCY.

Lester’s first peal was of Cambridge Minor in 1975. Mike Mears not surprisingly is his leading peal ringer and conductor, and Thorverton his leading tower. 728 of the thousand have been rung with the Guild of Devonshire Ringers.

Yorkshire Major has been the most popular method (59 peals), followed by Eight Spliced (49 peals). Highlights include all-the-work peals of 41-spliced surprise minor, 23-spliced surprise major, 14-spliced surprise royal and 10-spliced surprise maximus.

(St Thomas of Canterbury)
Monday 29 May 2006
In 2 hours 48 minutes
Composition traditional
1. Brian V Mountjoy
2. Lester J Yeo
3. Peter L Bill
4. P Wendy Campbell
5. Peter G Giles
6. Graham P Tucker
7. Ian LC Campbell
8. David J Dearnley
9. Paul N Mounsey (c)
10. Michael EC Mears
1000th peal: 2

Front row: Peter Giles, Wendy Campbell, Peter Bill, Lester Yeo, Brian Mountjoy.
Back Row: Mike Mears, Paul Mountsey, David Dearnley, Ian Campbell, Graham Tucker.

Brampford Speke: Ascension Day

A Pleasant Evening

Parishioners from Upton Pyne and Brampford Speke held an Ascension Day walk across the fields between the two churches, with an act of worship at both ends. They were keen to have the bells at Brampford Speke rung during the walk, and as none of the local ringers were available, the request was passed on. Thus it was that six ringers met at 6pm and were pleased to ring a quarter on these nice light bells. Tim amused us by ringing sitting down (the ropes and sallies being low enough), whilst Roxy’s party trick was to wander well away from the rope hole, with her rope at an alarming angle, yet still ring well! Well done Sophie on her first tenor too.

The torrential rain of the previous day had cleared up, so a couple of dozen walkers turned up safe and dry to join the ringers in the pub. I think all concerned are hoping it is an experience to be repeated next year.

Thursday 25th May, 2006
Brampford Speke
1260 St. Simon’s Doubles in 41 minutes.
1. Roxanne Hughes
2. Sue Sawyer
3. Tim Bayton (c)
4. Lynne Hughes
5. Phil Hughes
6. Sophie Hughes
1st as cover : 6.
1st in m : 5.

Gidleigh: competition

Charity ring

Holy Trinity Church, Gidleigh, are organising a ringing competition in July with a total prize money figure of about £2500. Up to eighteen teams can apply to enter, and entrants will be selected by the church wardens on the basis of the reasons for their application. Each team must ring for their choice of charity, which may include a bell or tower restoration fund.

The competition will be in two sections, with six novice teams ringing from the stay, and twelve experienced teams ringing rise, sixty on thirds (with the tenor turned in) and lower. The certificates and prizes will be awarded by Alan Hughes of the Whitechapel bell foundry.

The competition will take place in the afternoon and evening of Sunday 2nd July, and application forms are available from Chris Smallwood of Gidleigh

A tale of bellringing

Clive Temperton looks at one of the great feats of Devon ringing history:

Bill Pye’s 1903 single-handed peal on Exeter tenor

On one of my early visits up into the ringing chamber of Exeter Cathedral I observed a rather modest, plain looking peal board. When I went over to have a closer look at it, I realised it was a record of the famous peal when William Pye rang the tenor single-handed to Stedman Caters in 1903. Then however, what really caught my eye was that alongside each of the ringers’ names all their hometowns were also listed. These towns seemed to be scattered all across the land: London, Greenwich, Salisbury, Gloucester, Bristol, westwards to Dublin, then back across the Ipswich and Hull in the east.

I had a browse through the old volumes of the Bell News, and what I found was a real eye-opener! It transpired that while the peal at the Cathedral had been a great achievement in its own right, it was in fact only one peal rung out of many during a ringing holiday ; and as I started to read the details it became obvious that this had been no ordinary run-of-the-mill tour.

Organised by Bradshaw

In the second week of September 1903, some ringers rang twelve peal lengths in seven days in ten different towns and cities across Devon, Somerset and Gloucestershire. Furthermore Gabriel Lindoff had planned and organised the whole week using the railway network.

On Saturday 12th September at about 4pm the band started arriving from all directions at Bristol’s Temple Meads railway station. No time was wasted and after a quick tea they set off hotfoot to Christ Church, where they rang a peal of Stedman Caters. The following day, they rang for service in Bristol, travelled to Exeter and rang at St David’s.

Not an ordinary performance

Monday the 14th September was the day for the main event of the tour, a peal in the afternoon at the cathedral. However, not wanting the lads to wander off after breakfast, their leader rounded them up at St Sidwell’s where they rang a peal of the same method and of the same length. William Pye conducted the morning peal from the 2nd; no doubt conserving his energy for the tenor in the afternoon.

The morning peal had taken 3 hours 25 minutes, while the Cathedral peal lasted 4 hours and a minute. When the band eventually came down from the tower they were met by the Dean and Chapter as well as a large crowd of well-wishers. There was a great deal of applause and backslapping.

Tom Laver wrote, “It is also worthy of note that the ringer of the treble cycled from Bristol, a distance of 75 miles, on the morning of the same day… Such a peal as this I venture to think is not an ordinary performance, and being a certain sense historical, ought not to go without a permanent local record.”. It is rather sad that the sentiments expressed in Laver’s letter took over thirty years to be realised, and by then four of the friends had died.

The Revd Maitland Kelly recorded another view of the event when he wrote up the minutes at the end of the October meeting of the Guild. He made the point that whilst William’s performance was unique, it was to the brother that he gave the higher praise, as in his view, ‘Ernest, who rang the ninth gave a performance of skills which will surely be unsurpassed in the annals of ringing. He appears to ring without effort”. He had already rung the tenor to the Stedman peal at St Sidwell’s that morning.

Peals in Somerset

Tuesday 15th September saw another early start as the band had to catch the 8.15 train for Taunton. On arriving they went straight to St Mary’s where they rang a peal of Stedman Caters. As soon as it was over the had to hurry down to the station to catch the 2.46 train for Bridgewater, where they rang a peal of Superlative, which later proved to be false.

Wednesday 16th September was to be one of the days where the timetable ruled all. I believe they left Bridgewater just after 7, and rang a peal of New Cambridge at Martock in the morning. The train times mean they would have arrived that afternoon at Glastonbury with just over four hours to get to the church, ring a peal, and catch the train back. So they decided on Stedman triples instead of Surprise Major. At 3 hours 4 minutes, this was the fastest peal of the tour.

Bristol and Gloucester

Thursday was to start off with a two mile stroll to Long Ashton, where they were joined by two Bristol ringers and rang Grandsire Triples. The evening peal was to be the band’s first of Royal and Kent came round at St Nicholas, Bristol, in 3 hours 25 minutes. A pleasant evening was spent with the local ringers.

On Friday, they caught the train to Swindon where a connection was made which got them to Cirencester for 11.18. Here they rang Stedman Cinques, before racing for the train to Cheltenham to ring Stedman Caters at St Mary’s. They then retired to Gloucester, and each had the luxury of two consecutive nights in the same bed,

Rung from the scaffold

The morning peal of Stedman Cinques was to be rung at Painswick, and for this journey they ‘hired a conveyance’, which proved no match for the hills. On arriving at the church they found the floor of the ringing chamber had been removed! They clambered on some scaffolding and raised the bells, and after a false start, rang a peal of Stedman Cinques standing on the staging. The final peal was to be at Upton St Leonard’s, but they were asked not to ring, as close by there was a lady in bed desperately ill.

The Final Act

Although most of the peals at Exeter Cathedral at this time warranted a board, for some reason the great peal appears to have been ignored until the nineteen thirties. Indeed on one occasion in 1926 in order to catch up with a bit of a backlog the Dean, the Venerable H.R. Gamble, held a service in the ringing chamber when three boards were blessed all at once. Tom laver wrote in the minutes that after the service several courses of Stedman Caters were rung ‘which were more-or-less successfully brought round’!

On Saturday 22nd September 1934, Bill Pye conducted London Major from the tenor at St Stephen in Brannel, and on the way home stopped in Exeter for the dedication of the peal board. Dr W.R. Matthews conducted the service and blessing., and some general ringing took place. In the evening Bill Pye took the fifth at Heavitree to a peal of Cambridge Major, and as he tied up his rope it would be for the last time, as he never touched a bell rope again. That peal, his last, gave him his final total of 1969. Three months later he had a nervous breakdown and after a further three months he died. He was buried alongside his brothers and their parents in the small churchyard of Aldborough Hatch near Ilford.

John Longridge

Two peals and a quarter in memory

The official memorial peals for John Longridge were rung on Monday 20 March, the date chosen because it was close to his birthday, and also because St Mark’s were not previously available because of the augmentation, in itself a tribute to John as it signifies the status of St Mark’s as a teaching centre. One the previous day, John’s son joined some of the people whom John had either taught to ring or rung many quarters with for a quarter of Cambridge, the first of Royal on the bells. Many of the band went nostalgically to the Seven Stars afterwards, which had traditionally been the Sunday evening pub in the 1970s.

On the Monday, while a new method was being rung in Exeter, another band met at Thorverton to ring a peal of one of John’s compositions of Grandsire Caters.

Exeter (St Mark) 19 March 2006. 1282 Cambridge Surprise Royal: Pat Yeo 1, Matthew Hilling (C) 2, Lesley Tucker 3, Lester Yeo 4, Wendy Campbell 5, Tony Osborne 6, Tom Longridge 7, Martin Mansley 8, Graham Tucker 9, Ian Campbell 10.

Monday 20 March 2006
In 2 hours 52 minutes
5000 St Mark S Royal
Comp D.G. Hull
1. Lesley A Tucker
2. Matthew J Hilling (C)
3. Peter L Bill
4. Lester J Yeo
5. P Wendy Campbell
6. Brian V Mountjoy
7. Michael R Rose
8. Graham P Tucker
9. Ian LC Campbell
10. Michael EC Mears

Rung open in memory of John Longridge. First peal of Royal on the bells. First peal in the method: St Mark S Royal: x30x13456x12x1236x14x1250x34x50x34x50-12

Monday 20 March 2006
In 3 hours 3 minutes
5075 Grandsire Caters
Comp J.N . Longridge
1. Paul J Pascoe
2. David J Maynard
3. Graham W Elmes
4. Andrew P Digby
5. Ian VJ Smith
6. E William Ford
7. Andrew J Mead
8. Pauline Champion
9. Timothy F Collins (C)
10. D John Knight

Rung in thanksgiving of the life of John Longridge.

First Quarters

Congratulations to Rachel Fine and Sidney Gardner on ringing their first quarter peals.

Upton, Torquay. 23 February 2006. 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: Rachel Fine 1, Lee Avery 2, Don Roberts (C) 3, Martin Mansley 4, Brian Tuckett 5, Peter Clements 6. Birthday compliments to Greg Roberts and Brian Tuckett. First quarter: 1

Crediton, Devon. 4 March 2006, 1260 Plain Bob Doubles: Howard Egglestone (C) 1, Christine Clarke 2, Joanna Lunnon 3, John Clarke, Sidney Gardner 5, John Clifton 6. First quarter: 1

Devon ringers in leading quarter peal columns

Devon ringers were well-represented in the leasing quarter peal ringers list for 2005, with Sue Sawyer once again well in the lead, with almost twice as many quarters as the runner up. Sue rang 418 quarters in the year (of which she called five), making her total at the end of the year 3612. Tim Bayton was placed third with 214 quarters. Also in the top twenty were Graham Tucker (16th with 141) and Lynne Hughes (18th with 137).

Other Devon names are Nigel Birt and Neil Williams (122 each), David Maynard (109), Andrew Digby (102), Matthew Weighell (92), Ian Campbell (89), Richard Shere (79), Brian Horrell (70), Wendy Campbell (66).

Compiler Richard Wallis comments that Sue’s total represents an average of eight successful quarters per week. It is the third year in a row that she has ‘won the gold medal’.

On Stockland treble



Who can come?
Young ringers, friends and families throughout Devon.

What is a ‘young person’?
The Education Officer says he’s young!!

When is it?
Saturday 22nd July 2006.

2.30pm till 7ish

Wolborough church (OS map ref SX855704) with a short walk to St Paul’s, Newton Abbot for the BBQ

Ringing etc is FREE, but BBQ food and drink will be charged on the day for what you consume at cost price

Contact Tim King, Guild Education Officer, by Friday 14th July, if you’re coming.


Interchange is published as part of both Association and Guild newsletters. Any opinions expressed in Interchange do not necessarily represent those of the Guild or the Association, or the Devon Ringers’ Council. Please send items for the December issue to Mike Webster,

Ten to twelve at Crediton

When, in 2004, Crediton became a new ten, it was recognised that this magnificent tower would hold twelve bells on one level and that the spacious ringing chamber would comfortably house a good twelve bell circle. Therefore the frame was designed and built for twelve bells and spaces left downstairs for two more ropes. All of this to take place far off into the future!

However circumstances have meant that the idea has come to fruition earlier than expected.

Firstly, the sad and untimely death of Frances Sandiford Rossmiller, one of the great supporters of the original project, has led her family to offering to donate one of the new trebles in her memory. Secondly there has been a resurgence of interest in the ringing scene at Crediton since the dedication of the new ten and whilst practice nights are invariably well attended all ten bells are regularly rung for Sunday service with attendances of 16 or 17 ringers.

It was therefore agreed in late 2005 that a Two Trebles Appeal would be launched and in May 2006 the Fund has reached the position that the order can be placed. However, on the quotation of just twelve months ago, we are some £2000 short of the target, the volatility of the metals market during the past year means that we are currently some £4500 short!

Nevertheless the project is still moving ahead with the enthusiastic support of the local ringers and the congregation. It is planned that Easter 2007 will witness the sound of twelve bells sounding out over Crediton.

Any reader wishing to support the Appeal is invited to send a cheque, made out to Crediton Two Trebles Appeal, to Howard Egglestone, at Crediton.

From the ‘Teignmouth Post’ 21 April 06

Appeal of bells

“The church bells of St James’ will be ringing out once again after essential repair work. The bell tower has been silent for much of March while the bell clappers were carefully removed and taken to bell founder Taylor’s of Loughborough.

“Volunteers helped the specialist engineer re-fit the clappers and took on the three-day task of giving the bells a thorough clean.

“The bell installation at the sandstone tower was built in 1963 and has not needed any major repairs. The £4,000 programme was funded by the Teignmouth Bells Project.”

A fundraising concert was held at St. Michael’s church, Teignmouth, on Saturday, May 6. Parnham Voices, a nineteen strong cappella chamber choir, performed a repertoire that covers six centuries.

Recording of Association Festivals

Members of the Association may have noticed Tim King with a minidisc recorder at the Devon eight-bell festival at Luppitt in April. To follow up the success of Glorious Devon Bells and the level of interest in call-change ringing shown at the Roadshow last autumn, the Ringers Council are hoping to produce a further CD, with some of the best of the country’s ringing, and where better to find that than at the two top competitions?

Tim should also be in evidence at Westleigh at the major final this month, recording not just the best of the peals, but also some of the comments and atmosphere of the day! A final decision on whether to market the CD has yet to be made, depending on finance.

East Worlington

An order for the complete rehanging of the six bells at East Worlington has been placed, to include tuning, new fittings and a new bellframe. A Heritage Lottery grant is to assist with the costs. Work will begin on 4th September with completion scheduled for the end of November.

Withycombe Raleigh

The two new trebles and the flat sixth bell for St John’s, Withycombe Raleigh, were cast in May and work is due to start installing the new bells in June. The last peal on the bells, 5039 Grandsire Caters, was also the first inside and first on ten for local ringer Helen Hitchens. The work is scheduled for completion by the end of July.

All Saints’ Brixham

The restoration of the superb chime of ten at All Saints' Brixham was completed just after Easter. The church is famous for the well-known hymn tune that is sounded on the chime and was written by a former vicar.


The newly augmented ten at Axminster have finally been completed following the installation of a new ringing chamber floor. Bellhanger Andrew Nicholson says that they must be one of the very best-sounding old-style rings of ten anywhere in the world. The sound in the ringing chamber is truly awe-inspiring, no doubt assisted by the current lack of any sound proofing and the consequent sound levels.

Peter Border at Exeter Cathedral

The Cathedral ringers have been lent a copy of a rare recording, namely of excerpts from the peal rung at Exeter Cathedral in 1965, when Peter Border turned in the tenor to Cambridge Surprise Maximus. Although the quality of the recording is poor, the standard of ringing is very high indeed, especially when it is remembered what a feat this was. At the time, the bell was difficult to ring, and normally only by two people. For one individual simply to ring a changing bell of such weight and difficulty for just under four and a half hours was an outstanding achievement.

The recording consists of four extracts of the peal, taken at approximately hourly intervals, and includes the bells going into changes and coming round at the end. There is also a short bonus track of some Stedman Triples at an unknown tower. It was produced by the wife of Ralph Edwards, who rang the eighth to the peal. If anybody is interested in having a copy of this recording on CD, please contact Lester Yeo ( A small donation to the bell restoration fund is suggested.

Top towers for peals

Thorverton was the third most popular tower in the world for peals in 2005 according to the Central Council. During the year 44 peals (lasting about three hours) were rung there, bringing in much needed income to the church, and causing no complaints from the local residents. Tower captain Bill Ford says that visiting ringers contributed almost £1000 last year. Also in the list were Huntsham (30 peals), Bishops Ting Tong (16), Pinhoe (12), Buckfastleigh, Exeter St Mark and Lundy (10 each).

‘Towers and Bells of Devon’

The long awaited magisterial book on Devon bells by John Scott, the late Frank Mack and James Clarke is due to be published this autumn. In two volumes, the work will not only contain a gazetteer of every tower in the county giving precise descriptions of the bells and their installation, but also a wide ranging history of bell-hanging and founding in Devon.

The account of the history of Westcountry bell-founding from the 14th to the 19th century, most of it previously unpublished, has involved studying the original records of over 136 parishes. Over three thousand bells have been examined and their details recorded.

It is hoped that there will be a public launch of the book at St Petrock’s, Exeter, in October. The Mint Press, a small publisher specialising in local history, are producing a limited run, and enthusiastic ringers, not just in Devon but throughout the exercise, will, we are sure, want to own a copy. Subscribers will pay a pre-publication price of £50 for the two beautifully produced volumes.

Please contact The Mint Press, 76 Longbrook Street, Exeter EX4 6AP for further details.

Exeter Autumn Festival

Plans are being made for another community event to explore the artistic and musical dimension of bell ringing. The Devon Ringers Council has been asked by Exeter City Council to take part in the city’s autumn festival, which this year runs from 3 to 19 November.

Ian Avery is currently thinking of ways in which the music of the bells can be blended with other forms of music, and so will probably be looking for singers and instrumentalists from among the ringing community. The event has to take place within the city of Exeter, and will be a good public relations showpiece for ringing.

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Updated 15/06/2006