December 2007

Interchange is published as part of both Guild and Association 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 next issue to Roger King in Exmouth by e-mail to


The Ringers' Council organised an event as part of the Exeter Autumn 2007 Festival at St Petrock's Church, Exeter High Street on Friday 2nd November at 7.30pm. Live performances of bell ringing and readings were given about the development and heritage of bell ringing. It was a marvellous opportunity for people to discover the fascinating history and unique music of this ancient British art.


The 2008 Ringing Roadshow will be held on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th September 2008 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. The Roadshow will be the largest ever gathering of ringers and all other bell enthusiasts and promises to be an excellent day out for all the family. It encompasses not only a trade show, but a range of learning opportunities, ringing-related entertainment, hands-on activities, shopping and the chance to meet hundreds of other people with the same passion for bells and bellringing. Those who wish to exhibit at the Roadshow on 5/6 September 2008 are invited to express their interest as soon as possible and certainly before 31st December. This will be the biggest Roadshow ever with 3100m2 of exhibition space and in excess of 3000 visitors expected. Interest in exhibition space is high and early application is recommended.


Directed by George Perrin filmmaker and fellow bellringer, this DVD documentary shows the craft of bellringing as seen from the inside. Cost is £16.50 including UK p&p (there are discounts) and also available as NTSC DVD 16:9, running time is approximately 48 minutes. From the origin of bells to modern day ringing, from small-town parishes to some of the most famous cathedrals, the film covers virtually all aspects of the world of ringing. Featuring the first edition of Tintinnalogia, the very first book to be written about bellringing, and exclusive interviews with leading experts of the field, the film also takes an intellectual journey that explores the craft's rich cultural heritage.

This DVD is aimed at ringers and non-ringers alike, the film offers an insight to everyone. Ringers will appreciate the little-know aspects of the art, the spectacular cathedrals and seeing familiar faces on-screen, while non-ringers will be treated to a comprehensive introduction to the subject. George Perrin, film director and cinematographer is a 26 year old English-Hungarian filmmaker developed an early interest in photography. Moving on to cinematography and film directing he started out making short films. Following in his father's footsteps, he became a bellringer at the age of 10. His enthusiasm for film making and bellringing was finally combined, and after two years of planning and fund raising, filming took place from July to October 2006.

Encouraging bellringing and fundraising opportunities

George Perrin says "that being a ringer myself, I would like to support and encourage bellringing, as well as make the DVD available to as many ringers or potential ringers as possible. I've thought that it could also be used to provide fund raising opportunities for your local towers and associations. During the course of the year I have had many requests from ringers asking to show the film at tower open days and to sell the DVD locally to provide visitors with information about ringing. Please feel free to do so! It is this arrangement that I would like to encourage. By making the DVD available to towers and associations at a lower price, you could sell it on at a local level. This way the number of recruits would increase and would provide additional funds directly for your tower or local association. 5 copies or above will now be available for £11.00 and you are encouraged to sell them on at £16.50. (Single copies will remain £16.50.) Free tower posters are also available. I hope this new arrangement will benefit the ringing community. If you have any questions or suggestions, please write to me at:". To see more information and on how to order go to the Central Council of Church Bellringers website at


Phil Stevens, bell captain at St Mary's parish church in Kingskerswell is very pleased. He has recruited three new members for the church bell ringers after a mini ring with six bells was set up in the parish centre. It attracted a lot of attention, and from a publicity point was very good. The mini-rings had been loaned by the Guild of Devonshire Ringers.
It was created by the late Frank Mack in 1963 as the first true mini-ring. The bells together weigh only 7lb 14oz. This had been the first outing for them under ownership of the guild.

Doris Setherton

Doris Setherton (wife of Cecil, Captain of Mariansleigh) passed away and the funeral was held on Tuesday 6 Nov at Mariansleigh

Chris Longridge

A thanksgiving service for the life of Chris Longridge was held at St Mary's Church, Beaminster at 3pm on SATURDAY 1st DECEMBER 2007. Ringing took place before and after the service

Family Teams

Saturday, October 27 was the occasion for the Newton Abbot, Ipplepen and Torbay (NAIT) Deanery Ringers' annual ringing festival, which was held at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Abbotskerswell. Seven teams drew for places and ringing began at 2.15pm. Each team in turn rang the test piece of 60 on 3rds including the rise and fall. By 4.30pm the ringing was all over and members of the teams assembled in the church to await the verdict of the judges. The judges, Pat Johnson, Bernard Miners and Norman Mortimore, praised the teams for the high standard of their ringing on a lovely but difficult peal of bells. The result was very close and was as follows: 1 Kingsteignton B, 32 faults; 2 Kingsteignton A, 32.5; 3 Upton, Torquay, 33. The remarkable thing is that the members of the winning team were six members of one family. How many other teams of six ringers are all from one family which has won major competitions of this kind in Devon?

The first two teams qualify for the Inter Deanery Competition to be held on 19th April 2008 and it is proposed to hold the competition at Babbacombe which is within the NAIT Deanery.


There has been a church on the site of St Thomas of Canterbury in Kingsbridge since before the 10th century, it has a wonderful altar and rood screen but many local people have never been inside the church so a booklet has been published to try to raise its image. Full of colour photographs it shows what the people who hurry by the church at the top of the hill on the edge of town are missing. It is a church in very good repair with a font dating from Norman times, a porch added in Tudor times and beautiful stained glass windows full of biblical stories. The bell tower dates from the 14th century and was designed as a place of refuge during raids and riots. Warning beacons could be lit on top of the tower and the bells were rung to alarm residents that the Spanish Armada had been sighted off Bolt Head, a few miles away.

Most people in Kingsbridge know about St Edmund's parish church in the town centre the older Dodbrooke church is nowhere near so well known. Yet there is a large housing estate next door and a primary school alongside it. The booklet, to raise awareness rather than funds, costs £2 and can be obtained from the church which, unusually these days, is open from 8am to 3.30pm every day.

Ipplepen has a SABRE group

At the autumn craft fair in Ipplepen at St Andrew's Church, there was a wide variety of quality goods on the stalls. Also there was Jo Reynolds, who had a collection of belle plates, which are used for hand bell ringing.
Jo is now involved in SABRE, a group of village ringers. She said SABRE stands for St Andrew's Bell Ringers Extraordinaire. The Tor Bell Ringers visited the village for a free workshop session. Parents and parishioners were invited, and given a chance to have a go. A buffet was laid on, adding to the warm welcome for the guests.

The 'Extraordinaire' part of their name was chosen for the following reasons: it is extraordinary that the belle plates, which were purchased by St Andrew's Church, have captured the imagination of a group of 12 enthusiastic young people, who meet once a week to rehearse together, and it is extraordinary how excited people are when they find they are able to join in a group and, almost immediately, play a recognisable tune with others. "This happened when the plates were on display during the craft fayre held in the church," said Jo. "Young visitors were invited to have a go and were delighted with their achievement." The whole church was full of an exciting variety of crafts and interests of village people young and old.

SABRE has been playing since September, and their first public appearance was five weeks later when they played All Things Bright and Beautiful and Edelweiss for the harvest festival. Now the group is busy rehearsing carols for the Christmas carol service and visits to local residential homes.

Now the whole group has been fired with enthusiasm to tackle more complicated music, and will doubtless, continue to bring joy to themselves and others.

Handbell ringing is believed to date back to about 1400 BC, but has become more popular in the last 300 years as a means of church bell ringers rehearsing without having to disturb the neighbourhood. Many parishes are having taster evenings to get more people involved.


The bells on Saturday 17 November rang out across Crediton for nearly three-and-a-half hours to mark the diamond wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. The then Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. The master of the Ancient Society of College Youths has accepted an invitation to bring an elite band of members to ring the 12 bells of the Church of Holy Cross, Crediton. The College Youths, formed in 1637, are the oldest ringing society in England, and its members ring the bells at St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
They rang a special peal of 5,040 different changes of Bristol Surprise Maximus to mark the royal 60th wedding anniversary. Event co-ordinator Howard Egglestone said: "Many ringers from the area came in to Crediton to hear our distinguished visitors perform on our new peal of bells and were not disappointed. "A fine peal was completed after three hours and 26 minutes of excellent ringing and the band are to be congratulated. "Afterwards, at the usual bellringers' post mortem at the Crediton Inn, there was much discussion regarding the best peal of 12 in the world."


Three bells belonging to All Saints Church in Merton were stolen while awaiting repair in Tavistock. Parishioners and churchgoers had raised £6,000 to restore six bells, which had hung silent for 15 years. Churchwarden, Mary Ford, said: "The whole community here is relieved and pleased that they are back. The bells have so much history. I never thought we would see them again. It was heartbreaking, but to see them back and all in one piece is amazing. The whole village worked hard to raise the money to restore them. It really shows how much this community wants to hear the bells ringing again. All our prayers have been answered." The bells were taken from a business park in Tavistock after a forklift truck was smashed into a workshop. The bells were found in Manchester after a tip off, believed to be a scrap yard owner.

An £11,000 reward was anonymously donated for the return of the church bells and a successful prosecution of the thieves. The historic bells were made out of 70% copper. Two of the bells were Warners and the third was cast by Robert Norman in Exeter. The bells were returned to the church on Thursday and since then an inspector has come to make sure there has been no damage to the bells. The church is still raising funds for repairs to the tower to be made.


While thousands of people gathered around bonfires and gazed at firework displays, residents of Shebbear once again honoured an ancient village tradition. On Bonfire Night the village bell-ringers, armed with sturdy staffs, turned the huge stone outside the church room. This year, as with the previous years, there was a motorbike show and hog roast in the Square. The stone turning tradition, believed to be among the oldest in Europe, brought hundreds of people to the centuries-old oak tree in the centre of Shebbear.

At 8pm the bell-ringers went to St Michael's Church and rang out what has been described as a violently discordant peal of bells. Afterwards they made their way to what is known as the Devil's Stone, where they turned the 6ft long, ton-weight stone to protect the village from any harm for another 12 months. There are many theories behind the turning of the stone, although nobody knows the real reason. It is reputedly one of the most ancient ceremonies in Europe and although there is no record as to its origins, many believe it is probably pagan and has been adapted over the years.

One of the stories is that the stone was dropped by the Devil during a fight with the archangel Michael. The clamour of bells would have been to frighten him away. Another is that it was the meeting point for the local Saxon council and the place where people came to pay their taxes. There is a wealth of legend surrounding the stone including ideas that it was an altar stone brought to Shebbear by pagans, and another that it was quarried as the foundation stone for a neighbouring church and moved to Shebbear by the Devil. It is said the stone turning was only ever neglected during the First and Second World Wars when misfortune descended upon the village.


John Kelly enjoyed a free birthday train trip through South Devon to celebrate his 72nd birthday. He set off on the steam train, before transferring to a ferry and special bus, to visit churches in Paignton, Kingswear, Dartmouth and Totnes. John was joined by ringers from across South Devon at each of his stops, where they rang bells and raised over £250 for the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust in Ivybridge. John, who lives in Paignton, was given use of the steam train in recognition of his 40 years working at Dart Valley Railway. Barry Cogar, general manager at Dart Valley Railway, was full of praise for John's loyal service work as a signalman and his dedication to bell-ringing.

Devon Ringers' Carol Service

The carol service this year will be held at Exeter Cathedral on 15th December at 3pm along with the Ockment Valley and Exeter Cathedral Handbell Ringers. The collection will be in aid of the Macmillan Cancer Support. Open ringing will be after the service and up until 6.30pm. All are welcome.

New Chairman for Association after 30 years

At the Association AGM in November a new Chairman, Ryan Trout was appointed. Brian Drake, the outgoing Chairman was presented with a set of Whisky Crystal glasses. Brian has kept ringing active in all parts of Devon and has been extremely active and supportive. If not ringing he has been acting as a judge. He can certainly be proud of his 30 years as Chairman. He has taken ringing to the standard of today where the Devon style of ringing is much admired throughout the rest of the country so much so that when ringers from Devon go on tour it is not unusual to have people outside the church listening to the ringing.

Ryan Trout the new Chairman was born on the 14th January 1979 at Freedom Fields Hospital in Plymouth, and started to ring in October 1989. He has been Captain of the Football and Athletics teams, and also played Rugby, cricket and Basketball. Ryan ran for Plymouth at 100 and 200 metres and played football for Devon School boys, although he wished he had played Rugby more! On leaving college he got a job as a civil servant and still in the same job now. After the first 8 months he resigned from his position and went travelling to South East Asia, fortunately when he came back he also got his job back! His current ambition is to run his own pub and he is working the bar in his local in Eggbuckland. Ryan has a love for organising trips to different areas of the UK and loves ringing with other likeminded individuals, people who know him will know that he loves Real Ale and food or is it food then ale! Ryan said, "Having been elected as Chairman of the Association I honour that people think me fit enough to carry out these duties." Ryan is under no illusion that the next three years, being his term of office, will be a hectic and hard working time.


Novice: Drewsteignton 8 March
8 Bell: Huntsham 26 April
6 Bell Qual (S): Newton Ferrers 10 May
6 Bell Qual (N): East Worlington 10 May
Minor Final: Cornwood 24 May
Major Final: Z. Monachorum 14 June

Parish church clock of Crediton

The parish Church clock in Crediton can keep chiming after council officials decided a woman's complaints did not ring true.
The clock chimes on the hour and every 15 minutes, and has done so since at least 1840. Ms Robinson, 48, who moved to the town last year, wanted it silenced between 7pm and 9am. Ms Robinson said: "We chose our house carefully because a quiet life and a good night's sleep are important to us. We are not that close to the church, so the problem of bell noise didn't occur to us. "But we were shocked to find out that that we have to put up with a loud noise from the bells every 15 minutes all through the night, every night. At night, when it's otherwise quiet, the noise of the bells is equivalent to the sound of a car horn being blasted on the nearest road, or of a dog barking next door. District environmental health officer Gordon McGovern said the district council had investigated the possible noise nuisance from the chimes since receiving a complaint from Ms Robinson. He said: "We installed noise monitoring equipment at her house, but on listening to the recordings found that the level of noise could not be deemed to a 'statutory nuisance'. We explained to Ms Robinson that we can therefore take no further action in relation to her specific complaint. Should a resident who lives nearer the church make a complaint, we would take similar steps to investigate whether the level of noise could be classed as a nuisance."

The Rector of Crediton, Rev Nigel Guthrie, was sorry that Ms Robinson and her partner had been disturbed by the chimes.
He said: "I live close by and I personally don't find it intrusive. We maintain the clock for the benefit of the community and this complaint has stimulated a lot of support in favour of keeping the chimes."

Berry Pomeroy Appeal

By 2008 Berry Pomeroy Parish will have spent £250,000 on refurbishing the church. The next phase is repair of the bells and bell frame costing a cool £45,000 and church reserves are totally exhausted!

In England it is customary to ring the bells in a harmonious peal, in which all are rung at the same time, the volume of sound thus produced being enormous and the effect very beautiful, particularly at a distance. We have a full written record and diagrams of our own eight bells and detailed photographs of them. We have received plenty of fund-raising ideas from the Central Council of Church Bellringers. All offers of financial help gratefully received.

Revd Peter C Bellenes

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Updated 19/12/2007