The Guild of Devonshire Ringers - Ringing Round Devon Newsletter

The Guild of Devonshire Ringers


Newsletter No 67 : September 2007

RINGING ROUND DEVON is the newsletter of The Guild of Devonshire Ringers, and is circulated free to all affiliated towers. Any individual members who wish to subscribe should contact Roger King (01395 274776). 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 post to Ringing Round Devon, 215 Exeter Road, Exmouth EX8 3DZ or by e-mail to .


Thanks to the generosity of Mary Mack, the Guild now has its own ring of bells. The light ring of six (The Garage ring), which was created by her late husband Frank in 1963, as the first true mini-ring, has been donated by Mary to the Guild to be used for publicity and training purposes. At the Guild annual meeting, Ian Avery was appointed to act as its steward. Guild towers and branches that wish to borrow these portable bells (the tenor weighs less than two pounds) should contact Ian; the transport, safety and maintenance of the bells will remain the responsibility of the borrowers while the bells are on loan.

The bells were originally house bells, and together only weight 7lb 4oz.

Since 1963 they have been pealed four times, the first being in June 1965, and there have been nine quarters rung on them.

Treble 14oz
2 14½oz
3 1lb 3oz
4 1lb 4oz
5 1lb 7oz
Tenor: 1lb 9½ oz in F#

Mary also has a mini-ring in one of her bedrooms and on the Saturday after the Guild meeting, fourteen Guild members met at Mary's house to attempt two peals, on the bedroom ring and on the Garage ring. Yorkshire Major on the bells in the bedroom was successful, as recorded below:
The picture shows the Frank Mack bells being rung in the cloisters at Exeter Cathedral

The bedroom peal band. L to R: Mike Mears, Ian Avery, Ian Campbell, Robert Brown, Chris Field, Brian Mountjoy, Nick Bowden, Paul Pascoe.

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Exmouth, Devon 7 Bapton Lane (Bedroom ring)
Saturday, 30 June 2007 in 2h10 (5Ib 8oz)
5056 Yorkshire S Major
Composed by: A J Cox
1  Brian V Mountjoy      5  Paul J Pascoe
2  Christopher R Field   6  Robert D S Brown
3  Nicholas W Bowden     7  Michael E C Mears (c)
4  Ian W Avery           8  Ian L C Campbell
First peal of Major: 3.		300th Devon ring for a peal: 6

The Cambridge Minor peal attempt on the bells in the Garage ring came to grief, and as compensation, a quarter of Cambridge was later scored:

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Exmouth, Devon 7 Bapton Lane (Garage ring)
Saturday, 30 June 2007 in 32 mins (26oz)
1320 Cambridge S Minor
1  James Grant 
2  Pauline Champion 
3  Peter L Bill 
4  Andrew Digby 
5  Lester J Yeo 
6  John A Foster (c) 
Rung in fond memory of Frank D Mack
Last on the bells prior to relocation.

The bells and frame were then dismantled from their cradle in the garage roof, and loaded into a van to be taken to their new lodgings at Kingsteignton. This is believed to be the first time the bells have left Exmouth since 1974, when they were rung at the Devon County Show as part of the Guild's centenary celebrations. Their first outing under Guild ownership was to Exeter Cathedral, where they were rung by members of the Ancient Society of College Youths at the Country Meeting in July as shown in the photograph at the head of this article.

Lester Yeo


I was intrigued to read on Campanophile recently (repeated in the RW p 938) that a simulated campanile was installed in Okehampton and 'quartered' in August. More recently, a group of us were invited to Denis and Mischa Thompson's Okehampton home to try out the simulated campanile at the end of a ringing day.

Anyone who tried the six-'bell' Saxilby Simulator at the last Ringing Roadshow will find this is basically the same, but installed in a garage. Six wheels with heavy weights are hung in the loft, the ropes falling through to make a nice circle. An Abel computer program provides the sound as each bell passes a sensor, and the installation handles more like a light ring of about 1cwt than a mini-ring, enabling six people to practice as normal.

We certainly enjoyed them and found them easy to ring, though the deep notes of a meaty ring seemed out of place, and I am sure will be changed with the click of a mouse. Having the Abel technology also means an individual 'bell' can be rung to any method with the computer providing the other bell sounds, for any number of bells.

Excellent for rhythm and listening skills, I found it took me a little longer to get into this than ringing with the simulator at Wolborough, as a light 'bell' offers less natural rhythm than a heavy one, but this shouldn't put anyone off.

Denis and Mischa are keen to have lots of visitors to their simulator, and you may even be treated to lemon drizzle cake! Contact Denis and Mischa by e-mail at

Lynne Hughes

The photos show Denis with the simulated 'bells' and ringing on the simulated campanile.



This year's festival and AGM was hosted by the North East branch and based at the home of the Guild at Huntsham. Considering the early start, the eucharist service was well attended, the church being almost full. The service was led by the Bishop of Crediton RR Robert Evens, supported by the Vicar of Huntsham, Rev John Stone.

Following this, we moved on to the main business for the day. Eating. Oh, and the AGM. No sooner had the breakfast baguettes with tea & coffee arrived than they were gone, obviously nobody had eaten breakfast before leaving home! The Troyte Hall was quickly filling up as people began to take their seats for the AGM. A total of 67 signed the attendance register - a huge improvement on attendance of recent years - and the President Lester Yeo led us quickly through the many items of business.

Retiring Guild Secretary Wendy Campbell was presented with flowers, a framed watercolour of Exeter Cathedral and a kiss from the President, in appreciation of 11 years of hard and dedicated work. She was also elected to be Guild Master for the coming year. The two novice ringers from St Mark's, Exeter, collected the John Longridge Trophy for taking part in the winning band in the novice competition.

The President presented two novice ringers from St Mark's, Exeter, with the John Longridge Trophy.

Other items on the agenda included the election of officers (most re-elected except for Secretary (currently vacant), Librarian (Leslie Boyce, on the retirement, after 51 years of Prebendary John Scott), Quarter peal secretary (Tim Bayton) & Report Secretary (John Foster)), and the creation of a new officer - "Master-elect". The idea here is to give a year's notice to the incoming Master. Russell Chamberlain was proposed and elected to this position. A new design of Guild affiliation certificate was shown to all present and accepted that this would be sent to all towers on receipt of tower affiliation fees.

Next was lunch. More food! An excellent spread of meats and salad and a bar serving real beer made this a treat. The puddings were super!

Afternoon ringing took place at various towers. Our spy on the ground went to Bampton which received a steady trickle of ringers. Ringing included rounds and call changes, Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles.

Then it was back to Huntsham for, yes you guessed it, more refreshments. Plenty of cups of tea on offer with lots of chatting. The bells at Huntsham were still going strong and those drinking tea enjoyed listening to the ringing.

Lynne Hughes writes:

The Guild AGM was a busy day, but included at the invitation of the organisers, probably for the first time, a ringing session aimed specifically at young ringers. This was on the light, easy to ring eight at Huntsham. The aim was for young ringers to meet each other, whilst getting in a bit of practice.

Thirteen young ringers came, including four from Somerset, and they ranged in age from ten to sixteen. Call changes and methods were rung, each peal or touch containing as few adults as possible; the calling also being done by the young ringers in many cases. Those who stayed longest got the most ringing! Handbells made a brief appearance at the end. Feedback was that similar sessions in different parts of the Guild would be welcomed.

Thank you to parents etc who transported young ringers to Huntsham, and helped with the ringing. Also a particular thanks to Cathy Civill and Don Roberts, who gave their time to help out.

Due to the busyness of the session no photos were taken in the ringing chamber, but three handbell ringers at the end got snapped!

The evening entertainment was a BBQ.

Sheila Scofield and helpers erected two gazebos in the grounds of Troyte Hall in case of wet weather, but the rain held off for the evening. Many villagers joined in the fun too, and some even waited until 10pm to watch the fireworks coming from the celebrations of a local wedding! The photograph below shows some of the helpers who included Ann Barrow, Cis Carpenter, Libby Ford, Jackie Monahan, Jo Moreno, Glen Morgan, Gwyrie Mossop, Jean Osborne, Jean Parkinson, Rachel Pope, Sheila Scofield, Diane Wannell - representing Bampton, Huntsham, Silverton, Tiverton St Paul, Tiverton St Peter and Uffculme. In addition numerous donations of food dishes were received from members across the North East Branch.

Huge thanks must go to the North East Branch for all the arrangements and making it all work, particularly Mike Hatchett for the organisation, Pat Hatchett and helpers for all the food, and Leslie Boyce and the rest of the committee for bringing it all together.

However, it is a tribute to the capability and inventiveness of the organizers that all attendees were provided with food. Catering proved quite a headache on the day, as only 23 attendees had pre-registered, and 73 turned up!! What could have been a major embarrassment was avoided, but in future please make every effort to let the organizers know your intentions well in advance.

The 2008 Festival and AGM will take place in the Exeter Branch, probably at Crediton, on Saturday 21 June. See you there. Please make a note of the date, plan to attend, and keep the organizers fully informed.


From the GDR website

In the picturesque village of Kenton on the west bank of the Exe estuary lies the home of the Earl and Countess of Devon, Powderham Castle.Every year at the beginning of July the grounds become the venue for a vintage rally where all forms of classic, vintage and veteran transport from all over the south west gather for the weekend.

There is always an excellent display of steam engines of all types - road rollers, lorries, tractions engines, ploughing engines, road locomotives and of course the highly decorated Showmans engines and this year was no exception. Michael Cannon, one of the steam fraternity, discovered that there were a number of steam engine owners, including himself, who were also bellringers at this years rally. Not just one or two but over the weekend there were 8 ringers on the rallyfield and so it was decided that it would be a good idea if we all exchanged oily rags and shovels for ropes and sallies for a while. At 10.15 we met at Powderham church and rang the 10cwt 6 for the 11am service.

The sound of the bells and the unusual Cornish accents were a delight to the locals and we all agreed that the bells were very pleasant to ring. We returned to the rally field and our engines and wondered if this was a first that a traction engine rally had supplied ringers for Sunday service ringing.

For those interested in steam, of which there seems to be a number in ringing circles, after we rang at Powderham, 7 traction engines of various types positioned themselves along the lane between the church and Kenton village adjacent to the west of England main railway line where a steam hauled charter train, hauled by ex GWR King class locomotive number 6024 King Edward 1st, was on its way from Bristol to Kingswear.

As the steam hauled train passed its road going relatives at great speed much sounding of whistles and waving took place! Also, one of the ringers, John Atkinson, had just driven his Burrell Gold Medal steam tractor from John O' Groats to Lands End in record time, for a steam powered vehicle, to raise money for the renal unit at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital.

Back row (L to R): Barry Christopher, Steve Freeman, David Goodwin, Carol Syms. Front row (L to R): Michael Cannon, John Atkinson, Emma Goodwin, Steven Syms.

Michael Cannon


We read the Exeter Diocesan Leaflet every month and we are struck by the finding that there are few, if any, references to bellringing in the leaflet. This we find strange in view of the fact that the Guild Patron and Associate Patrons are all Bishops, Deans and Archdeacons within the Diocese. Therefore we decided to use the Leaflet to advertise the Annual General Meeting earlier this year. We also decided that we would write a small news item based around the fact that the Troyte Ringing Centre had won the Founders' Prize for 2007 and that Devon needed many bellringing recruits if the tradition of full circle ringing was to be maintained in the county. Using the summary within "The Bells of Devon" as our source we estimated that in Devon we have nearly 2,500 bells hung for full circle ringing in towers with five or more bells. Thus we estimated that we need to recruit and train 1,000 ringers within the next ten years to maintain our ringing tradition. We probably need to recruit and train 100 new ringers each and every year but that only complicates the message.

We were surprised to receive a call from Devon Radio informing us that they had read this short news item on the Diocesan web page and that they wanted to write a piece for their own web site on the shortage of bellringers. The caller had already spoken with Roger King and the President of the Central Council and had just a few questions to ask seeking clarification of some of the information received (see the BBC Devon website,

We formed the opinion that Devon Radio was taking the issue seriously and keen to help. A few days later we received a call from a Devon Radio reporter who then came to Bampton and made a recording which was broadcast on a Saturday and Sunday morning.

Later, BBC Spotlight made contact and informed us they would also like to send out a reporter to interview us. This was arranged and BBC reporter Amy Cole spent nearly two hours with us at Bampton. The photo below shows the recording in progress. Later we all went to Huntsham to see a typical bell ringing practice night.

The BBC recording at Bampton. Mike Hatchett demonstrating with Pat, watched by new recruit Christine Simmonds of Burlescombe and filmed by Amy Cole of BBC Spotlight.

Ringers and the BBC Spotlight reporter at Huntsham

As a result, Spotlight produced a short news item which was broadcast on a weekday evening between 6.30 and 7.00 p.m.

After this we heard from the Jeremy Vine BBC Radio 2 show that they were "doing a piece" on bellringing and would like to include us in their show. It turned out that the piece was really about complaints about the "noise" of bellringing. We suggested that they speak to the president of the Central Council as we could not speak for ringers everywhere. This they did but they came back to us and we made a 20 second contribution to the show by stating that practice bells and simulators help people to learn to ring without annoying the neighbours.

The next day we heard from BBC News 24 that they wanted to come down and record what we were doing as part of a feature on life in Devon which they were producing. Their trip to Devon was cut short by the demands made on their news team elsewhere but we did have a visit from a camera woman who was herself a ringer and that resulted in a well photographed and presented news item which gave us several minutes of exposure on News 24 on Saturday and again on Sunday. Recordings of the Spotlight and News 24 items are available to view on our website ( Finally we were interviewed by Western Australia News who were preparing a feature article on the Swan bells and what they are doing in Perth to raise the profile of ringing in Western Australia. We don't know when or if the interview will result in a broadcast or not but what has surprised us is that one short article for the Exeter Diocesan News has resulted in three radio interviews and two television news items, one on Regional TV and the other on the BBC World Service News 24. Perhaps we should use the Diocesan leaflet more often.

Finally we have just heard that the Tiverton Gazette will be coming to visit us before the end of September for some photographs.

Mike Hatchett

Editor's note: As a result of the publicity generated by Mike Hatchett's efforts, Martin Mansley was interviewed by local Torbay radio station Palm FM and I recently met a lapsed ringer who has now returned to ringing after hearing Mike's interview on BBC Radio Devon.


We were delighted to hear that the Troyte Ringing Centre (TRC) had won the Founders' Award for Ringing Centres. Through the inspiration of Mike Hatchett, in the early beginnings, with the initial installation of the Practise bell in the Branch, the Centre has completed a second successful year. The Branch has started to address the issue of recruitment. Unfortunately the start of our campaign was thwarted by the cancellation of the Mid-Devon show. However, we shall not be overcome. What is the point of a Ringing Centre without new recruits to train? Part of the prize from the Award is to be used to promote Ringing and encourage recruitment.

The TRC is celebrating winning the Founders' award at the Branch Dinner on Saturday 24th November. We were pleased to hear that Gail Cater will be coming to present the award and plan to have an afternoon event based in Bampton and Huntsham. Look out for details.

The Troyte Ringing Centre holds 5 Workshops every year as part of the NE Branch Training Programme as well as being used to teach new recruits basic bell handling. Workshops are held either at Bampton, using the practise bell and simulator, or at Huntsham, using 6 or 8 light bells with sound control. Other Workshops can be tailor-made to suit individuals or group needs. Anyone wishing to make use of the Centre should contact Mike Hatchett, NE Branch Training Officer, to discuss needs and arrange a date. The bells at Huntsham are also available for general ringing, Quarter Peals and Peals at almost any time by arrangement. Details can be found on the Troyte Ringing Centre Website,

On Saturday 21st July 5 students, 3 ringers from NE Branch (Uffculme and Burlescombe) and 2 from Woolborough attended the Workshop at Bampton on Bell Handling

The first session began with assessing individual bell handling capabilities followed by reflection on handling, discussion and observing good practise. The remainder of the day was designed to give a series of opportunities for students to reflect upon where they were and to plan where they would like to be and/or address issues such as handling difficulties.

Assessing a new ringer and introducing the simulator at Bampton

Most people attending such courses are paired and can therefore return to their home towers, able to support and encourage each other in what they have learnt as they apply their newly acquired bell handling skills. Of course the other purpose of the day is to have a good time, meet old and new ringing acquaintances and to enjoy Pat's catering for the day. Which of course everyone did!

A Workshop on developing Listening Skills will be held on Saturday 22nd September at Bampton. £10 all day Workshop includes lunch and drinks etc. (The Cake is always delicious!) Anyone interested in attending this, or any other workshop, contact Mike on 01398 331843.

Huntsham recruits rang for their first Sunday service on 19th August with the help of some of the Bampton band. John Rowe, Chris Shere and Chris Bolt began ringing after a recruitment campaign with the Troyte Ringing Centre at Huntsham.

They learnt to handle a bell and ring rounds with the simulator at Bampton under the instruction of Mike Hatchett, NE Branch Training Officer. They later learnt to ring rounds and plain hunt with live ringers in the Troyte ringing centre at Huntsham using the sound control. We hope to ring regularly each month for the afternoon service at Huntsham.

Huntsham have not had a local band to ring for services for many years. Anyone interested in learning to ring at Huntsham or any other tower in the Tiverton and Cullompton Deaneries should contact Mike on 01398 331843.

Ringers from L to R. Chris Bolt, Ann Barrow, Mike Hatchett (Bampton trainer), Sheila Scofield, John Rowe (in front) and Chris Shere.

Sheila Scofield


The weather thankfully held out and we were blessed with glorious sunshine. Everything was ready and all we needed was some good ringing, and that is exactly what we got. Ringing was of very high quality all afternoon so the decision made by Martin Mansley was made that much harder. But it was Honiton 1 that walked away with the Edward Summers Memorial Shield. Then we all went and played skittles and had a buffet, everyone that went enjoyed themselves and we now wait in anticipation for the next striking competition.

Below are the results from the striking competition

1.	Honiton 1		20.75 faults   
2.	Sidmouth 1  		43 faults   
3.	Ottery St Mary		50 faults   
4.    	Awliscombe/Buckerell	67 faults   
5.      Sidmouth 2		72.25 faults   
6.     	Honiton 2		89.25 faults   
7.      Feniton			112 faults   

Many congratulations to Honiton who took home the Edward Summers Memorial Shield - it was good that Kath Summers was able to fit us into her busy schedule to present the shield. I think we all appreciated the encouraging comments from our judge, Martin Mansley.

Thank you to everyone who supported the day in so many ways especially Josephine Chown and her ringers for making us so welcome. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the Flower Festival and the refreshments during the afternoon.

Finally, thank you to all who donated raffle prizes and bought raffle tickets - the raffle, which was drawn during a break in the skittles later in the evening, made approximately £28.00 for branch funds.

I look forward to seeing you all at one of the branch practices or at the next meeting at Awliscombe on Saturday 13 October.

Derek Ballard receives the trophy from Kath Summers, watched by Keith Matthews from Colyton (right).

Once again, thank you all for your support.

James Harris


Harold Adams

Crediton ringers were shocked and saddened one Sunday morning in May when Harold Adams, the Grand Old man of Crediton belfry, announced that he was having to give up ringing as a combination of heart problems and the stairs up to the ringing chamber had convinced him that at 86 years old (87 in November,) it was maybe the time to tie up his rope for the last time.

Harold learnt to ring as a young man at the six bell tower of his home village of Warkleigh near Chittlehampton in North Devon. In 1960 he moved to Crediton with his young family and remembers his visit to the belfry on his first Sunday in the town. He received a warm welcome from the regular members of the band and can still recall the names of the Crediton ringers of nearly 50 years ago. Les Burridge's father Frank was the tower captain and always rang the tenor. Les's mother (known to all as "auntie Nell",) Billy Woolacott, Ernie Parker, George Tucker, Frank Lane, Harold Connibear (from now on to be known as "Big Harold" to distinguish him from the newcomer who became "Little Harold",) Fred Rockey and "Mr. Drew." Photographs of many of these stalwarts can be seen displayed on the walls in the ringing chamber.

Since that day Harold has been a fixture arriving week by week to ring the bells for services and weddings and to be always ready to help out whenever needed at other towers such as Shobrooke. His quiet and unassuming manner, his very proficient style of ringing and his enthusiasm for and love of ringing made him a stalwart of the Crediton band for the last forty seven years. Towards the end of the nineteen nineties the bells were getting more and more difficult to ring and Harold, along with Bill Parr, Les and Shirley Burridge, Sid Gardener and John Clifton were representatives of the band from the seventies and eighties who were struggling manfully to keep ringing going at Holy Cross.

The refurbishment of the bells in 2004 has led to a resurgence of ringing at Crediton. Harold, alongside the other members of that group has welcomed the new bells and the new opportunities for ringing in the tower. Harold is overjoyed that ringing at Holy Cross is in such a comparatively healthy state currently and we know that when the bells are rung Harold will be standing in his immaculate garden in Exhibition Road with a critical ear and regrets that he is unable to join us in the tower.

Thank you Harold for your service and example over the past 47 years!


Northleigh church

The East Devon branch is delighted to welcome St Giles, Northleigh to the Guild.

Northleigh's ringers were all taught to ring by David Hurford. The photograph below shows the new band with David Hurford (centre).

The four ladies started together about 20 months ago posing a challenge for David as he was the only one with experience until extra help was sought. But he now has a capable band of call change ringers, some of whom are moving on to method ringing. His recent appointment of Jeanne Mills to Tower Captain shows what a long way they have come and the commitment they have shown. We look forward to welcoming them to branch events.

David has submitted the following information on Northleigh's bells.

'Northleigh's ring of four bells is unique as it is the only peal of pre-reformation bells in Devon if not the country. They were re-hung, in the 1890's, by Henry Stokes of Woodbury. The ringing cage is still in excellent condition. However to keep them in good working order they needed new headstocks and will be fitted with self aligned bearings which will make them easier to ring. The fund for this work was started with an anonymous donation of £10,000 and the rest has come from generous villagers. The bells were taken down at the end of July and are now at Nicholson's in Bridport. We hope to re-dedicate them in October'.

Anne Bailey


The quarter peal band with John and Jill in the front row.

At Lympstone church on 22nd August 2007 a quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles was rung to celebrate 60 years of ringing since John and Jill Newton first started to learn together in the tower as 14 year olds. John himself has now been the tower captain for 10 years and Jill is the secretary.

Their captain and teacher in 1947 was Sid Seager. As the new young recruits, it fell to John and Jill to do the Xmas box collection for the bell ringers which entailed going round the village knocking on doors. This tradition may have been widespread in those days. Certainly, Robert Perry remembers that Littleham and Withycombe Raleigh ringers did the same thing, with much feuding about where their boundaries lay.

The quarter was completed nicely on time for the ringers and hosts to enjoy a cream tea in the church hall courtesy of the Mothers Union - now that I can recommend.

John and Jill also celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary earlier this year. They were married in Lympstone on 3rd April 1957.

Cathy Civill

Quarter peal
Lympstone 22 August 2007
1320 Plain Bob Doubles in 50 mins
1. Robert Perry
2. Cathy Civill
3. Sue Sturdy
4. John Langabeer
5. Roger King (c)
6. Trevor Bradley
A compliment to John and Jill Newton, celebrating 60 years of ringing at Lympstone.


The Mid-Devon Branch held a training morning instead of the September meeting. This was held at Babbacombe and attracted ringers from Dawlish, Teignmouth, St Marychurch, Kingskerswell and Babbacombe. Ringing got underway at 9-30 and continued until 12-00 noon with only a short break for refreshments kindly laid on by the local ringers.

Methods were to suit all tastes but mainly Plain hunt and Bob Doubles with some Stedman and Cambridge minor thrown in for good measure. Much hard work was put in and good progress was made by all - it was particularly pleasing to see local ringers Chris and Rose make good progress with plain hunt. Many thanks to all for working so hard particularly the helpers who cheerfully formed "solid bands" to help the learners gain as much as possible from the morning.

Martin Mansley
Branch Ringing Master


The planned event to walk around Clatworthy reservoir on Saturday 18th August was revised due to the poor weather conditions. Ringing for non-walkers was planned to take place on the 4 at Clatworthy and 6 at Huish Champflower. However, 5 tough souls walked to Clatworthy from the carpark by the lake to support the small band of ringers there. We then clambered up and down steep slopes along a footpath to get back onto the lakeside walk which we took back to the carpark. The weather in fact cleared and had we walked the intended circuit of the lake it would undoubtedly have been a shorter and less arduous time altogether. We were rewarded with a splendid tea at Wiveliscombe followed by a ring on the 8, with more than a dozen members from the two branches.

Later we all adjourned to 'The Bear' for a joint discussion about problems with recruiting new ringers. The result being that we have similar difficulties but 'keep trying'. Oh, and the beer was good!

The photo shows four of the five tough souls who braved the weather! (the fifth is behind the camera).

Sheila Scofield


Prebendary John G M Scott

Preb John Scott shortly after the launch of his life's work 'Towers and bells of Devon'


John was a man of many talents and his interests were wide and varied, which always made him good company. He lived in Devon for most of his life and I had always assumed that he was a Devonian by birth, so it came as quite a surprise when he told me, not long before his death, that he was born at Blackheath. He spent part of his childhood overseas, as his father was in the Navy, before settling in South West Devon when his father became King’s Harbour Master at Plymouth. John was educated at Sherborne School in Dorset, before serving in the Royal Navy and then reading history at St Edmund Hall in Oxford, where he rowed, learnt to ring with the Oxford University Society and met Claire, whom he married in 1954.

On leaving Oxford John went to theological college at Cheshunt, and was ordained deacon in 1951. His first curacy was at Exeter St Thomas followed by Wolborough. In 1958, he moved to North-West Devon and became vicar of Clawton with Tetcott and Luffincott. I can remember him telling me stories of the cold winter of 1963, especially of driving between the parishes on the snow and ice and not using brakes.

I first met him when he became vicar of Newton St Cyres and Cowley in 1966, where he remained until the end of 1983. I was only fourteen when he arrived, and clergymen in those days were put on a bit of a pedestal by their parishioners and as a result seemed a little distant. John was different. He soon got involved in all aspects of village life, including serving as a school governor and editing and duplicating the Newton Wonder, which he reminded everyone was a magazine of the full parish, not just for those who went to church. He also started the annual event of beating the bounds and led the carol singing around the village at Christmas, both activities raising money for charity. He was often seen walking around with an open-necked shirt instead of the traditional dog-collar. He kept bees – that was a first for a vicar at Newton. He always seemed happy when surrounded by young people and, if you will excuse the expression, ‘simple country folk’. He was not one for visiting parishioners just for the sake of it, but was very supportive of those who needed him, particularly the sick and elderly.

He moved to become vicar of Bampton, with three other country parishes, at the beginning of 1984, the same year he was appointed a Prebendary of Exeter Cathedral. He retired to Totnes in 1991, where he continued to take services in the Totnes group. Retirement enabled him to follow and develop many interests, particularly sailing. He had always been very keen on sailing, but hadn’t had the time to enjoy it as much as he would have liked. Sadly, in 1998, Claire died suddenly, but it was typical of John that he learnt to cook for himself and reminded me on more than one occasion that he hadn’t needed to resort to ready meals from supermarkets.

He was a very practical man and very able wood-worker. Many a time at Newton St Cyres I found him in his well-equipped workshop, mending something or making something new, including items of furniture and detailed models (particularly ships and boats).

In his early days he developed a great love of Dartmoor and spent many hours walking all parts, including walking from South to North in a day, and became very knowledgeable on wildlife, particularly birds and butterflies.

He always had a great interest in architecture and at Newton St Cyres developed an interest in clocks, when he and one of his parishioners set about restoring the church clock, which had been silent for many years.

His ringing career makes different reading than most. He was not a prolific peal- ringer and certainly didn’t keep records, but there are a few worthy of mention. His first peal was Plain Bob Minor at Oxford St Thomas, with the OUS, conducted by Rodney Meadows. He rang a few peals for the Devon Guild during the 1950s including ringing the tenors at South Molton and Crediton to Major and strapping the tenor at Exeter Cathedral to a peal of Caters. He was very proud to have rung in the first peal of Surprise Major for the Guild by a resident band, Cambridge at Wolborough in January 1956. After moving to North Devon, he rang very few peals and his last was Plain Bob Major at Newton St Cyres in December 1983.

However, his contribution to the exercise was much more than most of us will ever equal. He was elected as Chairman of the Exeter Branch of The Guild of Devonshire Ringers in 1954 and remained an officer until his death, including over 50 years as librarian. He was Bell advisor to the Diocese for over 40 years, Central Council rep for over 30 years as well as being a Vice-President and serving a year as Guild Master.

He also did a great amount of work for the Central Council, serving as President from 1981 to 1984, being a member of the Towers and Belfry Committee for over 40 years and was a long-standing member of the Rescue Fund for Redundant bells. As mentioned above, he represented the Devon Guild on the Council for over 30 years before being elected an honorary member in 1986 and remaining in that capacity until becoming a life member in 1998.

He was the longest-serving member of The Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund and was chairman from its founding in the early 1970s until succeeded by James Clarke in 2003. He was also a member of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths.

When I first knew John he was a very active ringer, ringing regularly on practice nights and Sundays at Newton St Cyres as well as attending Guild meetings and practices at Exeter Cathedral and other local towers. However, as he took on more and more duties the time spent on the end of a rope diminished and there are many current Guild members who have never seen him ring, even though they might have considered that they knew him well.

He enjoyed call-change ringing and in his younger days took part in and judged competitions. He was a good teacher and always enjoyed helping learners. He was very proud of the young band that he taught at Newton at the end of the 1960s, including his own children Rebecca, John and Joe. Although he didn’t have as much time to further his own ringing, he took a keen interest in the activities of his trainees that continued in the exercise. He told me on many occasions of the sense of pride he felt on discovering that I had been included in the band that rang a peal at St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the centenary of the Central Council.

Most of us will remember John as a bell historian and marvel at his great knowledge of not only bells but church architecture and church clocks. Over the years he had taken part in many radio and newspaper interviews and appeared on television talking about bells. He wrote a short history of the Devon Guild to coincide with its centenary in 1974 and a short booklet on the bells of Exeter Cathedral. At the end of 2006, a lifetime’s work came to fruition with the publication of The Towers and Bells of Devon, a book in two volumes containing over 700 pages. It had involved him making many visits to get details of all the bells in all the towers in the County – this would be a big task in any county, but in Devon it must have been a huge commitment. The work on this book had been undertaken jointly with Frank Mack and latterly, James Clarke.

John was first discovered to have bowel cancer in the early autumn of 2005, but he made a very quick recovery from surgery and was able to join his family and friends to celebrate his 80th birthday in December of the same year. The cancer returned towards the end of 2006 and even though he was undergoing treatment, he still led a very active life. His final illness was very brief, less than a week before his death his son, John, had taken him ringing at South Brent.

I remember John as a large, good humoured man with a great enthusiasm and unlimited energy for life. I consider myself very privileged to have known him and be able to regard him as a true friend. I miss him now and will continue to do so.

Our best wishes go to Rebecca, John and Joe.

Michael Mears

Peals and Quarter peals rung in memory of Prebendary John G M Scott

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Buckfastleigh, Devon
Holy Trinity
Thursday, 12 July 2007 in 2h45 (15-3-14)
5056 Clipston S Major
Composed by: BYROC; Arr B V Mountjoy 
1  Lee D Avery 
2  Mervyn C Way 
3  Roger King 
4  Jill M Hansford 
5  Ian W Avery 
6  John Hill 
7  Ian V J Smith 
8  Michael E C Mears (C) 
Dorset County Association

Huntsham, Devon
All Saints
Thursday, 12 July 2007 in 2h 55min (8-0-27)
5184 Spliced Surprise Major (7 methods)
Being 960 changes of Cambridge, 768 changes each of Lincolnshire, Pudsey, Rutland, 
Superlative and Yorkshire and 384 changes of London, with 155 changes of method.
Composed by: Marcus C W Sherwood 
1  D John Knight 
2  Lesley A Knipe 
3  Jeffrey Knipe 
4  Lynne P Hughes 
5  Frederick J Sage 
6  Graham W Elmes 
7  Michael Hatchett 
8  Timothy F Collins (C) 

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Newton St Cyres, Devon
SS Cyr & Juletta
Monday, 16 July 2007 in 2h41 (12-3-22)
5088 Bristol S Major
Composed by: D F Morrison (No 62) 
1  Ian W Avery 
2  Ann Smith 
3  Howard W Egglestone 
4  Ian V J Smith 
5  Lester J Yeo 
6  Ian L C Campbell 
7  Matthew J Hilling 
8  Michael E C Mears (C) 

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Thorverton, Devon
St Thomas of Canterbury
Thursday, 19 July 2007 in 2h52 (15-0-4)
5184 Cambridge S Major
Composed by: D F Morrison (No 3) 
1  Michael R Rose 
2  Mervyn C Way 
3  Ian W Avery 
4  Pauline Champion 
5  Jill M Hansford 
6  Paul J Pascoe 
7  Ian V J Smith 
8  Michael E C Mears (C) 

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Taunton, Somerset
St George, Wilton
Monday, 23 July 2007 in 2h51 (8)
5000 Yorkshire S Royal
(cyclical, split tenors and half lead calls)
Composed by: M P A Wilby 
1  Ian L C Campbell 
2  Matthew J Hilling (C) 
3  P Wendy Campbell 
4  Lester J Yeo 
5  Ann Smith 
6  John Hill 
7  John A Foster 
8  Pauline Champion 
9  Ian V J Smith 
10  Paul J Pascoe 

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Thorverton, Devon
St Thomas of Canterbury
Thursday, 19 July 2007 in 2h52 (15-0-4)
5184 Cambridge S Major
Composed by: D F Morrison (No 3) 
1  Michael R Rose 
2  Mervyn C Way 
3  Ian W Avery 
4  Pauline Champion 
5  Jill M Hansford 
6  Paul J Pascoe 
7  Ian V J Smith 
8  Michael E C Mears (C) 
In memory of Prebendary John Scott  

Guild of Devonshire Ringers
Plympton, Devon. 
St Maurice.
Saturday Aug 11th 2007. 3 hr 7min (16)
5376 Quercus S Major
Arr F M S Stracey
1  John M Body
2  Clare L Stagg
3  Christopher H Wardle
4  Alena J Wardle
5  Donald J Crocker
6  Owen J Borlase
7  David J Crocker
8  Fergus MS Stracey (c)

Ancient Society of College Youths
Huntsham, Devon
All Saints
Sunday July 29, 2007 in 3h 3min (8-0-27)
5280 Omega S Major
1  Christopher R Field
2  Clare L Stagg
3  Louise A M James
4  Mervyn  C Way
5  Michael Hatchett
6  Jeffery Knipe
7  Richard A M Newman
8  Fergus M S Stracey (c)

Freehold Society
Loughborough, Leics.
Bellfoundry Tower
Tuesday, 17 July 2007 in 2hr20min (6-2-13)
5024 Gracefulness Surprise Major
Composed by: P M Mason 
1  George A Dawson 
2  Paul M Mason 
3  Colin Lord 
4  Harry Poyner 
5  Martyn J Marriott 
6  Duncan K Wallace 
7  Andrew A Ward 
8  Andrew D Higson (C) 
First peal in the method:

Quarter peals

Dawlish, Devon
17 Eastcliff Road
12 July 2007 1260 Plain Bob Minor 
1-2  Nigel Birt 
3-4  Lynne Hughes 
5-6  Tim Bayton (C) 

Torquay, St. Marychurch, Devon
15 July 2007 1259 Grandsire Caters 
1  Peter Clements 
2  Rowenna Mansley 
3  Nigel Birt 
4  Helen Mansley 
5  Rev Russell Chamberlain 
6  Don Roberts 
7  Martin Mansley (C) 
8  Tim King 
9  Philip Stevens 
10  Paul Latham 

Withycombe Raleigh, Devon
16 July 2007 1260 Stedman Triples 
1  Brian Horrell 
2  Maureen Hawkins 
3  Wendy Campbell 
4  David Wills 
5  Helen Hitchins 
6  Roger King 
7  John Foster (c) 
8  Derek Hawkins 

Dawlish, Devon
26 July 2007 1260 Plain Bob Minor 
1  Gill Jolly 
2  Fiona Rock-Evans 
3  Phil Hughes 
4  Sue Sturdy 
5  Lynne Hughes (C) 
6  John Langabeer 
Rung by members of the Ravers midweek group, of which he was a member. 

Aberdeen, Grampian
23 July 2007 1280 London S Major 
1  James Smith 
2  Michael Harrison 
3  Philip Goodyer 
4  Douglas Bell 
5  Nigel Newton (c) 
6  David Bleby 
7  Douglas Nichols 
8  Christopher Pickford 

Willoughby on the Wolds, Notts. 
25 July 1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1  George A Dawson  (c)
2  Jennie Oldham
3  Frances North
4  Margaret Left (c)
5 Matthew D Dawson (c)

Wolborough, Devon
 22nd July 1260 Grandsire Triples 
1 Caroline Chamberlain
2 Paul Pascoe
3 Ian Avery
4 Lee Avery
5 Tim King
6 Martin Mansley
7 Peter Bill (C)
8 Russell Chamberlain 

Huntsham, Devon. 
28 July, 1260 Plain Bob Minor: 
1 Pat Hatchett 
2 Sheila Scofield 
3 Leslie Boyce 
4 Michael Hatchett 
5 Tony Trigg  
6 Matthew Weighell (c) 
Rung by helpers at the Troyte Ringing Centre. 
Prebendary John Scott was previously Vicar of St. Michael and 
All Angels Bampton, which together with All Saints Huntsham, 
form the two towers at which the Ringing Centre is based.

John Butler MBE April 21st 1905 - August 7th 2007.

John, Rosemary Morgan's father, was born in Derbyshire and moved to Bradfield, Berkshire when he was 9 years old. John went to school in Bradfield and spent the 1st WW in the village. In 1919, in response to a recruitment drive for more bell ringers after the war, John took up bell ringing at St Andrew's church, Bradfield. John spent all his working life at Bradfield College and rang the bells in St Andrew's church for over 80 years and was tower captain for over 70 of those years. During his 80 years of ringing in Berkshire he taught numerous people to ring and many of them are still ringing today - some still in Bradfield. This was considered a remarkable achievement and in 2001 John was awarded the MBE for his services to church bell ringing.

In 2000 John moved to Devon to live with Rosemary. For his first four years in Chudleigh he continued to ring bells and became well known and much loved by the Chudleigh bell ringers. John last rang at Chudleigh four years ago, on his 98th birthday.

The photo shows John Butler, aged 102.


Sat  1  Training morning: St Marychurch/Babbacombe (Mid)
Sat  1  Bells & skittles evening: Woodbury (19:00) (Exeter)
Wed  5  Advanced Doubles practice: Offwell (19:30) (East)
Mon 10  Advanced practice: Heavitree (19:30) (Exeter)
Thu 13  Plain Hunt practice: Sidbury (19:30) (East)
Tue 18  Branch practice: Crediton (19:30) (Exeter)
Thu 20  Branch practice: Payhembury (19:30) (East)
Fri 21  *Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30) (East)
Sat 22  Branch training day, listening skills: Bampton (10:00) (NE)
Tue 25  Branch practice: Sidmouth (19:30) (East)
Fri 28  Branch practice: Clyst St George (19:30) (Ayles)
Sat 29  Branch outing (SW)

Wed  3  Advanced Doubles practice: Offwell (19:30) (East)
Sat  6  Branch outing: Bristol (by train) (Mid)
Sat  6  Branch AGM and Members' Forum: Cullompton (NE)
Mon  8  Advanced practice: Exeter St Mark (19:30) (Exeter)
Thu 11  Plain Hunt practice: Sidbury (19:30) (East)
Sat 13  Quarterly meeting: Awliscombe (14:30) (East)
Fri 19  *Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30) (East)
Sat 20  Guild striking competitions (unconfirmed) (Guild)
Wed 24  Treble Dodging Major practice: Huntsham (19:30) (NE)
Fri 26  Novice 12-bell practice: Withycombe Raleigh (19:30) (Ayles)
Tue 30  Branch practice: Sidmouth (19:30) (East)
Wed 31  Branch practice: Stoke Damerel (19:00) (SW)

Sat  3  Branch bonfire party: Newton St Cyres (19:00) (Exeter)
Sat  3  Branch AGM: Fremington (N/NW)
Wed  7  Advanced Doubles practice: Offwell (19:30) (East)
Thu  8  Plain Hunt practice: Sidbury (19:30) (East)
Sat 10  Branch training day, Plain Bob Minor: Huntsham (10:00) (NE)
Mon 12  Branch practice: Shute (19:30) (East)
Mon 12  Advanced practice: Heavitree (19:30) (Exeter)
Fri 16  *Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30) (East)
Sat 17  Branch AGM (Exeter)
Thu 22  Branch practice: Broadclyst (19:30) (Ayles)
Sat 24  Branch AGM: St Marychurch (Mid)
Sat 24  Branch dinner (NE)
Tue 27  Branch practice: Sidmouth (19:30) (East)
Wed 28  Treble Dodging Major practice: Huntsham (19:30) (NE)

Sat  1  Branch AGM: Littleham (Ayles)
Wed  5  Advanced Doubles practice: Offwell (19:30) (East)
Mon 10  Advanced practice: Heavitree (19:30) (Exeter)
Thu 13  Plain Hunt practice: Sidbury (19:30) (East)
Sat 15  Devon Ringers' Ringers Carol Service: Exeter Cathedral (15:00) (Guild + Assn)
Fri 21  *Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30) (East)
Fri 28  Novice 12-bell practice: Withycombe Raleigh (19:30) (Ayles)
*Please contact Derek Ballard( to confirm date, as this can sometimes change.

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Pages formatted by Ian Campbell

Updated 06/10/2007