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. The cost is £5.00 for four issues (cheques made payable to Guild of Devonshire Ringers). RRD is also available on line on the Guild's website at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/gdr/, 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.
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A full scale review of the Guild was launched at the Guild Festival, which took place in Exeter on 21st June. Three working parties have been formed, each to look at one important area of the Guild’s work and responsibilities, in order to shape the direction of the Guild for the next twenty years. Clearly not all Guild members can serve on the review body, but all are invited to make their contribution, by passing on their comments and suggestions to the Guild secretary.
The three groups will be looking at these topics:
After the Guild Annual General Meeting, each group met and appointed someone to chair their meetings and someone to take notes. The interim reports of the three groups should be ready by the end of November, and it is hoped that the final report should be available for consideration by the membership at next year’s Guild Festival.
Other business considered by the meeting included the election of a number of vice-presidents, the appointment of John Steere of Stoke Damerel as Guild Master elect for 2009-10, the approval of budgets for the Guild library and for RRD, and agreement on the purchase of some library shelving; it was also suggested that towers might ring for at least two minutes in the afternoon of 28th August to mark the closure of the Beijing Olympics, and the handing-over the Olympic flag to the British party in advance of the London Olympic games in 2012. Russell Chamberlain took over as Guild Master for the current year, and wore his badge of office over his alb as he conducted the Guild service.
The day was for many the first chance to ring on the twelve at Crediton, which was the first tower open during the day; the Crediton ringers provided welcome refreshments in the Boniface Centre during the ringing. Meanwhile a training session was held at Newton St Cyres for those wishing to break into the intricacies of ringing Surprise Major. The Frank Mack bells were available at St Mark’s, as well as the ten bells in the tower. Unfortunately the tenor clapper fell out, and one important piece was lost – it was subsequently found hidden in Matt Hilling’s clothing (the tenor of the mini-ring, that is). The local ringers provided a delicious lunch before the meeting, as well as tea after the service. After ringing at St Petrock’s, there were over seventy people in the ringing chamber at the Cathedral, and the evening for the hardiest ended with a pint in the George’s Meeting House. It was agreed that the Guild had spent a very pleasant day, with an uncontroversial meeting, the opportunity for some challenging ringing, the renewal of old friendships, and the welcoming of new friends and Guild members.
The accompanying photographs show some of the aspects of the day.
Fittingly, Ian Smith’s 2000th peal was scored on Peter Bill’s big day, at Thorverton in April, by way of background, Ian writes: about lunchtime on Saturday 18th February, 1961, my mother took a ‘phone call: “Could Ian ring a peal this afternoon? I’ll pick him up.” Such an opportunity was not to be spurned. Such were the beginnings of a misspent youth…… er, life.
Some 47 years later came the footnote “2000th peal”: in between, the opportunity to ring with many fine (some formidable!) ringers, and to visit many fine rings of bells all over the UK and as far afield as America, Canada and Australia.
The success, quality and complexity of peals depends to a large extent on the conductor, and I owe much to the likes of David House and David Smith in Sussex, Stan Jenner in Kent, Dennis Beresford and Derek Sibson in the Cumberland Youths, and of course latterly to Matthew Hilling and Mike Mears in Devon.
Amongst memorable peals I suppose the one that sticks in my mind was at Liverpool Cathedral, as much for the fear factor as anything else. Frightening also is the stuff Matt Hilling gets us to learn! Probably the most picturesque journey to a peal was the visit to Victoria on Vancouver Island, with a glorious ferry trip weaving between the islands off the coast of British Columbia.
Statistics only get boring. Suffice it to say that the person with whom I have rung most peals is my wife Ann (983) – leading conductor is me (527) with Mike Mears next (270) – leading Association is Sussex (957) with Devon next (510) – and leading tower (who would have guessed it!) Thorverton on 141.
Many thanks to all those who have tolerated me over the years, and here’s to the next 2000…… By the way, I still need Plain Bob Caters and Cinques!
1 Mervyn C Way
2 Ann Smith
3 Paul J Pascoe
4 Peter L Bill
5 Ian W Avery
6 Jill M Hansford
7 Michael R Rose
8 Pauline Champion
9 Ian V J Smith
10 Michael E C Mears (C)
To celebrate Peter Bill's 60th birthday; 2000th peal: 9.
First peal in the method.
The picture shows Ian Smith (3rd from left) with the peal band
MICHAEL ROSE’S 1000th PEAL CELEBRATED Michael Rose rang his 1000th peal in April, at Milverton, and in some style, with a peal of Glasgow Surprise Major. Congratulations!
Guild of Devonshire Ringers
St Michael & All Angels
Saturday, 26 April 2008 in 3h5 (17-2-12)
5056 Glasgow S Major
Composed by: D F Morrison (No 1849)
1 Brian V Mountjoy
2 Lester J Yeo
3 Ian V J Smith
4 Timothy M Payne
5 Michael R Rose
6 Pauline Champion
7 Ian R Fielding
8 Michael E C Mears (C)
First Glasgow & 1000th peal: 5
The picture shows the successful peal band. Mike Rose is back row, left
Also, not strictly a Guild event, in the Devon eight-bell competiton at Huntsham:
1) The Exeter Cathedral Band came a very creditable 3rd
2) 13 year old Thomas Grant rang for Kingsteignton(who won it)
RINGING TALK FOR BISHOPSTEIGNTON PROBUS CLUB On April 15th Ian Campbell was asked to give a talk about bell ringing to the Bishopsteignton Probus club, aided by Peter Bill and Howard Egglestone. Peter introduced the topic and gave a brief summary of the history of change ringing. Ian Campbell then demonstrated how bells are rung full circle with the help of a demonstration bell (“Lilly”) which was borrowed from Withycombe Raleigh. He then looked at how changes could be rung, demonstrated with the three ringers ringing from one to six handbells to methods. For larger numbers of bells some recordings of local bells were played, concluding with a computer simulation of 22 handbells ringing Little Bob. After this Howard filled in the last ten minutes looking at the way that ringing is organised both locally and nationally.
At the end a lively question and answer session followed, with some rather astute questions (eg how many different methods can be rung?) and others that showed that they had obviously slept through at least some of the talk as the answer had already been covered in the session! The group then moved to the bar for further informal discussions, before heading back home in the bright April sunshine.
There seems to be a grapevine of those involved in organising these mid-week talks as I have now been asked for similar talks for the Parkinson Association in Torquay (September), a forum in Cullompton (December), the Ladies Probus Club in Totnes (February 2009), and another appearance at Bishopsteignton in December 2009! I hope that the publicity provided by these events does the exercise good and helps members of the public appreciate the bells a little more than before.
Devon Young Ringers’ Easter Outing On 18th April, with the Easter holidays drawing to a close, ten young ringers aged eight to fourteen went round three towers close to Exeter. They were accompanied by some mums, four helpers and Daisy the dog. A lively Jack Russell is a must for any such day, and was a popular side-show.
The day got off to an inauspicious start when the organiser got locked in the toilet at Ide, but the young people rang well on this easy going six. Next was Brampford Speke where the low ceiling caused some worries, but all were fine. An Easter themed picnic followed at Brampford Speke, more than one person having brought quantities of chocolate crispies nests - too many to consume and some were left over! (Feeding of the five thousand?) The coloured handbells made an appearance; tunes were puzzled over, and two young ringers had their first go at plain hunt in hand.
The final tower was Pinhoe for some eight bell ringing, and a ball to chase for Daisy. Ringing for the day included call changes, plain bob, Grandsire, Stedman Doubles and Kent Minor. The day was undoubtedly fun, but feedback that some young ringers had rung better than ever the following Sunday was an added bonus.
Having had a spring and autumn outing last year, we are falling into a pattern, and intend to hold an autumn one in the Okehampton area.
The photos show the group at Pinhoe and Jasper, Amy & Tom at Ide, helped by Phil Stevens.
EXETER BRANCH ANNUAL BBQ, SATURDAY, 7TH JUNE 2008
Saturday's weather was pretty much the norm for an early British June, heavy showers, followed by strong sunshine followed by more showers etc. Luckily for the thirty three who attended, from the Exeter Branch along with representatives from the Aylesbeare & East Devon Branch, our BBQ coincided with a sunshine break!
Although the weather was rather cool at times, we were all warmed by the convivial atmosphere, the beautifully prepared salads and cooked food, (not to forget the scrumptious desserts) and some lovely drinks at the bar. Our hosts, Tony and Jenny Osborne, were very kind in inviting us into their very pretty garden; their hospitality was very much appreciated. Thanks too to Ian and Wendy Campbell, who both did a splendid job cooking and serving the hot food. How did you keep up with us hungry souls? Thanks too to the children, who were very well behaved.
PS. A special thanks to "Maff" from the Met Office, who was so confident in the weather that he had arranged, that he came along to enjoy the evening as well.
The pictures show Ian demonstrating that some men can multi-task and attendees enjoying the food, chat and evening sunshine.
EXETER BRANCH MAYDAY TRAIN AND BELLS OUTING TO BRISTOL
Eleven of us, ringers and companions, met in the nick of time on the platform to catch the 9.25 train. The weather was rather cool and dry, but looked fairly good for our walking later on. After a smooth, swift and uneventful journey on a fairly packed train, we arrived in Bristol to be greeted by a further two ringers who had made the same journey on an earlier train. We all then set off on foot to the first ringing venue at St Philip and St Jacob, which we reached about twenty minutes later. The church within its yard, appeared to be encapsulated by the modern roads and development that surrounded it. Plainly Bristol is a major city, with plenty of old churches and it was still easy to imagine the bustle of the Victorian horsedrawn era within it. We were met there by the Tower Captain, Richard Bowden, who is known to many Devonshire ringers and he let us into the church and led the way up into the ringing chamber. He pointed out through the window that the church roof had temporary plastic sheeting over it, as thieves had recently stolen the lead (for the third time this year!). The bells were mounted on plain bearings and as a novice ringer, I found that they required greater effort to keep them going! Amongst the peal boards there was one dated December 1918, which marked a peal rung to celebrate the end of the First World War. Inscribed on it were the words "ringing out a thousand years of war, ringing in a thousand years of peace"! Helen Mansley, who comes from Torquay and is currently studying at Bristol University, also joined us there. Helen was to be our superb 'local' guide and here she suggested what turned out to be an excellent pub for our lunch. After ringing, we set off to the pub, passing an interestingly placed sculpture of Bristol's 'main man', who else but the famous engineer I K Brunel. The pub was set in a recently developed pedestrian piazza and we dined alfresco (see photo), enjoying the weak spring sunshine, sheltered from the cool wind.
From the pub, St John on the Wall was not far to walk and we passed some architectural relics of the trading years of Bristol's past, seeing some of the remaining waterside warehouses on the tidal Avon river. Here, barges and possibly sailing ships would have discharged and loaded their cargoes directly to and from the security of the buildings. Time here also to enjoy a short pause with ice cream for those who didn't indulge in the pudding at the pub!
St John on the Wall was literally on top of the city wall (see photo) and it was necessary to climb steps to enter the church. The ringing chamber was directly over an arched gateway to the city. On the way to and from St John's, we walked along Broad Street in what appeared to be an old, very well established, possibly financial district with one particularly attractive and notable building, which was the printing house of Edward Everard completed in 1900. Everard was an admirer of William Morris, the founder of the Arts and Crafts movement. The architect Henry Williams and designer W J Neatby produced the frontage that can still be seen with the glazed tiles produced by the Dolton Company. If you are interested, visit www.about-bristol.co.uk/arc-07.asp for pictures and more details.
On to St Stephen, where at least the front half of the ring was very flighty and for me, difficult to get used to. Nevertheless, a pleasant time was had by all including some called changes being rung at a fairly rapid pace.
Alas, time was now short and on leaving St Stephen's, we found that the weather had changed and it was now raining heavily. However on our way back to Temple Meads, we walked across Queen Square, which is a spaciously delightful urban square, being surrounded by magnificent terraced houses, which at one time would have been single residences. The mature trees, grass and broad, light coloured gravel paths reminded me of French parks, complete with their boule pitches.
We departed from Temple Meads on time, on another well-patronised train. It appears to me that putting longer trains into service would easily solve the problem of overcrowding, but perhaps I'm just taking a simplistic view! It was a great day out enjoyed by all and our thanks go to those who organised it for us.
The pictures show the church of St John on the Wall, and some of the tourists dining al fresco.
Norman Mallett writes:
This photograph was given to me in the late 1960s by Bill Howe the then Ringing Master at Exeter Cathedral. As a result of sending it to Taylors. Eayre & Smith, Bellfounders at Loughborough for comment, their Bellmaster kindly provided me with the following information -
The 14 bells photographed on the Abbey floor were the original peal cast by Wamer & Son of Cripplegate in 1914. These bells were erected in a temporary wooden frame prior to completion of the tower as we see it to-day. The bells are set out with a bearing on top of each bell which was of Wamers patented self aligning plain bearing design. The bells were broken up and re-cast by Taylors in 1935.
The picture shows the original 14 bells of Buckfast, cast in 1914.
Branch outing voted a great success
A total of 19 ringers joined the South West Branch Outing on 17 May, braving torrential rain in the early part of the day and rewarded by drier weather by mid-morning.
Six towers were visited, beginning with Sampford Peverell and then Uffculme (a very busy village on a Saturday morning, which some of us grew to know quite well as we searched the streets for parking spots) and finishing at Plymtree before lunch. This was taken in various spots, from churchyards to pubs, before the refreshed ringers met again at Bradninch and then went on to Rewe and Sowton.
As always, the bells and towers varied interestingly - and sometimes challengingly - but it was agreed that the choices had been good, the route well-planned and the day enjoyable and very successful.
An invitation to join in the practice at Exeter Cathedral was eventually sadly declined by most of the ringers, who needed to get home for other commitments (such as dogwalking) or simply to recover in time for next morning's service ringing.
THE DEVON CHURCH BELL RESTORATION FUND Once again our spring meeting on March 19th (strictly still in winter – but then Holy Week was particularly early this year!) was held at Brian Drake’s home in North Tawton: Mrs Drake had only just come out of hospital (we are pleased to say she is fine now), so their daughter came over and organised refreshments for us. Treasurer Mary Mears, indicated that the Fund was in a very healthy position, currently standing at £28,860, though significant expenditure was expected towards the end of the year.
The grant of £5,500 for Sampford Spiney agreed at our last meeting was reconsidered, as, in our enthusiasm to support the project, we had overlooked the fact that the augmentation aspect of the work should have been excluded from our deliberations. A revised grant of £5,000 was made. Work is now well in hand at Sampford Spiney. The bells were removed from the tower in April, the two new trebles have been cast, the new frame is being built and the old 4th bell welded, having been found to be cracked when the headstock was removed.
Three further grants were agreed - £1,000 to Sidmouth for servicing/replacing bearings, replacing clapper pins and rebushing, overhauling/replacing pulleys, and descaling and repainting the bell-frame; £1,000 to Walkhampton for replacing the beam ends of the sub-frame; and £2,200 to Membury towards rehanging the six bells.
It was learned that the four bells at Northleigh had been rehung without recourse to the Fund. The work at Plymouth, Emmanuel, is now complete, and there is renewed enthusiasm at Stoke Canon for carrying out their proposed rehang at the same time as other major works on the church building.
Graham Sharland will again be organising a competition in aid of the Fund at Dunsford and Doddiscombsleigh on July 19th. Further details can be obtained from him.
The next meeting of the Fund will be on Saturday 8th November, before the Devon Association AGM at North Tawton.
The TRC held a very successful training day on Saturday 3rd May. In fact Raising and lowering in peal was so successful that we have arranged another second session on 7th June for those who were unable to attend in May. With many more students than helpers the quickest learners had to become helpers to increase the number of bells being rung up and down in peal.
There are still places available for Bell handling (26th July) and Listening skills (27th September) which will take place using the practice bell in Bampton. Please contact Pat Hatchett for a place.
Saturday 5th April was hosted by the Uffculme ringers. Members of the NE branch began ringing shortly after 3pm followed by a service conducted by Jill Piercy. As always the Uffculme ladies delivered an excellent spread before the meeting. Items for discussion included tower and ringing centre updates, progress with ‘display boards’ ……..?
With the forecast of rain we set off from Tiverton at 8 00 in the morning – we being 24 waterproofed souls from the North-East Branch, members, friends and family, on our annual outing in a ‘Ridlers’ bus with plenty of room to swing a cat.
Good progress allowed time for an unscheduled quick coffee before ringing at Wareham, while non-ringers took the opportunity to shop. We rang rounds and call-changes on the 10 together with Plain Hunt Caters and an attempt at Grandsire Caters. Considering we were thin on the ground due to prior commitments and illness the ringing was very creditable. Many of the group rarely ring on 10 and Tiverton St Peter’s newest recruit, Margaret, had never rung in any other tower before.
With Les as trip organiser and knowing the area well, he navigated the bus driver to the Quay at Poole. The whole party made the boat trip across Poole Harbour to Brownsea Island. Here we were welcomed warmly by the National Trust staff who were well versed in bellringers’ way and we were entrusted with the tower key. Although the bells (4cwt) are much lighter than any of us are used to, we had some good call-changes and method touches plus an excellent lower – all rung by gas light. Some of us then took part in a tour of part of the Island led by a National Trust guide who explained the Island’s history and talked about its eccentric owners.
We even managed to get a few glimpses of the legendary red squirrels, although at this time of year they are much lighter and easier to spot with their blond tails. With Les in control there was, of course, time for a National Trust tea, before leaving the Island for a trip around Poole’s large natural harbour with a commentary pointing out the other islands and their special features.
Arriving back at Poole Quay we were escorted off the boat by the Brownies, with whom we had travelled, by a rendition of “Ging-Gang-Gooly”. From Poole to Lyme Regis, where we were met by the promised rain and we resumed our, (now practised) 10-bell ringing.
After a long day many of the group continued in party spirit with a meal at ‘The Globe’ at Sampford Peverell with all concerned declaring the day a great success.
The pictures show the church of St Mary, Brownsea Island and the power of advertising!
The first tower was East Budleigh (9cwt), a rather tricky little ring, but well worth working at. Ringing ranged from rounds and call changes to surprise major. A leisurely walk along the banks of the River Otter to Otterton was rewarded by an opportunity to have coffee and sticky buns in the Otterton Mill, before tackling the 12 cwt 6 and their elongated ringing circle. Difficult to get music out of these typical old style bells. Rounds, call changes and simple minor methods. Then on to lunch at the King’s Arms. The afternoon walk took us to Colaton Raleigh with its ground floor ring of 6 (12cwt). Ringing competed with the offer of tea and cakes in the village hall, despite which most seemed to salve their consciences by ringing before eating. Overall, it was really rewarding to see our learners making creditable progress, and to note the help given by those more able.
Fellowship was evident, and at times our walk looked like the Canterbury Tales, with little groups forming, chatting and splitting to form new ones. This was the first of our planned joint events and we look forward to the next.
The first photo shows the first arrivals of 28 ringers who took part on the day.
Whose feet are those in the second picture? You may never see him wearing shoes again this year….
Chris Barnes had agreed to judge the competition along with Martin Dodd. Unfortunately Chris had a mishap at Exminster and is out of action. Martin persuaded David Robertson to join him and the two did a fine job for us.
Dawlish got the evening started and it was clear that they had vastly improved from last year. The judges felt the tenor ringer was inexperienced and a little more rhythm was needed. Kingskerswell rang next and this time the tenor set a good beat but the judges felt that the rest of the band found it hard to settle. The next team was St Marychurch “E” ringing Stedman. The judges remarked on the difficulty in getting the leading just right in Stedman but good tenor ringing and excellent dodging in 4-5 gave the piece a good beat and very enjoyable ringing. The final team were St. Marychurch “G”. Although the ringing never really settled and almost came to grief in the last course the team were commended for determination to keep going to the end. The final results were
1 St Marychurch “E” 19 faults
2 Kingskerswell 76 faults
3 Dawlish 77 faults
4 St.Marychurch “G” 111 faults
The evening concluded in the Church House Inn and all agreed that it had been a successful and worthwhile evening. We are very grateful to the judges and send Chris our best wishes and hope he is soon on the end of a rope again.
Wed 2 Advanced Doubles practice: Honiton (19:30) East Sat 5 Branch Quarterly Meeting: Clayhidon NE Sat 5 Half Day Ringing Tour: South Hams Mid Sat 5 Branch practice: Bridgerule (19:00) NNW Fri 11 Plain Hunt practice: Clyst St George (20:00) Ayles Sat 12 Branch practice: Lamerton (19:00) SW Mon 14 8 Bell practice: Heavitree (19:30) Exeter Sat 19 Branch striking competition: Offwell (14.30) East Sat 19 Branch Training Day, Bampton: Bell handling workshop (10:00) NE Thur 10 Plain Hunt practice: Sidbury (19:30) East Fri 18 Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30) East Wed 23 8 Bell practice: Huntsham (19:30) NE Fri 25 12-bell novice practice: Withycombe Raleigh (19:30) Ayles Sat 26 Ringing recruitment event at Mid Devon Show NE Tues 29 Branch practice: Sidmouth (19:30) East
Sat 2 Branch practice: Denbury/East Ogwell (19:00) Mid Sat 2 Branch practice (19:00) NNW Fri 8 Plain Hunt practice: Clyst St George (20:00) Ayles Fri 15 Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30) East Sat 16 Joint meeting with Dunster Branch NE Fri 22 12-bell novice practice: Withycombe Raleigh (19:30) Ayles
Wed 3 Advanced Doubles practice: Honiton (19:30) East Wed 3 Branch committee meeting: Castle School, Tiverton (19:30) NE Fri/Sat 5/6 Ringing Roadshow: Stoneleigh Park, Warks National Sat 6 Branch practice (19:00) NNW Mon 8 10 Bell practice: St Mark's (19:30) - note change of venue Exeter Tue ?? Branch practice: Luppitt (19:30) East Sat 13 Training Morning: St Marychurch (9:30) Mid Thur 11 Plain Hunt practice: Sidbury (19:30) East Thur 11 Targeted practice: Shobrooke (19:30) Exeter Fri 12 Plain Hunt practice: Clyst St George (20:00) Ayles Fri 19 Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30) East Thur 25 Targeted practice: Shobrooke (19:30) Exeter Fri 26 12-bell novice practice: Withycombe Raleigh (19:30) Ayles Sat 27 Branch Training Day, Bampton: Listening Skills (10:00) NE Sat 27 Autumn outing: TBC SW Mon 29 Branch practice: Littleham (19:45) Ayles Tues 30 Branch practice: Sidmouth (19:30) East
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