Newsletter 71: September 2008





Mr and Mrs Hilling after the ceremony


Nine months in the planning, the day had arrived for Rosemary Green and Matthew Hilling. On Saturday 13 September they tied the knot amid blue skies in sunny Devon.


St Mark’s in Exeter was the venue for the service. The groom, the groom’s father and the best man were all spotted and photographed in the tower, ringing Grandsire Caters and a bob course of Stedman Caters before heading downstairs to welcome guests.



David Hilling (Groom’s father), Matt,

David Macey (Best man) trying not to pose.


The bride arrived before 2pm, so right on the hour she processed up the aisle looking radiant. Following two readings and the marriage ceremony it was time to sign the register during which time handbells were rung followed by Alleluia from Exsultate Jubilate sung by a family friend. The three leads of Kent TB Major were not without their trips and it was noticeable that the groom was concentrating more on the ringing than the signing. He even muttered under his breath at one point, ‘6 lead’!! Thanks to Tom Griffiths, Andrew Digby, David Maynard and Ian Campbell.


The reception was held at The Great Barn, Higher Ashton, on the edge of Dartmoor. Restored to its 15th century origins but detail most definitely in the 21st, it nestles in an idyllic valley 8 miles from Exeter. The 80 guests were called to eat at 5pm, with the speeches commencing at 6.45. The groom’s father acted as Master of Ceremonies, with witty introductions to all of the tables (which were named after various wines) between the three main speakers. Rosie’s father spoke eloquently about his daughter, ironically stating there had never been crossed words or disagreements over the years along with the list of DIY tasks he has for his new son-in-law. The groom responded with a toast to ‘the parents’, before the best man appraised the groom’s character with made up Mr Men, including Mr Trendy, Mr Drunk and Mr Strict – the last character relating to the groom’s efficiency at running a ringing practice.


The evening continued with a barn dance until a convoy of taxis arrived to take the happy couple and weary guests home.


Rosie and Matt departed on Sunday afternoon for a couple of nights in Newquay, with their main honeymoon due to take place at the end of October in St Lucia.


David Macey


The following ‘first in method’ peal was rung on the morning of the wedding:


Guild of Devonshire Ringers

Pinhoe, Devon

St Michael & All Angels

Saturday, 13 September 2008 in 2h 35 (10-0-19)

5056 Hillingdon Green D Major

Composed by: D G Hull

1  Pauline Champion  5  David G Maynard

2  Ian P Hill                   6  David J Mattingley

3  Paul J Pascoe          7  Reginald T McKenzie

4  Andrew P Digby       8  Michael E C Mears (C)


Wedding day compliment to Matthew Hilling and Rosie Green

First peal in the method:  x38x14x12.56.18.34x1234.58x16x18 le12(b) 


Other peals rung in their honour included Rigel Surprise Maximus at South Petherton, Ecclefechan Delight Royal (1st in method) at Thorverton, Yorkshire Surprise Major at Broadclyst, 7 Surprise Minor at Trusham, Bristol Surprise Maximus at Worcester, and Old Kea Surprise Major at St Kea, Cornwall.





6 Bell - Abbotsham (240 Doubles or Minor).

Inter-tower competition for the J P Fidler Cup: 10am - 12.30pm.  Contact the General Secretary (janet.coles@tesco.net) to book your time to ring.

Local pub for lunch: The Thatched Inn


 6 Bell Novice - Littleham (180 changes of Plain Hunt Doubles or Minor)

Inter-tower novice competition, set up in memory of John Longridge: 11am - 12.30pm.

Contact the General Secretary (janet.coles@tesco.net) to book your time to ring.

Local pub for lunch: The Crealock Arms


8 Bell - Appledore (224 Cambridge S Major or Little B Major)

Inter-branch competition for the Andrews trophy:  2pm draw. Branch Secretaries: please let the General Secretary (janet.coles@tesco.net) know if you are entering a team(s).

Local pub for lunch: The Seagate


Teams representing a branch can ring either a plain course of Cambridge S Major or the following touch of Little Bob Major:


224 Little Bob Major


W   M   H   23456


S   S   -   46325

-           24365




Janet Coles


The attendance was amazing. On Friday the exhibition hall was pretty crowded but when we arrived at about 12:00 on Saturday there was at least double the number of people there. The lecture/demonstration room seated over 400 and was just about full for the handbell concerts. Despite the appalling weather the dozen or so mini-rings seemed to be in almost constant use. Certainly the Frank Mack ring, which was taken there by the Guild, had very few idle moments. Ian Avery had done a fantastic job only days before, constructing a new set of wooden legs to support the frame and a proper floor under the bells (complete with rope bosses), making the installation look most professional. This was erected in a special tent to keep out the weather so that it was one of the few mini-rings that was available all the time, despite the incessant rain and gale force winds. It had the distinction of being both the oldest and lightest mini-ring at the event.




        Ringing in the rain                                      Bells and frame for Sampford Spiney


Also outside, but in the shelter of a building, we came across Boudewijn Zwart, the professional carillonneur who had travelled from Holland with his 50 bell portable carillon towed behind a van. He gave recitals every hour, demonstrating his amazing skill and enthusiastic personality.

Inside the vast space of the exhibition hall the most striking exhibit to me was the new bell installation destined for Sampford Spiney, near Tavistock, as demonstrated on Nicholson Engineering's stand. The five bells were removed from the tower a few months ago, and the restored and augmented bells, complete in their new frame, were brought on the back of a lorry and deposited on the floor in one move. It will take us a lot longer to put the back into the tower - the work started last week!



It was fascinating to see the Carter ringing machine in action, ringing Little Bob Maximus on a miniature set of bells, with its mechanical action and smell of hot oil. This is the precursor of the modern computerised simulators; it is wonderful to see it working fully rather than sitting as a stationary exhibit in the London Science Museum where it languished for many years with only a very occasional outing.

And then there were all the other stalls and exhibitions; We bought some bell-shaped jewellery, some ringing books, computer software and bell sensors, ringing diaries and calendars, and even a set of handbells, as well as trying our hand on a simulated mini-ring, a learner's bell, a carillon, and .....





 The Devon Ringers’ Stand                                     Derek Ballard and software


There was a steady stream of visitors to the Devon Ringers' stand. Many were especially interested in the distinctive style of the Devon competition ringing and spent some time listening to recordings of perfectly struck call changes.


The George Tribe ring had been erected on the stand (you may have seen these 6 mini bells hung for ringing at St Petrock's in Exeter) and provoked a number of comments. Unfortunately we did rather less well with selling various items: 'The Bells of Devon' handbook and the newly designed and produced cotton shopping bags, although the fids (spikes) turned by Martin Mansley seemed to sell rather better.  Surprisingly, the official count recorded sales as 11 fids, 26 bags and 8 copies of ‘Bells of Devon’!


Unfortunately we found little spare time for attending seminars; these were held on varied topics including sessions for those who have only started ringing later on in life, raising and lowering in peal, question and answer sessions, ways to learn and ring new methods, the history of women in ringing, and a special session for young people. Together with a number of towers open on the route to and from the venue there has to have been something for every ringer!


Ian Campbell





I'm sure there will be other reports on the Ringing Roadshow - two really good days of things to see and do, old friends to bump into, and some standing around in the rain holding the gazebo over a miniring. But I've been asked to write about the Young Ringers' Seminar which I attended. I went as a parent of young ringers, but frequently cast my thoughts back to when I was a 17 year old learner myself.


The session was led by a confident 18 year old boy, with a panel of ringers aged 12, 15, 17 and 21. They all contributed on a number of themes, with the responses I can remember as follows:

  1. How did you get into ringing? Four out of five had ringing parents, one had seen about it on a web site.
  2. What do you enjoy about ringing? Challenge, achievement, good ringing ("when it's not crash, bang, wallop" said one) and the social side.
  3. What are the pros and cons of having ringing parents? Help with learning, your parents knowing what you're talking about. The down side of not having your own hobby or being your own person, and the embarrassing family tiffs in front of others!
  4. What are the problems of being young in a ringing context? A few negative reactions when they've tried to help older learners, or have taken on branch office. Also, feeling guilty when progressing much faster than some older learners in the tower.
  5. What are your personal high points so far? Ringing a first quarter/full peal or first in hand. Being invited to a prestigious practice. Conquering Grandsire after a struggle.


Comments and questions from the floor were invited, but disappointingly there was only one. This was a question about getting more young people to start, and was answered with reference to 'KidsRingOut' in Wales bringing young ringers together.


I was left mulling over a comment from the 21 year old. He said that ringing involves a mental challenge and attracts people who like such a challenge. It follows (he said) that all the ringers you meet are interesting people. Quite so.        


Lynne Hughes.


Very much along the lines of the above, a letter from Janet Covey-Crump appeared in The Ringing World (September 12, p961):

“ I eavesdropped on the young people’s forum at the Roadshow, ably chaired by Alex Poole, and was encouraged to hear that three out of five answers to “What was your proudest moment in ringing?” included a leadership role. “Learning a new method and being asked to call a touch in it”, “Teaching people to ring and seeing them progress” and “Surviving the not always enjoyable challenge of being Master of a University Ringing Society for a year”.


Is there a message here on how to keep the interest of able recruits and also to make up for some of the training they might have received in the Scouts, Duke of Edinburgh etc?”







£1 per rope. In aid of Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund

For more information, see page 98 of the 2007 annual report or contact the quarter peal secretary:










A joint event with colleagues “across the border” has become an annual fixture in the calendar. This year it was N.E. Branch’s turn to host the joint meeting with the Dunster Branch of the Bath and Wells Association.  On Saturday 16th August, hampered with several weddings to ring for, a small group started the ringing at Huntsham mid-afternoon, then made their way to join the Bampton band and other members of the Branch to ring and have tea provided by the local ringers at Bampton.  The evening was rounded off by a general knowledge quiz compiled by Quiz-Master, Mike Hatchett. With three teams taking part in a wide ranging and demanding test of local knowledge, food, childhood memories and world-wide questions, one of the Dunster teams won the competition, their reward being coasters from the Troyte Ringing Centre. 


Sheila Scofield




          A Bampton style tea                                 Quiz-master Hatchett and the teams




Lucky with the weather this year, after cancellation of the show in 2007, NE Branch made their presence heard in the Churches tent.  With the first of the new display boards giving detailed information on the casting and structure of a bell, along with details of local towers we maintained interest most of the day.  During quiet spells we were able to attract attention by ringing the model bell, loaned from St Petrock’s, with many people ‘having a go’.  Not only was the event an opportunity to recruit, hopefully, a few more interested people for the Branch, but more importantly, a very successful Public Relations exercise.  My thanks go to all who helped ‘man’ the stall during the day, not only answering sometimes technical questions but also showing their enthusiasm which will hopefully encourage others to begin the learn to ring too.


Sheila Scofield


       Belle and model bell                                         The new Troyte display




1. On Thursday 26th June , the peal at St Marychurch  was on the 50th Anniversary of Don Roberts' first peal (he took part).

2. Of note is the peal at Kingsbridge on 22nd August-1st peal on the bells, the last unpealed 8 in the County.

Mike Mears



Help the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund by buying one of these eco-friendly bags, produced for the Devon Ringers Council. Made from fairly traded cotton, each bag has the Guild logo on one side and the Association logo on the other, and costs only £3. Available (while stocks last) at the Guild Competitions, at all Branch AGMs this autumn and winter and from the Guild Secretary, (janet.coles@tesco.net).                                                     

Lester Yeo






At our AGM last year we were amazed to learn that no less than THREE of our members had each recently completed 60 years membership of our Guild. They all hail from within a few miles of each other on our western boundaries and have been leading lights in the area throughout that time by teaching new ringers and generally supporting method and call change ringing. The Branch was pleased to nominate them to be considered for election as Vice-Presidents of The Guild and this was unanimously confirmed at the Guild AGM in June this year. Our congratulations go to all three (see photos) who continue to support their local Towers and various Branch activities.



     Charlie Taylor                     Jim Rich                                   John Bowden


Branch practices on the first Saturday (evening) of each month continue to be well organised by Alison, our Ringing Master, and well supported by members and the occasional visitor. There is plenty of opportunity for members to progress, be it to consolidate Plain Bob or to tackle the Standard 8 Surprise Major methods. Visitors are always welcome and details can be found in the Ringing World and on the Guild web-site. It has been a tremendous year for one of our younger members; Tom Waterson having completed peals in each of the Standard 8 methods and rung them all Spliced. At the other end of the spectrum, congratulations also go to Mike Rose who completed 1000 peals a few months ago. Well done to them – and to many others in the Branch who have achieved their own, albeit more modest, targets.


Our Branch AGM will be held on Saturday 1st November at Black Torrington (6). Again, visitors will be very welcome; details will appear in the RW and on the Web.

   Bruce Hicks

N/NW Branch Secretary




Please note that my email address is now john.steere@btinternet.com 

The old freeserve one does still work, but won't do for much longer.

John Steere

SWBranch Secretary




Every year the East Devon Branch holds a striking competition and this year was no different. I am very pleased to say this years competition was a great success. There were eight teams that entered from all over the branch, meeting in the lovely setting of Offwell. The results from the day are as follows:


1.       Sidmouth 1                             12 faults

2.       Honiton 1                                33 faults

3.       Awliscombe/Buckerell           45.5 faults

4.       Farway/Northleigh/Offwell     50 faults

5.       Luppitt                                     51.5 faults

6.       Sidmouth 2                             57 faults

7.       Ottery St Mary                       62 faults

8.       Honiton 2                                67 faults


Many congratulations to Sidmouth who took home the Edward Summers Memorial Shield - it was lovely that Kath Summers was able to present the Memorial Shield to the winning team and join us for skittles in the evening.


We would also like to thank Janet Coles for judging the competition and her encouraging comments.


Also thank you to everyone who supported the day in so many ways, especially John Seymour and the Offwell ringers for making us so welcome and providing refreshments during the afternoon (and even dry weather!).


The Sidmouth Bells are being overhauled and therefore will be out of action from September 22nd until November 2nd. This is for major maintenence i.e. clapper rebushing, main bearings maintenence and the painting of the frame. Tuesday night practices will now be at Sidbury during this time still at 7.30. All are welcome.


Stop press 

The Luppitt Bells will be out of action for the next few weeks due to work on the tower


James Harris 



The Guild Young Ringers’ Day this year was arranged for September 19th, and featured activities at Wolborough and St Paul’s Newton Abbot.  About a dozen young ringers enjoyed Wolborough bells during the afternoon, including an all-Youth Cambridge Minor band!


Following this, they moved on to St Paul’s Newton Abbot for an act of worship led by Tim King then onto a barbecue cooked by Guild Master Russell Chamberlain, finishing off with ringing on the mini-handbells.

Roger King



The Group




        The Guild Master on cooking duty                                Trying out the little handbells





125 years ago – 1883

From the St Sidwell’s Society of Ringers Minute Book

Several contentious issues arose in 1883 and this led to the calling of six extraordinary general meetings during the year in addition to the Annual Meeting held at Easter. Most meetings were held in the Belfry at St Sidwell’s, but the Society had a room (called the Institute) at 160 St Sidwell Street which it rented, although this was becoming a financial burden to the Society.

·           A summer “Wayzgoose” is proposed and members taking part in the outing will be asked to pay a sum each week.

·           After months of discussion with the Rector and Churchwardens a sum of £3 a year is accepted in payment for chiming on Sundays. Immediately a rule is proposed that “chiming members” should be fined 6d for absence or 3d for lateness at each service. [A significant number of the St Sidwell’s minutes refer to opportunities for fining members for various misdemeanours!]

·           In April it was decided to dispose of the Institute room and sell off the Bagatelle Board in which several members had a share. Several meetings are held about this and the board subsequently raised £8.0.0.!

·           A proposal to erect a peal board recording the “first peal ever rung by a band composed of entirely Exeter men” at St Sidwell’s in May 1881 was delayed while enquiries were made as to whether it was a true peal. A lengthy letter was received from the conductor, W.C. Marsh. This [quoting from the minutes] “may be briefly summed up as follows that the peal of Taylor’s 5040 Grandsire Triples was a true and correct one, not a bob or single more or less than there ought to have been and in its proper place. And he also informed the society that he would not take upon himself the paltry honour of conducting a peal that was false. He also mentioned that it was not his desire to have a peal board put up.” On the basis of this letter the members, who had also largely comprised the peal band, voted to go ahead with the board.


100 years ago – 1908

From the first Guild Peal Book

1908 started with the 200th peal being rung for the Guild, this being Grandsire Triples at Emmanuel, Plymouth, conducted by Harry Myers. Of the 22 peals rung in the year 15 were of Grandsire Triples, four of Grandsire Caters and the remaining three were of Bob Major. More notable peals rung in the year included the first of Triples on the Stafford Eight at the Cathedral by members of the Exeter Cycling Club in 3 hours and 53 minutes, the first of Grandsire Caters on St. Andrew’s, Plymouth and the first peal by a lady member of the Guild, Miss R. Elliot, who rang the third to Grandsire at St. Peter’s Tiverton in May.


Leslie Boyce

Guild Librarian




On 20th September, John and Enid Clifton celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary, having been married in 1958 in Rushden, Northamptonshire.  To help mark the occasion, A quarter peal was rung in their honour at Holy Cross church, Crediton where John has been a ringer at Crediton for 40 years. Both he and Enid are pillars of Holy Cross church.  Afterwards lunch was enjoyed at the Crediton Inn. The photo below shows them relaxing after the quarter.



L to R Joanna (4), Helen (Treble), Enid, John Clifton (2), Christine (3), Howard (6-Cond), John Clarke (5).


Guild of Devonshire Ringers


20 September 2008, 1260 Plain Bob Minor

Helen Weeden 1

John Clifton 2

Christine Clarke 3

Joanna Lunnon 4

John Clarke 5

Howard Egglestone 6 (C)


To celebrate the Golden Wedding Anniversary of John and Enid Clifton




As well as ringing on their 72cwt twelve a group of the Exeter Cathedral Ringers also enjoy the opposite end of the ringing scene and will drive miles to sample the delights of an available mini ring. Last year, on the late May Bank Holiday weekend, we spent a pleasant time in the South of France near Albi ringing a peal and quarter peal on Alistair Moon’s mobile mini ring at Senouillac in the Pays de Gaillac.  The thoughts inevitable turned to ‘what shall we do next year?’ and the problem was instantly solved when we discovered that former Exeter ringer Peter Sawyer, and his wife Chris, were having a mini ring installed in their recently converted property in Northern France.

Pete and Chris have spent 5 years converting a barn situated just south of Domfront on the border of Normandy and the Loire into a lovely home. There was also a small barn which was originally known as the ‘Petite Maison’. Pete has restored this and it is now called ‘Le Petit Beffroi’ housing a 16lb Matthew Higby mini ring. The village of Soucé is set in rolling countryside not unlike that of our West Country with cider orchards and dairy farming. It has the great advantage of being only a couple of hours drive from the Channel Ports of Cherbourg and Caen. The regional airports at Rennes and Dinard are also only just over an hours drive away. Even though our numbers had risen from the eleven who went last year to 17 this time we were able to be accommodated in two excellent Bed and Breakfasts only a few minutes away from the bells. The numbers meant that we would have to try for at least two peals and there was also a request for a quarter peal from some of the non peal ringers. Pete and Chris had already rung the first quarter on their bells during a visit in February from Devon ringers James, Elaine and Thomas Grant when the six had been made up by former Yorkshire ringer John Robinson who now lives about half an hour away. Our appointed ringing day was to be the Friday after the late May bank holiday but a number of us used the opportunity to spend some time sight seeing in France. 

Pete had kindly given up an opportunity to ring in the first peal on the bells so that the same band from the previous year could attempt another new method to be named in honour of the new ring. David Hull had supplied Matthew with a new method and composition which were eminently suitable to little bells and was rung at the first attempt. The ringing was little hesitant to start - probably because their natural speed is a little slower than we are used to ringing at Pig-leTower or Bishops-Ting-Tong - but we eventually settled into a good rhythm and found the bells easily ringable and very musical which was enhanced by attributes of David’s composition.



Front (L -R): Margaret, Paul, Lester, Peter.

Back (lL-R): Wendy, Simon, Ian, Matt.



Guild of Devonshire Ringers

Soucé, France

Le Petit Beffroi

Friday, 30 May 2008 in 2h08 (16lbs)

5184 Chatto Chesnaie S Major

Composed by: D G Hull

1    Margaret E L Chapman

2    Paul J Pascoe

3    Lester J Yeo

4    Peter L Bill

5    P Wendy Campbell

6    Simon A Rudd

7    Ian L C Campbell

8    Matthew J Hilling (C)

First peal on the bells.


First peal in the method.

Chatto Chesnaie S Major: x58x14x56x36x14x123458x14




When in France…….                                             At the Villedieu Bell foundry


After an inevitably long, and to a certain extent liquid, lunch the second peal was rung in good style, Brian calling what we believe is the first peal of triples (certainly by rope and wheel) on mainland Europe. The days ringing was completed when John Robinson joined us for the first eight bell quarter on the bells and we finished off with a BBQ when we were joined by some of the French friends of Pete and Chris whom we have met on previous visits there and who as usual were completely bemused by English change ringing on handbells.


Guild of Devonshire Ringers

Soucé, France

Le Petit Beffroi

Friday, 30 May 2008 in 2h04 (16lbs)

5040 Grandsire Triples

Composed by: J J Parker (12 part 7th obs)

1    Paul J Pascoe

2    Peter L Bill

3    Matthew J Hilling

4    Graham P Tucker

5    Lester J Yeo

6    Richard A M Newman

7    Brian V Mountjoy (C)

8    Peter J Sawyer

Believed to be the first peal of Triples in mainland Europe.

25th together: 4 & 8.

400th for the Guild: 7.


Guild of Devonshire Ringers

Soucé, France

Le Petit Beffroi

Friday, 30 May 2008 in 38 (16lbs)

1280 Plain B Major

1    Ian Campbell

2    Graham Tucker

3    Marion Newman

4    John Robinson

5    Lesley Tucker

6    Wendy Campbell

7    Paul Pascoe (C)

8    Margaret Chapman

First quarter peal on the 8 bells.


The following day we decided to attempt another peal which was unsuccessful in spite of some very good ringing but perhaps we were a little lacking in concentration after the rigors of the eating and drinking of the night before! That disappointment was more than made up for by an afternoon visit to the Bell foundry at Villedieu which is just over an hours drive from Soucé but conveniently situated on the way back to the ferry for those who were travelling back that day. This was kindly arranged by John and Anne Robinson and we were treated to a guided tour (in English) and should definitely be added onto the list of attractions worth visiting in the area. The overnight ferry travellers had time to visit Mont St. Michel on their return journey and no doubt the supermarket was visited to load up with wine. Those of us who were staying one more night enjoyed another long and leisurely meal in the town of Ambrieres which is only a short distance away. The Sunday saw the last of us depart, either to visit other friends in France or return home leaving Soucé and the hamlet of La Chesnaie to return to its quiet rural existence.


Our thanks have to go to Pete and Chris Sawyer for their hospitality, arranging such excellent accommodation for us and booking restaurants etc. but especially for allowing us to invade their lovely home for a few days. It is a delightfully peaceful area of rural France and ideally situated for exploring the regions of Normandy and the Loire. The bells are very ringable and sound well but Pete has installed efficient sound proofing so they do not interfere with the sounds of the local countryside. The travelling also proved relatively easy and even the drive from the Channel Tunnel would only take about 4 hours but with the variety of ferry ports and budget airline routes available a journey from almost anywhere in the UK is viable. For those really keen a peal attempt could be arranged with less time involved than you might need to ring a peal in the UK. An overnight ferry out and afternoon one to return would see you home in the UK in less than 24 hours. Having said that you would then miss the undoubted attractions of the visit to France (and I don’t just mean the food and drink).  Pete and Chris can be contacted by e-mail at   le.petit.beffroi@gmail.com


Of course the question now is ‘What do we do next year?’

Peter Bill



You can count on one hand the glorious summer Saturdays we have had this year, so we struck lucky with our fundraising cream tea event on 30 August.  Jonathan and Chris Lear hosted it in their garden in Woodbury and, although most guests arriving together led to a hectic time in the kitchen, it also made for a very sociable afternoon. 


When people could be persuaded to leave this relaxing scene, we clambered up Woodbury tower for a ring.  A dozen cyclists, who had dropped in for the tea and the opportunity to see bell ringers in action, joined us in the ringing room and were even shown up to the belfry to see the bells in motion.  They were also conscious of feeling the tower in motion!


We raised £185 for the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund including a donation towards the costs from Peninsula Cars. Everybody was very appreciative of Chris’s superb catering.  A big thank you to her and Jonathan for their hospitality; also, to the volunteer waitresses and kitchen helps, to Ian for organising the ringing and finally to all those who supported the event.

Cathy Civill 


Enjoying cream teas, sunshine and a chat


Jonathan’s live steam model railway provided a lot of interest and entertainment.








As many of you will know, Bill Avery is tower captain at Kingsteignton - that rough old G & J ‘8’ on the A380.


However, this is not so much about Bill’s ringing skills and achievements but that of celebrating 60 years of marriage to his beloved wife Betty on August 2nd 2008.


It was in Barnstaple where Bill and Betty met and married there in 1948. Bill spent many a happy time ringing at Pilton before moving to Kingsteignton in 1955. Even today, the Barnstaple and Pilton areas hold something special in the memories of Bill and Betty and their 4 children. 


Bill would be the first to agree with the saying ‘behind every good man is an even better woman’. This is all so abundantly clear for all those fortunate enough to have witnessed, or in any way been part of, the lives of these two marvellous people. Evident not only in how they support each other but also others.


Of the methods rung in celebration of Bill and Betty’s achievement, Pilton Delight was composed especially for the occasion by Mike Mears – named because of its obvious significance.


Guild of Devonshire Ringers

Thorverton, Devon, St Thomas of Canterbury

Thursday, 31 July 2008 in 2h54 (15-0-4)

5040 Pilton D Royal

Composed by: M E C Mears

1  Elisabeth A G Bowden         6  Michael R Rose

2  Mervyn C Way                     7  Ian W Avery

3  Paul J Pascoe                      8  D John Hunt

4  Jill M Hansford                     9  Ian V J Smith

5  Pauline Champion                10  Michael E C Mears (C)


First peal in the method: x30x14x12x10x14x10x12x10x56x90 (b)


Bill and Betty listened to, and very much enjoyed, the final part of the peal at Kingsteignton rung on the actual day of their anniversary. (We are sure that whilst there was no book or pencil evident for judging purposes, Bill would have been listening with his ever astute ear) The peal was followed by a buffet in ‘The Bell’ for the peal band, ringers, family and friends.


The week-end of celebrations were rounded off on the Sunday when family converged on Kingsteignton from all over the country, and after a special Sung Eucharist at St Michael’s, sat down to enjoy a family lunch at the Passage House Hotel.


We are sure ringers and friends would like to join the Kingsteignton band in wishing Bill and Betty many more years of happy marriage and thank them both for touching so many lives and being such special people.

Kingsteignton Band


The following peal and quarter peal were also rung to celebrate Bill and Betty Avery’s Diamond wedding anniversary:



Guild of Devonshire Ringers                          Guild of Devonshire Ringers

Kingsteignton, Devon, St Michael                      Powderham, Devon, St Clement

Saturday, 2 August 2008 in 2h57 (16-3-11)       Friday, 1 August 2008 in 39mins (10cwt)

5040 Grandsire Triples                                       1260 Abergynolwyn Bob Minor

Composed by: J J Parker (12 part)

1  Philip Stevens                                                 1  Don Roberts

2  Ian W Avery                                                   2  Sue Sawyer

3  Lee D Avery                                                   3  Nigel Birt

4  Elaine Grant                                                   4  Hilary Beresford

5  Nigel G Birt                                                     5  Philip Stevens

6  James Grant                                                  6  Donald Carter (C)

7  Michael E C Mears (C)                                  50th together – 3 & 5

8  Harry Kennar




On 5th July the Mid Devon Branch converged in cars on the South Hams for the afternoon ‘mini outing’ (not referring to the transport!)


Yealmpton, Ermington, Modbury (can I take them home please?) and Kingsbridge gave plenty of scope for six-bell ringing, and a flourish of eight-bell methods including Bristol at the end of the day. Twenty-two ringers came in total. Martin had arranged a welcome hour’s tea break in Modbury, where we split ourselves between at least two tea rooms. Ours did a marvellous three-scone cream tea, though there was a dash in the rain to the outside loo!


It rained going in to towers, it rained coming out, it rained whilst driving. We won’t forget the rain but it didn’t dampen enthusiasm at all. Norman provided the entertainment with a wayward rope, but lived to tell the tale, to everyone’s relief.


Thanks to Martin for a good afternoon.


Lynne Hughes

Branch Secretary.




Pip Penny is a woman who may be small in stature but she has hit ringing’s headlines in a big way! She established the group KIDS.RING.OUT. for teaching ringing to children in the Llandaff and Monmouth Association and the success of this was nationally recognised with the award of the “Founders’ Prize for the Encouragement of Young Ringers” in 2006. Working as a Chartered Physiotherapist for years, she came to ringing late. She started to think about the parallels between teaching rehabilitation of movement and of sports activities and the teaching of bell handling. Her explanation of this has just been published by the Central Council as “Teaching unravelled: An evidence-based approach to teaching bell handling” [CCCBR, 2008: 9780900271915].


However, it was a spell of forced inactivity with a broken ankle which led to her compiling “The Ringing Practice Toolkit” on behalf of the Central Council Education Committee. She describes this as a “collection of hands-on teaching aids, wall charts, quizzes and guidance notes … drawn together for use in the tower by people teaching ringing”. It is aimed particularly at those ringers trying to move into method ringing for the first time or towers that are struggling to progress with the basics or have got into a bit of a rut. It gives tips and ideas for practising the basic skills of method ringing in an interesting way and suggests strategies for tackling particular problems such keeping the plain doubles band entertained, what to do on nights with a limited number of ringers, how to tackle handling problems and how to maintain enthusiasm and make the most of the people you have in the band. These are set out in a clear introduction to the Toolkit suggesting resources you can use.


There are four folders of materials available for free on the Central Council website: Foundation Skills, Doubles Methods, Minor Methods, All Change. Tower captains and trainers can download these and print them out as frequently as they wish. The website can be accessed at: http://www.cccbr.org.uk/edc/practicetoolkit/ . A lot of interest was shown in the kit at the recent Ringing Roadshow and 300 CD ROM copies of the kit were sold. I do commend it to you and invite you to look at the website.


Leslie Boyce

CC Ringing Centres Committee Member




I was interested to see Norman Mallett' s article in the July issue of RRD and  with his permission I would like to add some further information from my archives.  The original Warner ring of twelve (tenor 27-1-12 in C sharp) plus two semi-tones, was cast in 1910 and not in 1914 as stated by Taylors. The bells were solemnly blessed on Michaelmas Day 1910 and temporarily suspended for chiming only in the medieval Abbot’s Tower, which is incorporated in the west side of the present abbey buildings between the old House and the Library.


Circa 1920, when the first stage of the new abbey tower had been built to a height of approximately 100 feet and capped with a shallow pyramid roof, the Warner bells were brought into the base of the tower ready for hoisting - as shown in the photograph provided by Norman. They  were hung by William Aggett  in an oak frame which was situated at the level of the present ringing room, as illustrated on page 69 of 'Towers & Bells of Devon' (Volume 2). According to John Scott they were first rung from the precarious stone gallery for Christmas 1920, but this conflicts with information in one of my books by the abbey historian Dom John Stephan who states that "the bells were hoisted up into the tower in 1922”.  They certainly rang out in August 1922 when the building work was sufficiently advanced for part of the church to be opened for public worship, and again in 1932 when part of the magnificent service for the Consecration of the Abbey Church was broadcast by the BBC.


In 1934 a generous benefactor donated funds for a 7½ ton bourdon bell with the note F, ;and to be compatible the Warner bells had to be recast in 1935 with a heavier tenor to give the note C natural. The recasting and the new steel framing etc.was undertaken by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough and the new twelve (tenor 41-1-03), plus two semi-tones and ‘Hosanna' the bourdon bell, arrived by road at Buckfast on 18 March 1936. The preparation to receive them was well underway as the construction of the top stage of the tower had commenced in 1934. By the end of 1936 the new bells were insitu and the top of the tower was more or less completed.


Although the Warner bells were in the tower for twelve years there was only one peal rung on them: 5007 Stedman Cinques in 3h-50 on the 25 October 1930.  Alfred Reeves of Bristol, who rang  the 2nd told me that ringing from the stone gallery was a strange, uncomfortable sensation.


The first peal on the new Taylor bells, was 5019 Stedman Cinques in 3h-47 on 9 October 1937 and to date there have been a total of 89, including one of Stedman Cinques by West Country College Youths, which we rang on 12 March I960 as a tribute to the historian Dom John Stephan, who was celebrating his 50 years as a priest.

Richard Bowden    


E/W section through top of the tower, and

the steel frame for the Taylor bells (1936)




The medieval Abbot’s Tower, where                    41Cwt Taylor tenor arriving at

The Warner bells were temporarily                   the Abbey West Door, March 1936.

hung for chiming in 1910            







Wed     1          Advanced Doubles practice: Honiton (19:30)                                           East

Sat       4          Skittles & Steam Evening: Exminster                                                      Ayles/Exeter

Sat       4          Branch Annual Meeting and Member's Forum: Tiverton St Peter               NE

Sat       4          Branch practice: Okehampton (19:00)                                                      NNW

Wed     8          Branch committee meeting: Castle School, Tiverton (19:30)                      NE

Thur      9          Plain Hunt practice: Sidbury (19:30)                                                        East

Thur      9          Targeted practice: Shobrooke (19:30)                                                      Exeter

Fri        10         Plain Hunt practice: Clyst St George (20:00)                                            Ayles

Sat       11         Quarterly meeting: Dunkeswell (19:30)                                                     East

Sat       11         Whole day ringing tour by train                                                               Mid

Mon     13         8 Bell practice: Heavitree (19:30)                                                             Exeter

Wed     15         Branch Mini Seminar: Unravelling place notation (19:30)                           NE

Fri        17         Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30)*                                               East

Sat       18         Guild striking competitions: N/NW Branch                                               Guild

Wed     22         8 Bell practice: Huntsham (19:30)                                                            NE

Thur      23         Targeted practice: Shobrooke (19:30)                                                      Exeter

Fri        24         12-bell novice practice: Withycombe Raleigh (19:30)                                Ayles

Sat       25         GUILD QUARTER PEAL WEEK STARTS                                                 Guild

Tues     28         Branch practice: Sidmouth (19:30)                                                          East



Sat       1          Branch AGM: Black Torrington (15:00)                                                     NNW

Sun      2          GUILD QUARTER PEAL WEEK ENDS                                                    Guild

Tues     4          Annual Dinners: Black Horse, Torrington                                                  St Brannock

Wed     5          Advanced Doubles practice: Honiton (19:30)                                           East

Fri        7          Branch practice: Laira (19:00)                                                                  SW

Sat       8          Bonfire party: Byways (home of Graham & Lesley Tucker)                        Exeter

Mon     10         Branch practice: Musbury                                                                       East

Mon     10         8 Bell practice: Heavitree (19:30)                                                             Exeter

Wed     12         Branch Mini Seminar: Method Ringers' Building Blocks (19:30)                 NE

Thur      13         Plain Hunt practice: Sidbury (19:30)                                                        East

Fri        14         Plain Hunt practice: Clyst St George (20:00)                                            Ayles

Sat       15         Branch AGM: Newton St Cyres                                                               Exeter

Sat       15         Fred Edwards Shield 8 bell competition, evening                                     NE

Fri        21         Surprise Minor practice: Buckerell (19:30)*                                               East

Sat       22         Branch AGM: Babbacombe (14:30)                                                         Mid

Sat       22         Branch dinner                                                                                        NE

Sat       22         Branch dinner                                                                                        SW

Tues     25         Branch practice: Sidmouth (19:30)                                                          East

Wed     26         8 Bell practice: Huntsham (19:30)                                                            NE

Fri        27         12-bell novice practice: Withycombe Raleigh (19:30)                                Ayles



Wed     3          Branch Mini Seminar: Starting to conduct (19:30)                                     NE

Sat       6          Branch AGM: Littleham                                                                           Ayles

Sat       6          Branch Training Day, Huntsham: Conducting PB Dbls & Mnr (10:00)         NE

Sat       6          Branch practice (19:00)                                                                           NNW

Mon     8          8 Bell practice: Heavitree (19:30)                                                             Exeter

Fri        12         Plain Hunt practice: Clyst St George (20:00)                                            Ayles

Sat       20         Devon Ringers' Carol Service (15:00)                                                      Guild/Assn


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 ( http://www.exeter.ac.uk/gdr ), which holds back issues.


Any comments and inaccuracies in articles contained in this newsletter are the responsibility of individual contributors, and the opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Guild.


Items for inclusion may be sent by e-mail to rogerking60@aol.com