The Guild Library is a service offered to all members of the Guild. It aims to support their information needs as current ringers and to provide material for research into the history of ringing, particularly ringing in Devon.

First peal 1875 - Guild Peal Book


To this end the Library maintains a collection of:

  • nearly 300 ringing books and pamphlets
  • files of journals and leaflets, including a complete file of The Ringing World
  • some original documents, such as minute books and the first Guild Peal Book
  • photographs
  • gramophone records, CDs and DVDs.


Many of these items can be borrowed or photocopies or scanned copies can be supplied to meet requests for specific pieces of information.

An author listing of the books and pamphlets held is available here. Links to electronic copies of some titles are included in this catalogue.

More details on the library services are available. A "Brief Guide to the Guild Library" can be downloaded and printed out.

A New Home for Library from September 2019

Most of the Library is now housed at St. Petrock's Church in Exeter (High Street, EX4 3LN). In normal circumstances it will be open for members to make personal visits during advertised opening times. Library opening normally will take place on the afternoon of the third Saturday of each month.


COVID-19 Pandemic. Openings are currently suspended in line with the Government’s social isolation and distancing requirements. It is anticipated that opening will not be possible before January 2021 at the earliest. However, requests to borrow items may still be sent to the Librarian who is able to retrieve and post items to members on a monthly basis, provided there are no travel restrictions in place. Requests to undertake research in the Library may also be made to the Librarian who will attempt to arrange an appointment to visit St Petrock's. (The church remains closed to general visitors at present.)

In the meantime, users are encouraged to explore the range of on-line materials available. The author catalogue contains links to E-copies of some titles, while our On-line Publications page gives links to other resources such as ringing journals which can be accessed from members’ home computers.

 A few items, mostly the manuscript originals, will continue to be kept at the Librarian's home, as will the Travelling Library collections, the Learners', Trainers' and Conductors' Libraries. Members visiting the Library to consult or borrow particular titles are advised to notify the Librarian ahead of their visit so that he can check that they are available or can bring them to St Petrock's.

On-line resources

A growing range of resources is now available to consult on-line. These include older ringing books, earlier ringing newspapers and journals and biographical records from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. We have also started to make available scanned copies of some of the Guild Annual Reports, the Guild's First Peal Book and other manuscript records.

Our On-line Publications gives links to all of these.

What's new in the Library

Regular purchases of new publications are made and details of these are published in Ringing Round Devon from time to time. 

It is normally the Library's policy to acquire only general ringing books and those relating to ringing in Devon and the neighbouring counties of the South West.

Donations of all materials relating to ringing and particularly ringing in Devon are welcome on the understanding that decisions on whether to retain or dispose of items donated rest with the Librarian. Many local and ephemeral items such as orders of service for rededicated bells or ringers' personal records are of particular interest to the Library as they might otherwise be lost to future researchers.

Friends of the Guild LIbrary

Those interested in giving financial and practical support to the Guild LIbrary are invited to become "Friends of the Guild LIbrary". Friends pay a small annual Friends subscription in addition to that to the Guild. The money raised helps to meet the running costs of the Library. Friends also receive additional library membership benefits and can join in opportunities to help with the running of the Library and with research through a Devon Ringing History Group

A leaflet gives more information about the Friends scheme.


The Librarian may be contacted using the email address on the Guild Officers page or using the details contained in the latest Guild annual report.