Mid-Devon Tower Talk - July/August 2019

July 10 Bell practice Brixham

We had a very warm welcome from the Brixham ringers even though several of us were quite late due to long queues at the roadworks outside Brixham. The 10 bells at St Mary's sound good but can be a little tricky to handle at times. Having said that, we managed to keep all 10 ringing for most of the evening and it was great that several of the Brixham ringers were able to have a concentrated evening of 10 bell ringing. Methods included Plain Hunt Caters and Grandsire Caters and lots of Call changes. Thankyou Brixham for allowing us to invade your practice!!

August Joint 10 bell practice – Tavistock

A bit like buses, ten bell practices seem to have come in twos! It has become a tradition over the last few years for the Mid Devon branch to join the South-West branch for a 10 bell practice in August. This year it was the turn of the South-West branch to be hosts. The chosen tower was Tavistock and a number of branch members made the long journey across the moor. It was a lovely evening and several had taken the opportunity to spend some time walking on Dartmoor during the day.

There was a very good turn-out and a wide variety of methods was rung. There was plenty of Call changes and Plain Hunt for those new to 10 bells but the more experienced ringers rang Stedman and Grandsire Caters and even reached the dizzy heights of Cambridge Surprise Royal! Tavistock are glorious bells and it was a real pleasure to ring there, even if at times it seemed difficult to fit us all in the ringing room. With numbers reaching the mid 20s there were always quite a few ringers sitting out but that gave the chance to renew old, and make new, friendships. Thank you Southwest branch for a memorable evening.

Thanks to Peter Bailey for photo


You will remember that Kingskerswell bells are out of the tower at present. The bells are at Nicholson's in Bridport ready for the next stage. There has been a hold-up due to problems with the old third (new 5th) which was found to be un-tuneable, so a new bell is being cast in Holland. All the other bells have been re-tuned and will come back slightly lighter than when they went. It is hoped that work in the tower will recommence in October.

In the meantime fund raising has continued with several events such as a cruise on the River Dart and a village fete which included the Frank Mack ring. The ringers are very grateful to all those who have supported them in any way and excitement is growing with the prospect of a new ring of 8 very soon.

August 6 bell practice – Marldon

Slightly down on numbers for this one – it often happens in the holiday season. Despite that, a useful evening was spent, and several ringers were able to add a new tower to their list. Durham Surprise will have to wait for another day! Very many thanks to the Marldon ringers for allowing us to use their bells.

Association of Ringing Teachers Module 1 Training day St Marychurch

How do you describe the action of moving the hands up the rope when lowering a bell? What about "nibbling" or "caterpillar-ing"? This and very many other topics were discussed when Les Boyce (ably assisted by Sheila Scofield) led a training day at St Marychurch.

Module 1 of the ART accreditation course concentrates on the early stages of teaching ringing with the aim of the new teacher being able to train a ringer to the point of competent bell handling. The task is broken down into very small "bites" and all these were demonstrated and explained. The "students" were then encouraged to "role-play" each one in groups of three. Useful tips and exercises were used throughout to complement the training.

Half-way through the day lunch was taken at the Driftwood Café in St Marychurch Precinct. Still the work continued and even the trainers joined in when filling in a "Learning Styles" questionnaire. The afternoon session completed the task of "putting both strokes together" and then how to teach raising and lowering. Finally, we got to discuss and observe ways of correcting common errors. Altogether a very concentrated day's training.

The Mid Devon Branch was represented by Nicola Jones and Wenna Mansley (as learner-teachers) and Martin Mansley (as Mentor). Nicola and Wenna both agreed that their biggest concern was how to share a rope with the new learner. They both felt that the course had really helped them see how they should go about this aspect of training although they also felt they will need to practice this part before starting to teach a real novice. Martin said that although he had been teaching ringing for many years he had learned a lot of useful ideas on the day. As always, it was a real pleasure to meet the other participants and share experiences.

Very many thanks to Les and Sheila for a really stimulating day – now the hard work starts!!