Category Archives: Guild Surprise Royal Practice

Surprise Royal Practice Sun Nov 27th – **RSVP**

Dear all,

The suggested date for the next Surprise Royal practice is Sunday 27th November 14:00 – 15:30. This will hopefully be at Hursley (tbc).

As with all of these practices, it will only go ahead if I can get a minimum number of people reply who are available and hoping to come.

If you are free and likely to attend please let me know asap. A final decision whether to go ahead or not will be made next week.



  • Contact Daniel Graham

    Email:Use Form

RSVP for the planned Guild Surprise Royal Practice Oct 30th

Dear all,

The planned date for the October Surprise Royal practice is Sunday 30th October 14:00 – 15:30.
Once again this will only go ahead if enough people state that they are available to attend.
Please let me know asap if you are free on that date and hoping to attend. A decision will be made on Thursday 20th October whether to proceed or cancel.
Location TBC at present
  • Contact Daniel Graham

    Email:Use Form

Another Successful Guild Surprise Royal Practice

“…please thank everyone who rang on Sunday afternoon: the sound was glorious”

This feedback was from the vicar at St Michael’s Southampton about the ringing for the surprise royal practice which took place yesterday.

Many thanks to all those who made it, it was a successful afternoon with two decent half courses of Bristol Royal achieved along with Cambridge, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. A few people ringing things for the first ever time which is fantastic!

I will be in touch soon about the next practice, but the suggested date is Sunday 30th October.

Thanks. Dan

Surprise Royal Practice 25th September 2pm

Hi all,

I’m delighted to say we have now exceeded the minimum number required, and therefore the surprise royal practice will be going ahead this Sunday :-). 

Sunday 25th September, 14:00 – 15:30. 

St Michael’s Southampton 

Special method = Bristol Royal 

Cambridge/Yorkshire/Lincolnshire also rung. 

I look forward to seeing you then. 



Surprise Royal Practice – Sunday 25th September in Southampton

Dear all,

The next potential surprise royal practice will be on Sunday 25th September, 14:00 – 15:30. This would take place in Southampton.

As always the practice will only go ahead IF I get replies from enough people saying they are free.

So please let me know asap if you are free on 25/09 and interested in attending.


Contact Daniel Graham

Minutes of the Communications Committee meeting 2nd August 2016

Status: Agreed 4th Aug 2016


Mike Winterbourne (Master), Deb Baker (Committee convener) Pete Jordan (Vice Master) Viv Nobbs (Immediate Past Master and PRO) Heather Frazer   (Basingstoke District) Ros Brandwood (Guild Trasurer) Rosalind Martin (Webmaster) Graham Hounslow and Andrew Glover (District webmasters)

Notes on the Minutes:

The meeting ran for 2:45 hours and there was not time to discuss every topic in complete depth. Extra information not shared at the meeting which is relevant to headings, has been added to these minutes in Italics.

Recap for new officers on what the Communications team are doing now and where they would like it to go in the future using communications to bind the Guild together.

The vision for the website was to provide a “website” for every tower and District whether or not they are lucky enough to have a webmaster of their own. Historically some towers and Districts have had websites but are vulnerable to the webmaster moving away or giving up the role.

This has entailed a complex structure of a news stream for each tower, each committee at District and Guild level, and for special interests such as Surprise Royal Ringing.

There are already 1800 pages on the site, (some current, many in the archive). News is being posted by a growing team of people and technical developments are done by Rosalind Martin and Graham Hounslow. The team’s structure is flat and support, discussion and decision making largely takes place in the closed Facebook Group “WP Communications Squad“. Currently the Master sits in that group as a mostly silent observer.

One Saturday  training course “How to be a website editor” has taken place and 5 more people are on the wating list for a second course.

Areas of responsibility are flexible (in case of holidays etc) but currently different people monitor different social media and gather news (with appropriate permission) from them. As needed, instructions on how to post different types of news are being added to the website and shared with the team.

  • Lisa Ashforth posts all Portsmouth District News including from the Portsmouth Facebook Group
  • Graham covers C&S District
  • John Stock posts much of the Isle of Wight News, some bits picked up by Rosalind
  • Andrew Glover currently posts all the Winchester District News; Bruce Purvis is planning to take on posting his own Secretarial communications.
  • Rosalind covers CCCBR news, other Districts (ie Andover, A&P, Channel Islands), Guild-level news (eg Mid Monthly Meetings and Surprise Royal, AGMs etc)
  • Rosalind currently manages most updates to the Contacts System and the Tower Pages because these are being upgraded on a rolling program so that all towers have to opportunity to have mutli-page “websites” and properly archived news. 

The team’s short term plans are to upgrade all the tower pages and news streams (as above) and continue to recruit and train news makers especially in Districts where there are none. Despite the business of the site, there are still many towers that have shared no news yet. There is much scope for development.

Guild Database

The database was approved in principal by the Exec and by members at the 2015 AGM, as part of the Guild Action Plan, so members of the project team are free to start work and report back to the Exec and Members as they go.

It was strongly felt among those present at the meeting that we are currently planning almost blind, guessing what the ages, skills and aspirations of the membership are, and that it would be advantageous to have an accurate view of the members.

What worked very well in C&S was to ask all members for their contact details (name, email, FB etc) but then to separately ask for information for planning purposes, a census if you will, such as age, skills level, training needs, and other things, which was processed anonymously and a report was used to overhaul the District’s program of events.

The “database team” is flexible and (because of time available, and technical knowledge) will be led by Rosalind Martin. Graham Hounslow (who can contribute technical understanding) has also expressed a desire to help.

Discussion about the email system led to agreement that we should use email to send out weekly news to all members in geographical zones starting with districts to keep things simple. (C&S and A&P are already up and running but only to their email groups, not to all members of course). All the District News pages are already prepared for this so it can be quickly implemented if webmasters are added to the relevant email groups.

The first stage will:

  1. Identify key stakeholders who could benefit from using a database of members, eg the Treasurer, Guild and District Secretaries, Organisers of special events, etc, and report back with a list of future benefits to the Guild of having a database.
  2. Identify possible problem areas (Data Protection, Data Management and changing roles of District and Tower Secretaries,  are already on the list) and address those properly.

Then the second stage (of identifying suitable technology, and implementation) can be planned and shared with the exec and membership.

The key perceived benefit of the new system is that news and information will be delivered directly to each member rather than (as at present) going through several layers of the organisation where news may be lost at each interface. The current system is complex and there are is a patchwork of different email systems in place, only some of which have any relationship with the website at all.

The website has already given grass roots members the facility of being able to look up news and information online; the database takes it one step further, a regular delivery of relevant news by email.

How Principal Officers might drive /work with the Communications team.

  • As noted above, the Master is already sitting in on team discussions on Facebook.
  • A plea was made to any officers not already on the Facebook Communications Group to join us because there is a huge increase in productivity within discussions on Facebook over Email. Debates can be quickly read and comments appear properly organised, in chronological order by topic. Training and support will be provided in (a) how to get started with Facebook and (b) How to tune the notifications so that you are not sent unwanted information.
  • The communications team will need strong support from the Principal Officers  to design and implement the database, so their active involvement and engagement is needed.
  • At forums where District and Tower officers are talking to Principal Officers, a simple message of “Use the website, this is the benefit, and this is how to do it” needs to be delivered. This started well in the winter ADMs. Potential recruits and visitors to our open ringing, will use the website to size up a tower, and an accurate, informative and positive set of pages and news items will support a band. We have had a model of website-based communications in C&S for some years now and a good sense of belonging to the district, and good use of District events, has been the consistent outcome.
  • If reservations or compliments about the website are received by anyone it is best if they are passed on to the communications team so that they can be taken into account. 
  • If anyone notices an error or similar on the site, they are encouraged to use the “comment” box at the bottom of the screen to let the team know.
  • Since all officers are also band members they can model sending in news items.

Review the Communications section of the Action Plan.

This item refers to page six of the action plan.

“Districts will be encouraged to link their websites to the central site and, for those districts which do not have websites, there will be a chance to develop a site within the new website”

  1. C&S and Winchester District web presence now wholly inside, with Southampton City Ringers website fully dovetailed in (see point 6 below)
  2. Isle of Wight (Steve Noyes’ website) correctly cross-linked – this carries details of all bells and of local pubs. Information which could be transferred to if desired but after discussion with RM, Steve decided to leave the website as it is. It is up to date. No Action needed
  3. Portsmouth (Andrew Glover) website is drifting out of date and Andrew not responding to messages/emails. However Lisa Ashforth (District Secretary) is posting regular news onto so this is more a loose end than a problem. Action: Mike W to talk to the Portsmouth Team.
  4. Channel Islands (Duncan Loweth??) No formal contact has been made and the District is not sending any news or event information in to the wpbells team. Action: Mike W to talk to the CI Team.
  5. Andover and A&P District Secretaries are sending news to the wpbells email address and it is posted by the duty webmaster. Few towers are sending any news in or posting it on existing networks with the exception of Eccinswell. Mike noted that he is an Andover ringer and there is a lively program of Quarter Peals which would be interesting news reports which the team were unaware of. Action: Please can Mike tip off the team!
  6. It was noted that it is perfectly possible to dovetail with another website (especially ones with RSS-based newsfeeds such as WordPress)- newsfeeds can be shared, and with care and a local webmaster, it gives towers the choice to have a completely bespoke website which is also linked live to the guild’s news streams. For example see the dovetail between and – this close coupling was achieved quickly, simply and with benefit to both sites.

Newsletters will be sent out electronically.

An 8-page Guild newsletter was created just after Firsts Fortnight by Viv and Rosalind and sent out on all the usual channels. Very few copies seem to have been printed out and spotted in towers so we agreed to stick to single page newsletters like the very successful “first fortnight is coming” one that was produced in January.

There are fewer District Newsletters these days but they are welcome on the website.

For members who do not wish to use email, some information will be posted to them. It is hoped this will be a small  number, to keep costs down.

This was noted. At this time, apart from receiving an annual Guild Report, it is unclear what members might wish to receive by post. Action: ??

Consideration will be given to the membership details being transferred directly from the database to the Guild report.

This was noted and will be included into the database planning process. It also should be noted by the Guild Report Working Party

Have Communications Team been recompensed financially and are they happy submitting a budget in November 2016.

  • It was agreed that it would help if the Treasurer set a mileage rate.
  • The group does not need an excessive number of meetings – the next one probably needs to be before the March Exec to agree Database Project Plans
  • Most communication is online, between meetings, in the FB group.
  • Ros Brandwood noted that the Guild Rules need slight amendment to allow expenses to be claimed to meetings other than the regular Exec meetings.
  • Rosalind M noted that some chairmen hand out expense claim forms at the end of every meeting to remove a sense of “oh, I shouldn’t claim”.
  • Viv noted that many individuals claim, then subsequently donate the amount back.
  • It was agreed that we planned to claim mileage. Deb Baker to follow up and build into our budget.

WW1 Focus Group.

Viv reported excellent progress so far with Rachel forging ahead with her research and finding there is lots of material. Viv to aim for a Heritage Lottery Fund Application for nicely bound volumes, at an appropriate time. This will need Exec approval, probably in November.   (Can be up to 100% for a project).

Scope for all ringing to be included not just peals and quarters.

“Slides” and how they can be shared or used effectively.

3 slide shows – the Wickham Experience, the RWNYC championships, and Elva’s CC slides on leadership, are available for the Guild to use. Action: Rosalind to post onto website.

 Website – details from Guild meetings owned and held by Tony Smith. PLUS item Archiving of Guild Minutes.

It was noted that previous email discussions about the issue of the holding and format of Minutes and other Exec and AGM documents have not yet led to an agreement which is acceptable to all parties. The issues of ownership and format, and the possible uses of the material, were discussed in sufficient depth for those present to understand what is involved. Action: Viv and Mike to follow this up.

Website multi-pages.

The aim is to upgrade the design of the website so that every tower and District can have a multipage “website” of semi-permenant pages, within the website, and easily add to, and amend, that. This is in addition to the ongoing “news” items which are more temporary. For examples see:

Action: Rosalind and Graham are in the process of agreeing a design for the generic tower “website” and Rosalind intends to complete the redesigns by end 2016. Once complete, it will be simple for any webmaster to add/remove/amend pages for a tower.



This is an ongoing concern for many of our towers. Increasingly people judge and organisation by its website, so it pays to be on the ball!

There are three simple steps that the web team can support a band with:

  1. Have a “learn to ring at…. ” page which appears both on the tower’s own “website”, and also on the Guild’s “Learn to Ring” page This gives the right message to would-be ringers who arrive on the website seeking training.
  2. Put the Tower’s web address on every poster and communication that the band generates. These have been made as short and simple as possible  from to
  3. Arrange for mutual links with the church’s own website and make sure the ringing information on the church website is fresh.

Support for internal communications IE social media and email

There are many busy working groups, committees and ad-hoc groupings of people discussing matters online. This can create a sense of overload as endless emails arrive. As a general principal, add hoc groupings are best managed though facebook messages, and more stable groups well served by Facebook Groups  Action: Any officer or member feeling overloaded please contact Rosalind or Deb  – demand for this service is not outstripping supply yet!

Using ‘catagories’ in website posts and continuing training.

These are the technical method we are using to manage the complexity of the site. There are aleady 282 categories which is unusually high as WordPress websites go. The team agreed that the complexity is both necessary and manageable, so no simplication will be planned. Action: continue the “how to” posts on the website to maintain all webmasters’ levels of training as new categories are added.

Any Other Business

  • Ros Brandwood noted that Ecchinswell page has some very out of date news in it. This is caused by its “old style” news feed which did not acknowledge archiving. Action RM Now Upgraded and fixed. RM also upgrading all tower news feeds ongoing.
  • Discussion about success of Bradfield and Hereford courses (double demand for every place) and potential for another residential course. Helpers love it. Bradfield have made a conscious effort to have 50 50 gender split among Helpers.
  • Striking Competition discussion – idea of a Knockout at a practice night between 2 towers.  Action: Deb to mull over this and liase with Mike and with Greg Jordan.
  • As of 5th August the website has received 89,398 hits.

Surprise Royal Practice Report

Many thanks to all those who supported the practice at Hursley today – despite the warm weather we managed to make some progress and with more practice all of this will get much easier. It is very rewarding that people are now being given the opportunity to ring things like Bristol Royal which would be difficult to find at an average practice night!

Looking forward to next month the potential practice date for August is Sunday 28th August 2016 14:00 – 15:30 and this would be in Southampton (I try and alternate monthly between Southampton and elsewhere).

I suspect being August that lost of people will be away, however as usual if I can get 15 people to confirm they are likely to be able to attend then it will go ahead.

So please let me know by return if you are free and will be hoping to attend.

I will update everyone with the score closer to the time. If we struggle to get 10, as discussed today I will try and organise a quarter peal instead.

As always any comments/suggestions about anything to do with these practices are most welcome.

Many Thanks,


Surprise Royal Practice Confirmed – Sunday 24th July, 14:00 – 15:30 at Hursley

Dear all,
Confirmation that we have enough to go ahead with a July surprise royal practice.
Sunday 24th July, 14:00 – 15:30 at Hursley.
Methods are Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Bristol Surprise Royal.
If you are coming please try and persuade other surprise royal ringers you know to come along too, as we can always do with extra support!

5 more Surprise Royal Ringers needed for Practice on July 24th

Dear all,

Please let me know ASAP if you are free and hoping to attend this months Surprise Royal practice at Hursley on Sunday 24th July 14:00 – 15:30.

We don’t currently have enough people signed up for a practice to be viable, we are still needing at least another 5 to confirm, however hopefully with this email a few more people might be available.

If by Wednesday I don’t have at least 15 people confirmed, then I propose to ring a quarter peal instead (Cambridge or Yorkshire)- the 10 I currently have down to attend the practice will be offered ropes first.

Either way I will confirm by email to this list on Wednesday.

Kind Regards,

Daniel Graham

Surprise Royal Practice – Tower now Confirmed – Sunday June 26th 2pm

Hi all,
The next Surprise Royal practice is scheduled for Sunday 26th June 14:00 – 15:30. This is going to be at St Michael’s Southampton.

Methods will include Cambridge, Yorkshire and Bristol.

The practice is open to anyone who wants to ring surprise Royal so please circulate to anyone who might be interested. It isn’t limited to  the W+P. Anyone is welcome!    
If you do intend on coming please let me know, just so I know who to expect.

Using The Guild Website to Strengthen Your Band

Using The Guild Website to Strengthen Your Band

The key audience for the website is members of our Guild. Historically, the Guild’s website has been a good source of up to date and accurate information about our Towers, Contacts, and District and Guild Events, and carefully integrated with Dove Online.

The new Guild website still delivers this objective, however it has the potential to do more than that because it has at its core a powerful and flexible news management system. It gives you the opportunity to post your tower’s news and events, photos and videos, invitations, achievements and plans. The website is suitable for…

1. Communicating with Ringers

Imagine if all the people who might potentially ring with you in your tower, had easy access to your tower notice board. What would they see? Reminders of important dates? The occasional cancellation? Recent peals and quarters? Blue lines for your current methods? Phone Number of the Tower Secretary?

You probably already use email or word of mouth to get this news out to your usual crowd, but by also emailing your news to for inclusion on the website, you can reach any visitors who might be planning to ring with you, plus all the other towers in your District…

It’s a small effort to email news in, but might one extra skilled visitor at your practice night make a big difference? And don’t you worry about visitors who might turn up to an empty churchyard, when you cancel a practice?

2. Communicating with your Congregation

You probably have a poster on the main church notice board, and write about ringing sometimes for your Parish Magazine.

Many of the readers, especially younger ones, will automatically go online if they want to know more about you. If you have your own tower website, you probably quote a link to it in all your wider communications. If not, why not quote your tower’s address on Your readers will find all your news, pictures (and perhaps videos) there, all the information they need to contact you, all of which informs them and enables them to form an accurate mental picture of “their” band. No more mental pictures of flying monks! Replace that fantasy with reality! 

One church member who recently looked at a Tower’s  page ended up spending an hour browsing through other pages on the site.

Your tower’s web address is very succinct.    



3. Communicating with Potential Recruits

When you make the effort to find recruits, you want them to get a clear picture of bell ringing and what they might experience if they become a bell ringer at your tower. The elusive “young recruit” in particular, is probably a sophisticated user of websites, You tube and social networking. The website is designed to support recruitment in several ways:

  • Easy to use from smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers & even smart televisions
  • Easy to navigate (all 1300+ pages of it), with context aware menus , cross referencing and powerful searches
  • Thoughtful use of colour, videos, photos, and logos to shake off our “boring” image
  • Closely integrated with Facebook and Twitter
  • Designed to be Search Engine Friendly
  • A dedicated “Learn to Ring” section with reference to EVERY TOWER that we are aware is currently recruiting and/or training new ringers.
  • A short address for your tower page that you can include in press releases and posters, plus:
  • Extremely flexible design means you can have as many tower pages as you wish, enabling you to target a page particularly at non-ringers, and quote THAT page address on your printed literature and press releases.

One of our recent recruits came forward after seeing a website news item about a new Saturday class starting up.

4. Building Personal Ringing Skills

Sooner or later, most ambitious ringers need to spread their wings and ring away from home. Some bands are experiencing difficult times and unable to scaffold their learners beyond the basics, while others are regularly practicing advanced methods and able to help visitors to learn. To save you randomly visiting all your local practice nights to find what you need, the website gathers together practice night reports, invitations to Guild training courses, and information about residential courses. You can look at these by District or by method type – for example, visit the page, or use the “Search” button and look for the method YOU are currently working on…. To join in the support of ambitious ringers, why not:

Post short news items about your recent successful practice, including what was rung. This will enable local ringers to find you! Don’t be put off if your ringing is basic – a recent survey in C&S District found that 50% of ringers say they are still working on basics (defined as up to “learning my second method”) and some of those are VERY keen to visit other towers!

If you have a “method of the month”, let people know in a news item. Good ideas are catching – nearby towers may start to learn it too!

When you enjoy visiting another tower, write a short news item about it.

Visit and you may be surprised by how many invitations are posted there at any one time.

Visit the website

Email your news to

Ropley to be featured in BBC Bells on Sunday in June. PLUS Latest News from Ropley

BBC Bells on Sunday JUNE 2016.
 5th.      St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol.     Little Bob Maximus.
12th.      Moreton in Marsh, Gloucs.   Kent Treble Bob Major.
19th.      Ropley, Hants.          2nd Anniversary of the fire, Double Oxford Bob Minor.
26th .     Dunham Massey, Cheshire.  Bristol Surprise Royal.

Latest News from Ropley

Ropley Bells - Matthew Higby
2 of Ropley’s bells – photographed at Matthew Higby’s workshop

News from Elisabeth Day 24th April 2016:
“Over the past year we have been gathering information on the condition of the church walls, presenting that information to the various interested bodies and discussing the possibilities of what could be achieved for the church rebuild. At the end of March we had a site meeting with Historic England, SPAB, the EHDC.

The PCC is inviting you to a meeting at the village hall on the 16th June at 19:30. There will be a presentation by the PCC and John Alexander (our appointed architect) on the condition of the building as it currently stands, the challenges that we face and what the rebuild possibilities could be.”

Next Surprise Royal Practice – June 26th – RSVP

Advance warning of the next Surprise Royal Practice – the date has been fixed for June 26th, afternoon, and will go ahead subject to sufficient people being available to ensure a good practice.
The venue will be confirmed nearer to the time. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for this practice please
Contact Daniel Graham

Email:Use Form

Two Quarter Peals for St George’s Day in Southampton

Congratulations to Pip Dillistone (SUGCR and Southampton City) for scoring both First of Caters and First of Royal in one day.

Southampton City Ringers

Southampton, Hampshire

St Mary
Saturday, 23 April 2016 in 48 mins (21–2–8 in E♭)
1296 Grandsire Caters
Philip D Moyse
Peter Hill
Pip Dillistone
Christine Hill
Kristian D Scudamore
David J Mattingley
Oliver Chaloner
Colin J Butler
Daniel Graham (C)
10 Kieran Downer
Rung for St George’s Day
First quarter peal of caters – 3

Southampton City Ringers

Southampton, Hampshire
St Michael Archangel
Saturday, 23 April 2016 in 48 mins (16–1–15 in F)
1282 Cambridge Surprise Royal
Colin J Butler
Colin K Lovelock
Pip Dillistone
Ali Hunt
Adam F S Thorp
Daniel Graham (C)
Ian Hunt
Oliver Chaloner
David J Mattingley
10 Peter Hill
Rung for St George’s Day
First quarter peal of Royal – 3
Photo of St Mary’s by Southampton City Ringers 

Peals and Quarters in memory of Andrew D Barnsdale

At the time of writing there have been  5 peals and one Quarter in memory of Andrew, past master of ASCY and long standing member of Winchester and Portsmouth Guild, who died recently.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016 Bishopstoke (St Mary), Hampshire 5040 Spliced Surprise Royal (2 Methods)
Sunday, 27 March 2016 Guildford (St Nicolas), Surrey 1260 Stedman Triples
Saturday, 26 March 2016 Aldenham (Aldenham School), Hertfordshire 5040 Yorkshire Surprise Royal
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 Awbridge (Clock House Bells), Hampshire 5040 Woodspring Surprise Royal
Monday, 21 March 2016 New Alresford (Jubilee, New Farm Rd), Hampshire 5040 Plain Bob Major
Monday, 21 March 2016 Portsmouth (St Agatha), Hampshire 5056 Deva Surprise Major

Full details are on bellboard


A Roundup of the Firsts Fortnight Achievements – by Tim Martin

Following the success of First Peal 2015 which took the world of ringing by storm last year our Guild Master Viv Nobbs proposed holding a Guild Firsts Fortnight which ran from March 1st to March 15th 2016. The idea was to build on the successful concept of encouraging more people to take a step forward in their ringing but also to recognise and celebrate that a personal milestone in ringing is an important event whatever the achievement. With ringing being a team activity, just as First Peal 2015 added many new peal ringers to the peal ringing community, encouraging local ringers through Firsts Fortnight helps local bands build their skill levels and possibly achieve things that were not possible previously.

It seems that W&P ringers embraced Firsts Fortnight at every level from taking the next step in the learning process, ringing a different bell, trying a different method etc through to first quarter peals, first quarters in method and firsts in conducting. Traditionally ringers have marked first achievements such as first quarters and peals but we should recognise that for many ringers the road leading to such achievements may be long and sometimes discouraging and indeed some either do not aspire to these levels or perhaps have little opportunity to do so locally. So something that celebrates these stages and encourages people to try to take their ringing to the next stage cannot do otherwise than benefit ringing in the area generally. Looking at the list of achievements it certainly seems to have achieved the objective set for us by Viv and many bands seem to have been really inspired to try some new things.

Hopefully everyone will have seen the regular updates on the website but a few highlights include the Isle of Wight young ringers outing to Alderney, some of the Alton ringers ringing firsts in the USA and another ringer from Bramshott ringing in Canada for the first time!  An all ladies band rang for a service for the first time at Winchester College and an all ladies band helped one of their number plain hunt for the first time at Ringwood. Many people had a go at ringing something different and hopefully realised that it’s easier than they thought.  Lots of people got the chance to do some conducting from call changes to spliced surprise Royal and people took the opportunity to ring touches and quarters in different methods.

The following people rang their first quarters.
Isla Ingram, plain Bob doubles at Awbridge
Will Holmes, plain Bob doubles at Eling
Lisa Ashforth, plain Bob doubles at Wickam
And Oliver Challoner,Pip Dillistone and Graham Nobbs all rang their first quarter in hand.

Tim Martin

Click here to read all the detailed reports


WP Guild Surprise Royal Practice March 20th 2pm

Dear all,

A reminder that the next surprise royal practice is taking place next Sunday, details as below. If you are hoping to be there please let me know.

When: Sunday 20th March 14:00 – 15:30
Where: St Michael’s Southampton
Methods: Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and London No 3 Surprise Royal.

Look forward to seeing lots of you there.

Best Wishes,

Dan Graham

Firsts Fortnight Friday Fun at Hursley

Christine Saunders writes:
Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016Hursley has a regular ‘Fun First Friday’ which is run by the deputy tower captain. It is a chance to ring something different and includes a cake break!
As this month’s FFF fell within First Fortnight, the deputy tower captain challenged the whole band to do something they had never done before.
Sixteen ringers joined the special 2 hour practice and they all managed to achieve a ‘first’, although some were more successful than others!
The ‘firsts’ included calling Stedman triples, Spliced surprise major and Erin triples. One person attempted double handed rounds on 12 and another turned the tenor in to Yorkshire Maximus. The experienced folk rang a new method – Hampshire Surprise Major, and a visitor conducted some spliced surprise Royal.  With everyone having achieved a ‘first’, the evening ended with Bristol maximus and an attempt at spliced Kent TB and Little Bob maximus, before the race to be the first in the pub!


Engagement Congratulations to Daniel Graham and Sally-Jayne Tompkins

Many Congratulations to Sally-Jayne and Daniel on their engagement in February.
The couple met in their home village, cast in a murder mystery as husband and wife, and have been ringers in Southampton,  with the University Guild as well as Southampton City Ringers since becoming students there.

A quarter peal at Wells Cathedral was dedicated to them:

Salisbury Diocesan Guild
Wells, Somerset
Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew
Saturday, 27 February 2016 in 1h 05m (56-1-14 in C)
1440 Cambridge Surprise Royal
Composed by Jack R Pease (no. 21)
1 Susan P E Bateman
2 Ross A Bradley
3 Paul R Smith
4 Roy Williams
5 Alison R Williams
6 Angie M E Jasper
7 Jack R Pease (C)
8 Andrew G Smith
9 Tim M Martin
10 Stephen J Bateman

First of Royal, first of Surprise Royal, first on 10 as conductor, first of Surprise as conductor, first blows in Cambridge Royal and 25th quarter as conductor, aged 17 years, 3 days: 7
Rung by a majority East Dorset Branch Band (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10).
Rung as a 17th birthday compliment to the conductor.
Also rung to celebrate the engagement of Daniel Graham and Sally-Jane Tompkins.

Wells Cathedral QP band

Congratulations David Mattingley and Jenny Mullins – Married 13th Feb 2016

Leading Portsmouth District Ringer David Mattingley married Jenny Mullins at Purbrook on Saturday 13th February.There was open ringing before the wedding and the following Peals and quarters were rung in their honour:
Saint Michael’s Society
Ston Easton, Somerset
Blessed Virgin Mary
Saturday, 13 February 2016 in 2:20 (4–0–21 in D)
5040 Spliced Surprise Minor (41 Methods)
(1-3) 2160 Alnwick, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chester, Coldstream, Cunecastre, Kelso, Lincoln, London, Morpeth, Munden, Newcastle, Northumberland, Sandiacre, Wells, Whitley, Wooler (4-7) 2880 Allendale, Annable’s London, Bacup, Bamborough, Berwick, Beverley, Bourne, Cambridge, Durham, Hexham, Hull, Ipswich, Lightfoot, Netherseale, Norfolk, Norwich, Primrose, Rossendale, Stamford, Surfleet, Warkworth, Wearmouth, Westminster, York.
Composed by J S Warboys (SU0309, SU0403)
Helen C Mansley
Ian R Fielding
Gabrielle L Cowcill
Matthew D Dawson
Lucy A Warren
Alan G Reading (C)
Rung as a wedding compliment to David Mattingley and Jenny Mullins, married today at the church of St John the Baptist, Purbrook, Hampshire.
300th peal together – 3 & 6.
Guildford Diocesan Guild
St Albans, Hertfordshire
St Peter
Saturday, 13 February 2016 in 3hrs 21m (24-0-3)
5040 Cambridge Surprise Royal
Composed by Ian R Fielding
Anthea S Edwards
Anne M Anthony
Maurice F Edwards
David Kirkcaldy
Mark E R Gill
Bernard F L Groves
Benjamin J Carey (C)
Anthony P Cotton
Philip A B Saddleton
10 Richard H Burton
The 300th Peal in the Tower.
A compliment to David Mattingley and Jenny Mullins, married whilst this peal was being rung, at the church of St John the Baptist, Purbrook, Hampshire.

Quarter Peals:

St Mary’s, Bishopstoke Has Reached 800 Peals

Roy Le Marechal Writes:

St Mary’s, Bishopstoke has just reached 800 peals, the first Guild tower to reach this total.

It took nearly 50 years to ring fifty peals, from 29th June 1921 to 14th March 1970. However, an apparently insignificant peal of Doubles in 1969, the first peal on the bells for over four years, contained five “first pealers”. Two of them were the new tower captain John Colliss and Roy LeMarechal.

With two teenagers running the tower, peal ringing took off. The 2nd fifty took fewer than 6 years – the 100th was a peal of Cambridge Surprise Major by the Sunday Service band in 1976. The remaining 201 peals came along in fewer than 19 years.

Several notable peals for the Guild were rung on the old octave. Among them:-

  • First peal of Bristol S Major by entirely resident Guild members.
  • First ladies’ peal of Triples.
  • First peal of Scientific Triples.
  • First Silent and Non-conducted peal on tower bells.
  • Most Spliced Surprise Major (35m).

44 ringers rang their first peal on the old bells and a total of 301 peals were rung on them. It should have been 300 but the tower captain at the time had a problem with sums and mis-counted. This resulted in not just the last, but the last two peals being rung by members of the local band. In total, 15 of the peals were “local band” peals.

Many “first peal in the method” and “first for the Guild” have been achieved on the new bells. Several ladies band peals have been rung and 12 ringers have scored their first peal.

Simple arithmetic will show that, since the new ring of ten was installed in 1995, a further 499 peals have been rung on St Mary’s bells. 28 were rung entirely by the local band including the first two. Arrangements are in hand and, hopefully, the 500th on the new bells will also be a local band peal.


The Peal Details

Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild

Bishopstoke, Hampshire
St Mary
Tuesday, 2 February 2016 in 2:51 (11–1–1 in G)
5000 Bristol Surprise Royal
W Nigel G Herriott
Roy LeMarechal (C)
Jennifer M Herriott
Stephen S Russ
Anthony P Smith
John P Colliss
James A Hodkin
Richard M Thompson
Stuart J Heath
10 Edward P D Colliss

800th peal on St Mary’s bells.

To write a post on the Website

  • You will need to be given a login for the site – this can be requested from the webmaster.
  1. Log in to WordPress.
  2. Go to the Add New Post page
  3. Give the post a sensible title – for example “Surprise Practice at Hursley, 7pm Oct 1st” which tells the reader enough to let them decide whether to open the post and read it!
  4. Enter your post body content in the main post editing box below it. One screen full or less is ideal. A Picture REALLY helps – there is a big media library already, or you can add your own pictures [see this post for instructions]. To add an existing picture, click the little icon to the left of “Paragraph”, and click on the picture you want. If it’s not on the first screen, use the little “search” icon (top right of the box). There is a picture of most of the towers so try tying the name of the tower.
  5. Open up the “Categories and Tags” box on the left of the screen by clicking it.
  6. Start typing the name of the category you want and then tick it to select it.  The most likely categories for a post are listed below. A full list can be seen on this page on the left hand side, click the category name to see a definition plus which is the category’s Home Page (if any) plus the latest news in the category. (see below)
  7. You can check your news looks right by clicking the Preview button
  8. When you are ready, click Submit for Review.


Much more information about Categories

This website is completely dependent on categories in order for each news item to be displayed beside the correct page. There are 300 pages on this website, and most of them have their own Category, so you may find the following useful:



Almost all new posts are in the category News which ensures they are displayed beside the front page underneath the headlines. If in doubt, click the News category on your post.


Posts in this category are displayed at the top right on the front page and bottom right on EVERY page, and the aim is to have them current, and important, and to have 6-10 at any one time. The webmaster will “demote” old ones into News. Headlines are chosen by the webmaster, or one of the Guild Officers. If in doubt don’t tick “headlines”!


Many posts are invitations to an event. These appear beside the page

Tower Name

Most ringing takes place in a tower so you probably need to tick the category for your tower as well. Mostly this is obvious and you will find it easily… type the name of the town or village and it should be there.

District Name 

Tick this, plus the district news category if there is one (this exists to enable districts with a lot of news to quickly de-list old news without deleting it from the site, or removing the link to the District’s archive)

District, Tower or Guild

One of these 3 is relevant to most posts, as most will either come from a Tower or from a District Committee or from a Guild committee. News categorised District appears beside the, and news categorised Tower beside Category Guild posts are beside the page

A committee name 

If your news comes from a Guild Committee then you need to also select its name eg:


Mosts posts are in this category. This one is aimed at Google – we want Google to know this website is all about ringing!

Surprise Minor

This would be used for a special practice and posts appear beside the page Other categories like this are Plain Minor, Surprise Royal, Surprise Major and Surprise Maximus.

Firsts Fortnight

Puts posts beside that page….. etc etc.


News from the WP Guild Website Jan 17th



Thanks to all those who have sent in news this week for inclusion on the website. The easiest way for the webmaster is if the news is sent to email address

Pictures, pdf posters, etc etc can all be included.


Guild Surprise Royal Practice Sun 31st Jan 2016 Bishopstoke 2pm

Dear all,

Surprise Royal PracticeThe next surprise royal practice will take place as follows;

When: Sunday 31st January 2016 at 14:00 – 15:30
Where: Bishopstoke

Special Methods: Bristol and Superlative No 2. Ringing will also include Cambridge and Yorkshire.

I look forward to seeing lots of you there 🙂
Please let me know if you are hoping to come so we have an idea of numbers.
Best Wishes,

News from the WP Guild Website Jan 9th

Thanks to all those who have sent in news this week for inclusion on the website. The easiest way for the webmaster is if the news is sent to email address

Pictures, pdf posters, etc etc can all be included.

As the news really startts to flow, you may not want to read ALL of it, but you should find that news relevant to your tower is on the right of your tower’s page; news relevant to your District is on the right of your District Page, and the whole list is on the front page of the site, with headlines at the top.

So you can scan the last 7 days’ news, here is a copy of what’s on the front page this morning. Click any item to read the full text. Enjoy! Then go ringing!   Rosalind (Guild Comms Team)

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016


WP Surprise Royal Practice – Sunday 31st January 2016

Daniel Graham writes:

Dear all,
The next surprise royal practice will take place as follows;

When: Sunday 31st January 2016 at 14:00 – 15:30
Where: Bishopstoke

Special Methods: Bristol and Superlative No 2. Ringing will also include Cambridgeand Yorkshire.

I look forward to seeing lots of you there 🙂
Please let me know if you are hoping to come so we have an idea of numbers.
Best Wishes,

Update – Guild Surprise Royal Practice

Hi all,

Thanks to all those who replied regarding a December Surprise Royal practice.

Unfortunately too many people are away/unable to attend a December practice so for that reason there will be NO DECEMBER SURPRISE ROYAL PRACTICE.

The practices will restart in January. The most likely date for this will be 31st January. However I will send another email to see who is available shortly.

Thanks to all who supported the first few practices and hopefully these can continue to gain strength on the new year. It is the aim that these will eventually be fixed to a set Sunday (I.e 4th Sunday) to aid with diary planning, but in the early stages it may vary slightly to ensure enough people are able to attend.

Happy Christmas to you all, and I look forward to ringing with you in the new year.

Dan Graham