Huge congratulations to Matthew Dancy on ringing his first peal at Selborne today. Matthew only turned 14 last month and has been learning to ring at All Saints, Basingstoke, Newnham and more recently at Bishopstoke. In the peal where his Mum, Margaret and Grandpa, Ian making Matthew the third generation of the family to ring. Grandma Ann was on hand too for band photos but declined to ring in the attempt.
Matthew rang really well throughout and only gave a hint of a teenage smile as the peal cane round. Let’s see if he can beat Grandpa Ian’s total of over 3300 – a little way to go!
Remembrance is often difficult without direct memories or those passed on through family. Men who died in war were young and so are a dead-end on their family tree diagram. Many were never fathers, grandfathers or great grandfathers with photos and prized possessions passed through the family to keep them alive in the hearts of future generations. Memories of them 100 years on are now faded in the family histories.
Taking Tommy on his travels made these brave soldiers more alive to us, as ringers we had an insight into a small aspect of their lives. We know the hard work, dedication, attention to detail and reliability needed to be part of a group of ringers; how team work is essential and that we are an extended family.
Five towers in our district lost ringers. At each tower we had open ringing on tower bells or handbells followed by a silence to remember and then tolling of the tenor for the age of the ringer.
Our tour started at Yateley where we remembered Lance Sergeant Charles Albert Butler, aged 21. Ringing included rounds, rounds and call changes Grandsire and Plain Bob triples. The Yateley Society put on a display on the village green just outside the church which encouraged the general public to come and find out about ringing and see the ringers in action.
Stratfield Saye is a lovely little church on the Stratfield Estate. No ringing is allowed on the bells as the tower is now too weak. However, the vicar took us up to see the bells and we were able to sound each individual bell with a hammer (an ‘interesting’ tuning of a ring of 5 bells).
Five ringers were lost from this church: Lance Corporal Joseph Binge (20); Private Thomas William Binge(22);Private Albert George Broadhurst (24); Sapper Charles Kersley (30) and Private John Robert Series ( age unknown so we tolled the tenor 26 times).
Standing where our lost Tommies would have stood in the ringing room looking at the same oak bracing beams, brick walls and circle of five ropes was a poignant moment. Probably this was the whole band that had perished and that these men had possibly all worked on the estate or in the village.
At the chancel crossing we rang handbells ,mainly rounds with each person having a single bell.
The vicars’ young grandson, as well as Mary Oliver who rang at St Michael’s in Basingstoke many years ago also joined in.
The churchyard has mature trees that certainly would have been growing 100 years ago giving us a further connection to the past. We all sat together between these trees and ate a picnic, then tolled the tenor handbell for each of lost from the ringing family.
Next stop was Bramley. Here the stone work of the tower window had disintegrated and so no ringing of the tower bells was allowed as masonry falling onto the ringers was a real possibility. Some Bramley ringers joined us and we rang handbells in memory of Private Alec William Symonds (21). Interestingly the plaque in the church ranked him as Corporal.
Deane is a tiny village to the west of Basingstoke. The church has structural problems so ringing is generally restricted to special occasions and individual pieces of ringing are limited to about ten minutes in duration. The order of the bells in some changes makes them a little tricky to strike at times as tower movement makes some of the bells drop.
Two ringers from the same family were lost from this band. I was given the privilege of tolling the tenor for the life of Private Alfred Kirby aged 25 (about the same age as my youngest, Greg, is now and who is also a ringer) . Also remembered was Private Frank Kirby (34)
Our last visit of the day was to Dummer to remember Rifleman Royston Bishop(24)
We had some lovely ringing on the 5 bells. We were very grateful to members of the Dummer band who provided us with much needed refreshments.
The clear statue of Tommy travelled with us those and stood amongst us at each tower and gave us an echo of our lost members.
Photos provided by Graham Sargent and Gary Marsh.
Videos provided by Gary Marsh.
Please be reminded and invited to a day of marking the loss of local bellringers in the First World War across churches in the Basingstoke District of our W&P Guild. Please take the time to view the itinerary and note that some churches will be participating through handbell ringing.
Whether a handbell ringer, full circle or both, your presence at any or all of the churches will be greatly valued, not least by your fellow ringers, but by all in the Guild as we continue to work towards a fitting remembrance of our fallen.
The day starts in Yateley and this below from the Yateley Society describes some hows and whys.
“Basingstoke District Bell Ringers will be ringing the bells at St Peter’s Yateley on Saturday 1st September at 10.45 to 11.30 to remember bellringer Lance Sgt Charles Albert Butler who was killed 14th Apr 1918. He was the son of the bailiff of Yateley Manor. Two other sons served in WW1 but survived.
The Guild of bellringers has a project to remember the lives of the bellringers who lost their lives in WW1. Their tour next Saturday will ring at 5 different towers where the Winchester Diocese lost bell ringers. The ringers will first visit Yateley then they will go on to Stratfield Saye, which lost 5 bell ringers, Bramley, Deane and Dummer.
Yateley Society members will join with the local branch of the British Legion and Yateley Town Council to explain to local shoppers why the bells are ringing, who they are ringing for, and where he lived.
Look out for the Society’s gazebo on the Green outside the Dog & Partridge. Peter Tipton, author of ‘Yateley in the Great War’ will have his laptop there to find the WW1 relatives of local people.
Most residents of present-day Yateley were not born here so are unlikely to have had relations living in Yateley in WW1. But by finding their own relatives and building their LifeStory on IWM’s permanent digital memorial local people will be able to remember their own family members during the bellringing remembering Charles Butler of Yateley. Relatives we might might find on #LivesOfWW1 are not restricted to the British Isles. There are 7.6 million names on the IWM memorial from all over the old Empire. The men from India and Pakistan who served in Indian Regiments are included, as are the men who served with the Chinese Labour battalions.
The Society will also have a small display about Sgt Butler and the Yateley Bellringers before and after WW1. ‘Yateley in the Great War’, recently published by Pen & Sword Books, will also be available for those who have not yet purchased a copy.”
The May Basingstoke District Practice is at Wolverton on Saturday May 19th at 6.00 – 7.30 pm. Wolverton is a delightful 8cwt 6 with bells that ring themselves! And ..to the pub after to quench the thirst and for a social! Do join us.
Saturday 17th March 3.30 pm – 5.00 pm – District Practice at Herriard on these lovely, easy to ring bells. Those of all standards are welcome, ringing Calls and Round Changes, Plain Bob, Grandsire and even Cambridge. Retiring to a local pub after. Come along, you know you want to! RG25 2PH
Viv has posted her thanks for the help and support over the sad weeks following the death at 96 of her Mum, Irene.
I repeat here, for those of you who know Viv and Graham through ringing, her comments for those of you not on Facebook:
‘We had tremendous support from many friends on Monday at Mum’s funeral. Thanks to you all.
The service was marvellous as far as we were concerned – Mum would have been very humble to know that serving Police Officers – quite a number – were there to honour her by forming a guard of honour and then six of the group being pall bearers.
It certainly helped family members to have so many folk there to share the sad occasion. x x
This to my fellow ringers:
Thanks everyone for the ringing tributes for Mum throughout Monday. The ringing at Newport and at Ryde was wonderful. Thanks to David Weir, Darren Westmore and John Stock working together and going that extra mile to achieve the very best for Mum and our family. Once again, we’ve seen the ringing family providing valuable support, umprompted, just when it’s needed. Exceptional !! Thank you all.’
Here also is the quarter tribute we rang on Monday evening:
Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Ryde (All Saints’), Isle of Wight
Monday, 4 December 2017 in 50 min (26 2cwt)
1John R Stock
7Graham Nobbs (C)
8Revd Barry Downer
Rung in Celebration of the Life of Irene Kathleen Ball, Mum to Viv, whose Funeral took place earlier at The Minster, Newport, and following tolling of the tenor 96 times.
If anyone knows of someone that would benefit from a Stedman Doubles practice on Saturday 11th November 2017 at Herriard from 10:30 – 13:00 please would you pass on this information and ask them to get in touch with me as there is available space for an extra student.
Saint Mary the Virgin, Micheldever held a Stedman and Erin doubles practice on Saturday 8 July 2017. The training day was brilliant. Great support from local ringers and an opportunity to meet new people and have some extended quality rope time. Personally this session really helped me consolidate my Stedman learning resulting in me completing a touch of Stedman and completing a plain course of Erin which was a first for me.
On the day I met Deb Baker, and we decided to arrange a training day for Cambridge Surprise Minor. Debs arranged the bells and I looked to gather a team of helpers.
Last Saturday 26th August (bank holiday weekend) two students and nine helpers from across the district undertook Cambridge Surprise Minor simulator practice at Crondall. Initially the students took turns ringing the method before we advanced to having two students in at the same time. The practice culminated in Debs and me ringing three plain courses together, which was a challenge but completed with some guidance on the second and third courses. It was a brilliant three hour practice with the students walking away with much more knowledge and experience than they had started with and I think the helpers had a good time too.
For a bit of fun the practice finished with a round of quacking ducks on the simulator. If you’ve never tried it you should, it was very funny!
Finally thanks goes to Crondall, for the use of the tower. A big thank you to all the helpers for making this practice such a great success and thanks goes to Roy LeMarechal, who kindly acted as tower captain and structured the practice on the day.
Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Sunday, 20 August 2017 (14–1–10 in F)
1260 Grandsire Triples
1 Peter Rowe
2 Alison Smith
3 Maggie Ellis
4 Angela Athawes
5 Tom Blomley
6 Lynne Jordan
7 Greg Jordan (C)
8 Jon Soar
Rung to commemorate the lives of the following, who gave their lives in WWI:
Sergeant Herbert John Irving, 3375 11th Bn Australian Infantry A.I.F. died 7 May 1917 aged 24. Born at Basingstoke.
Gunner George Charles Dimes, 87665, 188th Heavy Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery, died 5 May 1917 aged 26.
Ordinary Telegraphist Gordon Thomas Sansom, J/32712 H.M.S. “Derwent”, died 2 May 1917 aged 17.
A W&P WWI quarter
On Wednesday 28th June we held a very enjoyable Surprise minor practice at St Mary’s church, Eversley (Basingstoke District). The practice was well attended by ringers from the district, our ODG neighbours and by St Mary’s new Curate, the Reverend Rachel Hartland. Rachel hadn’t rung for 15 years and was delighted to join in with some rounds to get her back into ringing! This month’s method was Annable’s London. Cambridge, Norwich, Beverley and Primrose were also rung. The practice gave St Mary’s ringers a chance to practice Treble bob, Treble Bob Hunt and Plain Bob Doubles with the benefits of a strong band. Our thanks to all those who attended.
The Eversley Surprise Minor practice is held on the last Wednesday of the month. The next practice will be on 26th July, 8pm until 9.30pm. White Hart Pub afterwards.
In preparation for the Summer Tour, the Lilliputters have, for the last two years, held a day’s outing a couple of months before the Big Event.As well as giving us all a chance to meet and socialise again – some members rarely see each other away from Lilliputters! – it gives prospective new members a chance to join the group, and an opportunity to visit a different area.
Last Saturday, 6th May, it was the turn of the Basingstoke District to play host to the Lilliputters. The group continues to expand; as well as Swindon, Brighton, Abingdon, Colchester and Brockenhurst, we also welcomed new members from Bristol, Hertford and Rickmansworth.
Come 10 o’clock, we had a turnout of some 15 young and young-at-heart ringers meeting at the fine octave at St Michael, Basingstoke, to start us off with what (for many) proved to be the favourite bells of the day! Striking a balance between our usual array of silliness and maintaining a good standard of ringing, we enjoyed our time here, with call changes, Grandsire Triples and Stedman Triples the staple fare.
Following our next tower – the interesting six at Wootton St Lawrence – it was time for lunch; the highlight of the day for many, with handbells and maximum daftness a must – the two are sometimes connected! But then, who could forget last years “human bellframe” competition, or playpark antics? Fortuitously, there is a large green area just behind Wootton church, which hosted lunchtime very nicely; while some members lost a handbell quarter peal, others got stuck in the baby swings, or kept The Mighty Kaleeb entertained; no easy task!
Lunch complete, we headed onto Overton, where George brushed up on his praying, and we were joined by Tim and Rosalind Martin almost out of the blue (I had only picked up the warning text two minutes before they arrived!). Strong supporters of the tour, it was great to welcome them along and catch up. We also said farewell to Mike Martin, who had joined us for the morning – and wish him every success on his new adventure; who knows, a Lilliput adventure to Ireland may yet be on the cards!
Whitchurch proved to be the highlight for many, with an opportunity to ring on a substantial ring of ten; an interesting mix of dates and founders, augmented some twenty years ago with two modern tenors; an unusual arrangement! Here, we had the obligatory group photo – and were joined by two ringers from Battersea, who were walking in the area – but which also made enough for half a course of Cambridge Royal; a very commendable effort!
Finally, it was onto the handy eight at Hurstbourne Priors to finish the day.Aside from the field full of cows by the church, we enjoyed a good course of Cambridge, and a spanking touch of Little Bob to finish.
And that was it.Friends reacquainted, madness ensued, everything and everyone left in one piece, it was the end of another super day out.The Summer Tour will once again run in the Poole vicinity from Monday 31st July to Friday 4th August, and you are warmly invited to join us, irrespective of age and ability!