Category Archives: Learn To Ring

Association of Ringing Teachers/ART Training Scheme: Course places available.

Two great minds (Alan Bentley and Tim Kettle) have been at work together to host this great opportunity within the C&S District: A one day course (Module 1) Teaching Bell Handling.  This will be held at St. Peter’s, Bournemouth on 9th March 2019 with tutor Gill Hughes. In time we plan to host more in the undercroft conference centre.

St. Peter’s has great facilities within its undercrofts, and in time we hope will become known on the ringers-map as a ‘Learning/Ringing Centre’, as the church invests in making the staircase, tower, steeple, bells more accessible to the public and awareness.  We are very lucky to home a beautiful heavy ring of 8 by Taylor’s (21cwt in E), recast as a complete set in the 1930’s. The tower is also home to the popular and successful weekly tailored practice night specifically geared towards bell handling.

For more information please contact Tim Kettle, Ringing Master of St. Peter’s.

Ringing for Peace: Document/Poster

Please see the document/poster via the link below.  As part of the ringing initiative, Ringing for Peace, please print copies of these out, to display/make accessible to congregation members.

All you need to do is change the email address so it is relevant to your tower.

If anyone needs assistance doing this, please let me know.

Contact Peter Murdock-Saint


Ringing for Peace Battles Over Self Fill

A message to all towers with new recruits

Vicki Chapman, Ringing Remembers Project Co-ordinator, writes:

Dear all

Hopefully you will have seen the Ringing Remembers update published in last week’s Ringing World.  However, it would be great if you could spread the word throughout your networks to ensure that all new ringers are registering to be counted towards our target of 1,400 new recruits to join us for ringing on Armistice Day this year.

The Armistice 100 Ringing Remembers website  is now open.  The website also gives you some information and useful links regarding the Ringing Remembers campaign including some resources to help you with any publicity.  Some Association’s will have already had some leaflets and posters however, I will be sending out more in the coming weeks, especially to those areas that have not yet received any.  If you’ve already had some, but would like some more, please get in touch.

To register, click on the Register link which then presents a number of options:

New Ringer – for those who are completely new, have not contacted a local tower and want to be connected with a teacher, we will then match them up with either an ART teacher, or your Association’s nominated contact;

Already Learning – for those that may have gone straight to a local tower and started to learn to ring, in which case please include where;

Returning Ringer – for anyone who has come back to ringing after a period of absence, and therefore unlikely to need to be put in touch with a teacher or Association.

Once they have answered a few simple questions, they will be added to the Armistice 100 database and counted towards our 1,400.

If you were contacted regarding someone wanting to learn to ring in your area, it would be extremely helpful if you could send us an update of how students that have been passed to you are progressing.  Have they been contacted?  Has a teacher been assigned, if so who? Have they started lessons yet? And even if they’ve decided it’s not for them after all.  That way we can really see how many new recruits will be ready to join us for ringing on Armistice Day.

During February the Ringing Remembers Facebook page was launched .  The CCCBR President wrote an introduction/welcome post.  The Big Ideas Twitter account ( )has regular Ringing Remembers updates and the hashtag #RingingRemembers is being shared in posts.  Both are useful if you want to spread the word about any taster sessions or recruitment events you might be hosting.  Do please keep me informed and let me know if you need any help advertising your event.

If you have any peals or quarters planned to mark the anniversary of a WW1 ringers death, please let me know so we can help you mark the occasion and if you need any help with publicity.

Kind regards

Vicki Chapman

Ringing Remembers Project Co-ordinator

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers Representative

Registered Charity Number: 270036

Plain Bob Doubles – There is a better way!

Phil Ramsbottom is a member of the St. Martin’s Guild, and an ART teacher.


  • In the light of many years experience, the writer recommends improving the teaching of method ringing in the following way:
    Move away from teaching Plain Bob Doubles which is leading to losing many recruits early in the learning process.
  • Use other ways of teaching proper method ringing, such as Bastow, to provide a more direct and quicker route into ringing the basic lines which ringers use throughout their ringing lives.
  • Use other techniques to teach learners (… our future ringers) and in doing so, ensure they leave the tower after every practice having achieved something and with a real sense of achievement. That way we will keep more recruits.

Plain Bob Doubles: the long tradition

For as many years as I can remember, Plain Bob Doubles has been the vehicle for introducing new ringers to changeringing, be it plain hunting on the treble or ringing ‘inside’.
Equally, for as many years as I can remember, it’s very rarely that I’ve not witnessed a new recruit struggling for many more weeks than should be allowed trying to get to grips with the basic ideas of learning a Blue Line and converting it into actions whilst ringing a bell.

Many’s the time I’ve witnessed a pupil learning to plain hunt on the treble, the backstrokes into 3rds and 5ths place always seeming to be a problem. When it comes to learning to ring the method inside, again I have seen too many (far too many) managing a plain course
after months of trying after which it seems to be another six months or more of endless 120’s keeping them as observation bell.

During this stage we seem to lose far too many new recruits, which considering the hundreds of man hours invested in getting this far is an intolerable waste of teaching time. We’re teaching Bob Doubles (and very badly at that) and not teaching ropesight. I have asked many fellow ringers why this attachment to Bob Doubles, only to be told: “Well a pupil can learn to make seconds, far places, dodge in 3-4 up and down all in the same method”.

This is not a persuasive argument: a learner driver, for example, doesn’t attempt to do three point turns or hill starts in their first lesson. The individual skills required are learnt separately, one at a time, slowly coming together in order to gain competence. We need to introduce a system for teaching the individual basic manoeuvres used in methods and in doing so a system which will help familiarize the pupil with, and help them to develop, ropesight. Bob Doubles is not that method.

Plain Hunting with elementary ropesight

It must be said that, for what follows, the use of a wipe clean board and pens in the tower will assist greatly, but only in order to illustrate the Blue Lines immediately prior to ringing without the need for weeks of revision beforehand which often ‘put off’ the learner.

As I mentioned above, most learners (or least the ones I’ve witnessed) take more than a few weeks to get to grips with the mechanics of plain hunting on 5, normally memorizing the numbers, which lets face it, isn’t difficult. Only when touches are embarked on do they have their first taste of needing ropesight and thus more weeks are added to the process.

So, simplify it. Begin by plain hunting on just 2 bells. For what follows, assume that 6 bells are always being rung and the pupil is on the treble. The pupil simply learns to lead for a whole turn, make seconds over the second and lead again. Just four changes but usually easily achieved after only a couple of attempts. Once competent at this, again probably after only a few minutes, then call a different bell into seconds place telling the pupil to work out which bell prior to saying ‘go’ once more. Progressively, giving less time for the pupil to find the seconds place bell (i.e. call a bell into seconds immediately followed by ‘go’). Already the pupil is grasping basic ropesight and after only say 10 or fifteen minutes at the very most. If possible, try and get this far without interruption, i.e. calling stand to ring something else.

The added bonus of this is that the pupil goes home having achieved changeringing by the end of practice night, albeit very basic, unaided as opposed leaving the tower wondering: “Will I ever be able to ring Bob Doubles” which I’ve heard said many times.

We then move on to plain hunting on 3 bells. Apply the same rules as above, giving plenty of practice first with bells 2 and 3 in the correct place moving on to having different bells in 2nds and 3rds place. Don’t feel the need to leave 4, 5 and 6 as cover bells, get them involved too as it all benefits the learner.

Stating the blindingly obvious, now do the same again on 4 bells. Once able to do this with the bell positions changed round, there’s a several things to try next. Firstly while still ringing on 6, ring a plain course or touch of Plain Bob Minimus, with 5 and 6 covering.

Secondly, do the same but starting from a different change other than rounds and also with say 4 and 6 or 3 and 6 as cover bells. Thirdly, try the same but using a method where the treble returns to lead passing the bells in a different order. And lastly, if a suitable band is to hand, try a plain course of Little Bob Minor. The pupil will most likely quickly remember the numbers to get through a plain course, but having developed at least some ropesight in the
earlier exercises, moving on to ring touches doesn’t usually, and shouldn’t, cause too much difficulty.

In all my experience of teaching, I’ve rarely had to go beyond two weeks of practices to achieve the above, although time allocation of the evening might need to be slightly more in favour of the learner, – but look at the payback!

At this point, despite not having yet attempted hunting on 5, move on to ringing inside, and yes, on 4 bells not 5.

Bastow Little Court Bob Minimus

Allow me now to introduce what I consider to be a rather wonderful little method called Bastow which, whilst not stretching the skills of your average ringer, is the best thing I’ve ever discovered for introducing learners to ringing methods inside and ropesight.


By way of comparison I have reproduced the method here, and below, I’ve shown the more usually preferred Plain Bob Doubles. Now ask yourselves this, if you were to show the average learner these two diagrams, which of the two Blue Lines are they most likely to want to learn first? I’ve always had the same reply, – the easiest. Now call me biased, but are there any ringers out there who honestly think that the line for Plain Bob Doubles is the easier of the two? I seriously doubt it, and yet this seems to be the normal approach to teaching method ringing inside.

Plain Bob Doubles

At this stage it’s also worth pointing out that it’s possible to get a total novice band as far as this stage without needing additional assistance. Starting hunting on just 2 bells and working upwards in numbers can be done with just one ringer present who
understands plain hunting.

Likewise, once a band has got this far, it’s possible to get the same band ringing courses of Bastow with only one experienced ringer. Try doing that with Bob Doubles. Ok, it’s probably been done somewhere but it’s MUCH harder work.

Bastow with 2 as hunt bell (treble line)

So far, our ‘learner’ has been ringing the treble bell to all the hunting. So, lets keep life simple for them and keep them ringing the treble, – after all, they’ve got used to it by now. To do this we simply start the method in a different place, the second becomes the hunt bell (starting by leading and then making seconds etc…) and all the treble does is this^^.

The purpose of this is to get our pupil to learn how to move towards a dodging position and then perform dodges in 3-4 up and 3-4 down.

To begin with we can help them, for example by explaining that they won’t be dodging with the second: the first dodge is with the last bell they meet at the back; and the other dodge is with the remaining bell.

Once this is mastered, and again usually quite quickly, then start changing the numbers round, and as was done in the plain hunting, introducing other bells into the changes. Say, for example, starting from 153246 with 4 and 6 covering.

Remember, wherever possible, as with all the previous exercises, the ringing should be on 6 bells. It’s also worth noting that I don’t advocate the usual practice of learning the sequence of work, other than it’s simply 3-4 up followed by 3-4 down, another factor which makes this a more appealing way of learning method ringing.

So where do we go from here? Thinking logically, and to avoid the tedium of learning the sequence of work, extend the Bastow to all 6 bells, and keeping our learner on the treble we now have a line which looks like this.

This I’m sure you’ll agree is starting to look like something we recognize as being of
some use, say almost Treble Bob on 6, or half of Little Bob Minor.

From experience,  the learner won’t gasp at the prospect of going up to 6ths place for the first time. It’s simply the next dodging position to them. Again, by way of guidance, explain that having done the 3-4 up dodge, simply pass the next bell and then dodge again with
the one after that. Then lie for 2 blows dodging with the bell which comes up to meet you at the back. The only difficulty I’ve experienced is showing the learner how to pick out the bell for the 3-4 down dodge, but as with everything so far, this is more
often than not learned quickly.

Again, the numbers may well be learnt without trying but by this stage that’s not such a bad thing as we have a learner whom we can now move around a bit and get used to ringing different bells. For example, ringing the method correctly with the treble as the hunt bell and the learner ringing the second and/or the third. Doing this negates the need to start from anything other than rounds there being things we can now move on to which will help to develop the ropesight we’re trying to achieve.

After that, one of the next logical steps is adding the dodges in 1-2 and then trebling to an appropriate method. The other alternative, having mastered this line, is to then ring the second to Little Bob pointing out the need not to dodge with the treble in 3-4
at the relevant point. That being said, there’s no reason where these two options can’t be run concurrently. Once these are out of the way there are many different paths to take. Personally I head towards learning the Bobs and then on to Plain Bob Minor and splicing it with Little Bob, even if only in plain courses at first.


  • Stop teaching Plain Bob Doubles and wondering why we lose so many recruits at this stage in the learning process.
  • Introduce a means of teaching proper method ringing, and by that, have a different but far more direct and quicker route into ringing the basics of the lines we ring throughout our ringing lives.
  • Teach our learners (and our future ringers) in a way which means they leave the tower after every practice feeling as though they’ve achieved something and not just got better at something, as opposed to the usual: “Come back next week and we’ll have another go at it”. They don’t always come back next week – and it’s too late then!

Phil Ramsbottom

Your comments are welcome on this article – scroll down to post publicly, or click here to email the author

Learn to ring at St Michael’s Basingstoke

St Michaels, Basingstoke are eager and willing to recruit any new ringers.
We have a simulator which allows us to train on the bells but without the bells being heard outside and offers opportunities for good ringing practice with feedback via a computer.  Training is given by experienced and capable trainers who have trained many other individuals over the years. In the early stages training is one to one and arranged on a day by day basis.   Following this, learner specific training sessions are held throughout the year with learners in small groups of 2, 3 or 4 at the most.


Great news – to date we have 16 new ringers in our Guild area! 

The majority have been introduced to their tower already and the five most recent enquiries, received 8th January, will be contacted very soon.

The aim nationwide is to recruit 1,400 new ringers to symbolically replace those ringers who gave their lives 100 years ago.

David Mattingley and Viv Nobbs are liaising with the Ringing Remembers Project for our Guild.”


Congratulations to June!

The Alderney ringers are delighted to record that June Banister has passed the highest level of the Learning the Ropes pathway to success in ringing & is now a qualified Change Ringer. The training scheme was launched 5 years ago – there are only 79 ‘graduates’ so far reaching Level 5 and two of them are on Alderney:-)

Maurice will be enjoying his 93rd birthday on Weds 13th Dec so at practice on Mon 11th we rang 93 changes of Cambridge Minor before singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and enjoying a slice of birthday cake.

Helen McGregor

Two trainees write about last week’s Guild Raising and Lowering Course

Gary Marsh writes:

The Basic Raising and Lowering course held at St. Mary’s Church, Bishopstoke was a terrific event.  It had an air of nervous celebration about it as we arrived at the church and signed in with Christine.    I say nervous, as we knew as beginner ringers that we would soon be tackling what often seems to be the most challenging and coordination defying tasks of raising, and particularly, lowering, a bell.   It felt like a celebration as we had got to the point in our ringing careers where our handling had moved on enough to be trusted to rise to the challenge of learning these new skills without breaking anything!

With six tutors and ten on the course we got the chance to be instructed alongside fellow raising & lowering novices, sharing instructors, ropes and experiences.   It made for a great sense of community.   Our tutors were calm, encouraging and excited to be sharing their knowledge.

So us ten not-so-novices can move forward with our ringing, able to more fully participate at our home tower with our potential raised and anxieties lowered.   The milestone of making the first loop complete in a safe and welcoming place, well away from our own woodwork!

Gary Marsh (46), Wonston Tower, ringing ten months.

And Romy Coldman writes:

After two years of ringing and never really mastering the mysteries of raising and lowering, I jumped at the chance when I heard about the course.

The day was very well organised where we had one tutor to two learners. We all had a full two hours of individual practice and assessment less the much needed tea break after working up a sweat. As a learner, I certainly need more practice until I can raise and lower with confidence, but the tips and skills gained from the course were invaluable.

Many thanks to Andy Ingram, Christine Knights-Whittome and all the tutors – especially Mike, my tutor, for his patience and encouraging words.

I would highly recommend this course not only for beginners but for anyone who wants to improve their skills.

Romy Coldman (Hinton Admiral)

Bell Handling

The first steps of learning to ring are all about handling and controlling a bell. Later, if you plan to ring heavier bells (or much lighter ones) you may need to brush up these skills and take them to a new level.

Posts about Bell Handling on this website:

September 2017 Ringing Courses at Tulloch

2 peals of bells, a simulator, handbells, patient & friendly ART tutors and no neighbours – all add up to a winning combination

Learn to ring week Sept 18th – 22nd

Are you struggling to get enough ‘rope-time’ in your home tower? 18 places are available @ £50 per head for 5 days of total immersion in the fun of ringing. ART registered tutors will lead students through bell handling, change ringing in hand and working with a simulator to produce ringers fit for the 21st century. We will liaise with your local tower for easy integration when you get home. 5 days of concentrated handling/listening/ rounds/theory & vocabulary – what better way to spend a week? We will provide a light lunch of soup/sandwiches & all day tea & coffee. Accommodation available locally, we can make recommendations but you must book your own.

Improve your ringing week, Sept 25th – 29th

Can you ring a bell unaided but want to polish your handling? perfect your raising & lowering, work on your call changes, understand ropesight & work towards plain hunt. Learn about plain bob, what does it mean to dodge. Fancy a go on handbells? we can help:-)
18 places available for a week of intensive tuition covering handling, hunting and bob doubles. Learn to ring handbells. Perfect your striking with a simulator
For £50 pp we will provide a week of patient tuition, easy to ring bells & friendly support – extend your horizons at Tulloch. Light lunch and all day tea & coffee provided. Accommodation available locally, we can make recommendations but you must book your own.

This is an opportunity to get on track with the best team sport/performing art/mathematical puzzle in the UK.

For more info & to book your place please see

“The Education Column” articles by David Smith, now available online

In agreement with The Ringing World the series of 8 articles titled ‘The Education Column’ by David Smith, published during 2016, have now been added to the Education area of the website. Links are also below.

1. Introductory rumblings
2. What is Bastow?  Why is it useful?
3. How Quick are your Sixes?
4. Little Bob and Penultimate
5. Let’s be Original!
6. Kaleidoscope
7. Down Mexico way
8. Back to Basics

Listening Skills course on Saturday 8th April at Lockerley

With Grandsire Doubles and Triples behind us**, the Education Committee is turning its attention to the Listening Skills course on Saturday 8th April, based at Lockerley.    This is a full-day course, including lunch, and covers all sorts of different things which ringers may not have tried (in addition to ringing).    It is for ALL abilities, including relative beginners, and is a lot of fun.   Expect the unexpected!  **click to read a review of the Grandsire course

If you, or others within your tower, are still thinking about this, could I just remind you that the closing date for the receipt of applications is Wednesday 22nd March – not very far away! – and places are already three-quarters full.    Courses so far this year have all been over-subscribed, resulting in waiting lists, so if you think this would be of interest to you or your fellow-ringers could I suggest you send in your applications a.s.a.p.    In case they have been mislaid, further copies (both Word and pdf versions) of the poster and application form are attached.

Any queries before you take the plunge – do please give me a call or email me (see below)

Christine Knights-Whittome

Rebecca Webb Reflects on ways of building expertise in a new Method

In November, last year I attended an education training day arranged by the Guild for Double Norwich Court Bob Major (DNCBM). Followup from this day, some of the attendees of the course organised a practice evening at Eling, Southampton and the band at Eling tower kindly gave up their evening practice to support the learners from the Guilds Education Day, and we rang DNCBM all evening. This was a fabulous evening. Lots of support and encouragement. After this practice I was asked to consider organising a practice in my local area, Basingstoke. I found the request daunting but went with it.

I approached my home tower St Michael, Basingstoke to see if the tower could be used for such a practice. A simulator practice was offered and a date for 28th February 2017 was confirmed. I posted the date, time, venue and method to be rung on the Guild website with the help and support of the Webmaster. They created me a link so those that were interested could contact me direct.
I asked the Tower Secretary at St Michael, and the District Secretary, to publish the event to capture those that may not have access to the Guild website.

Two learners took advantage of the opportunity and nine helpers volunteered to assist on the evening. We had fantastic and generous support with people giving up their time and traveling from all over the county to support. The Guild Master and members of the Education Committee have been so supportive in the run up to the practice evening, they gave me plenty of advice and contacts prior to the evening which helped eliminate any concerns or challenges that presented themselves while organising the evening.

The Guild Education Days are great and the idea that learners should seek to consolidate and embed their learning from the wider ringing community is proactive and innovative, especially where more complex methods may be harder to practice within home towers.

By calling on the expertise within the Guild, the necessary rope time to learn the method has been achieved. Creating the opportunity to consolidate the learning so quickly after the initial training has paid off, not just with individual confidence with ringing the method but also tapping into peoples enthusiasm to help grow the skills within the Guild. I have had lots of positive feedback from other people who have heard about this and I have had suggestions of possible methods for future practices. The opportunity and support is there in the ringing community and I would encourage others to think about doing what we have done. With this in mind I have decided to do something similar for Stedman Doubles and this is what has happened…

Bradfield ringing course through my eyes

I’m a great fan of ringing courses and have been to Sparsholt (the predecessor of Bradfield), Hereford and Bradfield many times both as a student and helper but not for many years. But last year I decided that it was time for another visit.

When applying students have to choose the group that they think will be suitable for the stage they will be at about 4 months down the line so best to consult with your tower captain to get advice. Some people are over-ambitious while others don’t realise how near they are to a giant leap forward. For helpers you simply tick the groups you are confident you can keep right in. I ticked the boxes up to Plain Bob Minor but omitting Bell Experience. No learner needs me wandering all over the place trying to figure out who to follow in call changes!

I was very lucky my flight was on time so I knew I’d be in plenty of time to get to Reading where I was being collected by another helper and taken for lunch. But I was just too early and had to hang around for 2 hours until off-peak train fares kicked in. Next time I’ll go a few days early and make the cost of my flight worthwhile. There must have been nearly 20 of us helpers sitting in the pub garden on the bank of the river at Pangbourne and it was a wrench to tear ourselves away to check into the course.

Although I’ve been many times before I was semi-anonymous this time because I’d previously used my married name. Even Margaret Winterbourne, who organised the accommodation had no idea I would be there. But I don’t really melt into the background so my cover was soon blown. One sad thing for me was how many of my old friends were not there; some had died while others had simply dropped out due to old age. But it was lovely to see so many young tutors.

Bradfield College is a vast site and no matter how many times I’m there it still takes me at least a day until I can find my way around. The accommodation used was in different blocks than the last time I was there. Smashing new blocks though mine was right at the top of the hill. I wonder if Margaret might have taken pity and allocated me a room nearer sea level if she’d realised I was the old girl? But at least it was quiet up there, well away from the beer room.

Those who book in early have a couple of hours spare to get their bearings or simply rest before the action begins. Kicking off is the welcome meeting hosted by The Two Mikes. They can rival Ant and Dec any day! The tutors are introduced, ‘elf ’n’ safety covered and everyone separates off for the first theory session with their group. This usually starts with introductions and sorting out car sharing and most importantly finding out whether any locals have recommendations on pubs for lunch on the Friday and Saturday. Then some theory on the group’s method. This year I was helping with Grandsire Doubles which I was pleased with (at the beginning anyway). After 3 days of nothing else it becomes rather tedious and that’s why my favourite group to help on is plain hunt. You get to ring all sorts of doubles methods while the learner plain hunts the treble.

Then evening meal and off to the first tower. Ringing at different towers is an important part of the learning process. They do try to allocate the more challenging bells to the more advanced groups but since they make use of every available tower within an acceptable distance from the college some will be easier than others. But I think this is a good opportunity for those who only ever ring at their home tower to experience other towers and maybe realise how lucky they are at home.

Once back from ringing the options are the brew room, the beer room or back to your accommodation block to put your feet up. You might not feel like collapsing on Thursday evening but you probably will by Saturday evening!

Friday and Saturday follow similar patterns; breakfast followed by an optional session, then off for the day to ring at 4 towers with a pub lunch in between. Returning to the college in time for coffee, followed by a theory session for your group and more optional talks.

On Saturday evening there was a mini ring striking competition which I somehow found myself in a band for. Needless to say we didn’t win; I’m not certain but I think we came 4th (out of 4).

Sunday morning is taken up with optional sessions for students or service ringing for helpers. Then after lunch a final ring.

I may not have been exactly correct on the order of when group sessions and optionals etc are held but rest assured there is a lot happening and you will never have time to be bored. Oh and did I say there is coffee and cake provided at regular intervals throughout the weekend.

The optional sessions vary each year but include handbells, conducting, teaching handling, rope splicing and any number of interesting things, much of it specifically aimed at relatively inexperienced ringers. The best attended sessions are always Steve Coleman’s so if you’re going the advice is to get to his talks early if you want a seat.

I think the course is best suited to those ringers in the bell experience group up to ringing doubles or minor and perhaps triples; partly because less experienced ringers will get more benefit from the whole experience of meeting other ringers, realising that others are also struggling and just simply becoming more aware of the wider world of ringing but also because a course or even half course of Surprise Major takes so long to ring that each student will only get one ring at each tower.

It is a wonderful but very tiring experience but don’t be surprised when you get back to your home tower keen to demonstrate your new skills to find that your mind goes totally blank and you haven’t a clue how to ring the method you rang all weekend. Give your brain a few days to clear and you will reap the rewards.

Bradfield is now taking applications for this year’s course on 17 – 20 August 2017 so why not think about going.

Sue Le Feuvre

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth rings Tower Bells!

“Yes I did” said The Lord Mayor when asked if he’d enjoyed his tower bell ringing Taster Session!!

The Lord Mayor had met with bell ringers before and was keen to have a go at Tower Bell Ringing himself.  He met up with a group of Portsmouth ringers at St. Agatha’s Church recently and was “Shown the ropes”.

He had noticed how challenging it can be, physically and mentally, and that young bell ringers get a good deal of fun out of the activity. When young ringers learn and then develop together, in a group, bell ringing is particularly exciting for them especially when they train for, and enter, competitions.

There are now teaching slots available in the Portsmouth area and The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress – who both did very well in their training sessions – are kindly offering their support to match the demand of potential new ringers to the availability and location of local Bell Ringing Coaches.

Local young groups including scouting organisations, church groups, schools and the Duke of Edinburgh scheme would be ideal.

For further information, please see

or email the District Secretary, Lisa

Viv Nobbs

Public Relations Officer

Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.

Tel: 07594 609 366

Essex Course 6th-8th April – Applications must be in by Friday 10th February

This year’s Essex Ringing Course runs from Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th April. The closing date for applications is Friday 10th February.

Details are at <>

The following is reproduced from that page:


GROUP A — Improving foundation skills.
Have you reached the stage in your early ringing career where even if you understand the theory of what you are meant to be doing you are finding doing it an entirely different matter? If so this group is for you. Students in this group will work on their individual ringing skills so that they can improve their bell control, listening and ropesight. This may require time working alone on a bell as an individual with the advice of your tutor, as well as ringing with other ringers. Students will also practise raising and lowering a single bell.
A Group for those who can ring Rounds competently and who are ready to take their first steps in call changes and then, possibly, in change ringing on 3 or 4 bells. If you are in any way doubtful about joining Group C, then join Group B; you will still find something to learn and will have the opportunity to fill in steps in your ringing education you may have missed or not appreciated.
A Group for those wishing to plain hunt on 5. The opportunity to practise on different rings of bells and in different orders both on the treble and “inside” will be provided. The Group will emphasise the skills required for change ringing and will be learning ropesight and considering striking, as an essential preliminary to ringing the treble. Practice may be given at ringing the treble to Bastow, Minimus and Doubles, to “Stedman Quick Sixes” and to Plain Bob Minimus as appropriate, before progressing to ringing the treble to Plain Bob Doubles.
A Group for those who really have ropesight and bell control and are ready to ring the treble to Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Minor. It is intended to progress to ringing the treble to touches in both these methods. A number of other methods may be rung to practise the different rhythm of change ringing with six bells.
A Group for those who are competent in ringing skills as outlined in the above groups and wishing to learn Plain Bob Doubles on an “inside” bell.
A Group for those who are already competent in ringing skills as outlined in the above groups and able to ring touches of Plain Bob Doubles and who wish to learn Plain Bob Minor “inside”. You should be able to treble hunt reliably to touches of Bob Minor before applying for this group; if in any doubt consider applying for Group D.
GROUP G — Grandsire
Starting with Doubles and progressing to Triples with calls. Applicants must be proficient in ringing the treble to Grandsire and be able to ring touches of Bob Doubles “inside” to get the full benefit from this option.
GROUP H — Doubles Beyond Plain Bob & Grandsire
Would you like more variety on Practice Night? Explore Reverse Canterbury, St Simon’s and other methods or variations which contain a number of different ‘works’ which will be useful in your future ringing career.
GROUP I — Beyond Bob Minor
The Group will study and practise several Plain Minor methods (Single / Double Court and Oxford) which introduce many of the building blocks and concepts needed before progressing to Surprise. Methods such as St Clements and Little Bob may also be included. Applicants must be able to ring touches of Plain Bob Minor on an inside bell competently.
GROUP J — Stedman
Starting with Doubles and progressing to Triples with calls and theory on extension to Caters and Cinques. You should be proficient in ringing up to Group G to get full benefit from this option.
GROUP K — Surprise Major
To get the full benefit from this group applicants must be able to ring Plain Bob Major “inside”, be able to ‘treble bob’ proficiently and have some experience of Treble Bob or Surprise Minor. The Group will start with Cambridge Major and move on to Yorkshire.
GROUP L — Calling & Conducting Touches
This Group will start with calling Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles, and progress to Plain Bob and possibly other Minor methods. Students will be actively involved in calling a variety of touches, and will be expected to ring whilst others of the Group are calling. No previous experience of calling is required, but you must be able to ring touches of Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Minor “inside” competently.

New Book from ART: A Ringer’s Guide to Learning the Ropes®

This article is copied from the TowerTalk Magazine.

Illustrated throughout with colourful photographs, diagrams and interactive activities to help the reader consolidate and check what they have discovered, this book provides a step-by-step guide for ringers from bell handling through to ringing Plain Bob Minor inside.

The fundamentals of ringing are explained in an easy to read, uncomplicated style which will appeal to all age groups. Learning tips are provided to highlight important information and guidance is given on skills building at every stage, with emphasis placed on the importance of developing all the foundation ringing skills.

The book is easy to dip into to find information about each stage of learning. It follows all the Levels of the Learning the Ropes Scheme provided by the Association of Ringing Teachers [ART] and will help ringers progress from handling right up to ringing their first methods and calling their first touches.

Nicki Stuchbury, of Lillingstone Lovell, Buckinghamshire, said “I absolutely love the layout with the colours and diagrams; it is just the sort of resource that I would choose to learn from.” And Veronica Baker of Maids Moreton, also in Buckinghamshire, added “Proficient ringing will not be obtainable without the basics and your chapters have captured this fact.”

The on-line resources that complement Learning the Ropes have been comprehensively reviewed and updated to coincide with the publication of the New Ringer’s Guide. Each key skill is supported by its own web page with appropriate video and audio links in addition to further information and resources for you to print and use in your tower. There are new resources for leading and covering (Level 2), peals & quarter peals (Level 3) and successful dodging and steppingstone methods (Level 4). Why not have a look at

St Michael’s, Swanmore, Go Weekly


Ringing at St Michael’s, Swanmore, Ryde, Tuesday 10 January:

Great news from Kieran Downer and the team – there’s so much interest in the bells here (see Pompey Chimes, yes they’re in there – again!) that a weekly practice night is needed! So if you are local and you’d like to find out about bellringing, you’re an absolute beginner or wanting to improve or learn about the uniqueness of 3-bell rounds… see you on Tuesdays from 6.15pm at St Michael’s (Wray Street entrance). Ring the bell outside the vestry door and you will be shown the way to the tower.

Several young learners who started last year getting on very well with handling and getting to grips with all things bells – well done all of you.

Those of you organising tours to the Island will find these unique steel bells are now on the ‘to go to’ list when you are over here, so rise to the challenge! That now makes 15 ringing towers on the Island for you to choose to ring at. Really not enough hours in the day are there? Better make your trip a week and enjoy some of our other world renowned attractions whilst here. Tourist advisers on hand if you need them – just ask!

Bold Plans for the Ten Kingston Bells (Isle of Purbeck) SDGR

Whilst occurring outside our Guild, this may be of interest to people wondering “how can I restart ringing at an under-used tower?”   RM 

Eleanor Wallace Writes:

As some of you may know, I have been working with Mike Pitman recently to try and formulate a plan to get the practices and quarter peal nights up and running at Kingston again. They are such a beautiful ring of bells, and being a Kingston ringer myself for years I hate to see them not being rung as much as they should and going to waste.

As I have finally finished university and returned to the area I now have time to dedicate myself to re-establishing a regular practice night. However, I need as much support from everyone as I can and am asking for your help. Mike and I have come up with a concept of having two practice nights and two quarters a month on a friday so that the bells are rung every week, and we hope that it at least one night a month may appeal to all ringers of any standard, so that people don’t feel pressurised to dedicate themselves every single week.

The below is the monthly structure which I am trying to introduce, and I would love to hear what you guys think, advice etc as have never done anything like this before.

The Plan

From Friday 3rd March practice nights and quarter peal nights will be resuming at Kingston from 7:30 – 9:00 pm, and we would really love for you to join us. We have a lovely sounding and very easy-going ring of ten bells (tenor 26-3-16) and we want to get them ringing regularly again with the long-term aim
of becoming a supportive teaching tower. We are aiming to create a monthly structure that caters for ringers of all abilities; whether you are a called change ringer or a surprise ringer we hope to provide something for everyone.

1st Friday of the Month – Open Practice Night

Any ringer of any ability who is interested in getting practice at ten bell ringing is more than welcome. Ringing will range from Rounds and Called Changes to Plain Caters and Royal, as well as any six to eight bell ringing if its requested. Whatever you’re learning, come along! Any more advanced ringers who can help out will also be very much appreciated too.

2nd Friday – Advanced Ten Bell Practice

For ringers who want to challenge themselves learning Surprise Royal or just want to keep the cobwebs off.  We will be practicing the Standard Eight Surprise Royal methods (and others as time goes on) with a special method to focus on every week.

3rd Friday – Open Quarter Peal

Whatever the method or number of bells, if you fancy ringing a quarter peal then let us know and we will try to organise it for you. This night is aimed at giving people of all standards quarter peal practice and achieving firsts in method etc. Just pop an email to Eleanor Wallace (form below)

4th Friday – Advanced Quarter Peal

We will be working through the Standard Eight Surprise Royal (and others afterwards) quarter peals. If you’re interested in getting involved, achieving firsts in Surprise Royal etc. just send an email to Eleanor:

  • Winchester District Spring Meeting Minutes – May 2022

    Winchester District Quarterly District Meeting

    St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church, Kings Somborne

    From 3pm Saturday 14th May (business session at 4.00pm)


    Attendees: B Purvis, Chairman, Winchester Cathedral, R Booth, New Alresford, G Davies, Lockerley/E Tytherley, C Fairley, Winchester Cathedral, A Glover, Romsey, C Hill, Hursley, E Johnson, New Alresford, C Knights-Whittome, Wonston, S LeMarechal, Bishopstoke, A  Martin, North Stoneham, M Nadal, Stockbridge/Kings Somborne, R Skinner, Ropley, T Smith, Hursley, P Thompson, Hursley, R Thompson, Hursley, C Thomson, Stockbridge/Kings Somborne, G Wright, Bishopstoke, E Wratten, Unattached

    18 attendees, representing 13 Towers and 1 unattached

    The Chairman welcomed attendees and led the opening prayers, and then thanked the vicar and the church wardens for the use of the church and bells and those responsible for providing refreshments. 

    1. Apologies for absence were received from: John Croft, Unattached ; Maggie Eltham, Compton; Mike Eltham, Compton; Paul Fitzgerald, Wonston; Heather Galley, Old Alresford; Jennifer Herriott, Romsey;  Alan Hutchinson, Winchester Cathedral; John Palk, Lockerley and E Tytherley; Brenda Palk, Lockerley and E Tytherley Trisha Shannon, Charlotte Smith, Kings Worthy; Jonathan Smith, Kings Worthy; Tricia Spink, Winchester Cathedral; Jenny Watson, Sparsholt;  .
    2. Minutes of the previous meeting (the ADM held on 12th February 2022) were agreed nem con and signed by Bruce Purvis.
    3. Matters arising from the minutes – Tony Smith, who had agreed to contact all tower correspondents in relation to reintroducing the printed District Directory to District members included in the Directory, reported that he had contacted all towers and had received responses from 12.  He was following up on those who had not yet replied.  Edmund Wratten asked which details would be included; Tony Smith advised that only the personal information specified and allowed by a member for themselves would be included for that particular individual.
    4. Loss of members through death – Tony Smith was not aware of any reported deaths of current members.  However, Margaret Chapman, a former member of the District who, together with her husband, had been the driving force behind the Bishopstoke Band, had died 2 weeks previously.  Roy leMarechal gave members a brief history of Margaret and her husband Tom. In the 1960s, as older members left the band, they had built it up again from scratch.
    5. Confirmation of belfry elections 

    a) Compounding Members: Vikki E M Bulbeck, Jacqueline M Hazell and Martha C Hazell of Bray, prior to a peal at Bishopstoke on 12 February 2022, proposed by Roy LeMarechal, seconded by Graham J Wright

    b) Probationary Members:

    Cheryl Horton Powell of Lockerley on 17 March 2022 proposed by Jen Churchill, seconded by Carol Higgins.

    Vanessa Chapman of Crawley on 25 April 2022 proposed by Edmund Wratten, seconded by Amanda Bayford.

    Anna Crowle of Kings Worthy on 14 May 2022 proposed by Jonathan Smith, seconded by Charlotte Smith.

    c) Election of new ringing members:

     Claire Stirman of Winchester Cathedral proposed by Bruce Purvis, seconded by Colin Cook.

    • District Communications –Roger Booth proposed that he should carry out a consultation exercise on behalf of the District regarding the types of communications preferred by the District membership:

     ‘Given the duplication that arises through the District using multiple channels of communication, and the need to maximise engagement with members across the District, a survey should be carried out to establish District members preferences for different types of communication. The results of the survey and any recommendations for action arising therefrom to be reported to the next Quarterly District Meeting.’

    Supporting documentation was provided by a Communications Strategy (copy attached), the District Newsletter sent out on 1/5/22 and to Tower Correspondents on 3/5/22.  Roger Booth gave a brief description of the aims of the survey; the proposal was seconded by Bruce Purvis and passed by members on a show of hands. 

    • Training and PR Needs – A submission was made by Christine Knights-Whittome proposing:

     ‘That the District allocates £150 from its funds to purchase a set of four roller banners to be used for PR purposes across the District’ (supporting document attached).

     She explained there were 4 designs currently proposed and that anyone wishing to help in amending the design or wording would be welcomed. She gave a short presentation on why this purchase would be an asset to all members of the District taking part in events promoting bell ringing and the District.  Roger Booth added his support for this proposal; he felt that up to date publicity material should be available to all members of the District for events and that this need could be met with this set of 4 new roller banners publicising bell ringing and the Winchester District of the Guild, adding some details on the cost of post and packing.  Roger Booth seconded the proposal, which was passed on a show of hands.

    • Programme of future events
    • Younger ringers in the District – It was agreed this would be held over to a future meeting. 
    • Improvers’ practices – Roger Booth reported that he, together with Roy LeMarechal and Peter Hill had instructed a number of new ringers already, in rounds and call changes.  There were still people in the District awaiting instruction at this level. It was planned that such instruction, up to Bob Doubles, be held on Tuesday mornings. 
    • Jubilee ringing and Quarter Peal fortnight Towers would be asked, nearer the date, about their plans.
    • Trout ‘n About Stockbridge, Twyford and Ropley Restoration Projects

    Micki Nadal gave a short description of the Trout ‘n About event in Stockbridge and how the Charmborough Ring would be used to promote bell ringing.  She advised members that the Trout ‘n About Management Team would be funding this event, so no cost would fall on the District. 

    Roger Booth gave a brief update on the Twyford restoration project; it was unlikely Twyford bells would be in place for the Jubilee. 

    Rodney Skinner gave a brief update on the Ropley rebuilding project. It was expected the building would be ready in July or August.  Unless substantial funds were found, he felt it unlikely the bells would ever be rehung.  A visit by the Guild Bell Restoration Fund (BRF) Trustees had been arranged twice and cancelled twice at the last minute.  Roger Booth expanded on the major celebrations planned for the reopening and hoped they would be able to meet the BRF Trustees following the Guild AGM, where support from members of the District for the request for funding, would be of great help.  .

    • Any other notified business – Micki Nadal handed out probationers’ certificates and leaflets received from Pete Jordan to tower representatives.

    The Chairman closed the meeting at 5.40pm.

    Chairman …………………………………….  Date ………………………………………..

  • Guild Safeguarding Officer Position

    The Guild are looking for someone to help coordinate Safeguarding issues. Would you be willing to help with this important role? Perhaps you already have knowledge of Safeguarding from your employment (e.g. as a Teacher or Healthcare worker) and could help the W&P Guild by taking the role of Safeguarding Officer?

    What would you need to do?

    Complete the Church of England’s online Safeguarding Training Courses:

    ·         Basic Awareness (~1hr 15min online)

    ·         Foundations (~1hr 30min online)

    ·         Local Safeguarding Leadership Course (~3hr session by Zoom)

    Be the point of contact for any Safeguarding issues within the Guild:

    ·         Advise W&P Guild members on Safeguarding issues.

    ·         Report safeguarding concerns raised by W&P Guild members to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

    ·         Inform W&P Guild members of safeguarding concerns received from the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

    ·         Maintain phone and email contact with all three Safeguarding Leaders (Winchester Diocese, Portsmouth Diocese and Portsmouth Roman Catholic) to enable the transfer of information.

    ·         Attend the W&P Guild business meetings (Guild AGM and twice-yearly Executive Meetings).

    ·         Be able to listen to, and respond to, any new cases from members and other outside bodies in a timely manner.

    In the past 13 years there have only been four cases, which either involved escalation to Diocese level or cascading information received from other Safeguarding Officers to W&P Guild members.

    Further information can be found on the current Guild Safeguarding Policy:

    If you have questions or would like to discuss the role, please contact the Guild Master, Rachael Barber: 07714 325 059 or Contact Rachael Barber

  • New Guild Garments


    One final reminder for those of you who may still want to order a new sweatshirt or polo shirt with the Guild logo.

    We have been able to keep the prices down to the 2016 level but, once this bulk order has been placed, we won’t be doing this again for another three or four years so don’t miss the opportunity now as prices will inevitably rise in the future.   From personal experience they wear (and wash) very well – ideal for letting the public know who we are in the summer months, and perfect for draughty towers in the winter.

    There have been one or two queries on size and fitting which I’m happy to answer, and, if it helps, in the limited time which is left I can try and meet up with hesitant ringers to show them my own sweatshirts and polo shirts so that they can compare sizes and try these on if they wish.

    Don’t forget, if you have a favourite garment of your own which you would prefer to use, be it sweatshirt, polo shirt, body warmer, jacket, whatever, you can have the Guild logo added to this for a nominal fee.   This might be a more economical option for youngsters and teenagers who grow out of things at a phenomenal rate!

    The order form with all the details is attached (both Word and pdf versions) but you can always email me on Contact Christine Knights-Whittome or telephone 01962 886939.   The deadline for the receipt of orders is 14th October 2022.

    If you have newer ringers in your tower, or new bands in your area, or you know of ringers who do not use a computer or social media, it would help if you could spread the word so that this opportunity reaches every corner of our Guild.

    Thank you very much

    Christine Knights-Whittome

    Now that towers have re-opened again after the covid restrictions and lockdowns of the past couple of years, together with the huge amount of teaching and the welcome influx of new ringers, the time seems right to order some new sweatshirts and polo shirts, bearing the Guild logo.   In effect, we have been able to keep the prices down to the 2016 levels, which is good news.   Inevitably postage has increased, which is beyond our control, but I am hoping that we have left sufficient time to get garments to the towers without anybody needing to use the post.

    Below is the up-to-date order form (both Word and PDF versions) which contains all the details.   We have given as much choice as possible, but sadly not every colour is available in every size so you need to check carefully.    Ladies:  the ladies’ polo shirts are slightly tapered, but if (like me!) you prefer a slightly looser fit to allow ease of movement when stretching up, I suggest you consider the men’s polo shirts as these are straight-sided and a more generous fit.

    If you have any queries at all before you order, please let me know – contact details on the form.

    Christine Knights-Whittome

  • Guild Education Day: Grandsire Doubles

    The Education Committee is now accepting applications for:

    Grandsire Doubles on Saturday 12th November 2022

    Based at Milford-on-Sea, 9.30-5.00pm

    Download a poster and application form using the buttons below – please pass the information onto your ringing friends in the Guild.

    Applications must be submitted by Friday 14th October.

    HELPERS WANTED! Please do let Sallie Ingram know if you’d be happy to lend your expertise as a helper on this course or any future courses: Contact Sallie Ingram

    We very much look forward to hearing from you!

    From the Education Committee

  • St Peter’s, Petersfield Bells ring out on day of royal funeral

    As part of the national ringing and at the Royal Households request that church bells should be tolled or rung generally before The Queen’s funeral, St Peter’s Church Bell Ringers were honoured to perform this sombre duty of ringing rounds for three quarters of an hour from 10:00 to 10:45.  Then tolling of the tenor bell by three of the towers young teenage ringers who took it in turns to ring for the last fifteen minutes.  After watching the funeral together, the bell ringers returned to the tower for three quarters of hour more ringing.  

    All bells were fully muffled, apart from the tenor which was half muffled but open at backstroke for tolling.

    St Peter’s Church bell ringers who rang before the Petersfield Civic Service Sunday 18th September.

    Left to Right: Tower Captain, Mary Broadbridge, James Wedley, Sally Wedley, Paula Tribe, Alice Kidd, Lauren Kidd, Erin Halder, Nick Halder,  Katherine Wilkins, Madeline King and Caroline Welsh.  Photograph taken by David Malone who also rang.

    On Sunday 18th September before the Petersfield’s Civic Service of commemoration and thanksgiving for the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 held in St Peter’s Church ringing also took place for an hour with general ringing and tolling on muffled bells.  One of the St Peter’s Church bell ringers, Sue Walker went to the lying-in state, queuing for twelve hours to pay her respects to The Queen and said what a very moving occasion it was.

    Special thanks were given to Duncan Wilkins, Oliver Stubbs and Mary Broadbridge who placed the muffles on the bells which is not an easy task. 

    The Peter’s Church bell ringers who rang after The Queen’s funeral on 19th September. 
    Photograph taken by Caroline Welsh who also rang.  

    Those who took part in the special ringing were left to right back row:

    Lauren Kidd, Alice Kidd, James Wedley, Erin Halder, Nick Halder, Katherine Wilkins, Paula Tribe, David Malone and Tower Captain Mary Broadbridge.

    Left to right front row: Madeline King, Sally Wedley,  Sue Walker and Christine Rushton.

    St Peter’s Church young ringers who tolled the 15 cwt. tenor bell for fifteen minutes before The Queen’s funeral.  

    Left to Right: Erin Halder, Katherine Wilkins and James Wedley.

    Photograph taken by Caroline Welsh. 

    Article submitted by Caroline Welsh, St. Peter’s, Petersfield,

  • Guild Newsletter – Autumn 2022

    Here is the autumn edition of the Guild Newsletter.  Download a copy using the button below.

    Another huge thank you to everyone who has contributed content for this issue. Please feel free to send any future news articles to or send directly to me.

    Happy reading!

    Lizzie and the Communications Committee

  • Photography Competition Voting Now Live

    Many thanks to all those who submitted entries to the Guild Photography Competition.

    We received well over a hundred photos of different towers from across all of the Districts! These entries have now been shortlisted and agreed on by the Communications Committee and the Principal Officers. Now it’s over to you to decide who the winner is!

    To view the larger files of the shortlisted final twenty entries, please click here.
    Once you have decided on your favourite, you may vote here.

    Voting closes on Monday 31st October. The winner will be contacted by email and results will be announced on all our Digital Media outlets.

    Please share the voting details with members of your local tower.

    Happy voting!
    The Communications Committee

  • Ringing for the State Funeral on Monday 19th September

    Hello again Everyone, 

    We’re now getting close to the State Funeral on Monday, so as there have been a few more questions about what ringing is expected, I just wanted to share my interpretation of the Guidance documents sent previously, in case it helps any Towers who are unsure. 

    The Guidance mentions tolling (very slow ringing of any single bell that is open or muffled) for the hour prior to the Service at 11am. However, the Central Council have further clarified that fully muffled (Tenor open at backstroke) ringing is also appropriate. 

    In my home tower, we will be ringing rounds and call changes from 10:00-10-45am. Then we will toll our Tenor (which will still be muffled on the handstroke) from 10:45-11:00am, to give those in our Tower that would like to share in this duty, an opportunity to do so.

    We don’t have enough ringers to ring simultaneously at a nearby Tower, so here, the Tenor will be tolled from 9:15-9:50am, and a muffled Quarter Peal rung around 2pm when the Funeral Service will be over. 

    Locally I’m aware of Towers that will be ringing a Quarter Peal, and others that will just be tolling, prior to the Funeral. As before, so much will depend on the individual circumstances at your Tower.

    In which ever way you will ring on Monday, thank you.

    Do please send details of all ringing (tolling and general ringing) to Bellboard/The Ringing World, as each performance deserves to be recorded alongside Quarter Peal and Peals.

    With best wishes and thanks,

    Rachael Barber

    Guild Master

  • Further Guidance following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth

    Dear All,

    As you are no doubt aware, today as bellringers, we are called upon to perform the most sombre duty of ringing muffled for the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

    Many of us spent yesterday evening up in belfries, muffling the bells….or will be doing so in the next few hours or days, often in multiple churches. Many Towers will be ringing or tolling at 12 noon, in accordance with the Operation London Bridge Guidance.

    However, the Guidance is not totally clear, and a number of practical questions have been raised:


    The Guidance does not specifically cover Weddings, but states that ringing should be muffled (either fully or half) from now until the State Funeral, except on Proclamation Day when the bells can be run open.  If Proclamation Day is confirmed as Saturday 10th September (please see the Guidance released overnight from Church Of England, attached and linked below), my interpretation of it is that this would allow for open un-muffled ringing on Saturday 10th for Weddings (but not Saturday 17th).

    Guidance for parish churches on the death of HM the Queen

    However, the ultimate decision on how to ring falls with the Clergy/PCC, likely in consultation with the Wedding couple.


    For those of you who have not tolled before, this can be done with an open bell, or a fully or half-muffled bell. Perhaps the practicalities of removing or fitting muffles at your specific Tower would determine this. Tolling is usually carried out on the heaviest bell, but any bell can be tolled. Ideally the tolling should be very slow and steady, pausing at both handstroke and backstroke. The length of time the bell should be tolled is not specified, but it’s quite a strain to toll, so please do what you can in your personal circumstances.


    There is nothing in the Guidance regarding Practice Nights, but I am aware that many feel Practices are not appropriate during the period of National Mourning. Some churches are choosing to ring Quarter Peals instead of Practice Night, however, not all Towers are able to ring Quarters, and many ringers would like the opportunity to ring in muffled sadness for the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth. Again, I would suggest that you consult your Clergy/PCC to determine if you should go ahead with pre-arranged ringing and Practice Nights. 

    Please record any ringing or tolling that is done at your Church on Bellboard.

    Ringing World BellBoard

    Lastly, many thanks to those that have dropped everything to muffle bells and make the necessary organisation – it’s much appreciated by communities up and down the Country that the bells will be rung during this period of National Mourning.

    With best wishes,

    Rachael Barber

    Guild Master

  • Ringing Guidelines for the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II

    The CCCBR have issued guidance for ringing for the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Information below reproduced from CCCBR website.

    Guidance Note: Operation London Bridge

    There is an official protocol in place in the event of the death of Her Majesty the Queen, officially known as ‘Operation London Bridge.  It covers the activities for each day from when the Royal death is announced (Day 0) through to Day+10 when the state funeral will take place.

    This guidance sets out the how bell ringing plays its part throughout the process and has been formulated in consultation with The Royal Household and Lambeth Palace. Town and city councils will already have an OLB plan in place and this will consist of what to do on the day on the announcement and the following days, in accordance with Royal protocol. 

    As with most national/international bell ringing requests, local arrangements with church, council and public plans should be consulted and ringing should take place whenever is most appropriate for a local arrangement.

    A lot will depend on the timing of announcements and where we are in the Church liturgical calendar.

    The following sets out some guidelines that the bell ringing community might find helpful. It is recommended that bell ringers liaise with church authorities ahead of time to avoid any confusion at what will be a very sad and difficult time.

    On the day of announcement of the death of Monarch:

    Bells should be rung half or fully muffled depending on how many muffles you have. If you have enough muffles it would be appropriate to ring fully muffled with the tenor backstroke open. The Royal Household have advised the following times that ringing should take place based on the timing of the official announcement:

    On the announcement of Death, Bells may be rung or tolled at the discretion of local Parochial Church Councils. They may be rung or tolled for one hour as shown below:

    • If the announcement occurs before 1100hrs: noon on the day of death.
    • If the announcement occurs between 1100hrs and 1600hrs: 1800 hours on the day of death
    • If the announcement occurs after 1600hrs: noon on the following day 

    Such details will be covered in the first Press Release issued by the Royal Communications Office.

    This updated guidance has been forwarded by the Church of England. Upon the demise of the Sovereign the Church of England will publish guidance packs for Parishes. 

    (Separate arrangements are in place for St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey).

    Provided that ringing has been approved by the church authorities and does not conflict with other guidance, longer lengths of ringing may be appropriate.

    Following days:

    Bells should remain half or fully muffled until the day that the Palace proclaims the new Monarch.  At that point bells should be rung open in celebration of the accession at a practicable time (again, with the agreement of the church) following the announcement.  

    Bells should then revert to being rung half or fully muffled until the day of the state funeral (10 days after the announcement of the death).  

    On the day of the funeral bells should be tolled for the hour immediately prior to the time of the Funeral Service. This may afford those an opportunity to ring a quarter peal, but general ringing or tolling would be acceptable.

    There may be further clarification being offered by the Royal Household or Lambeth Palace at the appropriate time, if this is the case the CCCBR will communicate this via our website and social media channels and with Association Officers as soon as is practicable.

    Vicki Chapman
    Public Relations Officer
    Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

    November 2021

    Notes: Muffles and ringing muffled bells:

    Muffles are leather pads fitted to a bell’s clapper to reduce the volume. They attenuate the bell’s strike note whilst retaining the hum. By only muffling the clapper on one side (half muffled) you get an ‘echo’ effect as blows are alternately loud and soft.

    Bells are usually muffled on the backstroke as the handstroke gap emphasises the echo effect. Two muffles can be fitted, one on each side of the clapper, to fully muffle the bell. 

    For safety reasons, muffles should always be fitted and removed with the bells down. To muffle the backstroke, put the muffle on the side of the clapper that is furthest away from the rope. To muffle the handstroke, put the muffle on the side of the clapper that is nearest to the rope.

    Church of England

    Additional guidance has been published by the Church of England providing more details of requirements for churches and bells.  You can access it from their website here 

    220521 Guidance Note Operation London Bridge

    Guidance for Parish Churches 8th September 2022