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.
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.
Vicki Chapman, Ringing Remembers Project Co-ordinator, writes:
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 https://cccbr.org.uk/ringingremembers/?rf=34 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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/RingingRemembers/ . The CCCBR President wrote an introduction/welcome post. The Big Ideas Twitter account (https://twitter.com/Big_Ideas_Co )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.
Ringing Remembers Project Co-ordinator
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers Representative
Registered Charity Number: 270036
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.
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.
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!
Your comments are welcome on this article – scroll down to post publicly, or click here to email the author
We need several new ringers if bellringing at Overton is to continue.
Contact Liz Lewis
Sparsholt tower near Winchester, welcomes new ringers, young or old. Lessons are available on Mondays from 7.0 to 7.30pm on a one to one basis, which is just before the main practice at 7.30 pm. We have 6 bells on a ground floor ring. Anyone interested, or just want to have a try, should contact Jenny Watson
Sherfield on Loddon would definitely like some new recruits and have used the Armistice Centenary as the basis of a recruitment article in the parish (village) magazine.
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.
St Michel du Valle Guernsey, welcomes all wishing to learn to ring
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.
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)
Christchurch is aiming to recruit up to six new ringers. Lessons take place on Monday evenings.
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:
- C&S District NEW Training Morning. Brockenhurst. Saturday 21st March 9:30am until 12:00noon. February 21, 2020
- Association of Ringing Teachers/ART Training Scheme: Course places available. January 17, 2019
- Overton Bellringers are recruiting now February 9, 2018
- Sparsholt bellringers welcome learners January 19, 2018
- Sherfield on Loddon Recruiting New Ringers January 13, 2018
- RINGING REMEMBERS RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN January 13, 2018
- Kickstart your ringing career – Summer School in London Aug 21st-25th July 24, 2017
- Two trainees write about last week’s Guild Raising and Lowering Course June 16, 2017
- Bell Handling April 3, 2017
- September 2017 Ringing Courses at Tulloch April 3, 2017
- New Book from ART: A Ringer’s Guide to Learning the Ropes® January 20, 2017
- New Video Launched – Raising and Lowering Skills December 1, 2016
- Learn to Ring in the Candover Valley October 11, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Ryde September 9, 2016
- Selborne Welcomes Beginners to Bellringing September 7, 2016
- Join the Band at King’s Somborne September 6, 2016
- Training Places Available at Highclere September 6, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Blackmoor September 6, 2016
- Adult Training Places Available at Overton September 6, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Eling August 13, 2016
- Are you Recruiting? Have you put that on this website yet? August 11, 2016
- Training Places Available for Bellringers at West Meon August 3, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Dummer August 1, 2016
- New Bell Ringers Learning at Newport (IoW) June 20, 2016
- Alton Learners and Improvers on Tour June 10, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Ringwood February 20, 2016
- News from Blackmoor ** New Recruits Welcome February 19, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Christchurch Priory January 9, 2016
- Learn to Ring at Eling December 19, 2015
- A Bell Ringing Lesson for a young ringer… December 9, 2015
- Learn to ring at Holy Trinity Church, Wonston November 19, 2015
- Learn to ring on the Isle of Wight November 6, 2015
- Learn to Ring at Brockenhurst March 19, 2015
- Learn to ring in Bournemouth February 21, 2015
- Learn to ring in Minstead (New Forest) June 16, 2014
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 www.tullochbells.com
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!|
|7. Down Mexico way|
|8. Back to Basics|
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)
The Learning Curve resources have a new URL https://cccbr.org.uk/services/education/the-learning-curve/
If you have not browsed them before then now’s the time!
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…
- Stedman Doubles practice Saturday 1st April 2017 10:30-13:00 at Herriard **Full
Hello everyone one, at the end of my last article about Double Norwich Court Bob Major, I said watch this space for a Stedman Doubles practice. Well I have to say that the practice is over subscribed, which is amazing. If you are disappointed that you have not been able to get on to the practice this time around I can organise another.
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
“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 http://wpbells.org
or email the District Secretary, Lisa
Public Relations Officer
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.
Tel: 07594 609 366
The Pompey Chimes newspaper (the Portsmouth Diocese paper) recently featured an article and photo of this event which happened in Brighstone. Click to read….
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 <https://eacr.org.uk/course>
The following is reproduced from that page:
PRACTICAL RINGING SESSIONS
- 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.
- GROUP B
- 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.
- GROUP C
- 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.
- GROUP D
- 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.
- GROUP E
- 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.
- GROUP F
- 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.
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 www.smartringer.org/ringing?
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!
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.
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:
- Around the Guild on YouTube!
With all ringing currently suspended, I thought I would look for some YouTube© clips of ringing in towers around our Guild. Here are some that I found for your enjoyment.
If you have or know of a good clip on YouTube© you would like to share with us, please send the link to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can add it to the list!
- CCCBR – President’s Blog #6
It seems almost incomprehensible that two weeks ago I was on my way to the ART Conference. We were saying then that if it had been the following week it might have been cancelled. By Sunday evening we realised that if it had been a day or two later it would have been cancelled. Ringing has of course been turned on its head.
The Conference itself was great – full of ideas and enthusiasm. There was a strong focus on the importance of good striking and how that should form part of the learning process. Sunday saw a running of a new Recruitment and Retention Workshop which has been developed by the Volunteering and Leadership Workgroup and particularly the efforts of Matt Lawrence, Ringing Master of the Shropshire Association. It was also interesting to hear of Matt’s own success in creating a band in his home village of Lilleshall – an inspiration to those wondering how to get ringing going at their local tower. It can be done!
The evening’s ART Awards saw over £3000 of awards given in recognition of recruitment, training, learning and leadership with a wide range of nominations from around the world. Stephanie Warboys orchestrated the awards supported by judges Julia Cater and Jonathon Townsend.
The final version of the Churches Conservation Trust’s recruitment video came just as we weren’t allowed to ring any more so that campaign has had to be postponed. A shame because I was really eager to show it to people as it is one of the best recruitment videos I have seen. It manages to mix people of all ages, multi-cultural and multi-faith. It was tested on non-ringers with very positive feedback.
I joined the Comms and Marketing Workgroup’s regular Skype call and was able to explain the thinking behind some of the ‘Strategic Priority’ actions. They are now thinking about a “Ringing Returns” campaign (needs to explanation!), the creation of a YouTube channel to showcase the best examples of change ringing so all developing ringers can see what they are aiming at, the creation of a ‘Best Local Band’ competition a bit like best kept village contests which would be for local communities or congregations to recognise their bellringers, and starting to look at marketing insights for what sort of people to target (“if you like this then you might like to try bellringing”).
The Strategic Priorities which I mention quite a bit are going to start getting serialised in The Ringing World starting next week (I think).
Talking of The Ringing World, I have suggested in other media that those who are comfortable writing could sharpen their pencils and send material into The Ringing World to make up for the lack of peals and quarter peals. Whilst fresh material is preferable, there are some things I would really like to read again. I particularly remember a report of the ‘Flixton Ringing Match’. I think it was a series on ringing controversies. It was on the back page of a very old copy. Anyone remember it?
Bells in The Netherlands rang out on Wednesday night “as a sign of hope for those in need and a sign of respect for those who comfort them.” Paul de Kok posted a YouTube clip of the bells of Dordrecht Cathedral ringing
This is not so difficult if you don’t need so many humans to do the ringing! However bell ringing in Dordrecht is about to change. Many of us have enjoyed visiting Dordrecht to ring on the excellent ‘t Klockhuys bells and enjoyed the local hospitality. Paul and his son Harm Jan are currently in the middle of a fantastic project to put a ring of 10 bells in the adjacent Groote Kerk tower. These bells, with a tenor of 17 cwt, comprise four fine 1916 Taylor bells donated by the Keltek Trust, with six trebles designed by Mathew Higby and currently being cast by Allanconi in Italy. The frame has been designed and built with local expertise (both Paul and Harm Jan are engineers) and the aim still is to have the ring ready this summer.
With no tower bell ringing going on, and handbell performances restricted to keen (and not so keen) ringing families, many have been turning to Abel, Mabel, Mobel and a range of other tools to try and satisfy their ringing urges. Miscellaneous electronic solo performances have made a brief appearance on BellBoard and may need to find another home. I have not escaped temptation. Something I have meant to ring on handbells for about 18 months will be on the agenda as soon as I am next allowed into the company of five decent and sympathetic handbell ringers.
Topics and presenters are being gathered for a regular series of training webinars to keep ringers interested and active during this shutdown. While many of those who have been ringing all their lives can manage without ringing for a bit, those who are newer to it will miss it much more. However there is still much to be explained and learned while we are isolated and learning how to use WhatsApp, Teams, Zoom, and even House Party. Look out for this over the next week or so.
I have kicked off a small team looking at developing the next generation of mobile belfry which I hinted at in my last blog. One of today’s Microsoft Teams meetings was looking at different designs, sizes of bells, transport options, costs, etc. There was no mention of buses, although a skip wagon was an option for consideration (imagine the tower is the skip and it gets lifted off and plonked on the ground, ready assembled)! Is there a ringer who is currently studying civil or structural engineering at university who would like to join the team and maybe even have the project as part of their studies? It would be an interesting opportunity for someone to get involved. Target is to have the new belfry ready for the 2021 festival season.
Stay safe everyone – ringing will be back.
- Roger Savory – RIP
I am sorry to reort that Roger Savory passed away last Friday aged 90.
Roger was Guild Hon. General Secretary from 1959 to 1965, and Guild Master
from 1968 to 1977. He represented the Guild on the Central Council from 1965
to 1975 and from 1978 to 1980. He was elected a Life Member of the Guild in
- Bells on Sunday at St Michael’s, Southampton – Sunday 22nd March
While ‘live’ bell ringing is suspended for a while, you can still enjoy the wonderful sound of the bells at St Michael’s, Southampton, as they will be featured on BBC Radio 4’s Bells on Sunday on March 22nd.
Tune in at 5:43am, or if that’s a bit too early for you, you can listen online afterwards:
- A&P: Practices cancelled at the following towers until further notice
Following guidance received today the following towers have ceased all ringing until further notice in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID19:
Alton (All towers), Blackmoor, Bramshott, Buriton, Froxfield, Hawkley, Holybourne, Selborne, Steep, Warnford and West Meon
Other towers will be added once confirmation is received that they are also cancelling their ringing activities
Hope to see you all soon and stay well…
A&P Communications Officer
- A&P: Practice cancelled at Buriton – 18th March 2020
In view of the government’s advice that everyone should avoid all non-essential social contact, I have decided that this Wednesday’s (March 18) practice should not go ahead with a view to possibly following the decision of other District towers and cancelling all ringing until further notice.
- No ringing at Rotherwick and Heckfield until further notice
In line with current Government guidelines all practices and service ringing at Rotherwick and Heckfield are suspended until further notice.
- PURBROOK – St John the Baptist. No ringing for now.
It has unfortunately been decided to stop ringing, both for the Sunday service and Wednesday Evening practice, as part of precautions considered under the present worldwide Corona Virus outbreak.
Arrangements are in hand to extend the tenor bell to allow tolling from the ground floor. Normal ringing will be resumed as soon as it is thought sensible to do so.
- Ringing cancellations due to COVID-19
Coronavirus: UK ringing should now be cancelled
The UK government has advised against all unnecessary social contact with immediate effect. The Prime Minister advised in a press conference of 16th March that
now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
The Central Council has released a statement in response to the UK government. They advise that
If you haven’t already decided to cancel ringing activities, it seems that now is the time to do so.The Ringing World agrees with this statement. It is hard to interpret the government’s guidance in any way other than that all planned ringing activities in the UK should now cease.
I have been made aware that ringing has been suspended at the following towers due to COVID-19 concerns:
Alton, St. Laurence, All Saints and Holybourne – all ringing suspended.
Alverstoke – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Basingstoke, St. Michael’s – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Blackmoor – all ringing suspended.
Bournemouth, St. John’s, St. Peters and Scared Heart – all ringing suspended.
Bramshott – all service and practice ringing until at least the end of March where the situation will be reviewed.
Brockenhurst – no ringing until further notice.
Buriton – all ringing suspended.
Catherington – ringing cancelled, but may be some limited Sunday ringing if services continue.
Christchurch Priory – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Eling – all ringing suspended.
Froxfield – all ringing suspended.
Havant – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Hawkley – all ringing suspended and the tied practices on 6-8-10th April postponed.
Hursley – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Newport – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Portsmouth Cathedral – all ringing suspended.
Purbrook – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Romsey – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Selborne – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Shanklin – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Shedfield – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Southampton (St. Mary’s, St. Michael’s and Bitterne Park) – all ringing suspended.
Steep – all ringing suspended.
Titchfield – all ringing suspended.
Upham – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Upton Grey – all ringing cancelled until further notice.
Warnford – all ringing suspended.
West Meon – all ringing suspended.
Wickham – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Winchester Cathedral – all ringing suspended until further notice.
Wonston – no practices until further notice.
Portsmouth District – all District events are cancelled including the April QDM.
Winchester District – all District events and the striking competition in May are cancelled until further notice.
Please let me know via email@example.com of any other cancellations and I will add them to this list.
W&P Guild Webmaster
- Masters Message – updated 17th March – Covid-19 Virus
In light of the latest government information ringing should be cancelled over the coming weeks. Please continue to work closely with your incumbents and PCC with reference to their Continuity plans and the advice from the Central Council.
In particular, think of ways that you can keep in touch with other ringers through social media, Whats-app groups, text, email etc. to provide support and help. We have many ‘senior’ memberships in the guild so please pay special attention to those who might be lonely or vulnerable.
Please take care and don’t take unnecessary risks.
Master – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers.
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation the current C of E advice to churches can be found at the following link
At the present time there does not appear to be anything specific regarding ringing or ringers however “Churches are encouraged to complete a Coronavirus Parish Continuity Plan to ensure, as far as possible, their continued mission and ministry.”
Individual parishes may have different views on this so please can you make sure that you are in contact with your Incumbent or PCC to get the latest information regarding your tower.
As the government advice is to frequently wash hands and avoid touching your face, if you can manage to get hold of hand wipes or gel for your tower, or if your church has hand washing facilities please make use of them. I am sure that each tower will make the right, sensible decisions about additional precautions to take considering the demographics of the band, frequency of ringing and potential risks etc.
Master – Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers.