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.
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
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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…
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.
“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.
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.
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:
The last Basingstoke District Practice of the year will take place just outside the District at Crondall (8 bells, 14cwt tenor) on Saturday 16th November from 7pm until 8:30pm. As always all levels and abilities will be catered for.
Steve Jolliffe organised a terrific day for our annual outing, focusing on the area around King’s Somborne and Stockbridge, arranging for us to ring at six locations. The day dawned dark and dreary, with the forecast rain arriving mid morning and staying with us for most of the day. We were accompanied by Valerie’s lovely Staffie, Harvey, who kept spare ringers entertained and encouraged the giving of extra walks.
An hour’s drive saw us arriving at the first location, the Grade II listed church of St Peter & St Paul at King’s Somborne SO20 6NU in the Test Valley between Romsey and Andover. Dating from the 13th Century, this lovely church houses bells which were generally heavier than my “home” bells – see the table below. When doing my preparation/homework, I realised just what a privilege it would be to ring a variety of new and old bells from a range of foundries.
Gillett & Johnston
Gillett & Co
Gillett & Co
John Warner & Sons
The ringing chamber was on the ground floor and the ropes went a long, long way up. Thank heavens for the guide rails! The bells were rung up and we quickly settled into little bands for rounds, call changes and then more exciting methods for the experienced ringers who had joined us. The heating had been put on and was greatly appreciated. Throughout the day, I found that some bells were easier than others to ring (for me, here, #3 was better than #2). If you have time, do read the Sopwith (Camel) panel at the rear of the church. After 45 minutes, the bells were lowered and we dashed off to….
St Peter’s Church, Stockbridge SO20 6HE where the bells had recently been rehung and were greatly enjoyed by most of us – an absolute pleasure to ring. David said they were very different when he previously rang there! The ringing chamber was accessed by a narrow set of spiral stone stairs to the left of the main entrance. Once inside, it was quite snug, with a few places for watching. The ceiling was fairly low and the sallies were nice and woolly! There has been a church on the site since the 12th Century. By 1866 the medieval church was in such poor condition that most of it was pulled down, leaving only the Chancel (now Old St Peter’s Church) and this new Victorian Gothic style church was built on Stockbridge High Street. The tower and spire were not added until 1887. Four of the bells came from the old church and two of them date from the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.
Mears & Stainbank
Mears & Stainbank
Mears & Stainbank
The overflow ringers stayed dry in the church and we were discussing the unusual 13th Century font, made of Purbeck marble and banded in iron. The font is so worn that a design of blind arcading on the bowl can hardly be seen.
Next time I visit, I’ll definitely make time to see the Old Church as many items were transferred there – services are still occasionally held there, including a pair of Elizabethan wall paintings celebrating the defeat of the Armada. Also stories about the civil war, with Empress Mathilda and King Stephen clashing at Stockbridge.
Our next port of call was St Mary’s Church at Broughton SO20 8AA with a ground floor ringing chamber. As we arrived, we passed a group of volunteers who’d spent the morning giving the Church a good and thorough clean – they’d made an excellent job of it. The ground floor ringing chamber was located at the rear of the church, accessed either from inside (a smart new partitioned area with kitchen, toilet and seating) or via the old oak external door. These were much heavier than the Stockbridge bells and we were careful to be matched to bells which we could handle. This was an 11th Century church with a beautifully carved 15th Century west doorway, with a 15th Century panel of a triptych in the Lady Chapel and a pillar piscina carved with the figure of a devil. Harvey and his buddies discovered a 17th Century Dovecote in the churchyard but it was raining too hard for me to venture out (what a wimp).
John Taylor & Co
Robert I Wells
Clement I Tosier
Lester & Pack
We were all beginning to feel cold and hungry so, when our time finished at 12.15 pm, the bells were rung down and we all headed to our lunchtime stop via various routes. By now, it was raining hard and puddles were stretched across the roads and the fords were rushing streams of indeterminate depth.
We were allocated a room of our own at The Black Horse in West Tytherley SP5 1NF, in the warmth where the food was welcomed and quickly devoured. I’m not quite sure what an older couple thought when they inadvertently joined our group by taking up a spare table at the edge of the rowdy ringers – I wonder if they were listening to tall stories. As if.. !
At 14.15 we headed to St Peter’s at East Tytherley SP5 1LG, used by some participants at the Listening Skills course earlier in the month. The ringing chamber was on the ground floor, in a room off the entrance porch. With 8 bells, there wasn’t much space for observers so the overflow stood in the porch or sat in the church and admired the vaulting. Maybe I was getting tired, but I found the #2 to be very hard work (David said I was making it so) but the #4 seemed smoother.
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
Known as “The Church in the Field”, St Peter’s dates to the 13th Century with a comprehensive rebuilding in the Victorian period, retaining three panes of 13th Century stained glass and a magnificent wall painting of St Peter. The memorial is to Richard Giffard who died in 1568.
The time was going past incredibly quickly now. We drove 2 miles down the road to St John’s Church at Lockerley SO51 0JJ and the small ringing chamber accessed via narrow stone spiral stairs around the left corner from the entrance porch. I liked these bells, as I’d spent time on them on the Listening Course day and felt confident. Until, that is, my left hand cramped up, and Alison kindly rescued me whilst I tried to regain a normal hand shape. Totally embarrassing. Fortunately I could carry on after a few minutes and managed to keep the cramp under control – easier once I knew what to expect. Everyone seemed happy on the bells, with various bands being put together to make the most of the time.
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
John Taylor & Co
At the time of the Domesday survey, Lockerley was a chapelry annexed to the church of Mottisfont, with the original simple chapel built C 1200. The present church was consecrated on 16 October 1890 and was built alongside the old Saxon church which was demolished – a “small mean building with tile roof and wooden belfry containing two bells”. In spring, rows of daffodils mark the outline of the walls of the old church. The parish registers of births, marriages and deaths date in unbroken sequence from Queen Elizabeth’s reign in 1583. There were separate seats for strangers and also “Wummen’s Setes”! The foundation stone of the present church was laid on 10th August 1889 by Frederick Gonnerman Dalgety of Lockerley Hall and he built the church at his sole expense. It is said that during the blackout of World War II, when services had to be held in the afternoon, the winter sun was reflected in the gilding of the paintings and lit the church.
Three miles away were the Clock House Bells at Awbridge SO51 0HN. What a surprise and a fabulous way to end the Outing! Housed in a specially built annexe, this mini-ring of 10 bells had been lovingly installed by John. The Clock House bells have stays but use bungee cord instead of sliders so, the harder you pulled, the more the bell would bounce back. I’d attempted the tenor of the Charmborough Ring and made a right mess of it, so was rather dreading this final port of call. I needn’t have worried – they were lovely sweet bells and once we’d all found the balance, various bands ventured into call changes, plain hunt and other methods. The owner seemed rather impressed and said that our group had done better than most others. WHAT a result. Valerie took a video which you can view here: https://youtu.be/x-PAmecJTaU
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor Bellfounders Ltd
John Taylor & Co
John had a beautiful book detailing the history of his Mini Ring project and I read that he’d rung on a mini ring at Liss. Sure enough, David Cooper had taught some of John’s friends to ring in the distant pass and modestly said that his input was modest and they very soon overtook David’s own ringing abilities. What a nice connection!
Extract from the website: Clock House Bells are a privately owned ring of 10 bells, hung in a purpose built garage extension. The bells were cast by Taylors of Loughborough back in 2000, weighing in at 2-2-0 cwt. On Friday 15th August 2009, the first changes (1260 Plain Bob Doubles) were rung on the bells without stay/slider mechanisms in place.
Since then the ringing room has been heavily decorated, toilet and kitchen facilities put in place, a new tenor (3-1-2 cwt) installed and hundreds of quarters, peals and long lengths rung.
The bells are available to be booked anytime of the year, whether it’s for a 30 minute stop on a ringing outing or a record length peal.
Throughout the day, everyone who wanted to take part was included. As a newbie, I really appreciated being included and knowing that support was on hand, should it be needed.
We are also indebted to the contacts who kindly opened up the churches and turned on the heating for us, and then locked up again. Our sincere thanks go to all.
And finally, thanks to Steve and Gill Jolliffe who organised the day so beautifully and maximised the number of places we could ring at, most within 5-10 minutes’ drive from each other.
Thank you all, it’s a day that I will treasure. And now to prepare for the Plain Hunt training day … eek!
5 November 2019
In my first year of ringing, I have rung 41 bells over 15 locations,
There will be no practice on Thursday 7th November because several people are away; on Thursday 14th November because some will be going to the Portsmouth Cathedral District practice; and not on Thursday 5th December because we shall be having our Christmas meal.
As we approach Armistice Sunday for this year, here is the article that was published in The Ringing World on Friday 25th October 2019 about the archives of Armistice centenary ringing presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals earlier this year .
Guild presents archives of Armistice centenary ringing to its two cathedrals in special services
The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (W & P) is an active Guild representing ringers across the Channel Islands, part of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. As reported in 2018, our Guild had successfully undertaken a mammoth task, creating an archive of many special memorial ringing performances that had honoured those who had died as a result of World War One.
Two bound volumes of the archives were to be presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals at special services. It was wonderful to see how many folk came forward to volunteer their time and expertise. A project mascot was adopted; ‘Tommy’ – a 30cm high, clear Perspex silhouette in the form of a World War One Tommy soldier who travelled across our large Guild area. The archive continues to be updated digitally, available to see here.
The two Cathedral services took place in May 2019; what wonderful occasions!
At both venues we displayed project material in advance of the services. Both Cathedrals’ bands ensured there was splendid service ringing. Visiting ringers were able to ring in the areas during the day; at Winchester, the Chamborough Ring created much interest to members of the public, in addition to the Cathedral tower bells. Both services had been well-crafted and supported by the Cathedrals’ clergy, organists, choirs, vergers, staff and volunteers. We were delighted and honoured to welcome large congregations of ringers, their families and friends and local dignitaries. We all shared the emotions of the Archive presentation ceremonies and reflected as we heard the lovely handbell ringing, a very fitting accompaniment to the presentations.
At Portsmouth Cathedral’s Choral Evensong, on 12th May, The Lord Mayor and
Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire were greeted by the Dean of Portsmouth, The Very Reverend Dr Anthony Cane, and our Guild Master,
Mike Winterbourne. The Right Reverend Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth, welcomed the congregation. During the service, Alverstoke ringer, Soul Stanford and Portsmouth Cathedral ringer, Chris Cockel, presented the archive; it was received by
Bishop Christopher. Guild Officers Mike Winterbourne and Heather Frazer read lessons. Intercessions were led by Canon John Owen, Vicar of Steep and Froxfield with Privett. The congregation stood for the Act of Rededication led by Charlotte Mossop, a ringer at St. Michaels’, Basingstoke. After the service we enjoyed hearing Louis Verne’s Organ Voluntary ‘Les Cloches de Hinckley’. The Reverend Canon
Dr. Jo Spreadbury, Canon Precentor, was instrumental in the service and all of the prior arrangements; we were pleased to thank her personally at the lovely informal refreshments reception provided by the Cathedral ringers.
On 19th May at Winchester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle,
Dean of Winchester, together with Guild Master Mike Winterbourne, greeted the
Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Mayor of Winchester and the
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. The Dean conducted the Choral Evensong service; our Guild Master read a lesson. The archive book was presented to The Dean by
ringers Matthew Dancy of All Saints’, Basingstoke and Isla Ingram from
Milford-on-Sea A candle was lit and the congregation was asked to
‘Individually and together, commit to the cause of peace and reconciliation’. As the final part of our act of worship, we were invited to listen to the Organ Voluntary ‘Carillon-Sortie’ by Henri Mulet. The very pleasant refreshments served to our guests by local ringers and enjoyed by us all brought a lovely, quiet conclusion to the day.
The last word here to ‘Tommy’ then:
‘People ask me why I am transparent?
After 100 years none of my comrades are still alive,
But I hope that their children, grandchildren and future generations will not let them disappear completely;
but once, every now and then, catch a glimpse of me and remember.’