Category Archives: Freshwater

Sad news – Peter Smith – President of IoW District

It is with great sadness that we report the death of the President of our I.W.District – Peter Smith aged 91 and a Life Member of the Guild. Peter had been Tower Captain & churchwarden at All Saints, Freshwater for many years, teaching many people to ring.
A funeral service celebrating his life took place on Friday 3rd January 2020. The church was filled with members of the congregation, family & friends plus many bell ringers from all over the Island. The bells were rung “open” to bring the coffin into church for the lovely service, then rung again as the cortege took Peter to his final resting place in the churchyard – always within the sound of the bells that he loved.

Contact John Smith

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Visitors Tour Isle of Wight

A group from the Basingstoke area, led by Vice-Master Pete Jordan, toured the Island last Saturday and spent the day ringing  at six of our towers.

Among those rung were Freshwater, Brighstone and Godshill .

Final ring of the day was Ryde with its heavy 26.2cwt. I found them all gaining sustenance for the last tower of the day eating fish and chips on the church lawn!

The group set sail from Cowes as the sun was setting. I hope you all enjoyed your day ‘overseas’.

Brading Rise to the Challenge

Saturday, 7th October, saw the annual competition take place on the Island for the Fred Green Memorial Change Ringing shield. Fred was a ringer of long standing at Freshwater and this year the competition took place at his home tower. Freshwater is a 6-bell tower with a 17cwt tenor.

Five towers entered the competition with a scratch team made up to give us something to aim for! 120 changes of any method of Doubles or Minor can be rung.

Julian Hemper from Devizes in Wiltshire, a former Ryde ringer, journeyed over to judge the afternoon’s efforts. His helpful comments after the ringing and before announcing the awarded points were all taken on board and appreciated by all the teams.

First to ring were the team from Ryde, who suffered a mishap with the treble during the 2-minute trial which unsettled the team a bit. Next to ring were Brading, followed by Shanklin, Freshwater, Brighstone and finally the scratch team, Team Isle of Wight (TIOW). The order of points awarded were as follows: 1st, Brading (12½ faults); 2nd, Brighstone ( 16½ faults); 3rd were the TIOW but were not challenging for the shield (17 faults); 3rd, Shanklin (19½ faults); 4th, Ryde (21 faults); 5th Freshwater (32½ faults). So with only 20 points between first and fifth a very credible afternoon of ringing.

The team from Brading were: 1, Robyn Downer; 2, Marghanita Allen; 3, Geoff Wilkins; 4, Margaret Downer; 5, Revd Barry Downer (conductor); 6, Kieran Downer.

Photo shows the winning team with (left to right): judge Julian Hemper, Revd Barry Downer, Marghanita Allen, Robyn Downer, Kieran Downer, Margaret Downer and Geoff Wilkins with mascot Mitchell holding the well deserved certificate.

Our thanks to District Master Jenny Brudenell and Secretary Mary Tester for organising the event, to Julian for making the supreme effort of battling our transport system and especially to the Freshwater team for the superb spread of sandwiches and cakes to go with the tea and coffee. In all a very sociable afternoon.


Urgent request from David Langford of Freshwater who is organising an outing for Saturday May 20th, details as follows:

10.00-11.00 Arreton

11.30-12.30 Shorwell

1.00-2.30 Lunch at Red Lion, Freshwater

2.30-4.00ish Freshwater

All standards welcome for rounds, call changes, plain hunt etc possibly Double Oxford Bob Minor, Cambridge and London Surprise if band available.

Please let David or Paul Miller know if you will be having lunch or contact me (John Stock) through this website and I will pass on the information.

We need to know numbers ASAP so please circulate to your towers and give as many people a chance to join us as possible please.


A wonderful opportunity for some ringing thanks to a request to us from the Island’s High Sheriff.

Plenty of fun to be had… why not seek out the bells and the Ringers’ Tea?

Here are the latest details:

  • 10.30 a.m. Shanklin . (Quarter Peal)
  • 11.00 a.m. Whitwell
  • Just before 12 noon Brighstone
  • Just before    1 p.m. Brighstone
  • 1 p.m. Brading (Quarter Peal)
  • 2 p.m. Carisbrooke.
  • 3 p.m. Newport
  • 3 p.m. St. Michael’s, Swanmore, Ryde.
  • 4.15 p.m. – 5.30 p.m Freshwater………..Ringing and Ringers’ Tea with
 Isle of Wight Cake
  • 6 p.m. – 7.15 p.m. Shorwell.


  • CHALE is dedicating its Sunday service ringing to this great event

Freshwater bells – Latest News – Ringing Resumed

In August, just before a wedding, a chunk of stone work fell into the ringing room, much to everyone’s alarm.  No one was hurt but the ringing was cancelled.   In the following months two of the ringers inspected the walls above and scraped off any loose stone, and no ringing took place.   After a period, when no more  bits fell off, Peter Smith, tower captain, decided it would be safe to begin ringing again.   Ringing for services has been reinstated and practices take place again on Wednesdays at 6pm.

Mary Tester


Now have the final list of Peals and Quarter Peals rung for 2015 at Island Towers.
1 Peal was rung at each of the following, 6 peals in all for the year: Freshwater (Jan); Carisbrooke (Apr); Newchurch (Aug); Chale (Nov); Whitwell (Nov); and Shorwell (Dec).

63 Quarter Peals were rung in 2015 by 9 of our towers:
Brading 19; Ryde 18; Brighstone 9; Chale 4; Godshill 4; Newchurch 4; Arreton 2; Niton 2; and Carisbrooke 1.

Ryde having massively upped their game from the average 6 Quarter Peals in the last few years.

There have been many more attempts at both and all who took part in any ringing, and all those that recorded ‘firsts’ in any ring, are to be congratulated on keeping ringing alive and to the fore on the Island. Well done all and especially so to the few conductors we have to rely on to help us out!

I should also say this is by only Island ringers, there have been visiting ringers but these are not recorded in our District Records.

14 in a day challenge – Simon Edwards reports

Simon Edwards writes:

Last Saturday (31st May) a group of us attempted – and succeeded – in ringing a quarter peal on each of the Isle of Wight’s 14 towers, the first time all 14 have been done in a day. Aside from the madcap challenge, the idea was to raise some money towards the Brading Bells restoration fund, and at last hearing we had over £750 in the pot for this!! If anyone still wishes to donate to this worthwhile cause, please contact Daniel Graham I have produced a video memoir from a fantastic albeit exhausting day out and hope people enjoy watching. Click here to see details of the quarters