The next Winchester District QDM will be held on Saturday 14th May at St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Kings Somborne.
There will be open ringing from 3-4pm, a simple tea and then the business session will start at 4.30pm. After the meeting there will be more open ringing for those who would like to do so.
Please let Micki Nadal (Winchester District Secretary) for more details and to let her know if you intend to come along as this helps us with the catering arrangements.
Apologies for absence
Minutes of the previous meeting (ADM held on 12th February 2022)
Matters arising from the minutes
Loss of members through death
Confirmation of belfry elections
Election of new ringing members
District Communications – ‘Given the duplication that arises through the District using multiple channels of communication, and the need to maximise engagement with members across the District, a survey to be carried out to establish District members preferences for different types of communication. The results of the survey and any recommendations for action arising therefrom to be reported to the next Quarterly District Meeting.’
A proposal by R Booth to undertake a consultation exercise and report back with recommendations to a future meeting. Supporting documentation – please see attachment or the District Newsletter sent on 1/5/22 and to Tower Correspondents on 3/5/22
Training needs/purchases and programme – ‘That the District allocates £150 from its funds to purchase a set of four roller banners to be used for PR purposes across the District’.
A Proposal by Mrs C Knights-Whittome of the design and purchase of roller banners for PR displays. Supporting document from Mrs C Knights-Whittome attached.
Programme of future events
Younger ringers in the District
Improvers’ practices (WIMPS)
Jubilee ringing and Quarter Peal fortnight
Trout ‘n About Stockbridge, Alresford and Romsey Shows
We are just emerging from an interruption to ringing that has had a large impact on the exercise, and may prove to have been the cause of a permanent change to the quantity and quality of ringing that we will be able to enjoy in the future.
Lockdown and the ensuing caution about infection produced a cessation of ringing comparable in length to the break in ringing in World War 2. However, unlike that break, concerns about infection and the duty to shield the vulnerable means that a number of ringers will not have returned to their normal pattern of ringing, and the long interval has undoubtedly meant that a fair proportion of us are both physically and mentally “rusty”.
At Hursley we indulged in quite a lot of Zooming in lockdown. Tuesday was quiz night, Friday was a bit of chat then off to Ringing Room – where we were conspicuously less able than other bands in the area. However the fact that you could ring two bells on ringing room sparked an interest in handbell ringing – which is the point of this short article.
Hursley is very lucky to have some experienced and established handbell ringers in the band, so when meeting up in gardens became possible, a number of us were eager to get back to ringing in the flesh with other people – even if it was a bit nippy to be honest.
As we met up, more of the Hursley ringers who had never thought of ringing handbells expressed an interest, and regular Tuesday afternoon sessions were established in late April 2021. As you may guess by the timing the group is, how can I say it…mature, that is retired, or working part-time. Some of the learners had not touched a handbell at all, although they had got some of the skills through Ringing Room, others had done what a lot of us have, ringing 1-2 or 5-6 for some Plain Hunt Minor.
Progress was variable. Some got the hang of it quickly, backed up by practising at home on Ringing Room or Abel/Mabel/Mobel. Some were a lot slower, but progress there was, even if it tended to be two steps forward and one back for some of the time.
It soon became obvious that just one afternoon a week would not be enough, so some quarter peals were planned as the ringing became more accurate and reliable. We were really lucky to have some very good conductors in the band, and Drew Craddock, Richard Thompson and Christine Hill came to the fore in getting touches and quarters round. We also had a dedicated support crew in Jinny Kufluk and Maureen Hanney, with Nigel Herriott managing a few of the practices, all good ringers who keep right even when there were gaps to be filled.
Back row l to r – Richard Thompson, Peter Hill, Christine Hill, Kate Shaw, Maureen Hanney, Jinny Kufluk, Derek Stewart (host for the day)
Front row l to r – Caroline Fairley, Janice Higgins, Pam Thompson, Christine Saunders.
Quarter peals were then attempted, and usually scored at the first attempt! Caroline Fairley was first off the mark with a good quarter of Bob Minor on the 28th of May last year (2021). She quickly went on to ring two more, both of Plain Bob Major
Next was Kate Shaw with her first quarter on the 24th September, trebles to Plain Bob Minor followed by her first on eight on the 10th December.
The third of our learners to achieve a quarter in hand was one of our most experienced ringers, Christine Saunders, with a quarter of Plain Bob Major on the 10th November. This was quickly followed by two more quarters, both of Bob Minor.
Pam Thompson was a bit slow to organise her first quarter, but at one of the Tuesday afternoon practices we found a room for her plus Richard and Christine Hill to ring Plain Bob Minor on the 25th of January this year. Again this was followed just five days later by her first on eight.
Not all our learners found the technique of ringing handbells easy, and sometimes a lifetime of ringing tower bells can be a bit of a handicap, but Janice Higgins became our fifth learner to score a quarter by ringing the tenors to Plain Bob Major on the 6th of February.
Finally, the sixth member of the Hursley handbell learners, Derek Stewart, scored a quarter of Plain Bob Minor on the 15th of February.
So what happens next?
I suppose the nice thing about ringing is that there is always another challenge to be attempted. Some of the learners are heading towards Kent and Oxford Treble Bob (Minor and Major), while others are looking at the inside pairs of Plain Bob. Conducting is being encouraged – and hopefully we will soon see a quarter in hand with a first as conductor from this group of learners.
So something good definitely came out of the lockdown for our band. We are probably better friends, possibly more tolerant of mistakes and have shown that learning a new skill is fun and rewarding.
Lastly, I will just mention the value of Ringing Room. Leland Paul Kusmer and Bryn Reinstadler really made this possible. Firstly it gave all the Hursley band a chance to ring together when we were not allowed in the tower. Once the handbell group started up it was so easy for all of the learners to practice away from the Tuesday afternoon sessions, and without this homework the progress we have all made would not have been possible.
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.
As you will know Ropley has no church and no bells at the moment, but we do have a band of ringers. We practice on the second Thursday of the month at Old Alresford in the winter and Bishops Sutton in the summer. We do have a problem, half the band are ill. Two are needing an operation in the near future which will put them out of ringing for some time, another is getting over an illness which put them in hospital before Christmas and they are still weak and a fourth has a sick husband. I do not want to stop practices but with only three ringers it may happen. I am asking if you could give an evening a month to help? If there is no response then practices will stop, meaning it will be very difficult to start again. Please contact me if you can help.
Our Annual District Meeting – this year, at Hursley – is fast approaching, so, please find attached poster. Please affix to your noticeboards, put the word round, forward to your band members, however you communicate such matters.
The papers for the meeting – the Agenda, the minutes of the last meeting, the District Accounts and the Report of the last year in the District’s annals – will all follow in due course, with time enough for everyone to read and if necessary comment.
We are holding a course at New Alresford on Saturday 7th March to help people learn how to deliver the Learning the Ropes scheme. This M2F course focuses of the stages from ringing rounds to plain hunting the treble to methods.
Learning the Ropes breaks the learning process down in to easily manageable steps, getting the basic skills right first, so that learners find it easier to make the transition into method ringing. The course introduces a series of exercises that even an inexperienced band can use. These exercises add variety, and are fun to ring as well! The only requirement is that you can plain hunt competently to methods yourself. However much of the course is spent in practical sessions and if you are learning the plain hunt yourself, we can also fit in a few ‘real learners’ for our trainee teachers to practice their teaching on. Even if you are an experienced teacher, you will find something new, and we need experienced teachers to help ‘mentor’ and guide the less experienced teachers afterwards.
Since its inception eight years ago, the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) has grown rapidly. Across the UK and overseas more than 3,300 teachers have attended one of the ART Teacher Training Scheme modules. The Learning the Ropes scheme has many benefits including:
A series of attractive publications aimed at new ringers.
A dedicated website for new ringers where they can access further learning material and videos.
A quarterly e-mail newsletter ‘Tower Talk’ aimed at new ringers, with further advice and articles.
An annual Learning the Ropes festival, masterclasses and an awards scheme.
A ‘Facebook’ group where new ringers can share their experiences, and find they are not alone.
There are five levels to Learning the Ropes, from bell handling, to ringing Plain Bob and Grandsire inside to quarter peal standard. New ringers are able to follow a clear pathway, all the way through.
Members of the Winchester & Portsmouth Guild may reclaim ART course fees up to £20 from the Guild’s Training and Development Fund (subject to availability of funds). Applications should be made to the Guild Treasurer via the Guild’s website, https://wpbells.org/
If you want to come as an ‘Observer’ to find out more about the scheme or as a ‘real learner’, you can do this for free, but please do not book a place using the booking system. Send an e-mail to Roger Booth instead.
In the run-up to Christmas, your District is pleased to offer you TWO events in the first half of the month, hopefully before you get too bogged down in Christmas arrangements and commitments.
Firstly, we have a District Practice a fortnight tonight, at Broughton, on Monday 9th December. Please note the start and finish times of 7.30 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., half an hour later than Broughton’s usual start/finish times, but arranged thus to spare anyone who cares to support this practice and coming from a distance from having to set out too early in the evening.
Secondly, we are looking forward very much to our Carol Service, a week later than previously mooted, on Saturday 14th December, at Northington, hosted by the Candover Valley Band. As you’ll be aware, the new six has but recently been consecrated, so the afternoon offers much to look forward to.
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible – and, indeed anyone who’d like to join us from neighbouring districts/the rest of the world – at either or both of these events, at which you will be assured of a warm welcome. I’ve attached the usual flyers/posters – please bring to the attention of your band members, or anyone else you think would be interested.
This month’s Beyond Bob Doubles will be at Kings Somborne from 19:30 on Wednesday 30th October. With the District training session on Cambridge Minor coming up we will be doing things like Little Bob and Double Oxford which are useful steps to Cambridge, as well as Cambridge itself. However we will still be catering for those who want to ring other things too, everything from Grandsire Doubles upwards, just let me know what you would like to practice on the night. All welcome from the district and beyond.
After ringing for morning service today at New Alresford, six members of our band went to ring for the harvest festival service at our neighbouring parish of Tichborne. These bells have no band of their own, but members of the congregation were very appreciative and thanked us for our efforts. The Rector said it meant a lot to the village to hear their bells being rung, even to those who did not manage to come to the service. It was also Nathan Smith’s first quarter, rung as part of the Guild’s ‘Firsts Fortnight’.
We have a District Practice, up-coming, for which I apologise for the short notice in putting the word round. It is at North Stoneham, next Tuesday, and I am sure that anyone who can make it to look in on the practice will be very welcome.
Posters attached, as usual; probably a bit late for notice-boards, but including useful information such as postcode for SatNavs.
Winchester District Secretary.
PS. Next date for your diaries is the Autumn District Meeting, Easton, Saturday 9th November. Further details to follows.
Derek Yates from New Alresford sadly passed away on Friday 20th September at the age of 80, after a long battle with cancer. He was a long-standing member of the Guild, having previously rung at Binsted, in the Alton & Petersfield District.
A Service of Remembrance for Derek will be held at St John the Baptist, New Alresford on Thursday 3rd October at 2pm.
Somehow this Winchester District course had passed me by. Whether I was distracted from ringing, or perhaps I saw Bob Doubles and subconsciously subtracted it from my mind, having barely become confident enough to Plain Hunt inside. My first reaction to Edmund’s email prompt to encourage me to attend was, “it can’t apply to me, surely?”. Apparently there were only two takers for the course with just a few days to go so some active marketing was required.
With a number of willing helpers and a tower available it would be have been a slap in the face to the good will of our neighbouring ringers were it to have been cancelled.
As it turned out there were six learners taken through Bob Doubles, each having three or four extended goes at it, supported by Edmund on our shoulder and well struck by the supporters. Some of the background crew took their turn at polishing up their Bob Minor.
The ringing chamber of Cheriton was comfortable with lots of ringing character about it. Easy access, through the vestry and up a short, broad flight of wooden stairs. Water was brought out to freshen us up halfway through which was a lovely touch. Really nice bunch of people. Although we did try to introduce ourselves at the beginning it never really works unless your used to doing it. I think stickers with a name and tower written on it would be good. If you end up connecting with someone, simple things like that help massively.
Sharon brought her Dad who was visiting and had never seen her ring. That was very touching. He took video on his phone of her and I took video on my phone of them! I am staggered that so few photos or video is taken of bellringing. Whilst the rest of the world is documented and promoted via images, bellringing, with all its archivists and attention to peal record keeping, a deep history of accuracy, doesn’t really see the camera as a recorder of our ringing legacy, let alone our best advertising tool.
A lovely afternoon of making progress with my ringing and bit of networking across some towers which will play out productively over time. Thanks to all involved. If I knew who you were and where to find you I’ll see you soon. Better still, send me a photo from your home tower to firstname.lastname@example.org #bellringing #roguesgallery
Beyond Bob Doubles will be at Wonston from 19:30 on the 25th September, all welcome from the district and beyond. A chance to practice anything from Grandsire Doubles and Stedman to Kent and Cambridge.
My second district practice, and rather different from the first! Both were at King’s Somborne, but what a contrast! The reason was that the first practice occurred when I had only been ringing for a few months, and the bell controlled me and I had no concept of rope-sight! I was overwhelmed by trying to work out what was happening. Well, two years later, I have control of the bell most of the time, and now, when others are ringing, I can sometimes, albeit not that often, work out which bell follows another. Progress I hope!
So, after my first experience, it was with some trepidation that I went to the District Practice on Monday. However, I shouldn’t have worried. We immediately got down to ringing which forces one to get over those initial nerves. Throughout the evening, we rotated between ringing methods designed for the less experienced, such as Plain Hunt and Grandsire, and more complex methods designed to challenge the more or very experienced. I think the evening ended on a version of Cambridge Surprise, which looked extremely complicated. So, the evening catered for all levels, and everyone benefitted from several turns at ringing. There were a few “lost places” and clashing of bells along the way, but for the most part I think we all acquitted ourselves well, and had great fun.
To add to the enjoyment of the evening, a couple of the KS band produced cakes and biscuits to go with the tea and coffee. The biscuits occasioned much praise, and one of the visitors asked for the recipe at the end of the Practice, which was forthcoming! I saved my biscuits for elevenses the next day, and can confirm that they were delicious.
So, I hope everyone enjoyed the evening as much as I did.
For those of us classed as “learners”, I would recommend attending a district practice at such time as you are encouraged to do so by other members of your band; it is well worth going, both for the pleasure of meeting other ringers, but also for the experience of ringing with others and watching experienced ringers in action.
In amongst the many activities happening throughout the Worthys (a small series of villages north and easy walking distance from Winchester) for the week long Worthys Festival, were small pockets of bellringing.
St. Mary’s, King’s Worthy, 5 bells, full-circle, had an hour or so of open tower as did St. Swithun’s, Headbourne Worthy, with it’s historic three bells, millenially restored and swing chimed to reduce tower stress, bringing in visitors near and far. St. Swithun’s has a band of around 6, with irregular practices, but always enough, at least 3, every Sunday, to call to worship, be it for Morning Prayer or Eucharist. The ring may be simple but it is and has always been consistent. Up the wooden stairs to the gallery at the west end of the nave and turning right into and over the white-grey diagonal oak beams into the ringing chamber, a sense of calm could be felt, boxed in within the internal bracings of the wooden structure. Three short Sallies, set at chest height, greeted us, along with Jill Prince and Colin Child, regular ringers and custodians. Beaming through the beams they welcomed all visitors. Some were touring the villages on bike, some were travelling the area via King Alfred’s vintage buses, some accidentally happening upon the tower whilst waiting for the duck race to begin in the pretty chalk stream which runs through the churchyard.
Here’s a clip of the chiming in action, all novices on the ropes, but it gives you an idea!
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers