Category Archives: Winchester Cathedral

Opportunity to ring with your District at Winchester Cathedral

In August, the Winchester Cathedral band takes a break and lends the Wednesday Practice Nights to some of the Districts. It is a golden opportunity to try these great bells (There are 14 of them!) among friends. In the past we have taken learners from our tower and they found it incredibly inspiring, even ones who were not yet expert enough to ring.

If you can’t make your own District’s event then it is worth contacting another District’s Ringing Master because many of them welcome extras, it depends on their anticipated numbers.

Please arrive on time – the door is locked once the practice begins.

This year the dates are:

Wednesday 3rd Alton and Petersfield District Practice 7.15 – 9.05
Wednesday 10th Andover District Practice 7.15 – 9.05
Wednesday 17th Portsmouth District Practice 7.15 – 9.05
Wednesday 24th Christchurch and Southampton District Practice 7.15 – 9.05
Wednesday 31st Winchester District Practice 7.15 – 9.05

Photo by Deb Baker

Next Winchester Cathedral 12 bell Practice 29th June

There will be a 12 bell practice at Winchester on the last Wednesday of the month, 29th June, at 7.30pm. Usual methods – Stedman, Grandsire, Yorkshire, Little Bob, Bristol, Cambridge. If we have enough we will ring Yorkshire 14.

This practice is open to anyone who would like to practise 12/14 bell ringing.


John Colliss

Invitation to Winchester Cathedral 12-bell practice Weds 27th April

There will be a 12 bell practice at Winchester on the last Wednesday of the month, 27th April, at 7.30pm. Usual methods – Stedman, Grandsire, Yorkshire, Little Bob, Bristol, Cambridge. If we have enough we will ring Yorkshire 14.

This practice is open to anyone who would like to practise 12/14 bell ringing.

The following practice will be on Wednesday 25th May.

John Colliss

Winchester Cathedral 12 bell Practice – 30th March

There will be a 12 bell practice at Winchester  on the last Wednesday of the month, 30th March, at 7.30pm. Usual methods – Stedman, Grandsire, Yorkshire, Little Bob, Bristol, Cambridge. If we have enough we will ring Yorkshire 14.

This practice is open to anyone who would like to practise 12/14 bell ringing.

The next practice will be on Wednesday 27th April.

John Colliss

Another 1st scored

Firsts Fortnight 1st - 15th March 2016The Ringing On Higher Numbers course that ended at Winchester Cathedral gave me the courage to ask John Colliss if I could join the band for a few practice nights.
SO last night was my first practice night in a Cathedral, First ring of PB10 and Grandsire 9, both completed (with Johns help) and first time in The Bishop on The Bridge pub ….I’m not sure that counts though. 🙂
3 firsts with a lovely band. Thanks folks. See you next week.

Deb Baker (Rotherwick)

Photo of Winchester Cathedral by David Forder

Education Committee Does It Again.

Hearts race on a superbly organised ringing course on higher numbers of bells.

A damp day didn’t temper the heady mix of excitement and trepidation as ringers gathered to learn about ringing on higher numbers. Two groups did their initial learning with Andy Ingram at Bishopstoke and Martin Daniel at Hursley  then both groups came together at the beautiful Winchester Cathedral to test what they had learned. Refreshed with tea and cake people climbed the unexpectedly narrow staircase and were rewarded with the sight of the Cathedral’s impressively cavernous ringing chamber. Pulses quickened with nerves as students approached the ropes to practice the very different technique of ringing on so many bells, namely holding up on hand and back strokes, leaving huge gaps at the back and literally ringing on top of the bells at the front. Listening to your bell was very difficult due to the sheer volume and speed of the striking but the supportive atmosphere meant that you never felt awkward asking any helper for assistance and that led to a huge boost in confidence which we all know makes you feel like you can achieve anything! Well not many of us get to practice plain hunt on 14 do we?

A huge thank you goes to all the helpers who gave up their time. The logistics of organising 30 tutors for 12 students must have been tremendous and we are blessed to have such a proactive Guild Education Committee that is constantly running training courses for us all.

What goes around comes around and if I am good enough one day to be asked to help I will repay the debt, hopefully you will too… because helping others to grow warms the heart.



There will be a 12 bell practice at Winchester Cathedral Weds 27th January

There will be a 12 bell practice at Winchester on the last Wednesday of the month, 27th January, at 7.30pm. Usual methods – Stedman, Grandsire, Yorkshire, Little Bob, Bristol, Cambridge. If we have enough we will ring Yorkshire 14.

This practice is open to anyone who would like to practise 12/14 bell ringing.


There will not be a practice in February.

A Peal to start 2016 at Winchester Cathedral

Roy LeMarechal reports:
After a brief time watching and waiting for skaters to fall over on the ice rink, the ringers ascended the tower. After minimal “faffing around”, they set off for a peal of Yorkshire Maximus. As I predicted the ringing was never “cracking”. However, apart from a few occasions when some ringers fell off their lines, the ringing was generally of a competent and reasonable standard. Dave Mattingley set a good pace on the tenor and Ben Carey handled the tricky and unpredictable 13th like he’d been doing it all his life 🙂 Well done to all the ringers for putting in their best effort on these excellent but challenging bells.


Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild
Winchester, Hampshire
Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity, St Peter, St Paul and St Swithun
Friday, 1 January 2016 in 3:41 (35–2–6 in C)
5040 Yorkshire Surprise Maximus
Stephen S Russ
John P Colliss
Toby Arkless
Anthony P Smith
Roy LeMarechal (C)
Kathryne R Arkless
Ewan Grant-Richardson
Malcolm M Powell
Ian J Carey
10 Edward P D Colliss
11 Benjamin J Carey
12 David J Mattingley
To welcome the New year

A new school recruitment initiative: Winchester and Portsmouth Guild

St Swithun’s senior girls’ school and Winchester College are less than two miles apart geographically, and have long had links in many areas, both social and educational.

Winchester College Photograph by Chris Kippin
Winchester College Photograph by Chris Kippin

Winchester College is also one of few schools in the UK to have its own functional ring of bells, rung regularly by staff and pupils and used as a co-curricular training activity. As a parent of two daughters at St Swithun’s and an active member of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild, it occurred to me in early 2015 that an untapped and rich pool of potential young ringing recruits existed on our doorstep, with the tools to train them already in place.

I approached Hugh Hill, the College master who runs the ringing, who responded enthusiastically to the proposal to join the schools in a co-curricular after school activity; the St Swithun’s clubs coordinator and headmistress were all for it too, and so I turned my mind to the practicalities of getting the initiative off the ground.

Ringing at the College chapel during the Summer term was not going to be possible because of the proximity of the bells to the rooms where the public exams are held; we agreed to kick off at the beginning of the new academic year, and so it was in June that I braved a school hall of a captive audience of six hundred girls and staff at their morning assembly to talk on my favourite subject.

With a time-constraint of fifteen minutes, I chose to focus on debunking myths and preconceptions about ringing which could be deterrents, emphasising the rich social opportunities of which established ringers are well-aware, and the liberal use of video clips of good-looking young male university students engaged in expert ringing. The obligatory Mars Bars Monks were well-received, and some basic maths, physics, history, Greek and Latin, religion and politics got the teaching staff onside.

I invited the girls to a taster session at Winchester Cathedral, and organised plenty of handling teachers, so that they could all have a try. Seven girls and two staff members came on that evening, with others interested but unable to come, it being the last Wednesday of term. We showed them the bells, they all had the opportunity to try some basic handling, and were treated to some of the best ringing the Cathedral band could produce on the occasion.

Moving forward to the Autumn, I turned my mind to the practicalities of training several complete novices on a Tuesday afternoon in a fifty-minute slot. I am not myself a handling teacher, and have a full time job, as do many of the local teachers; I rearranged my work timetable so that I could at least be present, and approached as many of my ringing teaching friends I could think of who are no longer in employment on a weekday afternoon . Because the girls are always accompanied by school staff members, we were able to circumvent any cumbersome disclosure checks. Charles, Edmund, Bruce and Colin rose to the occasion, and have been stalwart, patient and faithful teachers throughout the club’s first term.

The girls signed up for their after-school clubs at the start of the Autumn term, and we ended up with six girls – one already a competent rounds and call-changes ringer – and three staff members, one of whom is an experienced ringer. Everything appeared to be in place for an early September kick-off, when a spanner was thrown in the works; the clock mechanism at the College chapel packed up, and we were unable to ring until Smiths were able to come to fix it. Keen not to lose momentum, I requested permission to ring at

Cheriton Photograph by Caroline Fairley
Cheriton Photograph by Caroline Fairley

Cheriton, my local church, and both the girls and the College boys were duly transported to the countryside for the first four weeks.

With such a high ratio of teachers to pupils, we have been able to give the girls plenty of rope time, despite the time constraints, although ever conscious of the racket that must be apparent from the outside! After one term, they are all handling independently (with watchful supervision) and the College boys have been able to make significant progress with the increase in the number of experienced ringers at their practice. The novices are all now probationary Guild members, affiliated to the College, and have been given the incentive that with enough improvement, we can perhaps get a band together to ring for the school end-of-year service at Winchester Cathedral, and for their Carol service next Christmas.

school ringing quoteMoving forward to next term, all the girls seem keen to return; feedback from my daughters is that ringing is perceived as a quirky and fun activity, different in so many ways from the plethora of after-school clubs on offer, and that there are quite a few girls thinking of trying it out. We will, however, give priority to existing pupils, and will be constrained by the number of girls that can be accommodated in the school minibus, the number that can be safely squeezed into the tower, and how many we can reasonably train at any one time, and so we have pointed several girls in the direction of their own local tower.
For now, the future of the club looks healthy. And next Summer term, we will return to Cheriton, with the kind permission of the church wardens, so that no exam candidate is distracted by our no-doubt much-improved ringing.

Caroline Fairley

Peal Attempt -Yorkshire Maximus at Winchester Cathedral New Year’s Day 11am

If you’d like to hear some cracking ringing AND be inspired….

Winchester Cathedral has kindly offered their bells to our Guild for a peal on New Year’s Day once again so, if you’re in the area or wanting somewhere specific to go on the day, the peal should get underway at approximately 11 a.m and if all goes well it will continue until well after 2pm.

Winchester Cathedral Photograph by Colin Cook
Winchester Cathedral Photograph by Colin Cook

Method chosen – Yorkshire Surprise Maximus. (This  method will make use of 12 of the Cathedral’s ring of 14 Bells. Yorkshire Maximus is a very musical method, not routinely rung because of its complexity and the number of skilled ringers and bells required).

Apparently an Ice Rink will still be in situ in the vicinity so great fun could be had there, as well, but bear in mind parking might be challenging!

My personal thanks to Roy Le Marechal, Edd Colliss and Bruce Purvis for helping me get the peal organised.

Viv Nobbs
Guild Master

Congratulations Barry Peachey – 1000th Peal

Barry Peachey, photo used with fingers crossed that he won't mind ;)
Barry Peachey, photo used with fingers crossed that he won’t mind 😉

Barry Peachey  started his ringing career in Winchester and Portsmouth Guild, living first at Emery Down near Minstead, and later moving to Lyndhurst, learning to ring with Tower Captain Peter East, and assisted in his exploits by Barry Fry (St.Barnabas).

Later a member of the Winchester Cathedral Band, where he and Heather were married, he now lives in the North and is the mastermind behind the Barrow and District Society.

Other WP members in this band were Paul Young (who learned to ring at Carisbrooke and now commutes between Yorkshire and The Isle of Wight), and Tim Collins (Dorset, previously resident in W&P and a past member of the Southampton University Guild.).

Huge Congratulations Barry!!!

Barrow & District Society
Barrow-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire
Holy Trinity
Sunday, 6 December 2015 in 3hrs 20 (16.25 Cwt)
5042 Yorkshire Surprise Maximus
Composed by J Worth
Barry F Peachey
Dinah M Donovan
Neil Donovan
Lesley A Knipe
Graham W Elmes
Heather L E Peachey
Barry J Fry
8 Paul T Young
Robert H Jordan
10 Jeffrey Knipe
11 Malcolm S Turner
12 Timothy F Collins (C)

1000th Peal, all rung on conventional tower bells – Barry Peachey.

Winchester Cathedral 12 bell practice 25th November 7.30pm(*No December Practice)

There will be a 12 bell practice at Winchester Cathedral on the last Wednesday of the month, 25th November, at 7.30pm. Usual methods – Stedman, Grandsire, Yorkshire, Little Bob, Bristol, Cambridge. This practice is open to anyone who would like to practise 12/14 bell ringing.

There will not be a practice in December.

Please note that there is almost no parking in The Close because of the Christmas Market.

John Colliss


The Guild Archive

Catalogue May 2003

Analysis and cataloguing the Guild’s archival material is a continuous process and the most presentable material is either held in the Guild Library bookcase or is lodged with the Hampshire Record Office.

The Hampshire Record Office is in Sussex Streeet, Winchester, SO23 8TH (tel: 01962-846154), just opposite Winchester railway station. The HRO is part of the County Archive Research Network, and normal admission is on presentation of a CARN reader’s card. If you have one, take it with you, or take material to prove your identity so that they can issue you with one. The reference 20M94 identifies the W&P collection. I am grateful to the HRO for permission to reproduce this extract from the catalogue (for which they hold the copyright) relating to bellringing in Hampshire.

The material is held in the ringing chamber of Winchester Cathedral is generally less substantial. It includes booklets, pamphlets, individual papers and press cuttings relating to specific local events and services collected for . To gain access, please contact me by email , by ‘phone on 01962 885234, or at 31 Woodgreen Road, Winchester, SO22 6LZ.   The W&P Library collection contains books on the local history of parishes in the Guild, as well as a fine collection on books of interest to ringers at large.

Bruce Purvis, Guild Librarian and Archivist

Hampshire Record Office Holdings
Minute book Feb 1900 – Jul 1923 20M94/1
Minute book Jul 1932 – Jul 1948 20M94/2
Minute book Jul 1948 – Jun 1964 20M94/3
Minute book Jun 1964 – Mar 1975 20M94/4
Minute book Jul 1975 – Dec 1987 20M94/5
Minute book, Alton District Jan 1928 – Apr 1939 20M94/6
Minute book, Alton and Petersfield District Jun 1939 – Feb 1960 20M94/7
Minute book, Christchurch (New Forest) District Oct 1903 – Nov 1913 20M94/8
Minute book, Christchurch District Dec 1915 – Sep 1929 20M94/9
Minute book, Southampton District Feb 1937 – Oct 1960 20M94/10
Minute book, Southampton District Jan 1960 – Jan 1968 20M94/11
Minute book, Winchester District Dec 1903 – Feb 1913 20M94/12
Minute book, Winchester District Nov 1913 – Dec 1927 and Southampton District Jan 1928 – Jan 1937 1913 – 1937 20M94/13
Minute book, new Winchester District Jan 1928 – Jan 1951 20M94/14
Minute book, the ringers of St Mary’s Southampton Jul 1914 – May 1939 20M94/15
Receipt and Expenditure account Jan 1912 – Jul 1919 20M94/16
Cash Accounts Jan 1938 – 1963 20M94/17
Basingstoke District account book 1961 – 1986 20M94/42
Annual General Meeting attendance book Jul 1928 – Jul 1987 20M94/18
Attendance book Christchurch District Feb 1951 – Dec 1971 20M94/19
Attendance book Southampton District Oct 1965 – Jan 1967 20M94/20
Attendance book Christchurch and Southampton District Jan 1972 – Jun 1981 20M94/21
Peal book Dec 1881 – Jan 1891 20M94/22
Peal book Jan 1891 – May 1894 20M94/23
Peal book May 1894 – Apr 1896 20M94/24
Peal book Jan 1943 – Dec 1952 20M94/25
Peal book, George Williams Jan 1884 – Oct 1891 20M94/26
Peal book, George Williams Oct 1891 – Jan 1907 20M94/27
Peal book, George Williams Feb 1907 – Oct 1938 20M94/28
Peal book, George Williams Oct 1938 – May 1940 20M94/29
Photograph of George Williams n.d. 20M94/30
Campanologia’ a manuscript description of the church bells of Winchester and Hampshire Feb 1877 20M94/31
Group photograph of the Central Committee of the Winchester Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers (individuals identified) 1925 20M94/32
Album of photographs of ‘leading conductors’ taken from ‘The Ringing World’ c.1938 – 1939 20M94/33
Belfry visitors’ book compiled at the Centenary Service of Thanksgiving, Winchester Cathedral, 26 Jun 1979 and attendance list, AGM 7 Jul 1979 1979 20M94/34
A Journal of the Centenary Year, compiled by KSB Croft, Master of the Guild, commemorating the 900th anniversary of Winchester Cathedral 1979 20M94/35
Photograph of bells and bell frame, possibly at Havant n.d. 20M94/36
Various postcards and photographs of churches (non-Hampshire) 45 items n.d. 20M94/37
Minute book, Basingstoke District Sep 1903 – Jan 1933 20M94/38
Minute book, Basingstoke District Apr 1933 – Apr 1954 20M94/39
Minute book, Basingstoke District Jun 1954 – Apr 1973 20M94/40
Minute book, Basingstoke District 1973 – 1988 20M94/41
Account book, Basingstoke District 20M94/42
Minute book Portsmouth District 1922 – 1940 20M94/43
Minute book Portsmouth District 1940 – 1963 20M94/44
Minute book Portsmouth District 1963 – 1968 20M94/45
Minute book Portsmouth District 1968 – 1975 20M94/46
Minute book Southampton District 1960 – 1982 20M94/47

Items Currently Held In The Winchester Cathedral Ringing Chamber

George Williams Scrapbook, Photos and Peal Compositions
Wilfred Andrews correspondence 1905 – 1945
Wilfred Andrews collected booklets (Winchester) 1893 – 1942
Wilfred Andrews Guild Towers correspondence
Press cuttings and some photographs 1990 -1992
W&P Guild Scrapbook 1971 – 1989
Ephemera Before 1960
Ephemera 1960 – 1979
Ephemera 1980 -1984
Ephemera 1985 – 1989
Ephemera 1990 – 1994
Ephemera 1995 – 1998
Ephemera 1999
Ephemera Millennium Ringing
Ephemera 2000 – 2001
Ephemera 2002 – 2003

A brief history of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild


Creation of the Guild

The Winchester Diocesan Guild was founded on June 26th 1879 thanks to the efforts of two young ringers, the Rev. Arthur du Boulay Hill and the Rev Canon F. T. Madge.

At this time the Diocese of Winchester was vast, stretching from parts of the Greater London area in the east to Bournemouth in the west and including the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. The Islands and Bournemouth are still in the Guild today, but in 1924 the diocese was divided into 3 and the new dioceses of Guildford and Portsmouth formed. After much discussion (see The Ringing World December 23/30 1977) it was decided that Guildford should form a separate guild and Portsmouth remain with Winchester to form the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild.

Growth of the Guild

Initially there were just 7 bands in the Guild (Farnham, Godalming, Hursley, St. Michael’s Southampton, Weybridge, Winchester and Yateley) with 52 ringing members. By the end of the century the Guild was well established and it was necessary to create districts. 7 were created which remain much the same today, with Guildford and Dorking being replaced by Andover and the Isle of Wight. An 8th district, the Channel Islands, was created in 1981. Membership of the Guild reached over 1460 following a membership drive to enable the bells in every tower to be rung for the Millenium. It has decreased slightly but still stood at a healthy 1353 in 2005.

Early Peals and People (a selection)

  • 1881 First Guild peal – Union triples conducted by Stephen Brooker at St. Nicolas, Guildford.
  • 1888 First surprise conducted by David Jordan at Capel (Surprise minor, 7 methods)
  • 1891 First peal at WInchester Cathedral (Grandsire triples – the tenor ringer gave up after 2 hours 15 minutes)
  • In the 1890s Henry White of Basingstoke introduced peals of major and in 1896 his daughter, Alice, became the first woman to ring a tower peal.
  • George Williams conducted firsts for the Guild in Double Norwich Court Bob Major (1891) and Superlative Surprise Major (1894)
  • Alf Pulling started his career at Guildford in 1902. His achievements include a handbell peal of 19738 Stedman Caters.

See  Past Officers of WP Guild   for the names of the Guild officers from 1879 to the present day.

This brief history was abstracted from articles by Kenneth Croft and Roy LeMarechal in The Ringing World June 22, 1979.

Winchester Cathedral Church School Days

Each year, Winchester Cathedral’s Education centre invites all the Diocese’s Church Primary Schools to send their final year (Year 6) pupils for a day’s learning about the Cathedral and its activities, culminating in a ‘Leavers Day’ service. This year over three days in June, more than 1,600 children from 50 schools each took part in two morning ‘workshops’ split into groups of no more than 20 pupils. An army of cathedral volunteers organised activities including brass-rubbing, calligraphy, gargoyles, stone-carving, and tapestries, but this year a new addition was the provision of three types of bell-ringing workshops.

These comprised –

  1. a trip up the tower to the ringing chamber with an opportunity to ring a muffled bell at backstroke, ringing demonstration, and quiz
  2. handbell ringing and learning the principal of plain hunting
  3. an experience of the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry, installed on the Close lawn, where children were shown how to ring, given demonstrations and were ‘walked’ through plain hunting

All these activities had to fit into a tight timetable of 45 minutes per workshop

Tower Bells Workshop

To get to the ringing chamber the children had to climb some 140 steps, starting with the turret at the west end of the nave. This took them onto the roof parapet and through a door in the roof to the roof space above the vaulting. Here a walkway runs from the west end, some 350 feet to a doorway in the central tower which opens into the ringing chamber.

After a demonstration of change ringing by a Guild band, children were given a brief introduction about how bells were rung, which included a live TV display of one of the bells being rung, and safety precautions (basically ‘don’t touch any ropes!’).

They were then split into groups so that they could each –

  1. have a go at ringing a bell under supervision
  2. try to ring in time to a computer simulation
  3. take part in a ‘treasure hunt’ finding out clues about bell-ringing

Handbells Workshop

Handbells Workshop at Winchester CathedralThis workshop was held in the North Transept under the supervision of the Guild’s Education Officer.

Children were taught how to hold a handbell so that they could strike it on both up and down strokes.

It is very important that the bells are not knocked against each other or other hard objects (particularly by dropping on stone cathedral floors!) since the soundbow can crack requiring the bell to be re-cast at great expense.

plain hunt diagramChildren were shown the basic principle of ringing changes as shown in this diagram, and the picture shows them simulating this.

The lowest number is the highest note and the highest number is the lowest note, so ‘I,2,3,4,5,6,7,8’ is an octave scale played from highest note to lowest.

Mobile Ringing Workshop

As the pictures here show, a mobile ring was hired from Lichfield and erected on the Close lawn. It was of great interest to the school children and the many other visitors to the cathedral. Guild ringers provided demonstrations and children were invited to try their hand under supervision. The workshop also included ‘walking the changes’, where the children were each given the number of a bell and had to change places in rows on the lawn, just like the diagram above.

Once again this enabled them to understand the principle of how English church bells are rung every Sunday.

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Guild News March 2002 – Archive Material

WP Guild Newsletter 2002 Mar

The Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

GUILD NEWS March 2002

In This Issue

  • Has the Striking League Lost Its Way?
  • 1 Jemma’s First Peal as Conductor
  • 2 Update On Privett
  • 2 Bishopstoke Ringing Centre Opened
  • 3 Ringing Anniversaries in the New Century
  • 3 Beware Letting Visitors Into The Tower
  • 7 News from Winchester Cathedral
  • 8 Lymington Centenary
  • 9 100 Peals – 43 Years
  • 9 The Narnia Campanile
  • 10 Insurance
  • 10 Lockerley And East Tytherley. Ringing Personalities Remembered
  • 5  How Privett Nearly Lost Its Bells
  •   Guild Diary 2002 11