Guild Newsletter

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Resumption of Ringing - a Guild Statement

Dear Fellow Members of the Coventry Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers I am sure you will agree, it is welcome news that bell ringing is to resume within Churches in our Diocese. The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) has been working with the Church of England Recovery Group to help outline how very restricted opportunities to return to our towers for ringing for divine service can take place safely.

This current relaxation is a good step in moving to a "new normal" for our varied and diverse ringing activities that we have all missed so much over the past 15 weeks. The following is a very limited commentary/interpretation of the CCCBR papers produced for Coventry Guild members.

Please read all the CCCBR papers yourself and familiarise yourself with their contents as these must remain the definitive documents. They are very comprehensive, well thought out and clearly presented material. On 1st July, Simon Linford, President of the CCCBR, distributed the full advice to Guilds. It is 6 explanatory documents (all no more than 2 pages) and 3 more lengthy documents for ensuring there is a good paper trail of what has been done and agreed with the particular church. In addition, there is a full risk assessment. Please take time to read it and share it with your fellow ringers. I think you will find this makes many issues and questions you have much clearer.

It has to be very clearly understood at the outset that the current relaxation gives permission for 15 minutes of Sunday service ringing and no other purpose. It has to be with the permission of the incumbent and the ringers adhere to the stipulations in the CCCBR papers. We believe, this includes the raising and lowering of bells.

There are three pre-requisites.

(1) There is a Sunday service to ring for. There will be more of these as the weeks go by as parishes get their building and pattern of worship agreed as satisfying the CoE general guidelines for re-opening churches for services with congregation present.

(2) The ringers themselves are prepared to ring in accordance with the content of the CCCBR papers so there are enough to have a viable band. Many ringers will, quite rightly, feel that the covid-19 risk to themselves and those in the same household is still too high (the end of lockdown is happening too fast for them). Ringers are fully entitled to express that health comes before this limited opportunity to get back on the end of a rope.

(3) The incumbent (not a decision delegated to the Churchwardens and PCC), will permit ringing and has agreed all the recommended paper trail documents. Before ringing the bells an inspection of the bell installation must be carried out. What is to be covered in highlighted in the CCCBR documents and two people must be involved to meet existing Health and Safety recommendations. The objective of the inspection is primarily to ensure that nothing will impede the bells nor that any structural damage has occurred since the last ringing. Realistically the level to which fittings can be inspected is limited and anyway 15 weeks of non-ringing is unlikely to see any real deterioration. When first ringing up do so with more caution than usual.

Be well aware that social distancing needs to be in place in the tower. After requesting a clarification from the CCCBR the distance is two metres and not one metre. This is more difficult to have in place for almost all towers. One opportunity to investigate is to have the entire band part of a household or "social bubble" who are already exempt from social distancing by recent general changes in government rulings. This might be possible where there are families of bell ringers, which we do have within our Guild. Looking forward, and hopefully without a second wave of this terrible virus, further relaxations will be made by the government and these will almost certainly work in favour of having less regulated forms of ringing. Some towers may well decide it is be simpler to wait a week or two and direct efforts in either what is then an easier situation or learn from other towers' experiences. However, in the meantime, we hope to hear of bands being successful in their Sunday service ringing endeavours.

If you do need further clarification on any points, or require help with an inspection of your bells, please let me know. Mark Sayers is the Guild Health and Safety advisor and will be able to offer practical help if required. Finally, remember that the CCCBR documents are the definitive statements and the Guild will do its best to give those asking useful advice on how to proceed.

Kind Regards

Andrew Alldrick Guild President;
Mark Sayers, Guild Ringing Master;
Simon Rogers, Guild Treasurer;
Annie Hall General Secretary,

Trustees of the Coventry Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers.

Returning to Ringing - a Message from Simon Linford, President CCCBR

Returning to ringing is a subject dear to all our hearts. Simulators, Ringing Room, and training webinars are just not the same although we should applaud all those initiatives. On 12th June bellringing appeared in a list of activities which cannot take place in churches. That made us determined to find out who was advising government so that we could make our case. All the hard work being done on guidance and risk assessments is useless if the keys to the ringing room door have been taken away.

I am pleased to say we have now made a lot of progress. Mark Regan tracked down the people in the Church of England who are coordinating the opening of churches, resumption of choral singing and organ playing, liaising with Public Health England, and the ministries (DCLG and MHCLG). The people with the metaphorical keys to our ringing room doors are Mark Betson, convenor of the Church of England’s Recovery Group, and Brendan McCarthy, the Church’s Adviser for Medical Ethics, Health, and Social Care Policy. On Monday this week, Mark Regan, Phil Barnes and I had a Zoom call with them to position ringing in the church recovery plan.

It went extremely well. Our goal for the meeting was just to establish the Council as the trusted advisor to the CofE team and hence government on bell ringing. We had sent them our suite of six guidance notes, which they loved, describing them as “great, bite sized, well balanced” and said they were much better than anything they had come up with! That put us in a very strong opening position.

Having not really considered bell ringing specifically before, they are 100% committed to making ringing part of the return of church activities. In the first instance though it must be just that. Our return will be about Sunday ringing as part of the church’s mission, not practice or self-indulgence, though they understood our longer-term desire and need to resume that as well. Mark Betson said it would be really good to get ringing going again, reminding everyone which day is Sunday, and letting the bells proclaim that the church is open. He wanted “a package of good news” to be launched together.

Brendan was particularly cautious of any misinterpretation of the drop in the UK Government’s social distancing rule from 2m to 1m, which will have happened in between me writing this and its publication. He cited all the guidance coming to him that 2m was not sacrosanct, but that going from 2m to 1m represents a 10 fold increase in risk, and that he would remain cautious saying “Our first job is not to kill anyone.”

Mark and Brendan had meetings with Public Health England and UK Government that afternoon and this week. They promised to include ringing in the plans and coordinate with us. We advised that we would need a couple of weeks to get restarted, allowing for maintenance inspections, and they would clear such access with Becky Clarke, Director of Cathedrals and Church Buildings. They were happy to link our Guidance Notes from the main Churchcare website where their primary Coronavirus guidance sits.

We have watched with some envy our fellow bellringers in places with no new infections (or no infections at all) start ringing again. In order to get ringing going before we get to the zero infection stage will need patience, resilience and understanding."

We are going to get lots of ringers will not want to bother ringing three or four alternate bells for 15 minutes for a service. It could be a long time before peals or even quarters are possible. However it is an essential part of the strategy for us getting ringing going again that the church values our contribution, and we have managed to get them to include us in their plans and see ringing as a positive that we want it to be." 

If we do not get bells ringing for Sunday service in this first phase of resumption then it will slow down later phases of opening up. It will reinforce the impression of us that some in the church have. We don’t know exactly which day this will be from yet, although some Diocese have said they expect to have services after 4th July. We received specific confirmation subsequent to the meeting that access to towers to check bell installations ready for ringing was approved, provided it was done safely by more than one person, socially distanced.

We therefore need to try and find ways of making this positive. Perhaps it is the opportunity to get ringing going in all those churches which rarely have their bells rung at all. I know a few threes near Birmingham where the ropes are definitely 2m apart and which do not have local bands so I may be off to one of those! We could turn this into a real show of solidarity. 

Simon Linford
President CCCBR

John Illingworth's Ringing Books - For Sale

Notes re John Illingworth’s book lists.

I am selling these on behalf of his widow Linda – now Linda Monrowe

Prices listed are mostly based on the price he paid and were his latest valuation from some years ago, but prices don’t seem to have changed much.

Reasonable offers will all be considered. Postage will be extra or collect from Rugby.

Why not make an offer for the lot and start your own ringing library – will include the bookcase!!

If there’s a title you need that is not on the list do ask – I might have a copy and be willing to sell.

Clarke Walters  (replace "-at-" with "@")

A.John Illingworth Bell Catalogue

Bannister W. Change Ringing 1874 £80
Bray M.I. Bells of Memory, The Loughborough Carillon 1981 Ist Ed. £3
Camp J. Discovering Bells & Bellringing £4
Central Council Collection of Minor Methods 1975 £4
Central Council Towers & bells Handbook 1973 £15
Colchester W. Hampshire Church Bells 1979 reprint £20
Coleman S. Bellringers Bedside Companion 1994 1st Ed.signed £15
Cook W.T. Bells of St. Paul’s 2nd Ed.1984 £4
Cook W.T. Westminster Abbey Bells and Ringers 1984 £9
Crocket M. Bells in Our Lives 1973 £8
Cule W.E. The Bells of Moulton 1948 reprint
Eisel J. Bells of Hereford Cathedral 1977 £7
Elphick G. Sussex Bells & Belfries. 1970 £60
Ferriday P. Lord Grimthorpe 1957 £15
Foxon J. Tail Ends of Bells 1982 1st Ed. £4
Gatty A. The Bell 1848 £75
Gillett & Johnson Carillons, Chimes & Tower Clocks 1932
Handley D. Notes on the Furness Branch bells 1982 £5
H.M.S.O. Big Ben and Clock Tower 1987 1st Ed. £2
H.M.S.O. The Story of Big Ben 1969 6th Impression £2
Hubbard H. Elements of Campanalogia 1854 1st Ed £100
Ingram D. & Jones R. Belfry Life in Birmingham c 1780-1860: The Recollections of John Day. 2002 £15
Ingram T. Bells in England 1954 1st Ed £30
Ingram T. Bells in England 1969 2nd Impression. £15
Jennings T. Bellfounding 1986 £3
Jennings T. The Development of Bell Fittings 1991 signed £30
Jennings T. Master of My Art 1987 £10
Johnson R. Bellringing 1986 1st Ed. £20
Kimball D. The Story of the Liberty Bell 1989 £10
L.A.C.R. Instruction & diagrams for Beginners 1937 4th Ed £5
L.A.C.R. Instruction & diagrams for Beginners 1948 5th Ed. £5
L.A.C.R. Objects & Rules 1952 £2
Lee M. Henry Penn Bellfounder £10
Lee M. Peterborough to Pennsylvania 2000 signed £10
Lukis W. Account of Church Bells 1857 £125
Morris E. History & Art of Change Ringing 1st Ed 1937 £65
Morris E. “ “ “ “ rep.1974 £40
Morris E. Bells of All Nations 1957 £25
Morris E. “ “ “ “ 1951 Ex.Lib. £20
Morris E. Legend of the Bells. 1935 £10
Morris E. Tintinnabula 1st Ed. 1959 £10
Morris E. Towers & bells of Britain 1st Ed 1955 £20
New Zealand Govt. Old St. Paul’s bells 1979
Nicholls Bells thro’ the Ages 1928 Ex Lib £30
Pickford C. Bellframes – A Practical guide to Inspection and Recording 1993 £12
Pickford C. Steeple, bells & bellringers of Coventry Cath 1st Ed 1987 signed £12
Pickford C. Bedfordshire Churches in the Nineteenth Century Part 1.1994
Potter D. The bells & Ringers of York Minster 1987 £10
Price P.F. The Carillon 1937 Ex Lib £60
Price P. Bells & Man 1983 £70
Raven J.J. Bells of England 1st Ed 1906 £55
Raven J.J. Church Bells of Suffolk.1st Ed 1890 11/500 £200
Rice G. Carillon Music & Singing Towers  1925 £45
Rice G. Carillon Music & Singing Towers of the Old & New World 1926 £45
Rigby F.F. Elementary Change Ringing 1946
Ringing World. Volume for 1966 & Volume for 1976
Roast J. Change Ringing in Essex 1989 (?) £5
Sanderson J. Change Ringing an English Art Vol.I 1987 £10
Sanderson J. “ “ “ “ “ Vol.II 1992 £10
Sanderson J. “ “ “ “ “ Vol III 1994 £10
Sayers D.L. The Nine Tailors Sixteenth impression 1946
Scotland Soc.of Antiquarians Vol XCIX 1966/7 (Includes article on church bell of Kirkcudbright)  £10
Sharpe F. Church Bells of Berkshire 1970 reprint 2nd Ed £20
Sharpe F. Church Bells of Cardiganshire 1st Ed 1965 £60
Sharpe F.& Bliss Church Bells of Gloucs. 1st Ed. 1986 £50
Sharpe F.Church Bells of Guernsey, Sark etc.1st Ed.1964 £30
Sharpe F. Church Bells of Herefordshire Vol I-V 1976 £80
Shepherd E. Tower & Bells of Solihull Church 1950 £25
Snowdon J. Ropesight 5th Ed. 1900 £5
Snowdon J. Standard Methods 12th Ed. 1954 £5
Springer E. That Vanishing Sound 1976 £25
Stedman F. Tintinnologia 1895 reprint by The Bell News £40
Thurlow G. Church Bells & Ringers of Norwich 1st Ed.1947 signed £35
Thurlow G. Church Bells & Ringers of Norwich 2nd Ed. 1948 signed 35
Thurlow G. Tower & bells of Gloucester Cathedral 1979 £5
Troyte C. Change Ringing 4th Ed.1880 £20
Troyte C. Change Ringing 4th Ed. 1880 £20
Troyte C. Change Ringing 4th Ed. 1880 £20
Turner M. Art & Science. of Handbell Ringing (tune ringing) £10
Tyack G. A Book about Bells 1898 (FG) £40
Tyack G. “ “ “ (G) £40
Varah W. Barton Bells 1948 (Barton on Humber) £10
Walker H. York Minster its bells and ringers 1st Ed. 1973 £4
Walters H. Church Bells - Arts of the Church. 1st Ed 1908 £25
Walters H. “ “ “ “ “ “ “ £25
Walters H. Church bells of England 1912 £80
Warwickshire Guild of Church Bell Ringers Annual Report for 1925 & 1926? - incomplete
Warwickshire Guild of Church Bell Ringers Annual Report for 1927 & 1928
Warwickshire Guild of Church Bell Ringers Annual Report for 1935 & 1936
Whiting A. Bells of Chester Cathedral 1974 £5
Williams V. Bells of Russia 1985 £90
Yolen J. Ring out Ist Ed. 1978 £8

Miscellaneous books, leaflets and audio. Not priced – any offers?

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers publications:-
Beginners Handbook 1981 2 copies
Doubles Collection 1980
Change Ringing on Handbells Fifth edition 1974
Handbook on the Installation, Preservation and Repair of Bells, Bell-frames and Fittings Sixth edition 1966
Bell Restoration Funds 1979
The Council’s Decisions 30 May 1989
The Bell Adviser 1989
Collection of Rung Delight Treble Bob and Alliance Methods 1991
Cyril A Wratten Collection of Surprise Compositions
Hiller M.J. Collection of Doubles Methods and Variations c.1986?
Bells of the Durham and Newcastle Dioceses 1979 Peter L Rivet ?
Marshall C.J.B. St. Andrew’s Wiveliscombe It’s Bells, ringers and Ringing. 1980
Winyard T. The Priory Church of St. Bartholomew The Great c1973
Atkins W.M. (Minor Canon) St. Paul’s Cathedral A Guide 1969
St Mary Portchester – A Short |Guide 1976
Porter J. History of the Bells at SS Mary and Nicholas Spalding c. 1980?
Bishop Selwyn’s Bells (St. Matthew’s Auckland, NZ.) c 1975?
Walmsley R. A Short History of St. Bartholomew’s Church Westhoughton 1955
Bolton Parish Church Fourth edition 1973
Glastonbury Abbey Pitkin series 1973
Crowe Revd. P. St Martin’s in the Bull Ring – A Story of Seven Centuries. 1975
Lincoln Cathedral Pitkin series 1974
Chester Cathedral – A Short Guide c.1975
The Field June 1993 Includes article on bells by Steve Coleman

Audio – offers invited – guide £10 each

Tape cassettes

Change Ringing from St. Mary Redcliffe Bristol. Saydisc 1973
Inveraray Bells
The Bells of London Saydisc 1983 – 2 copies
Church Bells of Kent Saydisc 1979
Harangjatek Glockenspiel

Vinyl LP Records

Music on Handbells from Worcester (12 in. LP)c. 1980
The Rhythm of The Bells (12 in. LP) Central Council 1970
Rostov Chimes (10 in. LP)
Souvenir from Kecskemet, Hungary (12 in. LP) Carillon and other instrumental pieces.
The Chimes (12 in. LP) Various Russian towers

Draw Club

Due to the COVID 19 lockdown and the ban on ringing activities, The CDG Draw Club numbers for March, April & May were not drawn.

On Monday 25th May, the draw took place for these months and for June, numbers being drawn by my neighbour, over the fence, and witnessed by Geoff Pratt and Chris Worley.

Joy Pluckrose

Guess the Tower

Here are 70 towers from the Diocese.  All have at least 3 bells hung for ringing, but not all of them are ringable!

See how many you can get before looking online!!

Alderminster Brinklow Whichford Exhall Allesley
Bishops Tachbrook Avon Dassett Warwick, St Mary Southam Farnborough
Dunchurch Tredington Coughton Whitnash Fenny Compton
Cherington Harbury Ufton Weston under Wetherley Stoneleigh
Barford Cubbington Fillongley  Tysoe Kineton
Foleshill Ettington Snitterfiled Grandborough Willoughby
Honiley Withybrook Honington Leamington Hastings Ladbroke
Rowington Willey Shipston on Stour Hatton Aston Cantlow
Leek Wootton Salford Priors Mancetter Clifford Chambers Hillmorton
Leamington Spa RC Stoke Lighthorne Newbold on Avon Napton on the Hill
Radford Semele Long Itchington Nuneaton Shilton Clifton on Dunsmore
Frankton Offchurch Henley in Arden Ilmington Lillington
Bubbenhall Burton Dassett Preston on Stour Ryton on Dunsmore Ashow
Wormleighton Wolvey Ansley Bedworth Claverdon
Guess the Tower - 2

Here are 70 more towers from the Diocese.  All have at least 3 bells hung for ringing, but not all of them are ringable!

See how many you can get before looking online!!

Chris Pickford has kindly donated one of his Warwickshire “Pevsner” Architectural Guides as a prize to the winner. It will be signed by the author.

Please use this answer sheet and send it to Mike Chester,  by Tuesday 2nd June. The winner will be announce as soon as he can mark all the entries!


1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16  17 18  19 20 
21 22 23  24 25
26 27 28 29  30
31 32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 
46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53 54 55
56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65
66  67 68 69 70
Guess the Tower - Answers
Alcester Beaudesert Bishops Itchington Bourton on Dunsmore Wootten Wawen
Ansty Astley Sutton under Brailes Halford Coventry Cathedral
Keresley Tidmington Rugby Kenilworth Chadshunt
Leamington  Spa Alveston Monks Kirby  Warwick, St Nicholas Stretton on Dunsmore
Atherstone Radway Meriden Shotteswell Butlers Marston
Newbold Pacey Chilvers Coton Priors Hardwick Ullenhall Oxhill
Sherbourne Pillerton Hersey Bidford on Avon Priors Marston Brailes
Studley Wolston Long Compton Bulkington Marton
Berkswell Bilton Wappenbury Corley Wellesbourne
Church Lawford Stratford upon Avon Burton Hastings Stockton Walsgrave
Guess the Tower

Here are 50 towers from the Diocese.  All have at least 3 bells hung for ringing, but not all of them are ringable!

See how many you can get before looking online!!

1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16  17 18  19 20 
21 22 23  24 25
26 27 28 29  30
31 32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 44 45 
46 47 48 49 50
Covid-19 Update - May 5th

The Central Council of Church Bellringers has put out a statement on May 5th giving their position regarding Covid-19 and ringing at this point of time. This is the statement, please read it

The Guild's Officers have issued this statement regarding Covid-19 following receipt of this document:

"We all have our own personal views on what will be safe for ourselves and those immediately around us once there is an easing of restrictions. We understand that churches in general are still off limits to the incumbent clergy. Very many of us have our own separate access to get to the ringing chamber and we would not wish to see ringers within this Diocese taking advantage of any relaxation to partake in communal ringing activities before the Church in general was back on limits for controlled congregational worship.

The general message must be that we must continue with patience and fortitude to observe the Government’s and Church’s guidance before we can get our hands back on the ropes and enjoy our ringing together.

It will be fully understandable that many ringers, particularly those who have already received specific government advice over isolation for themselves or those to whom they are physically close, will be very reluctant to return to ringing until the level of safety is seen as acceptable. There must be resistance to any undue influence being put on these people to return sooner than they are personally happy with."

Robin Hope RIP (09/01/1932 – 15/04/2020)

Robin Hope (centre) in the ringing chamber in 2013 with Julia Porter, Steven Tibbetts, Brenda Murray, Leslie Lunn and Stephen Patrick.

It is with great sadness that we learnt that bell ringer and former Berkswell Tower Captain, Robin Hope passed away on the morning of 15th April 2020 at the age of 88. (Here follows a summary of an interview with Robin made in 2014 by Stephen Patrick and Steven Tibbetts)

Robin was born in 1932 at The Knoll in Balsall Common but moved to Spencers Lane, Berkswell a couple of years later. The move to Meadow Bank in Berkswell came two years later when his grandfather retired and the families swapped houses. Apart from a brief spell in Sapcote, Leicestershire, Robin and wife Helen have remained residents of Berkswell.

During the 1950’s the Tower Captain at Berkswell, Eddie Hardy was looking to recruit young people to become bellringers and so in 1957 Robin Hope, (then 25 years old) and Arthur Powell were taught to ring. Eddie brought in a “chap” from Coventry Cathedral to teach them. The band of ringers at that time comprised local farmers, a coal merchant and villagers, all of whom were getting on in age. It was only three years later that as a result of ill health, Eddie asked Robin to take on the duties of Tower Captain, a position he held until 2014.

As Tower Captain he was able to retain some of the old band but set about recruiting the next generation of ringers. It was in 1967/8 that existing Tower Captain Stephen Patrick ventured into the ringing chamber as a Boy Scout eager to earn his Bellringing Badge. Stephen recalls that he never received his badge but was bitten by the bellringing bug and continued to come ringing.

Other ringers at the time included David Ellis, John Starley, Brian Hornsby, David Barnett, Chris Wynn and Ron Jackson. In the 1970’s these formed the core of the bellringing band at Berkswell as Robin sought to build up a younger band of ringers. Robin can recall training many people to ring bells including Richard French, (at the age of 12), who still rings on occasions; the Daniel Family; (Luke Daniel now rings at Wootten Wawen); Robin and Sophie Patrick and Lucy Cross.

During the 1990’s the band were joined by his brother in law Richard Spears; Leslie and Diana Lunn; and more recently by Cathy Parry, Brenda Murray, Julia and Matthew Porter, Anne Green, Gordon Hubbleday, and Steven Tibbetts. (Apologies if I have missed some of the many that have passed through the ringing chamber during the early years).

During his 54 years as Tower Captain, he can recall one or two incidents of stays being broken and the memorable occasion when a certain Stephen Patrick broke a stay and failed to let go of the rope. He sailed into the air to such a height that he was looking down on to the top of the organ. This is also a vivid image in Stephen’s memory!

Other than the odd broken stay, the bells are very much in the same condition as they were in 1933, when they were rehung and fitted with ball bearings. Of course ropes have been replaced or spliced and more recently the clappers have been re-bushed.

Of Robin and Helen’s two sons, only the eldest son Philip took to ringing and rang regularly in the Taunton area before moving recently to Oldham. Philip’s daughter Emma has also taken up ringing.

As ringers have come and gone, Robin has always ensured the bells at St John Baptist have continued to ring out across the village, something we hope will continue for years to come. In 2014 as Robin developed his own health issues  It was a natural progression for Stephen Patrick to take on the duties of Tower Captain and we continue to support him in his efforts to recruit new ringers and keep the ancient art of bellringing going.

Robin spent the past 18 months in a local Care Home and was admitted to hospital on 7th April as his health deteriorated.

Robin will be remembered as someone who was remarkably patient with all ringers, particularly new recruits; a quiet man who undertook his duties as Tower Captain in a diligent manner; made everyone most welcome; and an all-round true gentleman. Stephen Patrick has remarked that he has lost a good friend who offered support over the many years he knew him. We pray that he rests in peace in the churchyard of his beloved Berkswell listening to the bells ring out each week.

With the current Coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Government it has not been possible to give Robin a traditional bellringers send-off by tolling a bell as he is laid to rest. We hope to recognise his achievements at a later date.

On behalf of the Guild the Berkswell band of bellringers offer their condolences to Helen, Philip, Paul and their respective families.

Steven Tibbetts, Ringing Master

Mike Rigby - Get Well Soon

Those of you that have read this week's Ringing World (24th Aoril) may have spotted a mention of Mike Rigby not being very well at all. Annie has made "gentle" inquiries and Sally Dick has forwarded the following:"Unfortunately, Mike Rigby, is currently very unwell. He has two brain tumours and is receiving general radiotherapy. He is not in any pain and is keeping quite cheerful. He is supported by his wife Jane and they are appreciative of contact from ringing friends. Supporting friends during this national emergency, is very difficult, but please remember Mike and Jane in your prayers and do stay in touch with them."

We echo these sentiments - get well soon, Mike!

Conducting Webinars

Chris Mew has offered to run, for members of the Guild, a webinar on conducting. This will last for about 1 hour and cover the basic information all new conductors will need. Depending on requirements, Chris has offered to run additional sessions on more advanced calling, including conducting quarter peals.

The sessions will be run by either Skype or Zoom depending on which technologies candidates have access. Timing will depend on availability but the first is likely to run next Friday, 24th April.

Over the years, Chris has run a number of sessions for the Guild, and they always prove popular.

If you would like to "attend" one of the sessions, please contact Chris directly. His email address is

In addition, the Association of Ringing Teachers, in conjunction with the Volunteer and Leadership Work Group of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, have developed an excellent Recruitment and Retention Workshop. It is my intention to run a half day training session, maybe in October, on this excellent toolbox. Until then, if anyone would be interested in attending an hour Zoom webinar on this topic, to formulate plans to recruit new ringers, please email me directly and we can set up some sessions.

Annie Hall

William H Male

During the 20 years I’ve been a ringer at St Mary’s Warwick, our little model of the tower has stood quietly, between the Tenor and the treble, looking unremarkable, and in truth unloved. The most interest ever shown is during the Heritage Open Weekends and when the BBC come to visit. Wes, the BBC presenter, always wants me to mention our model tower and how its small bells are rung. I think he knows the public are more interested in the unusual rather than the regular. It is also popular with visiting bands. One of the last groups to visit, from Beeston, were quite fascinated with it. The younger ringers among them were quite eager to play the bells.

It was the comment on Facebook on Sunday morning, which made me think of it again. Peter Bennett posted:

Seeing these single person performances on Bellboard reminds me of the late William H Male. I first met Bill when I was a teenager learning to ring in the late 1950’s, when he was the Tower Captain at St Mary’s Warwick. Indeed, he called my 2nd peal, which was Grandsire Triples at Mickleton, when he rang the tenor, and thereby completed the circle to calling Holts Original. Bill had constructed a model tower, about 400 mm square and 800 mm high in which he had fixed 10 small bells (whether handbells or house bells I know not) which he sounded using a small keyboard set into one side at the bottom, connected to the bells by a system of levers. He rang a touch of Grandsire Caters at a Guild Dinner and afterwards I chatted to him and I called a touch of Grandsire Triples whilst we conversed! I believe he rang several peals of G7 in that tower.

This is such a unique achievement, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about William and his tower, which I understand he called a Carillon. Bill, (as he was known) came from a ringing family. His father, Thomas, rang as did his Grandfather also William. It could be that the Male family came from Hatton, originally, where the Rev. H. C Courtney cultivated an active band of change ringers – early for the area- after the bells were recast in 1885. William the elder, is reported as having rung a touch there in 1887. Also, he rang a peal of Bob Minor, on the treble, at Hatton on 25th September 1920, with Thomas ringing the tenor.

Bill obviously learnt to ring at an early age. The Ringing World of July 5th 1935, states that:

Nine-year-old Billy Male of Warwick, was put through several 120’s of Doubles and showed great promise at a meeting at Whitnash. Later he showed his skill by ringing the tenor in masterly style.

In the Warwick Courier, of the same year, it is reported Mr William Male, his son Mr Thomas Male and his nine-year-old Grandson, Master William Male, rang the Jubilee bells of St Mary’s Warwick.

Whether it was Thomas Male, Bill’s dad, who built the model tower or Bill himself, is uncertain. It stands about 3 feet high and has ten bells, hung dead and linked to a keyboard. The bells are tuned shop bells, probably by James Barwell.

On the walls of the Carillon, there are 3 peal boards recording the peals Bill rang, alone, on the bells. The first was on July 15th 1951, when he would have been about 25 years old. It was Holt’s original peal of Grandsire Triples in 2 hours 53 minutes. He rang it without manuscript or any other guide. It was also witnessed by Thomas, his dad.

The peal boards record 7 more peals of Grandsire triples, including another of Holt’s Original. There is reported to be a peal book recording these peals. There is a little black notebook, still in St Mary’s ringing chamber, where Bill recorded his compositions, that was still used in the 1990’s. The touches were slightly longer than normally rung for Sunday service. Bill was tower captain at St Mary’s for a number of years.

On Pealbase, it is recorded Bill rang 51 peals between 1948 and 1975, This does not include the 8 recorded on the Peal Boards in the Carillon. Of the 51, of which he conducted 29, – 46 were for the Guild and 5 for the Worcestershire Association. His first was at Southam in 1948 – Grandsire Triples. His first as conductor was at Sherbourne in 1949 – Grandsire Doubles. 18 of his peals were of Grandsire Triples and he called 15 of these – almost certainly Holt’s Original each time. Amongst these peals were the first at Warwick St Nicholas after recasting and rehanging (in 1957.) Bill rang and conducted, 4 handbell peals, ringing 1-2-3-4. Three were with his father and the other with our Geoff (Randall). Not quite up with Simon Melen’s achievement but pretty impressive for the early 1950s. Geoff’s was in 1964.

Thomas Male rang 13 peals for the Guild – the first being in 1909 at Claverdon (his first of Minor and also the first peal on the bells – Guild peal number 9) and the second being at Warwick St Mary (his first on ten) in 1910. One peal stands out – a peal of ex-servicemen at Stoke, Coventry where he is listed as Private Thomas Male, Royal Warwickshires.

Bill Male lived with his sister at 21, The Butts, just down from John and Peggy Thornton. In the late 1960s spine problems led to a curtailment of Bill’s ringing activities. He re-joined the band at St Mary's, in about 1974, which at the time was quite distinct from the St Nicholas' band. Bob Cater records Bill then rang five quarters with himself and/or Gail (one of them usually had to babysit) in the few months up to September 1974. He also called a peal of Holt's Original at Salford Priors on 31 May 1975, in which Bob rang. Bill also helped with the ringing at Leamington Spa. He stopped ringing for Sunday services during the early 1980s.

Like Phil Faulks after him, it is recalled Bill would listen to St Mary’s bells ringing on Sunday and could tell what was being rung and where the calls were with ease.

Bill was an extremely private person, who lived with his older sister all his life. He could not cope in the slightest way with debate or friendly argument. He avoided even the smallest hint of conflict. I wonder how he would fit in with us today!!!!!

He was however, a very talented person recording piano, violin and clarinet trios, playing all the instruments himself, having taught himself to play.

Bob Cater recalls they went into Bill's house only once and very briefly for him to show them his Carillon. He performed on it for them and Peter Bennett mentions Bill performed on it at a Coventry Guild Dinner. Peter called a touch of Grandsire Triples which Bill rang. This is not recorded in the Guild History.

One story of Bill, which has been repeated from many sources, he would walk to practice whistling Grandsire or Stedman Triples. He would stop when he reached the tower steps, and then after ringing, take up the whistling, at exactly the right change, when he left the tower.

What a memory. It does put into perspective some of these single person performances recorded on Bellboard. I wonder if BB had existed in the 1950’s; would Bill have recorded them, or if he was too modest? B

ill died in 1991 and the Warwick Band rang a quarter peal in his memory, ringing Grandsire Caters using one of his own compositions.

Here are two views of Bill’s Carillon. The front of the tower can be removed, although it can be rung with the front attached. All the keys still work, but I think he would find it a little dusty.


These are pictures of the Peal Boards in the Carillon.


A photo of Bill holding the 9th rope at St Mary’s.

With thanks to Peter Bennett, Simon Rogers, Chris Mew, Mike Chester, David Leafe, Bob Cater and Chris Pickford.

Warwick Virtual Pub

If you cannot have your apres ring following the practice at the moment, or indeed the ring itself - do it virtually, as are Warwick ringers! (No beer on show, though!! MC)

We all downloaded the ‘zoom app.’This allows us to have a meeting for up to 40 minutes free. One of the team has to be the leader and they send an email link to all those they would like to invite with a meeting time. You all sign in to the zoom app and then at the meeting time, it seems to happen by magic. It takes a bit of getting used to and our pictures kept freezing but we could hear each other and stay in touch. I think it probably gets easier the more you use it.

Why not have a go at your tower?

Annie Hall


Memories of Ringing

Just listening to the Archbishop with the choir from St Martin in the Field and remembered taking the youth team there in 2016. Happy memories.


We met there and had a ring. Then Chris Mew took us on a mystery bus tour through all of London until we arrived at the tower for our competition piece.


A Message About no Ringing During the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

To all Guild members and other ringers in the Coventry Dioces

It is indeed in unprecedented times that I am writing this. We are all aware of the statements from the government about precautions during the current pandemic. Yesterday's press release from Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu that it is now necessary to put public Church services on hold until further notice has a certain inevitableness about it. It is very clear that ringing should cease from immediate effect and there is no indication of when it can return to normal. Other faith leaders are making similar statements about ensuring their gatherings are minimised.

We will all miss our ringing be it the social side it provides, one for exercise of both body and mind as well as its traditional function of calling to worship or reminder to the public that worship is taking place. I am sure there will be advice appearing from lots of sources about how to keep our bands together for the resumption of ringing as well as useful things we can do to further our ringing that many never find time to do away from the tower. Unlike the ban on ringing at the outset of World War 2 it is not the sound of bells that is restricted but assembling to perform the activity. Those with simulators may have an advantage but not if it involves a gathering of people.

I have seen nothing about any special dispensations for the celebration of our major festival of Easter. Given the general tenor of the CoE statement this seems unlikely. Although weddings may still be taking place, full advice is doubtless still being developed by the CoE. Again I would be surprised if ringing for weddings is seen as an appropriate gathering. A useful website for all pertinent CoE matters is

There will be no Guild or District events to go to. Which of these are postponed, such as the AGM, or cancelled for this year, striking competitions?, will be decided by the Executive committee and the membership informed of our deliberations. The annual report is complete and as needed before the usual date for the AGM. The hardcopy was scheduled for distribution to those who opt to receive it this way this week but this is no longer a priority. It will, however, be available shortly, as in previous years, in downloadable form for all to read on the Guild website.

I am sure we can all channel our surplus energy elsewhere to support our local churches and communities in ways indicated in the various releases that keep appearing and are compliant with the current government advice. I hope that it is not too long before a message indicating resumption of ringing is possible. As ringers we will certainly know how to celebrate getting back to our ringing activities with some form of ‘impromptu’ national/Guild/local events.

Andrew Alldrick -President 18th March 2020.

Cathedral Dedication Plaques

Many towers rang on/around the day of the dedication of the new cathedral in May 1962 and plaques were given to towers to commemorate this.

Do you know where yours is? This follows a comment by one ringer that he had not seen any other than his tower, which lead to one being found somewhere perhaps it would be better for it not to be!

Allesley's, for instance, is on a peal board and is prominently on display. Please check that the whereabouts of yours is known. I don't know if there is a list anywhere of towers that received one, but if yours is not on the ringing chamber wall, please do check in cupboards for it.

Mike Chester

Guild Social Meeting QPs

Being more adventurous in 2020, the Coventry Diocesan Guild decided to attach an additional challenge to this years’ Winter Social Meeting. It was agreed to try and ring a number of quarter peals prior to the gathering to be held at Newbold on Avon. Invitations were sent to all towers and members from 23 different towers agreed to take part in 10 quarter peals.

8 of the quarter peals were successful. The attempt at Monks Kirby was lost after 35 minutes. There had been some fine ringing, but things were not helped by the leak in the roof which gave Chris Mew, conductor, his second shower of the day. When the ringing stopped he was absolutely drenched. It is a good job Taylors will be visiting soon to carry out a maintenance service and inspection. The Guild received a very generous legacy and have paid for all towers with Guild members who ring on Sunday service to have a service visit. They are also able to offer generous grants towards repairs to the bells and bell installations.

Bilton, Warwickshire St Mark
Saturday, 11 January 2020 in 42m (9)
1260 St Simon's Bob Doubles
1 Keith F Chambers
2 Norris Poon
3 John Newbold
4 Gerald Trevor
5 Andrew F Alldrick (C)
6 Joy Pluckrose
First in method - 2

Brinklow, Warwickshire, St John the Baptist
Saturday, 11 January 2020 (8)
1280 Plain Bob Major
1 Ruth M Border
2 Tom Griffiths
3 Christopher F Mew (C)
4 Gerald Trevor
5 Michael Chester
6 Eddie Haynes
7 Bill Haynes
8 Tim Wykes
1st inside on 8 - 6. Rung in memory of George Lee, lay reader at this church.

Church Lawford, Warwickshire, St Peter
Saturday, 11 January 2020 in 41m (7)
1320 Norwich Surprise Minor
1 Lyndsey B Brett
2 Annie Hall
3 Michael Chester
4 Raymon A Sheasby
5 Doug Kempton
6 Nicholas H Brett (C)

Clifton upon Dunsmore, Warwickshire, St Mary
Saturday, 11 January 2020 in 43m (9)
1296 Cambridge Surprise Minor
1 Isobel Murphy
2 Keith Murphy
3 Sue Roderick
4 Catherine M Jamieson
5 Christopher F Mew (C)
6 Clarke Walters

Rugby, Warwickshire, St Andrew, (NE Tower)
Saturday, 11 January 2020 in 52m (24)
1250 Cambridge Surprise Major
1 John Keddie
2 Jane Rogers
3 Sammi Brett
4 Christine Homer
5 Mark Chaplin
6 Nick Brett
7 Simon Rogers (C)
8 Paul McNutt

Rugby, Warwickshire St Andrew, (W Tower)
Saturday, 11 January 2020 in 43m (9)
1260 Doubles (6m/p)
60 Stedman; 2 extents each St Simon's, St Martin's, Plain Bob, Reverse Canterbury, Grandsire
1 Jane Rogers
2 Christine Homer
3 Mark Chaplin
4 John Goddard
5 Simon Rogers (C)

Ryton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire
St Leonard
Saturday, 11 January 2020 in 44m (9–3–6 in F♯)
1260 Plain Bob Triples
1Jane Rogers
2 John Newbold
3 Geoff Randall
4 Ray Sheasby
5 Paul McNutt
6 John Thorne
7 Simon Rogers (C)
8 James Trewin
900th quarter - 7.

Stretton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire, All Saints
Saturday, 11 January 2020 in 43m (7–0–14 in B)
1320 Cambridge Surprise Minor
1 James Trewin
2 John Newbold
3 Lyndsey B Brett
4 Karen French
5 Doug Kempton
6 Ray Sheasby (C)

Quarter Peals were also attempted at Bubbenhall and Monks Kirby.  At Monk Kirby the band were "entertained" by Chris Mew getting soaked from water that leaked from the ringing chamber ceiling - and then lost Stedman Triples!

Training Opportunities within the Coventry Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers

Following requests from Guild members, it has been decided to run a series of Training sessions on the 5th Saturday of the month. Starting in February, on Saturday 29th, we have two separate courses running:

  1. Conducting Workshop

    This will be run by Chris Mew. There will be a morning session aimed at those who are new to conducting and will be mainly calling on 6 bells, covering Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire and Bob Minor. The afternoon session will be for 8 bells and cover Bob Triples, Grandsire and Bob Major.
    Both sessions will have theory discussions followed by the opportunity to practice in the belfry. Enough competent ringers will be available to support the new conductors.

  2. Raising and lowering in peal.

    This will be hosted by Mark Sayers and will involve a theory session as well as the opportunity to put the theory into practice.

On Thursday 5th March, Ian Wilson will be running a ’Learn to Splice ropes’ workshop. This will be practical two-hour evening session. Ropes will be provided, but Ian is happy for you to bring your own ropes to work on.

On the Saturday 30th May, we will be running a Bell Maintenance Workshop. Jenni Higson will be the tutor, a member of The Association of Ringing Teachers. This programme has been run for the Guild successfully in the past. It is a hands-on course, requiring overalls and the willingness to clamber into bell chambers and carry out actual work on bells and their fittings. The programme will be held at All saints Northampton (2 towers involved with these workshops)

If you would like more details and to reserve a place, on any of these programmes, please contact . The Coventry Guild will pay for their members to attend all these programmes, but ask for a small donation for the refreshments and contribution to the hire of the church room.

January 2020 Edition Available

The latest newsletter is available to view as "Current Edition" and a printable version has been put into "Downloads".

Please note that the deadline for the following edition 31st March 2020 and items submitted after this date may have to be held over until the July 2020 edition.


A Bell for Sue

I have decided that a more permanent and fitting memorial to Sue is appropriate, and the intention is to augment the 5 bells at Radway by adding a new treble bell cast in her memory. Sue rang her last Quarter Peal here on the 25th May and rests nearby.

The project at Radway is to augment the bells and install a ringing balcony. The cost to add a bell and hang it is about £15,000 if we take advantage of a reduction for supplying some labour. The Ringing floor has not yet been costed.

The Keltek Trust have already agreed a substantial grant and I am hoping for a similar one from the Coventry DG BRF in order to ensure the project is viable.

However, there will be a shortfall for hanging and casting the bell alone and I am hoping that Sue's ringing and other friends will make up the difference.

If you wish to make a personal donation for this memorial for Sue, one that is in addition to any Coventry DG grant that is given, please send a cheque, made out to "St Peter’s Radway PCC", but sent to me at 12 Glosters Green, Kineton CV35 0LT, and gift aided where possible please!


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