Guild Newsletter

The Guild Newsletter is published quarterly and is distributed to the Districts at each of the quarterly Whole Guild Meetings which are held in January, April, July and October, in rotation between the districts.

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Ringing for Notre Dame

Can I thank all those towers and people who rang on Thursday evening, 18th April. as an act of solidarity with Notre Dame and ask you to cascade these thanks down to all tower correspondents.

I know that being Holy Week meant that many of us had to decide whether or not we should be ringing. I have seen some 20 reports from across the Diocese so far on BellBoard but there could be more to come. To those who did not wish to break this week's silence, this is fully understandable. As always, at a time of a request for national commemorative ringing, we have shown what ringing can achieve not only in this Diocese but across the country.

May I take this opportunity to wish all ringers a happy Easter, with plenty of ringing in celebration of Easter Day. Also I look forward to seeing many of you at the Guild Annual Meeting on Saturday 27 April.


Andrew Alldrick - Presidenty

Celebrating Our Millennium Babes 20 Years On

On Wednesday 27th February we celebrated 20 years since four of our ringers began learning to ring. In 1998 there wasn't any regular ringing at Brinklow, Warwickshire and only one ringer resident in the village. The church took a keen interest in the Millennium project which was to have all the bells across the country ringing on New Year’s Day 2000 and decided they wanted to be part of it. One of the Churchwardens, Jennie Wykes and Hamish Middleton the Church treasurer volunteered and I gather Philip and Sally Mawson were rather nagged into giving it a go!

Over the year the group were taught by Melvyn Howkins, who was the only ringer at the time, with help from the vivacious John Illingworth and the neighbouring Monks Kirby ringers. New Year’s Day arrived and all went well despite a very late night (or late morning) and a few hangovers! A photo that has hung on the ringing room ever since records the event.

What of our four intrepid learners then? Jenny Wykes has stuck with it over the years. Philip and Sally Mawson have recently come back to ringing after a few years break mainly in a bid to overcome a niggling arm injury! Unfortunately, Hamish Middleton passed away in 2012 but not before helping to kick start an augmentation and rehanging project. We still have the simulator he built!

One might think this would be the end of it with mission accomplished. But it hasn't been the case. In fact, in retrospect, it has taken on a larger consequence. We now have a handy ring of 8 bells, two regular practises a week and a healthy-looking band with plenty of promise, the majority of whom live in the village. The Millennium ringing initiative certainly set a seed for us. I wonder how many other similar tales exist?

Brinklow Ringers February 2019 after practice night

Brinklow Ringers

Melvyn Howkins (left) who taught Sally, Jenny and Philip. We were joined by Sheila Middleton,(2nd right) widow of Hamish who is pictured in the photo marking the event.

Tom Griffiths

18th February 1929 – 28th January 2019robin

Robin’s funeral was held at St Mary’s, Clifton upon Dunsmore on what would have been his 90th birthday, with open ringing before and after the service to celebrate his life.

Robin was born in Leicester and at the age of 8 years he boarded at Abbotsholme School in Derbyshire. It was during his time there that his various interests came to the fore, notably the great outdoors, travelling and bellringing. He also became a proficient pianist and his love of classical music was a constant throughout his life.

After 2 years National Service, Robin started reading Chemical Engineering at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1949. The Guy family drove through Europe and as far as the Middle East where his father was to work with refugees, towing their caravan which, incidentally is on display at the Museum of Transport in Coventry. You must go and see it.

It was on a joint Cambridge and Oxford bellringing outing in June 1951 at Rowington in Warwickshire, that Robin met Elizabeth Roe, eventually marrying on 7th December 1953 on the Island of Sark.

After graduation, Robin began working for Courtaulds in Coventry and while there rang at Allesley, later moving to Corley where he began training a band of ringers. With their move to the Coventry Guild, earlier university friendships with Dick and Anne Speed and Peter Border were rekindled. After a spell working in Derbyshire, their next move was to Southport, where Robin joined the local band at Emmanuel Church. His children Catherine, Patrick and Joan started ringing there. Following his time at Courtaulds, Robin became chairman of the Coventry Health Authority, where he was closely involved with medical staffing appointments and the commissioning of Walsgrave Hospital, as it was then known.

Their final move was to Clifton, where both Robin and Elizabeth were soon involved with getting the bells ringing again, augmenting them to six and of course, teaching more ringers. He was Tower Captain at Clifton for 30 years, passing that responsibility to daughter Catherine in recent years.

Robin, with others, was instrumental in the creation of the Rugby Deanery District of the Guild in the 1980s. I recall many a committee meeting held in their sitting room at Dunsmore Hall Farm. He became Chairman of the District and was extremely good at getting other people involved in committee work, don’t I know it!

He and Elizabeth were always very hospitable and over the years held many events in their lovely garden. The Clifton ringers began what became the annual Christmas social, with hilarious games which everyone enjoyed, that is when they had recovered from being bent double with laughter. The ‘Guys’, as they became known, were also keen on ringing outings and one that particularly comes to mind, was the ‘Ringing and Architecture’ outing in August 1992 to Northamptonshire. A grand day out.

Robin rang about 200 peals and was in the band for the first peal on the refurbished 12 at Coventry Cathedral in 1988 and also the 25th anniversary peal in 2013, which turned out to be his last peal. He was 83 at the time and as reported, ‘he rang faultlessly throughout’.

What a privilege to have known this talented, humble and gentle man.

Freda Bennett

*With grateful thanks for information from Andrew Jamieson (Robin’s grandson), Clarke Walters and John Fielden.

Results of the Guild Striking Competition

This was held at Radford Semele on Saturday 2nd March.

Call Change Section

Band No of
Stoke 19.5 1st
Youth Team 21.0 2nd
Kenilworth B 30.5 3rd
Aston/Bidford Ringing Remembers 51.0 4th


Method Section

Band No of
Warwick 6.5 1st
Aston/Bidford 10.0 2nd
Kenilworth A 10.5 3rd
Bulkington 11.5 4th
Lillington 15.5 5th
Leek Wootton 19.5 6th
leek wootton
Berkswell 26.0 7th
Radford Semele 43.0 8th
redford semele


Congratulations to Warwick and Stoke on winning their section of the competition. Special congratulations to the team from Bidford and Aston whose members had been recruited through Ringing Remembers and some had only been ringing for a few weeks.

method cup
Judge, John Fielden, handing over the Call Change and Method Cups to Noah Poulton and Simon Rogers respectful.



As you may recall, CRAG's Proposal H, which was passed at the May 2017 Central Council meeting, called for the Decisions of the Council to be replaced with a simple, permissive and descriptive framework for ringing with only the minimal detail required to maintain the historical record.

After 16 months of intensive work, involving two major consultation exercises, the Framework Team led by Tim Barnes delivered version 1 of the Framework to the Executive in January 2019. The Framework has since been reviewed by members of the Executive over the past four weeks, with questions and comments satisfactorily addressed by the Framework Team. At their monthly meeting on Sunday February 24th 2019, the Executive voted to adopt and implement the Framework.

Here are some explanatory notes to accompany this decision and announcement:

  1. Permissive and Descriptive.
    1. The Framework will take its place in the Council’s rulebook as a “standard”, which is a form of policy as defined in Council rule 10.4, and will be maintained by the Technical & Taxonomy Workgroup under the supervision of the Executive as stated in CRAG’s Proposal H and under Council rules.
    2. It is important to note that the Framework fulfils the objectives set out in CRAG’s Proposal H that it should be a permissive document, which is not over-prescriptive, but instead describes in simple language the norms and understandings which are common to almost all method ringing performed around the world. It will inform and govern the Council’s various collections and records (e.g. methods, record lengths, extension processes), including how things are recorded, classified, analysed and reported.
  2. Magnum Opus
    1. In addition to the Framework, there is also supporting material comprising examples, further explanations, technical comments and appendices. The supporting material is not part of the Framework itself, but assists in the understanding of the Framework, expands upon certain definitions and requirements, and further assists ringers in communicating about method ringing. The supporting material will be updated by the Council's Executive when the need arises.
    2. The Framework, appendices and supporting material are combined in a single website at PDF versions of the Framework and appendices can be downloaded from this link (ref section 1.B). The rest of the supporting material can be accessed through the website.
  3. Consultative and transparent
    1. Two ringing community consultations have been completed on the Framework. Over 40 ringers participated in the consultations, raising over 130 points between them. This feedback resulted in the team making around 60 improvements to the Framework. The consultations were widely publicised, including in the RW, on ringers’ email lists, on Facebook and Twitter, on the CC website, and by communication to all CC members and to all CC-affiliated societies. The live draft of the Framework has been publicly available on the Internet since October 2017, and the team published four articles in the RW explaining the Framework development. In addition, The Ringing World has recently been serializing the FAQs from the Framework website. This process has been an intensive exercise not only for the members of the Framework Team, but also for those ringers who have devoted many hours reviewing the various versions as they have been produced.
    2. In short, the development of the new Framework has been undertaken with full transparency and consultation. Consultation submissions and the team's responses can be found in Appendix I (FAQs).
  4. Implementation
    1. Council rule 10.8 calls for new policies and standing orders to take effect no earlier than three months from the date of notice. We therefore give notice that our decision to implement the Framework takes effect on June 1st 2019. The Framework directly replaces Decisions D, E, F, G, I and J.
    2. We also give notice of our decision to retire the remaining (“non-method”) Decisions A, B, C, H and K, with effect from June 1st 2019. This is in accord with the Council’s wishes as expressed in votes at the 2017 Edinburgh meeting and the 2018 Lancaster meeting. The Executive have reviewed these “non-method” decisions and where possible consulted those responsible for them to confirm that they may be safely retired. We are satisfied that their purposes are achieved by the Council’s current objects and rulebook, although in the case of Decision H (Ringing Alliances) we will be writing to those few organisations with whom alliances have been formed to emphasise that the Council will continue to nurture these relationships and seek new ones. The latter Decisions may be replaced in due course by new Council policies if needed
    3. The version of the Framework which will be implemented on 1st June is version 1. The Framework Team have intentionally left some things to consider in subsequent versions, since trying to do everything in one go would have taken too long. For example, the Framework's method extension requirements largely follow the current Decisions, but this is an area where more analysis may lead to improvements and simplification. Timing for a second version has not yet been determined, but will likely follow between 6 and 12 months after version 1.
    4. The Framework Team will be ready to address any issues that arise in the implementation of version 1. While there's been a good level of review in the consultations, it's possible that notice of implementation may generate more scrutiny that uncovers something that has been overlooked. The Framework Team will be setting up an online forum that is open to all ringers to join, where ideas, issues, criticisms, etc can be raised. The Framework Team will use this input to inform future development of the Framework in what we expect to become a process of continuous improvement. Comments can also be sent to this email address:
    5. Day to day ringing
      1. A significant amount of effort has been devoted to ensure that the new Framework reflects ringing as it is currently performed, so the new Framework should have very little impact on day to day ringing. Quarters or peals rung by the vast majority of ringers will be the same after 1st June as before.
      2. For the more technically adventurous, who enjoy pushing the boundaries of method construction or composition, the Framework will offer both guidance and support in a way which we hope will encourage rather than stifle innovation and so promote further advancement of the Exercise.
    6. In conclusion
      1. We know, after a century of debate over the Decisions, that there will never be a version of the Framework with which all ringers fully agree. However, we believe the new Framework will be acceptable to the vast majority of ringers. We also believe it meets, to the extent possible, the CRAG mandate of simple, permissive and descriptive while maintaining the historical record, and we hope the transition from a prescriptive approach to a descriptive one will largely eliminate controversy in this area in the future.
      2. The Executive wish to express their sincere thanks to the members of the Framework writing team. This first version of the Framework for Method Ringing represents countless hours of volunteer time, robust debate and careful deliberation of fundamental theoretical concepts.
      3. We ask you to communicate details of the new Framework and the web links set out above among your society. If you or your members have any concerns or questions, please direct these to

I commend the Framework to you.

Christopher O’Mahony
President Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
On behalf of the CCCBR Executive


 2019 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 2019 and items submitted after this date may have to be held over until the July 2019 edition.


Aston Cantlow - ‘Alls bell that ends Bell’.

Back in the summer of 2018 the ringers of Aston Cantlow were busy practicing for another quarter peal, having decided to ring one per month. Tracey who was ringing the second suddenly declared that she could not keep the bell up. I tried it and it was horrible, something must have broken. On closer inspection one of the gudgeon boxes that hold the shaft on which the bell turns had sheared off on its inner fixing, allowing it to twist and turn. We took pictures and sent them to Taylors for advice.

Taylors advised that the gudgeon box would need replacing or repairing and that we would need to lift the bell and remove the headstock. This would then need to go to Taylors for work to be carried out. A quote was prepared by Taylors setting out the price depending on what work we undertook ourselves. If they did the work we were looking at a number of thousands of pounds. After a lot of thought and advice from Simon Adams and Chris Tennant we decided to do a lot of the work ourselves to save money and get the job done quicker. Taylors said that it would take 4-6 weeks once they had the headstock.

Tracey and I now began to gather equipment we managed to obtain some hardwood railway sleepers from Singletons for cost price because of the job we were doing. These were to place across the frame to take the weight of the bell once removed from its headstock. Chris obtained a long length of M18 all-thread which we would use to lower the bell half an inch onto the sleepers after releasing the headstock straps. We stripped off the wheel, stay, slider and clapper and set a date to start work.

Chris (a mechanical repair engineer by trade), Hugh an ex Welder, Tracey and John set about dismantling and using the all-thread to lower the bell by winding down the nut went really well, we soon had the bell on the sleepers safe and sound. Removing the headstock was relatively simple until it came to lifting it out. Chunks of hardwood with steel shafts and bearings on the end are quite heavy!! Now came the job of hoisting it down the tower. At Aston we have two medieval ladders and a metal spiral staircase. It was manhandled down the first 45 degree ladder by John and Hugh, then let down on an old bell rope with three above and one guiding down the next almost vertical ladder. Finally the headstock was let down the next vertical drop on two ropes with 3 above and one guiding. All the nuts and bolts were carefully laid out in the belfry so that they went back in the correct locations and the rusty brackets were taken home and cleaned up including a coat of red paint. Hugh then delivered the headstock to Taylors (beginning of August). We began the long wait for Taylors to do the repairs. It turned out to be longer than we had ever expected with 6 weeks turning into 3 months and we began to think that we would not make the remembrance celebrations. Taylors were apparently very busy. Eventually with a wing and a prayer they ‘repaired’ our old gudgeon box and we collected the headstock the weekend before Remembrance Day. Apparently they did not have a mould for a gudgeon box that would fit ours being narrower than usual and making a new one would have taken even longer. Anyway nicely repaired it arrived back.

We had just one week to get the second back together for our remembrance rolling ring. So we duly arrived on Saturday afternoon Hugh bringing the headstock but this time missing our engineer Chris who was away on holiday.

Hugh was our stand in engineer and this time Heather and Ingrid would provide the muscle with Tracey and John assisting. So how to get this lump back upstairs? We have no trap doors at Aston so it was hoist it up the outside or in three lifts up the inside. We went for option two. There was no time to build pulleys and hoists so we went for brute force on two ropes hauling it up each level. Mr elf and safety had to look the other way on this occasion, although we made sure no-none was below each of the lifts and locked the vestry door to make sure. Heather and Ingrid with Tracey were fabulous at hauling the ‘beast’ back up. Once in the belfry there was a bit of tricky manhandling and then a very tricky lift into position on the bell (we were missing Chris). We toiled away for a couple of hours with Tracey passing tools and parts and John and Hugh putting everything back in place. Heather and Ingrid moved all the sleeper sections and wood planks down to the clock room and by 8.00pm having started at 4.00pm we had the bell back together.

So how much had we saved the Church? Well at least £2000 compared with Taylors doing the work, in fact probably a lot more. We found it quite fun if not hard work. In fact we think that doing some of your own bell repairs could be easier than people think. The most important thing is to make sure you have assessed risk at all stages and have put in precautions incase of problems. For example no one under a lifted object, always more than one person working, know your post code, double up if using ropes and a hoist or use a safety line, make sure the area is well lit, and many more things.

It is vital to get advice from the experts such as Simon Adams at Taylors or Nigel Taylor from Whites/Nicholson. Also talk to the Guild and put in for a BRF grant. Make sure you inform the diocese and obtain a faculty if required.

Anyway we rang our quarter for remembrance and took part in the rolling ring. Below is a picture of the Aston ringers involved with the ringing that day including the intrepid Aston bell hangers. If your tower needs help or advice with a simple repair, who knows, the Aston Hangers may be able to help you!!

John and Tracey Newbold and the Aston Cantlow Ringers


Draw Club Results 2018

Date 1st Prize   2nd Prize   3rd Prize   4th Prize
  No Name   No Name   No Name   No Name
Jan 75 A Mew   72 A Houghton   21 J Montgomery       
Feb 14 L Grove   4 K Chambers   101 S Tibbetts      
Mar 82 R Grifiths   114 M Sayers   101 S Tibbetts      
Apr 32 M Whitehead   36 D Jones   2 P Richardson       
May 32 M Whitehead   4 K Chambers   121 S Tibbetts      
Jun 11 M Fiander   49 S Rogers   63 K Davies      
Jul 10 D Butcher   121 S Tibbetts   38 M Williams       
Aug 123 M Chaplin   105 P Hollings   74 T Hill      
Sep 51 J Wykes   120 W Pauling   46 C Mew      
Oct 92 A Fleming   39 P Richarson   7 M Chester      
Nov 56 Brinkow   78 M Ingram   1 M Dew      
Bonus 1st Prize (£40)   2nd Prize (£30)   3rd Prize (£20)   4th Prize (£10)
Dec 71 D Brasenell   97 S A Lawley   72 A Houghton   76 C Idle

Draw Club 2019

Renewal documents for the Draw Club for 2019 are being sent out over the next week.

Could anyone who does not get the notification please phone Joy Pluckrose on 024 7634 8233.

Anyone else wanting to join the scheme for next year should also give her a ring.

Using the Website Message Board

If you want a message put onto the website, please follow these simple steps

  • Click here - the link is at the bottom of the messages if you forget this one. It is also on the "News and Notices" menu.
  • Click on
    • Practice Night Information, or
    • Meeting Information, or
    • Ringers Required
  • Click on "New Topic"
  • Fill in the form with:-
    • Your name
    • A subject line for your message - not the whole message, something such as, "6-Bell Practice at XXXXXX on Thursday  XX December - this appears on the website
    • Type in the details in the "Message" box
    • Click in the "I am not a robot" box
    • Click on "Submit" to post the message

It is very simple to do. Please give it a go

Coventry DG Brokerage Scheme

The Guild is hoping to be able to give a helping hand to ringers and towers in the area by arranging for ringing support for what YOU want to be able to do next.

Do you need some ringers to provide a steady band around a learner in a given method?  Do you just need the odd ringer extra so you can make the next step with your, or your tower's, ringing?  Do you need a conductor for a quarter or a peal?  Do you want to ring a quarter peal or a peal and don't know the next step?

Help is at hand!  Simply download the CDG Brokerage file that you can find from

, in both pdf and Word format, complete it and then send it off.