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.

Articles for inclusion in the next newsetter should be sent via email to

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The current edition can be read online via the appropriate link in the Newsetter menu, as can PDF copies of previous newsletters.


Ringing World National Youth Competition 7th July 2018

At the StationWe had an early start for the competition this year. Our test piece was scheduled to be rung at Cubitt Town on the Isle of Dogs. We rendezvoused at Cornhill where we were one of the first teams to ring on this lovely 12. Then it was off to catch the DLR to Island Gardens and the 10 minute walk to the church. The team were a little nervous while we waited for the Salisbury Guild to ring their piece. Our test pieces were a little hesitant as the team adjusted their ropes. 15 minutes was the allotted time for adjusting the ropes, practicing and then ringing the test piece. Despite the nerves, they rang confidently and the Plain Hunt 168 changes were completed competently. The bells were more difficult to handle than Brinklow, where we had practiced, but the team got to grips with the bells and rang very well.

At the Station

Then it was back to St Mary-le-Bow for the results. Coventry Spires were awarded B- for our test piece. The judges said we rang at a rapid speed which did lead to some errors. They were impressed with the great rounds which gave the test piece a good structure. This is the highest score we have ever achieved in the 4 years we have entered the competition.Just time to draw breath and then it was off to walk under the Thames to catch the boat ‘up west’ to Tower Pier. We then had a short break for ice cream before going to St Magnus the Martyr to ring on the new 12. We received news we had not reached the final and it was very busy at this tower, so we persuaded Chris Mew to take us back to the East End to grab 3 more towers. We rang at Lime house, Rotherhithe and Bermondsey. We rang Cambridge Major and 3 leads of Bristol along with Plain Hunt on 9 and rounds and call changes.

In good rugby style, it does not do to criticise the judges, but a few observations may be shared in person, not in print. However, the winner of the Method competition and the overall Competition winners where both in our heat proving the competition was tough. Coventry Spires rang a great test piece and were only pipped at the post by the Oxford Guild, a much more experienced band.The Team

And then it was all over. We were all exhausted. Temperatures during the day had hovered at about 30 degrees and sometimes the tube felt about 40 degrees. Bermondsey was a great air conditioned tower so we enjoyed ringing there. This is the last time Simon Allan and Estella Haynes will be able to ring for the team as they become too old!! Thanks for all your hard work and commitment to the team. Albert, Immi, Molly Ruby Alec and Eddie, thanks for being great competitors and here is to next year’s competition in Liverpool.

At the Station

Thanks to all our supporters and to Joy, Marie, Mark, Nick, Sammi, Natalie, Isobel, Keith, Andrea and Bill for coming with us and a special thanks to Chris for his organisation and for being a great tour Guide

Ian Thompson Retires as Tower Captain at Allesley

Ian Thompson

I came to Coventry over the August Bank Holiday Weekend of 1987. I had bought a Guild Report to see where there was ringing around the area and chose to give Allesley a try. On the Sunday morning I arrived at Allesley tower to be met and greeted by Ian Thompson, who had already been Tower Captain for a while.  Thirty-one years later Ian has decided that it is time that he gracefully retired from this position, having recently had a pacemaker fitted, and I have been elected to try to fill his shoes.

During all this time Ian has been climbing the notoriously awkward stairs up the the ringing chamber for two services on Sunday and our Tuesday practice, week after week. He has maintained an exemplorary attendance record over the decade and has organised bands for innumerable weddings, joining in with our "How late will the bride be", grumbles of late! (28 minutes for the last one, in case you would like to know.)  He has taught quite a number of ringers how to ring in his time as Tower Captain. He also has rung 98 peals at his home tower between 1966 and 2016.

He led on the replacement of our third and fourth bells in 2011, paying himself for the new fourth in memory of his late wife, Janet.  He was still a leading light when our sixth bell was replaced by a better (Taylor) bell from Bury in 2016.

This is not a goodbye, nor even "au revoir", for Ian at Allesley. While he is able to get up to the ringing chamber he intends to continue his association with Allesley and will remain a loyal ringer to the tower.  We thank him for all the hours he has put into the tower and hope that he continues to enjoy ringing with us.

It will be some job to take over from Ian, but I know that he will give all the help and advice that I need.  However, Ian, please don't expect me to still be there in 31 years time!

Mike Chester

CCCBR AGM Report 2018

The report by our CCCCBR Representatives about the 2018 AGM, at which a major restructuring of the Council was voted upon, can be found here:


This year marks the centenary of the end of World War One. The Coventry Diocesan Guild, under its previous name the Warwickshire Guild, lost 18 members during the four years of hostilities. In total, 11,600 men from Warwickshire lost their lives in the war to end all wars.

Many churches within the Guild have made special efforts to commemorate the losses. Atherstone has information sheets recalling the details of the fallen from their parish. In Warwick, a replica bell of St Mary’s tenor has been constructed and will be covered in poppies. The headstock carries the names of the Guild members lost and the towers where they rang.

Guild members will probably have commitments to ring at their own towers, but in addition the Guild would like to arrange a series of routes through the Guild to ensure as many bells as possible will be rung, and also to allow members to see the displays in different villages or towns. The ringing routes may be on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th. It might be possible to arrange for a central rendezvous or even a master class on half muffled ringing.

If your church has a special commemoration over the weekend, which you think might be of interest to other members, please let me know and I can include it in one of the routes. In addition, if you have responsibility for a tower with not enough ringers, again let me know and we can see if we can arrange for other members to assist you in ringing the bells over the remembrance weekend.

There are a number of different National initiatives regarding the ringing of church bells over the remembrance weekend of 10th -11th November 2018. The Central Council is advising ringing bells half muffled during the morning of the 11th and then open in the afternoon. There is another plan to ring all the bells at 7.00pm on the evening of 11th November. It is estimated 1400 bell ringers lost their lives during WW1. The initiative ‘Ringing Remembers’ to recruit the same number of new ringers during the year is making good progress. In May, 558 had been recruited so far and the intention is they will take part in ringing on 11th November. If you have any learners, who have joined your band since last November, they can sign up to be included in the total number.

If you have any suggestions or comments about any of these initiatives, please let me know.

Warwick Poppies 2018

Note for your diary.

To commemorate the end of WWI St. Mary’s Church, Warwick will be putting on a huge display of poppies in the church, the idea being to get at least 11600 poppies to represent the number of people who died in Warwickshire in WWI.

The display will be open from the beginning of October until the end of the Christmas Tree Festival in December.

As part of the display, Warwick bellringers are making a model bell the size of the tenor at St. Mary’s which will be covered in poppies.

More details and pictures of our project to come in the next newsletter.

Karen French

Raise funds for CCCBR projects

Busy lives? Shopping online? Go to and choose The Central Council of Church Bellringers to help us raise funds to develop new learners and leaders!

The AmazonSmile Foundation operates a charitable giving portal which donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to your chosen charity, (purchase price being the amount paid for items minus rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges).

From 15th to 29th June for just two weeks, Amazon have increased the percentage donated from 0.5% to 1.5% - so go shopping now, to help us in our quest to continue to raise positive public awareness of ringing.

Visit and choose The Central Council of Church Bellringers for your online shopping today.

Mary Bone
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Registered charity no 270036

Peter & Rosemary's Diamond Wedding

Wedding DayPeter and Rosemary Spencer celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on Sunday 27th May by sharing lunch with 77 friends and family at Kenilworth Golf Club. Peter recounted how he took 1 week of compassionate (or passionate) leave from National Service to get married. He was on 28 shillings a week and had to give up 10 shillings for living costs so money was tight. They hadn’t planned a honeymoon but at the wedding were invited to spend a few days staying with friends in Yorkshire and these friends came to this anniversary celebration.

Wedding DayPeter told us that he wouldn’t have achieved what he had in life without the support of Rosemary including a major career change. He did push his luck with beekeeping as Rosemary said if bees came into the garden she would leave, however he did bring a beehive into the garden. Rosemary then proceeded to pick rhubarb right in front of the hive thinking that if she was stung she could order them to be removed but at that point she never got stung. Peter is still a current beekeeper nearly 60 years later and Rosemary is critically allergic to bee stings.

Rosemary told us that she felt that marriage was give and take on both sides. Also that they had many individual interests but also shared some eg bell ringing . Rosemary and their daughter Jane started church bellringing at St Nicholas Kenilworth in 1975. Peter started a few years later as he was fed up that he didn't understand the bellringing conversation at he dining table. Rosemary has been secretary at Kenilworth tower for many years and is currently the editor of the guild magazine "Guild Matters". She has been church warden at Kenilworth on two separate occasions, she sometimes plays the piano and occasionally organ at church, she was the parish magazine editor for many years, and can administer the communion bread and wine. Peter was the tower captain and ringing master at Kenilworth for 30 years, downsizing to the tower captain only in 2016. He is the joint tower steeple keeper, and the church covenanting officer. They both have a love of dogs, some from rescue centres and Rosemary' s newest Labrador, Darcy has won an award at dog training recently.

Wedding DayTheir daughter, Jane is one of the three joint ringing masters at Kenilworth and is married to Doug Kempton. Their son George rings occasionally, the last time for his own wedding last August. Their twins Victoria and Emma also ring; Victoria was a member of the Coventry Guild Youth Team a few years ago. Peter and Rosemary's son Richard also used to ring and there was an all Spencer quarter peal on 4 bells at Offchurch before it was augmented, the day before Jane' s wedding.


Bellringing Outing to Evesham

On the 7th of April, 2018 a district outing was held around Evesham. It was organised by Barbara Howes. Around thirty people attended with their partners, wives, children etc. It was a great success!

BretfortonThe first tower we went to was Bretforton which had eight bells. It was in a really pretty village.

Rounds and call changes were rung throughout the day as were complicated methods which I’d never heard of before.

Also, in Bretforton, people had the opportunity to visit a national trust pub called the Fleece Inn. It was opened especially for the bell ringers to have a drink.

The second tower we went to was Badsey which had eight bells. When we got there ladies were cleaning the belfry for us. At the church there was a flower festival and the flowers were really nice. Annie Hall particularly liked the flower arrangement around the pulpit.Badsey Flowers

We all then went our separate ways to have lunch.

After lunch we went to our third tower. This was Evesham which had twelve bells. It had a big turnout. Ruth Border had previously rung 16 peals there. She was part of Canon Webb's attempt to ring Grandsire, Doubles, Triples, Caters and Cinques. Her name is on two peal boards in the tower that you can see above her head..

Ruth at Evesham

Our last tower was Offenham which had 6 bells. Rounds and call changes, bob doubles etc. were rung as people started to leave.

All in all, it was a good day. Thank you to Barbara Howes for organising this outing.

Molly Woodier


 2018 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 is Sunday 1st July 2018 and items submitted after this date may have to be held over until the October 2018 edition.


Guild AGM

The Guild held its AGM at Berkswell on Saturday, April 28th, at Berkswell, with ringing also taking place at Kenilworth.

The AGM was held after an uplifting service and a sumptuous tea. The hightlights are:-

  • The minutes, accounts etc. were approved
  • The accounts and budget were both approved
  • The President, Joy Pluckrose, retired at the end of the maximum term allowed under the rules.  There were no nominations for President and the meeting therefore asked Joy to continue in the role until the October Meeting, in the first instance
  • The Treasurer, Peal Secretary, Ringing Master, Webmaster, Independent Examiner and Chairman of the Towers and Belfries Committee were all re-elected
  • Rosemary Spencer was elected as PRO and Mike Young took over as Safeguarding Officer from Chris Mew  
  • The Guild has been left a substantial sum under the will of Phillikp Faulks, the interest to be applied to the BRF.  Much work has been undertaken by the Trustees on this matter and a little more is to be done before we are certain of the income we will be receiving. We should be able to increase the level of our grants in the future.
  • Working is ongoing in compliance with the GDPR.

President Joy Pluckrose was presented with flowers by Treasurer, Simon Rogers, to thank her for her 3 year term as President

ART Conducting Course

A bright sunny warm day on Saturday 14th April, heralded the start of a new era, for eleven ringers from across the Guild, keen to enter the world of conducting. Simon Linford from Birmingham led the ART Conducting Course, taking us step by step through the core essentials. He was extremely patient with us, happy to answer all our questions, leaping through to the end of his presentation in response to questions about surprise methods or major, or re-covering ground on how to see coursing orders (again and again!!), from different angles.

The practical aspects mostly focused on Plain Bob Minor and also brought in some Little Bob, while discussions ranged up to Bristol Maximus, and why Yorkshire is best.

An anti-clockwise ring was never going to be easy to ring, and, in fact, it was the stimulus for many mistakes. This was, however, very useful for us trying to use our conducting skills to work out what should be going on.

The handouts were helpfully titled “Starting to Conduct” – enabling us to be proud that at least we have taken this first step on what is to perhaps be quite a long journey. Some of us thought perhaps we should have an innate ability to be able to crack this in one afternoon, and got quite frustrated, but Simon was able to adapt to our comments and explain things in a variety of ways until all of us had at least one “lightbulb moment”.

One of the key things we learnt, was that like any other skill we have gained in ringing, it is one step at a time. I believe there is a long hill ahead of us to climb, but at least now we have a map and compass, and know how to orientate them – it will be an interesting journey for all of us.

It was a great experience to be in a group of people that we have rung with from across the Guild, whether it be at practice nights or quarter peals or ringing competitions – for that afternoon, it brought us all together with a common goal; I look forward to the future to see how we all develop from this invaluable training afternoon. Perhaps one day we will be able to call ourselves “conductors”.


Caroline Stockmann, Central Council Public Relations Officer

We know many of you are eager to have some guidance on next year’s Remembrance Day ringing (for and around 11th November 2018) but, as ever, there are so may considerations and people we need to talk to – so it’s great if you can bear with us in the meantime! But we do have a lot to say and to share already, and we hope this will mean that the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War will really be something special.

More than 1,400 of our bell ringing community laid down their lives for peace in the ‘war to end all wars.’ We know in retrospect that wars were not ‘ended’, but we also know that there is an ever increasing movement to address this. Our fallen bell ringers came from all walks of life, as we ringers still do today (from skilled workers to academics to business people – you name it!), and today we are all united in wanting to ring out a message of peace around the world.

Many of you have been asking: for 2018, the 100-year anniversary of Armistice Day, how will we make this really special for bell ringing? Here are a number of things we would like to support and help you in (and of course get your support for):

  • On Nov 11th 2018 we would like as much bell ringing as possible (goes without saying!)
  • We recommend half-muffled ringing in the morning, and opening the bells in the afternoon and evening – the idea being that we start with commemorative ringing, which naturally has its sombre tone, to recognise the loss of so many lives, and then later in the day we move to a more forward-looking tone of affirmation, - to acknowledge that our fallen have contributed to the future in terms of helping secure peace, and to make the clear statement that bell ringers want peace
  • We have been speaking with relevant government departments around the general commemorations and they would like to work with us in an official capacity; in particular they would like to support the idea of recruiting new ringers. One thought is to ensure that in 2018 we recruit 1400 ringers, the same number as those who fell in the Great War. These new ringers could be involved in some supported ringing on the actual day. We anticipate a more detailed announcement on this quite soon
  • Ringers will need to coordinate with their Church and work together on making the day very special. The more prominence on this special day for ringers and ringing, the better, as it will no doubt have a positive effect in terms of raising awareness for potential new ringers
  • We would like to share ideas as to what to ring on the day, providing a pool of ideas to tap into: varying from ‘whole pull and stand except the tenor’, which most bands would be able to do, to ringing appropriately-named methods such as Ypres and Gallipoli Surprise Major; we would love all ringers around the world to do something special this day to ring out for peace, and to send in their ideas to share with others
  • Another thought is to have 1400 quarter peals rung around the date (one for each of the fallen), for which we can set up an event on BellBoard and issue certificates
  • There is also an opportunity to ring as part of the large-scale British project, ‘Battle’s Over – A Nation’s Tribute’. Pipers will be piping in the morning, bugles sounding and 1,000 beacons lit across the UK in the evening; this organisation (fully backed by all the key military) would like to encourage 1000 towers to ring at 7.05pm on the day, if this fits with local arrangements – (towers do not need to be aligned with the beacons).

So, in summary, we suggest half-muffled ringing in the morning to tie in with the normal solemnities and, where possible, to ring open at other opportune moments during the day (with more to come on that in due course). We are looking at how to acknowledge the various efforts made around the world, eg in the form of certificates for the various activities (there is already one available to download from Battle’s Over). And you might want to consider a community lunch or social between ringing, – why not make this a really special day for your whole ringing (and broader) community?

To input your ideas for things to ring to commemorate our fallen, or indeed ring out for peace, for all levels of ringing and numbers of bells, please write to . We will then share what we hear on the CCCBR website, in the Ringing World and via other forms of communication.

To find out more about Battle’s Over and sign up to ring at 7.05pm please give your details to:

ALSO, and finally: a call to all towers to check their muffles, and order more NOW so that you’re not caught short!

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

New Guild Handbook

A draft copy of a new Guild Handbook can be downloaded from:-

Comments on content and distribution should be send to Joy Pluckrose

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.