Latest Guild News

Index - click on item to be taken straight there



100 Club winners 2020


Anthony Denny


ART Conference 2020


ART WORKS Newsletters


Eric Walker


George Green


Guild 10-bell Practices


Guild AGM 2019

Guild Paper Quiz answers 2019

Kettering's old bells

Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust

National 12-Bell Competition

Phil Curtis

Recruitment Power-Point

Ridgman Trophy 


Spring Festival 2019

Summer Festival 2019

Towcester's Sponsored long peal

US Ambassador Reception

VE Day 75

Sponsored long peal at Towcester on March 21

What will the summer of 2012 be remembered for? Certainly not the weather - it was one of the wettest on record. Spain’s dominance at the European football championships and Roger Federer pipping Andy Murray to the Wimbledon title are now distant memories - but many will remember the Summer Olympics hosted in London for a long time.

Bellringers too were keen to mark the games, with many notable pieces of ringing taking place up and down the land. You may remember hearing bells ringing in the City of London during the coverage of all three marathons.

One, however, got away.  A special “double length” peal had been produced to mark the games with a number of new methods named after Olympic venues. In the end, logistical issues prevented the full version of this peal being rung. This was to be rung by the Ancient Society of College Youths, a Society based in London. The Society was formed in 1637, and in organisation has many similarities to the London Livery Companies.  The band at Towcester has strong links with the Society, including two Past Masters, and two current officials.

Eight years on and in anticipation of this summer's Olympics in Tokyo, the Society is set to attempt this at Towcester.  On Saturday March 21 twelve members, including some with local connections, will come and ring this peal, which will start at 10am and, if successful, take about 6 and a half hours of continuous ringing.  It is being sponsored to raise funds for both the Tower Restoration project and the Church Fabric Fund.  Towcester’s bells are ideal for a venture like this - not too physically demanding, clear acoustics and a wonderful sound.

The band are very much looking forward to the visit and we hope you enjoy listening to it too.  Richard Allton

Guild Paper Quiz 2019 Answers

There were 45 entries, with three scoring full marks and six with 99.


The answers are available by clicking here.

Q2      St Andrews Lane was accepted as the date for Halloween was wrong.

Q17    Cunard Place, Cunard House is not in the City.

Q22    Temple Bar is the memorial at the start of the City on the A4.

Q30    St Bride’s Fleet Street, so the answer is (the church of) St Bride. (2,5)

Q51    There is a Regent Street in the City.

Q56    Bridewell was a palace and later a prison. A Bridewell became another name for a prison.

Q58    The entrance to the Tower is in Byward Street, in the City at the point where Tower Hill starts, the latter being in Tower Hamlets.

Q71    Bartholomew Close or Place were accepted.

Q82    The expected answer was Fenchurch Street, although Liverpool Street is also possible (although an answer to q12). The C2C line from Fenchurch Street is closest to the pier.

Q91    Coke was sometimes seen, but power stations do not use it. Drax uses biofuel made largely of hardwood pellets from the USA.

Q96    “Credo” gives us the Creed, ‘I believe’.

Thank you to all who supported the Guild Bell Fund by purchasing the quiz. I hope you enjoyed it. One day I might produce an error free one.

Derek Jones.

100 Club winners

The monthly draw of the 100-Club takes place at a Guild or Branch event each month and the profits go to the Bell Fund.  

Membership is £12  a year - see details here.  

With an increasing number taking part, the value of the prizes are going up!  Previous year results are available here.  The latest draw results for 2020 are shown below.



No of paid-up members

1st Prize winner & branch

1st Prize value

2nd Prize winner & branch

2nd Prize value



14 To


164 K




27 D


29 K


Cathy Dixon

ART Conference 2020

The Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) Annual Conference is an inspiring and enjoyable weekend, with leading speakers sharing best practice from their ringing as well as ideas from other activities and professions. Continuing our successful partnership with the CCCBR the second day of the conference is organised by the Volunteer and Leadership Workgroup and focuses on recruitment and retention.

The conference is open to all ringers. Please join us in Hilton village hall, Derbyshire on March 14 and 15 2020 – together we can make a difference!

»Click to Book your conference place 

ART Conference – Saturday, March 14

ART’s conference agenda this year includes a great line up of speakers. In a break from tradition the key-note speaker is not a ringer. Bonita Norris is the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. Her talk – Mountains of the mind – speaks about the lessons she learned on this extraordinary journey as a very ordinary person - the marginal gains, the leaps of faith, the not giving up when failure seemed inevitable. All lessons in leadership that we recognise in our own ringing world. Bonita is joined by our other key-note speakers:

  • Richard Grimmett on Taking striking seriously
  • Alison Hodge and Tony Crabtree on What would TripAdvisor say about your tower?
  • Mark Plater (Senior Lecturer at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln) on the Science and practice of motivation

A range of seminars will showcase innovative ideas and good practice from amongst the bell ringing community. Thanks to your feedback from the 2019 conference these include:

  • Teaching with simulators - Steve Farmer & Chris de Cordova
  • Striking it right - Colin Newman
  • Starting a band from scratch - Ginette Pardoe
  • Learning the Ropes Festival of Ringing - Nikki Thomas & Ruth Suggett
  • The Social Media Toolkit - Alison Everett, Deb Baker & Emily Ashton

We have also introduced a lunchtime Teaching Forum hosted by Pip Penney which will give you the chance to talk through any teaching issues you may have.

CCCBR Recruitment & Retention – Sunday, March 15

Continuing last year's successful partnership with the CCCBR, the second day of the conference is organised by the Volunteer and Leadership Workgroup. With a focus on recruitment and retention, they will look at how to look after your new ringers so that they blossom and enjoy their new hobby. Hearing from recent recruits, sharing ideas, initiatives and experience through grouped activities will provide you with ideas to take your recruitment and retention plans forward.

ART Awards

And don't forget the ART Awards Ceremony in the early evening. Help us celebrate and reward the great things that ringing teachers and leaders are doing to secure the future of ringing.


The Diocese of Peterborough

Posted on facebook by the diocese on December 12, 2019

Disposal of Kettering’s old bells

When Kettering’s old 12 bells were replaced in 2004, the front 8 bells were rescued by the Keltek Trust and the six heaviest ones soon found homes around the world, including Ireland and Tonga [see list]. The two smallest ones only dated from 1979, and were offered by the Keltek Trust to Church Knowle in Dorset. After more than a decade, however, this project never got off the ground and instead the bells were offered to Strensham [right], a redundant church in Worcestershire under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. You’ve probably heard of Strensham because of the services on the M5.

Although it is a closed church, there has been lots of activity going on in the bell tower, where the bells have been rung once or twice a month for the last 20 years. Strensham now has a reputation as a teaching tower where ringers from around the area make use of the easy going bells to develop their ringing skills. It’s always been a long term plan of mine to see if it was possible to squeeze two more bells in to offer a better teaching facility.

I asked Matthew Higby to look at how the two Kettering bells might actually fit at Strensham. The bells themselves would require some minimal tuning, and luckily there was just enough room to hang them next to the existing medieval frame. Matthew put together a detailed plan which would also include some restoration work on the existing bells which were last rehung in 1911. The Keltek Trust then confirmed that we could indeed have the Kettering bells subject to obtaining permission to hang them.

The first of the required permissions was from the Churches Conservation Trust, and since the church is no longer part of the Worcester Diocese, we also needed to obtain Grade I Listed Building Consent. Having submitted the necessary plans and drawings, both of these permissions were successfully obtained.

So, in August 2016, the bells were obtained from the Keltek Trust, who kindly donated one of them. Following tuning at Loughborough, the bells were delivered to the tower ready for the work to begin.

The CCT then gave permission to retune Strensham’s 3 oldest bells dating from 1704/5, which was done at Matthew Higby’s workshop. The results are superb and these bells now perfectly match the other bells which are all modern sounding 20th century bells.

Being a volunteer led project on one evening a week, it wasn’t going to be a quick job, but we weren’t in any hurry. One by one we got each bell hung, and finally everything was finished in December 2019.

The overall result is a superb sounding ring of eight in which the Kettering bells have found a new home and a new purpose.

David Bagley


David Kelly, of the Keltek Trust, has provided the following disposition of the other six bells:

  • The 3rd bell was originally going to be installed at Thurgarton, Nottinghamshire but it did not respond to tuning as expected and was eventually installed at Maplebeck, Nottinghamshire as the 3rd of four.
  • The 4th bell was installed at Sibson, [Seems very appropriate!  Ed.] Leicestershire as the treble of six.
  • The 5th bell has been installed for chiming in Holonga, Tonga.
  • The 6th bell has also been installed for chiming in Ireland but we don’t know where!
  • The 7th bell replaced the cracked 2nd of six at Collingbourne Kingston, Wiltshire.
  • The 8th bell is the replacement 7th of eight at Coleorton,


Guild 10-bell practices

The first of the series of practices to be held every other month took place from 10.30am to 12.30pm at Rothwell on February 8, 2020, when 20 attended and ringing ranged through Little Bob,  Cambridge S, Yorkshire S, Bristol S Royal and Grandsire and Stedman Caters.

The next one will be on Saturday, April 4, 2020 probably at Higham Ferrers.  Future dates are shown in the Events page.

The aim will remain to have the majority of practices in mid Northants hoping that towers can be found to accommodate the practices! 

Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust

I have received a letter dated November 12, 2019 from David Potter MBE in his capacity as a Trustee of the above trust, which has been set up to restore the historic buildings of the only dedicated bellfoundry that is working in the country.  David is also Advertising Director of John Taylor & Co.

Dear Geoff

I am writing to you and enclosing a number of copies of our appeals literature for distribution to any of your Association/Guild members who might like to support our quest to raise £1 million for the restoration and development of the Loughborough Bellfoundry buildings. The Heritage Lottery Fund have allocated nearly £4 million towards the scheme, but to release this we have to "match fund" by raising our £1 million contribution - hence the appeal.

After raising the £1 million, and before we can start any major work, we need to satisfy the many requirements of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and anticipate this will take another year or so – so many forms to fill in and meetings to be had, but we are positive and look forward to Britain's only remaining specialist bell foundry looking splendid once again.

Please do contact me if you or any of your members would like further copies of our appeals literature. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,   David E Potter    on behalf of The Loughborough Bellfoundry Trust.

If you would like to contribute towards this massive restoration and improve the facilities for future visitors, you can see and print off the appeal leaflet, with details of how to donate, here.

Guild Paper Quiz 2019-20

The new quiz based on streets and landmarks in the City of London, the “Square Mile”, has been distributed for Branch Secretaries to sell at £1 a sheet. 

Derek Jones has notified these corrections to the questions contained in the first edition:

Q1:   should read October 31, not November

Q70: should read 'uncle's child'

Q73: should read 'Near Pepys birthplace'.

Branch Secretaries have updated versions if you need one.

Entries must be submitted before January 31, 2020.

Guild Summer Festival 2019

The Summer Festival was held in bright autumn sunshine on Saturday 21st September.  The afternoon started at Stanwick, with around 15 people ringing a mixture of methods for the less experienced through to the more advanced on this light six.

The competition element of the day was held on the eight bells at Rushden.  The branches enter a team of eight ringers to perform a short piece of their choice, which is judged for quality of the striking, or accuracy of ringing. There were six teams from the different branches of the Guild and they rang in a pre-determined order. During the afternoon, the local ringers laid on a tea with an array of savoury sandwiches, quiches, sausage rolls and a vast selection of cakes and other sweet treats to satisfy over 70 hungry ringers.

Representatives from eight branches of the Guild attended. People were able to enjoy the late summer sunshine and listen to the bells from the churchyard. All six teams completed their pieces without significant issue. 

A vote of thanks was greeted with much applause to the Wellingborough Branch for organising the day and the teas and the relevant clergy for use of bells. During the business meeting, a Bell Fund grant of £110 was agreed for refurbishment of clappers at Ecton. The Secretary announced that the Guild paper quiz with sheets selling at £1 (Answers are streets and landmarks in the City of London, the “Square Mile”) and the September Newsletter have been distributed to branch secretaries that day. 2018 Reports and latest Guild committee headshots are available for branches to update welcome packs. The Treasurer advised that affiliations were up by £628 on last year and a grant from Ecclesiastical of £1,000 had been received. Gift Aid has been reclaimed with £1,143 received from HMRC. He reminded branches to maximise gift aid, by making sure that forms are completed for new members and those transitioning from junior to tax paying adults. He has badges and pendants available for sale.

On behalf of the Guild’s four reps to the Central Council of Church Bellringers (CCCBR), Nick Elks gave a summary of the recent new-style annual meeting held in London. 

General attendance was down with 149 reps attending. The venue (Goldsmiths campus) worked well, with mini meetings, a roadshow and time to network with other reps being a more major part of the weekend. The Ringing World AGM was also held during the weekend. Ringers who were not reps were encouraged to attend and about 25% of attendees were of this category. In general, the new format is bedding in with the activities in the workgroups continuing

At our Guild AGM, questions were raised about the Guild’s membership and the reps had worked with the council to find some answers.

There was some discussion arising. The presence of the word ‘church’ in the CCCBR title was discussed with points being made on both sides. The reasons for the proposed change were inclusivity of both secular ringers and hand bell ringers as well as a change by the Charity Commission, allowing fundraising through education rather than religious funding sources.

Nick Elks' full report of the CCCBR meeting is available here. The response by the newly elected President of Council, Simon Linford, to the questions that Nick had posed to the Council is available, with Simon's permission, here.

Len Hallifax was elected as a Life Honorary Member of the Guild for outstanding services at our AGM in June. He was not at the meeting, so the President presented his certificate at this meeting.

Cathy Dixon then organised the 100-Club draw for this month which is the annual special draw for three prizes.  After a few ‘out of membership’ draws, the first prize of £64 went to Geoff Pullin!  Second prize of £32 to Richard Allton and 3rd prize of £12.80 to Kingsthorpe tower.

After the competition ringing and business was completed, the Master introduced the judges,  Derek and Sue Jones, who had very bravely stepped in to fill a lack of other available judges. They had time to deliberate and collect their thoughts before giving the results at the conclusion of the business meeting. Comments were given first, before the results were given in the traditional reverse order. The winners were announced as the Towcester branch, followed by a very tight competition between Kettering and Wellingborough in 2nd and 3rd respectively. 






Peal speed





3h 18m





3h 19m





3h 08m





3h 00m





3h 12m





3h 08m

The impressive Harry Wooding Trophy was presented to the winning team, who duly lined up for a team photograph. They are standing in the order that they stood for the test piece, starting front right and working clockwise.

The winning team with the trophy, clockwise from front right:

Richard Yates, Margaret Bulleid, Barbara King, Jonathan King, Richard Allton, Chris Bulleid, John Stanworth, Brett Masters. 

The day was concluded by ringing at Wellingborough, the heaviest ring of 8 bells in the Guild. 20 members ascended the stairs to ring everything from rounds and call changes for those less experienced on these heavier bells to Cambridge surprise major for those more expert. An excellent day and a credit to the organisers in the Wellingborough branch.

The September Guild Newsletter (white cover) was passed out for Branch Secretaries to distribute and can now be read here.

Helen Allton, Geoff Pullin

Philip J Curtis

Geoff Stretton sent this message:

I have just heard the sad news from Chris Klein-Wassink that Phil Curtis passed away today (August 21) in the JR Oxford.

No doubt we will get more information in the next few days from those closer to him. Our thoughts must be with his mother at this time.  [See last paragraph below for information about the memorial service]

Phil was a member at Brackley and Culworth Branch Ringing Master from 1988 and held posts in the branch and was currently its GMC rep.  He was Guild Master in 2013-4. 

Julie Blencowe and Sara Chapple write:

Philip passed away on August 21 having battled with severe disability following a brain haemorrhage in early May. Sadly he was unable to recover despite very intensive rehabilitation. He was sixty years of age.

Phil (as he was always known) joined St Peter's ringing team in Brackley in the mid 1980's when he lived in Brackley for a short time. He became a member of the PDG Culworth Branch almost immediately and became Tower Captain at Brackley. He went on to become a long term Branch committee member, serving as deputy chair and GMC rep. He arranged the first successful ringing tour to Southern Ireland which led to the formation of the Brackley Area Ringing Tour, which ran for twenty years.  He was one of only three people who went on every trip. We travelled from The Channel Islands to Scotland, Cornwall to Norfolk. Phil also did a short spell as Guild Ringing Master.

Phil was a very experienced ringer who taught many people, young and not so young, to ring. He was much called upon to conduct quarter peals and also called several peals over the years. He was always encouraging us to learn new ringing methods and once we'd achieved one goal he'd swiftly urge us on to another!

Phil was also an experienced organist and he played regularly at his local Church in Stratton Audley. He was called on to play the organ for Branch ringing meetings and also for our annual Carol Service.

Philip will be sorely missed here in the Culworth Branch, the Diocese and the wider bellringing community.

May he rest in peace.

There was a private family funeral for Phil.  A thanksgiving and memorial service at Stratton Audley Church was held on Thursday, September 26 at 4pm, taken by the Revd Alice Goodall. It was attended by around 90 people with a high proportion of ringers.  There was ringing by the local district before the service and by the Culworth Branch afterwards. Refreshments in the church made it feel like a large bellringing meeting.  A retiring collection was taken and will be split equally between Stratton Audley Church and the Stroke Association. See here ringing for Phil.


George E Green

Ruth Stokes sent the following to the Towcester branch on July 26:

I've just been told that George Green died yesterday (July 25) aged 90. There must be many ringers who remember George, one time ringer from Wicken. One of the old ringing characters. 

George's funeral took place at Wicken Church at 11.30am on Tuesday, August 6.  Family flowers only, donations in lieu to Wicken Church. There was ringing before the service from 10.30am.

Photo by Carole Pullin at Summer Festival 2007


Click here for an obituary.

Click here for the Bellboard list of George's peals and quarter peals.

Click here for performances in memory of George.

BBC i-Player: The Symphony of Physics

My attention has been drawn to an hour long BBC 4 programme first broadcast in March 2017 which is still available on BBC i-Player.  It contains 12 minutes on Big Ben and bell harmonics from 6 min:30 secs.  See it here.

National 12-Bell Competition Broadcast 2019

Click here to access the broadcast of the whole event held at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday, June 22, 2019.  The home team won and their ringing starts at 2hr 39min. Does your ringing on 4, 5, 6, 8 or 10 match this?!

Ridgman Trophy 2019

Herewith the report from the organisers:

"A rip-roaring practice" - judges.

The 32nd edition of the Ridgman ten-bell competition was held at the Norman Tower, Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday, June 15, 2019 by invitation of the Suffolk Guild represented by their chairman Rowan Wilson.  Kate and Paul Flavell as judges said how important it is to achieve good cooperation between the small and large bells in a test piece such as Cambridge Surprise Royal, also of the danger of falling into an elephant trap ... a major method mistake.

When not ringing we found a lovely city on a sunny day, though many preferred loitering on the cathedral green to renew acquaintance and to hear some fine test pieces. Hertford were judged clear winners with Suffolk and Ely showing strongly: all eight teams brought their test pieces home in good style.

Provisionally for next year: Saturday, June 13, 2020 at Boston Stump on the invitation of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild, to ring Grandsire Caters. [This date clashes with our AGM so we  shall be unable to enter a team.  The change in date was necessary because the National 12-Bell Competition final in 2020 has moved to the 3rd Saturday to meet the diary of host Sheffield Cathedral]

Results and Judges comments (from ATW's notes)

Judges noted just a little odd-struckness around the middle bells, otherwise a good ten with a lovely sound.

Scoring: two points for a good row, one for a small clip, zero if a serious clash, marked “rather strictly”.









Hertford County Association




Team working well together, good confident ringing until a method mistake in the last lead.


Ely Diocesan Association




An interesting practice routine and a very good opening to the test piece. Some rushed leads and dropped strokes by the little bells.  Method mistake in the fourth lead was well recovered towards a superb finish.


Suffolk Guild




Started well though with some unevenness.  Rang well together especially the little bells and improved steadily. No serious method mistakes.


Essex Association




A nice rhythm (better than the practice).  Some rushed leads scored faults.


Norwich Diocesan Association




The practice never quite settled and the test piece remained a little unsteady.  No method mistakes and very few severe striking errors.


Lincoln Diocesan Guild




An interesting practice routine, then a confident start.  The little bells rang well.  A significant method mistake in the third lead took some time to recover.


Cambridge University Guild




A difficult practice, then a nice start at a slightly faster tempo.  Some dropped blows by the little bells or else there was not an agreed speed.  Minor methods mistakes were quickly corrected.


Peterborough  Diocesan Guild




Noticeably quicker at first than the previous team but slowed through the test piece.  Some rushed leads and occasional trips, but a more significant method error in the third lead.


VE Day 75

Among the Latest Central Council News items you will find an item about celebrating the 75th anniversary of the cessation of the Second World War in Europe - VE Day 75.  

The programme of events indicates for Friday, May 8, 2020 (which will be the early May Bank Holiday in 2020 instead of the Monday) reads: 

7.00pm – Ringing out for Peace

In association with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, bells in cathedrals, churches and other locations will ring out at 7pm in a collective celebration of peace. The sound of bells is deeply rooted in British culture, providing the soundtrack to historic moments – calling us to pray, to work, to arms, to celebrate and, in times of crisis, to come together.

Church bells will be rung throughout our nation and around the world in celebration of the peace and friendships we share today.

To take part click on the register link ... and enter your details.

Anthony Denny

Jenny Ball (Wellingborough Branch Secretary) has emailed to say:

I have heard from Barry Care to say that Anthony Denny, a ringer for many years at Moulton, has died after suffering from health problems over recent years.  His private funeral will take place on Thursday, 27th June 2019, but there will be a memorial service at Moulton Parish Church at 1:30pm on that day.  The local band will be ringing for that service from 1 - 1:30pm and visiting ringers who remember Anthony are welcome to join them.

Good response gets £1,000 grant for Guild

Our Treasurer, Chris FitzGerald, reports that he was advised on June 11 by Ecclesiastical Giving that the Guild has won a £1,000 'Movement for Good' award.  Many thanks to many of you who reacted to the request in mid-May to make an on-line submission. 

Guild AGM 2019

Despite, or because of, the atrocious wet weather there was a good collection of people from all over the diocese gathered at Belton-in-Rutland ready to start ringing under the direction of Deputy BRM Alan Ellis. This was followed by a struggle to park in busy Uppingham where BRM Louis Totaro was giving everyone a ring on the nice eight.  At Seaton. there was ringing under the Guild Master’s direction before the service. The Revd Canon Jane Baxter provided a service with two different ringers’ hymns and the President read about silver trumpets sounding for gatherings and alarms, just like our bells 2,500 years later. The collection at the service raised £165.69 (and 40 euro-cents!) for the Bell Fund.

After a closely aligned buffet tea in the village hall prepared and served by the Rutland Branch there began a blizzard a paper to give ammunition to the 75 members including at least one member from all ten branches.  Around 6pm the President, Geoff Pullin loudly gavelled the meeting into life.  His welcome was followed by an all embracing vote of thanks proposed by James Thorpe of the Peterborough Branch who were the hosts for the Spring Festival. It was passed in the requested “raucous” manner.

The celebration section began with three of four members who have reached 50 years membership: Peggy Jennings (Oakham), Paul Loxston (Bulwick) and Roger Scholes (Harringworth & Ryhall) being presented with certificates and that for Sue Parker (Bulwick) was stored.  

Then on behalf of the General Management Committee Sue Jones proposed, and Brenda Dixon seconded, the election of Alan Marks as a Life Honorary Member for his outstanding work while sorting out the finances when Treasurer and his many years and continuing ringing and social activity.  He was elected and presented with a certificate by the President.  

On behalf of the Thrapston Branch Alison Byrnes proposed, seconded by Ted Buckby, and everyone agreed that Len Hallifax also be elected as a Life Honorary Member for his outstanding service over many years.  Len unexpectedly didn’t turn up so will have to wait for his certificate!

The main business approving of minutes, accounts and the report was followed by agreement that the subs remain the same for 2020 (Adult £7, student £3.50, peal fee 20p per rope).

Nick Churchman in his last proposal before retiring after 11 years as Steward, successfully sought £1,450 from the Bell Fund for Weekley to cut out and weld in replacement sections for the corroded areas of bell frame under the 3rd , 5th  and tenor pits and weld repair the cracked frame side on the 5th  bell pit at a cost of £14,295 by John Taylor & Co.  £1,000 was also agreed for the administrators to use for minor grants.

We were advised that future Guild meetings would be:

˜  June 29:   10-bell practice at Kettering (NN16 0AL) 10.30am - 12.30pm
September 21:   Summer Festival: ringing at Stanwick, competition at Rushden and ringing at Wellingborough in the evening,
˜  April 25, 2020:   Spring Festival at Helmdon in the Culworth Branch
˜  June 13, 2020:   AGM at

The elections began with the re-election of Geoff Pullin as President, for the last time he warned. Simon Dixon was re-elected as Master.

The two candidates for Secretary were Alison Byrnes (Thrapston Branch) and Helen Allton (Towcester Branch).  Each had prepared CVs and gave a brief statement before members voted in a secret ballot.  

While the tellers were counting, Chris FitzGerald was re-elected as Treasurer and John Beresford (left) introduced himself and was welcomed as Guild Steward.  Paul Mason was agreed as Peal Secretary while on holiday ringing peals and thus released Derek Jones from one of his two remaining jobs.  His other job was 100-Club Coordinator, which he set up in September 1986 and has run ever since.  Cathy Dixon kindly took over this useful form of fund raising for the Bell Fund.  

With the result of the ballot revealed in favour of Helen (right), Alison was willing to be Public Relations Officer thus relieving Geoff of this job after 12 years.

But remaining as webmaster he revealed that the annual ‘hits’ had increased by 33% compared to last year.  The page totals were:

Website Page


Website Page




About This Guild


Latest Guild News


Peals & Quarters




Guild Newsletters




Constitution & Rules


Branch Officers


Bell Ringing


Bell Maintenance


Learning to Ring


Bits & Bobs




Guild Officers


Guild Shirts


Bell Fund


Making Progress




Social Regulations (new)




Training Fund (new)


The F&GP recommendation was accepted to allocate up to £150 each towards our four CCCBR representatives expenses in attending the annual meeting this year (in September for the first time).  There was some confusion as to the effect of the new constitution for the CCCBR but the function of guild reps was said to be as scrutineers. It was queried why then we needed four reps.  Our reps will report-back to the Summer Festival and the GMC will look at the situation next year.

Derek Jones carried out  the June draw for the 100-Club, eventually producing no. 60 from Northampton Branch winning £44.40 and no. 120 from Wellingborough Branch winning £11.10.  The prizes are a bit different from the ones announced at the meeting due to a recheck of the number of paid-up members.

The President began AOB by summing up two requests from Rob Palmer, who had not expected to be present, but was!  He is undertaking two projects:

1.  To complete all the details for Dove on-line for the diocese, especially the frame layouts and descriptions; whether bells have canons or not and have been quarter or half turned on their headstocks. 

2.  To update the Inventory of Bells published in 1989 by the Guild and to record all the cast inscriptions on the bells in the diocese.  North recorded them as at 1878 but since then there has been no systematic collection of inscriptions.

Have a look at his website  If you can help for one or more towers and want to know how to assist Rob, please contact him on .

Murray Coleman drew attention to many items on display from the late Denis Pearson’s ("H") collection of books and records which he was trying to place in new homes in exchange for a donation to Guild funds. He had found homes in libraries and the Record Office for some and had already raised £40 today.  A list will be put on the website and in The Ringing World but he will dispose of anything left at December 31, 2019.

At 7.30pm the good humoured meeting ended with Alison Buck presenting Sue Jones with a bouquet of flowers to mark the end of nine years as Guild Secretary.

There was more ringing at Seaton till 9pm under the Master’s gentle marshalling and then The George & Dragon provided the finale for some twenty members.

Draft minutes of the meeting are available here.


Frederick Henry ('Eric') Walker

We report the sad news of the loss of Frederick Henry Walker (known as Eric), a member of the Wellingborough Branch who rang at Wollaston.  Following a request for all towers to ring in the millennium, a new band was formed at St Mary's Wollaston, and at the age of 79, Eric learnt to ring church bells.  His tutor was the tireless Rex Line with assistance from Anne Hickling, Ivor Dickin and John Holmes.  A team was formed and trained and did indeed ring in the millennium at St Mary's Wollaston.

Eric assisted with a big fund-raising effort to put in rope guides, change the bearings, refurbish the clappers and purchase new ropes.  Under the guidance of Tower Captain John Beresford, Eric became quite proficient at the simpler methods and really enjoyed Grandsire.  He liked ringing the bells and was delighted when a quarter peal conducted by Alan Marks was rung for his 80th birthday in 2000.

Due to health complications, Eric stopped ringing in 2011 but he was always happy to see the bells being rung for Sunday service and retained his membership of the Guild until the end of his life.  Eric died peacefully in his sleep on 21st May 2019.  The wollaston ringers and friends rang his coffin into the church for his funeral on 14th June 2019 and also rang him on his way to the Nene Valley Crematorium.  A quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles was rung in memory of Eric on the day of the interment of his ashes in St Mary's Churchyard Wollaston on Saturday 27th July 2019.

Thomas Couler-Brophy, Guild Newsletter September 2019

Click here for memorial ringing and here for the obituary published in the Northants Telegraph 

US Ambassador gives a reception for Bellringers


An unexpected email arrived in my inbox on April 18 from the President of the Central Council of Church Bellringers indicating that I could expect an invitation to a reception for bellringers at the residence of the US Ambassador to the UK, Robert Wood (“Woody”) Johnson.   It arrived within 24 hours! 

I learned later that the Ambassador had been delayed from leaving St Paul’s Cathedral after giving his annual speech on Independence Day and was impressed by the bells ringing. He eventually asked how the sound was made and ended up in the ringing chamber. He enquired whether there were enough ringers in the UK for him to entertain a group of 100 or so. Learning that there were possibly 40,000, he asked St Paul’s and the CCCBR for a list to represent the exercise. Hence my invite as your President and similar invitations covering the country as well as the bell trade and handbell change ringers! 

We started to gather outside Winfield House in a 12 acre woodland corner of Regent’s Park around 6pm on Thursday, May 9.  Eventually between 120 and 140 of us were security-checked and were shown around and could wander around the ground floor with its grand rooms opening onto the rear patio and lawn. After drinks and canapés, the Ambassador circulated and then gave us a brief welcome and talk about his introduction to, and wonder at, the sounds of bellringing. He mentioned that President Trump would be arriving in three weeks time to mark the 75th anniversary of D Day, a highlight of the special relationship. Chris O’Mahoney responded on our behalf and with thanks.  He then introduced a team who rang a touch of Stedman Cinques on handbells. Woody succeeded in ringing two bells to rounds afterwards!

I came across ringers representing all parts of the British Isles as well as the USA and bell founders and bell hangers, before slipping away at 7.30pm to walk back to Marylebone Station and home. A very different evening and a privilege on your behalf.

Geoff Pullin

Spring Festival 2019

We met on April 27 in the cold gales that followed the tropical weather of Easter at Cotterstock, a village with a population of around 150 in the flat countryside near Oundle.  The villagers organised afternoon teas in the village hall to welcome the mass influx, somewhat more purposeful than their usual tourists.  The six bells were restored and augmented in 2017 and provided a good venue for the Six-Bell Striking Competition.  Earlier, Nassington bells, augmented and restored in 2016 were available from 2 – 3pm but alas the webmaster forgot to adjust the times to coincide with the poster, leading some to miss a ring – sorry!

Most competition team leaders received a phone call from the Guild Master, Simon Dixon, during the previous week to tell them their start time.  The message began with the startling news that there were 17 entries and practice time was thus reduced to two minutes!  Not since 1989 have there been so many entries! 

The arrangements by the Peterborough Branch worked well except the weather was not conducive to sitting in the churchyard and as it was a ground floor ring, the church was out of bounds to all but the next team.  Only the judge and the Master (in the porch) heard all the teams – what stamina!

The village hall is a quarter of a mile walk along the road from the special car park in the field beside the church and was not deemed big enough to host the results.  So there was a surge back into the church at 6pm of those remaining and eager to spread the results digitally to their early-leaver colleagues.  While the certificates were prepared, we held the draw for nine raffle prizes: winners coming from Nassington, Towcester, Farthingstone, Northampton, Daventry, Bugbrooke, Raunds, Weedon Bec and Crick. A total of £89 was raised for the Guild Bell Fund.

The 100-Club monthly draw followed with winning numbers being 11 (Wellingborough Branch) and 112 (Northampton Branch).

The formal business began with a welcome and the approval with loud applause of the vote of thanks.  Nick Churchman on behalf of the Kettering Branch (because they hosted the last Guild event) proposed it to Hilary and Brian Hardie for making the local arrangements for us to ring at Nassington prior to the striking competition and to Rev. Jane Tailby for the use of Nassington bells, to Rev. Anne Hindle for allowing us to hold the competition at Cotterstock and for the use of the bells after the competition, to Rev. David Bond for being on duty welcoming and directing outside the church, to Sylvia Upex, the Peterborough Branch Secretary, for co-ordinating all the local arrangements and liaising with Dawn and her team of helpers for the teas, to Nick Elks for making the car parking arrangements, arranging a venue for the judges and other local arrangements alongside Alex Dyer, the Peterborough Branch Chairman and to everyone for coming! 

Then, as Guild Steward, Nick proposed a grant of £1,100 from the Bell Fund to Weedon Bec towards the cost of replacing the plain bearings with ball bearings on the back five bells and to fit twiddle pins on the front three headstocks at a cost of £10,933  by John Taylor & Co. Everyone was in favour.

Chris FitzGerald, the Guild Treasurer, informed members that he had managed to transfer some of the Guild money into different accounts to earn more interest and gave us a round-up of financial affairs.  The next Guild events were publicised (AGM - June 8 at Seaton, Rutland; Guild 10-bell practice - Kettering on June 29; Summer Festival - Rushden on September 21 and the Spring Festival 2020 - Helmdon on April 25)

At last, Simon Dixon, the Guild Master was able to introduce the very patient judge, Christopher Groome, a Life Honorary Member and former Guild President.  Christopher informed members that due to the large number of teams entering the competition he would only give the results but would be happy to talk to individuals after the meeting.  He said that there were two main issues where teams lost points.  They were lack of consistent open hand stroke leads and getting to grips with the odd struck 5th. Christopher launched into the results, last first and presented certificates for taking part to:


17th Nassington (this team included four Ringing Remembers recruits)

16th Peterborough St John

11th Orlingbury

6th Badby

15th Pattishall A

10th Desborough

5th Northampton

14th Warmington

9th Kings Cliffe

3rd= Rothwell

13th Daventry

8th Yelvertoft

3rd= Rushden

12th Crick

7th Pattishall B

2nd Thrapston

1st Towcester

Richard Allton was presented for the second year running with the Weaver Shield.

The Master presented Christopher with a bottle of wine to help him recover from three hours of continuous judging! The meeting closed at 6.45pm.

The gathering slowly dispersed with ringing continuing until 7.30pm.  The Shuckburgh Arms at nearby Southwick had its walls tested for bursting. Dorothy seemed happy to have found another (large ferrous) skeleton!


Safeguarding Newsletter and modules C0 and C1

The latest Diocesan Safeguarding Newsletters can be read and printed out from here.

To promote awareness of possible safeguarding concerns and to equip people in relevant roles to feel confident to share with the appropriate person training modules C0 & C1 are available online.

For Instructions for C0, please click the link below:

ART WORKS Newsletters

The latest ART WORKS magazines from the Association of Ringing Teachers can be found hereART

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