Site last updated 25 February 2018
The Shropshire Association covers the towers in the Salop Archdeaconry of the Lichfield Diocese, and is roughly the area north of the River Severn, from near Wolverhampton in the southeast to Selattyn in the northwest. The rest of Shropshire is in the Hereford Diocese.
If you would like to know more about bellringing click here.If you like to learn to ring please contact our secretary [email], or go along to a tower near you on a practice night.
Information about the towers in the Association, practice nights and Association events, and much else, can be found by following the links on the left or below.
February Surprise Major Practice
A select band of ten ringers gathered at Edgmond for the February Surprise Major practice. While waiting for an eighth ringer to arrive, a touch of Dixon's Bob Minor and Little Bob Minor was rung. This was followed by attempts at Rutland, Bristol, 8-spliced, and Dordrecht Surprise Major.
Thanks to Mark Adams for his hospitality.
The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 23 March at High Ercall.
February Association Practice
An enthusiastic band of twelve ringers attended the Association practice at Dawley. They enjoyed themselves by ringing call changes, Mexican waves, Grandsire Doubles, Stedman Doubles, Cambridge Surprise Minor, St Clement’s College Bob Minor, Dixon’s Bob Minor, and Rhubarb.
Peter Woollam raised £18 for the Bell Restoration Fund by running a raffle. The winners of the prizes of wine, chocolate confectionery, and tea were Nick Green, Kathryn Greaves, and Peter Woollam. Peter generously shared the sweets with those present.
Thanks to Simon Rice and the Dawley band for their hospitality.
The next Association practice will be held at Tibberton on Saturday 17th March, from 7pm to 9pm. All ringers are welcome.
February Training Morning
The first Association training morning of the year took place at the Edgmond Ringing Centre. Lisa Basden, Emma Bentley, Elaine Evans and Steve Evans, all from Atcham were the students. The ringing concentrated on Plain Bob Doubles, but also included Stedman Doubles, Grandsire Doubles, and Cambridge Surprise Minor.
Tony Freemont, the Association’s Training Officer was helped during the morning by Mark Adams, Jacqui Barden, Edric Broom, John Burton, Rob Davis, Gill Glover, Kathryn Greaves, Madeline Harris, Peter Neil, Ginette Pardoe, Biff Patterson, and Cordelia Warr.
Refreshments were available, as is usual on these occasions.
Thanks to Edric and Mark for allowing the use of the bells.
The next Association training morning will be held at Edgmond on Saturday 28th April. If you would like to participate please contact Tony Freemont [email].
February 8-bell Practice
This was held at Hodnet and seventeen ringers came along. The ringing included Call Changes, Grandsire Triples, Plain Bob Triples and Stedman Triples.
The towers represented included Atcham, Baschurch, Edgmond, Hodnet, Market Drayton, Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch, and Wrockwardine.
Thanks to John Powell for allowing use of the bells.
January Surprise Major Practice
Thirteen members travelled to Wem to participate in this practice. Methods rung included London, Lincolnshire, Superlative, and 6-spliced.
Thanks to Gareth Jones and Karen Compton for organising use of the bells.
The next Surprise Major practice is scheduled to be held on Friday 23 February, at a venue to be organised.
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) is working with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Big Ideas Company on a project called 'Ringing Remembers' to recruit 1400 ringers in memory of the 1400 ringers who laid down their lives during World War 1.
You can find out more here: cccbr.org.uk/2017/12/22/ringing-remembers-project-update/
Every learner throughout this campaign year is entitled to join 'Ringing Remembers' by entering their details here: email@example.com or here bigideascompany.org/project/ringingremembers/
You and your band are encouraged to work with your church, schools, other organisations, and local media to raise the awareness of ringing within your community. You might be able to recruit some new ringers or even persuade some lapsed ringers to return to the belfry.
Ringing for Peace: Armistice100
Sunday 11 November 2018 marks the centenary of the signing of the armistice which led to the end of the First World War. The Central Council is making plans to make bellringing an integral part of the commemorations on that day.
It is hoped that there will be as much ringing as possible - half-muffled in the morning and open later in the day. Local custom will dictate exactly what happens.
Ringers should coordinate with their church and work together on making the day very special. The more prominence for ringers and ringing the better, as it will no doubt have a positive effect in terms of raising awareness for potential new ringers.
There is also an opportunity to ring as part of the large-scale British project, ‘Battle’s Over – A Nation’s Tribute’. 1,000 beacons will be 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. To find out more about Battle’s Over and sign up to ring at 7.05pm please email your details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The First Association Peal of 2018
The first Association peal of the year has been rung at St Mary's church in Shrewsbury. The last time a peal of Stedman Caters was rung for the Association was in 1976, to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Shropshire Association. Neil Bennett is the only ringer to ring in both those peals.
A total of sixteen peals of Stedman Caters have been rung for the Association. The first was the second peal for the Association and was rung at Coalbrookdale during the visit of Princess Mary to Shropshire in November 1926.
Shrewsbury, Shropshire - at the Church of St Mary the Virgin
On Saturday, 20 January 2018, in 3 hours and 29 minutes
A Peal of 5007 Stedman Caters
Composed by Andrew S Hudson
Tenor 19-2-8 in Eb
|Nicholas J Green||Treble||Michael Wilshaw||6|
|Gail K Lawrence||2||Matthew Lawrence||7|
|Neil Bennett||3||Gareth B R Jones||8|
|Elizabeth Hutchieson||4||Andrew C Ogden||9|
|Stuart C W Hutchieson||5||Maurice G Ingram||Tenor|
Conducted by Nicholas J Green
First peal of Stedman - 8.
Association Practice - March 2018
The date of the March 2018 Association practice has been changed. The practice will now be held on Saturday 17 March, from 7pm to 9pm at Tibberton.
Association Practice and 2017 AGM - January 2018
This was held at Holy Trinity church, Meole Brace. Prior to the Service of Thanksgiving about twenty five members came together to ring call changes, Plain Bob Doubles, Plain Hunt Triples, Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples and 3 leads of Bristol Surprise Major.
Another thirty or so ringers turned up in time for (tea and) the Service, which was led by the Association’s president, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, The Rt Rev Mark Rylands. Bishop Mark preached on the subject of leaders as servants of those they lead.
The Meole Brace ringers’ catering team provided a delicious meal of lasagne, salad, and garlic bread followed by a large array of puddings and tea and coffee.Bishop Mark got the meetings under way.
At the Quarterly Meeting which preceded the AGM, the following were elected as members of the Association: John Richards (Cheswardine), Daniela Heinze (Ellesmere), Denzal Evans (Hinstock), Jenny Evans (Hinstock), Julie Hartridge (Lilleshall), Anne Richards (Lilleshall), Ellie Richards (Lilleshall), Annette Broughton (St Martins), Steve Broughton (St Martins), Tom Willis (Meole Brace), Lynette Summers, (Shrewsbury), John Strickland (Calverhall/Ightfield), Robin Vernon (Calverhall/Ightfield).
The Ringing Master, Madeline Harris, described the 'Ringing for Peace: Armistice100' programme being organised by the Central Council, and the 'Ringing Remembers' project which aims to recruit 1400 ringers in memory of the 1400 ringers who lost their lives fighting in WW1.
After the usual business of apologies, minutes of the last AGM, and matter arising from the Minutes, Madeline gave her Ringing Master’s report which touched briefly on a few of the highlights of the year, including:
- the twenty two peals that had been rung, the highest number of peals in a year since 1981;
- Annette Bailey and John Peppiatt rang their first quarter peals during the year;
- the outing to North Wales in June; the ceilidh in November, and the cancellation of the Carol Service because of the snow in December.
- the practices for young ringers being run by Matt and Gail Lawrence, and the ART module 1 training session held at Edgmond.
Susan Capey reported on the accounts of the Association. The meeting voted to change the split of the annual subscription to £4 each to the Bell Restoration Fund and the general fund. Susan also announced that protracted correspondence about insurance for Association ringers had taken place with Ecclesiastical Insurance, and a firm quote was expected soon. The Independent Examiners, Brian Kear and Karen Compton, had inspected and approved the accounts and Brian reported that he and Karen were happy with how the accounts had been presented.
Geoff Harding (Bell Adviser) reported that BRF grants had been made to St Chad’s, Shrewsbury and to Wem. Geoff thanked Association members for their support of the Bell Restoration Fund. Geoff also reported that ringing had taken place at Selattyn, and a grant had been approved for work on the ground pulleys and the clappers. Geoff also reminded members that grants for materials for ‘self-help’ projects are also available.
Jan Snowball (Safeguarding Officer) said that she had received no reports requiring investigation.
Edric asked whether Kemberton church was staying open as he had heard that it would be closing. Andrew Gordon and Bishop Mark assured him that this is not the case.
Elections for the Committee for 2018 were held. David Beckwith was elected as Treasurer, and Matt Lawrence was elected as an ordinary Committee member. Apart from the position of Social Secretary which remains unfilled, all the other Committee positions remained as they had been at the end of 2017.
Madeline explained a proposal to change rule 7 of the Bell Restoration Fund to allow larger
grants to be awarded. The proposal is that Rule 7 be changed to read:
The value of an individual grant may be up to whichever is the greater of 15% of the value of the project or 15% of the balance held in the Fund, calculated on the date the grant is awarded. The maximum grant will be £7,500 and no grant will exceed 50% of the value of the project.”
Madeline gave notice that an Extraordinary General Meeting will be held on 14 April 2018 at Hinstock (to coincide with the Quarterly Meeting) to vote on the rule change.
Certificates were also presented by Bishop Mark to several members to mark their 25 years membership of the Association.
On behalf of the Ringing Master, Bishop Mark presented the St Alkmund’s Cannons to Matt Lawrence for his work during the year with the youth group.
The Meole Brace ringers were thanked were expressed in the usual way for their hospitality and for providing a delicious meal.
Peter Woollam sold raffle tickets, raising £127 for the Bell Restoration Fund. The glittering array of prizes was won by Peter Jenkins, Tony Freemont, Nick Scott, John Peppiatt, Lewis Roberts, Matt Lawrence, Derek Dancey, Geoff Harding, Jan Snowball, Chris Yates, Mark Adams, Peter Woollam and Cordelia Warr. Peter thanked all those who donate prizes for the raffles.
The final draw of the year in the 100+ Club was made by Brian Kear who thanked all those who participated in the 100+ Club and said that about £800 will have been raised for the BRF. Brian said that forms for 2018 would be going out to towers in February. The winners were: £50 – Jacob Sims (Whitchurch), £25 – Andrew Cherill (Hinstock), £15 – Peter Hampton (Meole Brace), £15 – Carol Edwards, £12 – Jan Snowball (Oswestry), £10 – Judith Byne (High Ercall).
The next AGM will be held at Wem on Saturday 12th January 2019. The next Quarterly meeting will be held at Hinstock on Saturday 14th April. The next monthly practice will be held at Dawley on Saturday 10th February.
The Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals
The Church of England has about 15,700 Parish Churches, of which 78% (~12,200) are listed, being of outstanding architectural and historical interest. Nearly 45% of all Grade I listed buildings in England are parish churches and almost three-quarters of these are in rural areas. Declining congregations jeopardise the enormous task of care and maintenance – over 57% of churches are in rural areas where only 17% of the population now lives and some 2,000 churches have congregations of fewer than 10. At least some of these seem inevitably to be destined for closure. But church buildings are not, and never have been, the sole responsibility of the C of E. Whilst congregations have borne the bulk of the financial responsibility for their care, public money has provided invaluable additional funding.
The Taylor Review into the Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals has just been published. This is the first government-sponsored review ever into the future of church buildings and can be found at http://www.hrballiance.org.uk/consultations-2/cofe-buildings-sustainability/. Anyone who is concerned about the future of the magnificent built heritage which our churches present should be interested in the review and its recommendations.
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) has produced an update to Guidance Note 3 (GN3) - Child Protection in Bell Towers. This Guidance Note can be found at https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/GN3-Child-Protection-Issue-12-Oct-2017.pdf. The Appendix to the Guidance Note describes in more detail the ringing activities which require a ringer to be DBS checked.
Books For Bellringers
Are you looking for some practical, written help for yourself or your tower but don’t know what is out there? If so, Books for Bellringers may be what you need. It is a small collection of books aimed mostly at beginners but with some material for those learning methods. Towers can borrow the collection for a period of up to two months so that everyone has a chance to see what they might find useful. Individuals or towers can order copies of the books using the details in the catalogue supplied.
If you would like to borrow the collection please contact me at: email or telephone 01939 291014.
Shropshire Young Ringers
Do you have young ringers at your tower?
We have started a youth group designed to get the young people ringing together and help them to progress.
There have been three practices so far, attended by six ringers from different towers across the Association area and we hope to have a regular monthly practice going forward.
The leader is ART (Association of Ringing Teachers) trained and DBS cleared and can offer instruction in bell handling through to ringing call changes, plain hunting, methods and striking.
The aim is to encourage the next generation of ringers and recruit more young people to the exercise.
Please email Matt Lawrence email@example.com
Young ringers at Atcham
Photo by Matt Lawrence
Tower Access Guidance Notes
The Towers and Belfries Committee of the Central Council has produced some guidance notes on the various ways we access towers. The notes cover the condition of stairs and ladders; handholds; lighting; doorways and trap doors; and some potential hazards.
The notes can be found at, and downloaded from, https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/stairways.pdf
PowerPoint Presentations for PR
The Central Council Public Relations Committee has created a set of PowerPoint presentations that ringers can use to explain ringing to others. The set is available on the Council’s website: https://cccbr.org.uk/2017/03/19/powerpoint-presentations-to-use-for-pr-purposes/
VAT and Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme
The Central Council's Bell Restoration Committee has recently updated its Guidance Note on this subject.
The Guidance Note (GN1) can be found at
Would you like to ring a Peal? Andrew Gordon is offering to make arrangements and co-ordinate towers and ringers for Peal attempts. Please contact Andrew on 07973 398289.
In order to ensure that all ringers have the opportunity to read the quarterly Newsletter, and to help keep costs down, it would be helpful if the Newsletter could be delivered electronically. Is there someone in your tower who would be willing to receive the quarterly Newsletter by email, and be willing to make at least one copy of it for your tower notice-board? This person should be someone who checks their email frequently (not just once or twice a year!).
Please email Peter Woollam at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name, email address, and tower of your tower’s email correspondent and of any other members who would like to receive their own copy. Email addresses supplied will be stored on the Newsletter Editor's computer and used only for the distribution of the newsletter. They will not be made available to anyone else.
Paper copies will still be sent out to those towers who do not wish to receive it electronically.
Association Monthly Surprise Major Practices
These practices are usually held on the last Friday of the month and at various locations.
The practices are not only aimed at members who want to progress in their Surprise Major ringing, but at those who feel they are capable of starting their Surprise Major ringing career. Those who aspire only to ring the treble may attend, but clearly they may not get much of a ring - there is only one treble in each touch. We rely on the experience of more seasoned Surprise Major ringers to strengthen bands; the ringing master is grateful for their support.
The practices will as far as possible be tailored to the needs of those attending. There will be one or two 'special' methods - probably one of the 'standard eight' plus something of the Ringing Master's choosing. The 'easier' methods of the standard eight will also be rung e.g. Cambridge and Yorkshire. Please let the ringing master know of any special request.
Training at Edgmond Ringing Centre
On the first Monday evening of the month there will normally be an opportunity for individuals to have a one to one session on a silenced bell with the simulator. The session will be limited to three people, so ring Edric Broom (01952 825851) as early as possible to book your place.
If you have a training requirement which you feel is not being met, and which perhaps could be met with input from the Association, please discuss it with the Association's Training Officer, Tony Freemont, so that we can try to satisfy the need, either in your tower or at the Edgmond Ringing Centre.
The next Association committee meeting will be held on Sunday, 18th March 2018.
Peter Woollam is Editor of the printed Newsletter as part of his Publicity portfolio. He would welcome any comments on the future format of the Newsletter and any items for inclusion in it.