Site last updated 8 July 2020
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 www.cccbr.org.uk/bellringing/what-is-bell-ringing/.If you like to learn to ring please contact our secretary [ ], 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.
ChampingTM - a 20% Discount
Latest Guidance About Ringing
The following statement was issued by Simon Linford, President of the CCCBR, on Friday 3rd July 2020.
We had a further update from the Church of England Recovery Group last night that Public Health England (PHE) now wants to issue specific guidance about bell ringing but they will not be able to publish it until next week. They expect it to be based on what we have produced. Although the Church has published guidance, which we shared, they are understandably nervous about ringing this weekend in advance of PHE publication, especially if it gets into the press.
We had a conference call with Brendan McCarthy and Mark Betson of the Recovery Group this morning and whilst they stressed that anything published is guidance not instruction, they would really appreciate us waiting to restart ringing until after the PHE guidance is published. Given this is a new relationship that could be very important to us, we do not want to rock this boat for the sake of a week and some disappointment.
In the meantime, we have accumulated all of the questions we have received from ringers on the current guidance into a set of FAQs which we have publish on the [Central Council] website. This will include such things as why the guidance is still 2m rather than 1m, and whether family members can ring on adjacent bells. That can be found here: https://cccbr.org.uk/frequently-asked-questions-on-covid-19-guidance/
We are studying the Scottish, Welsh and Irish guidance but in all cases church opening appears to be on a slower timetable than the Church of England.
June Quarterly Newsletter
The Newsletter can be read and downloaded here.
July Monthly Practice - 11 July
The next Association practice, due to take place on Saturday 11 July, will be held using Ringing Room and Zoom. Please Matt Lawrence if you would like to join the practice.
Reopening of Churches - 4 July
The Church of England has published its guidance on opening church buildings from 4th July.
Can church bells be rung? Yes, provided that guidance agreed between the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and the Church of England is followed.
Please ensure you have read the guidance at www.cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/, and undertaken the ringing risk assessment at www.cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/1-CCCBR-SMWG-Ringing-risk-assessment-post-Covid-15-June-2020.pdf.
Ringing must only start again with the permission of the incumbent, and after safety and maintenance checks have been carried out.
Returning To Service Ringing
An update on the ringing situation has been published at www.cccbr.org.uk/2020/06/25/returning-to-service-ringing/
Central Council Guidance Notes about safely returning to ringing can be found at www.cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/
Ringing must only start again with the permission of the incumbent, and after safety and maintenance checks have been carried out.
Recruitment and Retention Workshop - 4 July
Please note that the link in the above graphic will not work. Use this link [ ] instead.
The answers to the final week of the Treasure Hunt can be found here
With thanks to Tony Freemont for his tremendous quiz work since lockdown began.
YouTube Competition - June
The Central Council's competition for YouTube videos of ringing will run until Christmas 2020. Details can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/youtube-competition/. The monthly winners are also listed on that page.
The June competition is for the most unusual or interesting ringing video. There is plenty of scope here to bring interesting things to the attention of fellow ringers. It might be ringing at a particularly unusual tower, an amazing handbell performance, a talk on an aspect of ringing, or something that few will have seen.
Treasure Hunt Week 9
My train journey across Australia was wonderful. The food and drink were just incredible. One of the places we passed through was called Kalgoorlie. But the town wasn’t always known as this.
- What was it known as, and why?
To my surprise, even out in the middle of Nullarbor Plain...
- ...(what is the literal translation of Nullarbor?)...
the train had fast wifi. As anyone who has travelled from Shrewsbury to London will know, that was more than Virgin could provide! I received an email from my quiz loving friend. This time it had two questions.
- There is only one word in the OED that is an anagram of coronavirus. What is it?
"It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 13."
- This is the opening sentence of which novel?
In my friend’s opinion, one of the finest novels of the 20th century. My friend’s daughter agrees with him and she is ALWAYS right.
I also received an email telling me that the St Paul’s Burwood is actually 10.49km from the centre of Sydney Harbour Bridge, not less than 10 (actually 9.9) as I had measured it. So, well done to my emailer.
It wasn’t a boring journey, but I had time to bring my emails up to date and to ask the tower contact in Perth if I could ring. She had said I would be welcome to ring that Sunday, which was great as I was going to arrive on the Saturday afternoon. So I sat back and enjoyed the rest of my journey.
I arrived in Perth and popped across to Barrack Square. The tower is very impressive, but...
- ...but just how tall is it?
I then went to Billabong Brewing, but they wouldn’t sell me any of their “Brew On Premises” beer.
- Why not?
So I went to a nearby pub and had a couple of pints.
The next day I had a quick tour of Perth before going ringing. The Swan Bells are amazing, so some questions for you.
- How many bells are there?
- Twelve of the bells came from an English church. Which one?
- If you add together the years the twelve bells were cast, divide by 12 and then round up or down to the nearest whole number what do you get?
I had a great ring and enjoyed some beer with like-minded people. The beer wasn’t quite as good as Station Bitter, but then it wasn’t brewed in Oswestry!
And so it was that on the afternoon of Monday March 9th I sat back on a very special Qantas flight and arrived the next day in London.
- Why is this so special?...
- ...and what is the name Qantas give to the plane I travelled in?
I eventually got on a train to Gobowen. Well I didn’t really, I had to change at Birmingham International. The trains were late, it was raining, there was, predictably, no WiFi, but it was home. The following Sunday I rang a QP at Oswestry, with all my friends, and then lockdown!
But do I have some stories, and memories, and millions of pictures? The good thing about lockdown is that I won’t need to have the scheduled meeting with my bank manager for a little while!
The answers to last week's Treasure Hunt can be found here
June Association Quiz
This was organised by Vicki Sivess, the Association’s Social Secretary, and made use of the Association’s Zoom subscription. Six teams participated, representing Atcham, Lilleshall, Newport, Oswestry, Shifnal, and Shrewsbury. Vicki set breakout rooms for each team so that they could confer about their answers, while Vicki was able to broadcast the questions to all the teams. The questions covered Science & Technology, Sport, Geography, Entertainment, Bellringing history, and History. Shifnal and Shrewsbury were the joint winners. Congratulations to them and to all who took part, and thanks to Vicki for organising this event.
The next Association event, due to take place on Saturday 13th June, is an Introduction to Virtual Ringing. Please Matt Lawrence if you would like to take part.
Treasure Hunt Week 8
Whilst I was in Hobart, I started to hear serious discussion about an infection that appeared to be spreading across the world. It was called Covid-19
- I didn’t know what Covid-19 stood for. Do you?
The first case in Tasmania had just been confirmed.
- When was this?
I felt a sense of foreboding.I tuned my cat whisker to Radio 4 to hear what was happening in the UK. BTW ...
- ... why is a cat whisker so called?
I heard the Government had the situation under control, and immediately panicked! What should I do? I really wanted to ring on the Swan Bells, but wasn’t sure exactly where they were so I looked it up in Dove's.
- Where are the Swan Bells?
There was one other ring of 10 or more bells in Australia, I hadn’t yet visited and it was sort of on my way to the Swan Bells. So I made up my mind to travel immediately. I caught a Jetstar flight on the 3rd March to this city, a journey of just 1 hour and 55 minutes. Alas, when I arrived and phoned the Tower correspondent I learned it wouldn’t be possible to ring and none of the other towers in the City would be appropriate as I was in a rush to get to the Swan Bells before the virus. However, there was a special railway trip I wanted to take from here to the City that was home to the Swan Bells and this would be good compensation.
- What is the name of this railway journey?
And so it was on the evening of the 5th of March I had dinner with my companions who would be with me for 2 days and I departed on my long-awaited train journey at 21.40. There is another famous railway journey I could have made from this city, but this time north, not west.
- What is the name of the rail journey and where does it end up?
It goes through a town that sounds like a Lewis Carroll character jumping.
- What is the name of the town?
Will I beat the virus, or will it beat me?
The answers to last week's Treasure Hunt can be found here
Index of YouTube Videos
The Central Council has put together a list of training webinars and videos which have been recorded and posted on YouTube.
Zooming With SACBR
The Shropshire Association has taken out a subscription to the Zoom video
If your tower would like to use the app for a get-together please contact Matt Lawrence  who will email you the necessary login details.
It is with sadness that the death of Rev Richard Dorrington is reported. Richard (together with his wife Bryony) were members of the Edgmond band and Association in the late 1960s and 1970s. He was instrumental in Edgmond’s augmentation in 1977. He was ordained later and became the rector at Beckbury, where he helped fundraise for the rehanging of the three bells there. Richard ended his parish ministry in Devon before retiring to Cornwall in 2013. He died on 10th May, aged 71, after a short illness. A photo of Richard is on the Shrewsbury, St Michael’s page of this website. He rang 28 peals for the Association, conducting four of these.
Ringing And COVID-19 - The Risks
On 11 May the Central Council issued two further documents about ringing and COVID-19.
A summary of the current guidance from the Church of England and Central Council advice on reducing COVID-19 risk in towers and be found here
Dr Phillip Barnes and Dr Andrew Kelso have written a document about the risks of COVID-19 and ringing, and what we might do about them. This document can be found here.
Some Notes on Using Zoom
Shaun Greenfield, the Association's PRO, has put together some useful
information about how to use Zoom video calling.
Click here to view and download the PDF.
Virtual Practice Night - May
Twelve intrepid ringers participated in the second virtual Shropshire Association monthly practice, using Ringing Room and Zoom. Attempts were made (sometimes sucessfully) at Plain Hunt on 7, rounds and call changes on 10, Plain Bob Doubles, Plain Bob Minor (with and without bobs), and Grandsire Triples. Once again there was no raffle. Thanks to Matt Lawrence for bringing it all together.
A Quiz Night, using Zoom, will take place on Saturday 6 June. See below for more details.
Central Council Covid-19 Position Statement
On 5 May 2020 the Central Council Executive issued the following position statement regarding Covid-19 and ringing.
It is expected that the UK Government will announce plans for a gentle easing of the current lockdown on Sunday May 10th and ringers have already been asking if that means they may return to ringing as normal. The key consideration at all times must be the safety of individual ringers, others with whom they ring and those with whom they live or may come into contact.
We do not know what the Government will propose but it is clear that, as lockdown is gradually eased, the re-opening of sections of the economy will be a priority and major restrictions on the activities of all of us will remain in place for a significant period. Government and public health teams working with others will be maintaining a very close watch on new cases and hospitalization of people with COVID-19. Ways of tracking of where such patients have been and tracing of all of their contacts will be key. All of this will take time to put in place.
The Central Council’s guidance to ringers is that currently it is too early for any return to ringing and that the current suspension of all ringing of any kind should remain in place. This includes chiming of single bells and the use of Ellacombe chimes. We will be sharing this guidance with the Church of England and ringing societies and where possible with other bell owning organisations.
Over recent weeks Dr Phillip Barnes, a recently retired NHS Consultant and Medical Director as well as a member of the CC Executive, has been reviewing the emerging scientific and medical evidence about COVID-19 and what it means for the safety of ringing. The key issues which affect the safety of ringing are the physical environment of towers including access to ringing rooms, the space between ropes, how to maintain hand hygiene in towers and the numbers of people in a restricted space for a relatively long period of time. Even if churches reopen, the environment in towers is very different.
This evidence review is being published online this week via the Central Council website and an article will appear in next week’s edition of The Ringing World. Guidance on how it might be possible to restart ringing and what restrictions and precautions would be needed to do so are an integral part of this work.
The evidence and guidance will be reviewed formally at least monthly as well as in the light of any significant developments. We are all as keen as anyone to get back to ringing as soon as possible, but that must only occur when it is completely safe to do so.
Dr PHILLIP BARNES
For and on behalf of the CC Executive.
It is with great sadness that the death, on 1st May 2020, of John Crum is reported. John was a ringer at St Chad's, Shrewsbury, and Meole Brace. In 2017 John was recognised by the Shropshire Association for his 50 years membership of the Association.
The Ringing World of 1 May 2020 sees the launch of a competition for YouTube videos of ringing, that will run until Christmas 2020. Details can be found here https://cccbr.org.uk/youtube-competition/, where there is also a link to a YouTube video on how to make a YouTube ringing video!
A Quiz With Bells
- This amateur sleuth had an appealing case to solve though it proved a
death knell for one character.
Who is the sleuth?
- What did the Stepney bells want to know?
- “Clash, clang, hammer, ding, dong, bell. Bell, dong, ding, hammer,
Who rejoiced to hear these bells?
- There are no weddings for these brides. They warn of danger from the
What is the title of the poem?
- Monday 30th May 1664. “ lay long, the bells ringing, it being holiday,
and then up and all the day long in my study at home studying of shipmaking
with great content till the evening…”
Whose diary is this?
- Who prevented the curfew bell from ringing, and why, in this poem?
- “Ringing is an addiction from which few escape once they have ventured
into the small fortress-like room beneath the bells, and the sally leaps to
life against the palm of the hand like an animal. There begins a lifetime of
concentration, of perfect striking and a co-ordination of body and mind so
destructive to anxieties and worries that one wonders why campanology isn’t
high on the therapy list”
Which Suffolk village harbours these dedicated ringers?
- “Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
What is the title of this poem and who does it commemorate?
- “In summertime on Bredon
The bells they sound so clear;
Round both the shires they ring them
In steeples far and near,
A happy noise to hear”
Which shire is home to the lad listening to these bells?
- “They went and told the sexton, and the sexton tolled the bell”
Who was the bell tolling for?
The answers to this quiz can be found here
Practising At Home
One of the more recent innovations in ringing is the ability to learn and practise from home using computer software. Practise and learning at home is known to accelerate progress.
There are some great computer programmes that can be purchased and downloaded on-line (such as Abel, Virtual Belfry or Beltower), with which we can practise some of the methods we learn and develop our listening skills– all with a perfect band around us! Wouldn’t it be great if, when the time comes, we were able to get back to ringing better trained and informed than before?
There is a handy page of resources on the Association of Ringing Teachers website about practising on a simulator at home. This can be found by following this link.
There is also a number of Apps available for mobile phones and tablets. A
couple of the most popular examples are:
Mobel - a ringing simulator for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, is available from Apple's App Store. If you choose the tower bells option, Mobel displays pictures of sallies and tail ends, uses tower bell sound, and rings at tower bell speed.
Methodology - a simulator that works on Android phones and is free to download. In the ‘interactive mode’ your selected bell appears at the bottom of the screen. To ring the bell, tap the dark blue rectangle. This doesn’t do anything until you start to ring – then you will see feedback on your timing, the little bars indicating how early/late you are on each stroke. Of course, you will hear if your timing is out as well.
Solo Ringing During the Coronavirus Lockdown
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has the following message on its website:
There have been several enquiries as to whether the ringing of a single bell or a set of Ellacombe chimes should be permitted as they are only rung by one person, especially for Easter Sunday.
It is clear from the UK government that we are being asked to stay at home to help halt the spread of coronavirus and that all unnecessary journeys should cease. It is also clear from the Church of England that all churches are to remain closed for the time being:
“Staying at home and demonstrating solidarity
with the rest of the country at this testing time, is, we believe, the right
way of helping and ministering to our nation. Therefore, for a season, the
centre for the liturgical life of the church must be the home, not the
(Letter from Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops of the Church of England to all clergy in the Church of England 27 March 2020)..
We did seek explicit guidance on this point from Lambeth Palace and were referred back to this guidance, and that “churches are closed as part of wider legal restrictions.” The Central Council Executive does not think this needs to be made any clearer.
100+ Club Pause
I have decided to suspend the SACBR 100+ Club for the time being. I know many towers have not yet received this year’s application forms, together with their Annual Reports. However, even if you do have these, would you please NOT send any cheques and application forms until we are able to get back to our normal Association activities.
With best wishes to you all at this difficult time.
SACBR and Facebook
The Shropshire Association now has a Facebook page! Click on the Facebook icon at the top of this page, you don't need a Facebook account to read the page. To add items to the Facebook page, please email them to Shaun Greenfield [ ], SACBR's publicity officer.
Safeguarding Guide from the Central Council
In The Ringing World of 13 September 2019 Chris Mew wrote a review of the current situation regarding ringers and Safeguarding. That article can be read and downloaded here.
The Stewardship and Management Workgroup of the Central Council has produced a document relating to Safeguarding for Bellringers. The document can be found here.
Support Your Association with SACBR Clothing
We can now offer members a range of items embroidered with the SACBR logo. These are embroidered to order: contact Biff Patterson [ ] for details or to place an order.
The background colour for ‘corporate’ events is burgundy (as shown) but feel free to choose a different background for personal use. Check availability but navy or black are obvious options.
Polo shirts, as worn by those manning the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry at Newport Show, £15. Biff has one lady-fit medium in stock. If you would normally buy small, this is for you.
Sweat shirts £17.50 Rugby shirts £25.
If you supply a garment it can be embroidered for a cost of £6.
SIZING – READ CAREFULLY PLEASE
The polo shirts are pure cotton, wash very well, BUT are skimpy. Biff suggests going up one or even two sizes on what you would normally select. Available in standard rectangular shape (men or unisex), quite long in the body; or lady-fit, which is shorter and more shaped. Choose from M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL.
Sweat shirts are only available unisex: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL.
Rugby shirts are available in men’s or women’s: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL.
Photos by Biff Patterson, Edric Broom
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: 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
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
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 contact Shaun Greenfield [ ] 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.
Shaun would welcome any comments on the future format of the Newsletter and any items for inclusion in it.
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.
The next Association committee meeting will be held on Sunday, 13 September 2020.