Site last updated 9 April 2021
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.
April 2021 Events
Please note that the link in the above graphic will not work. Use this link [ ] instead.
Guidance for Ringing for the Duke of Edinburgh
Following conversations with the Church of England today [9th April], half-muffled tolling or chiming of a single bell on Saturday 10th April 2021 at 12 noon, 99 times or up to 5 minutes is recommended following the announcement of the death the Duke of Edinburgh.
The Cabinet Office has declared 8 days of official mourning, during which time any other ringing should be half-muffled and in accordance with current Covid-19 restrictions. Half-muffled tolling or chiming of a single bell is recommended on the day of the funeral.
There is no special dispensation of current ringing guidance on Sunday.
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers Public Relations Officer
It is with sadness that the death of Kim Evans on 5th April is reported. Kim rang at Chirk for many years, and was a member of the Shropshire Association for a few years, attending practices when she could.
Clarification of Updated Guidance on Ringing
Clarification has been sought on guidance for ringing for Easter Day services as some have seen that ‘group bell ringing’ is listed alongside ‘amateur choir practice’ in a list of things not currently permitted in a Place of Worship. (this is a point about ringing in England only)
That wording ‘group bell ringing’ was a term first coined by MHCLG [Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government] when we were trying to separate service ringing from the more recreational forms of ringing such as practices, so as not to get all ringing put into the same basket. We didn’t want to have bell ringing prohibited as it initially was, and following discussion between the House of Bishops Recovery Group and MHCLG the term ‘group bell ringing’ was used to mean ringing outside a worship setting. It didn’t receive a formal definition in any Statutory Instrument, just as terms like mingle retained a degree of ambiguity and opportunity for interpretation. It’s use alongside ‘amateur choir practice’ emphasises that distance from the worship setting.
Following many calls from ringers and their incumbents to find a way to enable ringing on Easter Sunday, arguably the most important service of the year, we developed the guidance published on 19th March. This does not give carte blanche to ‘ring normally’ like we were able to at Christmas, but would at least enable any band to make a sensible decision on how many bells to ring. The House of Bishops Recovery Group has re-read that CC guidance for Easter ringing and agreed that it is as permissive as we can be and are comfortable with it. They point out that at the end of the Places of Worship Guidance that some are quoting is the Key Principle that it’s the ‘Venue Manager’, i.e. the person responsible for the church, who has discretion in this matter.
The concession that is actually being made is enabling ringers to meet together to ring and not be defined as ‘mingling’. Generally the Recovery Group is still of the view that even socially distanced ringing is mingling, especially in a closed ringing chamber, but are being pragmatic given how much of a call there is for bells on Easter Sunday. Choirs are also being granted dispensation to sing at Easter, as a temporary measure and with 2m distancing. The RSCM [Royal School of Church Music] has also said that “the responsibility rests at local level, with cathedral chapters and PCCs, incumbents, and churchwardens.”
Of course the law and guidance can alternatively be read to so as not to allow ringing on Easter Sunday, and some may wish to follow that.
President, Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
Updated Guidance on Ringing
The following webpage on the Government website gives updated guidance on the safe use of places of worship. In the section on Step 1 (from 29 March) is a list of some examples of activities not currently permitted in a place of worship. Group bell ringing is listed as one of those activities. Look for a grey rectangle immediately before the section headed 'Purpose of this guidance' to see the full list.
Westley Award for Belfry Maintenance and Improvement
Entries may now be submitted for the 2021 Westley Award for Church Bell Maintenance and Improvement.
Few church bell ringers will have had many opportunities to undertake any practical activities in belfries this year. However, we all hope to ring bells in good condition and in safe, pleasant environments, once conditions are safe for us to do so. Ringers are all dependent on the bells that we ring. Towers and bells in good condition will usually make it easier for ringers to develop their skills and, in particular help new recruits and those returning to ring. So this year we again intend to recognise people who have become involved in belfry maintenance and improvement in the last few years. The Stewardship & Management Workgroup of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers is launching the 3rd award to people who are newly involved in belfry maintenance and improvement, developing their own skills and helping others develop their own skills. The award will be made at the September 2021 CCCBR AGM. The winner will receive £100 and a certificate.
Full details and an application form will be on the CCCBR website here: https://cccbr.org.uk/about/workgroups/stewardship-and-management/westley-award-2021/
The closing date for nominations will be noon on Sunday 30th May 2021.
Tower Talk 19
The Association of Ringing Teachers produces a quarterly Newsletter. The
March 2021 issue is now available, and may be read and downloaded from
Your Association needs YOU!
There is currently a vacancy on the Committee for Safeguarding Officer.
If you are interested, please contact Matt Lawrence [ ] to find out more about what this important role involves.
March Advanced Practice
Ten ringers (plus Wheatley) took part in the March advanced practice. The ringing included attempts at treble bob hunt on 8, Cambridge Surprise Minor, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, and Cambridge Surprise Major.
Ten ringers took part in the Association's March practice, including two ringer who had not used Ringing Room before. The ringing concentrated on plain hunt and Plain Bob, on 5, 6 and 7 bells.
It is with sadness that the death of Dave Pickett is reported. Dave died on 2nd March 2021, after a long illness. He was 80 years old. Dave wasn't currently a member of the Association but had been in the past. He rang in some of the striking competitions for the Baschurch Team and also enjoyed ringing at Baschurch on a Sunday morning when he could. He played a big part in getting the bells at Myddle overhauled in 1998 and rang there for services including weddings. He was also Tower Correspondent for Myddle. He had his own mini ring at his house in Cockshutt and rang many quarter peals on them with family members and visitors. He started his ringing career as a teenager in Middlesex and his enthusiasm for bells and ringing never left him.
Raising Funds for the Mobile Belfry
Because of the pandemic the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry has not been hired so no funds have been raised. The insurance of the Mobile Belfry still has to be paid and it is a significant amount of money. The three Associations which own the Mobile Belfry each donated £200 in 2020 to help fund the cost, but it would be helpful to have another source of income. To this end you can raise funds for the Mobile Belfry by making purchases through smile.amazon.
You must login to amazon via smile.amazon.co.uk, rather than directly through amazon.co.uk. You will then be able to choose the charity you want to benefit from your eligible purchases. Choose Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry. Then shop as usual. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible items to the charity of your choice.
Another Handbell Peal for the Association
The second Association peal of 2021 has been rung at Lilleshall.
Lilleshall, Shropshire - at 13 Church Meadow
On Monday, 15 February 2021, in 1 hour 49 minutes
A Peal of 5040 Treble Bob Minimus
161 methods: 1) Oxford, 2) Zelston, 3) Monkton,
4) Shapwick, 5) Long Burton, 6) Vindaloo, 7) Launceston, 8) Angela, 9) Himbleton,
10) Reverse Chaddleworth, 11) Reverse Kent, 12) Hurstbourne Tarrant, 13) Ringsfield, 14) Hinton,
15) Margaret Marsh, 16) Breamore, 17) Langley, 18) Julie McDonnell, 19) Bhuna, 20) Chaddleworth,
21) Reverse Hinton, 22) Reverse Monkton, 23) Reverse Launceston, 24) Kent, 25) Reverse Margaret Marsh,
26) Battle's Over, 27) Reverse Angela, 28) Lower Basildon, 29) Reverse Breamore, 30) Olive,
31) Reverse Himbleton, 32) Stanford Dingley, 33) Reverse Langley, 34) Little Solsbury Hill,
35) Brown's Folly, Shockerwick, Marshfield, 36) Ufton Nervett, Hollies Lane, Oakford Lane,
37) Pamber, 38) St Catherine's Valley, 39) Moreton, Reverse Gunville, Steway Lane,
40) Toller Fratrum, Northend, Crawford, 41) Barby, 42) Charmy Down, 43) Sham Castle, Fosse Lane, Ashwicke,
44) Brimpton, Monkswood Reservoir, Ramsbottom, 45) Newtown, 46) Bannerdown, 47) Batheaston, Cubley, Ashley,
48) Little Bedwyn, Easter, Christchurch and Southampton District, 49) Rawston, 50) Pickwick,
51) Greta Thunberg, 52) Wegg, 53) Biggetywitch, 54) Havisham, 55) Bucket, 56) Dodger, 57) Tulkinghorn,
58) Reverse Little Solsbury Hill, 59) Reverse Brown's Folly, 60) Reverse Marshfield, 61) Bumble,
62) Scrooge, 63) Cratchit, 64) Reverse Ufton Nervett, 65) Compeyson, 66) Reverse St Catherine's Valley,
67) Reverse Moreton, 68) Reverse Steway Lane, 69) Reverse Northend, 70) Reverse Crawford, 71) Gunville,
72) Reverse Toller Fratrum, 73) Reverse Barby, 74) Red Nose, 75) Reverse Sham Castle, 76) Reverse Ashwicke,
77) Reverse Monkswood Reservoir, 78) Reverse Ramsbottom, 79) Reverse Fosse Lane, 80) Reverse Brimpton, 81) Reverse Newtown,
82) Wirral, Reverse Berkley, Reverse Spetchley, 83) Sparsholt, East Horsley, Reverse Reveller,
84) Briefcase and Mobile Phone, Newington, 85) Berkley, Rushton Old, Eclipse, 86) Slindon, Stickland, Iken, 87) Keyneston, Derby,
88) Buscot, Yatton Keynell, Shipton Gorge, 89) Towersey, Halton, Fritwell, 90) Torbryan, Denchworth, 91) Reveller, Ettington, Last Post,
92) Reverse Fritwell, Truffler, Poppy, 93) For the Fallen, Remembrance Day,
94) Reverse Briefcase and Mobile Phone, Reverse Keyneston, Donhead, 95) Reverse Torbryan, Reverse Kermit, Reverse For the Fallen,
96) Tarrant, Reverse Upton by Birkenhead, 97) Spetchley, Waresley, Ashow, 98) Reverse Shipton Gorge, Draughton, Bolnhurst,
99) Kemp Town, Newbold Pacey, 100) Outwood, Reverse Stickland, Reverse Draughton, 101) Foremark, Clearwell, Reverse Truffler,
102) Kermit, St Aelhaiarn, 103) Lockinge, Reverse Derby, Princess of Cambridge,
104) Barkham, Prince of Cambridge, Langdon Hills, 105) Upton by Birkenhead, Guilsfield.
|Gail K Lawrence||1-2|
Conducted by Gail K Lawrence.
Survival and Recovery Strategy
The Central Council (CCCBR) and the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) have been working together on the issues of ringing surviving through the lockdowns, and the recovery of ringing once ringing at towers can start again. To this end regular Newsletters are issued. You can read and download them here. http://ringingteachers.org/survival-and-recovery-toolbox.
Issue 2 introduces the idea of Survival and Recovery Champions for every ringing society. Matt Lawrence [ ] and Paul Lewis [ ] are the Champions for the Shropshire Association. Contact them if you have any questions about Survival and Recovery.
Issue 3 introduces the Survival and Recovery Toolbox. This is a website developed by ART and CCCBR and is designed to help deliver a successful return to ringing. There are links to items for ringers to help themselves, for tower captains to help their bands, and for Associations to help bands. There is also a page with some exercises to help ringers get fit for ringing again.
Central Council COVID-19 Guidelines
The Central Council's guidance about ringing during the pandemic can be found at https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/
About the Central Council
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has issued three documents about its work, volunteering with the Central Council, and what it means to be a Central Council Representative.
2020 Quarterly Newsletters
The January Newsletter can be read and downloaded here.
The June Newsletter can be read and downloaded here.
The September Newsletter can be read and downloaded here.
The December Newsletter can be read and downloaded 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.
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.
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.
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 June 2021.