Site last updated 26 September 2017
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.
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.
Surprise Major and 8-bell Practices Cancelled
The Surprise Major and the 8-bell practice due to be held on Friday 29th September and Saturday 30th September have been cancelled.
Lichfield Diocesan Striking Competition 2017
The third annual striking competition between the three associations within the Lichfield Diocese was held at Albrighton on Saturday 23rd September 2017. The three associations each entered a 6-bell band and an 8-bell band. The 6-bell bands had to ring 240 changes of Doubles or Minor, and the set piece for the 8-bell bands was 168 changes of Stedman Triples. The faults for each association's bands were added together and the winning association was the one with the fewest combined faults.
The judges were Tim and Sheila Wellen from Welshpool. After giving brief comments on each performance Tim gave the scores for the bands:
|Lichfield & Walsall||26||32||58|
and the Lichfield & Walsall bands were duly declared the winners. Tim presented representatives of the two bands with the trophy.
|Shropshire's 6-bell band
(l-r) Liz, Amanda, Andrew, Karen, Gareth, Peter
|Shropshire's 8-bell band
(l-r) Maurice, Noj, Mark, Jacqui, Nick, Bill, Tony, Dawn
Change to Venue for October Quarterly Meeting
The building works being carried out at Wrockwardine have not finished yet, so the October monthly practice and Quarterly Meeting on Saturday 14th October will be held at Upton Magna instead.
September Training Morning
The third Association training morning of the year took place at the Edgmond Ringing Centre. Lois Crooks, (High Ercall), Vicki Sivess (Meole Brace), Emma Bentley, Lisa Basden (Atcham), and Geoff Harding (Baschurch) were the students.
Madeline Harris was helped during the morning by Edric Broom, Jacqui Barden, Jad Bienek, Rob Davis, Chris Fraser, Alan Glover, Gill Glover, Nick Green, Brian Kear, Matt Lawrence, and Biff Patterson.
The ringing included call changes, plain hunt on 5, Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire Doubles, Stedman Doubles, Plain Bob Triples, and Grandsire Triples.
Refreshments were available, as is usual on these occasions.
Thanks to Edric for readying the bells and the simulator.
The final Training Morning of the year will be on Saturday 25th November, at Edgmond, from 9:30am to 12:30pm. If you would like to participate please contact Tony Freemont.
Association Striking Competition 2017
We were lucky with the weather when the Striking Competition this year was held at Ightfield; a very wet morning and early afternoon was followed by a dry and sunny late afternoon.
Ten bands representing 8 towers participated and the newly-formed youth band had its first experience of a Striking Competition.
The draw for the order of ringing was held in the Amica Centre and tea was served there throughout the afternoon. Bands are pictured below in the order in which they rang.
Six bands rang call changes and four bands rang a method – Grandsire Doubles in each case.
Phil Gay, from Keele, was the judge. Before giving brief remarks on each band's ringing, Phil explained how he marked the test pieces, and said that he also listened to the practising. In every case there was some improvement during the ringing. Some of Phil’s comments were: 'fairly inexperienced band'; 'settled well'; 'random faults throughout'; 'good rounds'; 'very good test piece'; 'long, fault-free pieces'; 'ponderous'.
The Ernest Willcox Cup for the fewest faults was collected by Biff Patterson for the Shrewsbury 'B' team.
The Call Change Trophy was collected by Andrew Gordon for the Wellington team.
The Charles Allmand Memorial Shield, for the highest placed band which had not won a trophy in the preceding two competitions, was presented to David Beckwith for the Market Drayton team.
A vote of thanks was offered to the Ightfield/Calverhall ringers and helpers for the use of their bells and for providing a sumptuous tea. Phil was presented with a gift of wine and chocolates.
Geoff Harding ran the raffle, raising £63 for the Bell Restoration Fund. Those taking home the prizes of wine, chocolates, and fresh fruits were: Andrew Gordon, Mike Carding, Geoff Harding, Vicki Sivess, Edric Broom, and Gail Lawrence. Thanks go to all those who generously provided prizes and all those who bought tickets.
(l-r) Glenville, John, Steve
(l-r) John, Andrew, Peter
(l-r) Dave, Sharon, Andrew
(l-r) Mark, Edric, Matt,
(l-r) Jad, Nick, Jacqui,
(l-r) David, Maurice, Roy,
(l-r) Joshua, Lois, Gail,
(l-r) Jad, Darren, Geoff
(l-r) Maurice, Alan, Brian,
(l-r) Joshua, Nick, Michael
Phil Gay presenting ... Biff with the
... Andrew with the
... David with the
|Shrewsbury 'B'||5||Method||Ernest Willcox Trophy|
|Wellington||25||Call Changes||Call Change Trophy|
|Market Drayton||28||Call Changes||Charles Allmand Shield|
|Meole Brace||42½||Call Changes|
|Youth Band||50½||Call Changes|
First Peal as Conductor
Congratulations to Peter Neil for calling his first peal. The sixteenth Association peal of the year was rung at Oswestry to mark the 300th anniversary of the casting of the bells there.
Oswestry, Shropshire - at the Church of St Oswald, King and Martyr
On Sunday, 3 September 2017, in 3 hours 9 minutes
A Peal of 5040 Grandsire Triples
Parker's 12 part
Tenor 13-3-19 in F
|Nicola J Galton||Treble||Peter J Woollam||5|
|E Ann Williams||2||Brian J Rothera||6|
|Susan Capey||3||Peter Neil||7|
|Cordelia Warr||4||Anthony J Freemont||Tenor|
Conducted by Peter Neil.
To mark the 300th anniversary of the casting of the bells.
First peal as conductor.
A Peal at Sandon
The fifteenth Association peal of the year was rung on 19 August, at Sandon in Staffordshire.
Sandon, Staffordshire - at the Church of All Saints
On Saturday, 19 August 2017, in 2 hours and 36 minutes
A Peal of 5040 Spliced Surprise Minor
6 methods: 1440 Cambridge; 720 Beverley, Lightfoot, Northumberland,
Surfleet and Wearmouth; 59 c.o.m. - variable hunt
Composed by Andrew N Tyler
Tenor 6-2-19 in A
|Gail K Lawrence||Treble||Nicholas J Green||4|
|Philip W Gay||2||Andrew C Ogden||5|
|Timothy M Davis||3||Matthew Lawrence||Tenor|
Conducted by Matthew Lawrence.
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
August Surprise Major Practice
A large crowd of seventeen ringers, including a visitor from the Hereford Guild, participated in this practice held at Wem. The ringing, directed by the Ringing Master, included Cambridge, Lincolnshire, London, Superlative, spliced Cambridge and Yorkshire, and 8-spliced.
Thanks to Gareth Jones for hosting the practice.
The next Surprise Major practice is scheduled for Friday 29th September, at a venue to be announced.
August Association Practice
This was held jointly with the Church Stretton District of the Hereford Guild and was held at Worthen.
Twenty-three ringers attended, including eighteen Shropshire Association members. The ringing was directed by Andy Wilson of the Church Stretton District. A wide variety of methods was rung, including call changes, plain hunt on 5, Grandsire Doubles, Stedman Doubles, Plain Bob Minor, Plain & Little Bob Minor, Ipswich Surprise Minor, Spliced Surprise Minor, and College Bob Minor.
Thanks go to the ringers of the Church Stretton District for hosting the practice.
The next Association event will be the Striking Competition to be held at Ightfield on Saturday 9th September, starting at 4pm. Please let Jad Bienek, (email) by Sunday 3rd September if your tower will be entering a band (or bands) for the competition. The rules of the Striking Competition can be found here, or by using the links on the left hand side of the screen.
August 8-Bell Practice
A record number of ringers attended the August 8-bell practice at St Luke's church, Hodnet. The ringing included plain courses of plain hunt on 7 and on 8, Plain Bob Triples, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, and Plain Bob Major. The Ringing Master is grateful to the more experienced ringers who came along to help.
The towers represented included Baschurch, Clive, Codsall, Edgmond, Lilleshall, Market Drayton, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Wem, Whitchurch, and Wrockwardine.
Thanks to John Powell for allowing the use of the bells.
The next 8-bell practice is planned for 7th October, at a venue yet to be organised.
July Surprise Major Practice
Fifteen ringers, including a visitor from Haywards Heath, plus a very young baby, travelled to Edgmond on a wet Friday for this practice. The ringing included Bristol, Glasgow, Lessness, Lincolnshire, Rutland, and 4-spliced.
Thanks to Rev. Preb. Edward Ward for allowing the use of the bells.
The next Surprise Major practice is scheduled for Friday 25th August at Wem.
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
The CRAG has produced a Frequently Asked Questions document, based on the queries submitted to them and some of the other queries they have seen raised online. The document can be found at: http://cc-crag.weebly.com/faqs.html.
CRAG Final Report
The Council Review Action Group (CRAG) has released its final report and recommendations.
The summary and proposals can be found at https://cccbr.org.uk/review/final/. This page also includes links to PDF versions of the summary and the full report.
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/
In 2016 the Shropshire Association’s 100+ Club continued the trend of recent years with more than 100 members. There were twenty two winners with two members winning twice. The total prize money awarded was £508, and £878.38 was raised for the Bell Restoration Fund.
Brian Kear, the organiser of the 100+ Club, has recently sent out application forms for 2017 to all tower correspondents. To be a member of the Club you must be over the age of 16 years. More members means more and/or better prizes.
To be in with a chance to be a winner, please return your completed application form and cheque to Brian by 1st April 2017. Cheques should be made payable to Shropshire Association of Church Bellringers Bell Restoration Fund.
The total of grants awarded from the Bell Restoration Fund in 2016 was £351. Your support of the 100+ Club will help the Bell Restoration Fund grow and ultimately increase the size of the grants awarded for bell restoration projects within the Shropshire Association.
The first draw of the year will take place at the Quarterly Meeting at Norton-in-Hales on 8th April.
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) and the Church of England have agreed an update to the Safeguarding procedures for ringers.Guidance Note 3 (GN3), which an be found at www.cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/GN3v9.pdf, gives advice regarding child protection in towers. The Appendix to the Guidance Note describes in more detail the ringing activities which require a ringer to be DBS checked.
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, 3rd September 2017.
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.