Site last updated 22 May 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 www.cccbr.org.uk/what-is-bell-ringing/.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.
May Surprise Major Practice Cancelled
The Surprise Major practice due to be held at Wem on Friday 25 May has been cancelled.
Association Barbecue and Treasure Hunt
The highlight of the Association's early Summer social calendar is the Treasure Hunt and Barbecue. Once again, we are very grateful to Judy and Chris Yates for agreeing to host the BBQ at their home in High Ercall. The treasure hunt will take place in Shrewsbury, and participants should meet at the car park next to Meole Brace church and the recreation ground at 4pm. The BBQ will start at 6:30pm.
A poster with details has been sent to all towers and can be found here.
If you would be willing to supply a salad or a pudding please contact Madeline Harris [ email ].
Tickets cost £8 for adults and £5 for those under 13 years old, and are available from Madeline Harris [ email ] and from other ticket sellers whose details can be found on the poster.
Association Peal in Northamptonshire
The fifth Association peal of the year has been rung at Sibbertoft, Northamptonshire.
Sibbertoft, Northamptonshire - at the Church of St Helen
On Sunday, 13 May 2018, in 2 hours and 43 minutes
A Peal of 5040 Doubles
11 methods: two extents of Grandsire;
four each of Reverse Canterbury Pleasure Place,
St Nicholas Bob, Winchendon Place, Huntley Place,
St Remigius Bob, St Simon's Bob, St Martin's Bob,
Eynesbury Bob, St Osmund Bob and Plain Bob
Tenor 10-2-2 in Ab
|Anne P Cook||Treble|
|Alistair M Donaldson||2|
|Adrian G Roberts||3||Andrew W Gordon||4||Gareth B R Jones||Tenor|
Conducted by Andrew W Gordon.
Specially arranged and rung to mark the retirement of Revd. Janet Donaldson,
Vicar of this Benefice, from Parish Ministry.
Change At Ellesmere
Peter Leigh has taken over from Terry Davies as Tower Correspondent at Ellesmere. Peter can be contacted by [ email ].
May Association Practice
Seven ringers turned up at Wroxeter for the May Association practice. After the bells had been oiled, Grandsire Doubles and mixed Doubles were rung and the practice ended early. As there were so few present at the practice it was decided not to hold the customary raffle.
Mark your diaries for the social event of the Summer - the barbecue and Treasure Hunt, to be held on Saturday 9th June at Judy and Chris Yates’s house in High Ercall. Tickets cost £8 for adults and £5 for those under 13 years of age. More details will be available shortly.
May 6-Bell Practice
Twelve ringers travelled to Broseley for the May 6-bell practice. Under the direction of Tony Freemont, the practice included plain hunting, Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire Doubles, and Cambridge Surprise Minor. The towers represented at the practice included Broseley, Lilleshall, Market Drayton, Meole Brace, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, and Wem.
Thanks go to Ginette Pardoe for hosting this practice and providing delicious refreshments.
It is with sadness that the death of Faye Smith is reported.
Faye was a ringer at Upton Magna, where her husband Alan was the tower captain. Faye also rang at Hodnet and Stanton. Their son Geoff is a member of the band at Hodnet.
April Training Morning
The second Association training morning of the year took place at the Edgmond Ringing Centre. The students were Lisa Basden, Emma Bentley, Wendy Frost, Catherine Greenfield, Shaun Greenfield, Jayne Hunt, Vicki Sivess, and Alice Turner. They hoped to make progress with one or more of: handling, call changes, plain hunting, treble bob hunting, Stedman Doubles. To help with these goals the ringing included Plain Bob Doubles, Plain Bob Minor, 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, John Burton, Rob Davis, Kathryn Greaves, Nick Green, Madeline Harris, Matt Lawrence, Peter Neil, Biff Patterson, and Cordelia Warr.
Thanks to Mark for preparing the bells and setting up the simulator.
The next Association training morning will be held at Edgmond on Saturday 29th September. If you would like to participate please contact Tony Freemont [email].
April Surprise Major Practice
Fifteen ringers gathered at Meole Brace for the April Surprise Major practice. The practice started with a touch of Grandsire Triples, with local ringer Andy Digby on the tenor. This was followed by attempts at Bristol, Lincolnshire, London, Superlative, 3-spliced, and 7-spliced.
Thanks to Michael Carding for his hospitality.
The next Surprise Major practice is scheduled for Friday 25 May, at Wem.
First Association Peal at Eccleshall
The fourth Association peal of the year has been rung at Eccleshall.
Eccleshall, Staffordshire - at the Church of the Holy Trinity
On Saturday, 21 April 2018, in 2 hours and 56 minutes
A Peal of 5184 Spliced Surprise Major
6 methods: 1152 Rutland; 960 Yorkshire; 768 Cambridge, Lincolnshire,
Superlative, Pudsey; 149 com
Composed by Marcus C W Sherwood
Tenor 10-3-11 in G#
|Edric W Broom||Treble||Timothy M Davis||5|
|Gail K Lawrence||2||Matthew Lawrence||6|
|Madeline J Harris||3||Nicholas J Green||7|
|Michael Wilshaw||4||Andrew C Ogden||Tenor|
Conducted by Nicholas J Green.
First peal of Spliced - 3.
April Practice, EGM and Quarterly Meeting
These took place at Hinstock. Eighteen ringers took part and the ringing included call changes, Grandsire Doubles, Stedman Doubles, Plain Bob Doubles, Norwich Surprise Minor, and London Surprise Minor.
At the Extraordinary General Meeting, the change to Rule 7 of the Bell Restoration Fund, proposed by the committee, was passed unanimously. Rule 7 now reads:
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.
The Quarterly meeting elected Helen Charnock, Alice Turner, Catherine Greenfield, Shaun Greenfield, Samantha Lloyd, Nell Oliver, and Helen Brockman as members of the Association.Jad Bienek reported that the total funds held by the Association was £40,262. 73.
Geoff Harding reported that a BRF grant application had been received from Matt Lawrence for a simulator for Lilleshall. Matt had seen several simulator systems at the recent ART conference. The one he has chosen runs wirelessly and is portable, so it could be taken to other towers. The set-up will be used at Lilleshall in the training of new ringers and for general training purposes. The cost will be about £1000, half of which will come from the local councillor and the remainder from the BRF.
Madeline Harris spoke about the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into force on 25 May 2018 and will replace the Data Protection Act. Madeline asked that Bcc is used when sending emails to a group of Association members. Email addresses on the Association’s website are obfuscated, meaning they are more difficult to harvest, and personal addresses will not appear openly on the website.
Madeline informed those present that the Summer social event, to be held on 9 June, will include a barbecue at Judy and Chris Yates’s home at High Ercall. The November social event will be held at Shawbury Village Hall on 17 November.
Peter reminded the meeting about nominations for Honorary Life Membership – due before the September meeting of the committee. Peter also reminded members about long membership awards. Peter reported that Bishop Mark, the Association’s president, would be leaving Shropshire at the end of June, and there is a possibility that he will not be replaced.
Madeline alerted the meeting to various training opportunities coming up – Edgmond Saturday Training morning on 28th April (this training is fully subscribed); 6-bell practice at Broseley on Saturday 5 May, from 10am to 12noon.
Peter Woollam raised £27 for the BRF from the sale of raffle tickets. Prizes of a sweet and alcoholic nature were won by Madeline Harris, Geoff Harding, Matt Lawrence and Phil Murphy. Peter thanked those who had donated prizes.
Brian Kear announced that the 100+ Club had about 10 fewer members than last year, and he urges more members to join. The winners of the first draw of the year are: Gill Glover (£50), Gareth Jones (£25), Cynthia Costelloe (£15), Maureen Broom (£15), and Pat Paddock (£12).
Thanks go to Pat and Keith Swinnerton for organising the use of the bells and providing delicious refreshments.
The next Monthly Practice will be held at Wroxeter on 12th May, from 7pm to 9pm. The next Quarterly Meeting will be held at Atcham on Saturday 14th July.
April 8-bell Practice
They came from far and wide to participate in this practice. Twenty-four ringers had a go at call changes, Plain Hunt Triples, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, Middlesex Bob Triples, Single Oxford Bob Triples, and Double Norwich Court Bob Major.
The towers represented included Atcham, Baschurch, Broseley, Calverhall/Ightfield, Clive, Codsall, Edgmond, Hodnet, Llangollen, Market Drayton, Newport, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Wem, Whitchurch, and Wrockwardine.
Thanks go to John Powell for allowing use of the bells.
2006 Quarter Peals
2006 was the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Shropshire Association. To mark the occasion the members were challenged to ring more than 80 quarter peals; to ring a quarter peal in every tower in the Association area; and to involve at least 80 Association members. This challenge was very successful and led to the resurgence of quarter peal ringing in the Association. Every year since 2006 at least 100 quarters have been rung at Association towers by bands in which Association members made up at least half the band, with 218 quarters being rung in 2014.
Details of the quarter peals rung in 2006 are now available from the quarter peals index page. The details of the quarters are based on the listing of quarter peals in the 2006 Annual Report, and the data is drawn from BellBoard and from The Ringing World. Only the date and tower are available for quarter peal number 14. The webmaster would be pleased to know of any corrections which should be made.
Learning the Ropes at Lilleshall
Congratulations to Fiona and Julie for achieving Learning the Ropes Level 1 (Fiona) and 2 (Julie).
Learning the Ropes (LTR) is a structured, progressive scheme to learn the art of bell ringing – similar to music grades or karate belts. More details of the scheme can be found at http://www.learningtheropes.org/. If you are interested in how LTR can be used in your tower then please contact Matt Lawrence [email]
Julie and Fiona receiving certificates, with proud teacher Matt.
Photo by Libby Emery
Shropshire Ringers Go Continental
Ten years ago there were no bells on Continental Europe that were hung in the English style, and about 95% of all world towers with bells hung in this way are in England. But in 2008 a new English-style ring of eight bells was installed in Dordrecht, Holland, and for some ringers these have become a desirable destination for a weekend trip. They are something of a curiosity because the impetus for installing the bells was a Dutchman named Paul de Kok who was somehow inspired to learn to ring in the English way when a teenager. He really ‘got the bug’, taught his son Harm Jan and daughter Thirza, and all have become extremely competent bellringers. In cooperation with the local council in Dordrecht, the bells are installed in a building in the grounds of the Grote Kerk (Great Church), and Paul has complete control of the use of the bells. They can barely be heard outside the building so ringers can indulge themselves, and ring 24/7 if the wish! They are purely a secular ring, rung for the pleasure of the ringers, and are not rung for any services.
Although Paul and his family often visit England to satisfy their appetite for ringing, they also welcome visiting groups to go to Dordrecht – this then gives them the opportunity to enjoy their own bells.
A couple of years ago one of our Edgmond ringers, Bill Deason, thought it would be a good idea to organise a trip for some of his Edgmond, and other Shropshire ringing friends. He enquired about the availability of the bells to find that there was a waiting list - the earliest date we could go would be March 2018, so plans began to take shape.
Then in 2016/17 an appeal was launched to install a new ring of bells in St George’s Memorial Church, at Ypres, Belgium. This Church was built, complete with tower, after the First World War as a memorial to the war dead, but no bells were installed at that time. But the approach of the 100th anniversary of the end of the war provided the stimulus to raise the money and install the bells as a tribute to those who died in that terrible war, and they were duly hung and commissioned in remarkably short order in September/October 2017. It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, so our planned trip to Dordrecht was extended to include the new bells at Ypres.
On 9 March eighteen ringers from Shropshire (plus ten-month-old baby Enid) arrived in Dordrecht. We were warmly welcomed by Paul and his family. They have made something of an art form of welcoming visiting ringers and we were no exception – they organised our accommodation and our meals and gave us a wonderful experience. We are most grateful.
With the heaviest bell weighing only 1.5 cwt the bells are very light compared to most church bells, and small bells are often quite difficult to ring, but these have been cleverly hung and are relatively easy. Over the next day and a half, we made very good use of them and succeeded in completing a full peal, and four quarter peals, and with everyone ringing in at least one of these. The full peal, of Cambridge Surprise Major, was the first ever rung by a resident Shropshire Association band outside the UK. The methods rung for the quarter peals were Grandsire Triples, Yorkshire Surprise Major, Amsterdam Surprise Major and Dordrecht Surprise Major, the latter two giving a polite nod to our host country!
Apart from ringing, another highlight of this visit was the climb up the huge tower of the Grote Kerk to see the 67 bells of the carillon, but especially to see and hear Boudewijn Zwart, one of the leading carillon players in Europe, play Rule Britannia for our benefit! The bells of the carillon range in size from less than 50 kg to approximately 10 tonnes and the whole installation is centuries old – an awe-inspiring experience. We were also able to go to the top of the tower and take in the view of Dordrecht and the river Rhine.
After the meal together on the Saturday evening, our own Paul Lewis gave a hearty vote of thanks to the de Kok family for their very warm welcome and their hospitality, and to Bill Deason who had masterminded the whole trip. Bill had put in a tremendous shift, planning and advising the rest of the group on travel and all other arrangements.
Meal time in 't Klockhuys
View over Dordrecht from the church tower
After more ringing and lunch on Sunday 11 March, the whole group set off by train from Dordrecht bound for Ypres, in western Belgium. After two changes of train and about 3 ½ hours we arrived there in early evening. An hour or so later we all assembled at the Menin Gate for the daily Last Post ceremony at 8pm. This took place with great reverence and dignity in front of a silent crowd of 200 to 300 people. It was good to see an air cadet band from a Yorkshire school taking part – children from British schools regularly feature in these ceremonies and hopefully through this will maintain the memory of all those who sacrificed their all.
After a meal and a good night’s sleep, most of us had time to take in the sights of Ypres for an hour or so next morning. Ypres was almost completely destroyed in the first war, including the enormous 13th century Cloth Hall. Centuries ago Ypres was an important centre of the linen industry in Flanders and did much trade with England, and the Cloth Hall was the centre of this industry. After the war, the main square, including the Cloth Hall, and much of the city was rebuilt to the same plans and designs as before, and today is a very attractive place to visit. Today Ypres has the title ‘city of peace’ and is twinned with Hiroshima, another city which suffered the worst of warfare.
St George’s church is full of plaques commemorating the fallen of regiments, or families or school Old Boys from the UK. It has a new vicar, a lady from England and she seems to be very active in reviving the fortunes of the church. Our slot for ringing the bells was from 11.30 till 1pm. The tower is small with room only for a light ring (tenor 6cwt) and there is not room in the ringing chamber for many people other than the eight ringers. We had a very enjoyable ring and I think did justice to the evocative venue. A local band is in training by experienced ringers from England and there is an ex patriate bellringer living in Ypres who has taken on the role of Tower Captain. They hope to be able to ring for Sunday services before too long.
After lunch with our hosts, we started to go our different ways. Some were staying on for a day or two to see more of the battlefields, some were returning by Eurostar and some flying home. This was a very memorable trip which was a privilege and a joy to be part of.
The group outside 't Klockhuys
Photos by Nick Green, Madeline Harris
Corporal Thomas William Belton
Corporal Thomas William Belton, 5th Bn., King's Shropshire Light Infantry and member of the St Chad’s and St Alkmund’s Society of Change Ringers, Shrewsbury, was killed in the Battle of Passchendaele (also known as the Third Battle of Ypres) on 22 August 1917, aged 25 years. In the battle, lasting 3 months, over half a million Allied and German soldiers died.
‘Belton T W’ is recorded on a memorial plaque (no. 112) in Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing, close to the village of Passchendaele, near Ypres, along with other casualties from the KSLI. Three members of the Association visited the cemetery during the recent ringing trip to Holland and Belgium. The name ‘Tyne Cot’ is said to come from the Northumberland Fusiliers, who saw a resemblance between the many German concrete pill boxes on this site and typical Tyneside workers' cottages (‘Tyne cots’).
Thomas Belton worked as a gardener at Berwick Hall, which is between Shrewsbury and Leaton. He was the son of Charles Henry and Elizabeth Belton of Barwell, Leicestershire, and married Maggie Ruddick on 16 January 1916.
His first peal, rung for the Salop Archidiaconal Guild, was Grandsire Triples at Oswestry on 7 December 1912. He also rang in the first peal, Plain Bob Major, on the newly recast bells at St Chad, Shrewsbury on 19 November 1914. His name appears on the peal board at St Chad’s recording this event.
Thomas Belton was one of two Shrewsbury ringers to die in the Great War. The other was Lance Corporal Tom Leonard Peel, 2nd Bn., South Wales Borderers, who died on 16 February 1917, aged 23 years. His body is buried in the St Marie Cemetery, Le Havre.
Tyne Cot Cemetery
Thomas Belton’s name recorded on plaque no. 112
Ringing at Bicton Suspended
Ringing (Sundays and practices) at Bicton is suspended until further notice.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 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, 10th June 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.