Site last updated 20 January 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.
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.
Yet Another Variable Hunt Peal
The twenty-second Association peal of the year has been rung at Hinstock.
Hinstock, Shropshire - at the Church of St Oswald
On Saturday, 16 December 2017, in 2 hours and 42 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 7-0-0 in C
|Nicholas J Green||Treble||Michael Wilshaw||4|
|Gillian R Glover||2||Alan M Glover||5|
|Gail K Lawrence||3||Matthew Lawrence||Tenor|
Conducted by Matthew Lawrence.
ART Module 2C at Edgmond
Following on from the ART Module 1 training held at Edgmond recently, Paul Lewis will be tutoring a Module 2C course at Edgmond on Saturday 24 February 2018.
More details about the course can be found by following this link
You can also contact Paul Lewis [email] for more information.
December 8-bell Practice
Eighteen ringers travelled to Hodnet for the December 8-bell practice. The ringing included plain courses of Plain Bob Triples, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, and Middlesex Bob Triples, and touches of Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples and Erin Triples. The Ringing Master is grateful to the more experienced ringers who came along to help.
The towers represented included Albrighton, Baschurch , Edgmond, Lilleshall, Market Drayton, Meole Brace, Oswestry, Wellington, Whitchurch, and Wrockwardine.
Thanks to John Powell for allowing the use of the bells.
80th Birthday Delight
The twenty-first Association peal of the year was rung at Lapley, Staffs, to celebrate a significant birthday.
Lapley, Staffordshire - at the Church of All Saints
On Saturday, 25 November 2017, in 2 hours and 55 minutes
A Peal of 5088 80th Birthday Delight Major
Composed by Nathan J Pitstow
Tenor 9-3-20 in F#
|Kathryn R Greaves||Treble||Gail K Lawrence||5|
|William S Deason||2||Maurice G Ingram||6|
|Edric W Broom||3||Nicholas J Green||7|
|Paul J Lewis||4||Matthew Lawrence||Tenor|
Conducted by Nicholas J Green.
Rung to celebrate the 80th birthday of Bill Deason.
November Surprise Major Practice
Thirteen ringers, and briefly two ‘grabbers’ from Hampshire, participated in this practice held at Meole Brace. The ringing included Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, London, Pudsey, 4-spliced and 8-spliced.
There will be no Surprise Major practice in December.
Association Ceilidh 2017
Shawbury Village Hall was again the venue for this festival of food and dancing, organised again by Cordelia Warr. The music was provided by Monkey Box, and Baz Parkes returned as the caller. Geoff Harding organised the bar, with help from Jad Bienek. This year’s cooks were Cordelia, Jan Snowball and Claire Unsworth. They provided diners with lamb stew, beef stew and chicken stew, butternut squash and goats’ cheese casserole, and baked potatoes, with crusty bread. The main course was followed by delicious desserts, including trifles, lemon meringue pie, fruit compote and gluten-free brownies.
The raffle, run by Peter Woollam, raised £125. The prizes of confectionery, alcohol, biscuits, marmalade and photo album were won by Vicki Sivess, Paul Smart, Peter Stafferton, Cordelia Warr, Peter Hampton, John Jackson, Claire Unsworth, John Neal, Karen Compton, Gloria Cawood, Gareth Jones, and Madeline Harris.
Sixty five tickets were sold for this event, and thanks go to all who promoted the event so widely and all those who helped make this a very enjoyable evening.
ART Module 1 Training at Edgmond
A cursory glance at ringing in the Association's area reveals that more ringers are needed at most towers. Many of our current ringers probably feel apprehensive at the thought of teaching beginners, and this of course makes it difficult to recruit learners with confidence.
This scenario is not unique to our area and a few years ago a movement began to try to address these issues. The result is the Association of Ringing Teachers and their Learning the Ropes scheme, the idea of which is to provide a structured scheme to learn bell-handling and the early stages of change-ringing, and to train sufficient teachers to deliver the scheme. If successful, it is hoped to make learning more effective and more fun, thereby increasing the chances of recruiting and retaining additional ringers. It is against this background that an ART course was run at Edgmond, tutored by Paul Lewis.
Those attending as potential teachers were Vicki Sivess and David Read (Meole Brace), Ian Darby (Pattingham), Sue and Derek Dancey (Bicton), Jacqui Barden and Biff Patterson (Shrewsbury) and Liz Menhinick (Unattached). Matt Lawrence, Gill Glover and Dawn Offen were present as potential mentors, while Nick Green and Alan Glover lurked as carers, and confusers.
The day comprised a sequence of (mercifully) short PowerPoint presentations, practical sessions in the tower and the sharing of best practice and assorted horror stories. Refreshments were provided by Sue, Biff and Gill, and lunch was taken at The Lion. The course provided much food for thought for the potential teachers and should be the start of a process in which they are assigned a mentor and teach a recruit from scratch to the point where they can handle a bell safely and efficiently and are able to make a contribution to a tower in the area. ART provides much support in the form of publications and online material to make this as efficient and painless as possible for both teacher and learner.
|Paul is intrigued as Vicky tries to sort
out Jacqui's handling problems.
Dawn can't bear to watch
|Sue looks horrified at Dave's suggestion
of a better way
to catch the sally
|Most of the course members
desperately trying to remember
what they had ordered for lunch
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.