Newsletter 2013

A Centenary Peal at Moreton Corbet

A peal has been rung at Moreton Corbet to mark one hundred years since the first peal at the tower.
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Alan Fisher

It is with sadness that the death of Alan Fisher, Tower Captain at Wellington, is reported.

Alan died on Sunday 15th December at Apley Severn Hospice.

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Ringers' Carol Service

There was a good turn-out of Shropshire Association ringers at this year’s December practice and Carol Service, held jointly with the Church Stretton District of the Hereford Diocesan Guild, at All Saints’ church, Wellington.

The ringing was directed by Rob Davis (Wellington) and included call changes, Grandsire Doubles, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, Plain Bob Doubles, Plain Bob Minor, Cambridge Surprise Minor, and 5-spliced.

The service was led by the vicar, Rev. Mark Ireland. Members of the ringing fraternity read the lessons, and the congregation lustily sang the carols, accompanied on the organ by Jonathan Lloyd. The Association’s president, the Right Reverend Mark Rylands, Bishop of Shrewsbury, gave the address in which he posed the question ‘What happened to the shepherds after Christmas?’

Socialising in the Parish Centre after the service was assisted by the consumption of mulled wine, tea, coffee, home-made beer and delicious festive nibbles.

Thanks go to the Wellington ringers and all who helped to make this an enjoyable evening.

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December Surprise Minor Practice

This was held at Oswestry, using the simulator. Twelve ringers participated, and the ringing included Cambridge, Carlisle, London and Norwich.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be on Saturday 4th January 2014 at Stanton-upon-Hine Heath.

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November Surprise Major Practice

This was held at Oswestry, using the simulator but without the need for someone with an air horn to sit downstairs to be ready to alert the ringers in case of fire.

Nine ringers were present, and under the leadership of Sue Buckingham they made attempts at Bristol, London, Rutland, Superlative, Yorkshire and 4-spliced.

The next Surprise Major practice will be in January. Details will appear on the website.

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Christmas Tree Festival at St Chad's, Shrewsbury

St Chad's church, Shrewsbury, is holding its second Christmas Tree Festival from 14th - 18th December. The Shrewsbury ringers have decorated one of the trees with bells and angels, their theme being 'Ding Dong Merrily on High'.

More than 30 trees are on display in the church and they will remain in place for all the Christmas services and concerts, until the Epiphany.

Angels Angels

Photos by Nick Green
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Ringing by Royal Appointment!

Friday 22 November 2013 saw a Royal occasion at St Peter’s, Edgmond. It was the day that HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, was installed as the first Chancellor of Harper Adams University, which is situated in the village. The local band of ringers was called upon to celebrate the event with the ringing of the bells, including a quarter peal.

Harper Adams Agricultural College was founded in 1901 through the legacy of local landowner Thomas Harper Adams to provide education and training for young aspiring farmers of the day. Starting with just a handful of students, over the decades the College increased in size and by the 1960s had about three hundred students. From the 1970s the College began introducing degree level courses in an increasingly diverse range of subjects in the agriculture, environment, land management, food science, veterinary-related and engineering sectors. Reflecting its increasing size and diversity of subjects, and its taught degree awarding powers, in 1998 the college changed its title to Harper Adams University College.

Harper Adams now has about 2000 undergraduates and 200 postgraduate students, plus over 1000 students per year on professional development courses, and in late in 2012 it was granted full University status in recognition of its outstanding record in teaching and research and its research degree-awarding powers. The Principal became the Vice Chancellor, and the search was on for a suitable person to be appointed to the ceremonial and ambassadorial role of Chancellor.

In May 2013 it was announced that The Princess Royal had agreed to become Chancellor. It was further announced that her installation would take place in St Peter’s Church on a date to be announced, and that the services of the bellringers would be requested.

It was not until late September that the date of Friday 22 November was announced and I was asked if I could organise ringing before and after the ceremony. Four current members of the University staff, Abigail Hind, Paul Lewis, Kathryn Greaves and Vernon Blakeman are among our local ringers, and three other local ringers, Bob Bradley, Matthew Lawrence and myself are past students and/or past members of staff. Along with two other members of the local band (Mark Adams and Bill Deason), and Sue Buckingham, Master of the Shropshire Association, I had assembled a band to ring touches before the ceremony and to attempt a quarter peal afterwards. Then I unfortunately had an accident and broke my collar bone, which meant I would not be able to ring. Fortunately I could call upon the services of Nick Green, who regularly rings at Edgmond, to fill the gap and call the quarter peal.

22 November came and we assembled at 9.15 to raise the bells, having first had to prove our identities to the security personnel. After an official photo call, from 9.30 we rang touches of call changes, Grandsire and Stedman while the congregation was assembling. Being a ground floor ring, open to the church, there was considerable opportunity for distraction, but the ringers stuck to their task very well and the ringing was very good. At 10.10 we gave way to the organist while we organised our chairs in the ringing chamber ready for the ceremony.

Proceedings began with the processions of dignitaries and academic staff, followed by the royal procession led by the Rector, Prebendary Edward Ward, and including the Bishop of Lichfield, Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill. The ceremony consisted of a welcome by the Rector, the installation of the Chancellor by the Chairman of the Board of Governors, speeches by the new Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor, three hymns, music, readings and prayers, before the processions started leaving in reverse order. This was our cue to start ringing again and as the Princess turned the corner by the tower she was looking intently at the bellringers and gave them a surprised smile. It was obvious that she was very aware of the ringing of the bells and indeed she commented afterwards "What wonderful bells". While the organ was still playing nothing more complicated than rounds was possible but once the organ stopped a good touch of Stedman was rung as the congregation was leaving. After a short break the band set off in Grandsire Triples and a good quarter peal was scored.

A large number of man hours had been invested by the University and St Peter’s Church in preparation for this day and the effort was rewarded with a memorable and important occasion that ran without a hitch. The University gained a distinguished first Chancellor and the church gained a good clean, some new carpets and a very tidy churchyard! The weather too was perfect. The ringers were pleased and proud to have played their part, but I never got to ring by Royal appointment!

The Princess Royal Royal visit ringers
HRH The Princess Royal with a smile for the ringers (l-r)Bob Bradley, Paul Lewis, Bill Deason, Matthew Lawrence, Nick Green, Mark Adams,
Vernon Blakeman, Sue Buckingham, Kathryn Greaves, Abigail Hind, Edric Broom

Text by Edric Broom
Photos courtesy of Harper Adams University
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Shrewsbury Ringers' Outings

Instead of having a weekend away this year, the Shrewsbury ringers enjoyed two separate days of ringing, organised by Gill Glover.

In early October nineteen ringers went to seven towers in Worcestershire and south Shropshire – Hallow (8), Grimley (6) and Shrawley (6) before lunch; Astley (6) and Rock (8), between lunch and tea; and Cleobury Mortimer (6) and Ludlow (10) after tea. The ringing ranged from call changes to 8-spliced. The ringing room at Rock had been invaded by a swarm of flies so the ringing took place to the smell of fly-spray and the sight of hundreds of flies in their death throes. The 138-step climb up to the ringing room at Ludlow left a few members a bit breathless, but call changes, Grandsire Caters and Cambridge Royal were rung. A very good lunch was eaten at The Lenchford Inn near Shrawley, and a reviving cup of tea was taken at the Colliers Farm Shop café.

In mid-November twenty-three ringers and non-ringers went to Loughborough, starting the day with ringing at the Parish Church (10). A very reasonably-priced lunch was eaten at the Three Nuns and then there was a tour of Taylor’s bell foundry. George Dawson showed the group around, giving some history of the company and how bells are made, taking in the tuning workshop and where the wheels are made. The bells from Christchurch, New Zealand, only one of which had been badly damaged in the earthquake of 2011, were on view on the workshop floor. Wem’s new tenor was also to be seen in the workshop. The band was lucky enough to be visiting on a casting day and they watched as six bells for two Australian towers (Camden and Katoomba) were cast. After the tour of the Works there was the opportunity to ring on the Bell Foundry Campanile (12). These are lighter bells than most of the ringers are used to but a lovely touch of Stedman Caters was rung, plus an attempt at Grandsire Cinques and some call changes. Then it was across the road to the Willoughby Campanile – an 8-bell mini-ring. Again these took some getting used to, but call changes, Plain Hunt and Grandsire Triples were rung. By now the sun was setting and it was time to leave for home.

Thanks go to Gill for organising two very good days out.

poring molten metal wheel table

Pouring the molten metal prior to casting

The wheel table

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Another Association Peal

Tugford was the venue for the ninth Association peal rung this year.

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November Training Morning

With less than a week to go until the visit of the Princess Royal to Edgmond to be installed as the first Chancellor of Harper Adams University, the final training morning of the year took place at St Peter’s church, where the ringing room has a lovely, new, red carpet.

The students were Karen Compton, Natasha Compton (both from Shawbury), Robert Pride, Biff Patterson (both from Shrewsbury), Arthur Saunders (Shifnal), and Peter Hall (Cheswardine). They had all come to make progress with one or more aspects of their ringing, in an environment where they received multiple opportunities to ring and where expert help was on hand. Ringing was confined to call changes, Grandsire Doubles, St Simon's Bob Doubles, St Martin's Bob Doubles, Plain Hunt Triples, Stedman Triples, and Cambridge Surprise Major.

Tony Freemont (Association Training Officer) was in charge and he was assisted by Mark Adams (who also set up the simulator), Susan Capey, Chris Fraser, Gill Glover, Nick Green, Madeline Harris, Peter Neil, and Cordelia Warr.

There was a supply of brownies, flapjacks and lemon drizzle cake, along with tea and coffee, to sustain the ringers during the morning.

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Association Ceilidh

Shawbury Village Hall was the venue for this festival of food and dancing, organised once more by Sue Buckingham. The calling and music were supplied by Baz Parkes and The Boat Band. Peter Woollam organised the bar, with help from Susan Capey and others, and Roger Chapman provided the glassware. Sue provided a tasty meal of quiche, hand-raised meat pies, (made by Cordelia Warr) and a variety of salads. Delectable desserts were supplied by several Association members.

The raffle was run by Peter Woollam. The first three tickets out of the hat had been bought by Susan Capey (of Oswestry) – she selected the single malt whisky as her prize. The other prizes, of alcohol and chocolates, were won by Liz Knowles (Church Stretton), Karen Compton (Shawbury), Jad Bienek (Unattached), Cordelia Warr (Oswestry), Tony Freemont (Oswestry) and Paul Smart (Baschurch).

The assembled dancers were treated to the debut of Shropshire Association’s own ‘boy’ band – Edric Broom (vocals) and Peter Hall (vocals and accordion), who sang about a ringing competition between two bands in Devon.

A total of 49 tickets were sold, significantly fewer than in previous years. When the final total raised for the Bell Restoration Fund (if any) is known it will be reported here.

Thanks go to Sue Buckingham and all those who helped make this an enjoyable evening.

Edric and Peter

Edric and Peter

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Change to Times of Practice at Hodnet

Starting on Friday 3rd January 2014, practice at Hodnet will be held on Fridays from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.

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November Surprise Minor Practice

This was held at St Martins and ten ringers took part. Chris Fraser was in charge. Beverley, Cambridge, Carlisle, London, Norwich, and Primrose were attempted, with various degrees of success.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held at Oswestry on Saturday 7th December, from 10am to 12 noon.

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October Surprise Major Practice

This was held at High Ercall and was led by the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham. Fifteen ringers took part in ringing Cambridge, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Bristol, London, Countesthorpe, and 7-spliced.

The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 29th November from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at Oswestry.

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Newport Outing

On Saturday 19th October 2013 Newport ringers were joined by fellow ringers from Baschurch, Cheswardine, Edgmond, Oswestry and Shawbury for their annual outing, which this year took them to the Stourbridge/Kidderminster area.

The day was not at all stressful – quite the opposite in fact – as there were only four towers visited: - Old Swinford (8), Clent (8), Belbroughton (6) and Chaddesley Corbett (8).

Some church members at our first tower, Old Swinford, provided a welcome cup of tea or coffee at the end of the ringing and before moving on to Clent, where we found the ringing chamber floor covered with a most unusual and attractive ‘Quasimodos and Bells’ patterned carpet.

Lunch followed at The Vine Pub in Clent and was a most delightful and leisurely experience with mouth-watering dishes served up to us by an extremely cheerful and efficient pub team. One regular ringer at Newport, obviously so inspired by the town’s ‘Three Fishes’ emblem, chose THREE battered cod fish portions with his chips and mushy peas. The meals were washed down with some equally good real ales and cider on tap.

After lunch the sun shone brightly and it was so warm that many ringers left their coats in the parked cars at the remaining two towers at Belbroughton and Chaddesley Corbett. It was only when we were walking out of the last church at Chaddesley Corbett that the ‘Heavens opened’ with an untimely shower burst. Luckily the cars were nearby, so no-one got too wet, but did we run!

All of the towers provided for some good ringing, including Bob Triples, Stedman Triples, and Cambridge Surprise Minor, in addition to Newport’s signature tune, Grandsire Doubles.

A vote of thanks and appreciation on behalf of us all was given by Kathryn Greaves to Barry Lewis for organising one of the most relaxing and enjoyable Newport outings for many a year with most of us agreeing that Chaddesley Corbett and Old Swinford were the two most favoured ringing towers of the day.

Newport group photo

Most of the group at Clent

Text and photo by John Williamson

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October Association Practice and Quarterly Meeting

These took place at Moreton Corbet, and nineteen members participated. In the absence of Sue Buckingham (Ringing Master) the ringing and meeting were run by Madeline Harris. The ringing included London Surprise Minor, Grandsire Doubles, Stedman Doubles, St Simon’s Bob Doubles, Plain Bob Minor, and Oxford Treble Bob Minor.

Peter Woollam reported that Sue Buckingham has contacted the vicar at Malinslee and he has agreed that Association bands may ring there again. Peter will contact the vicar and advise him about the necessity to oil the bells before ringing takes place.

The election of Heather Kippin as a Non-Resident Life Member prior to a recent peal at Whitchurch was ratified at the meeting.

Tony Freemont (Training Officer) reported that because of the fire safety issues at Oswestry all the training courses this year have been held at Edgmond, and they had all gone well. Tony is hoping to run a training at Baschurch. The ITTS course at Oswestry, postponed because of snow, has been re-scheduled for next March.

Peter Woollam (Bell Advisor) gave a report of the current status of Bell Restoration projects. Nicholson’s expect to start work on the Ellesmere project on 9th December. The last ringing at Ellesmere before then will be Sunday 24th November. Alan Glover suggested that a recording be made of the current ring at Ellesmere. Nick Green said that he would take care of this.
The church which is selling a bell to Wem has been granted a faculty to sell the bell. The tenor is due to be removed from the church in the week beginning 14th Oct.
The fire alarm system has been installed at Oswestry and the other necessary work has started.
The PCC at Sheriffhales has had reports from two bell hangers about the ring there. About £40,000 worth of work is required, but is not likely to be carried out in the foreseeable future. Peter has recommended that no peals or quarter peals are rung at Sheriffhales.

Peter also mentioned that Mike Carding has been appointed as the Tower Captain at Meole Brace and he is in the process of getting regular ringing going there again. An Open Day was due to be held on Sunday 13th October.

Andrew Gordon reported that the Kemberton PCC has applied for a Faculty for the work on the bells. There will be no ringing at Ryton and Beckbury for a few weeks because of building work being carried out.

Tickets for the Ceilidh were available from Nick Green.

The raffle, run by Peter Woollam, raised £30 for the BRF. Winners of the prizes of chocolate, home-made cake, and wine were Andrew Gordon, Madeline Harris and Jan Snowball.

The winners in the 100+ Club draw were Sue Perry (Calverhall) - £50, Cynthia Costelloe (Market Drayton) - £25, Roger Marsh (Codsall) - £15, Marion Lake (Hadley) - £12, and Judith Byne (High Ercall) - £10.

The next Quarterly Meeting will be held on Saturday 11 January 2014 at Shawbury, prior to the AGM.

The next Association practice will be prior to the Carol Service at Wellington on Saturday 14 December.

Thanks go to Chris Fraser for organising the use of Moreton Corbet church and bells.

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A Peal at Whitchurch

A peal has been rung at St Alkmund's church, Whitchurch, to mark the 300th anniversary of the consecration of the church.

Whitchurch peal band

The peal band outside St Alkmund's

Photo by Malcolm Monie

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September Surprise Major Practice

The September Association Surprise Major practice was held at Shrewsbury, St Mary on Friday 27th. Nine members and one visitor were in attendance and Rutland, Pudsey, 2, 3 and 8 Spliced were rung. Jacqui's love affair with Pudsey and the failings of those not present were fully discussed between touches.

The October practice will probably be held in October.

Alan Glover

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September Training Morning

On the 28th September the Association held another successful training morning at Edgmond. Great thanks to Edric Broom for the organisation and hard work needed to make the day happen.

The trainees were: Peter Hall, Cheswardine; Susan Bower, Calverhall; Robert Pride, Shrewsbury; Claire Unsworth, Shawbury; and Arthur Saunders, Shifnal. The morning covered everything from bell handling, through Plain Bob Doubles to St Clement's Minor, and even a touch of Cambridge Minor for one of the helpers.

My thanks go out to all who turned out to assist and make the morning go so well. So thanks to Mark Adams, Susan Capey, Sue Buckingham, Susan Perry, Kathryn Greaves, Biff Patterson, Nick Green, Peter Woollam (with additional thanks for providing the biscuits) and of course Edric (who provided everything other than the biscuits). And well done all the trainees and hope to see you all (and anyone else) very soon.

Tony Freemont

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Striking Competition - 14th September

The Association's 2013 Striking Competition was held on a sunny but cool September afternoon at Holy Trinity, Calverhall, where the local ringers provided an excellent tea throughout the afternoon. The draw was held in the village hall. The judge was Philip Ramsbottom, a ringer at St Martin’s in Birmingham.

Seven bands representing six towers participated in the competition, and are pictured below in the order in which they rang. Before he gave the results, Philip revealed that he judged his first Striking Competition in 2012. He also said that the ringing was very good. Philip gave a brief report on each band's ringing before announcing the scores. The scores and results are given below. Sue thanked Philip for his efforts, and presented him with a bottle of wine. She also thanked the Calverhall ringers and helpers for the splendid tea and for use of the bells.

Peter Woollam thanked all those who had bought raffle tickets and those who had supplied prizes. The raffle prizes, which included the old favourites of alcohol and chocolates, were won by Graham Parker (Ightfield), Susan Capey (Oswestry), Heather Vernon (Calverhall), John Aldridge (Calverhall), and Cynthia Costelloe (Market Drayton). The raffle raised £60 for the BRF



(l-r) Paul Lewis, Edric Broom, Abigail Hind,
Chris Wulkau, Kathryn Greaves, Mark Adams



(l-r) Oliver Stokes, Barry Lewis, Mark Adams,
Graham Talbot, Kathryn Greaves, John Williamson



(l-r) Des Machin, Graham Parker, Heather Vernon,
John Aldridge, Sue Perry, Paul Dutton

Shrewsbury B

Shrewsbury 'B'

(l-r) Alan Glover, Madeline Harris, John Crum,
Jacqui Barden, Mike Carding, Amanda Craig

Shrewsbury A

Shrewsbury 'A'

(l-r) Alan Glover, Sue Buckingham, Nick Green,
Dawn Offen, Adrian Roberts, Richard Blagrove

Market Drayton

Market Drayton

(l-r) Cynthia Costelloe, David Beckwith, Madeline Harris
Roy Bloor, Sue Buckingham, Keith Swinnerton



(l-r) Andrew Harris, Peter Woollam, Jan Snowball,
Cordelia Warr, Tony Freemont, Susan Capey

Wilcox Trophy presentation

Sue Buckingham receiving the Ernest Willcox Trophy for Shrewsbury

Call Change Trophy presentation

Jan Snowball receiving the Call Change Trophy for Oswestry

Allmand Shield presentation

Edric Broom receiving the Charles Allmand Memorial Shield for Edgmond

Faults Team Ringing
15 Shrewsbury ‘A’ Method Ernest Willcox Cup
20 Edgmond Method Charles Allmand Memorial Shield
23 Oswestry Call Changes Call Change Cup
24 Market Drayton Call Changes
29 Shrewsbury 'B' Method
41 Newport Method
68 Calverhall Method
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September Surprise Minor Practice

This was held at Upton Magna and seven ringers took part. Under the direction of Chris Fraser plain courses of Norwich, London, and Carlisle were rung. Chris then left and the remaining ringers rang a quarter peal of Cambridge Surprise Minor which was dedicated to Tony Molinoli of Coalbrookdale who had been a participant in these practices.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 2nd November, from 10am to 12 noon.

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Tony Molinoli

It is with sadness that the death of Tony Molinoli of Coalbrookdale is reported.

Tony, who died on Wednesday 4th September, was a kind and pleasant man, always encouraging new ringers and learners. He will be sadly missed at Coalbrookdale.

Gareth Jones
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August Surprise Major Practice

This was held at Edgmond and was led by the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham. Ten ringers took part in ringing Yorkshire, Bristol, London, and 5-spliced. The practice ended with a touch of Stedman Triples.

The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 27th September from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at St Mary’s church, Shrewsbury.

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Mobile Belfry Day at Woodlands

About twenty people went along to Phil and Rowena Gay’s house near Keele to learn about erecting the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry. The belfry had been towed to Woodlands, and Phil led the group in erecting it on the driveway. The belfry was put up in just over two hours, showing that, sometimes, many hands make light work. There was time for some ringing on the Belfry and also on the ring at Woodlands before most of the group went off to the Crewe Arms for lunch. In the afternoon there was ringing at St John’s, Keele and on the Mobile Belfry and the Woodlands bells, and after tea the Belfry was taken down and packed away on the trailer, to be returned to its storage place near Crewe.

At least one volunteer has come forward to help on a regular basis. More volunteers are needed.

Thanks go to Phil and Rowena for organising, planning and hosting the event, and to all those who turned up to help.

belfry under cover LDMB bells completed belfry
Before During After
'Before' photo by Rowena Gay
'During' and 'After' by Madeline Harris
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August Association Practice

The Association’s joint practice with the Church Stretton District of the Hereford Diocesan Guild took place on Saturday 10th August at Clun, in the far south of the Church Stretton District.

The 10-bell practice was attended by 26 ringers, including ten from the Shropshire Association, who participated in rounds and call changes, Plain Hunt Caters, Grandsire Triples, Grandsire Caters, Stedman Caters, Plain Bob Royal, and Cambridge Surprise Royal. The ringing was directed by Helen Sharpe, Ringing Master of the Church Stretton District.

The next Association event is the Striking Competition at Calverhall on Saturday 14th September. All towers are encouraged to enter at least one band. The rules of the Competition can be found here.

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August Surprise Minor Practice

This was held at Shawbury, was attended by fourteen ringers, and was led by Chris Fraser. The methods practised were Alnwick, Cambridge, Chester, Ipswich, London, Munden, and Norwich.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 7th September at Upton Magna, from 10am to 12 noon.

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'Among the Bells' by Reverend F E Robinson

Rev and Mrs Robinson

Reverend and Mrs F E Robinson

In March this year Peter Woollam, Shropshire Association Librarian, received an enquiry from a great granddaughter of the reverend author of this work. She had spotted on the Shropshire Association website that the Library held a copy of the book, which she had never seen and of which there was no copy in her family. In fact the library held two copies, both author signed and one dedicated to the Salop Archidiaconal Guild, the forerunner of the current Association, and presented in 1909 by Rev. J Mackay, its Hon. Secretary.

FER's descendant was delighted at the news that at least two copies survived and was very keen to examine or acquire one. She also provided some information which led to a little productive research: 'Family tradition has it that the first edition had colour plates, whereas the second edition had only black and white pictures. I believe this is because the original plates were melted down for the wartime effort in the First World War - which is a great story!'

By this time Peter had been in touch with the Central Council Librarian and discovered that although this Library also held two copies of the work, they were both author signed first editions and there was no record of the production of any second edition. With snow on the ground, the Librarian was pleased to have an excuse to do a little research in the warm.

'Among the Bells. The Ringing Career, written by himself, of the Rev. F E Robinson, M A,' to give it its full title, appeared as a part work with Part I first advertised in 'The Bell News and Ringers' Record' on 29th October 1904.

First advertisement

The first advertisement for Part 1 of the work.

First advertisement part XX

The first advertisement for Part XX of the work,
which appeared in 'The Bell News and Ringers' Record'
on 28th August 1909.

Part XX was advertised as the conclusion of the work and the advertisement for this (see above) also included the first mention of 'the whole work bound in cloth for 10s 6d net.' This advertisement continued to appear regularly until March 1910.

The first edition, with 10/6 proudly embossed on its spine, contains exactly what the title promises - a detailed examination of the ringing career of F E Robinson. There are reports of his many ringing trips and the peals he accomplished on them. At the end of most annual sections he included a summary of the year's activities. This example gives an indication of his favourite method and conductor: 'In 1906 I rang 92 peals viz:- Stedman Triples 90; Stedman Caters 1; Stedman Cinques 1, of which I conducted 90 of Stedman Triples and 1 of Stedman Cinques. I visited and advised at....(eight towers). I preached at Pangbourne, Sandbach and Toddington, and attended openings at Blewbury and Toddington, Beds. I devoted 311 hours to Bell-ringing.'

It is not certain from the book alone how many peals Robinson rang. He lists 1,241 but another two are added under 'peals omitted', while a cutting from 'The Bell News' of February 4th 1911 tucked inside the back cover of one copy in the CC Library reports the unveiling of a peal tablet at St Andrew's, Hillingdon for 'the 1,250th and last peal in which the Rev. F E Robinson took part.' He displayed a scrupulous nature in some of his attempts: 'We rang a peal of 5040 Stedman Triples at Mildenhall, which we did not count, as, owing to a trip made in the last six changes, the bells never came round', but some of his efforts would not be acceptable under the present decisions: 'The bells went heavily and a spare man's services were required, the conductor changing from No. 6 to No. 7, after the latter bell had proved too much for its first handler.' (St Mary's, Calne, June 6th 1890) and 'During the last half hour of this peal the 3rd bell was silent, the clapper having broken.' Waltham Abbey, November 16th 1885).

As well as the peals, the book includes details of the diameters, weights, dates and founders of the bells in all the towers in which the author rang. There are also black and white illustrations of many of the churches and a number of portraits of ringers or groups of ringers.

It is strange to note that although Part XX was advertised as completing the work, the bound single volume contains XXVI Parts. When advertisements appeared again in 'The Ringing World' in 1920, only the first twenty parts were mentioned, together with the single bound volume. Robinson had died on February 16th, 1910 and sales were being dealt with by his widow. A letter from Canon Papillon, who had edited the book and written a preface, appeared in 'The Ringing World' in September 1920.

Canon Papillon letter

Three weeks later, the editorial in 'The Ringing World' reinforced this message and also provided the first confirmation of the story of the fate of the plates.

Canon Papillon editorial

It seemed that when the few remaining copies of the first edition were sold, that would be the end of the line, but on April 15th 1921, the following advertisement heralded a second edition.

Second edition advertisement

The advertisement mentioned is exactly the same as that for the first edition. Alison Hodge, Librarian of the Worcestershire and Districts Association, kindly allowed the writer to examine the second edition in her Association's library. This particular example is in three volumes, but others are in a single volume. As mentioned in the announcement, pages 65 to 96 lack the illustrations of first edition. The type has been set anew on these pages which are renumbered 65-66, 67-68 etc. to allow for the reduced content. There is a second preface by an undisclosed writer. Canon Papillon wrote in a letter to 'The Ringing World' of March 13th 1925, 'Some time ago I was asked to contribute a preface to a proposed reissue of Mr. Robinson's book, 'Among the Bells.' But as this was to be a reprint of the letterpress only, without the illustrations of church towers in which, and of eminent ringers with whom, Mr. Robinson had rung (the original copperplates having been commandeered for their metal during the war), it would, I fear, have been a rather dry record of facts and figures, however interesting for statistics of the history, weight, etc., of bells, which are permanently useful for correcting loose and inaccurate local tradition on such matters.'

Margaret Elspeth

Margaret Elspeth, FER's youngest daughter

To return to the beginning, the Shropshire Association committee agreed to sell one of their copies to Robinson's great-granddaughter. Peter Woollam was given the task of checking the lady's pedigree to ensure that the book really was returning to the author's family. This proving satisfactory, with the purchaser being the only direct descendant of FER's youngest daughter, Margaret Elspeth, it was arranged for Sue Buckingham, Shropshire Association Ringing Master and CC Representative to hand the book over at the Central Council meeting at Guildford.

The purchaser brought some fascinating items from her extensive family history researches: her family tree back to the ninth century; some lovely photographs of FER and his large family; and two ringing diaries written by FER's daughter, Vera.

If any reader has any further information about the history of this publication, or indeed has a second edition to dispose of, the CC Librarian would be pleased to hear from them at and he would be happy to pass on any enquiries about the life of FER and his family.

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Heritage Lottery Fund Reception at Ellesmere

Many of you will know of the plans for a major refurbishment of the bells at St Mary’s, Ellesmere – the biggest scheme in our territory for many years. Some of you will also know of the application for support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and of the recent award of £40,000. A reception was arranged on the tower roof last Saturday (27th July) when the grant was formally announced by Jude Walker, representing the West Midlands HLF Committee. In her short speech, she described the definition of heritage used by HLF as: “anything that you’ve inherited, value and want to pass on”.

About 20 people enjoyed the views from the tower and the buffet provided by the ringers. Those present included councillor Ann Hartley (Deputy Leader, Shropshire County Council), councillor Alan Clarke (Mayor of Ellesmere) and Sue Buckingham representing the Association. Many of the regular local band, together with others who often attend weekly practices, were there. It was particularly pleasing to see some of the learners that the band has attracted as a result of the promotion of the scheme and the raising of the profile of bell ringing in the local community. The tower remained in ‘Open Day’ mode for the rest of the afternoon and about 80 local inhabitants visited the exhibition connected with the project, the ringing room, clock, belfry and roof.

The bells are to be removed from the church – made more difficult than it might be as trapdoors at the various stages do not line up. The canons will be removed and the bells tuned at Whitechapel. They will be provided with new headstocks and fittings and returned to the 1712 wooden frame which is to be stiffened with the addition of steelwork. The contract has been awarded to Nicholson Engineering who expect to start work in December and complete next Easter.


Jude Walker of the West Midlands HLF Committee

Text by Peter Woollam
Photo by Malcolm Monie
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A First for Ben

Little did Ben Roper know when he set out for Market Drayton on a warm and humid July evening that he would soon be celebrating completing his first quarter peal. Ben has been ringing for about 18 months or so, practising at Hinstock on Mondays and fairly regularly at Market Drayton on Wednesdays. He has made good progress during that time under the tuition of Keith Swinnerton.

And so it was that on Wednesday 24th July, with only 6 ringers at the practice, it was decided to make an attempt at a first quarter peal for Ben. He proved that he could plain hunt to Plain Bob and Grandsire, so that’s what was rung – the Market Drayton band having a bit of a penchant for quarters of multiple Doubles methods and variations. After a false start (conductor malfunction) a successful quarter peal was completed in 44 minutes, and Ben had a big smile on his face as ‘That’s all’ was called. Ben made very few mistakes during the quarter and was rightly proud of his achievement. Celebratory imbibing was held at The Hippodrome.

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Norman Ford

It is with sadness that the death of Norman Ford, tower captain at Prees is reported. Norman died in a road traffic accident on Thursday 18th July. A Memorial Service will be at 12 noon on Friday 2nd August at St Chad's, Prees.

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July Association Practice and Quarterly Meeting

These took place at Atcham. Twenty one ringers participated, and tea and biscuits were served by members of the Atcham band. In the early part of the evening the practice was led by Susan Capey, with Sue Buckingham (Ringing Master) taking over after the meeting. The ringing included Cambridge Surprise Minor, Plain Bob Doubles, Stedman Doubles, St Martin’s Bob Doubles, Norwich Surprise Minor, St Clement’s College Bob Minor, and Plain Hunt Minor.

The following were elected to the Association during the Quarterly Meeting: John Upton (Atcham), Michael Carding (Shrewsbury), David Watkins (Albrighton), and Robert Pride (Shrewsbury).

Peter Woollam gave a report of the current status of Bell Restoration projects.

Peter reported that the Association committee has awarded grants to Wem and Oswestry of just under £3500, to Ellesmere a grant of £315 for the installation of a simulator; and £300 to Shifnal for the repair of a wheel.

Andrew Gordon reported that the Kemberton PCC has requested another quotation and will then give the go-ahead for the project there. Fundraising is well in hand, and if more than £100,000 is raised two trebles will be added, to make a ring of 8. Andrew is planning that Kemberton will become a Ringing Centre for the far south of the Association.

Peter reported to the meeting on an incident that happened several years ago that led to ringing at Malinslee by visiting ringers being suspended. He will be sending a letter of apology to the Secretary of the PCC at Malinslee in which he will also mention some practical ways that the Association can help churches with their bell installations.

Madeline Harris reminded the meeting about the Lichfield Diocesan Mobile Belfry Day at Woodlands, Keele, on 17th August. She expressed the hope that a few people from the Association would turn up as she felt that the Mobile Belfry is not well-supported by the Association.

Sue reminded the meeting about the Ceilidh at Shawbury Village Hall in November. Sue also reported that Stefan Zientek of the Chester Guild is hoping to convene a gathering involving several Associations to discuss the future of change-ringing.

Sue thanked John Blackall for the use of the bells, and the Atcham ringers for providing tea and biscuits.

The raffle, run by Peter Woollam, raised £24 for the BRF. Winners of the prizes of strawberries, chocolates, and wine with sexy thong were Madeline Harris, Natahsa Compton, and Bill Price.

In Brian Kear’s absence the 100+ Club (which has 97 members) draw was handled by Madeline Harris. The winners were Chris Yates (High Ercall) - £50, Trisha Mitchell (Shifnal) - £25, Sandra Wilson (Ruyton XI Towns) - £15, Marion Lake (Hadley) - £12, and Pat Paddock (Ruyton XI Towns) - £10.

The next Quarterly Meeting will be held on Saturday 12th October at Stanton-upon-Hine Heath.

The next Association practice will be a joint practice with the Church Stretton District of the Hereford Guild, on Saturday 10th August at Clun.

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July Surprise Minor Practice

This was held at Moreton Corbet. Just enough ringers turned up, so a quarter of Cambridge Surprise Minor was attempted, but was unsuccessful.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 3rd August at Shawbury from 10am to 12 noon.

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Joan Meyer

It is with sadness that the death of Joan Meyer on 2nd July is reported.

Joan had been a regular and enthusiastic ringer with the Calverhall and Ightfield team for about 15 years and was very pleased last year when she managed to ring a quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles ‘inside’.

Sue Perry
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Edgmond Outing

On Saturday, 22nd June 2013 five Edgmond ringers, supported by eight ringers from neighbouring towers, set off in cars for a day's ringing tour of Staffordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire towers within the Worcestershire and Districts Change Ringing Association (WDCRA), and the Hereford Diocesan Guild.

The first tower was at Enville, home of the renowned Enville Pale Ale. The tower at St. Mary’s supports a heavy ring of eight that some of the group found somewhat ‘hard going’.

After a brief coffee break for some, it was on to St. Peter’s, Kinver, with its excellent ring of eight and of similar weight to the bells at Edgmond. To conclude the morning session we moved on to Cookley, where we conveniently took over the light ring of six from members of the WDCRA who were enjoying a coffee break while on a training day.

Lunch followed at the Island Pool pub in Cookley where, in addition to other delicacies, an excellent carvery was available, and Enville ale to wash it all down.

As the Staffs and Worcester canal connects Cookley and our next tower at Wolverley, it was suggested that some of the group might like to exercise their legs and walk the mile length which would only take 20 minutes. Unfortunately, due to a somewhat confusing local map and the absence of any sun to guide them, the ‘intrepid five’ who opted for the walk, set off in the wrong direction heading north towards Birmingham. After one hour, and thanks to a couple of cyclists who confirmed their worst thoughts, the five re-traced their steps back to Cookley where they opted to take the slightly shorter road route to Wolverley, only to arrive at St. John the Baptist Church one hour and twenty minutes from the start and just as the last two bells were being rung down!

After some ‘leg-pulling’ the group moved on to the last two towers of the day, at Cleobury Mortimer and Bridgnorth (St. Mary’s), before returning to our home destinations around 6 pm.

All in all, with some feeling slightly more tired than the others, we had enjoyed an excellent day out with no rain and the occasional sunny breaks and there was some excellent ringing of Plain Bob and Grandsire Triples.

Out thanks go to Edric Broom who masterminded such a memorable and enjoyable day’s ringing, with optional add-on, and for encouraging at least five members to “Go that extra mile!!” Thanks too to all those drivers for transporting us around safely.

Edgmond Outing group

Most of the band

Edgmond outing lunch group Edgmond outing walkers
Lunch time Four of the 'intrepid five'

Text and photos by John Williamson

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Four Confirmations and an Engagement at St Martins

On Sunday 23rd June four of our ringers, Mark Hayball, Jayne Hayball, Dawn Bellingham and Sophie Mullard were confirmed by The Rt. Revd. Mark Rylands, Bishop of Shrewsbury. It was such a lovely service; the band was very pleased to hear the Bishop say during his sermon how much he had enjoyed hearing the bells. As you can imagine it was a very special day, however there was one very special surprise to come. After the service, while we were all enjoying the tea and cakes in the chapter house, Sophie was lead back into the church to the altar where her boyfriend Jamie Evans (not yet a ringer but will be soon) went down on one knee and proposed to her, and as her mother I’m very pleased to say that she said YES!!! All at St Martins would like to wish them a very long and happy life together.

St Martins group

Back row (l to r): Mark Hayball, Jayne Hayball (joint tower captain), Will Lander (joint tower captain) and Dai Cartwright
Front row (l to r): Nicola Stone, Dawn Bellingham and Sophie Mullard

St Martins Sophie and Jamie

The happy couple after their engagement had been announced by
Revd. Stuart Jermy to the congregation in the chapter house.

Text and photos by Jayne Hayball
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June Surprise Major Practice

Under the leadership of the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, the nine ringers who made the journey to St Mary's, Shrewsbury, rang 7-spliced, Ashtead and London.

The July Surprise Major practice has been cancelled, so the next Surprise Major practice will be held at Edgmond on Friday 30th August, from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.

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Association Coach Outing 2013

This year’s Coach Outing was to the Wirral, and ringing at five towers was on offer. Thirty ringers and friends took part. Most of the party boarded the coach in Shrewsbury, but a stop at Oswestry collected a few more. The first tower of the day was St Bridget’s, West Kirby, at the far end of the Wirral peninsula. We were about 20 minutes late arriving here and Sue Buckingham (Outing organiser par excellence) was worried that the person opening up might not have waited around – but he had. The ringing room was quite small so only about twelve ringers went up at once. Call changes, Grandsire Triples and Stedman Triples were rung. The parish has built a beautiful Parish Centre at a cost of about £1million, with a roof covered with photovoltaic panels which were generating between 3 and 4 kW when we were there and which had generated more than 5MWh in the previous year or so. Many ringers made use of the facilities at this centre.

From here it was on to St Peter’s, Heswall. This tower has a very low door from the body of the church, and another small ringing room. Ringing here included call changes, Plain Hunt Triples, St Clement’s College Bob Triples, Cambridge Surprise Major, and 3-spliced. The view from the churchyard overlooking the River Dee is spectacular.

Port Sunlight village was the venue for the lunch break. Some members enjoyed lunch at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, while others lunched at the Bridge Inn.

The first tower after lunch was at St Andrew’s, Bebington where the ringing was Plain Hunt Triples, Plain Bob Triples, Stedman Triples, Cambridge Surprise Major and 3 leads of Bristol.

Then it was back to Port Sunlight village for ringing at Christ Church. A wedding had just finished and the choir was gathering for a rehearsal of ‘Elijah’ before an evening performance. Unfortunately, the treble was out of action and the ringing had to be curtailed because of the choir practice, but everyone was able to get a ring. Tea and cakes were consumed in the kitchen, to the sounds of the choir and the organ.

The final tower of the day was at St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Eastham, the only 6-bell tower of the day, where, once again, call changes were rung, plus Plain Bob Doubles, Kent Treble Bob Minor, Stedman Doubles and St Martin’s Bob Doubles.

Back on the coach for the return journey, Chris Fraser announced that the winners of the Quiz (about the various churches visited on the Outing) were the Oswestry ringers closely followed by Edric and Maureen Broom. The winners of the Dingbats quiz were Chris Fraser and Sue Perry. Confectionery was the prize in each case.

Peter Woollam sold raffle tickets, raising £48 for the BRF. Since it was forecast to be a warm day Peter had not brought along any chocolates as prizes but he had brought some scented soaps, feeling this was an appropriate prize for a trip to Port Sunlight, and alcohol. The prize winners were Biff Patterson, John Williamson, Cordelia War and Chris Fraser.

Peter thanked all those who supplied prizes and announced that he was now out of alcoholic prizes. Peter asked the party to join him in thanking Sue Buckingham for organising the day; Sue and Madeline Harris for baking cakes for tea; Nick Green for supplying the tea ingredients; and Maureen Broom for making tea.

Thanks go to Sue for her hard work organising the day; to all those who opened up at the towers, particularly in the morning when we ran a bit late; Chris Fraser and Sue for the quizzes; and Peter for the raffle.

The next Association practice will be held on Saturday 13th July at Atcham, and will incorporate the Quarterly Meeting.

Coach Outing group

Outside Bebington church

Coach Outing sunshine Coach Outing teatime
Enjoying the sunshine at Heswall Teatime at Port Sunlight
Photos by John Williamson
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June Surprise Minor Practice

For the only time this year the Surprise Minor practice was held on the day following the Surprise Major practice.

Seven Association members travelled to Stanton upon Hine Heath. Under the direction of Chris Fraser they rang Carlisle, Chester, Ipswich, and London. There was a minor surprise when the rope of the 4th broke and fell to the floor, leaving the bell up. Fortunately, a new replacement rope was available and ringing resumed after a short time.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 6th July at Moreton Corbet from 10am to 12 noon.

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May Surprise Major Practice

A good practice was held at High Ercall. Under the leadership of the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, the thirteen ringers in attendance rang Bristol, Cambridge, Lincolnshire, London, and Rutland.

The next Surprise Major practice will be held at St Mary’s in Shrewsbury, on Friday 28th June from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.

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Central Council Meeting

The 2013 Central Council Meeting took place in Guildford on Monday 27th May. Having taken part earlier in the weekend in a quiz evening (unsuccessfully) and rung at a few of the available towers, both Shropshire representatives attended the meeting. This was quite long, very hot and fairly tedious, with elections to the innumerable committees and minor changes to a couple of rules. The only item which might affect ringers in Shropshire concerned Child Protection, which is apparently to become less onerous where it is required. There was the welcome opportunity outside the formal proceedings to meet up with ringers from other parts of the country.

Perhaps the one message which was repeated throughout the weekend was that if ringing is to reverse its current slow decline, the same sort of emphasis has to be placed on recruitment and retention as has been placed on rehanging and augmenting bells in the last twenty years. There is no point in having bells in good repair if there are no ringers. It seems to be much easier to get ringers to raise money for bell projects than for training schemes. Ringing is a laughably cheap hobby compared to almost any other activity and we should perhaps be prepared to accept higher subscriptions or fund raising for training nationally even if we cannot see an immediate return in our own area.

Any questions about the Central Council and its work will be expertly answered by our Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham.

One task which Sue carried out over the weekend was the delivery of one of the copies in the association's library of 'Among the Bells' by Reverend F E Robinson. This cleric was the first ringer to ring 1000 peals. The book was being sold to a great-granddaughter of FER, who had contacted Peter Woollam, Association Librarian, earlier in the year. The upshot of their correspondence was that the association committee agreed to sell one of its copies of the book.

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More Peals

Two more peals have been rung for the Association; these are the sixth and seventh this year.

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Lawrence Barber

Sadly I have to report that Lawrence Barber died yesterday afternoon (21 May) in the Rylands at Newport. He had been poorly for quite a while but had declined quite rapidly recently. He was 81. He was a past Tower Captain at Edgmond and had been a member of the tower for over 60 years, and was a former Churchwarden.

Edric Broom
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Training Morning - 18th May

The most recent Training Morning was held at Edgmond using the simulator and under the direction of Tony Freemont, the Association’s Training Officer. The five students were Andrew Cherrill (Hinstock), Peter Hall (Cheswardine), Matthew Newson (Edgmond), Biff Patterson (Shrewsbury), and Arthur Saunders (Shifnal). They came hoping to make progress with at least one of: Rounds and Call Changes, Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire Doubles, Stedman Doubles, Cambridge Surprise Minor, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples.

Tony’s assistants were Mark Adams, Jacqui Barden, Edric Broom, Susan Capey, Alan Glover, Gill Glover, Kathryn Greaves, Madeline Harris, Paul Lewis, Peter Neil, Cordelia Warr, and Peter Woollam.

The next Training Morning is scheduled for Saturday 28th September at Edgmond. Contact Tony Freemont to book your place.

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May Association Practice

This was held at Baschurch, and eleven ringers, representing five towers and Unattached members, made the effort to attend. Sue Buckingham, the Ringing Master, was in charge. As always, what was rung was determined by those present. This time the methods rung were Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire Doubles, Kent Treble Bob Minor, Plain & Little Bob Minor, Double Court Bob Minor, Killamarsh Treble Bob Minor, and Cambridge Surprise Minor. Treble Bob Hunt was also practiced.

During a break in the ringing, members enjoyed tea and biscuits provided by Paul and Edwina Smart, and Peter Woollam sold raffle tickets, raising £15 for the Bell Restoration Fund. The winners were Madeline Harris and Jad Bienek, both of whom chose alcohol from the selection of prizes.

The second Saturday in June is the Association Coach Outing, so the next Association practice, incorporating the Quarterly Meeting, will be held on Saturday 13th July at Atcham.

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Remembering Gerald Mothershaw

A peal has been rung at Hodnet for Gerald Mothershaw by ringers who knew him.

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May Surprise Minor Practice

Thirteen ringers turned up at Ightfield for the first half of this practice. The methods rung were Cambridge, Primrose, Norwich and Carlisle. Twelve ringers made the journey to Calverhall to continue the practice – the number of Peters reduced by two thirds, and the number of Sues doubled. Once again Cambridge, Primrose, Norwich and Carlisle were rung, as well as Alnwick.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 1st June at Stanton-upon-Hine Heath, from 10am to 12noon.

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Another Association Peal

On Saturday, 27th April, a team of eight ringers from Newport and other Shropshire churches successfully rang a full peal of Plain Bob Triples in three hours on the bells at St. Nicholas church to commemorate recent milestone birthdays and two births. The birthday commemorations were for Newport ringers, Peter Dean aged 80; Tower captain, Graham Talbot, aged 75; John Stokes, aged 60. All are longstanding ringers at St. Nicholas. The two recent births included in the commemoration were for Fae Emma, daughter to Oliver and Nora Stokes and granddaughter to John & Chris Stokes; and Chloe, granddaughter to Barry and Pat Lewis.

The conductor was Andrew Gordon from Beckbury who rang in the last peal at St. Nicholas church on 5th October 1981 as a compliment to the Rev. J. C. Hill on his retirement farewell from Newport.

The current band received many compliments on their ringing, and one e-mail from a Newport resident read, “Wonderful bell ringing this afternoon. Thank you – it’s been an absolute pleasure”.

The ringers were ready for a well-earned, refreshing, celebratory drink following their three hour ordeal.

group pic

The Peal band

Text and photo by John Williamson
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Shrewsbury Ringers' Spring Outing

On Saturday 20th April, sixteen ringers and one dog visited six towers in Herefordshire. The morning towers were Cradley (8 bells), Colwall (10) and Ledbury. The 8 bells at Ledbury are housed in a tower, dating from 1230, which is separate from the body of the church – one of seven such in Herefordshire. After a hearty lunch in a local hostelry the band moved on to Yarkhill (8), where they were joined by three more ringers. Francis Stedman was the incumbent at Yarkhill for 47 years, and his son Fabian was baptised in the church in 1640. Everyone had the opportunity to ring Stedman Triples at Yarkhill. From here it was on to Bodenham (6), and then Stoke Prior (6). A wide range of methods were attempted during the day, mostly successfully; and Stedman was rung at every tower.

Most of the band carried on to Bromfield where dinner was taken at The Clive.

Thanks go to Sue Buckingham for organising a lovely day out.

group pic

Most of the band outside Stoke Prior church

Photo taken by David Butler
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April Surprise Major Practice

This was held at Edgmond and twelve ringers participated. The methods rung were Ashtead, Bristol, Lincolnshire, London, and Yorkshire. 8-spliced was also rung.

The next Surprise Major practice will be held on Friday 31st May from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at High Ercall.

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Peals Are Like Buses...

...none is rung for months and then three come along all at once. Here they are. 985, 986, 987

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April Association Practice and Quarterly Meeting

Fourteen ringers turned up at Childs Ercall for an opportunity to ring on three bells. Rounds and call changes, Stedman Singles, and Plain Bob Minimus without a treble were attempted. The ringers then travelled to Hinstock where the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, organised the ringing of call changes, Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire Doubles, Plain Bob Minor, Original Minor, Kent Treble Bob Minor, Cambridge Surprise Minor.

Twenty four ringers enjoyed tea/coffee and cakes provided by the Hinstock ringers. Sue began the Quarterly Meeting by announcing the death of Gerald Mothershaw of Hodnet. Gerald had been a member of the Association for more than 40 years and had recently been awarded the Association’s Long Service certificate.

The following were elected as members of the Association: Timothy Jordan and Andrew Cherrill (both Hinstock), Paul Thomas (Whitchurch), Michael Wilshaw (Norton in Hales), Sue Bower and Louise Bower (both Calverhall). Robert C Kippin was ratified as a Non-Resident Life Member, following election prior to a Peal attempt.

Tony Freemont mentioned the Training Morning at Edgmond on 18th May, and said that the ITTS Module 1 course that had been cancelled because of the weather, would be re-scheduled.
Edric Broom reported that the Third Wednesday morning session at Edgmond on 17th April had been cancelled and that the session on 15th May would be postponed until 22nd May.

Peter Woollam gave a report on the Bell Restoration projects at Clive, Kemberton, Montford, Oswestry, St Martins, and Wem. Peter Leigh reported on the progress being made at Ellesmere. If the Faculty is granted in June work will probably start at Nicholson’s in December.
Peter Woollam once again pleaded for members to come forward to help create Peal certificates for those Association Peals which do not yet have a hard copy.

Sue mentioned the Association Coach Outing to The Wirral in June and asked for names and £15.
Ann Williams complimented the ringers at Hinstock for what she said is a model ringing room - clean and tidy with plenty of noticeboards, and well-lit.

A round of applause of appreciation was given to Pat Swinnerton and Catherine Huyshe for providing a lovely tea.

The raffle run by Peter Woollam raised £37 for the BRF, and the winners of the wine and chocolates were Cordelia Warr, Susan Capey, and Edric Broom.

Brian Kear reported that the 100+ Club was short of its target number of members, and urged those present to sign up more members at their towers. The first draw of the year was held and the winners were: James Fraser (Shawbury) - £50, Cynthia Costelloe (Market Drayton) - £25, Mark Adams (Edgmond) - £15, Dot Williams (Ruyton XI Towns) - £12, and Beatrice Cains (High Ercall) - £12.

The next Association practice will be held at Baschurch on 11th May from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The next Quarterly Meeting will be held on 13th July at Atcham.

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April Surprise Minor Practice

Eight ringers (six of them Association members) made their way to Chetwynd for this practice. Several of the ringers are just beginning their Surprise Minor learning so ringing was confined to Cambridge and Beverley. Chris Fraser was in charge.

The next Surprise Minor practice will held on Saturday 4th May, at Calverhall and/or Ightfield.

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A First Quarter Peal at Edgmond

Congratulations to Matthew Newson who rang his first quarter peal at Edgmond recently.

Edric Broom writes:

Following a chance meeting in the pub after a ringing practice in Oct 2011, Matt, along with another first year student at Harper Adams, decided to have a go at ringing. Matthew has made good progress and has been very loyal and regular at practice and Sunday service ringing, and a couple of weeks ago we decided he was ready for a try at a QP, before the Easter vac. He rang very well with only minimal need for correction. We are very pleased with his achievement. The other student, Dale Webb, has been less regular, having many other interests, but he is still with us and hopefully may get a QP before too long.

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March Association Practice

This was held at St Martins, in one of the best-kept ringing rooms in the Association. Fourteen ringers under the direction of the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, rang call changes, Plain Bob Doubles, Stedman Doubles, St Martin's Bob Doubles (of course), Cambridge Surprise Minor, and London Surprise Minor. Peter Woollam caused no surprise by running a raffle, raising £20 for the Bell Restoration Fund. The prizes of chocolates, some of which could only be enjoyed at their best before the end of April, were won by Andy Wilson (Church Stretton), Jayne Hayball (St Martins), and Sue Buckingham (Shrewsbury). Sue thanked everyone for coming and remarked that it was very pleasing to see so many of the local band at the practice.

The next Association practice will be held on Saturday 13th April at Hinstock and will incorporate the Quarterly Meeting. All members are encouraged to attend.

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A Future Ringer?

Newport ringer Oliver Stokes and wife Nora (ringing widow) are pleased to announce the birth of their second child, Fae Emma, who was born on Thursday 21st February 2013 at 9:37pm weighing 8lbs 2oz. A new ringer for Newport in the future, along with her elder brother Harry.

F A Stokes

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March Surprise Minor Practice

This was held at Prees. Chris Fraser persuaded the sixteen ringers who attended to have a go at Cambridge, Bourne, Wells, London and Ipswich. It was pleasing to see several ringers who were making their first attempts at Cambridge.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held on Saturday 6th April from 10am to 12noon at Chetwynd.

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February Surprise Major practice

Nine ringers made their way to Oswestry for this practice. Under the leadership of Sue Buckingham, Ringing Master, and using the simulator, they turned their hands to Bristol, Lincolnshire, and an unconventional 8-spliced.

The next Surprise Major practice is currently scheduled for Friday 26th April, 7:30pm to 9:00pm at Edgmond. The last Friday of March is Good Friday so there will be no practice then, but there may be a practice earlier in the month. Check the website.

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February Training Morning

The first Training Morning of the year was held at Edgmond, and made use of the simulator. The students were Natasha Compton (Shawbury), Peter Hall (Cheswardine), Nicola Stone (Oswestry), Arthur Saunders (Shifnal), Nicki Adams, Colin Jones and Marion Lake (all Wellington). Their specialist subjects were handling, plain hunt on five, Plain Bob Doubles, Stedman Doubles, and Plain Bob Triples. They were assisted to make progress by Jacqui Barden, Edric Broom, Sue Buckingham, Chris Fraser, Madeline Harris, Will Lander, Paul Lewis, Peter Neil, Cordelia Warr and Peter Woollam, under the leadership of Tony Freemont, the Association’s Training Officer.

The next Association Training Morning will be held on Saturday 18th May from 9:30am to 12:30pm. This is a change of date from that previously advertised. Contact Tony Freemont to book your place.

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Annual Report 2012 and Handbook 2013

The SACBR Report 2012 and Handbook 2013 has now been published and distributed to towers.

If your band has any spare copies left, maybe because members have moved away, or because two people sharing the same address are willing to share one copy of the Report, please return them to Chris Fraser, or any Committee member. Requests for copies of the Report are received during the year from ringers from outside the Association. A charge is made for supplying these copies, helping to offset the cost of producing the report.

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Another First at Stanton

Congratulations to Natasha Compton who rang her first quarter peal on Monday 4th February, two days before her 13th birthday. The band included Natasha’s proud mother, Karen, and equally proud Tower Captain, Chris Fraser. Chocolate birthday cake was enjoyed by all the band after their success.

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February Association Practice

Only eleven Association members (including the Association's most recent first-quarter-pealer) made the journey to Market Drayton for the February monthly practice - the only monthly practice at an 8 bell tower for the rest of this year. Under the direction of the Ringing Master, Sue Buckingham, members had a go at Plain Bob Doubles, Plain Bob Triples, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, Erin Triples, and 6-Spliced Surprise Major.

Peter Woollam ran the raffle which raised £21 for the Bell Restoration Fund. The prize winners were Nick Green, Peter Hall, and Edric Broom. Between them they took home confectionery and alcohol.

The next monthly Association practice will be held at St Martins on Saturday 9th March, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. All ringers are invited – the ringing is tailored to those who turn up.

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February Surprise Minor Practice

This was held at Atcham. Fourteen ringers, directed in their efforts by Chris Fraser, made attempts at Cambridge, Norwich, Ipswich, Wells, London, York, and spliced Beverley and Surfleet.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held at Prees on Saturday 2nd March, from 10am to 12 noon.

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A Quarter Peal for a Special Birthday

A quarter peal has been rung at Newport to mark the 75th birthday of long-time member of the band, Graham Talbot.

The band would also like to associate the quarter peal with Bill Deason. Bill was scheduled to ring and conduct, but had to withdraw following a fall in the snow. All of Bill's ringing friends wish him a speedy recovery.

Mark Adams
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And the Winner Is ...

Congratulations to Ann Williams (Atcham) for being one of the winners of the Crossword Competition in the Christmas issue of The Ringing World. Ann's prize is a print of a watercolour of Parliament Square by Henry Edward Tidmarsh; this image is also used as the illustration for March in the 2013 Ringing World calendar.

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Association AGM - 12th January 2013

This was held at St Alkmund’s church, Whitchurch. About 33 ringers (including 2 visitors who had lost a peal earlier in the day and had nothing better to do with their evening) met in the spacious, but not over-lit, ringing room for call changes, Grandsire Triples, and Stedman Triples prior to the Service of Thanksgiving.

The Service was led by Rev Judy Hunt; Archdeacon Paul Thomas gave the address, during which he admitted to being a lapsed ringer with more than 200 peals to his name; the organ was played by Dr Robert Fowler; and the sound system was operated by churchwarden John Stokes.

The ringers were joined by more Association members in the Bargates Church Hall where a delicious hot meal was waiting. Ann Monie and her team had prepared beef casserole, chicken curry, and spicy vegetable casserole, and these were served with crusty bread. This was followed by muffins, cake and biscuits plus tea and coffee.

AGM tea

Monty Davenport, Malcolm Monie and John Bates dishing up a delicious meal

Sue Buckingham, Ringing Master, introduced Archdeacon Paul who got the meetings underway. At the Quarterly Meeting which preceded the AGM, the following were elected as members of the Association: Marion Davies (Atcham); Beverley Jones (Coalbrookdale); Nick Easthorpe, Nicola Galton (both Ellesmere); Rachel Rose (High Ercall); Angie Spooner, Adam Cawley, Arthur Saunders (all Shifnal); David Cartwright, Mark Hayball, Dawn Bellingham (all St Martins); Mike Lloyd, Ben Lloyd (both Upton Magna); Sharon Collins (Wellington).
Sue mentioned that the venue for the February monthly practice has been changed to Market Drayton.

After the usual business of apologies, minutes of the last AGM, and matter arising from the Minutes, Sue Buckingham gave her Ringing Master’s report. Sue touched briefly on the highlights of the year, including:

Susan Capey (Treasurer) thanked Alan Glover for his help when she took over from him as Treasurer. Susan presented the accounts of the Association, which were approved by the meeting. Susan reported that the Committee had decided that there would be no change to the annual subscription for 2014. The Independent Examiners, Brian Kear and Karen Compton, had approved the accounts.

Peter Woollam (Bell Adviser) gave his usual detailed report. Grants had been awarded to High Ercall (the first grant for materials used in work carried out entirely by local ringers), St Mary’s, Shrewsbury, and Edgmond. He had made inspections at Ellesmere, Clive, Wem (where work on the fabric of the church has started), St Martins, Kemberton. Peter’s tip for 2013 is to keep a maintenance diary in the tower, a hard back notebook is sufficient.

Chris Fraser (Report Editor) stated that the Report is almost ready to go to the printers. She thanked all those who had responded to her requests for information, and reminded everyone to read what is sent to them!

Peter was on his feet again to give the Librarian’s report during which he mentioned his Peal Records Project - to make hard copies of every peal rung for the Association and have them professionally bound.

Tony Freemont (Training Officer) reported on the success of the Training mornings held during the year. He especially thanked Edric Broom, and all those who come along to help with the sessions. Paul Lewis gave a brief overview of the ITTS Module 1 training which is planned for 23rd March.

Madeline Harris (PRO) reported that an increasing number of people are opting to receive the quarterly newsletter by email. She also reported that there appeared to have been no negative reporting of ringing in the local press.

Chris Fraser (Children and Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer) reported that she had not received any requests for help.

Madeline Harris (LDMB Trustee) reported on the activities of the Mobile Belfry, and mentioned that volunteers are needed to help with the towing and erecting of the Mobile Belfry.

Sue Buckingham (Central Council Representative) reported that the Central Council meeting had been held in Chester and that it had been interesting.

Elections for the Committee for 2013 were held. The only changes from the 2012 Committee are the Mobile Belfry Trustees, both Chris Fraser and Madeline Harris stood down, but there were no replacements forthcoming.

The Social events in 2013 will be a Coach Outing to the Wirral in June, and a Ceilidh at Shawbury Village Hall in November.

Ann Williams raised the issue of grants made for work on bells and what happens if the project costs less than anticipated. Should the Association insist that the project uses an account separate from the church’s accounts, so that money raised for bell projects is not used for general church maintenance? Brian Kear reported that the Heritage Lottery Fund demands that any surplus funds are returned, pro-rata.

Kathryn Greaves thanked the Committee for their hard work during the year.

Sue Buckingham thanked Ann Monie and her team for the delicious meal; Rev Judy Hunt for taking the Service; and Archdeacon Paul for chairing the meeting.

Peter Woollam sold enough raffle tickets to raise £85 for the Bell Restoration Fund. The prizes were the usual confectionery and alcohol, plus an assortment of diaries (which had to be included in the January raffle), and a marquetry picture created and donated by Neil Micklewright, a ringer at Market Drayton. The prize winners were; John Stokes, Jad Bienek, Andrew Gordon, Bill Price, Rodney Upton, Edric Broom, John Williamson, Tony Molinoli, Tony Freemont, Ann Monie, and Jan Snowball.

The final 100+ Club draw of the year was made by Brian Kear who reported that there were 104 members in 2012 and about £800 will have been made for the BRF. The winners were: £50 – John Williamson (Newport); £25 – Gareth Jones (Clive); £15 – Mrs Florence Aveyard (Little Stretton); £12 – Mrs D E Williams (Ruyton XI Towns); £10 – John Gibson (Much Wenlock).

The next AGM will be held on Saturday 11th January 2014 at Shawbury. The next Quarterly Meeting will be held on Saturday 13th April at Hinstock. The next monthly practice will be held on Saturday 9th February at Market Drayton.

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January Surprise Minor Practice

This was held at Oswestry and made use of the simulator. Tony Freemont, Association Training Officer, led eight other ringers in attempts at Cambridge, Beverley, Surfleet (individually and spliced), Norwich, Ipswich, Wells, London and York.

The next Surprise Minor practice will be held at Atcham on Saturday 2nd February, from 10am to 12 noon.

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