Site last updated 23 July 2017
The Shropshire Association covers the towers in the Salop Archdeaconry of the Lichfield Diocese, and is roughly the area north of the River Severn, from near Wolverhampton in the southeast to Selattyn in the northwest. The rest of Shropshire is in the Hereford Diocese.
Information about the towers in the Association, practice nights and Association events, and much else, can be found by following the links on the left or below.
July Association Practice and Quarterly Meeting
These took place at Montford on a lovely July evening. Twenty two ringers attended and the ringing included call changes, plain hunt on 5 and 6, Plain Bob Doubles, Plain Bob Minor, Grandsire Doubles.
The meeting was held in the church. Eric Millington (Albrighton) was elected as a member of the Association.
In the absence of Cordelia War, Madeline Harris spoke about the Ceilidh to be held at Shawbury on Saturday 18 November, from 7:30pm to 11pm. Tickets will cost £10 (£7.50 for 12s and under).
Madeline also gave the Training Officer's report in Tony Freemont’s absence. Tony is planning to hold a Grandsire and Stedman (Doubles and Triples) training at Oswestry on Saturday 2 September. The next 8-bell practice will be at Hodnet on Saturday 5 August from 10am to 12 noon. There are still places available for the Training Morning to be held at Edgmond on Saturday 16 September, from 9:30am to 12:30pm; contact Tony [email] if you would like to attend.
Madeline reminded those present about the Association’s Striking Competition, to be held on Saturday 9 Septemebr at Ightfield, starting at 4pm. Please let Jad Bienek [email] know by Sunday 3 September if your tower will be entering a band.
Peter Woollam reminded members that the Central Council produces guidance notes on many subjects including Health & Safety, Risk Assessments, and Safeguarding. The Central Council has also produced a publication called ‘Bells In Your Care’, available online only, for incumbents and churchwardens. The publication can be found at www.cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/bells-in-your-care.pdf.
Andrew Gordon spoke about Jim Thomsett, a ringer at Albrighton, who had died on 20th June at the age of 82. A quarter peal had been rung on the day of his funeral.
Ann Williams raised the subject of ringers’ insurance There was discussion about the need for insurance when visiting other towers and the costs of this insurance. It was suggested that the item should be added to the agenda for the next committee meeting. It was noted that, several years ago, the Association voted not to purchase insurance.
Peter mentioned that several churches had been approached by telecommunications companies about installing masts on their towers. Useful information is available from Peter.
Madeline reminded the meeting that nominations for Honorary Life Membership should be sent to Jad [email] no later than 31st August so that the committee can review the nominations at its meeting on 3 September.
Peter Woollam raised £33 for the BRF from the sale of raffle tickets. Prizes of freshly-picked gooseberries and various forms of alcohol were won by Clive Morris, Sue Dancey, Peter Woollam, Brian Kear. Peter thanked those who had donated prizes.
Brian Kear carried out the draw for the 100+ Club. The winners of the second draw of the year are: Gill Glover (£50), Simon Rice (£25), Claire Unsworth (£15), Steve Evans (£15), Judith Byne (£12) and John Neal (£10).
Thanks go to Tricia Jones for opening up the tower and church, and for providing drinks and delicious cakes. Thanks also to Paul and Edwina Smart for their help in checking the ropes and cleaning the ringing room.
The next Monthly Practice will be held at Worthen on 19 August, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
The next Quarterly Meeting will be held at Wrockwardine on Saturday 14 October.
Wedding Anniversary Peal
The twelfth Association peal of the year was rung at Cheswardine to celebrate the 45th wedding anniversary of Lynn and Peter Hall.
Cheswardine, Shropshire - at the Church of St Swithun
On Saturday, 8 July 2017, in 3 hours
A Peal of 5152 Spliced Surprise Major
23 methods: 224 each Ashtead, Bristol, Cambridge, Cassiobury, Cornwall,
Cray, Double Dublin, Glasgow, Ipswich, Jersey, Lincolnshire, Lindum,
London, Preston, Pudsey, Rutland, Superlative, Tavistock, Uxbridge,
Watford, Wembley, Whalley, Yorkshire; 160 com, atw
Composed by N Smith
Tenor 8-3-5 in G
|Stuart C W Hutchieson||Treble||Nicholas J Green||5|
|Neil Bennett||2||Michael Wilshaw||6|
|Elizabeth Hutchieson||3||Matthew Lawrence||7|
|Gail K Lawrence||4||Andrew C Ogden||Tenor|
Conducted by Stuart C W Hutchieson.
45th wedding anniversary compliment to Peter (tower captain) and Lynn Hall.
Two Peals in One Day (2)
The tenth and eleventh Association peals of the year were rung on 1 July, at Bishop's Castle and Churchstoke. They resulted in Ann Williams becoming the most prolific current member ringer of peals for the Association.
Bishop's Castle, Shropshire - at the Church of St John the Baptist
On Saturday, 1 July 2017, in 2 hours and 37 minutes
A Peal of 5040 Minor
7 methods: One extent each of Cambridge Surprise, Kent Treble Bob,
Oxford Treble Bob, St Clement's College Bob, College Bob,
Grandsire and Plain Bob.
Tenor 8-2-18 in A
|David E Coleman||Treble||Gareth B R Jones||4|
|E Ann Williams||2||Kevin M Price||5|
|Adrian G Roberts||3||Andrew W Gordon||Tenor|
Conducted by Kevin M Price.
In memory of John G Gipson of Meldreth.
Churchstoke, Montgomeryshire - at the Church of St Nicholas
On Saturday, 1 July 2017, in 2 hours and 43 minutes
A Peal of 5040 Doubles
11 methods: Four extents each of St Martin's Bob, St Simon's Bob, Eynesbury Bob,
St Osmund Bob, Winchendon Place, St Nicholas Bob, St Remigius Bob,
Huntley Place, Reverse Canterbury Pleasure Place, Plain Bob;
Tenor 8cwt in Bb
|E Ann Williams||Treble|
|Adrian G Roberts||2|
|Gareth B R Jones||3|
|Kevin M Price||4|
|Andrew W Gordon||Tenor|
Conducted by Kevin M Price
Honorary Life Membership
The Association rules state that:
The committee may propose for election at an AGM as honorary life members anyone who has rendered exceptional service to the Association. Notice of such a proposition must be given at the October business meeting.
Any member of the Association can nominate someone for Honorary Life Membership of the Association. Nominations, together with brief reasons why you think the person you are nominating ought to be considered, must reach the committee by 31st August 2017. The committee will consider all nominations for the award at its meeting on 3rd September 2017.
Some guidance to help members decide whether someone has given exceptional service to the Association can be found here. These guidelines are not prescriptive and should not be considered as a checklist that the committee uses in its deliberations.
Open Day at John Taylor & Co.
John Taylor & Co. (www.taylorbells.co.uk) are holding an Open Day at their Loughborough Bell Foundry on Saturday 29 July 2017, from 10:30 to 17:00.
There will be guided tours of the foundry throughout the day; visitors can see iron founding and bell casting at noon and 15:00; the Ypres WW1 Memorial Bells will be on display in their frame.
There's no need to book, just go along.
July 6-Bell Practice
There was a good turnout of ringers at Atcham for the July 6-bell practice. Fifteen ringers, under the direction of Tony Freemont, had a go at call changes, Plain Hunt, Plain Bob Doubles, Stedman Doubles, Norwich Surprise Minor, and St Clement’s College Bob Minor. Several ringers benefitted from individual tuition on fine-tuning their bell-handling. The towers represented at the practice included Atcham, Edgmond, High Ercall, Lilleshall, Market Drayton, Meole Brace, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, and Wem.
The next 6-bell practice is scheduled for Saturday 2nd September at a venue yet to be decided. If your tower would like to host a 6-bell practice please contact Tony Freemont [email].
June Surprise Major Practice
Fifteen ringers travelled to Meole Brace for this practice. The ringing included Cambridge, Glasgow, London, Rutland, Yorkshire, spliced Cambridge and Yorkshire, and 8-spliced. There was also a touch of Stedman Triples especially for Andy Digby of Meole Brace, who rang the tenor.
The next Surprise Major practice is scheduled for Friday 28th July at a venue yet to be decided.
150th Anniversary Peal
The ninth Association peal of the year was rung at Chetwynd to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the church there.
Chetwynd, Shropshire - at the Church of St Michael and All Angels
On Sunday, 18 June 2017, in 2 hours and 38 minutes
A Peal of 5040 Surprise Minor
7 methods: 1 extent each: London, York, Ipswich, Primrose, Norwich,
Beverley and Cambridge
Tenor 6-3-22 in A
|Maurice G Ingram||Treble||Nicholas J Green||4|
|William S Deason||2||Matthew Lawrence||5|
|Gail K Lawrence||3||Andrew C Ogden||Tenor|
Conducted by Matthew Lawrence.
Rung to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this church.
Remembering Barry J Lewis, former tower captain here at Chetwynd,
who had specifically requested this peal for the church anniversary
prior to his death last December.
Association Ringing Outing - 10th June 2017
The Association's Summer outing was held on Saturday 10th June. Cordelia Warr, the Association’s Social Secretary, planned a day’s ringing at towers in North Wales.
The first tower of the day was at Harwarden (12cwt 6). The church of St Deiniol is next door to Gladstone’s library and, after the ringing, many of the ringers enjoyed coffee in the café there. The next stop was St Matthew’s at Buckley (14cwt 8). The tower before lunch was St Eurgain and St Peter (11cwt 8) at Northop. After a search for the key the band ascended to the ringing room which features a novel sound control arrangement that allowed more than one member of the group to alter the loudness of the ringing in the ringing room. Most of the group had lunch at Pen y Bont Farm pub at Mold, where the meals were served quickly. The first tower after lunch was the 14cwt 6 at Bodelwyddan – aka the Marble Church. Ringing here suffered from the usual post-lunch torpor. The final tower of the day was Abergele (8cwt 6). This has an L-shaped ringing room with the short arm of the L used as a sitting-out area.
Call changes were rung at all the towers, in addition to Grandsire and/or Stedman (Doubles or Triples depending on the tower). Other methods rung included Plain Bob Minor, St Clement’s College Bob Minor, Cambridge Surprise Minor, Norwich Surprise Minor, Pudsey Surprise Major (half a course), Little Bob Major, Plain Bob Triples, and an attempt at 4-Spliced Surprise Major.
Thanks go to Cordelia for making all the arrangements, to all those who came along and made it such a pleasant event, and to all those who ensured that we didn’t have a lock-out.
The next social event will be the Ceilidh to be held on Saturday 18th November at Shawbury Village Hall.
Another Variable Hunt Peal
While the Association outing was taking place in North Wales, the eighth Association peal of the year was being rung at Stanton upon Hine Heath.
Stanton upon Hine Heath, Shropshire - at the Church of St Andrew
On Saturday, 10 June 2017, in 2 hours and 34 minutes
A Peal of 5040 Spliced Surprise Minor
3 methods: 2160 Cambridge, 1464 Beverley, 1416 Surfleet;
41 c.o.m. - variable hunt
Composed by A N Tyler
Tenor 7-1-27 in A
|Alan M Glover||Treble||Timothy M Davis||4|
|Gail K Lawrence||2||Michael Wilshaw||5|
|Paul J Lewis||3||Matthew Lawrence||Tenor|
Conducted by Matthew Lawrence.
First variable hunt - 3.
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
June 8-Bell Practice
Visitors to the Plant Fair at Hodnet Hall were serenaded by the efforts of the fifteen ringers who turned up for the June 8-bell practice at St Luke's church, Hodnet. The ringing included plain courses of Plain Bob Doubles with three covers, Plain Bob Triples, and Grandsire Triples, and touches of Grandsire Triples and Stedman Triples. The Ringing Master is grateful to the more experienced ringers who came along to help.
The towers represented included Baschurch , Edgmond, Hodnet, Market Drayton, Meole Brace, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch, Wem, and Wrockwardine.
Thanks to John Powell for allowing the use of the bells.
The next 8-bell practice is planned for 5th August, at Hodnet.
May Surprise Major Practice
This was held in June at High Ercall and nine ringers participated. The ringing included Pudsey, London, Superlative, spliced Pudsey and London, and 8-spliced.
Thanks to Chris Yates for allowing the use of the bells.
The next Surprise Major practice is scheduled for Friday 30th June at Meole Brace.
The CRAG has produced a Frequently Asked Questions document, based on the queries submitted to them and some of the other queries they have seen raised online. The document can be found at: http://cc-crag.weebly.com/faqs.html.
CRAG Final Report
The Council Review Action Group (CRAG) has released its final report and recommendations.
The summary and proposals can be found at https://cccbr.org.uk/review/final/. This page also includes links to PDF versions of the summary and the full report.
PowerPoint Presentations for PR
The Central Council Public Relations Committee has created a set of PowerPoint presentations that ringers can use to explain ringing to others. The set is available on the Council’s website: https://cccbr.org.uk/2017/03/19/powerpoint-presentations-to-use-for-pr-purposes/
Missing From the Report/Handbook
The report of the Atcham ringers' actvities in 2016 was inadvertently omitted from the Report/Handbook which has been sent to all towers recently.
Steve Evans wrote:
It has been quite a successful year. We have had two recruitment days one on Magna Carta day and one on Heritage day which attracted four new members wishing to learn how to ring. We are grateful to John Upton for his enthusiasm in this recruitment and his commitment to providing one to one instruction.
We have rung for 6 weddings with an additional one over Christmas and had 7 bands of visiting ringers.
We have dedicated one practice evening and one Sunday service ring to two service men from Atcham who were killed in action or died from their wounds in WW1.
Lance Corporal Hughes who died in action on 18 August 1916 and Private John Benbow died of his wounds 17th October 1916. A minute's silence was held on each occasion.
Bill Price our steeple keeper maintains our ring of six bells with Elaine, Llynne, Marion and Emma ensuring that social events are arranged and suitable refreshments available when necessary.
We participated in the striking competition and will put our experiences from that day into next year's and hope that we can finish higher up the leader table.
We have also hosted two Saturday 6 bell practices and look forward to doing more in the New Year.
We very rarely miss a practice evening on a Thursday and plan to ring for Sunday services on the 2nd and 4th Sunday and any other special events.
We are as ever grateful to Nick Green and Adrian Roberts for helping us on practice nights.
We plan to ring midday on 1st January as we did last year and welcome members of the congregation to stay for sherry and mince pies and also have a ring if they wish.
In 2016 the Shropshire Association’s 100+ Club continued the trend of recent years with more than 100 members. There were twenty two winners with two members winning twice. The total prize money awarded was £508, and £878.38 was raised for the Bell Restoration Fund.
Brian Kear, the organiser of the 100+ Club, has recently sent out application forms for 2017 to all tower correspondents. To be a member of the Club you must be over the age of 16 years. More members means more and/or better prizes.
To be in with a chance to be a winner, please return your completed application form and cheque to Brian by 1st April 2017. Cheques should be made payable to Shropshire Association of Church Bellringers Bell Restoration Fund.
The total of grants awarded from the Bell Restoration Fund in 2016 was £351. Your support of the 100+ Club will help the Bell Restoration Fund grow and ultimately increase the size of the grants awarded for bell restoration projects within the Shropshire Association.
The first draw of the year will take place at the Quarterly Meeting at Norton-in-Hales on 8th April.
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) and the Church of England have agreed an update to the Safeguarding procedures for ringers.Guidance Note 3 (GN3), which an be found at www.cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/GN3v9.pdf, gives advice regarding child protection in towers. The Appendix to the Guidance Note describes in more detail the ringing activities which require a ringer to be DBS checked.
VAT and Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme
The Central Council's Bell Restoration Committee has recently updated its Guidance Note on this subject.
The Guidance Note (GN1) can be found at
Would you like to ring a Peal? Andrew Gordon is offering to make arrangements and co-ordinate towers and ringers for Peal attempts. Please contact Andrew on 07973 398289.
In order to ensure that all ringers have the opportunity to read the quarterly Newsletter, and to help keep costs down, it would be helpful if the Newsletter could be delivered electronically. Is there someone in your tower who would be willing to receive the quarterly Newsletter by email, and be willing to make at least one copy of it for your tower notice-board? This person should be someone who checks their email frequently (not just once or twice a year!).
Please email Peter Woollam at 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, 3rd September 2017.
Peter Woollam is Editor of the printed Newsletter as part of his Publicity portfolio. He would welcome any comments on the future format of the Newsletter and any items for inclusion in it.