Site last updated 19 August 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.
August 8-Bell Practice
A record number of ringers attended the August 8-bell practice at St Luke's church, Hodnet. The ringing included plain courses of plain hunt on 7 and on 8, Plain Bob Triples, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, and Plain Bob Major. The Ringing Master is grateful to the more experienced ringers who came along to help.
The towers represented included Baschurch, Clive, Codsall, Edgmond, Lilleshall, Market Drayton, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Wem, Whitchurch, and Wrockwardine.
Thanks to John Powell for allowing the use of the bells.
The next 8-bell practice is planned for 7th October, at a venue yet to be organised.
July Surprise Major Practice
Fifteen ringers, including a visitor from Haywards Heath, plus a very young baby, travelled to Edgmond on a wet Friday for this practice. The ringing included Bristol, Glasgow, Lessness, Lincolnshire, Rutland, and 4-spliced.
Thanks to Rev. Preb. Edward Ward for allowing the use of the bells.
The next Surprise Major practice is scheduled for Friday 25th August at Wem.
Bicton Practices Cancelled
There will be no regular practices at Bicton until Monday 18th September.
Clive/Wem Practices Cancelled
There will be no regular practices at Clive and Wem until Friday 1st September, when the practice will be at Wem.
Two Peals in One Day (3)
The thirteenth and fourteenth Association peals of the year were rung on 22 July, at Ryton and High Ercall. The peals marked four significant birthdays totalling 190 years. The peal at Ryton resulted in Andrew Gordon equalling Ann Williams as the two most prolific current member ringers of peals for the Association. The peal at High Ercall was the work of an up and coming composer.
Ryton, Shropshire - at the Church of St Andrew
On Saturday, 22 July 2017
A Peal of 5040 Minor
Four methods: Two extents each of Kent Treble Bob, Cambridge Surprise, Plain Bob,
one extent of St Clement's College Bob. All different callings.
Tenor 4-2-23 in Bb
|Nicola J Galton||Treble||Elizabeth S Menhinick||4|
|Peter Neil||2||Anthony J Freemont||5|
|Cordelia Warr||3||Andrew W Gordon||Tenor|
Conducted by Andrew W Gordon.
To celebrate the 50th birthday of 3, & 40th birthday of 4.
High Ercall, Shropshire - at the Church of St Michael and All Angels
On Saturday, 22 July 2017, in 3 hours 1 minute
A Peal of 5056 Plain Bob Major
Composed by Maurice G Ingram
Tenor 10-2-8 in F#
|David R Ingram||Treble||William S Deason||5|
|Nicholas J Green||2||Maurice G Ingram||6|
|Elizabeth (Biff) Patterson||3||Gail K Lawrence||7|
|Paul J Lewis||4||Matthew Lawrence||Tenor|
Conducted by Gail K Lawrence.
Arranged as a 70th birthday compliment to Maurice Ingram
and a 30th birthday compliment to Chloë Darby.
This composition is believed to be rung for the first time.
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.
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.
Tower Access Guidance Notes
The Towers and Belfries Committee of the Central Council has produced some guidance notes on the various ways we access towers. The notes cover the condition of stairs and ladders; handholds; lighting; doorways and trap doors; and some potential hazards.
The notes can be found at, and downloaded from, https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/stairways.pdf
The CRAG has produced a Frequently Asked Questions document, based on the queries submitted to them and some of the other queries they have seen raised online. The document can be found at: http://cc-crag.weebly.com/faqs.html.
CRAG Final Report
The Council Review Action Group (CRAG) has released its final report and recommendations.
The summary and proposals can be found at https://cccbr.org.uk/review/final/. This page also includes links to PDF versions of the summary and the full report.
PowerPoint Presentations for PR
The Central Council Public Relations Committee has created a set of PowerPoint presentations that ringers can use to explain ringing to others. The set is available on the Council’s website: https://cccbr.org.uk/2017/03/19/powerpoint-presentations-to-use-for-pr-purposes/
In 2016 the Shropshire Association’s 100+ Club continued the trend of recent years with more than 100 members. There were twenty two winners with two members winning twice. The total prize money awarded was £508, and £878.38 was raised for the Bell Restoration Fund.
Brian Kear, the organiser of the 100+ Club, has recently sent out application forms for 2017 to all tower correspondents. To be a member of the Club you must be over the age of 16 years. More members means more and/or better prizes.
To be in with a chance to be a winner, please return your completed application form and cheque to Brian by 1st April 2017. Cheques should be made payable to Shropshire Association of Church Bellringers Bell Restoration Fund.
The total of grants awarded from the Bell Restoration Fund in 2016 was £351. Your support of the 100+ Club will help the Bell Restoration Fund grow and ultimately increase the size of the grants awarded for bell restoration projects within the Shropshire Association.
The first draw of the year will take place at the Quarterly Meeting at Norton-in-Hales on 8th April.
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) and the Church of England have agreed an update to the Safeguarding procedures for ringers.Guidance Note 3 (GN3), which an be found at www.cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/GN3v9.pdf, gives advice regarding child protection in towers. The Appendix to the Guidance Note describes in more detail the ringing activities which require a ringer to be DBS checked.
VAT and Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme
The Central Council's Bell Restoration Committee has recently updated its Guidance Note on this subject.
The Guidance Note (GN1) can be found at
Would you like to ring a Peal? Andrew Gordon is offering to make arrangements and co-ordinate towers and ringers for Peal attempts. Please contact Andrew on 07973 398289.
In order to ensure that all ringers have the opportunity to read the quarterly Newsletter, and to help keep costs down, it would be helpful if the Newsletter could be delivered electronically. Is there someone in your tower who would be willing to receive the quarterly Newsletter by email, and be willing to make at least one copy of it for your tower notice-board? This person should be someone who checks their email frequently (not just once or twice a year!).
Please email Peter Woollam at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name, email address, and tower of your tower’s email correspondent and of any other members who would like to receive their own copy. Email addresses supplied will be stored on the Newsletter Editor's computer and used only for the distribution of the newsletter. They will not be made available to anyone else.
Paper copies will still be sent out to those towers who do not wish to receive it electronically.
Association Monthly Surprise Major Practices
These practices are usually held on the last Friday of the month and at various locations.
The practices are not only aimed at members who want to progress in their Surprise Major ringing, but at those who feel they are capable of starting their Surprise Major ringing career. Those who aspire only to ring the treble may attend, but clearly they may not get much of a ring - there is only one treble in each touch. We rely on the experience of more seasoned Surprise Major ringers to strengthen bands; the ringing master is grateful for their support.
The practices will as far as possible be tailored to the needs of those attending. There will be one or two 'special' methods - probably one of the 'standard eight' plus something of the Ringing Master's choosing. The 'easier' methods of the standard eight will also be rung e.g. Cambridge and Yorkshire. Please let the ringing master know of any special request.
Training at Edgmond Ringing Centre
On the first Monday evening of the month there will normally be an opportunity for individuals to have a one to one session on a silenced bell with the simulator. The session will be limited to three people, so ring Edric Broom (01952 825851) as early as possible to book your place.
If you have a training requirement which you feel is not being met, and which perhaps could be met with input from the Association, please discuss it with the Association's Training Officer, Tony Freemont, so that we can try to satisfy the need, either in your tower or at the Edgmond Ringing Centre.
The next Association committee meeting will be held on Sunday, 3rd September 2017.
Peter Woollam is Editor of the printed Newsletter as part of his Publicity portfolio. He would welcome any comments on the future format of the Newsletter and any items for inclusion in it.