THE 62nd annual meeting of the Council, held in the Palace Hotel, Southport, opened in the customary manner, with greetings from the host Association, the civic authorities and the Church. The Mayor of Southport (Cclr. R. Wood) arrived, accompanied by the Bishop of Liverpool, and was received by the president of the Lancashire Association (the Rev. R. D. St. J. Smith).
The Lancashire Association president said it was a pleasure to them to welcome the Central Council to Lancashire after an interval of 27 years, the last meeting being at Liverpool. “We are proud to welcome the Central Council here and to make the necessary arrangements.”
In welcoming the Mayor of Southport, the Rev. R. D. St. J. Smith thanked the civic authorities at Southport for their great help.
The Mayor, in reply, said he had read with interest the reports of the various committees of the Council and tried to memorise some of the terms used in bellringing. He spent his early life in the country, where they looked forward to Sunday morning beginning with the ringing of church bells.
“SERMONS IN SOUND”
“I am glad to think that in these days, when music of the type you present is not generally popular, the call you give by the sermons in sound reminds us in these days, when the claim of the material seems to be drowning it, of our higher nature. I hope that your art and profession will succeed in this day and generation.”
The Bishop said that it was fitting that a welcome should be given by the Mayor and the Bishop, because bellringers served both Church and State and did it very well indeed. In the past the church bells in some towers had been under the control of the town and not the Church.
During the war church towers were put under the State and ringers were forbidden to ring, being held in readiness to ring in the event of invasion or other emergency. When the war was over it was appropriate that the ringers should send out a gladsome peal giving thanks to God for deliverance and victory.
Bellringers, the Bishop went on, served to give expression of their deepest emotions of joy and sorrow. People returning from abroad appreciated above all the village church with its bells reminding them of the great events of the Church year.
Ringers were a band of good Church men and women who loved their Church and served it. Often the good service they were giving went unregarded, possibly because they were out of sight when they did their work. The wonderful service in Christ Church, when over 100 assembled to start the day with the service of Holy Communion, emphasised what he said, that they were good churchpeople rendering their service unto the Lord.
Mr. Frederick Sharpe, the president of the Council, thanked the Lancashire Association and the Mayor of Southport for “a most wonderful welcome.” In thanking the Bishop for conducting the service that morning, the president said it was one of the most beautiful services of Holy Communion that the Council had been to.
GOLDEN WEDDING & PRESENTATION
The proceedings of the Council started with the president reading a letter from Mr. E. H. Lewis conveying to the members of the Central Council his appreciation and thanks for their congratulations and good wishes on the occasion of his wife’s and his golden wedding.
Mr. Lewis, advancing to the platform, expressed his personal thanks for the kind message sent by Mr. Barnett on behalf of the Council on the day of happiness, April 29th. Their president had with him a weapon of some service in the shillelagh, presented to the Council last year. It was his wish, however, to present a weapon more suitable for their meetings and he had much pleasure in presenting to the president a gavel.
Receiving the gift, Mr. Sharps thanked Mr. Lewis on behalf of the Council for his gift. The head was a delightful representation of a bell with a Doncaster head and other embellishments. It was inscribed “E. H. L. 1930-57.”
Life members: Messrs. F. Sharpe, E. A. Barnett, F. W. Perrens, E. H. Lewis. G. W. Fletcher and Mrs. G. W. Fletcher.
Honorary members: Mrs. E. A. Barnett, Messrs. J. P. Fidler, F. I. Hairs. D. Hughes, C. K. Lewis, Mrs. C. C. Marshall, Messrs. W. A. Osborn, A. J. Pitman, A. H. Pulling, E. C. Shepherd, R. F. B. Speed, P. L. Taylor and T. W. White.
Ancient Society of College Youths: Wing Commander J. S. Mason, Messrs. J. F. Smallwood and W. Williams.
Bath and Wells Diocesan Association: Messrs. D. Hoare, H. J. Sanger and Miss N. G. Williams.
Bedfordshire Association: Mr. S. Foskett.
Cambridge University Guild: Mr. B. D. Threlfall.
Chester Diocesan Guild: Messrs. W. Allman, J. W. Clarke and A. J. Martin.
Coventry Diocesan Guild: Mrs. D. E. Beamish and Mr. H. Windsor.
Derbyshire Association: Messrs. A. Mould and W. L. Robinson.
Devon Guild: Mr. J. L. S. Glanvill and the Rev. J. G. M. Scott.
Dudley and District Guild: Mr. H. J. Shuck.
Ely Diocesan Association: Messrs. P. Border, J. G. Gipson, F. W. Lack and H. S. Peacock.
Essex Association: Messrs. J. H. Crampion, F. B. Lufkin, L. S. Woods and Miss H. G. Snowden.
Gloucester and Bristol Association: Messrs. A. L. Barry, T. Boreham, W. B. Kynaston and F. Skidmore.
Guildford Diocesan Guild: Messrs. A. C. Hazelden, G. S. Joyce, H. N. Pitstow and W. H. Viggers.
Hereford Diocesan Guild: Messrs. C. J. Lewis and W. F. Moreton.
Hertford County Association: Messrs. W. Ayre, R. G. Bell, G. W. Critchley and E. Edmondson.
Irish Association: Messrs. F. E. Dukes and J. T. Dunwoody and Miss J. Stewart.
Kent County Association: Messrs. J. R. Cooper, T. Cullingworth, Dr. E. S. J. Hatcher and Mr. T. E. Sone.
Ladies’ Guild: Miss D. E. Colgate, Mrs. A. Richardson and Mrs. P. J. Staniforth.
Lancashire Association: Messrs. P. Crook, F. Dunkerley, J. Ridyard and the Rev. R. D. St. J. Smith.
Leicester Diocesan Guild: Messrs. S. Burton, P. A. Corby, A. E. Rowley and P. J. Staniforth.
Lincoln Diocesan Guild: Messrs. J. E. Feirn, J. Freeman and J. A. Freeman.
Llandaff and Monmouth Diocesan Association: Mrs. D. J. King and Mr. T. M. Roderick.
London County Association: Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Rogers and Mr. W. G. Wilson.
Middlesex County Association: Messrs. F. T. Blagrove and T. J. Lock.
Midland Counties Guild: Mr. J. W. Cotton.
National Police Guild: Mr. E. C. Birkett.
New South Wales Association: Mr. P. M. J. Gray.
North Staffordshire Association: Mr. R. S. Anderson.
Norwich Diocesan Association: Messrs. H. W. Barrett, N. V. Harding and the Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow.
Oxford Diocesan Guild: Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Barker and Mr. A. E. Lock.
Oxford University Society: Mr. R. B. Meadows.
Peterborough Diocesan Guild: Messrs. P. I. Chapman, G. W. Jeffs, E. Nobles and E. G. Orland.
St. David’s Diocesan Guild: Mr. C. H. Hawkins.
St. Martin’s Guild, Birmingham: Messrs. G. E. Fearn and F. E. Haynes.
Salisbury Diocesan Guild: Messrs. G. H. Harding and G. S. Morris.
Sheffield and District Society: Mr. N. Chaddock.
Shropshire Association: Mr. F. H. Bennett.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: Messrs. P. N. Bond and F. E. Hawthorne.
Southwell Diocesan Guild: Messrs. B. M. Buswell, J. D. Clarke and J. Segar.
Stafford Archdeaconry Society: Messrs. B. G. Key and G. W. Hughes.
Suffolk Guild: Messrs. J. W. Blythe, L. G. Brett and C. W. Pipe.
Surrey Association: Messrs. A. P. Cannon, F. E. Collins and W. F. Oatway.
Sussex County Association: Messrs. R. G. Blackman, F. H. Dallaway and H. Stalham.
Swansea and Brecon Guild: Mr. G. I. Lewis.
Truro Diocesan Guild: Messrs. W. C. Boucher, D. Burnett and H. Miles.
Universities Association: Miss M. R. Cross.
University of London Society: Dr. D. N. Layton.
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild: The Rev. K. W. H. Felstead, Messrs. C. H. Kippin, G. Pullinger and F. W. Rogers.
Worcestershire and Districts Association: Messrs. B. C. Ashford, D. Beacham and W. B. Cartwright.
Yorkshire Association: Messrs. G. Benfield, W. E. Critchley and L. W. G. Morris.
Cumberland and North Westmorland Association: Mr. G. McKay.
North Wales Association: Mr. D. H. B. Millward.
REPORT AS TO MEMBERSHIP
The hon. secretary reported that 55 Associations were affiliated to the Council, entitled to 153 members. The rules provided for 24 honorary members and there were seven life members, making a total membership of 184. There were two vacancies among representative members and three among honorary members. All subscriptions had been paid.
APPLICATIONS FOR AFFILIATION
The hon. secretary said that two applications had been received. The first was from the Cumberland and North Westmorland Association and the second was for the re-affiliation of the North Wales Association. The Standing Committee recommended that these two applications be granted.- Agreed on the proposition of Mr. L. W. G. Morris, seconded by Mr. J. P. Fidler.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Miss M. E. Snowdon, Messrs. J. T. Dyke. A. A. Hughes, C. W. Roberts. L. Stillwell, A. Walker, J. Willis, Mrs. J. G. Steeples, Messrs. S. G. Coles, F. Ainsley, W. N. Park, J. E. Hobbs, C. A. Bassett, J. Bray, T. H. Taffender, F. W. Goodfellow, J. R. Mayne, F. N. Golden, W. Butler, Dr. D. H. Niblett, W. C. West, R. St. C. Wilson, G. H. Cross, F. J. Cullum, R. Overy, T. G. Myers and the Rev. A. S. Roberts.
PRESENTATION OF NEW MEMBERS TO THE PRESIDENT
New members presented to the president were Messrs. D. Hoare, H. Windsor, J. L. S. Glanvill, L. S. Woods, C. H. Hawkins, J. W. Blythe, G. McKay and D. H. B. Millward.
ELECTION OF HONORARY MEMBERS
The Standing Committee recommended that Mrs. Barnett, Messrs. F. I. Hairs, C. K. Lewis, W. A. Osborn and A. J. Pitman be re-elected honorary members, and Mr. H. L. Roper be added to the list of honorary members.
The president said Mr. Roper had done invaluable work in compiling the index of “The Ringing World” and other statistical work for the Council.
This was adopted on the propositions of Mr. A. D. Barker and Mr. E. A. Barnett respectively.
LOSSES OF MEMBERS THROUGH DEATH
The Council stood in remembrance of the following members and former members of the Council, whose deaths had been reported:
Messrs. L. J. Butler (Essex Association), John L. Morris (Society of Royal Cumberland Youths), Henry Dew (Chester Diocesan Guild), Percy J. Johnson (Yorkshire Association), Herbert Knight (Society for the Archdeaconry of Stafford), who had died since the last meeting. Also the following, whose deaths had not been previously reported to the Council: Messrs. William Bedwell (Kent County Association), Samuel James Hughes (Dudley and District Guild), H. H. Palairet (Salisbury Diocesan Guild), Richard Stredwick (Sussex County Association), Arthur Smith (Salisbury Diocesan Guild) and the Rev. J. B. Frith (North Staffs Association).
Mr. J. H. Crampion, in a tribute to Mr. L. J. Butler, of the Essex Association, said he was one of the most lovable of men whom he had met, and held active offices in the Essex Association for many years.
Mr. Peter W. Bond of Mr. John L. Morris: “One of our younger ringers and composers of outstanding ability.”
Mr. J. P. Fidler of Mr. Henry Dew: “He did a lot of teaching and will be missed at Bishop’s Stortford.”
Mr. E. H. Lewis of Mr. Dew: “When I first came to Lancashire I rang with him. He had great zeal in teaching beginners.”
Mr. D. Millward of Mr. Dew: “He trained the first band at St. Matthew’s, Borthwick”.
Mr. L. W. G. Morris of Mr. Percy J. Johnson: “He joined the Yorkshire Association in 1901 and was a member of the Council for 46 years. He was most forthright. If members did not agree with his views they respected them.”
Mr. J. F. Smallwood of Mr. P. J. Johnson: “We all knew of his obsession of these gatherings of discovering red herrings. We shall miss his stentorian tones and his great sincerity. He was a Cockney, born at Bethnal Green, and I always referred to him as the Cockney Yorkshireman.”
Mr. B. G. Key of Mr. Herbert Knight: “A fine ringer and a Christian who was always in his place on Sunday mornings for 42 years.”
Mr. R. S. Anderson of the Rev. J. B. Frith: “Most devoted to ringing in North Staffordshire.”
Mr. E. H. Lewis of the Rev. J. B. Frith: “A personal loss. At Charterhouse he succeeded me as head monitor of my House. He did not take up ringing early in life.”
MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The hon. secretary reported that the minutes had been printed in “The Ringing World” and circulated to all members. He proposed their adoption; Mr. W. Ayre seconded.- Agreed.
REPORT OF THE HON. SECRETARY
Mr. E. A. Barnett reported:-
The past year has been a particularly busy one, and among the non-routine matters which have arisen the following seem worthy of mention:-
Form of Dedication Service.- Fairly frequent inquiries are made as to whether the Council publishes a form of service suitable for use at the opening of new or recast rings of bells. I have asked the Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow if, in consultation with other clerical members of the Council, he would draw up something suitable of which copies could be run off and issued gratis. I understand he has this in hand.
Barron Bell Trust.- A copy of the Trust Deed was obtained from the Charity Commission for information purposes.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.- At the suggestion of Mr. A. Rigby, of Chorley, and with the support of the secretary of the Training Committee of the Army Cadet Force Association, correspondence was initiated with the secretary of the Award on the possibility of including ringing in the “Pursuits” Section. In consultation with Mr. W. G. Wilson, suggested standards for the first, second and third series of tests were compiled and forwarded. The outcome is not at present known.
Boy Scouts’ Badge.- Mr. R. I. Shepherd, of Staines, asked if the Boy Scouts’ Association could be persuaded to introduce a ringers’ badge corresponding to that of the Girl Guides. The Association informed us that such a badge is being incorporated in a list of new badges to be introduced this year and that details will be sent when published.
Gramophone Record of Five Spliced Surprise Major Methods on Handbells.- Discussions were begun and are proceeding, through Mr. C. W. Woolley, one of the band at Bushey, who made this historic record over 20 years ago, on the possibility of a re-issue. The matrix has, miraculously, been preserved by the Decca Company, according to information received from the original recording engineer.
Composition of Extent of Grandsire Caters.- Mr. W. H. Hewett kindly lent a leaflet containing this curious composition by James Hewett (no relation). Some photostat copies were made and one handed over to the library, which does not possess an original.
Mr. Woolley reports that the work of revising the “Stedman” book has continued, but that he would welcome some help and advice at the present stage. If any member (or other ringer) would like to assist I should be pleased to put him in touch with Mr. Woolley.
During the year I was able to meet enthusiasts from South Africa and America, and have continued an occasional correspondence with ringers in Australia. These contacts are very pleasurable and are, I think, welcomed by those concerned.
Thanks are due yet again to Mr. W. G. Wilson and Miss C. L. Groves for typing and duplicating these papers; also to Mr. W. N. Park for preparing the accounts of “The Ringing World.”
Finally, my gratitude to all who sent copies of reports and other publications.
The hon. secretary said that since the report was written he had received notification from the secretary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award that a church bellringers’ test would be included.
Mr. C. W. Pipe expressed his views against a set form of dedication service. “I like to hear something different.” he said.
Mr. J. P. Fidler: “As one who has attended a few thousand dedication services, I must agree with Mr. Pipe … I do not think it is necessary for the Council to go to the expense of a special form. Each parish has its own form.”
The President: “Many years ago the Council did draw up a specimen form of service. There are still a few of these in the library.”
The Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow thought it was probably worth while. The idea, he said, was not to produce a stereotyped form which everybody used, but to produce an indication. The form would have elasticity as one of its main features.
Mr. A. E. Lock asked if the secretary had acquired any knowledge of the Barron Bell Trust that he could pass on.
The hon. secretary said if any member desired to know the terms they could get in touch with him. He knew the name of the present trustee.
The report was adopted.
CARTER’S RINGING MACHINE
The report of the trustees stated that during the year the machine had been demonstrated three times. In July to Mr. Gordon Thwaites, who had undertaken the repair of the Woodhouse machine; in November, 1958, to Southampton University Guild; in February, 1959, to Mr. and Mrs. Jack Keifer, of Ithica, New York, U.S.A. Mr. Keifer with Dr. Robert Walker had produced an electronic change ringer at Cornell University, about which an article appeared in “The Ringing World.”
On the last occasion an electrical fault was causing two bells to strike together when ringing 12. The demonstrator does not anticipate much difficulty in putting this right. Thanks were expressed to Mr. Douglas Hughes for demonstrating the machine.
Mrs. Staniforth said that arrangements were made the previous night for a demonstration in September.
The report was adopted.
REPORT OF THE HON. LIBRARIAN
Mr. F. W. Perrens reported:-
First and foremost I must record the deep debt of gratitude the Exercise owes to Mr. Fredrick Sharpe for his work as our librarian since 1953. Our thanks are also due to Miss Elizabeth Sharpe for managing the sales section of the library during the first half of this year.
Taking into consideration the fact that no new publications were issued by the Council this year, sales have been about normal, with “Village Bells” easily the “best seller,” “Change Ringing on Handbells” second and “Doubles Methods” third.
By far the greatest demand for what we have not got is for a collection of Minor methods and we have also had a number of requests for a book on tune ringing on handbells. Towards the end of the year “Change Ringing on Handbells” was reprinted and 1,000 copies added to our stock.
In July I was able to collect the books presented to the library by Mrs. W. D. Turner. These included ten volumes of “London Ringers and Ringing” and two volumes on “Surprise Major Methods,” all of which are beautifully written and illustrated by J. A. Trollope. We tender our sincere thanks to Mrs. Turner foe these valuable books.
We tender a most hearty “thank you” also to the following: Mr. E. C. Shepherd for a copy for the library and 150 copies for sale of “A Handbook of Grandsire Caters.” Mr. F. T. Blagrove for a copy each of “Campanalogia - Little and Alliance Doubles Methods,” “Campanalogia - Surprise Methods, 1821-1850,” “Campanalogia - Triples Methods,” and also for having a dilapidated copy of W. Sottanstall’s “Elements of Campanalogia” rebound. Mr. F. E. Dukes for copies of “The Irish Bell News.” Mr. J. Segar for copies of “Blue Line System.”
Where there are more than two copies of any book in the library printed since 1850 I recommend that they be offered for sale. Previously authority was given to dispose of copies in excess of three.
Quite a large number of orders have already been received for the “Beginners’ Handbook,” which we hope will be on sale early in 1959.
Finally, I most heartily thank Mr. R. F. B. Speed for his willing co-operation and for managing the sales section of the library during the latter half of the year in such an efficient manner. We are indeed grateful to him and his wife for housing such a large stock of publications.
During the year the library sold 1,158 books. Best sellers were “Village Bells” 243; “Handbell Ringing” 137; “Doubles Methods” 123; “Preservation of Bells” 114.
Mr. F. W. Perrens, in moving the adoption of the report, called attention to the request to dispose of more than two copies of any book in the library. Mr. Speed had already sold 3,250 copies of the “Beginners’ Handbook.”
The Standing Committee recommended that the report be adopted and the librarian be given power to dispose of copies in excess of two. Also that the Council record their thanks to Mr. Perrens and Mr. and Mrs. Speed for their work during the year.
The report was adopted.
The report of the Broadcasting and Television Committee, of which Mr. H. J. Sanger is convener, stated:-
Our report this year must begin with mention of the excellent coverage given the visit of the Central Council to Ireland by Radio Eireann. Among other things, the President of the Council (Mr. Frederick Sharpe) gave a short talk on the visit of the Council and answered questions put by Mr. John Ross, of Radio Eireann. Mr. Barnett gave a review of his visit and commented on the bells of Ireland, the standard of ringing, and the terrific enthusiasm of the Irish ringers. There were other mentions of the visit during the weekend programmes, including an interview with Mr. J. Atkinson in “City Feature.”
We are very pleased to be able to include news of considerable progress in the North Region with the B.B.C. We have had a very friendly exchange of letters with the Religious Director in which the subject of bell broadcasts has been well ventilated, and at his request we have submitted a list of towers in the area suitable for broadcasting.
In the Midlands, a programme based on the Bull Ring and changing Birmingham included a chat on St. Martin’s bells between John Pinfold and Frank E. Haynes. There are also signs of a revival of interest in ringing in this area by the B.B.C.
In the East, the casting of three of the bells for Great Yarmouth Parish Church was the subject of a broadcast item from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. This was of additional interest in that it was within a week of being the centenary of the casting of Big Ben there. In response to their request, the B.B.C. were supplied with a short list of East Anglian towers suitable for broadcasting.
From the London area the most notable event was the rededication of St. Clement Danes’, Strand. After the considerable publicity given this event, it was a very great disappointment to all ringers to be denied the pre-service ringing, which was of a very high standard.
In the West we have co-operated very fully with the Religious Director in selecting towers for the winter series of The Faith in the West. Whilst the period of ringing heard from each tower was short, it was well presented and gave many rural ringers the opportunity to show what they are capable of.
From Northern Ireland we are happy to report continued excellent co-operation with the B.B.C.
We hear from Mr. Fred Dukes of a number of broadcasts of bells by Radio Eireann during the year in addition to those mentioned above. These included the bells of Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedrals, Dublin, and St. George’s, Dublin.
RINGING QUITE FAIR
The standard of Sunday service ringing heard in broadcasts has as usual varied considerably but in the main has been quite fair. A general improvement would, however, be very welcome. The Christmas broadcast has again been the subject of comment in “The Ringing World” by an anonymous critic. We consider this to be in poor taste; the whole spirit of the broadcast is the presentation of the bells, giving forth the Christmas message of goodwill. The thing we do regret is the very short period on the air given each tower. We hope to discuss this point with the B.B.C. and suggest some ways of making improvements. After some correspondence, we have been able to arrange the issue of advance information of programmes from A.B.C. Television to the Editor of “The Ringing World.”
A listener to the B.B.C. programme “The Archers” has written to tell us that he noticed a technical error in the New Year broadcast of Ambridge bells, and had pointed this out in a letter to the B.B.C. We feel that if more ringers were as observant as this and took the trouble to point out similar mistakes to the producers concerned, only good would result.
Finally, and perhaps not precisely within our sphere, a delightful film, “Bachelor of Hearts,” a skit on life in Cambridge, has as a background for a considerable part of its run the bells of St. Andrew’s. Quite a number of other bells also are heard in it, some probably faked with tubular bells.
Moving the adoption, Mr. H. Sanger called attention to the excellent leading article by Preb. Martin Wilson.
The Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow seconded.
Mr. J. W. Blythe asked how the list of East Anglia towers supplied to the B.B.C. was selected.
Mr. Sanger: A list of towers has been submitted and they are extremely brief. It has not been our policy to publish it.
CRITICISM OF CHRISTMAS DAY BROADCAST
Mr. G. W. Pipe disagreed that the criticism of the Christmas broadcast was poor taste. He thought it was a good thing. If there was any poor ringing, people should know.
Mr. Sanger: The paragraph refers to the Christmas message of goodwill. The towers were a general selection and the ringers did their best. We thought it was poor taste for an anonymous critic to offer his criticism in the way it was offered.
Mr. F. E. Dukes said a few years ago they had up before them the question of anonymous letters, and now they had anonymous criticism of the ringing on Christmas Day. What he would like to know was who was the critic and who appointed him? The criticism reminded him of a little boy who stood behind a tree and threw mud at people dressed in their Sunday best. He thought the Council should deplore this criticism. Criticism should be published openly and by someone who knew what he was talking about.
A member: I say that any criticism which is anonymous is no criticism.
The report was adopted.
ELECTION OF AUDITORS
The hon. secretary said that under their constitution they should have two auditors. They were Mr. A. A. Hughes and Mr. F. W. Perrens. Mr. Perrens was now an officer of the Council. The Standing Committee recommended that Mr. Harold Pitstow be asked to become the second auditor. He moved this and Mr. Perrens seconded. This was agreed to.
POWERS OF CO-OPTION REPORT
Mr. E. A. Barnett and Mr. W. B. Cartwright reported:-
At the Dublin meeting we were instructed to consider the question of co-option powers and to report on the necessity or otherwise for altering the Councils rules. It will be recalled that the legality of co-opting a member to “The Ringing World” Committee in pursuance of powers purporting to have been given in 1951 was challenged on the grounds that the rules as amended in 1955 made reference to co-option to the Standing Committee only, and Mr. W. B. Cartwright expressed the view that the action taken in 1951 was, in fact, ultra vires.
Investigation has shown that similar action had been taken on one or two previous occasions. Thus the Peals Collection Committee in 1945 was granted power to co-opt additional members, and the committee reported in 1946 that they had co-opted Mr. C. W. Woolley, and in 1947 Mr. E. A. Barnett. Therefore, if the action of “The Ringing World” Committee was ultra vires, then these appointments were also wrong.
The point to be considered, therefore, is as to whether or not the roles should be altered to give committees (apart from the Standing Committee) power to co-opt.
One objection to the practice is that a committee can maintain its strength or add to its numbers by this means, without the matter coming before the Council in the normal way. As the rules do not lay down the number of members of any committee except the Standing Committee, it is open to the Council at any meeting to appoint additional members to committees. It would appear that there is nothing to stop a committee from going outside its ranks to obtain advice or information on a particular point. If a committee desires to avail itself of the services of a member of the Council who is not on that committee there is no reason why it should not do so, and should it subsequently wish to add that member to its ranks, permission could be sought at the next Council meeting. This procedure has been followed on a number of occasions in recent years.
Our view is, therefore, that no real need exists for committees generally to be given co-option powers, and our recommendation is that, apart from the Standing Committee, who have the power to co-opt under Rule 11 (ii), committees should not be given co-option powers. If this is agreed no amendment to the Rules is required.
The hon. secretary said, in short, they felt that no change in the rules was necessary. In other words, the Standing Committee would retain its powers to co-opt up to two members but other members would not have power to co-opt. There was nothing to stop a committee going outside its ranks to obtain information and advice. He moved the adoption of the report. Mr. Cartwright seconded.
Mr. W. G. Wilson congratulated Messrs. Barnett and Cartwright in writing a report and saying what he said last year at Dublin. He was very pleased that they had come round to the right way of dealing with it.
Mr. Cartwright: “I don’t think we have come round in any way.”
The report was adopted.
The Ringing World, May 29, 1959, pages 349 to 352
The report of “The Ringing World” Committee, presented by Mr. J. F. Smallwood, stated:-
Your Committee are pleased to be able once more to report that your publication has again been able to pay its way, but only through the generosity of a small proportion of the large number of ringers.
The report of the Committee for 1956 drew the attention of the Council to the fact that the circulation for 1955 was 5,400, and although a resolution was adopted pledging further efforts to obtain more subscribers, the figure shows little improvement.
As compared with 1939, the cost of a morning newspaper has increased from one penny to 2½d. (150%), and circulation has not declined but improved. “The Ringing World” now costs sixpence against threepence (100%), but 600 readers ceased taking the paper after the last change of price from 4d. to 6d., and whilst circulation has not fallen further, these readers have not resumed nor have they been replaced.
Your Committee has never relaxed its efforts to attract new subscribers, subject always to the available income.
Costs are kept to an absolute minimum, and it is doubtful if any other weekly publication is produced at less than “The Ringing World.” Few, if any, quarter peals are submitted without a voluntary donation, but it is significant that peal ringers still lag a long way behind.
Some years ago each Association was invited to appoint one or more persons who would undertake the gathering and submission of news of local interest and further the sales of the paper. No reporters are employed and the Editor depends on every ringer for his copy. Several Association representatives are still doing excellent work in keeping “The Ringing World” before members, but there are some areas of the country from which little or no news is ever received.
The Editor can make and has made available copies of the paper on sale or return for special Association occasions, and your Committee draw your attention to this facility.
It is only by the diligent and enthusiastic work of all ringers that the circulation and size of “The Ringing World” can be increased, and we urgently appeal for the generous support and co-operation of all members of the Council and ask that they continue to keep before their Association the advantages of subscribing to the paper.
Your Committee again thank the Editor (Mr. T. W. White) and his staff for their work throughout the year, Mr. J. L. Jeater for looking after the accounts, Mr. Roper for compiling the index, Mr. C. K. Lewis for vetting and guidance in the matter of compositions, Mr. E. A. Barnett for close attention and help over many queries, and all who have in any way contributed to “The Ringing World” either by literary or monetary contributions.
HIGHER PRODUCTION COSTS
Presenting the report, Mr. J. F. Smallwood said he regretted to tell them that there was trouble in the offing. The printers were seeking a shorter week and a substantial increase in wages. If what they were applying for was granted, they could look forward to an increase in the production costs of the paper of 25 per cent. They did not know how they were going to meet the situation. If they had a circulation in the region of 10,000, which “The Ringing World” ought in have, they would be quite happy.
Members of the Council would recall that they passed a resolution pledging support of the Committee. If they were satisfied that saturation point had been reached and it was hopeless to expect any increase above 5,400, one thing was inevitable - the cost of the paper would go up. He urged the Council to get down to business and get more people interested in the paper and secure more readers. One way was for every Association to encourage what they had advocated for some years, to appoint representatives to act as liaison officers with “The Ringing World,” create interest in sales and send news to the paper.
Reference had been made to the enterprise and benefits of taking the paper as postal subscribers. It was from postal subscribers that they made more profit. They would have noticed that the number of postal subscribers went down last year and he hoped that figure would be substantially altered by this time next year. He moved the adoption of the report.
Mr. G. W. Fletcher seconded.
Mr. A. H. Pulling said he wondered if the Council really knew how “The Ringing World” was produced. He remembered how the late Mr. Goldsmith talked to a friend and told him he was thinking about providing a paper for ringers. His friend told him that if he started a ringer paper he was bound to lose money. “The Bell News” was supported by certain rich people. His friend told Mr. Goldsmith: “If you start the paper it must be purely and simply as a hobby.” It was run as a hobby, and “The Ringing World” was still being run as a hobby. Take the Committee - they did their work for nothing. Mr. Jeater, who sent out the receipts, did it practically for nothing, and Mr. White would not do the work he did if he was not doing it for a hobby. If people paid for “The Ringing World” what it really cost its circulation would go down. The only thing they could hope for was that Mr. White would have good health for many years to come and the Committee continue to do their work for nothing, because if they attempted to put “The Ringing World” on a business footing they would have trouble. It was only by getting people to work for nothing that it would go on.
PEALS AT 2s. A ROPE
Mr. C. W. Pipe said in his opinion the financial position could be easily put right. Guilds and Associations had had financial difficulties, and these had been partially met by levies. He thought they had all enjoyed too much for practically nothing. He advocated that they pay a recording fee of 6d. per rope in each peal submitted - not 6d. per head, as they had people ringing two bells these days. Many of them paid 6d. per rope to the Association, and that should be continued. Then they should also pay 1s. per rope to the Church. In others in each peal pay 2s.: sixpence per rope to the Association, another 6d. to “The Ringing World” and one shilling to the local church.
Mr. A. D. Barker thought “The Ringing World” Committee were making a rod for their own backs by selling the second copy at less than the advertised price.
Mr. F. E. Haynes considered it was unnecessary for multi-method peals of Doubles to occupy such a large space.
Mr. R. S. Anderson said they would be very happy if peal ringers would follow Mr. Pipe’s suggestion and would follow the example of quarter peal ringers, who made a very substantial contribution. Some years ago it was suggested a definite levy on the publication of peals, which comprised a fair proportion of each issue. It was then stated it was never known for a newspaper to pay for news. If peals were news quarter peals were equally news. They would very much welcome contributions from the ringers of peals rather than having to consider seriously making a charge for the publication of peals.
With reference to Mr. Haynes’ suggestion about dealing with peals of Doubles that took half a column to accommodate them, Mr. Anderson said the Committee would like some guidance from the Council as to whether they should insert a peal of Doubles in so many methods and leave it at that. If it conflicted with the Analysis Committee the conductor could send them full details.
Mr. John Freeman strongly opposed the suggestion of not printing the details. He was not interested in Spliced Doubles or Minor but he would certainly disparage any suggestion that Spliced Major should be so treated. He wanted to know the methods rung.
Mr. H. Miles said in 1953 or 1954 he proposed that with all peals there should be a definite publication fee. He said if ringers were prepared to pay for the publication of their peals in their local reports they should be prepared to pay for insertion in “The Ringing World,” which had a very much wider circulation. He strongly supported Mr. Pipe’s suggestion.
Mr. Miles asked “The Ringing World” Committee how the paper could interest ringers in the Truro Diocese where 95 per cent. of the ringers did not ring changes.
MORE GENERAL NEWS WANTED
Mr. Philip Gray emphasised the importance of circulation. The fact was that there were not 10,000 people interested in peals and quarter peals. Unless they had more news to interest non-peal ringers they would not increase circulation.
Mr. G. S. Joyce asked if a charge was made for peal reports how far would it go towards meeting the additional costs.
Mr. Peter Border thought the sum would be about £400.
Mr. Norman Chaddock thought one of the difficulties about postal subscribers was that people had to buy postal orders. Would it be possible for one person to collect 20 or 30 subscriptions each year and send them in?
Dr. D. Layton maintained that peals were news and that multi-method peals were also news.
Mr. D. Burnett said “The Ringing World” always published the articles he submitted about the Truro Diocesan Guild.
Mr. Harry Sanger thought the answer was for the Council to vote sufficient funds to expand “The Ringing World” so that it could publish all the news.
Mr. J. H. Crampion criticised a whole page being used to duplicate what appeared in the peal columns.
Mr. C. K. Lewis said the danger of putting a levy on peals would be that some would disappear and their records would be destroyed. In regard to Doubles peals, some years ago the Council made a very great drive to encourage Doubles and Minor ringers to ring more methods. Now they were condemning them for doing it. The logical result would be knocking out the names of methods; the next would be the omission of the names of the ringers, and after that one line in “The Ringing World” would be sufficient for recording the peal. If any levy was made it should be made per capita on the Associations.
COPIES PASSED ROUND
Mr. Bernard Ashford commented that they would only deceive themselves if they thought the ringers were prepared to pay for something. “The Ringing World” got into far more hands than the 5,500 who subscribed. In the north of Worcestershire they had an instruction tower and the practices were on a Friday. After the practice it was quite a common thing to see someone bring out a “Ringing World,” and that particular paper would be read by about half-a-dozen people.
Mr. A. P. Cannon: As one who rings a few peals I am against a peal levy; I regard it as a tax on progress. If they wanted more money they should make the cost of the paper 1s. or 1s. 6d. I can’t understand why nobody has suggested that.
Mr. A. J. Martin replied to Mr. Cannon that the only concrete suggestion was a levy on peals.
Mr. Joyce: What is the use of the paper if it is full up with peals? Peals will not increase circulation.
Mr. H. N. Pitstow said it seemed to him that the Council was not being positive enough. “The Ringing World” was the responsibility of the Council and not the Committee. There was an implication that “The Ringing World” Committee was not doing enough. They had got to take action and solve the problem, and it was the Associations that had to move and get things going. He proposed that the Council approach the Guilds and Associations, pointing out that “The Ringing World” was of considerable concern to the Council, and asked them to take steps in every District to promote the sales of “The Ringing World,” and to submit other suggestions to help the finances.
Mr. Pipe asked if a levy could be considered by the Associations.
Mr. Pitstow said it could come up.
Mr. P. A. Corby seconded Mr. Pitstow’s amendment.
The Rev. John Scott felt many Associations would support a 6d. peal levy.
Mr. Pipe then moved and the Rev. John Scott seconded a further amendment approving of a 6d.-a-rope levy.
LEVY ON GUILDS SUGGESTED
The Rev. K. W. H. Felstead moved and Mr. A. D. Barker seconded another amendment that a levy of 6d. a head be imposed on the Guilds and Associations. With 40,000 ringers in the country, said Mr. Felstead, that would produce £1,000.
This was strongly criticised. “It would be big mistake,” declared Mr. R. G. Blackman.
Mr. F. E. Dukes said in Ireland ringers were not interested in “The Ringing World” although a few took the journal. If they put a levy on peals they would not send them to “The Ringing World” but to the Peals Analysis Committee. If the Council imposed a levy of 6d. a member, some Associations would withdraw from the Council.
Mr. W. Ayre: On behalf of the Peals Analysis Committee I would say we only deal with peals published in “The Ringing World.”
Mr. G. W. Fletcher: I think some small Associations have difficulties in making ends meet. If you impose a 6d. levy they will turn round and say: “Why, your ‘Ringing World’ balance sheet shows net assets £4,522.”
The amendments were then put.
The Rev. K. W. H. Felstead’s of 6d. per capita levy had only 11 supporters and was heavily defeated.
Mr. C. W. Pipe’s of a 6d. per rope levy for peals published was defeated by 68 votes to 51.
Mr. Pitstow’s amendment, asking the Guilds and Associations to take action to promote sales, was carried without dissent. The report was then adopted.
Mr. J. W. Clarke (convener) said last year he reported that no record of an ancient peal board had been received for two years. The previous evening he received the record and photographs of two boards. They were February 28th, 1729 (Kettering), and March 10th, 1736 (Sibsey, Lincs).
The Standing Committee recommended that the terms of reference of the activities of the Committee be increased to 1881, which marked the beginning of “Bell News.”
The Rev. K, W. H. Felstead said in the 1870 publication of “Church Bells” there appeared week by week copies of peal boards. Did the Committee know of these?
Mr. Clarke replied in the negative. He appealed for the co-operation of all ringers in regard to the extension of time.
The report was adopted, with the recommendation of the Standing Committee.
THE CENTRAL COUNCIL
The Central Council’s Balance Sheet.- Sundry creditors £75 16s. 8d. (in 1957 £121). Payments in advance £1,040 0s. 6d. (£877), Clement Glenn Fund £784 12s. 2d. (£763), Provision for Income Tax £40 3s. 3d. (£18), Capital Accounts - “The Ringing World” £4,522 4s. 7d., General Fund £568 15s. 5d.; total £5,091 (£4,648). Total £7,031 12s. 7d. (£6,427).
Goodwill and blocks “The Ringing World” £200 (£200), Library £10 (£10), Office and Library Equipment £33 6s. 5d. (£39), Stock of Publications £350 15s. 3d. (£331). Investments at cost £4,362 18s. 4d. (£3,363), Cash at bank and in hand £1,493 14s. 5d. (£1,681). Total £7,031 12s. 7d.
Publications Account.- Stock January 1st, 1958, £331 2s. 2d, (£278 10s.), Purchases “Change Ringing on Handbells” £63 7s., 1,000 Switch Warning cards £3 15s., postages £9 15s. 10d., stationery and sundries £1 9s. 7d., trade discounts £2 5s. 7d., advertisement “The Ringing World” £20, Balance to General Fund £13 5s. Total £445 0s. 2d.
Sale of publications £93 17s. 11d. (£123), sundry sales 7s. (£1), stock at December 31st, 1958, £350 15s 3d. (£331). Total £445 0s. 2d.
General Fund Income and Expenditure Account.- To expenses, Biographies Committee £4 18s. 5d., Sunday Service Committee £18 17s. 8d., hon. secretary £10, stationery and printing £15 3s. 2d., postage £10 7s. 5d. telephone £2 5s. 1d., office and library equipment written off £6, insurances £1 16s., move of library £3 10s., wreath £2 2s., Mrs. J. G. Steeples £5 5s., typing £2 2s., cheque book 8s. 4d., sundry expenses £1 0s. 7d., excess of income over expenditure £5 19s. 4d. Total £89 15s.
By affiliation fees £76 10s., balance Publications Account £13 5s. Total £89 15s.
“THE RINGING WORLD”
Balance Sheet.- Sundry creditors £73 19s. 7d. (£120), received in advance postal subscribers and notices £1,040 0s. 6d. (£876), provision for Income Tax £40 3s. 3d. (£1), Capital Account £4,522 4s. 7d. (£4,086). Total £5,676 7s. 11d. (£5,083).
Goodwill, blocks, etc., £200 (£200), debtors £579 17s. 2d. (£822), investments at cost £3,600 (£2,600), cash £1,260 l7s. 3d. (£1,412), amount due from Central Council £35 13s. 6d. (£49). Total £5,676 7s. 11d.
Profit and Loss Account.- To Woodbridge Press, Ltd., printing and blocks £4,018 13s. 6d. (£3,379), editorial office expenses £603 4s. 11d. (£595), postal subscribers £1,090 16s. 2d. (£1,089), Accounts Department £201 18s. 10d. (£212), miscellaneous expenses £23 1s. 9d. (£15), audit and accountancy fees £36 15s. (£37). Income Tax £46 2s. 3d. (£31), profit for year carried to balance sheet £436 19s. 10d. (£492). Total £6,457 12s. 3d. (£6,450).
By Rolls Publishing Co. £2,295 11s. 4d. (£2,258), postal subscribers £2,762 10s. 6d. (£2,846), donations £275 10s. 6d. (£281), advertisements £434 18s. 9d. (£417), notices £537 12s. 5d. (£556), sundry receipts £44 19s. 2d. (£27), interest received £106 9s. 7d. (£65). Total £6,457 12s. 3d. (£6,450).
The hon. secretary stated that “The Ringing World” Account had been audited, but he regretted that owing to the illness of Mr. A. A. Hughes, the audit of the General Account had not been completed and that was subject to audit.
The accounts of “The Ringing World” were very much the same as last year. Expenses had gone up by £700 largely due to the extra number of 20-page issues. On the income side there had been a slight drop from postal subscribers - a regrettable trend which he hoped would be reversed next year. Their policy of investing funds in Defence Bonds had provided a profit of £106.
His only comment on the balance sheet of “The Ringing World” was that they did make a further investment of £1,000 in five per cent. Defence Bonds. Their profit was a matter of £436, which took into account £275 received in donations and £60 interest. It meant that only about £100 was surplus on the year’s working. He moved the adoption of the accounts subject to audit of the General Fund.
Mr. J. F. Smallwood seconded.- Agreed.
LITERATURE AND PRESS COMMITTEE
The report, signed by Mr. Edgar C. Shepherd (convener) and Mr. F. E. Dukes, stated:-
The year 1958 showed no lack of news items and reports concerning bell-ringing, and two notable events attracted the attention of newspapers to a more than ordinary degree.
The greatest publicity given to ringing in England was associated with the two attempts to ring the extent of Bob Major at Loughborough. An examination of press cuttings relating to the first of these attempts forces us to the conclusion that much of the notoriety attaching to the occasion was undesirable. The more responsible papers, and these included the Loughborough press, were guarded in their reports of this somewhat extraordinary affair, but the less delicate organs of the news world treated the matter with facetiousness and a certain vulgarity. The lesson of this was not lost on the ringers, and the second attempt and its unfortunate failure were treated with fitting restraint in all papers.
IRELAND’S GOOD TREATMENT
This year the Irish papers were greatly influenced by the Central Council meeting in Dublin and the carillon festival at Cobh, Co. Cork, both events occurring in the same week. The general secretary of the Irish Association, at the request of the Bord Failte Eireann, produced a beautifully-illustrated article on Irish Church Bells, and on May 4th the “Irish Independent,” in a half-page article, covered the arrival of the Council members. Reporters were clearly intrigued by the presence of the lady ringers, and one of the most delightful snapshots of the year showed Miss Greaves, Miss Yeo, Mrs. Olive Barnett, Miss Beamish and Mrs. Rogers as a very cheerful quintet.
The Cork papers fully covered the carillon festival. The Irish national papers were also interested, and the “Irish Times” published a photograph of the brother of Dr. Staf Gebreurs playing on the carillon with Mr. Paul Taylor standing by. “The Cork Diocesan Year Book” published a well-constructed article by A. F. Bogan, entitled “Come at my Call,” the Armagh ringers and their 18th Century Society were noted in “Armagh Guardian,” and the “Evening Press” gave further information concerning Byrne’s Foundry in Dublin.
In general, the Press throughout the whole of Ireland focused a great deal of attention on the Council’s activities, including the tours in Northern and Southern Ireland. There seems little doubt as to the impact of this publicity for we are informed that there have already been inquiries from some quarters about the possibility of procuring change-ringing bells for a number of Irish churches.
Other news items and photographs have been numerous in 1958. Early in the year the Rotherham ringers were pictured ringing carols on handbells, and among other photographs were the Raving Ringers in East Anglia, the rededication of the bells of Bristol Cathedral, the annual meeting of the Kent County Association and the Railwaymen’s Guild celebrating the 70th birthday of Mr. Frank Stenson. In the “Birmingham Post and Gazette” the retirement into private life of Ald. A. Paddon Smith received considerable notice, and the accompanying photograph was excellent. The death of Mr. John Thomas was given prominence in the Birmingham and Worcestershire papers. A considerable stir was caused when the “Leicester Evening Mail” announced the “decease” of Mr. Ernest Morris, and those who know our genial historian will appreciate the glee with which he was able to point out that the report of his demise was greatly exaggerated!
Two topics of a controversial nature are worth recording for the light they shed on the attitude of both Press and public to ringing affairs.
The first concerns an attack on the practice ringing at Knowle, Warwickshire, launched in the “Sohihull News” during December. The subsequent correspondence was overwhelmingly in favour of the bells and the ringers, and provided once again proof of public support for ringing wherever the ringing is conducted with moderation and restraint.
The second gives another warning of an even more insidious form of attack on the traditional art of bell-ringing. In November considerable publicity was given to the installation in the parishes of Ashley and Bagnall, Staffordshire, of electrical bell-ringing apparatus, and newspapers quoted the Chancellor of the Lichfield Diocese who much regretted the innovation. The Rector of Ashley’s attempt to justify the installation on the grounds, first, that he had no ringers, and second, that bell-ringing was a dying art, was replied to in the “Birmingham Post” by the secretary of the Society of Change Ringers for the Archdeaconry of Stafford and by the convener of this Committee. In addition, Mr. E. H. Edge, in a careful letter to the “Sentinel,” gave statistical proof of the flourishing state of ringing in the North Staffordshire area. There has been no reply to these arguments.
This is the second manifestation this year of the strange “dying art” illusion. In an interview with the “Evening News” in January last, Mr. George Chappell, aged 93, regretted the passing of ringers and ringing activities as he had known them in Hampshire, and the nostalgia accompanying the reminiscences was in all probability construed into pessimism by the reporter. The general tone of this interview is in sharp contrast to the vigorous optimism of another veteran, Mr. Hauley, of Whitnash, also 93, who sees a bright future for ringing, and is still interested in the teaching of beginners in the art.
A thoughtful and authoritative reply to Mr. Chappell’s views was offered in the “Evening News” of January 22nd by the founder of the College of Campanology, Mr. York-Bramble summarised the difficulties attending the recruiting of beginners in certain areas, but made it clear that this was no symptom of a decline in the art of ringing. The letter emphasised the importance of planned training.
Apart from the essays from Ireland, the full-scale articles to reach us this year have been less in number. A carefully-constructed survey of the history of Rotherham Parish Church Bells, by Norman Chaddock, appeared in the “Phœnix Gazette” for November, and the article was illustrated with photographs of the bells and the ringers. An appreciation of change-ringing, by Philip A. Stables, appeared in the “Weekly Scotsman.” On the other side of the Atlantic, the “New York Times” drew attention to the growth of handbell ringing in the States, and from Kent, U.S.A., came an account of the Kent Bell Ringers’ Guild and of progress in change-ringing on handbells. “Overtones” continues to record maintained interest in handbell ringing, and this year makes significant mention of handbells rung “within the framework of the conventional order of morning worship.”
The following ringing publications have come our way during 1958:-
Bell Handling and Control, The College of Campanology.
Campanalogia, F. T. Blagrove.
False Course Heads, Segar.
The Cambridge University Guild History, Vol. II, 1929-1954, C. M. P. Johnson.
Ringing a Bell, Bath and Wells Diocesan Association.
Handbook of Grandsire Caters, Edgar C. Shepherd.
Bellringers’ Diary, W. Viggers and M. Hodgson.
Irish Bell News, edited by F. E. Dukes,
The Ringers’ Magazine, edited by William Butler.
The Belfry, Maidstone District of Kent.
The Ringing Towers, New South Wales Association.
Moving the adoption of the report, Mr. Shepherd asked members not to hesitate to send anything that reflected on ringing.
Mr. F. E. Dukes seconded and the report was adopted.
THE BEGINNERS’ HANDBOOK
The report, signed by Miss M. R. Cross and other members, stated:-
As members of the Council are well aware, the work of this Committee is now completed with the publication of “The Elementary Handbook for Beginners in the Art of Change Ringing.” We therefore ask the Council to disband the Committee.
Before we close this report we wish to express our gratitude to all those members of the Council and others who helped us in the production of the book; especially to the President, Mr. F. Sharpe, for providing the photographs, the secretary, Mr. E. A. Barnett, for much help and advice, Mr. A. A. Hughes for the loan of blocks, and to Mr. T. W. White, Editor of “The Ringing World,” for help in the actual production.
Miss Cross moved and Mr. W. G. Wilson seconded the adoption of the report.
The secretary said The Standing Committee recommended that instead of disbanding the committee remain in being to revise in the light of any comment.
Mr. W. G. Wilson said 3,250 of the stock had gone in two months but they had not gone into the hands of 2,500 beginners by a long way. They must not revise until those people who purchased had got rid of their stock. The sale of 3,250 was phenomenal, and he was as pleased as the rest, but it would not continue at that rate for long, it might be that the remainder might last for six months. He did not think they ought to revise this year or next year, if they had a reprint they did not want a committee. They might wish to get second thoughts. The Council had too many moribund committees.
The report was adopted and the disbanding of the committee was agreed to.
PEALS ANALYSIS COMMITTEE
Mr. W. Ayre, as convener, presented the report, which stated:-
In submitting their report for 1958, the Committee have pleasure again in reporting an increase on the previous year, though the number rung on handbells has again decreased, The grand total of peals accepted is 2,512 (2,488) with 2,372 on tower bells (2,336) and 140 (152) on handbells.
The analysis breaks down as follows:-
No one has dislodged the Leicester Guild front the premier position, for they are once again head of the list with 181 peals. After that we have a general shuffle round - the Oxford Guild moving from 5th to 2nd place with 137; the Yorkshire Association has jumped into 3rd place, having scored 132. (Was it the Bath and Wells tour which did it?)
The first six places are as follows:-
Several Associations only just managed to produce a peal.
12,600 Doubles by the Oxford Guild, also multi-method peals of Minor and Doubles by the same Guild and the Derbyshire Association.
Scientific Triples by the Middlesex Association.
There has been a greater variety of methods in Royal and Caters - 20 of Royal and 5 of Caters, against 9 and 2 respectively in 1957.
We automatically remove from the Analysis any “peal” which is later proved FALSE, irrespective of personal opinions expressed in print or otherwise.
“Peals” which have not been included in the Analysis are:-
(a) Double Grandsire Doubles - in whole pulls - by the Llandaff and Monmouth.
(b) “Freak” handbell peal? - by the Cambridge University Guild - counted as one peal, not two.
(c) Minor in nine methods -Yorkshire Association - not acceptable, as ringer of 2nd was changed half-way.
(d) Saturn T.B. Doubles - non-Association - not acceptable.
There appears to be some difficulty regarding the correct publication of peals of Doubles, especially the multi-method ones (what an immense space some of them occupy - can we condense them?). The Committee simply count the names and call them methods, but we would call the attention of the ringers of such peals to the fact that really they are sometimes only variations, and suggest that they call them such (e.g.: say, seven six-scores Plain Bob/April Day, Old -/variations).
Again recording our thanks to Mr. H. L. Roper for his valuable assistance.
Moving the adoption, Mr. Ayre said the peals of Major would have to be increased by one, as a peal rung on December 31st was not published until April. For the same reason peals of Minor should be increased by one. The handbell peals of Major would be decreased by one, because a freak handbell peal had been withdrawn. He apologised for excluding the peal of Double Grandsire Doubles. He was under the impression that it was rung in whole pull. It was not. He would like guidance on the peal rung at Histon, where the clappers were tied and the sound came from electrically-operated handbells. He would also like to add the name of Mr. H. L. Roper to the Committee.
Mr. H. Miles seconded.
The hon. secretary: The Standing Committee recommend the adoption of the report with the addition of Mr. Roper to the Committee. With regard to the peal of Double Grandsire Doubles, the reference to it be deleted. The Committee recommend that the peal at Histon be not accepted as it contravened the rules, viz.: “That every bell must sound during the peal at every change.”
Mr. A. P. Cannon considered that the peal of Scientific Triples did not get the recognition it deserved.
A member questioned the ruling of the Committee regarding the peal at Histon. He would vote against it.
Mr. A. D. Barker: Has the Committee included a certain peal of Plain Bob Major which was rung at Egham? There has been some correspondence about it.
Mr. W. Ayre: That is included.
Mr. Brian Threlfall said the Cambridge University handbell peal had been deleted from the Guild records.
Mr. Ayre: It is not included. It counts as one.
Mr. Barker pressed for the deletion of the Egham peal and asked Mr. Ayre if he was satisfied.
Mr. Ayre: Personally I am not satisfied, but the peal has not been withdrawn by the conductor.
Mr. F. I. Hairs said a conductor had not withdrawn a false peal of Surprise. Was that counted?
Mr. Ayre: The Surprise peal is out.
Mr. Peter Border urged that the peal at Histon be included. The bells heard outside the church would be a nuisance. His amendment was defeated.
The report, with the recommendation of the Standing Committee, was then adopted.
The report by the Committee (Rev. K. W. H. Felstead as convener) stated:-
We regret that we have to inform the Council that our high hopes of quickly completing the Minor methods book did not materialise. The main “stone of stumbling” has been in the completely new section on Spliced extents which, members will appreciate, is not an easy subject either to explain or write about so that it can be readily understood. We are grateful for the help of several ringers in response to our request in “The Ringing World” for names of Alliance methods. These have proved most helpful in naming many of them and correcting others.
We have considered a request to include “irregular” Minor methods in the book but, unless the Council instructs us otherwise, we have decided not to do so.
We have nothing further to report about the Triples methods book.
The Rev. K. W. H. Felstead moved and Mr. C. H. Kippin seconded the adoption of the report.
Mr. R. F. B. Speed said he had quite a number of applications for this Minor book. Most people were hoping that the old book would be reprinted. He had also had requests for a Surprise Major book.
The Rev. K. W. H. Felstead said it would be very easy to have the Minor book reprinted and it would serve 75 per cent. of the ringers. When a book was being revised it did seem a pity not to make it as comprehensive as possible.
Mr. J. P. Fidler urged that a paragraph should be incorporated dealing with Spliced Surprise Minor. All that was required was the names of methods that would splice lead for lead.
Mr. G. E. Feirn supported the Committee that there was a demand not only for simple but other methods.
Mr. C. K. Lewis remarked that he was the culprit. Mr. Fidler had said he just wanted lead for lead of Spliced Surprise. He wanted to go further, and wanted to put in certain Doubles and Spliced methods. He hoped to deal with it by the end of the summer holidays. Spliced Minor was growing and was not the prerogative of Cheshire and Lincolnshire.
Mr. W. F. Moreton asked if irregular methods would be included. Their inclusion would make the book comprehensive.
Mr. Felstead: It would delay the book.
Mr. C. K. Lewis: It would extend publication another 12 months. Except for a small area, there was not a demand for irregular methods.
The report was adopted.
THE RECORDS COMMITTEE
|Jan.||23||5,024 Hornsey S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|Feb.||10||5,024 Overseale S. Maj., Midland Counties.|
|13||5,120 Highgate S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|15||5,024 Wessex S. Maj., Oxford Dio.|
|20||5,088 Chiswick S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|Mar.||6||5,056 Hampshire S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|20||5,024 Monmouth S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|April||7||5,040 Macclesfield C. Bob Royal, Chester Dio.|
|10||5,184 Northwood S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|12||5,056 Kibworth S. Maj., Leicester.|
|23||5,120 Mancroft S. Maj., Norwich.|
|24||5,088 Ilkeston S. Maj., Derbyshire.|
|May||14||5,184 Coslany C. Maj., Norwich.|
|June||12||5,024 Wiltshire S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|26||5,152 Clacton S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|July||3||5,088 Xenia S. Maj., Derbyshire.|
|5||5,040 Scientific Triples, Middlesex.|
|30||5,184 Upton Imperial C. Maj., Norwich.|
|Aug.||15||5,088 Gloucestershire S. Maj., Oxford.|
|Sept.||20||5,024 Elveden S. Maj., Suffolk.|
|24||5,184 Debenham C. Maj., Norwich.|
|Oct.||7||5,184 Wealdstone Little S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|9||5,056 Kerry S. Maj., Derbyshire.|
|30||5,056 Fife S. Maj., Derbyshire.|
|30||5,088 Chelsea S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|Nov.||13||5,008 Goldhanger Coll. Bob Maj., Essex.|
|13||5,024 Ickenham S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|13||5,056 Nanpantan S. Maj., Derbyshire.|
|17||5,120 Southleigh S. Maj., Oxford Diocesan.|
|19||5,008 Childwall Coll. Bob Maj., Leicester.|
|27||5,376 Victoria S. Maj., Derbyshire.|
|27||5,120 Kilburn S. Maj., Middlesex.|
|Dec.||3||5,184 Taunton C. Bob Maj., Norwich.|
|8||5,040 Uplyme S. Royal, Leicester.|
|10||5,024 Earlham Coll. Bob Maj., Norwich.|
|27||5,152 Welwyn S. Maj., Hertford County.|
The report was moved by Mrs. Fletcher and seconded by Mrs. Marshall and adopted.
The report, which was signed by Mr. A. C. Hazelden, stated:-
Of the total of those who, in the years of this Council’s existence, have been elected members, some 360, or 50 per cent., are now known to be deceased. Of this number, 280 have their records completed to the Council’s requirements except where, in a few cases, we have reluctantly given up hope of obtaining a photograph. Among these latter are names of men very well known to a former generation, such as B. T. Copley, R. Daniell, J. C. Daubuz, John Aspinwall, Alfred Palmer, Rev. C. C. Parker, Harvey Reeves, W. H. Thompson and F. W. Quantok-Shuldham.
Added to these we have 32 deceased past members (with record otherwise complete) whose photographs are known - or believed - to exist, but which we have not yet succeeded in collecting. In this group are pioneer characters also well known to a rapidly-passing generation - the late F. E. Dawe, the Rev. H. C. Courtney, the Rev. C. W. H. Griffiths, the Rev. N. E. Hope, George Longden, William Walmsley, etc.
We have also a small group, 16 in number, who are known to be deceased but who are otherwise unknown to us. Some of this group were members of the 1891 Council, and it includes such names as the late Rev. T. S. Curteis, C. E. Malim, J. Griffen, Rev. C. Barton, J. G. Buchanan, Freeman Ball and R. B. Blanchard. The last named in his time represented the Surrey Association, of which he was also the hon. secretary.
The remainder of about 100 persons (both past and present members) of whom we have no knowledge, excepting their names, creates a feeling of frustration in the minds of your Committee. Many of these were elected, for short periods many years before our Committee was first set up, so probably long deceased before the end of the 1939 war, when our research was begun. Many happily are still with us; a few perhaps here, today, with our report in their hands.
The Biographies Committee again wish to offer thanks to many friends both in the Council and outside it who have cheerfully replied to their enquiries, which they know can usually only be answered by tedious and often unrewarding research. Without this ready co-operation the measure of success which has attended the efforts of the Committee could not be achieved.
The report was moved by Mr. Hazelden and seconded by Mr. W. Viggers, who said a second cover for the Biographies was needed which would cost about £15. He paid tribute to the work of Mr. John Willis, who had written up 75 biographies.
The report was adopted and the expenditure of £15 on a cover approved.
THE PEAL COLLECTIONS COMMITTEE
Mr. W. E. Critchley (convener) reported:-
No communication has been received from Mr. C. W. Roberts, who was entrusted by the previous committee with the task of collecting the information for the projected collection of Stedman Caters and Cinques. The Committee is, therefore, unable to report any progress.
Mr. Critchley moved the adoption and said it was a negative report.
The Standing Committee recommended that the report be adopted; that Mr. Critchley be instructed to proceed with the collection of peals of Stedman Caters and Cinques; that the secretary write to Mr. C. W. Roberts and ask him to forward any peals of this collection to Mr. Critchley. Agreed.
TOWERS AND BELFRIES COMMITTEE
The report was presented by Mr. E. H. Lewis and stated: During 1958 the members of the Committee advised on bell restoration in 52 towers - a slight decrease on last year’s number. The 52 towers were situated in 18 different counties.
Mr. J. W. Clarke dealt with 10 in Cheshire; Mr. F. E. Collins 7 in Hampshire, Kent and Surrey; Mr. J. Freeman 3 in Lincolnshire; Mr. E. H. Lewis 3 in Northants, Oxon and Scotland; Mr. W. Osborn 6 in the West Country; the Rev. J. G. M. Scott 1 in Devonshire; Mr. F. Sharpe 22 in Oxon, Northants, Bucks, Breconshire, Cardiganshire, Herts, Lancs, Norfolk and Staffs.
In 8 instances advice was given on recasting, 32 on rehanging, 20 on repairs, 2 on tower oscillation, 3 on sound control. In about 50 per cent. of the towers work had already been either put in hand or the order for the work placed.
As instructed at Dublin, the convener met the Dean of Gloucester, president of the Central Council for the Care of Churches. The meeting was most satisfactory, and a further meeting between the Dean, the bell-founders and the convener was arranged; but so far it has not been possible for them to meet. Meanwhile the secretary of the C.C.C.C. has suggested increasing the size of the proposed number to attend this meeting to include two more C.C.C.C. members and two more nominated by the Council. The members of the Towers and Belfries Committee would prefer the Dean’s original proposal to stand, in view of the difficulties of arranging a suitable date and time and the long distances the members would have to travel - but should the occasion demand they seek authority to send two of their members as delegates.
Mr. F. E. Collins seconded the adoption of the report.
The hon. secretary read a letter from the incumbent of a Hampshire parish expressing appreciation of the services of Mr. Collins.
The President said they would like Mr. Lewis to be the other representative at the meeting with the C.C.C.C. There was a proviso in the rules that expenses be paid for travelling.
The report was adopted.
ALTERATION TO RULES
Notice was given of an alteration to Rule II that reports of committees must be in the secretary’s hands by March 31st. Previously it was 28 days before the meeting.
The hon. secretary moved and Mr. A. D. Barker seconded.
Mr. W. Ayres: Will those who ring peals on December 31st please send them to “The Ringing World” as soon as possible after that date.
The alteration was agreed to.
THE NEXT MEETING
The hon. secretary reported that two invitations had been received for the 1960 Council meeting - from the North Staffordshire Association at Stoke-on-Trent and from the Kent County Association.
Dr. Hatcher, in extending the invitation to Kent, said Whitsun, 1960, would be the 80th birthday of the foundation of the Kent County Association.
Mr. R. S. Anderson reminded the Council that they had never visited the North Staffordshire Association.
The voting was 75 for Kent and 49 for North Staffordshire.
DOUBLE GRANDSIRE DOUBLES
The first motion considered was that of Mr. A. J. Pitman, seconded by Mr. G. I. Lewis:-
“That although true six-scores of Double Grandsire Doubles cannot be obtained without calls when the treble is behind as well as when it is on the front, in view of the fact that twelve-scores on the same principle as Pitman’s twelve-scores of Grandsire Doubles have been obtained, Double Grandsire Doubles consisting of such twelve-scores shall be recognised by the Council.”
Mr. A. J. Pitman said he had put forward this 240 of Doubles Grandsire in the hope of encouraging young ringers to break away from ringing Grandsire Doubles. There was not a great deal of difference. He was afraid Double Grandsire had not been taken up because to get 120 they had to do bobs and singles with the treble behind. He had worked out 240 Double Grandsire so that they would not have to be troubled with the call of the treble behind. He hoped ringers would find it interesting and a break away from Grandsire Doubles.
Mr. C. K. Lewis: If you look at the conditions of peals of Doubles in 3 (a) we have 12 scores known as Morris’ and Pitman’s. I submit it is superfluous as we are bound by a previous decision.
This opinion was accepted by the Council, and Mr. Pitman was thanked by the President for bringing his motion forward.
AUDIBLE BELLS ESSENTIAL
The second motion, on behalf of the Chester Diocesan Guild, read:-
“That in any record attempt the bells shall be clearly audible outside the tower or other building in which they are contained and that during such an attempt neither food nor drink shall be partaken of by any member of the band.”
Mr. J. W. Clarke said the motion was framed at the annual meeting of the Chester Diocesan Guild after the abortive attempt to ring the extent on eight bells. He assured the Council that there was no suggestion of sour grapes behind it. The Cheshire ringers had some knowledge and reputation for ringing long lengths, but never had it been felt that nobody else should attempt it.
Ringing began in the 17th century, and in the 18th century it was the sport of gentry - they went cock fighting one night and ringing the next. They had it recorded in a Chester tower that the gentry rang for practice but never for service. Ringing was entirely divorced from the services of the Church.
In the next century, when more ordinary people took to ringing, the tower was, considered to be apart from the Church. Ringers were in no way connected with the Church or thought of as officers of the Church. It was not until the end of the last century, by the formation of diocesan guilds and associations, that a change was made. It proceeded very slowly, and one of the objects was the recognition of ringers as officers of the Church. For three-quarters of a century Guilds and Associations had been fighting for that recognition to make belfries a part of the Church, and today the ringer was universally accepted as an officer of the Church.
If a ringer rang in a tower which was not consecrated, surely in the minds of everybody he was still a church bell-ringer. They could not separate the Church and ringing. Therefore they accepted the standard of behaviour now observed to be followed wherever the ringer might be.
They might have noticed in the report of the Literature and Press Committee that much of the notoriety was undesirable. They had tried to persuade the B.B.C. that ringing was something serious and something of an art. The occasion to which he referred, the B.B.C. showed them as Church bell-ringers; this was how they behaved! Could they accept people as Church officers if at times they forgot how to behave? The television people had been trying that very day to persuade his seconder to give an account on television of this motion. He had been strong enough to refuse. “Whenever we ring we must remember we are officers of the Church, and as such have a code of conduct to observe.”
Seconding the motion, Mr. A. J. Martin said he would like to stress that it was not a private members Bill but had been put forward by the Chester Diocesan Guild. They had a private interest; most of them knew they held certain record lengths. The motion was not put forward by people who participate in these lengths. The Chester’s role was not like being a dog in the manger.
INTERESTED PARTIES SHOULD HEAR
Why should the peal be heard? That was why the Central Council laid down that every change must sound in a peal. Only that afternoon they had thrown out a peal where the bells were not heard. Why did their elders insist on this? They wanted interested parties to hear the performance and assess it, because if a peal could not be heard, who was to contradict it? If not, they would need an umpire for every peal. The motion did not ask the bells to be heard a quarter of a mile away but outside the tower.
On the food question, many years ago the Central Council decreed that the ringers were not to be fed while ringing. Why? One might suggest that they were thinking about the public outside, and the inner man would cause them to give up the peal. He thought they had in mind when they passed the resolution that it would interfere with the standard of the performance. “If you are eating you cannot concentrate on the ringing. You are marring the performance.”
Mr. E. W. Critchley said he was an interested party, and in the first part the motion had been very loosely worded. What did they mean by clearly audible? One had said he did not expect to hear the bells a quarter of a mile away. Going back four or five years, when he organised a peal at Loughborough, he remembered listening outside the tower. He believed that the Press mentioned people putting their ears to the tower to hear the bells.
Secondly, referring to food, Mr. Clarke mentioned behaviour. “I must say that to partake of food does not mean bad behaviour … Personally I can see no objection to eating food. As it was said in ‘The Ringing World,’ it is not a test of something that requires long abstinence.”
Mr. J. P. Fidler said he was a member of the Chester Guild and it was a pity he was not at the meeting when the resolution was passed. He would have said: “Don’t believe the things you read in the Press,” because what they said after the first and second attempts was not the responsibility of the ringers. They all knew that prior to an attempt for a long length there must be a notice in “The Ringing World.” In less than 12 hours of it being in “The Ringing World” their telephone was swamped by the Press, and they should not give them any encouragement. The result was if they did not encourage the Press they came in all the more. They knew that the average Press report dealing with ringers contained many “clangours,” and the reports contained many funny statements. At 4 o’clock in the first attempt it was like being in a film studio. But nevertheless, don’t blame the ringers.
On the question of audibility, they all knew the situation of the bell foundry tower. One could sit in his garden and listen to the bells. On the question of eating, he thought it was a thing that would solve itself. He could not see anybody towards the end of a peal grabbing a sandwich; they were all too keen on the peal.
Mr. A. P. Cannon said he also was an interested party, and he agreed with Mr. Critchley. Regarding the first part, the bells were clearly audible. As they knew, they had a very competent member of the Exercise as umpire. That ruled out the bells being inaudible.
“As regards eating, I have had a certain amount of experience of eating in peals [laughter] and I have had my lesson, but I shall maintain there is no objection to taking some small subsistence quite suitable, If you cannot ring a bell with one hand you might just as well not start a peal. In any performance which demands physical fitness, which undoubtedly would be required for a 40,000 during which one was standing on one’s feet, it would be very unfair not to expect a band to eat something.”
Regarding drink, he was against that. Of the publicity of the two peal attempts one could not believe a word in the papers. The last attempt, a fortnight ago, it was mentioned the oldest member was A. P. Cannon, aged 45. They copied it from last year’s report.
Mr. Fred Dunkerley: Having been a member of a long-length band and having no axes to grind I think it is absolutely essential that the bells should be heard outside. As to the second part, the more they eat and the more they drink the less chance they have of getting the peal. I move that the Council accept the second part.
Mr. N. Harding: If we accept the first part, what about handbell peals?
Mr. N. Chaddock remarked that the first part was covered by Central Council rules.
Dr. Layton: I think the point about handbell peals should be clearly stated.
The proposer and seconder agreed to the motion being amended to apply only to tower bells.
Mr. Frank Hawthorne, commenting on the Press, said not long ago a peal was said to have been rung at Thames Ditton which was not rung at all.
Mr. C. K. Lewis said he had a vested interest in the motion which was framed in 1958 after the two attempts. He felt that a lot of the trouble could have been avoided if the approach to the peal had been properly made. In an attempt for a long length very careful mental preparation was necessary. It needed a psychological approach and it needed eight men making the same psychological approach. He felt that they were not making the right approach. The trouble was putting in the food and drink. If they got eight men with the right approach they would not think about food and drink. It was the mental approach that was needed: there was too much emphasis on the physical.
Mr. P. J. Staniforth: As the umpire of these attempts …
A member: Are we holding an inquest or considering the motion?
Mr. Staniforth said it had been suggested that they were not conducting themselves properly and it was a reflection on the whole of the Exercise. There was nothing in the motion to suggest that the ringers were not conducting themselves properly. These matters should be left entirely to the ringers themselves and to their good faith.
A member: The Lord Bishop of Liverpool said last night: “Let the bells ring out.” Today we are trying to close them up.
Mr. H. Sanger then seconded the motion moved by Mr. Dunkerley, “That in tower bell peal record attempts the bells should be clearly audible outside the building in which they are contained, and the second part be deleted.”
This was carried, there being only three votes against.
The Ringing World, June 5, 1959, pages 367 to 372
SECTION I. GENERAL
The Survey of Sunday Service Ringing initiated by the Council last year has been carried out, thanks to the industry of many individuals, Associations, and the Editor of “The Ringing World.” Details of all the facts accumulated are set out in a later section of this report, and it is hoped that Council members will bring its contents to the notice of as many ringers, clergy and responsible churchpeople as possible.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the work of this committee has been the tremendous goodwill shown by Guilds and responsible ringers. There is a good correlation between the enthusiasm of Association activities and the condition of Sunday Service Ringing. This is a great encouragement for it implies that the Association is an effective channel for our efforts.
We feel justified in saying that much good has already been done by the Survey by the interest it has stimulated and the further opportunities it has given Association officials to obtain additional knowledge about ringing in their areas. As a direct result of the Survey, three large Associations are already taking active steps to bring about an improvement.
Replies indicate the tremendous value of the bells and their message to the Church, so at least we know that our efforts are worth while. But there is need for a positive and definite affirmation of why the bells are hung in towers, why they are rung for service and what part they play in the Church’s life and witness. It does really matter that some bells are not rung on Sunday. Unless ringers, clergy and congregation all equally hold this conviction the driving force is lacking. The people who have most responsibility in demonstrating this are members of the Central Council, other leading members of the Exercise (especially Association officers) and leading clergy and laymen in each diocese. There is need for closer consultation and understanding between them. This is related to publicity through church newspapers, diocesan magazines and especially parish magazines, which is invaluable. Names of local Association officers should also be known to local newspapers, so that the former may be contacted when ringing matters crop up.
We feel that an important purpose of an Association is the teaching of ringing. Ringing needs personal instruction of the best sort available. Few Associations are organised to do this beyond the rough and tumble of a Saturday afternoon meeting. There is need to get down to this problem in earnest. The scheme organised by the Bath and Wells Diocesan Guild is commended. It is asking its leading members to form a panel of instructors and affiliated towers (via the P.C.C.) to give financial help so that definite courses of instruction can be given (12 weeks in the first instance) in the tower.
Many feel that one of the most potent factors for success is leadership and adequate instruction. There is no doubt that absence of leadership of the right qualities is a major factor where Sunday service ringing is not what it should be. If established ringing organisations can somehow increase the output of leaders and tutors of the right qualities in the near future a great step towards progress will have been made.
Also very high on the list are those factors which summed up emphasise the need for closer relations with the family of the Church and a greater and more obvious interest by the clergy. We must all do our part (more than hitherto) in fostering this interest. Efforts at closer relationship and better understanding with the clergy and church officials will nearly always bring a welcome response.
The question of recruitment has an important place in the main body of this report, and whilst there is overwhelming support for recruiting from within branches of church activity it must be remembered that many may be brought into the family of the church by way of the belfry. Whilst the advantages of obtaining recruits of quality (mental and physical) are apparent, the need to secure “a balanced band” should not be overlooked. There are many advantages in having a good spread in age, occupation and social position, etc. Careful recruiting over a long period of time may do much to reduce the difficulties in regard to shift work, homework, seasonal work and military service, which at present figure so prominently in replies to this Survey. We must, so to speak, avoid having all our eggs in one basket, plan well ahead and above all, recruit whilst things are thriving, not wait for a collapse. Greater effort should be made personally to hand on a migrant ringer from one band to another.
Some emphasis has been placed on the value of social relationships between ringers outside the belfry, and we feel that these are important. Important, too, is the organisation and distribution of tasks connected with the belfry amongst the ringers - especially young ringers. The making of such contributions causes them to feel that they have “a stake in the place,” and if more were done on these lines we should perhaps have less towers where bad-going bells and bad conditions hinder progress. It is also important that all are given the feeling that they are wanted.
There is also an obligation upon us as church members to see that our bells do ring out as part of the EVANGELICAL WITNESS OF OUR CHURCH. As one Diocesan Guild has pointed out:-
“The bells of any parish church are some of its best missionaries and publicity agents. The parish priest can be shut out or unwelcome, so can his parish visitors, but it is almost impossible to shut out the bells with their message and invitation to worship from any house within their sound.”
The committee believed from the outset that no matter as important as this should be discussed out of context of facts, as accurately as we could get them. This is indeed a golden rule of all investigation and discussion. Furthermore, we felt that we should hear the opinions of as many ringers all over the country as possible. We therefore devised a questionnaire form which was sent to territorial Associations, asking for certain basic facts about the bells, towers and ringers in their areas, and also inviting comment and opinions. It was not envisaged that the statistics collected from this Survey would cover every bell, tower and ringer in the British Isles - that would have been wishful thinking - but that facts could be collected from a sufficiently high proportion of towers in an area so that we could feel confident that in saying, for example, 22 per cent. of towers ring for more than 45 minutes on Sunday, we could not be far out in that statement. Greater accuracy seemed quite unnecessary and, in any case, unobtainable.
A. RESPONSE TO QUESTIONNAIRE
The area of the British Isles is covered, for ringing purposes, by 42 territorial Associations. The 28 Associations who completed the questionnaire cover 71% of the towers in the British Isles, but the towers surveyed by the Associations comprised only another 71% of all in their areas (50.4% of all the towers in the British Isles), When one remembers that detailed public opinion forecasts are nowadays made from samples, information from 50% of the towers gives a very sound basis for discussion.
The response to our questionnaire was really excellent and, frankly, far exceeded expectations. We are tremendously grateful to all the many Associations, general secretaries, Branch secretaries, tower captains and, in quite a few cases, incumbents, who went to so much trouble to fill in yet another form in their lives. Indeed so much more was done in some Associations than we asked for that we are able to include a great deal more information and, especially, a wider range of opinions than we ever expected to have. This is particularly due to those ten Associations who sent into us the individual returns from towers in their areas. The individual tower returns came from 913 towers though, unfortunately, those from one Association arrived so late that they could not be included in the statistics; only the opinions are included.
Every word and every figure sent has been read and sorted, and we hope that our report fairly represents this vast amount of data. We have, too, received views in private correspondence, via letters to “The Ringing World” and by word of mouth. For these we are most grateful and have also tried to give them due attention. To sum up the data and opinions from 2,719 towers in even a fairly short report is not easy.
|1.||Towers in British Isles (Dove, 1956)||5,422|
|2.||Towers in areas surveyed (Dove, 1956)||3,853|
|3.||Towers surveyed in category 2||2,719|
|5.||Towers ringable, but not normally rung||18%|
|6.||Towers which are rung but well undermanned||28%|
|7.||Towers which ring all their bells regularly||40%|
|8.||Towers which ring for at least 45 minutes before service||22%|
|9.||Towers which ring for at least 30 to 45 minutes before service||50%|
|10.||Towers which ring for less than 30 minutes before service||15%|
|11.||Towers with paid bands||12%|
|12.||Towers ringing call-changes only||28%|
|13.||Towers ringing call-changes and method||51%|
|14.||Towers holding regular practices||56%|
|15.||Bands having school-age members||54%|
|16.||Bands with at least half the members belonging to the local Association||56%|
|17.||Difficulty in recruiting||46%|
|18.||Would welcome help||34%|
|19.||With 1.5 or more members per rope||39%|
|20.||With 1.0 to 1.5 members per rope||34%|
|21.||With less than 1.0 members per rope||27%|
|22.||Average number of tower members per rope||1.228|
|23.||Estimated number of ringers in British Isles||41,700|
4. Proportion of towers unringable.- This is probably an underestimate. Unringable towers tend to be “under-surveyed” by Associations. In so far that this is an under-estimate, 6 and 7 will tend to be over-estimated. The proportion of unringable towers varies widely between Associations, reaching apparently the alarming figure of 47.8% in one Association.
5. Proportion of towers ringable but not normally rung.- This figure may also be slightly under-estimated since such towers tend to be left out. Taking 4 and 5 together, it appears that at least 32% of all towers are not rung regularly at all.
6. Towers well undermanned.- This is a hard category to define, and in practice means all those towers which are clearly not in categories 4, 5 or 7.
7. Towers which ring all their bells regularly.- A band that is capable of ringing all the bells in its tower regularly is really the least definition that one might accept of “satisfactory service ringing” without specifying anything about quality.
8, 9 and 10. Duration of ringing.- These three together should add up to 6 and 7. In fact, most of the towers in category 5 also stated how long they ring, if they ring at all. The number of towers who state that they ring for as little as 10 or even 5 minutes before a service was a revelation.
11. Paid bands.- “Paid” was taken literally. It is quite obvious that in very few cases are ringers paid an amount that can be termed “payment.” In most cases funds seemed to be used collectively for the band or tower. There was a noticeable tendency for paid bands to be more numerous in the North and least frequent amongst call-change ringers.
12. Call-changes.- As would be expected, call-change bands predominate in the Southwest of England; about 75% of all towers in Devon and Cornwall ring call-changes only. From 25 to 30% seems to be a typical percentage in the “change-ringing” areas.
14. Practices.- “Regular practice” includes towers which only practise during the winter (mostly rural) and towers which combine for practice. Since apparently only 68% of all towers ring at all, 56% with a regular practice is a high proportion.
17. Difficulty in recruiting.- The validity of this figure is questionable since people’s estimates of what constitutes difficulty in recruiting vary so much.
18. Would welcome help.- This is exactly half the towers who do ring at all.
22. Tower members per rope.- The number of ringers per rope in various towers varied between 0 and over 4 (several cases). The record was an 8-bell tower which claimed 38 members (this was vouched for by the Association secretary). In many cases the number of tower members included all beginners, and undoubtedly at times the figure was rather an optimistic one - a tower, for example, with eight bells and, allegedly, 16 members should be able to ring more than six bells on Sundays. This sort of instance was not uncommon, and it is probable that the number of ringers tends to be over, rather than under, estimated.
23. Estimated number of ringers in British Isles.- This figure is calculated by multiplying the figure of 5,422 (see question 1) by 1.228 (see question 22).
For reasons stated under 22, and also because the Survey tended to be unrepresentative of unringable and unrung towers, the figure is probably an over-estimate. The figure may be contrasted with the 46,848 given in the Official Year Book of the Church of England for 1959 for the Provinces of York and Canterbury only (5,208 towers). Exactly what the Year Book figures mean is doubtful when one considers, for example, that the diocese of Sodor and Man, with no ringable rings, is credited with 23 ringers!
An account was taken of the number of towers which regularly ring all their bells at least once on Sunday, ring for 45 minutes or more before service, have a regular practice and have at least one school-age ringer in the band (as evidence of attitude towards recruiting). Only 16.6% of all change-ringing bands and 6.1% of all call-change only bands satisfied all these requirements together. The second requirement seemed to be the hardest to fulfil.
C. THE COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS
The replies from 913 towers and 18 Association secretaries produced 110 factors favourable to the maintenance of Sunday service ringing and 78 unfavourable factors. To be sure, many of these, though distinct, had a common basis, and some in the first category were merely the opposite of those in the latter, but the enormous variety here was undreamt of. This does stress the fact that the whole matter is by no means simple and the views of any one person, or even a committee of five, can easily be much too narrow and their experience too limited.
Before summarising these views, one or two general observations might be made. In the first place, from these comments one can immediately feel the tremendous difference in atmosphere between the tower where ringing is poor or non-existent and that where there is a healthy band. In the former case nothing but the difficulties are mentioned - the whole world seems to be against ringing - whereas in the latter case, though many similar circumstances must exist, the difficulties are hardly ever mentioned. A tower that is “down” rarely has even any suggestions to offer of what might be done. This feeling of oppression and depression is obviously itself a very real bar to improvement.
The second point is that, overwhelmingly, the factors most often mentioned which are both favourable and unfavourable to Sunday service ringing are not concerned with either the technique of ringing or with Associations. The Central Council was only mentioned twice (once favourably and once not) and “The Ringing World” once. The general impression obtained of the ringing Exercise from these forms is vastly and wholly different from reading “The Ringing World” or, indeed, of listening to the proceedings of the Central Council. Undoubtedly the greatest problem is how to get together and keep together a band of people to ring at all, and not what or how they ring. The problems are parochial and social rather than ringing ones.
The third general observation is that a very large number of the factors quoted are very general ones: patience, perseverance, lack of interest, and so forth. Whilst no one would deny that such qualities are desirable or undesirable, as the case may be, we would agree with the Association secretary who said: “It was obvious from some of the replies that the problems confronting ringing were not clearly understood or analysed.” It was notable again that vague replies of this sort rarely came from flourishing towers.
In the following summary of opinions, the figures in parentheses after each opinion, comment or suggestion indicate the number of times it was mentioned.
Dealing first with the unfavourable factors and difficulties:-
There are the incontestable snags such as bells heavy-going and bad belfry conditions (42), a church devoid of parochial life (7), or only a small population or congregation to draw on (62). One Guild believes that no parish with a population of more than 1,000 should be incapable of raising a local band, but with fewer one’s resources are limited.
The two most commonly mentioned of all difficulties were National Service (94) and moving from the district (103). Against this only (7) towers acknowledge the assistance of ringers moving into their districts. It does seem that moving from one district to another all too often ends a person’s ringing career. This is specially so for country districts and young people. As one tower said: “Young ringers have to leave the village to get jobs - especially the brighter ones.” In (24) instances, leaving a district to attend University was mentioned, though the (8) mentions of help from University Societies to some extent compensates.
Another very common difficulty is Sunday work and shift work (63) and, in country or seaside districts, seasonal work (8). Home work (40) and night school (38) certainly do prevent young ringers getting, the training they need. The many other activities that vie with ringing were mentioned: in general (73), Sunday motoring (7), Sunday sports (15), cinemas (14), television (28) and radio (2). An interesting point about television is that it was scarcely mentioned at all in some areas, but these seem to be the ones where it has been longest available.
Personality factors loom large. Hardly any of the form fillers pointed out defects in their own personalities, but there seemed to be room for improvement in many of those with whom they came into contact. Lack of interest in bells and church kept coming up (86). More specific mentions were unco-operativeness of older ringers (27); lack of persistence (29); the incumbent (23); “The young people of today are not what we were” (34); the dimness of learners (8); lack of consideration of church authorities towards ringing (5); objections from parishioners to bells (8); aggressive and shouting ringing captains (6); peal grabbers (5) (the smallness of this figure is, perhaps, out of proportion to the frequency with which this is mentioned in, for example, “The Ringing World” correspondence); disinterest of congregation or parish in bells (15); resentment of ringers against being helped (6) and, to balance this, the disinclination of ringers from nearby towers to help when asked (4); and feuds and bickering between ringers (6).
The church-going habits of our times also got their mention. Absence of young people in church congregations (35). Incumbents insisting that ringers attend church (5). (One rector himself wrote: “I have made it a rule ‘no ringing on Sundays if ringers don’t stay to service afterwards’ - this has not been well received.”) In four cases, however, the tendency of ringers not to go to service was considered a bad factor.
To come now to the ringing factors: Lack of leadership or adequate instruction (59) was most often mentioned.
There were unfavourable factors, too, in the organisation of the band in some towers. Awkward times of ringing (23) was frankly admitted in some cases to equate with reluctance to get out of bed on Sunday morning, though distance to be travelled home to tower (23) is certainly a problem for many urban ringers. (6) blamed not teaching youngsters, though (16) said they could not get recruits at all.
Turning now to the more cheerful side of this summary, it is pleasant to begin by recording that five towers simply gave love of ringing as their favourable factor.
Whatever views former generations of ringers held about the connection between their art and church worship, there is no doubt that the present generation considers the intimate relationship between Church and ringers absolutely vital. It is a pity that this feeling that ringing before a service is a vital part of that service is not shared so strongly by all priests and congregations. This feeling was explicitly put by those who said: “Emphasise the reason for ringing on Sunday” (24), ringers must have a sense of duty and service (36), and it must be emphasised that ringers are part of the body of church workers (13). Most commonly, however, the necessary link between ringers and church was expressed as “Interest the clergy and church authorities” (wardens and P.C.C.) (144), and having ringers who are church-people (92), and encouraging ringers to hold other posts in the church (19).
Many of the favourable factors given were concerned with the conduct of the team of ringers, rather than individuals, and especially referred to recruiting. The recruiting of young people. rather than middle-aged, was almost universally advocated, though whereas (1) specifically recommended the under-20’s (6) suggested the 20-30 (i.e., post-National Service) age group as more suitable; (53) believed that youth organisations (fellowships, choirs, Scouts, Guides, etc.) connected with the Church provided the best field for recruiting, whilst six believed that ringing should be taught in schools (the fourth “R” ?). Recruiting talks and demonstrations were thought to be required in (26) cases whilst publicity through television, radio and the Press (the parish magazine was mentioned twice) was suggested (34) times. Simply “regular recruiting” was mentioned (45) times. Undoubtedly as important as recruiting to the character of a band is the leadership it has (83), though opinions differ somewhat as to whether it is necessary for the leader to be also the chief instructor and conductor. The value of a friendly atmosphere and social contact between the ringers outside the belfry was frequently (60) mentioned, as was that great British quality, team spirit (54).
The faithful service and encouragement of older ringers must keep many more bands together than those mentioning it (29), and so, too, the help given by neighbouring towers to each other (60) must be a sustaining factor. In six cases, combined practices between towers were advocated, and the mention of ringers with cars (7) certainly assists such arrangements.
SECTION II. THEOLOGICAL COLLEGES
As some information regarding the enquiry carried out by the Rev. G. Thurlow covering all the English Theological Colleges has already appeared in “The Ringing World,” this part of the report is being kept as short as possible.
From the replies received we have grouped the Colleges into three groups:-
(a) Colleges which at present feel unable to include any kind of ringing instruction or talks on ringing us their curriculum because already it is overcrowded.
(b) Colleges where ringing flourishes.
(c) Colleges where it appears that progress can be made.
We decided to deal first with group (c), as being the one where our efforts would be most productive. We have approached Association officers of areas in which nine of the Colleges are situated, informing them what each of these Colleges need by way of instruction, lectures, or guidance, and have asked them to co-operate and let us know, in due course, what progress they are able to make. Several favourable replies have already been received, and it is hoped to continue and extend this work during the coming year.
Section I was moved by Mr. N. Chaddock and seconded by Mr. R. S. Anderson and adopted without discussion.
Section II, dealing with Theological Colleges, was moved by Mr. Chaddock and seconded by Mr. Gray.
The Rev. R. D. St. J. Smith. speaking as one who learnt to ring before he entered a theological college, emphasised the importance of this method of introducing ringing to clergy. One of the objects of the Guild of Clerical Ringers was to forward their art among theological students, and members of the Guild were willing to give lectures and instruction.
The Rev. J. G. M. Scott concurred: “If you go into a place where the bells are in a bad or unsafe condition you often find that the parson is not interested. I have often been told ‘You had better go up yourself - I have never been to see the bells.’”
Mr. Philip Gray said he did not think it was intended to teach theological students to ring, but to give them a knowledge of bells and ringing.
This section was approved.
SECTION III. SUGGESTIONS FOR POSSIBLE LINES OF ACTION
It was suggested that the Sunday Service Ringing Committee be reconstituted to work on the following lines:-
(1) Organise the preparation and distribution of a memorandum or leaflet containing selected material from the Survey which ought to be brought to the notice of clergy and ecclesiastical authorities.
This was moved by Mr. N. Chaddock and provoked a long discussion.
Mr. J. P. Fidler urged that particulars should be published in Diocesan Kalendars.
Mr. Osborn wanted more publicity in Church newspapers.
Mr. C. K. Lewis and Mr. W. F. Moreton wanted each diocesan bishop to put the subject on the agenda of a diocesan conference. It was pointed out that these agendas were invariably overloaded.
The meeting favoured a report being printed and circulated to all Diocesan Associations for distribution.
The Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow thought the best way of dissemination was by converted people. He suggested three levels - diocesan, to the diocesan clergy school and to the parishes.
Mr. F. B. Lufkin thought the best work could be done at local level. He suggested that 1,000 copies be printed and distributed as and when necessary.
Miss Cross seconded.
Later, Mr. J. Glanville proposed and Mr. J. T. Dunwoody seconded that an edited report be printed and circulated. This was passed.
Mr. F. W. Perrens urged that the report should be as brief as possible, because if there was too much people would not study it.- Agreed.
(2) Prepare a booklet or leaflet on belfry organisation, recruitment, relations with parishes, etc., embodying important information and ideas included in the Survey. Such a booklet might give advice on the best methods of establishing a band where none at present is in existence.
Mr. Chaddock said it was proposed to prepare a draft this year and report in 12 months’ time.- Agreed.
(3) Ensure that continuous contact is maintained with Theological Colleges through various Associations and Guilds.- Carried.
(4) Consider and make further suggestions in 1960 on what might be done in addition to what individual Associations are doing to bring about an improvement. It is emphasised here that the Council can only advise on those matters which rest largely in the hands of Associations and parochial organisations.- Agreed.
(5) Act in an advisory capacity to any individual or organisation which asks for guidance regarding Sunday service ringing.
Mr. Chaddock said if the Editor of “The Ringing World” received any letter on the subject he could pass it on to the Committee.- Agreed.
(6) Investigate means of getting more propaganda into Church publications.
Mr. P. Gray said he went through 43 Diocesan Year Books, and only six had any details concerning ringing in the diocese.- Agreed.
(7) Facilitate the carrying out of any suggestions which may come from Associations as a result of their study of the report at general or Branch meetings. A copy of the report to be submitted to each Association.- Agreed.
(8) Consider means and advisability of obtaining the co-operation of educational authorities regarding the provision of courses in bell-ringing.
Mr. Chaddock said this was prepared before they knew about the motion which was coming before the Council. Some central organisation should exist for passing on information. If the Council or diocesan organisations did not take action the College of Campanology would.
The President: This might be incorporated in Motion 10 (c).
Dr. Layton: One thing very important in the Survey is leadership. I think this Committee should consider courses to train leaders of parochial bands.
Mr. F. I. Hairs commented that the fat would be in the fire if they jumped over local Associations.
It was decided to discuss the matter under motion 10 (c).
On the proposition of Mr. R. G. Blackman the Committee were reappointed, en bloc and Mr. W. F. Moreton and Dr. D. N. Layton added.
A vote of thanks to the Committee for their work was proposed by Mr. H. W. Rogers and seconded by Dr. E. S. J. Hatcher.
Mr. H. Miles asked if the reports would be returned to the Associations.
Mr. P. Gray said he proposed to return them to the Guilds.
ESTABLISHMENT OF COURSES
The third motion before the Council read-
“That this Council considers the organisation of courses which would cater, possibly by means of simultaneous lectures, for the needs both of more experienced and less experienced ringers, and, if in favour of such courses, begins to hold them as soon as possible.”
Mr. W. F. Moreton, who moved the motion, said one of the motions submitted to the Council in 1890 was that the Council was to encourage the development of the art in its scientific, mathematical and historical branches. Since 1890 the Council had interested itself in many different branches of their art and had assisted by its publications. The advantages of courses were that they made possible practical demonstrations. There were lots of ringers who wanted to learn. Some Guilds and Associations tried to teach them; in others there was no organised teaching except that which went on on practice night. He felt the Council should do something.
There were educational authorities in most parts of the country that ran courses in different subjects. They were open to suggestions, and if they agreed to take over ringing they would meet the expenses. It was clear to him that it was more practical to undertake the instruction in this manner than by local Associations. A course would cover an area larger than an Association’s and cater for two standards of ringers.
He proposed that the Council express its opinion on the usefulness of courses, and secondly, if in favour it organises some. This can be done either by an existing committee or one specifically appointed.
Mr. H. Miles seconded.
Mr. W. G. Wilson suggested that the motion gave the organisers a free hand to spend what they like. Could the Council be told what the liabilities would be? He did not think they ought to give anybody a blank cheque.
Mr. Moreton: If the Council expressed itself in favour the cost would be met by the ringers and the local authorities.
Mr. C. K. Lewis: Whilst the Council might approve of any such courses on ringing, the initiative of starting in any educational place should come from the local Associations. They are the people on the spot and should take the initiative. The Ministry of Education finds it necessary to administer through the local authorities, and we should take the same line. While we approve of them we should not undertake them on a national scale but on a local scale.
Mr. J. H. Crampion: We in Essex have had two courses and they have proved success. I cannot say we got many new recruits. The people who attended could just handle a bell and knew little of change-ringing. I think it is tied up with Sunday service ringing. We have already a committee on that. May I suggest that this committee gets together in the next 12 months and comes to the next meeting with suggestions.
Mr. F. W. Perrens pointed out that the Council would not be responsible for any expense incurred if the courses were run by the local authorities, It meant that anyone who could influence a local authority should do so.
Dr. Hatcher: Surely that is eating your cake and having it at the same time!
Mr. Perrens: In this case we stand to gain.
Mr. G. McKay (Cumberland and North Westmorland) said in his county they made an approach through their educational authority and they replied that they did not feel they were a big enough body to organise these courses. If an application was made by a more august body - like the Lancashire Association or the Central Council - it would be better.
Mr. W. G. Wilson said he would accept Mr. Perrens’ assurance that there would be no cost.
Mr. P. Gray said if they organised a course with the local authority there was no reason why the Council should pay. They had a course organised at Liddington House. The people paid a course fee of two guineas and the educational authority provided the fees.
Mr. Crampion: The Essex Association did not incur any expense at all.
Mr. Harry Sanger asked that in any course the local Association should be informed and their co-operation invited.
Mr. Moreton: I quite agree with Mr. Sanger and I should think it was elementary good manners. If I had the duty of organising in anybody’s territory I should approach the secretary in that District.
Mr. Perrens: The position is that these courses be organised as soon as possible provided the Council is not responsible for any expense incurred.
The motion was then carried and it was agreed that the matter be left with the Sunday Service Committee.
The President said that last week he was in York giving lectures in the Institute for Advancing Educational Studies. The director told him that if they wanted to hold a course in the Institute it could be held there. The Institute had its own ring of bells.
32 Associations fully represented, 75 members, 20 Associations partly represented, 49 members present, 23 absent, 5 Associations not represented
The hon. secretary: This exceeds the previous best attendance in 1948 and 1957 of 138. It is very satisfactory.
VOTES OF THANKS
The President said they had a tremendous number of people to thank. First and foremost the Mayor of Southport (Cclr. R. Wood) and the Bishop of Liverpool, the president of the Lancashire Association (Rev. R. D. St. J. Smith), for their hearty and kind welcome that day. Additionally they had to thank the Bishop for officiating at the Holy Communion, and the Rev. F. H. Pickering for the use of the church ; also the president of the Lancashire Association and the secretary (Mr. F. Dunkerley) for their great work in arranging the dinner, not forgetting Miss Grimm for her great attention to details. They also thanked the Branch secretaries of the Lancashire Association and all local tower-keepers. Altogether it had been a most memorable occasion.
The president of the Lancashire Association: We do appreciate your kind words. What we have tried to do has been a pleasure, and if you have enjoyed yourselves and it has been a successful meeting, we are happy.
Mr. F. Dunkerley said he was pleased the Central Council visit had gone so well. It could not have gone so well if it had not been for his assistants Miss Grimm and Mr. Stephen L. Parry. It was not just the captain of the ship but the people behind the scenes - the very willing helpers who had done all things possible for the success of the gathering.
The meeting was followed by a winding-up social at the Palace Hotel, which was enjoyed by a large company.
The Ringing World, June 12, 1959, pages 365 to 388
THE eve of the Central Council meeting was made memorable by the dinner given by the Lancashire Association at the Palace Hotel, Southport. The president of the Association (the Rev. R. D. St. J. Smith) and the secretary (Mr. Fred Dunkerley) welcomed the company of 220 members and lady friends. Included in the guests were the Bishop of Liverpool (the Rt. Rev. Clifford Martin), the president of the Council and Mrs. Sharpe, the vice-president, the Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin J. Lewis and the hon. secretary (Mr. E. A. Barnett) and Mrs. Barnett. The gathering and hospitality were amongst the happiest in the annals of the Exercise, The president, who presided, gave the toast of “The Queen.”
The president of the Council in proposing “The Church and the Exercise” said the toast was most appropriate for such a happy occasion. The Church existed solely as a means of spreading the Gospel of Christ and as a means of obtaining salvation of souls. They all had their duty to do, not only in the belfry but to bring the knowledge of God to those with whom they came in contact.
THE SATURDAY MEETINGS
The Exercise came in in bringing the knowledge of God to their fellow men. Every Saturday afternoon up and down the length and breadth of the country there were some 20 or 30 gatherings of ringers - first to ring, then to attend a church service and afterwards to sit down to the fellowship of a meal. It combined everything they needed in exercise, fellowship and service to God, and they proclaimed the Gospel of Christ in a way that at times must make people think.
The best results in their belfries was when the clergy took an active interest in the ringers, and this applied to their Diocese, where the Bishop was a ringer. This was a great asset to any Diocese. They also had another clergyman as the president of their Association, and he always thought it was better to have a clergyman at the head of their Diocesan Guild than a layman.
As he travelled around the countryside he saw many different churches. He had examined the bells in 2,000 churches and seen 2,000 incumbents and heard their story and also the stories of 2,000 captains of ringers. Sometimes one was able to pour oil on troubled waters. To-day they saw a far greater interest in the Church than in his early days, because he had lived through the period of the Church going into decay and was witnessing its revival because greater interest was being taken in spiritual things now than 10 or 15 years ago. Their secretary was a example of a fine layman and a member of the Exercise and they appreciated what he had done for their Association, the Exercise and the Central Council. (Applause.)
The Bishop of Liverpool, in his reply, said he did not want them to put much emphasis on his ringing. “I can just about ring in rounds. I know all the trials and troubles and the humiliation of getting your bell to stand. I know what happens when your bell comes down on you, and I have been rescued once or twice.”
THE BISHOP’S BELL
The Bishop recounted that he learned to handle a bell at St. Andrew’s, Plymouth, under Mr. Tom Myers. When the news came through that he was leaving they pushed him through and he received his certificate of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers. At one tower he rang at they asked him which bell he would take. He replied “No. 5.” After he had rung they put sip a little tablet inscribed “The Bishop’s Bell.”
The Church was not like the building at the corner of the street but consisted of all of them who were admitted by baptism. They were all the great family of God and if people would only get that idea into their minds the Church would be stronger than it was to-day.
The job of the Church was not just to keep the machinery of it going or the Exercise going; the job was to make its message known far and wide. “You ringers have to see that the message is known widely; let the bells be heard. Our task is to help people to understand what it is all about. It is because people did not know that they got the wrong end of the scale about their religion and look at it from the popular Press.”
Proposing the toast of “Our Guests,” Mr. Fred Dunkerley said they would all have recognised by now what a human bishop they had. He was loved by all in Lancashire.
It was a great pleasure to the Lancashire Association to have the visit of the Central Council; their last visit was 27 years ago and they were all deeply conscious of the honour, and they were doing their best to make the visitors happy while they were there.
“Make no mistake, the art of campanology is rising to a greater height than ever before. This is evident in Spliced Surprise. In that direction I would like to mention the name of Pitman. He is a very unassuming man but it is due to his skill that we have progressed.”
Mr. Dunkerley concluded by expressing the hope that the Council would return to Lancashire in the not too distant future.
The Rev. Gilbert Thurlow, who replied, said he would like to give the Bishop full marks for his extremely fine article in “The Ringing World.” He recalled the interest of the two Archbishops in ringing, how the Archbishop of York said that gramophone bells were the invention of the devil, and how the Archbishop of Canterbury insisted on visiting the ringers in the belfry and saying “Thank you” to them.
Among the stories told by, the Vicar of Great Yarmouth was of a certain public house in the West Country known as “The Cock.” A certain diocesan bishop stayed there a night and they were so thrilled by his visit that they asked the Bishop if they could change the name of the inn and call it after him.
The Bishop agreed, and when he next passed the inn he noticed the newly-painted sign “The Bishop of So-and-So” and then underneath:
“This is the old Cock.” He thanked the Lancashire Association for a memorable weekend with its unsurpassed hospitality.
On the Tuesday morning the Bishop of Liverpool was the celebrant at Holy Communion in Christ Church, which was attended by about 100 members of the Council. Assisting in the service were the Revs. R. D. St. J. Smith and A. G. G. Thurlow.
The Ringing World, May 29, 1959, page 352