There was an attendance of 176 members at the Central Council meeting at Lincoln on Tuesday, May 27, which was one fewer than the record at London in 1972. This was announced at the close of the Conference by the secretary of the Council, Mr. Cyril Wratten.

Held in the Bishop Grosseteste College the proceedings commenced at 9.45 a.m. the Dean of Gloucester, V. Rev. Gilbert Thurlow, opening with prayer. After the apologies and a welcome to new members had been given, the president, Mr. John Freeman, announced that only one nomination had been received for the office of president - that of Mr. Edwin A. Barnett who was then duly installed, amidst applause.

The Vice President is now the Rev. John G. Scott (there also being no other nomination for this office). Mr. Cyril A. Wratten continues as secretary. Mr. Frederick Sharpe, although not present until after the luncheon break was elected librarian.

There followed the election of honorary members, which necessitated a ballot, and the names of members who had died since the last Council meeting were read out, the Rev. John Scott offering prayer.

The minutes were approved after one minor adjustment had been made and the hon. secretary’s report was also accepted.

The long agenda was then dealt with, various adjustments being made in the order, mainly because the Librarian (Mr. Sharpe) had requested that his report and subsequent discussion be dealt with when he was able to be present.

The business moved along smoothly and quickly until 12.45 p.m. when it was adjourned for luncheon, served in the College Hall.

After the meal the business reverted to the Librarian’s Report and also that of a sub-committee, set up last year, whose findings and suggestions about the future of the Council’s library were to be discussed. This item brought forth the biggest debate of the day, and after only three of the 21 items of the subcommittee’s recommendations had been dealt with (these taking an hour) a member proposed “next business”. On being seconded and put to the meeting it was approved by about 10 votes causing something of a climax and cries of “Shame”. The president declared the motion had been carried and proceeded to the next item on the agenda.

All other Committee reports, after being discussed and approved, were followed by nominations and elections of members for each committee.

This year’s meeting was the longest for at least six years and it was 7 p.m. before the president declared the meeting closed.

Next year the Central Council will meet in Hereford during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. Invitations for 1977 were extended on behalf of the Durham & Newcastle Association and the Derby Diocesan Guild. The latter was selected by the members on a show of hands.

* * *

Central Council Meeting

(Monday May 26)

There was a very large gathering of members and guests at the Headquarters (Moor Lodge Hotel, Branston) on Monday evening when the host Guild gave a Reception. The Swiss Suite with its long bar and tasteful decor was taken over by the Lincoln Guild officers and the Central Council members and at 8 o’clock the stentorian voice of Mr. Harold Rogers (London County Association) bid all to attend whilst the Master of the Lincoln D.G. (Mr. John Freeman), accompanied by Mrs. Freeman, led the church leaders and civic guests into the lounge.

Included in the group were: The Lord Bishop of Lincoln (Rt. Rev. Simon Phipps), Mrs. Phipps, the Dean of Lincoln (V. Rev. The Hon. O. W. Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes), the leader of the Lincoln City Council (Cclr. Mrs. Bates) and officers of the Central Council.

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln (Guild Patron) said it gave him very great pleasure to be present at the gathering of so many bellringers from different parts of the country and he wished them well in their deliberations at their Conference next day.

The Dean of Lincoln, who is the Lincoln Guild’s president, also welcomed the Central Council to Lincoln and spoke appreciatively of the work the bellringers do for the Church. He hoped to meet many of those present at the service of Holy Communion the next morning (Tuesday) in the Angel Choir at the Cathedral.

The Bishop of Lincoln with the Central Council Secretary (Mr. C. A. Wratten).
Simon Phipps, Cyril Wratten

Cclr. Mrs. Bates expressed pleasure at being present that evening, although she was “third reserve”! The Mayor of Lincoln and the Deputy Mayor had both been unable to attend and it therefore fell to her lot to extend a warm welcome on behalf of the citizens of Lincoln to the Central Council members. Mrs. Bates added that she knew nothing of bellringing but always enjoyed hearing the bells, especially those of their lovely Cathedral in Lincoln. She expressed the hope that the Conference would be successful and that all the visitors would enjoy themselves.


Mr. John Freeman, responding, found himself in an unusual position. He had, on the one hand, as Master of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild, the pleasant duty of extending a welcome to the Central Council, and on the other, as President of the Central Council, to thank the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral, the Lord Bishop and the civic representative for their speeches of welcome. However, Mr. Freeman found no difficulty in carrying out his dual role and the gathering loudly applauded at the end of his speech.

A bouquet was presented to Mrs. Bates by Miss Jennifer Freeman and, the formalities being ended, the evening continued in a most convivial atmosphere.

The Ringing World, June 6, 1975, page 475



Every three years there are a number of ringers who join the Central Council as newly-elected representatives for their particular Association, and this year there were at least 40 of these new members. Some probably at first felt a little overawed associating with a mass of well-known people whose names have been by-words in the Exercise for many years. Others who perhaps have moved around in ringing circles attended with possible ideas of making themselves heard and expressing strong views on the Council’s deliberations. A third group were content to sit quietly and watch proceedings, hoping to become integrated in due course in what is virtually the House of Commons - or Parliament - of the ringing Exercise.

Several views were noted during and since the meeting at Lincoln, and the one which seemed to be generally noticed was the way some committee members were re-elected, although each name was proposed and seconded separately. A comment overheard was: “Not much fresh blood on the committees: not a chance for the new boys when the existing members get together and between them re-elect themselves”

This is not strictly correct, although one chairman of a committee in his address did ask for his members to be re-elected in order to have continuity in that committee’s work. The secretary had circulated all members, asking them to state in which particular section of the Council they were interested or felt they could help. Some put down half-a-dozen committees, and others none at all. It was felt that a member of the Council ought not to be on more than perhaps two committees. A comment made after the Council meeting had finished suggested that members should not serve for more than three or possibly six years on any one committee, retiring by rotation. This, if adopted, would need to be studied carefully, for at the outset possibly some valuable leaders would be required to stand down.

Whatever the impressions made on new members, the work of the Council goes on, and although at times things appear to become muddled, at least the Council’s decisions are surprising and it would be a brave man who could predict the result of any ballot taken. A negatived decision this year could easily be reversed next, so there is always hope!

The Ringing World, June 13, 1975, page 485

Central Council

Our President:
Olive and Teddy Barnett

Bell-ringing is to some people a pleasantly nostalgic noise, to others a discordant din that keeps the baby awake, to others a fascinating pastime, to others a service to the Church performed as a duty with varying degrees of skill, but to our new president of the Central Council bell-ringing must surely be a way of life, challenged as a leisure interest only by cricket.

Teddy Barnett is well known to have been a youthful performer, having rung his first peal at the age of eleven and his first as conductor at twelve and a half. His early training included being allowed by his indulgent father to ring the service bell for several minutes after the appointed evening service time. The subsequent reprimand from grandfather evaporated when he was advised of the justified cause of such a departure from discipline!

The Barnetts have figured large in ringing at Crayford for a number of years at the end of the nineteenth century and the whole of the twentieth so far - three generations, each outstanding in his own right, and identified appropriately as Old Teddy, Long Teddy, and Little Teddy. The new president might not now be thought of as diminutive in stature but his ninety year old father none the less claims an extra inch or two in height.

Teddy Barnett could have been a distinguished figure in ringing circles on any of several counts. Distinguished as a prolific peal-ringer at an early age - he could easily have been the youngest to ring a thousand peals; distinguished as a performer - able to ring with a minimum of mistakes and to place a little bell, however oddstruck, exactly in its place; distinguished as a handbell ringer; distinguished as a composer with pioneering composition in spliced Surprise Major, the first of Lincolnshire with the 6th twelve courses at home, unusual peals of Superlative with bells reversed in 5-6, outstanding peals of Bristol before such things were quite so common, and much else; distinguished as a very able conductor; distinguished as a writer on ringing matters; distinguished for his knowledge of ringing history and his recollection of personalities; distinguished as a secretary of the Central Council for fourteen years; and not least for many years’ service to Crayford church and town and to the town of the R.A.F. church of St. Clement Danes in London.


Teddy Barnett was born on October 15, 1918 and on June 13, 1942 he married Olive Hairs. Olive was the daughter of Frank - happily still with us and flourishing at the age of eighty-six - and Elsie Hairs. Elsie Hairs was the daughter of the famous Frank Bennett who rang over 1500 peals. Thus bride and bridegroom were each the third generation of bell-ringers. Their daughter Jean, now married to Jim Woolford and living happily in Australia with their children Kirsty and Hugh, is thus a fourth generation ringer on both sides.

Teddy’s peal-ringing career was much curtailed first by the war during which he served in the R.A.F. and a protracted period of serious illness of both Olive and himself in the early years of their marriage.

For many years Olive and Teddy have been well known in all parts of the country from their willing support of ringing functions far and near. They have both given ungrudging service to the Kent County Association of which Teddy is a vice-president and a former chairman for three years.

The Exercise knows from experience that they will give selfless and outstanding service and ringers everywhere will wish Teddy well in his new and exacting office as the first former secretary to become president of the Council.

The Ringing World, June 13, 1975, page 495


Open Meeting: Sunday May 25
Subject: Sound Control

About 70 ringers and friends attended this meeting, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Fred Dukes. Accompanying the chairman were the two speakers of the evening, Messrs. Brian Threlfall and Alan Frost.

Following introductory remarks from the Chairman, the first speaker, Mr. Brian Threlfall, spoke at some length on the technicalities of the way in which the bell sound is made and measured (amplitude and wavelength). He went on to explain how harder surfaces reflect sound more harshly than softer surfaces and then asked ringers, when thinking of installing sound control, to bear certain points in mind. The direct path of a sound is louder than the indirect path; higher end of a range of notes can be dampened by putting porous materials on tower walls; and clapper knock coming through the tower can be lessened or eliminated by using lead sheeting, which is heavy and soggy material.

Mr. Frost, in his talk, mentioned the three points of sound: source - path - reception.

He pointed out that the source and reception of the sound cannot be satisfactorily controlled. The path of the sound, however, can be controlled. First to be considered is the location of the tower - whether city, town or country. On this will depend whether the sound is to be cut out or modulated. Having decided on the type of installation to be used, the materials and labour have to be decided. Timber must be treated. Outside labour such as contractors can be used or local ringers can work themselves. If local ringers work themselves, they must not forget to check that they are covered by insurance in case of accident or injury.

Finance has also to be considered and Mr. Frost pointed out that the major installation of a ring of bells can cost anything in the region of £5,000 to £6,000. It is better, therefore, to spend £100 giving effective sound control, and allowing the bells to be used, rather than doing a cheap ineffective job which achieves nothing.

Mr. Frost also mentioned the flexibility of materials and of sound control. Materials should be rustproof, and the control of sound should be “flexible” to suit the occasion of ringing.

The Chairman, Mr. Dukes, thanked the two speakers and invited the audience to comment and ask questions.

In the question and answer session, the following points emerged:

Following some general remarks by the Chairman, he thanked the two speakers for their lectures, and also thanked the company for attending.

The thanks of all those who attended the meeting are due to Mr. Dukes, for the excellent way in which he “controlled the sound” of the proceedings.

R. S.

(It is hoped to print the context of the other Open Meeting Lecture (given simultaneously with the above) by the Rev. J. G. M. Scott.- Ed.)

Church and State - The wife of the Bishop of Lincoln, Mrs. Simon Phipps (l.), in earnest conversation with the leader of the Lincoln City Council, Mrs. Bates, before the official reception to the Central Council on Bank Holiday Monday at Moor Lodge Hotel, Lincoln.
Mesdames Phipps and Bates

The Ringing World, June 13, 1975, page 497

Central Council


When nominations were requested for membership of the Committee for Redundant Bells, it was stated by the president that there was not the suggested limitation of five members as in other committees. However, when 10 names had been proposed and seconded, it was stated by a member of the Committee that eight would be enough.

In view of his previous comment the president would not accept this, and eventually each name was voted upon - for and against - in order to establish the Council’s wishes of the number to be elected to the Committee for Redundant Bells. One lady whose name had been put forward said she knew who were her friends and she had no wish to find out who were her enemies! - a point which brought forth some laughter.

However, at the end of the voting all ten members were deemed elected, the “fors” easily outnumbering the “againsts”.

The Ringing World, June 20, 1975, page 503



This subject was brought up towards the end of the recent meeting of the Central Council held at Lincoln, and although not more than 10 minutes were spent discussing the pros and cons of fire prevention and precautions, it is a subject of which every band of ringers in the country should take note.

The recent conflagration at the church and its bells at Streatham (St. Leonard’s) was mentioned, and it seems that with proper advice beforehand the tower and bells could have been saved from destruction. It is easy to be wise after the event. How many towers and/or belfries have any sort of fire extinguisher in the ringing chamber - let alone the bell chamber! And look around at the fabric and furnishings in a tower: 90 per cent are combustible.

There are, fortunately, very few outbreaks of fire in towers, and none of which we know that have occurred whilst ringers are present. It would be a very frightening position in which to be should a fire break out in a room below the tower whilst ringing was in progress, and perhaps a few pounds spent on a good fire extinguisher (and maintained regularly) would be a good investment.

The Council were told that the local fire officers are always prepared to give advice, and as all churches and towers have varying and individual problems it is as well to ask the local Fire Chief to come along and advise.

In the meantime, talk about it amongst your own ringers and become aware of the possibility that, although it is a remote possibility, it could happen in your church and tower.

The Ringing World, June 20, 1975, page 505

Central Council


As briefly stated last week, the librarian (Mr. Frederick Sharpe) was unable to be present at the time when his report was due to be given, and this was then postponed until after the luncheon break.

The report was adopted, Mr. Sharpe having stated that, following last year’s suggestion that names of defaulters in returning books loaned to them be published, he had been able to recover the outstanding volumes - a comment which was received with some satisfaction by all present.

In 1974 the Council appointed a sub-committee to study various matters connected with the Library and to make recommendations to this year’s Council on the siting, costing and organisation of the Library when it became necessary to make such alterations.


The sub-committee had done a thorough job of investigation and the president (Mr. E. A. Barnett) asked Mr. John Barnes to move: (1) that the general policy be accepted; (2) after that, for each recommendation to be dealt with separately, and (3) for the report to be approved.

Mr. Barnes explained in detail what had been done to get information and what it was hoped to do to expand the scope of the Library. A catalogue had been produced in 1974 and he hoped this would be sold at 25p. He proposed the general policy be accepted; Mrs. Elizabeth Stevens seconded and it was carried.

It was the second part - Recommendations - which brought about the liveliest debate of the whole Council meeting. It was suggested by one member that the 21 recommendations should be taken in block sections, and - by another - in its entirety. The chairman, however, ruled that each must be taken separately.

Mr. Sharpe gave several suggested amounts of cash which might be guidelines to future expenditure, but it was pointed out that there was no guarantee that such sums would be available. Proposals, amendments, counter-amendments and suggestions were put forward from many different members, and after about an hour only three of the recommendations had been dealt with, and these not too decisively.


Although a proposal was made that the whole report be referred back to the administrative committee to deal with and resubmit in reduced form next year, it was pointed out by Mrs. Olive Barnett that at Exeter last year the sub-committee had been formed and instructed to report to the Council in 1975, and this they were endeavouring to do.

At this point, Mr. John Camp proposed “next business”; Mr. Frank Reynolds seconded, and on being put to the meeting it was carried by a majority of about 10.

There were cries of “Shame” and Mr. D. E. Sibson said it was disgraceful that the Council were not prepared to consider a report for which it had called.

Various questions on costs already involved were asked and answered, and Mr. E. Billings proposed that the report should be evaluated by the Administrative Committee. Mr. Tyler seconded and this also was agreed.

The question of printing the library catalogue in the R.W. was answered by Mr. Sharpe, who said that the cost (upwards of £200) was prohibitive: “We just haven’t the money,” he said.

The Ringing World, June 20, 1975, page 517

Outside the Church of St. Andrew, Burton-on-Stather, Lincs, during the coach tour by members of the Central Council on Bank Holiday Monday. (back) Hilary Hewson, Philip Barnes, Arthur Tomlinson, Jack Bray and Colin Applewhite. The three little maids in front are Allison Applewhite, Helen Applewhite and Clare West - ringers of the future!
(back) Hilary Hewson, Philip Barnes, Arthur Tomlinson, Jack Bray, Colin Applewhite, (front) Allison and Helen Applewhite, Clare West

The Ringing World, June 27, 1975, page 523

Central Council


There were many tours arranged for the weekend at Lincoln, individual cars generally being used to transport ringers from tower to tower. We gather that all these were successful and tower-grabbers had a wonderful time!

On Bank Holiday Monday about 30 members who preferred to be driven than to drive, boarded a coach and, under the leadership of George Feirn had a most enjoyable day visiting half-a-dozen churches and ringing on some excellent bells. Denis Bayles organised the touches in the towers in his well-known capable manner, and during the journey, which covered probably well over 100 miles, George Feirn gave an interesting commentary of the towns, villages and countryside.

The first church was Epworth, which is where all that was mortal of Samuel Wesley is entombed. He was for 39 years rector of Epworth and died aged 79 in 1735. His sons Charles and John were born in the Vicarage.

It was at Epworth that the B.B.C. (North) photographed the ringers, recorded the bells and interviewed Mr. Wilfrid G. Wilson and also the Ringing World Editor. This was shown on T.V. (North) the next evening. The huge Appleby Foddingham Steel Works and the many smaller businesses connected with steel and iron smelting were seen and the acrid atmosphere could not be avoided. However, the bells in the magnificent Church of St. John, which stands somewhat desolately among empty and derelict buildings, were enjoyed. The “planners”, alas, did not consider the church when deciding on redevelopment.

A buffet lunch had been prepared at a small hotel in Scunthorpe and was very acceptable to the travellers, before moving on to Burton-on-Stather. The River Humber in the distance gradually came nearer as the coach made for Barton-on-Humber, and here two bells on the floor of the nave of St. Mary’s gave rise to questions from the visitors. It seems that 200 yards away the Saxon Church of St. Peter is now closed and the ring of eight is silent. The possibility of using two of these bells to augment to 10 the St. Mary’s eight was mooted. Hence the move to obtain them and now it is just a matter of money for hanging!

The delightful home of George Feirn and his lady at Cleatham was invaded by the coach party, where Mrs. Feirn and a lady helper served tea to one and all and a happy hour was spent before moving on to the final tower (and the only six, all the others being eights) at Kirton-Lindsay.

During a coach tour of some C.C. members on Bank Holiday Monday, B.B.C. T.V. (North) interviewed two of the party, and filmed the ringing at Epworth (in Samuel Wesley’s church). Here is the T.V. team in operation interviewing the chairman of the R.W. Committee. Also in the picture are George Feirn, who organised the tour, Wilfrid Wilson, part of Norman Bagworth, and Jim Prior.
T.V. crew interviewing the Wilfrid Wilson

A pleasant ride back to Lincoln and a quick wash and brush-up before attending the Lincoln Guild’s reception at Headquarters.

Mr. Wilfrid Wilson expressed the thanks of all to George Feirn for his excellent organisation, and this was heartily endorsed by all.

* * *

The two bells mentioned in the report, that were removed from St. Peter’s Church, Barton-on-Humber, were erected after the 1914-18 war. The inscription on one reads: These two bells were cast in 1920 In honour of the Barton men who fell in the Great War. On the other bell: To ring the changes through the changing times, to their unchanging memory. William Edward Varah, vicar.

* * *

At Kirton-Lindsay, in the ringing chamber, was a youngish man in very old and dirty dungarees cleaning the windows, who promptly disappeared when the visiting ringers arrived. He later introduced himself as the vicar! It seems he has a habit of making himself useful in the church whilst awaiting visitors.

* * *

A small garden party was being held in the grounds of a very old manor house behind St. Peter’s Church, Barton-on-Humber, and one ringer, managed to get a refreshing cup of tea. However, two other tourists also found the garden party, and before the end of the coach tour the R.W. editor was presented with a parcel, which when opened caused much merriment. It was a huge stick of rhubarb weighing nearly 2½lbs.!

* * *

A sign outside the home of George Feirn advised travellers passing by that for sale were Frances Feirn’s Finest Fresh Eggs!

* * *

Although they have many different assignments, the crew of three who dealt with the T.V. interview at Epworth were as much intrigued by the bells and bellringing as were the ringers looking on at the photography, etc.

* * *

Outside the hotel where lunch was taken were two little girls playing. One had pierced ears and her ear-rings were a pair of beautifully-shaped golden bells! She replied “No” when asked if she had any connection with bellringing.

Central Council


For a member of the Central Council to be elected to life membership, it is necessary that four-fifths of the Council members present vote in favour of the election. At the meeting at Lincoln on May 27, Mr. W. G. Wilson (chairman, R.W. Committee) proposed and Mr. Cyril Wratten (hon. secretary) seconded Mr. Robert Anderson to life membership. Bob Anderson had served on the R.W. Committee for 22 years, much of the time as its chairman, and he had done sterling work for the journal, particularly on the financial side, he having a special knowledge of finance.

However, when a vote was taken, according to a physical count of the show of hands the requisite number did not vote in favour, and there was no call for votes against. In future there will be little to recommend any name being put forward for life membership, as the result, if negatived in this way, is an embarrassment to the proposers and an affront to the individual whose name is put forward.

Perhaps four-fifths, as on this occasion - when there were so many new members who perhaps refrained from voting because of lack of knowledge - is too high, whilst a call “against” the motion would have helped to indicate the Council’s real feelings.

The Ringing World, June 27, 1975, page 524

Central Council Meeting, 1975, Official Report (Part I)

The first session of the 29th Council - the Council’s 78th annual meeting - was held on Tuesday, May 27th, at Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln. For the first part of the meeting the chair was taken by the retiring President, Mr. John Freeman.

The meeting was opened with prayer, led by the Dean of Gloucester, the Very Revd. Gilbert Thurlow.

The Secretary (Mr. C. A. Wratten) reported that 65 societies were affiliated to the Council, with 174 representatives - an increase of five since the previous Council. The Rules provided for 24 honorary members, and there were 10 Life members, making a possible membership of 208. There was one vacancy. With the exception of that for the Bedfordshire Association, which he understood was on the way, all subscriptions had been paid, he said.

Certificates of membership as required under the Rules had however not been received from the Devon Association, the Guild of Devonshire Ringers, the Essex Association, the Middlesex County Association and London Diocesan Guild, or the North Wales Association.

Apologies for absence were received from Mrs. S. M. Drew and Messrs. W. Ayre, A. R. Agg, K. Arthur, J. M. Clarke, E. J. Franklin, B. Jones, J. R. Mayne, E. Naylor, R. Percy, D. Roaf, A. H. Reed, H. N. Pitstow, J. S. Walton, F. A. White, T. W. White, and B. J. Woodruffe.


The President welcomed 40 new members: Messrs. H. Chant (honorary), D. E. House, J. G. A. Prior, and A. N. Stubbs (College Youths), Prof. R. J. Johnston (Australia & New Zealand), T. W. Groom (Bedfordshire), S. C. Walters (Cambridge Univ.), A. P. Foster (Chester), D. Martin (Durham & Newcastle), A. Dempster (E. Derbys. & W. Notts.), A. N. Brock (E. Grinstead), T. Skilton (Guildford), R. Hardy (Hertford), J. Kershaw (Lancashire), B. L. Burrows (Leicester), M. J. Uphill (London County), J. K. Smith (Midland Counties), E. Nixon (N. Staffs.), Mrs. N. M. Randles (N. Wales), Messrs. K. J. Darvill and T. G. Pett (Oxford Diocesan), J. H. Payton (St. David’s), T. R. Hampton (St. Martin’s), R. G. W. Robertson and N. O. Skelton (Salisbury), P. M. Wilkinson (Cumberland Youths), T. Lewis (Scottish), R. B. Dorrington (Shropshire), T. N. J. Bailey (Suffolk), R. J. Cooles (Surrey), A. J. Ellis (Swansea & Brecon), W. R. Curtis and Miss J. H. Dash (Truro), Mrs. A. Newing (Bristol Univ.), and Messrs. K. S. B. Croft, G. Nabb and W. T. Perrins (Winchester & Portsmouth), R. G. Morris (Worcestershire), and S. J. Gullick and E. Hudson (Yorkshire). In addition, Mr. M. J. Hiller now represented the Kent C.A. and Dr. J. C. Baldwin the Llandaff & Monmouth D.G.

Four new members, Messrs. J. G. Hallett (Chester), D. Hird (Derby), P. H. D. Jones (Devonshire Guild) and R. Percy (Sussex), were not present.


At this point the retiring President expressed his thanks to his fellow officers, to the members of committees and in particular the Administrative Committee, to Mr. Charles Denyer, and finally to the members of the Council for their support, advice and hard work during his term of office.

During that period there had been a number of changes in the constitution and procedures of the Council, he said, many of them arising from criticisms that had been made. Even if the first reaction was one of irritation, it was important to listen to criticism and to learn from it. It had sometimes been said that the Council held little interest or meaning for the majority of ringers; he felt that ringers’ interest in the Council was greater than had been realised. Nor could the Council be said to be out of touch with ringers when there was such a collective wealth of knowledge about every aspect of ringing present there that morning. Finally, he said, an organisation will function best if its members believe in it. He hoped that as the years passed members would take the same pride in the Council as he had had in being its President for the past six years (applause).


In declaring Mr. E. A. Barnett the new President of the Council, Mr. Freeman spoke of him as both a practical ringer and a composer. In addition he knew more than most of the workings of the Council, having been its secretary for 14 years and a vice-president for the past six. It was at Lincoln in 1952 that he had been elected secretary and, as a personal friend for many years, Mr. Freeman was pleased that he should have become President now at Lincoln.

To general applause, Mr. Barnett took the President’s place on the platform. Thanking Mr. Freeman for his kind remarks, he commented that the change might be construed as a further example of a civil servant taking over the work of a local government officer (laughter). He thanked the Council for the honour it had done him and then went on to thank Mr. Freeman for all that he had done on behalf both of the Council and the Exercise during his term of office. As a token of the Council’s gratitude, he then presented Mr. Freeman with a copy of the “Times Atlas of the World”.

After reading out the inscription - “Presented to Mr. John Freeman, for his services as President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, 1969-1975” - Mr. Freeman claimed he could detect a poorly erased pencil addition, “Get lost!” (Laughter). He said that the atlas would be treasured and used, not only by himself, but by his family. He thanked the Council.

The new President then declared the election of the Revd. John G. M. Scott as Vice-President. Mr. Scott said that he quailed when he looked back over the distinguished list of his predecessors - Teddy Barnett and John Freeman, Gilbert Thurlow, Fred Sharpe - but thanked the Council.

The present Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, Mr. C. A. Wratten, was re-elected, and expressed his thanks for the members’ continued confidence in him. He would, he said, continue to do his best for the Council and the Exercise.

The President then declared the re-election of Mr. F. Sharpe as Librarian, explaining that Mr. Sharpe was unfortunately unable to be present until later in the day.


Before asking Mr. W. G. Wilson to propose the election of Mr. R. S. Anderson as a Life Member, the President pointed out that, under the Rules, an election required the votes of four-fifths of the members present. On this occasion this would require some 130 votes.

Mr. Wilson (Life member) spoke of Mr. Anderson’s services over 22 years on The Ringing World committee. He had been its chairman for many years and when he, Mr. Wilson, had ultimately taken over from him, had continued to give unflagging support and help as a member of the committee. Ringers owed a great debt of gratitude to Mr. Anderson for his work.

Seconding the nomination, Mr. C. A. Wratten (Hon. Secretary) referred to Mr. Anderson’s financial knowledge and said that it was to a large extent due to his foresight in this field that The Ringing World’s finances had not been harder hit when inflation first started to be felt.

Perhaps because of the large number of new members who had not known Mr. Anderson and consequently abstained, Mr. Anderson’s nomination did not receive the necessary number of votes.


The President said that nine of the present honorary members retired this year. They were Canon K. W. H. Felstead, Messrs. D. Hughes, S. J. Ivin, H. N. Pitstow, R. B. Smith, R. F. B. Speed, P. L. Taylor and W. H. Viggers, and Mrs. M. A. Wratten. Since there was one vacancy, there were in all ten places to be filled. He asked for individual nominations.

Mr. W. H. Dobbie was proposed by Mr. D. E. Sibson (Cumberland Youths), who spoke of his work as a trustee of the Carter ringing machine; Mr. J. S. Barnes (Cumberland Youths) seconded. Mr. H. W. Rogers, seconded by Mrs. O. L. Rogers (both London County), proposed Mr. N. Chaddock, for his work on the Education Committee, and the Revd. J. G. M. Scott (Devonshire G.), seconded by Dr. J. C. Baldwin (Llandaff & Monmouth), proposed Mr. T. M. Roderick, whose knowledge of masonry and stonework had proved of considerable value to the Towers and Belfries Committee.

After the retiring nine members had also been separately proposed and seconded, the President said that a ballot would be necessary. The Council approved the use of volunteers from the Lincoln Diocesan Guild as tellers.

(The result of the ballot, declared later in the meeting, was that Canon K. W. H. Felstead, Messrs. Chaddock, Hughes, Ivin, Pitstow, Smith, Speed, Taylor and Viggers, and Mrs. Wratten were elected.)


Since the Rules required that the two auditors be elected “from amongst the members of the Council”, and both retiring auditors - Messrs. Hughes and Pitstow - were amongst those nominated for honorary membership, it was agreed that this item should be deferred until after the results of the ballot were known.

When later in the meeting it became known that both had been successful in the ballot, Mr. P. A. Corby (Kent) proposed their re-election as auditors; Mr. N. S. Bagworth (Police) seconded. Mr. Beresford (Cumberland Youths) observed that Mr. Hughes was treasurer of The Ringing World; although those accounts, which were one of the Council’s funds, were audited professionally and independently, he felt it preferable that Mr. Hughes should not hold a dual position. He stressed that, in saying this, he intended no reflection on Mr. Hughes.

After Mr. Hughes had said that he had no objection to standing down - he had, he said, been press-ganged into the job in the first place (laughter) - on the President’s suggestion a vote was taken on each nominee individually. Mr. H. N. Pitstow was as a result elected, but Mr. Hughes was defeated. The President repeated that this was no reflection on Mr. Hughes (hear, hear), and thanked him for the work he had done (applause).

Mr. M. J. Church (Guildford), a chartered accountant, was then proposed by Mr. D. E. Parsons (Guildford) and seconded by Mr. S. J. Ivin (honorary), and duly elected to fill the vacancy.


The Council stood in silence while the President read the list of past members who had died since the Council last met: Messrs. A. Thompson (N. Staffs. A. 1936-48, died Aug. 22, 1974), G. E. Symonds (Suffolk G. 1948-57, died Aug. 25, 1974), S. Burton (Leicester D.G. 1954-72, died Sept. 13, 1974), G. H. Harding (Salisbury D.G. 1946-69, died Sept. 29, 1974), L. W. Houghton (Norwich D.A. 1939-45, died Dec. 22, 1974), M. J. Fellows (Dudley & District G. 1966-71, died Feb. 8, 1975), and J. J. Webb (Hereford D.G. 1951-66, died March 12, 1975).

The Revd. J. G. M. Scott said a short prayer.


The Secretary moved the adoption of the Minutes of the 1974 meeting at Exeter, as published in The Ringing World of 28th March, 1975 and circulated to members, subject to the following amendment to the final part of the minute on The Ringing World committee:

“It was agreed, on the proposition of Mr. D. E. Sibson, seconded by Mr. N. J. Diserens, that in future all peal compositions should be independently proved before being published in The Ringing World. It was subsequently agreed that such compositions should be sent direct to the chairman of the Peal Compositions Committee.”

The Revd. J. G. M. Scott seconded, and the Minutes were accepted without comment. There were no matters arising that were not covered by other items on the agenda.


At the time of writing, not all societies have yet let me have details of their representatives for the new triennium. However two things are already clear: that this year the Council will have some 40 new representative members, and that increases in the membership of at least five societies have entitled them in an additional representative.

The turn-over of members, somewhere between 20% and 25%, is similar to the turn-over at the start of other recent Councils. In welcoming these newcomers, I would like at the same time to thank their predecessors for their services in the Council in the past, often extending over many years. The list is unfortunately too long to include here, but I feel I must make special mention of five: R. S. Anderson, who has been for many years a member (and at one time was convenor) of The Ringing World Committee; N. Chaddock, well-known for his work with the Education Committee; W. H. Dobbie, a Trustee of the Carter Ringing Machine; J. S. Mason, chairman of the Public Relations Committee; and T. M. Roderick, who has been the Welsh representative on the Towers and Belfries Committee.

The five societies who have increased representation are the Australia and New Zealand, the Midland Counties, and the Shropshire Association, each of which now has two members; the Durham and Newcastle has increased from two to three; and the Suffolk Guild now has its maximum of four members. No society has lost a representative.

There have been discussions in various quarters over the past 18 months as to how the Council might make better use of the wide range of skills and knowledge found amongst its members. As a result I am circulating everyone in an attempt to discover just what abilities the Council has, and to learn which members have a special interest in helping, or serving on, any of the various committees. I plan to have summaries of the replies for distribution on May 27th, in readiness for the meeting.

I would also like to encourage affiliated societies to take a more active interest in the Council. Copies of the official report of the Exeter meeting and of the Council’s Rules were sent to all Secretaries last year, as a first step, but I would welcome any suggestions as to how the links that already exist might be strengthened and expanded.

Cyril A. Wratten, Honorary Secretary.

In proposing adoption of the report, Mr. C. A. Wratten thanked all members of the previous Council who had now retired for their services. The Revd. J. G. M. Scott seconded, and the report was adopted.

Commenting on the report’s final paragraph, Mr. I. H. Oram (Kent) suggested that one way would be to involve more people in the work of the committees. Some members served on as many as six or seven committees, and he wondered whether some sort of time limit on committee membership might enable more to participate and insure a steady infusion of new blood.

Mr. D. Beresford pointed out that the Rules contained a reference to a Schedule of membership, but that no schedule had been circulated to members with the copies of the Rules they had received. The Secretary said that the schedule would be included in the forthcoming Handbook.


After the President had pointed out that consideration of The Ringing World accounts would be deferred until The Ringing World Committee report was dealt with, the Secretary commented briefly on the other accounts.

The apparently odd income from affiliation fees, which it had been agreed should be £2.00 per representative, was due to the rate of exchange he had obtained for the N. American Guild’s fee, which had been paid in dollars; the cost of stationery and printing and of postage had increased chiefly as a result of inflation; and the profit of some £94 over the year had been to a large extent due to the generosity of the Council’s hosts at Exeter, who had met the full cost of that meeting. The Council was grateful for their generosity, he said (applause).

Turning to the Clement Glenn Bequest, he said that he had hitherto overlooked a decision that Education Committee expenses should be charged to this fund; this error had now been put right. Finally, he pointed out that there was a tax liability still to be met from the Publications Fund. The precise amount, which might be as much as £60 or £70, has not yet been notified by the Inland Revenue.

There were no questions.


In the absence of Mr. Sharpe, consideration of the Librarian’s report and of the report of the Library Committee, the next items on the agenda, was deferred, and the trustees’ report was taken instead.

Four demonstrations were given during the year and 69 people attended, as follows:

23rd MarchChiddingstone and Edenbridge34
22nd JuneHertford Ass. (St. Albans District)3
14th SeptemberKentCountyAss.(Ashford District)19
12th October(Lewisham District)13

On 17th April the trustees and Mrs. Dobbie spent about three hours cleaning and oiling the machine and measurements were taken for new cam follower rollers to replace worn-out ones.

On 22nd June a new roller made by Mr. Dobbie was fitted on the handstroke side before the demonstration, and worked well.

Ten different methods were used for demonstrations during the year, and the machine is in good condition and working well.

A copy of the 16mm black and white silent film which was made by the Museum authorities on 25th July, 1973 was sent in the trustees during the year, and will be handed over in the Council’s Librarian at the Annual meeting. Parts of this film are somewhat dark when projected.

W. H. Dobbie, Douglas Hughes, Trustees.

After Mr. D. Hughes had proposed the adoption of the report, and Mr. D. A. Bayles (Durham & Newcastle) had seconded, Mr. Oram wondered how easily any damaged parts could be replaced if the need arose. Would the film be sufficiently clear, or ought photographs to be taken, to assist in any rebuilding? Mr. Hughes said that the old parts were normally available, but that in any case, he had had detailed photographs of the machine taken some years ago.

The report was adopted.

Later, when the results of the election of honorary members were learned and it was known that Mr. Dobbie would no longer be a member of the Council, Mr. W. B. Cartwright (Worcestershire) enquired whether it was necessary for the trustees to be members of the Council. The President said that he was not sure, and suggested that the Officers investigate the position and make a recommendation as appropriate next year. In the meantime, would Mr. Dobbie be prepared to continue his association with the ringing machine, he asked. Mr. Dobbie confirmed that he would (applause).


Mr. J. S. Barnes proposed “that a committee be formed to advise on the operation of bells restoration funds, including model rules, fund raising, investment policy and charitable status; and to collate and publish annually a review of the year’s developments”.

The attendance at the Open Meeting on Bell Restoration Funds at Exeter last year, had, he said, shown that there was widespread interest in the subject, and also that there was a wealth of expertise available which had not yet been drawn together. The motion sought to ensure that all available information was collated and available centrally. The situation concerning money for bell restorations had now changed, and ringers were being forced to look to their own organisations as local, Church and charitable funds dwindled.

There was a need for a massive expansion of bell restoration funds. Some societies still had no such fund, while others could afford to make only small grants. Grants from charities such as the Barron Bell Trust varied from £50 to £300, but were insignificant in a situation that inflation was rapidly making worse. He believed that the committee he proposed could help to achieve the necessary expansion, by providing publicity material and financial advice of various sorts, by encouraging societies to appoint a bell restoration fund officer or committee, which would be responsible, inter alia, for assessing future needs, and by making an annual survey of what funds were available for restoration work. He also hoped that members of the committee would be prepared to speak at societies’ meetings, bearing in mind the proposed committee’s advisory role; he hoped the committee would contain at least some members with legal and accountancy experience.

Seconding the motion, Mr. C. J. Groome (Peterborough) said that there was a tremendous task ahead and that the Exercise would look to the Council to give a lead. He spoke of the experiences of the Peterborough Guild, where they had had to start from scratch, and said that it would be wrong for others also to have to discover everything for themselves.

Mr. P. M. J. Gray (Australia & New Zealand) said that, although he had much sympathy with the proposal, its acceptance would extend considerably the activities of the Council. Ought not the officers and the Administrative Committee first to consider the wider implications? Mr. J. M. Jelley (Leicester) wondered whether there would be some overlapping with the work of the Committee for Redundant Bells. Mr. J. M. Tyler (Peterborough) repeated that there was much expert knowledge available on the Council, and that use should be made of this. Agreeing, Mr. R. E. Hardy (Hertford) said that, as an Association secretary, he had received a number of enquiries and that it would be very valuable to have a central point to which to refer.

The motion was carried, with one dissenting vote, and the committee - to be known at the Bell Restoration Funds Committee - was set up, Messrs. J. S. Barnes, K. S. B. Croft, M. D. Fellows, G. A. Halls and I. H. Oram being elected to serve on it.

The President suggested that the second motion, which was designed to make two existing ad hoc committees full committees of the Council, would best be taken in two parts: the first the amendment to Rule 12(ii) to include them in the list of Council committees, and the second the amendment to Rule 13, to include their terms of reference. This was agreed, and Mr. C. K. Lewis (honorary) then proposed that the Committee for Redundant Bells and the Computer Co-ordination Committee be added to the list of committees given under Rule 12.

Mr. Lewis said that he had given notice of the amendment at last year’s meeting. The committees should not be allowed to disappear, for the work of both would increase as time passed. Mr. C. A. Wratten seconded, and the motion was agreed.

Turning to the terms of reference, Mr. Lewis said that members had that morning received copies of a proposed alternative to the Redundant Bells committee’s terms of reference as set out in the agenda. The amendment suggested that they should read:

This was, he said, more succinct than the original. He had queried the reference to having power to act with the chairman earlier in the day, but was now satisfied that the presence of the Council’s President on the committee was sufficient safeguard.

With the consent of the meeting, these terms of reference were substituted for those on the agenda.

Mr. E. Nixon (N. Staffs.) thought the first part of the Computer Co-ordination committee’s terms - “to collect information on ringing problems being tackled with the aid of computers” - was too narrow, since he felt the committee should concern itself not only with ringing problems but also with computer work that, while not dealing directly with ringing, might have implications for ringing. He therefore proposed that it should read “problems which are relevant to ringing and which are being tackled with the aid of computers”. There was however no seconder.

Mr. J. E. Camp (Oxford Univ.) was worried about the reference to having power to act in the Redundant Bells committee’s terms of reference. No other committee had this power, he said, and “where necessary” was nowhere defined. He proposed the deletion of the reference to having power to act, and Mr. Gray seconded.

Replying, Mr. Beresford said that the committee was one of the few outgoing committees of the Council, and represented the Council to outside bodies. It needed to have power to act, but would of course if possible refer to the officers before doing so. But the President would be on the committee, and the chairman would not act without the full approval of the committee.

His remarks were strongly endorsed by Canon K. W. H. Felstead (honorary). On being put to the vote, Mr. Camp’s amendment was lost by a large majority, only six voting in favour.

The amendment to Rule 13, to add the terms of reference, was then voted on, each committee’s terms being dealt with separately. Both were accepted without dissent.


Since the results of the elections of honorary members were still not known at this point, the meeting passed on to consider the committee reports. Mrs. A. E. Stevens (Shropshire) suggested that to elect anyone to serve on more than two committees was to impose a very heavy load on them, as well as blocking seats for other members of the Council. After it had been pointed out that, until it was known who the new honorary members were, it would be impossible to elect any of the new committees, the President agreed with a suggestion from Mr. B. D. Threlfall (Cambridge Univ.) that the meeting should consider the reports first, and deal with the elections later.


The following members and past members have died during the year:

J. E. BibbyChester Diocesan Guild, 1948-51.
Died January 11, 1974. Attended three meetings.
Miss N. G. WilliamsBath and Wells Diocesan Association, 1939-63.
Died March 29, 1974. Attended 16 meetings.
Mrs. A. E. RichardsonLadies Guild, 1932-63.
Died April 9, 1974. Attended 24 meetings.
E. H. MastinEly Diocesan Association, 1948-54 and 1960-74.
Died April 11, 1974. Attended 17 meetings.
G. E. FearnSt. Martin’s Guild for the Diocese of Birmingham 1954-74.
Died May 20, 1974. Attended 18 meetings.
A. ThompsonN. Staffordshire Association, 1936-48.
Died August 22, 1974. Attended 5 meetings.
G. E. SymondsSuffolk Guild, 1948-57.
Died August 25, 1974. Attended 3 meetings.
S. BurtonLeicester Diocesan Guild, 1954-72.
Died September 13, 1974. Attended 17 meetings.
G. H. HardingSalisbury Diocesan Guild, 1946-69.
Died September 29, 1974. Attended 19 meetings.
L. W. HoughtonNorwich Diocesan Association, 1939-45.
Died December 22, 1974. Attended 1 meeting.

Mrs. Richardson, widow of Rupert Richardson, was a leading lady in ringing circles. Commencing in 1914 and joining the Ladies Guild in 1921, she rang some of her handbell peals whilst travelling on the high seas and was a member of the Great Adventure Tour of Australia in 1934. She was elected a life member of the Ladies Guild in 1962.

G. E. Fearn - a pillar of the ringing Exercise. For twenty years he was secretary and treasurer of the St. Martin’s Guild, in between periods of being its ringing master. It has been reported that George Fearn was in the habit of ringing every night. His individual peals total of 2,667 is the highest ever recorded. He was a member of the Central Council’s Broadcasting and Television Committee.

G.E. Symonds - the older statesman of the ringing Exercise. He died in his 100th year, thus becoming the oldest recorded member of this Council. He was a leading conductor on any number of bells and his first peal as conductor was in 1898, when he called Holt’s Original; a few months later he rang in a silent peal, using the same composition. He was a member of the famous Ipswich band. By ringing a peal in his 99th year George Symonds is believed to be the oldest person to ring a peal. He was a Vice-President of the Suffolk Guild.

S. Burton possessed a “ringing brain” far above the average. Not only had he set out thousands of new Surprise methods, each with notation and falseness and a peal composition, but he produced compositions for Caters and Cinques, and was often asked to prove compositions. He was a member of the Great Adventure II party in 1965.

With individual membership of the Council amounting to 995 at the end of the year, an analysis of this figure is of interest:

Direct election
Representative members, elected by affiliated societies945
Honorary members49
Life member1

There have been 83 Ministers of Religion, 4 titled gentlemen of the Realm, and 45 ladies among the membership. As recorded above, one member reached the age of 99 years, and as far as is known he was the longest-living member. However one other member reached the age of 98 years, one 97 years, one 96 years and one 95 years. 22 members in all reached the age of 90 years or more. 90 affiliated societies elected the 945 representative members.

Taking into account the movement of members from one society in another or upon their election as Honorary or Life members, the totals of the three classes of membership would be as follows:

Representative members1,004
Honorary members98
Life members16


Our thanks are once again due to Mrs. Joyce Dodds, St. Albans, for writing the biographical records during the past triennial period.

Moving the adoption of the report, Mr. T. J. Lock (Middlesex) said that Mrs. Joyce Dodds was in hospital, and was expected to remain there for about three weeks; he suggested the Council should ask her husband (Mr. G. Dodds, Hertford) to convey its best wishes to her for a speedy recovery. Mr. W. H. Viggers (honorary) seconded the adoption.

After the Revd. J. G. M. Scott had thanked the committee for telling him that he was engaged in an occupation that would make him live longer than the average (laughter), the report was adopted.

At this point, the results of the ballot for honorary members were announced, and the election of auditors and of the trustee of the Carter Ringing Machine were dealt with.

Returning to the Biographies Committee, Messrs. T. J. Lock, G. A. Dawson (Sherwood Youths) and W. H. Viggers were re-elected to form the new committee.


A full report of the activities of the committee was published in The Ringing World of 31st January, 1975, on p.100.

It is the intention of the chairman to continue to use the pages of the Central Council’s journal to report progress, to give information, and to indicate what literature is available on request at cost of paper, duplicating, and postage.

There was a lively response to the January report with numerous requests for literature and with offers of assistance also. The correspondence file has expanded and so the list of experimenters will be compiled afresh.

The work of checking compositions by computer prior in publication in The Ringing World continues. The committee recommends composers not to submit their work to the Peal Compositions Committee without indicating whether independent checks have been carried out. There can be time, effort and postage wasted in organising double checking. Delays in publication will be minimised if compositions are accompanied by sufficient explanatory notes to render starting, homing, turning and all irregular courses quick and easy to encode. The length of every such course should be stated.

Some interesting letters have been received, notably from Mr. A. David Leach, who has supplied details of programs and output from a PDP-11 BASIC Interpreter which with his notifications can readily operate on row serial numbers. He has indicated his willingness to help BASIC experimenters. In particular he is able to produce tables of inter-method false course heads (of both natures) for Surprise Major methods.

The committee is actively concerned at the groundwork stage with the following subjects:

  1. The publication or re-publication of a Central Council paper on the symbolic treatment of rows and falseness;

  2. The publication of a Central Council paper on a computer system for manipulation of rows which is under continuing development by Mr. Robin Shipp;

  3. The expansion of the Central Council computer collection of Surprise Major methods to include other classes of method.

Mr. J. R. Taylor (Gloucester & Bristol) proposed the adoption of the report, and Mr. D. E. Sibson seconded. In reply to a question froth the President, Mr. Taylor said that Mr. Roger Baldwin was writing a paper on the algebra of change-ringing which it was hoped to issue as a Council publication, and that Mr. Robin Shipp’s paper, referred to in the report, was not yet ready for publication.

Dr. J. C. Baldwin added that work was already in hand to extend what had already been done to provide a collection of Surprise Major methods to include Surprise Royal and Maximus, and also to provide a similar Minor collection. Replying to Mr. C. C. Monson (Durham Univ.), he said that Delight methods would eventually be included, but for the moment efforts were being concentrated on the areas of major interest - Surprise and Minor methods.

Mr. F. B. Lufkin (Essex) commended the work of the committee; he felt that the more information that was made available to ringers the better. Mr. Barnes complimented the committee on taking the initiative in getting papers written for the Council.

The report was adopted, and the retiring committee members (Messrs. Taylor, Baldwin, Ivin, Sibson and Wratten) re-elected.


Although only a small number of replies were received to the questionnaire distributed to Council members before the Exeter meeting, a number of good suggestions were made:

The first five of these have been tackled and should be available this spring/summer. The film strip on casting, tuning and hanging should also be ready soon (later than intimated in last year’s report, unfortunately). The frames to the latter will be the same size as slides so that buyers can cut up the strip if they wish to make their own slides.

A 16mm, 20-minute film was considered by the Council a few years ago and rejected because of its expense. Work on the 8mm silent film has proceeded only very slowly.

The everyday work of the committee has continued as usual - caring for the Washington film, running and assisting at courses of one sort or another, broadcasts. Copies of the Beginners’ Handbook and of Ringing for Service together with the two notices (“Duties of a Ringer” and one giving local information on ringing) have been sent to twelve of the 18 theological colleges, after information was received from local associations. Among the friendly replies from the heads of these colleges was one from Oak Hill College, Southgate, who had been taught to ring - by Fred Sharpe. Some information about courses has kindly been distributed, with publications, by Mr. and Mrs. G. Drew.

The tape recording giving some hints on teaching elementary change ringing is still available; consult Mr. C. M. Smith, 29 Dimbles Hill, Lichfield.

After he had proposed the adoption of the report, and Mr. W. Butler (Oxford D.G.) had seconded, Mr. W. F. Moreton (Yorkshire) said that, of the various items mentioned in the report, the tape-recording would be ready in about a month, the “Rhythm of the Bells” record in about a week, and the safety notice and set of slides in about two months; the notes on rope splicing were already available from Mr. Butler. Mr. J. M. Tyler said that it had been suggested that the new recruiting leaflet should be based on that already used by his own Guild. The Peterborough Guild would be delighted to help, he added.

Mr. G. Dodds commended to the committee the computer instructional work being developed at Cambridge, about which a report had recently appeared in The Ringing World. It was hoped to make this available to those who wished to try it at Cambridge.

The report was then adopted. After the President had pointed out that the Revd. St. J. Smith was no longer a member of the Council, Messrs. W. F. Moreton, A. R. Agg (Hertford), W. Butler, N. Chaddock, C. M. Smith (Stafford Archd.), R. B. Smith and J. M. Tyler were elected to form the new committee.


Mr. C. K. Lewis said that the committee had no report this year. Much of its province was now covered by the Computer Co-ordination and Records committees, and it was left with only an advisory role. He suggested that the new committee should look at its function.

Mr. C. J. Groome asked what the situation was concerning the re-issue of the Doubles collection, and Mr. Lewis said that what the Publications Committee was really seeking was a book to follow the Beginners’ Handbook, a sort of “Improvers’ Handbook”.

Mr. P. A. Corby suggested that perhaps the Administrative Committee should consider the function of the committee, and that in the meantime it should not be reappointed; but the President said that he felt it should remain in being pending Administrative Committee consideration of the implications of disbanding it and reallocating its work.

A new committee, consisting of Messrs. F. T. Blagrove, S. J. Ivin, M. C. W. Sherwood (Manchester Univ.) and W. T. Perrins (Winchester & Portsmouth), was then elected.


The transfer of responsibility for having peal compositions checked and selected for publication has engendered a good deal of activity throughout the year. However, the various messages of appreciation have been in themselves sufficient reward for the effort. We are grateful for the ready help proffered by several colleagues, and in particular to Mr. J. R. Taylor and Mr. D. E. Sibson.

No publications have been requested by the Council, so activity in this sphere has been nil.

In proposing adoption of the report, Mr. W. E. Critchley (Yorkshire) paid tribute to the work of Mr. G. E. Feirn, who did not seek re-election. He asked for guidance from the Council on what publications were needed, and noted that, although the present collections were getting steadily out-of-date, there were still large stocks of them available. Mr. R. F. B. Speed (honorary) seconded.

Mr. Sibson suggested that the committee might duplicate copies of recent compositions and include them with the published collections for a small extra charge, and Mr. Moreton, in supporting him, said that they could alternatively each year duplicate the best compositions that had appeared during the preceding 12 months. The committee was asked to look into these ideas.

Mr. C. H. Rogers (Middlesex) enquired how the committee had found the task of proving peals prior to their publication in The Ringing World, a job which it had now been doing for a year. Mr. Critchley said that he acted mainly as a clearing house, since most of the work was being done by the Computer Co-ordination Committee. The system inevitably caused some delay in the publication of compositions, and he suspected that some composers might not be sending their compositions in at all. But on the whole the system was working quite well.

The report was adopted. Messrs. W. E. Critchley, S. Humphrey (Southwell), S. Jenner (Kent), I. H. Oram, W. T. Perrins and M. C. W. Sherwood were then elected to form the new committee.

The Council at this point broke for lunch. When it reassembled, the President said that Mr. Sharpe had now arrived, and proposed that the Librarian’s report and the report of the Library Committee should be considered at this point.


Following publicity resulting from the debate at the Exeter meeting there has been a marked improvement in the return of borrowed books, including some of several years’ standing which had caused considerable anxiety. The borrowing of books decreased a little during 1974 but the number of persons visiting the library for the purposes of research increased, as did the number of requests for photo-copies of entries in books and MSS.

The allocation of £25 voted for equipment at the last Council meeting was spent on providing for part of the outlay on much-needed box flies.

The committee appointed for the purpose of reporting on the library and its future met three times and their recommendations are given in a separate report.

Additions to the Library during the year are as follows:-

A751Derby, All Saints, Cathedral Bells and Tower. (Not dated). G. A. Halls.
X752Bibliographia Campanarum (a Xerox copy of MSS by the late J. Armiger Trollope, 1935).
K753Luton Outlook. (Contains an article on ringing, by A. Rushton) 1974.
X754A Catalogue of the Campanalogical Papers of the late Revd. Canon J. J. Raven, D. D., in the Suffolk Record Office, compiled by C. M. G. Ockleton, 1974.
X755Quest, The Journal of the City University, London, Spring 1974. (Contains an article entitled: “The Science and Art of Change Ringing” by Dr. D. Weaver).
X756Touches of Triples for easy reference, Edgar C. Shepherd, 1974.
X757Caston, Norfolk, A. History of, J. S. Barnes, 1974.
K758Why are you a ringer? Author anonymous; not dated; given to John P. Fidler, 1923.
X759History and Art of Change Ringing, E. Morris; republished 1974.
X760(A duplicate copy of X759).
K761Duffield Church Ringers’ Society Rules, 1884.
Z762Central Council C.B.R., Survey of State of Sunday Service Ringing, 1972.
X763Inveraray Bell Tower, Mackechnie, Chaddock and Glenkinglas, 1974.

Of these, Nos. X759 and X760 were donated by Messrs. E. P. Publishing Ltd., as part of the agreement with the Council for the loan of a copy of the original edition. The Xerox copy of Trollope’s MSS was donated by Mr. W. G. Wilson. The Duffield Ringers’ Rules were found in a 19th century ringer’s notebook. The remainder were donated by their authors, with the exception of K758 for which we have to thank Mr. J. P. Fidler.

Association and Guild reports were received from:

Bath and Wells D.A.
Peterborough D.G.
Durham and Newcastle A. (18 years’ reports)
Shropshire A. (10 years’ reports)
Suffolk G.
Truro D.G.

The Library has received copies of:-

Ringing Towers, the Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association.
The Irish Bell News.
The Ringing World.

From Mr. Alan J. Buswell we received the books and MSS of the late Sq. Ldr. A. York Bramble. The cataloguing of these has not been completed: the collection is an extensive one.

To the donors of all books and MSS our sincere thanks are expressed.

Frederick Sharpe, Hon. Librarian.

Mr. Sharpe, in proposing adoption of the report, said that at Exeter he had been asked to publish the names of those holding books that were long overdue. He was glad to say that this had not been necessary, and that the outstanding books had now been returned.

Mrs. A. E. Stevens seconded, and the report was adopted.


Members had received a lengthy and detailed report from the committee set up at Exeter to report on the Library and its future, and the President said that he proposed to deal with it in three stages. First the Council would be asked to approve the general policy set out in the report; then the recommendations it contained would be considered separately; and finally the report itself, amended as necessary as a result of the discussions, would be proposed for adoption.

Mr. J. S. Barnes, chairman of the committee, said that the committee had sought to obtain the views of ringers working with books and archives, whether or not they were members of the Council, and had received detailed replies from Miss Jean Sanderson, Mr. P. M. Wilkinson, and Mr. R. W. M. Clouston, for which they were most grateful. Their report set out to show the history and growth of the library - not of the librarian, he added (laughter) - and to suggest what its future might be. It was based on three premises: the library’s value, which the Council had a responsibility to care for and maintain, entailing a need for positive investment; its expansion, to include both Association annual reports and audio-visual material; and its future location. In the latter case, the committee was suggesting that it should be split into three sections, dealing respectively with bells, ringers and ringing, and reports. A catalogue of the contents at the end of 1974 had been produced, and he would propose that copies of this should be sold through the Publications Committee at 25p.

He proposed that the report’s general policy should be adopted. Mrs. Stevens seconded, and this was agreed.

In reply to an enquiry from Mr. Moreton, Mrs. Stevens said that no London libraries had been approached to see whether they would be willing to house the library, but that the deputy City Librarian at Birmingham where there was a large new city library, had shown some interest; there had however been no detailed discussions. Mr. Moreton said that a good argument had been put forward in the report for keeping the library together, and that he was not happy about splitting it up (hear, hear). The President said that this point would be best considered under the appropriate recommendation.

The first recommendation, that the Council should adopt a positive policy of plan and investment for the Library, was agreed without further discussion after it had been proposed by Mr. Barnes and seconded by Mrs. Stevens. The next recommendation was slightly modified after being similarly proposed and seconded, and, as finally passed, read that “an annual grant should be available to the Librarian for maintenance and equipment, the amount for 1975 being £50”.

The next recommendation was that an annual grant of £50 should be available to the Librarian each year for the purchase of additional books, records, tape recordings, etc., this grant to be cumulative so that any money unspent during one year is available during the following year; the Librarian should, as a matter of course, purchase two copies of each new publication.

Mr. A. J. Martin (Chester) enquired whether the Administrative Committee had had an opportunity to consider the report, adding that the net income to the Council’s General Fund last year had been only £94. The President said that it had not, but felt that the later recommendations for increased income might balance the extra expenditure.

After an amendment that the Librarian should buy only one copy of new publications had been lost, it was agreed on the proposition of Mr. J. E. Camp, seconded by Mr. D. E. House (College Youths), that the final sentence should be deleted, Prof. R. J. Johnston (Australia & New Zealand) having pointed out that this would otherwise have committed the Librarian to buying copies of books which might already have been donated.

The Ringing World, June 20, 1975, supplement

Central Council Meeting, 1975, Official Report (Part II)

At this point members expressed reservations at the likely cost to the Council if all the recommendations were passed individually without any overall assessment of the total financial implications being available, Mr. A. J. Frost (London Univ.) saying that, while he agreed in principle with the committee’s findings and recommendations which would, if approved, undoubtedly give the Council an excellent library, he wondered whether everything need be done at once.

Seconded by Mr. W. G. Wilson, Mr. P. M. J. Gray proposed deletion of the reference to £50, and the addition of “the grant to be determined annually”. This was agreed.

In reply to further questions from members about the likely total cost of the various proposals, the Secretary said that he would guess there was a likely annual expenditure of some £100, with an additional once-only expenditure of £75 for re-binding and an embossing tool, with a likely income from loan and research charges of up to £50. The extra cost could be met either by drawing on the Clement Glenn Bequest or by raising subscriptions.

Mr. E. Billings (Peterborough) proposed that the report be referred to the Administrative Committee for further consideration, but Mrs. O. L. Barnett (honorary) pointed out that the committee had been asked to report to the Council. Mrs. M. J. Wilkinson (honorary) suggested that the amounts should be deleted from all recommendations and referred to the Administrative Committee.

At this point Mr. Camp proposed the next business, and was seconded by Mr. F. Reynolds (Lancashire). By 64 votes to 49 this was agreed, Mr. Sibson commenting that it was disgraceful that the Council should not be willing to consider a report it had itself commissioned.

On the proposition of Mr. W. T. Cook (College Youths), seconded by Mr. A. J. Martin, it was agreed that £50 should be available for the purchase of books during 1975. It was also agreed that, as proposed by Mr. Billings and seconded by Mr. Tyler, the report should be evaluated by the Administrative Committee, and that the catalogue of contents should be available for sale through the Publications Committee, the latter being proposed by Mr. Barnes, seconded by Mr. Cook. Mr. Sharpe said in reply to a question that to publish the catalogue in The Ringing World, as had originally been proposed, would have cost £200. The Council then returned to consider the remaining committee reports.



4,105 peals were rung in 1974 (4,032 in 1973), 3,654 on tower bells and 451 on handbells. The handbell total is the lowest since 1969. Tower bell figures over the past few years show an increased interest in twelve bell peals - both Cinques and Maximus, and particularly a greater variety of Maximus methods - and a continual decline in peals of Triples. The Kent County Association rang more peals (266) than any other society, a position held by the Leicester Diocesan Guild for the last three years. Six “peals” did not conform with Central Council requirements and have been omitted.

There were 597 first pealers, 31 more than in 1973, and 88 firsts as conductor, 4 more than in 1973. The Lancashire Association had most first pealers with 67, followed by the Kent County Association with 44.

Mistakes in reporting give us much unnecessary work and we wish again to emphasise that conductors should verify their peals and report any mistakes without delay.

We appreciate the help we have received from the Editor of the Ringing World and the interest of the correspondence received from the Peal Secretary of the Yorkshire Association.

Numbers of peals rung by each society on different numbers of bells, both tower and hand, are shown on the attached sheet. As in previous years details of both affiliated and non-affiliated societies are given.


Royal & Caters1--1--
Major & Triples-1+1--
Minor & Doubles35+2-2+2


The following societies rang 130 or more peals:

Kent County Association2633266
Leicester Diocesan Guild23527262
Oxford Diocesan Guild17056226
Lancashire Association15138189
Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild13157188
Yorkshire Association1726178
Chester Diocesan Guild13628164
Worcestershire & Districts Association1454149
Sussex County Association139-139
Suffolk Guild1285133

Compared with the similar list for 1973, the Essex Association, the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association and the Hertford County Association drop out and the Lancashire Association comes back.

The Ladies Guild and the South Derbyshire and North Leicestershire Association were the only affiliated societies not to ring any peals in 1974.


The 3,654 tower bell peals were rung in 1,568 towers (37 less than in 1973). 832 towers had 1 peal, 343 - 2 peals, 172 - 3, 74 - 4, 43 - 5, 31 - 6, 15 - 7, 13 - 8, 12 - 9, and 33 - 10 or more. 21 towers had their first peal. The towers with 10 or more are as follows:

Loughborough, Bell Foundry64
Birmingham, Cathedral54
Salford, Sacred Trinity39
Stoke Prior25
Leicester, All Saints24
Birchington, Quex Park18
South Wigston16
Ashton-under-Lyne, St. Peter15
Windsor, St. John15
Norbury, Cheshire14
Cambridge, St. Andrew13
Nottingham, St. Peter13
Aston, Birmingham12
Leeds, Kent11
Broughton Astley10
Little Chart10
Leicester, Cathedral10
Leicester, St. Margaret10

In 1973 there were 30 towers with 10 or more peals. 19 towers appear in both lists, so there are 14 new ones this time. Although retaining first and second place respectively, Loughborough Bell Foundry’s total has dropped by 32 from 1973, whilst Birmingham Cathedral’s has risen by 20. Two other notable increases are Stoke Prior (from 9 to 25) and Salford (from 13 to 39).

METHODS - Numbers of peals in the more popular methods are as follows:

Maximus -Cambridge333
Kent T. B.111
Cinques -Stedman786
Royal -Cambridge616
London (No.3)351
Plain Bob2411
Caters -Grandsire732
Minor -Plain Bob17459
2-6 Methods27225
7 methods2457
8+ Methods1169
Major -Spliced S.22014
Plain Bob21967
Triples -Grandsire945
Doubles -Grandsire303
2+ methods14418

It is notable that on tower bells there were more peals of Spliced Surprise Major than of any single method.


The following “peals” have not been included in the analysis for the reasons given:

TOWER - Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association - Superlative Surprise Major at Bristol on 6 September with variable hunt bell - The rules state that at at least one hunt bell shall remain unaffected by all calls. There is however merit in this performance and the Council may wish to consider its recognition with regard to the technical implications.

Lancashire Association - Plain Bob Cinques at Accrington on 26 December on eleven bells.- The rules state that peals of Cinques shall be rung on 12 bells with the tenor as cover.

Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild - Spliced Grandsire Caters and Major at Basingstoke on 23 November.- The rules do not allow for peals of Caters and Major.

Gippeswyc Youths - Minor at Palgrave on 25 October on seven bells.- The rules state that peals of Minor shall be rung on six bells.

HAND - Lancashire Association - 100 Spliced Plain Royal at Barrowford on 9 October - Contains Crayford Little Court, a three lead method.

Manchester University Guild - Cambridge Minor Pair Maximus at Reddish on 20 August.- This was rung with two hunt bells, ten working bells, five leads to the course and has jump changes.


We consider the following peals to be worthy of special mention and we wish to congratulate those who took part:

Australia and New Zealand Association - Christchurch, New Zealand - Plain Bob Royal by a local band.

Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association - Leckhampton - T. B. Minor in 210 methods by the Taylor family.

Hereford Diocesan Guild - Eardisley - 15,000 Doubles (a sponsored peal).

Lancashire Association - Penwortham - 62 Spliced Plain Major in hand.
- Church Kirk - Doubles in 3 methods - 6 first pealers.
- Kirkby Lonsdale - Bob Doubles - five first pealers.
- Sedbergh - Bob Minor - six first pealers (Sedbergh School Society).

Leicester Diocesan Guild - Leicester, St. Margaret - 7,584 Londinium Surprise Maximus - record length in the method.

Lincoln Diocesan Guild - Nettleham - Bob Minor - five first pealers.

Manchester University Guild - Salford - 100 and 360 Spliced Triples.

North American Guild - University of Massachusetts - 4 Spliced Surprise Major in hand by local ringers.

Oxford Diocesan Guild - Steeple Aston - Doubles in 2 methods - five first pealers.

Peterborough Diocesan Guild - Daventry - 126 Spliced S. Royal.

Scottish Association - Edinburgh, St. Mary’s Cathedral - Grandsire Caters with 9 local ringers.

Society of Royal Cumberland Youths - Shoreditch - 126 Spliced S. Royal.

Swansea and Brecon Diocesan Guild - Llanfeugan - 23,296 Bristol S. Major - longest length of Surprise and longest peal on church bells.

University of London Society - Two handbell peals in Russia.

Yorkshire Association - Denholme - Bob Major - five first pealers.

In addition, we would have included the handbell peal of 100 Spliced Plain Royal by the Lancashire Association if we had not had to omit it on technical grounds.

Adoption of the report was proposed by Mr. F. B. Lufkin, seconded by Mr. C. H. Rogers.

An amendment proposed by Mr. W. T. Perrins and seconded by Mr. K. S. B. Croft (Winchester & Portsmouth) to include in the analysis the spliced Caters and Major at Basingstoke, on the grounds that it was not specifically banned under the Council’s Decisions and that it was well-rung, was rejected. A second amendment, to include the 100-spliced Plain Royal by the Lancashire Association, was also rejected. The proposer, Mr. C. Crossthwaite (Lancashire) pointed out that there was doubt about the nomenclature of the groups of eight rows forming the Crayford Little Court - if they were called Crayford, the peal was unacceptable, but if they were called Original there would be no objection - and that the committee had itself said that the peal was one of note; he was seconded by Mr. Croft. Mr. Sibson said that to call the changes in question Original was just a fiddle to get the performance accepted. Mr. G. W. Massey (Bath & Wells) said that, while not denying the merit of the performance, he felt strongly that the decision to accept 3-lead Royal methods should not be made without careful consideration of the full implications of the change.

Mr. Crossthwaite also proposed the acceptance of the peal of Cinques on 11 bells at Accrington, and was seconded by Mr. J. Kershaw (Lancashire). Accrington had, he said, a legitimate ring of 11 bells just as Basingstoke had a legitimate ring of nine, and if peals were acceptable at Basingstoke then he felt they should be acceptable at Accrington. A peal of Royal on the front 10 would have been acceptable, and would have enabled the new treble to be rung to a peal, but they felt it better to include a tenor. When Mr. G. A. Halls (Derby) asked why there had been no motion to change the Decisions, Mr. Crossthwaite said that this had been thought unnecessary in view of the Basingstoke precedent; Mr. R. B. Smith felt that it was unfortunate that Basingstoke should have been given special treatment. On being put to a vote, the amendment was accepted.

Mr. J. R. Taylor spoke of the 5060 Superlative rung at Bristol. It was, he said, an attempt to get a true “all the work” peal, with the front five bells ringing all the work of the method, including the treble work; the hunt bell was changed whenever a single was rung. There was general agreement that the composition marked an advance, both Mr. Blagrove of the Methods Committee and Mr. Lufkin of the Peals Analysis Committee speaking in favour of the peal’s acceptance. The peal was accepted, on the proposition of Mr. Lufkin, seconded by Mr. Croft.

Mr. Blagrove suggested that the Decision concerning calls should be amended to reflect acceptance of this type of single, but Messrs. H. W. Rogers and A. J. Martin felt that a more general revision of the Decisions might be preferable. Mr. Blagrove said that they had been revised only six years ago, and the Revd. J. G. M. Scott said that he did not believe it was possible to produce a set of rules to which nobody could object - even the good Lord had not done it on Mt. Sinai (laughter); the Council, he said, was not telling ringers what they can ring, it was only saying what it recorded. (To renewed laughter, Canon K. W. H. Felstead interjected that they were all included in his records!)

After Mr. Lufkin had paid tribute to the assistance his committee had received from Mr. Blagrove during the year, the report was accepted, and Messrs. Lufkin, Diserens, C. H. Rogers and Canon Felstead elected to form the new committee. (1974 Peals Analysis Tables will appear in a later issue)


The past year has been a very busy one with the number of orders up by 50% over last year. The new Towers and Bells Handbook obviously had a lot to do with this.

The other new publication was “Touches of Triples for easy reference” by Edgar Shepherd; this has proved popular.

The committee met once during the year, and a number of points were fully discussed. The main item was finances and it was decided to increase the prices on the main items to allow money to be available when new books need printing. Some of this money will soon be required as a number of items will need reprinting in the near future. It was also decided that the Publications Committee should provide the Librarian with a copy of each Central Council publication. These will be delivered when I next visit Mr. Sharpe - thereby saving postage.

We have still not been able to get any action regarding the “Doubles book”, in fact I cannot even get any answer to my correspondence. Should the Council agree with us that this book should be available again, perhaps they could ask the appropriate committee to provide the required details.

In 1952 the Council published a book entitled “Collection of Plain Major methods”. The publications committee debated reprinting this book but it was felt we should seek the Council’s view regarding the need for a book covering this subject.

The report was accepted on the proposition of Mr. G. R. Drew (honorary), seconded by Mr. W. G. Wilson, the latter paying special tribute to the help and work of Mrs. S. M. Drew.

Discussion then turned to the need for a new Doubles collection, it being finally agreed, on the proposition of Mr. W. T. Cook, seconded by Mr. D. E. Sibson, that the Doubles book should be revised and reprinted. After Mr. Drew had urged that somebody be clearly tasked with doing the revision, the President suggested that the Methods Committee have something ready in 12 months’ time.

During the discussion, Mr. Groome said that a follow-up to the Beginners’ Handbook was already in hand for publication in the Snowdon series. There was general agreement that such a book was highly desirable, but Dr. Baldwin pointed out that there was no point in the Council setting out to produce something in competition with the Snowdon book, which was to make use of Mr. R. B. Smith’s series of articles that had appeared in The Ringing World.

On the subject of a Plain Major methods collection, Mr. G. Dodds suggested that a revised edition, with the methods appearing in place notation but with the existing compositions reprinted, would be welcome. After Mr. G. Penney (Hertford) had seconded this proposal, Mr. G. A. Dawson asked whether a computer listing might not meet the requirement. It was finally agreed, as proposed by Dr. Baldwin and seconded by Mr. Dodds, that the Methods Committee should prepare, in consultation with the Computer Co-ordination Committee, a revised collection of Plain Major methods.

Mr. Edwards (Bedfordshire) asked whether it might not be possible to produce a single collection of methods on all numbers, but the President said that the cost of such a venture would be far too high.

Mr. G. W. Massey proposed that the same thing be done for Minor methods as for Plain Major, and was seconded by Mr. R. B. Smith. Mr. H. Chant (honorary) said that the present book was generally satisfactory, although the section on splicing needed some revision; but he did not wish to see the methods listed by place notation. After Mr. C. A. Wratten had said that there were 2,400 Minor methods with a treble bob hunt, Mr. G. R. Drew said that he did not think it necessary to publish all methods.

Mr. Blagrove proposed an amendment to the original proposition, that the present book be reproduced and that the Computer Co-ordination Committee prepare a complete listing of Minor methods; this was seconded by Mr. W. F. Moreton and carried. Mr. F. Sharpe commented that he thought the type for the present Minor book was still kept set up.

Replying to Prof. Johnston, Mr. Drew said he was optimistic that there was sufficient money in hand to cope with three new publications, especially if the Minor type was indeed still available.

The new committee, consisting of Messrs. Drew, C. J. Groome, E. C. Shepherd, and W. G. Wilson, was then elected.


In the past year probably the most significant events which have occurred in the relations between public and ringers have been the actions taken under the Noise Abatement Act. The rules make no exceptions for the sound of bells and the old argument that the bells have been in situ much longer than the period of residence of persons who complain about them, does not appear to carry much weight.

The complaints about the noise of bells made by members of the public in several parts of the country were prominently reported in the national press. Fortunately the reports did not give rise to extended correspondence and no prolonged campaign developed in favour of or against the activities which were the causes of the complaints. It may be that the grounds for complaint are insufficiently widespread to arouse much public interest. On the other band the acceptance of bells as part of our national scene may be so deep rooted that people who complain are thought to be a little odd by the great mass of the public which, in any case, is not directly affected. But the consequences of complaints may not continue to be so favourable.

It is preferable to take steps to prevent annoyance rather than to become involved in a tedious dispute with irate members of the public. Advice is available from the appropriate members of the Council about effective methods of sound control. Church bells, however, are meant to be heard and a sudden reduction in the volume of sound, when louvres have been too well blocked, has been known to produce an unexpected reaction. Consider also the effect of intermittent ringing over an extended period of time as well as that of a peal attempt. On a light ring of eight bells a peal may take two hours and a half, say two hours and three quarters with raising and lowering, Ringing before and after two weddings, however, perhaps two hours apart, followed by a quarterly meeting could lead to ringing from mid-day to nine o’clock. The fact that there had been pauses for three services, tea and a meeting would not prevent a determined objector from insisting that the bells had been ringing for nine hours. This would be the “fact” which would form the basis of the Insight Team investigation, or at any rate produce the headlines for the local paper.

The amount of ringing which can be undertaken without annoyance to those not taking part will vary from place to place. We have laws which can be invoked to curtail or possibly to stop ringing. Furthermore there is a growing section of the population in this country which has little appreciation of our traditional way of life and our customs. It is clearly the duty of these who organise ringing or who control the access to towers to consider very carefully how the facilities should best be used for the benefit of the Church and the Exercise.

In the more general field there has been a continued extension of formal instruction in ringing matters through organised courses, in some instances using the local authorities’ arrangements for adult education. The Royal Air Force Association sponsored a successful Moral Leadership Course at the School for RAF Chaplains at Amport House, Andover, with the object of encouraging a greater understanding between ringers and the Church and in particular with Service Chaplains. Moral Leadership Courses, of which the one in question was No.285 are held for all ranks of the Service and aim to clarify the various roles that servicemen can play in Church life. This is another example of the way in which an established institution can be used as a venue for promoting a better understanding of ringing matters.

Good relations have been maintained with the radio and television authorities. We were again invited to advise on the arrangements for the broadcast of Christmas Bells. During the year bells have continued to open the “Sunday” programme at 7.45 a.m. on Radio 4 and on numerous occasions ringing has preceded the 10.30 a.m. service.

Mr. J. S. Mason apologised to members for the late arrival of the supplement, and thanked all correspondents who had so painstakingly reported local references to ringing. Proposing adoption of the report, Mr. G. W. Pipe (honorary) said that some concern had been expressed at the lack of an official overseas liaison officer. The committee was, he said, anxious to maintain overseas links and was very willing to advise both visiting ringers from overseas and also British ringers going abroad. Mr. W. Theobald (N. American) added that he had full details of bells and ringers in North America, and that the bells of the Old North Church, Boston, and the Perkins Institute were once again being rung.

Mr. E. Billings seconded, and the report was adopted. Mrs. J. S. King and Messrs. G. W. Pipe and H. N. Pitstow were elected to form the new committee.


A. First peals on tower bells in 1974.
Jan.15120Ruddington S. Major (Southwell D.G.)
35088Bournehall S. Major (Bushey Society)
85184Little Ashfield Little S. Royal (Suffolk G.)
105280Huddersfield S. Maximus (St. Martin’s G.)
Feb.95184Chatham S. Major (Kent C.A.)
125152Eastleigh S. Major (Winchester & Portsmouth D.G.)
155024Frindsbury S. Major (Kent C.A.)
165152Old Wives Lees S. Major (Kent C.A.)
255184Rickinghall Inferior Little S. Royal (Suffolk G.)
Mar.25120Dunstable S. Major (Bedfordshire A.)
95056Jevington S. Major (Kent C.A.)
165056Mug Major (Manchester U.G.)
235056Healey S. Major (Lancashire A.)
235056Prestbury Bob Major (Chester D.G.)
265088Allendale D. Major (Ely D.A.)
295040Durham Little S. Major (Southwell D.G.)
Apr.215088Newbury D. Major (Ely D.A.)
May55056Partington S. Major (Lancashire A.)
115056Queenborough S. Major (Kent C.A.)
155040Cambridge Court Bob Royal (London C.A.)
175152Taylor’s Pleasure D. Major (Oxford D.G.)
225056Hugglescote S. Major (Leicester D.G.)
June75024Malpas S. Major (Gloucester & Bristol D.A.)
85280Utah S. Major (St. Martin’s G.)
295056Barkingside S. Major (Essex A.)
July55152Halling S. Major (Kent C.A.)
65152Dronfield T. B. Major (Dronoldore Soc.)
95184Thornham Parva Little S. Royal (Suffolk G.)
195024Llanfeugan S. Major (Llandaff & Monmouth D.A.)
275152Buckfastleigh S. Major (Peterborough D.G.)
285184Wakefield Little Court Bob Maximus (Yorkshire A.)
Aug.45056Steveleigh D. Major (Yorkshire A.)
65184Saddleworth S. Major (Lancashire A.)
175088Showsley S. Major (S. Northamptonshire Soc.)
175184Little Snoring Little S. Royal (Norwich D.A.)
185056Barbourne S. Major (Bath & Wells D.A.)
205056Cheluvelt D. Major (Bath & Wells D.A.)
245152Geddington S. Major (Peterborough D.G.)
305184Offord D’Arcy S. Major (Ely D.A.)
Sept.65088Pidley S. Major (Ely D.A.)
155024Jenufa S. Major (Univ. of London S.)
185040Clewer Royal (London C.A.)
195056Measham S. Major (Leicester D.G.)
215088Broughton Astley D. Major (Leicester D.G.)
225280Thamesdown S. Maximus (Oxford D.G.)
285088Grays S. Major (Essex A.)
Oct.95120Sapcote D. Major (Leicester D.G.)
125088Wrotham S. Major (Hertford C.A.)
175280Smallbrook S. Maximus (St. Martin’s G.)
185184Drogheda S. Major (Irish A.)
195152Tichmarsh S. Major (Peterborough D.G.)
265088King Alfred S. Major (Oxford D.G.)
285088Nottinghamshire S. Major (Lancashire A.)
Nov.25112Notlob Little S. Major (Manchester U.G.)
95056Ecton S. Major (Oxford D.G.)
175040Maplin S. Royal (Ancient Soc. of College Youths)
215152Water S. Major (Manchester U.G.)
235042Halifax S. Maximus (St. Martin’s G.)
285152Great Uncle Bulgaria D. Major (Non-Association)
305056Matabeleland S. Major (Oxford D.G.)
Dec.25000Chepstow S. Royal (Llandaff & Monmouth D.A.)
145088Indiana S. Maximus (St. Martin’s G.)
205088Irwell T. B. Major (Manchester Soc.)
215152Eboracum S. Major (Yorkshire A.)
275088Dore T. B. Major (Dronoldore Soc.)
275088Orlingbury S. Major (Peterborough D.G.)
B. First peals on handbells in 1974.
May155088Highgate S. Major (Hertford CA.)
225056Hereford S. Major (Hertford C.A.)
285184Londonderry S. Major (Hertford C.A.)
June265152Farncombe S. Major (Bushey Soc.)
Oct.235042Lincolnshire S. Maximus (Oxford D.G.)
Nov.65042Pudsey S. Maximus (Oxford D.G.)
205042Superlative S. Maximus (Oxford D.G.)
Dec.115152Scholfield College Bob Major (Salisbury D.G.)
C. Performances and Record peals on tower bells in 1974.
June275040360 Spliced Triples (Manchester U.G.)
Jan.127584Londinium S. Maximus (Leicester D.G.)
June1523296Bristol S. Major (Swansea & Brecon D.G.)
Aug.1115000Doubles (10 methods) (Hereford D.G.)
D. Performance on handbells in 1974.
Feb.13500062 Spliced Plain Major (Lancashire A.)

The report was adopted without comment on the proposition of Mr. F. T. Blagrove, seconded by Mr. D. E. Sibson, the latter pointing out that a completely up-to-date Surprise Major collection, including the methods first rung in 1974, was now available for sale through the Publications Committee. Mr. Barnes suggested that the new collection should be sold at 50p, but the President said that it was for the Publications Committee to decide the selling price.

The new committee was then elected, consisting of Messrs. D. E. Sibson, F. T. Blagrove, G. Dodds, J. R. Mayne (to whom best wishes were sent for a speedy recovery from a recent operation) and C. A. Wratten.


Before turning to the committee’s report, the President said he wished to make it clear that, although he had in his capacity as a Vice-President of the Kent County Association, taken up a somewhat contentious matter with the committee earlier in the year, he was casting no reflection on the work of the committee or on the way it was run.

The way in which the work of the Committee during this year has settled into the pattern visualised for it at the Central Council meeting at Oxford suggests that the guidelines then set for it were the right ones.

Once again we have to acknowledge the help and kindness we have received from the Church authorities dealing with the redundant churches, and particularly from the Redundant Churches Department of the Church Commissioners. During the summer we were concerned to hear from them that they were preparing a circular to the dioceses which would outline considerable changes in their methods of dealing with the contents of redundant churches. These changes were thought likely to affect the working of this Committee; and it was reassuring to find, when the circular was published in the autumn, that it provided simply a detailed exposition of the ideal procedures to be followed, a plea for the appointment of diocesan fittings officers, and notice that the Church Commissioners would not be able to continue to act as Bishops’ deputies: certainly no very radical changes.

The circular also gave an address for this Committee, which we hope will prove of value particularly in cases where Associations have had difficulty in establishing contact with their diocesan authorities: should the Association not have been told by the diocese, any approach to the Committee means that the Association will hear in that way. Fittings officers are likely to he given some responsibility for the disposal of the contents of redundant churches, and we do strongly recommend that Associations should find out whether a fittings officer has been appointed for their diocese, and should make sure that he is aware of the advice and help that the Association can offer. It should perhaps be said again that though the Church Commissioners have decided to refer cases about bells to this Committee only a small proportion of such cases concern them directly; most are dealt with at local level, and as has been said before close contact between Associations and diocesan authorities is of absolutely paramount importance.

Apart from cases involving the movement of bells, the Committee was asked by the Church Commissioners for an opinion on the terms proposed by the Cheshire County Council for the use of the bells in the redundant church of St. Mary at Hill which the County Council is buying. The Chester Diocesan Guild has been concerned for the future of these bells; and we are very grateful to them for their detailed help in preparing a reply. We have not yet heard what has been decided: but this particular case could well be used as a precedent, and would therefore seem to be of importance.

We reported last year that the Committee had submitted evidence to the Pastoral Measure Revision Working Party. The report of the Working Party is due to be presented to the General Synod in July; and though it is of course impossible to know at this stage what its recommendations will be, we understand, regretfully, that they are unlikely to include the centralisation of control of disposal of fittings recommended by several of the organisations most involved, strongly pressed by the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches in their evidence and in their report for 1973, and which was among the suggestions submitted by this Committee.

Obviously the routine work of the Committee consists basically of the provision of advice and co-ordination. The Committee has been concerned this year with rather more than fifty cases. Two cases this year have given us particular pleasure: in both the Committee was involved at an early stage as a co-ordinator, in the first the work has been brought to completion by the enthusiasm and hard work of the local association; in the second work is about to begin. The first was the transfer of the eight bells of the redundant church of St. Mary, Lambeth, to St. John, Caterham Valley; and the second that of the six bells of St. Mary, Chute Forest, which are to be moved to St. Nicholas, Chute Forest. We are of course aware that other associations as well are working on similar cases where this Committee has not been involved; and we should like to include them, too, to our congratulations to the Surrey Association and the Salisbury Diocesan Guild.

At December 31st 1973, 364 churches had been declared redundant: by December 31st 1974, the number had risen to 455, including churches which are to the process of becoming redundant, and these which are considered for redundancy, the number of churches affected by redundancy is somewhere around 640: this represents well over twelve hundred bells.

We would like particularly to record our gratitude to Mr. R. W. M. Clouston, who has most generously provided the Committee with copies of the brief reports he prepares for the Council for Places of Worship on the bells of churches recommended for redundancy. They have proved quite invaluable; and we do thank him for his help.

Finally, we repeat the plea we have made over the past two years: for some information from the associations, it is invaluable in our dealings with the central church authorities to have full details of local organisations and contacts available; and, too, in maintaining a national picture of the development of the redundant bells problem. We are aware that many associations have excellent local arrangements and relations with their dioceses, and it would be a tremendous help to co-ordination if the Committee could be kept informed about them. Details, too, of bells potentially available and possibly required are essential to the maintenance of the register of such bells which was so strongly recommended in the replies to the survey. We do appeal to the associations to help the Committee. In particular this lack of information can only hamper the presentation to the Central Council of a complete picture of the redundant bells situation.

Proposing the adoption of the report, Mr. Beresford repeated his request made at Exeter last year for more information from societies on developments within their areas. So far 455 churches have been declared redundant, with some 900 bells between them; they include two rings of 10, 19 of 8, 19 of 6, and 11 of 5. A further two hundred churches were in the process of being declared redundant, with among them one 12, six 10’s, 13 8’s, 10 6’s and six 5’s. Not all of the latter would go, of course, but the majority will over the next 2-3 years.

The Pastoral Measure Revision Working Party had now published its report, and is as feared, not recommending centralisation of control of the disposal of fittings; instead it was suggesting the appointment in each diocese of a redundant churches’ fittings officer, with a code of practice to follow. The Working Party had concluded that centralised control would impose an unacceptable load on the administrative resources of the church.

It was therefore important for societies to develop their contacts with these fittings officers, and also to build up an inventory of bells - all bells, and not just rings - in their area. It was, he said, important to realise that ringers as such had no standing in the matter of redundant bells, but that their influence on the authorities would be in proportion to the interest they showed and their ability to react quickly.

The committee was doing its best to build up a central index both of redundant bells and of the requirements for bells, he added.

Finally he expressed his personal thanks to the members of the committee for their help and advice, and in particular to Mrs. Jane Wilkinson, whose knowledge of the subject was second to none in the country. She was, he said, spending at least two days a week on work for the committee.

After Mr. J. Freeman had seconded the report, Canon Felstead paid tribute to Mr. Beresford’s own work; he felt that the chairman and secretary of the committee were together doing one of the most important jobs on the Council. Mr. R. J. Cooles (Surrey) said that, when the committee had been called in to help at Lambeth and Caterham, it had had a great influence with the diocesan authorities and had quickly brought order out of threatening chaos.

Ten names were proposed and seconded for membership of the committee, and there was then some discussion as to whether the size of the committee should be restricted, Mrs. Wilkinson suggesting that it should be restricted to eight. The President ruled that it was then too late to propose any limitation, since the names had already been legitimately proposed and seconded, and that each should be voted for individually by show of hands. The committee was then elected, and consists of Mr. Beresford, the President of the Council, Mrs. Wilkinson, Dean Thurlow, Canon Felstead, and Messrs. G. A. Dawson, J. Freeman, A. J. Frost, G. Nabb and F. Sharpe.


The real outcome of our work during 1974 is contained in the 51 issues of The Ringing World (including one double issue) and the more important decisions of our Committee have been summarised for all our readers in the notes “About Ourselves” published on pp. 281, 509, 958. Our readers will know of our firm resolve, supported wholeheartedly by our Editor, that in the face of financial difficulties we shall not easily be tempted, as are many of our contemporaries, to reduce the quantity or quality of our service to the Exercise. During the year we produced 1,076 pp., plus 12 pp., of supplements. There were three special issues, with specially designed covers; 48 cover pictures of churches, with accompanying articles; more than 330 other pictures, many of them of well-known past or present personalities among ringers; 35 technical articles; various other historical or topographical articles; compositions, cartoons, puzzles, and extracts from 25, 40 and 50 years ago. We were able to help the Publications Committee by the prior printing in The Ringing World of Mr. E. C. Shepherd’s “Touches of Triples”, thereby reducing the cost of publication.

Members of the Council will know that as well as keeping our heads above water, one our financial aims is to be able to add to our assets to provide a reserve for unforeseen contingencies and annual interest to add to our income. From the position where our net assets were about equal to one year’s turnover, inflation had brought us at the end of 1973 to the position where assets of less than £11,000 compared with an annual turnover of more than £23,000. We hoped then that the increase in price to 10p per copy would enable us to cover increasing costs and also add to our investments. The position was watched closely during the year - including obtaining an interim statement from our accountant for the half-year - and when the increased postal rates came into effect on 24 June we increased the subscription rate accordingly from 1 July, rather than wait for the year end.

The annual accounts which will be presented with this report show that, to a limited extent, this aim has been achieved. A surplus of £2,770 for 1974 has been made and this has enabled the sum of £3,000 to be added to our reserves. Various things have contributed to this not unsatisfactory state of affairs - perhaps we may just mention the large amount of help we get from our contributors, both literary and financial, whom we thank most sincerely as we do our anonymous friend who has again provided two copies of an index; the completely voluntary help of the members of the Committee, who travel long distances when asked; the care taken by our Editor and staff to economise to the greatest possible extent and the fact that at the end of 1973 we were able to negotiate successfully with our printers a firm price (except for paper costs) for the whole of 1974. (Became of this exception we had to agree to an increase from 1 August of about 47% in the charge for paper).

At the end of the year we were of course faced with the necessity for a renewal of the agreement with Seven Corners Press Ltd., and they had to meet an immediate increase of 26% in labour costs. Keen but helpful negotiations produced an agreement for a new charge, to be held until 30 April, based on the increase of about 26% for labour and an additional 7½% for paper. The effect of this situation on our expenditure will be realised when we compare the printing charge of almost £15,000 for 1973 with that for 1974 of almost £20,000, and with an estimate for 1975 of about £25,000. In 1966 it was £8,000.

As we informed our readers on 22 November (p. 958) we considered it unwise and unrealistic to face these and probably other unknown increases in cost without trying to prevent our reserves from being further depleted, and we decided on a price increase to 12½p from the first issue in January 1975.

The latest weekly circulation figures show an average for each week in February 1975 of 5,664. This compares with 5,927 at the same time in 1974, and 5,800 in 1973. Before this there had been a large drop in circulation following a price rise, but this did not occur after the increase in January 1974. This year’s figures are more serious, though some of the drop may be due to delay in the renewal of subscriptions or a pending change-over to newsagents. Given the active help of every member of the Council we are sure that the earlier figures can be regained.

We have been asked to comment again on the question of the profitability to The Ringing World of the two methods of supply - by post or through newsagents - because we know that some of our readers choose to use the system which is most helpful to us. At the present time there is a small gain to the journal’s finances arising from the use of the post, and we are of course more in favour of this at this time. It will be appreciated that the amount included in the subscription for postage is of no help to us as in effect it goes straight to the Post Office. Because of this we have decided that the increased postal charges due from 17 March must be reflected in the subscription rates from 1 April 1975.

Our staff at Guildford have continued to serve as well. Readers will know that Mrs. Lucas had to enter hospital at the year end. We are glad to report that she is now home and improving in health. Meanwhile Mr. Lucas and the Editor have between them coped with her work as well as their own, and we thank them for this. We thank our Editor very sincerely for all the effort and enthusiasm he puts into his task and we are glad to report that he has agreed to a renewal of his contract in the autumn. Especially valuable to the paper and the Exercise are his many visits to all parts of the country to show the flag at dinners, annual meetings, bell dedications, etc., where be has made many friends for himself and for the paper.

The Committee thank especially the officers of the Council, who regularly receive our papers and attend our meetings whenever possible; Mr. Douglas Hughes, our Treasurer, for his work and frequent hospitality at our meetings; and Mr. David Tate, our accountant and auditor, who attends all our meetings to give his expert advice and who could not be more interested and helpful were he himself a ringer. The Chairman acknowledges with gratitude the continued help and support he has received from the other members of the Committee.

At the time of writing we can foresee further financial and technical problems with which the new Committee will need to cope. During the past three years, however, we have surmounted many difficulties - caused by illness, energy cuts, postal strike, printing troubles, and above all the continuing inflation, but we are confident that given the continued help of its readers The Ringing World will continue to serve the Exercise and to maintain the traditions built up since 1911.

Mr. W. G. Wilson proposed the report’s adoption, subject to the addition of “35 technical articles” to the list of contents in the first paragraph. He referred to the increase in printing costs, which now meant that the 1975 turnover was likely to be £40,000, or £115 for each day of the year, and was a measure of the task that would be facing the new committee and of the responsibility that that committee would have to bear. He went on to urge ringers to make more use of special cover pictures and articles; the extra sales that these issues brought were very helpful, but interest had been dropping recently in booking covers.

He was pleased to say that Mr. Denyer had accepted a further contract as Editor (applause), and remarked that the Libel insurance cover had recently been doubled - though this did not mean that correspondents had carte blanche to insert what they liked! He went on to pay tribute to Mr. Anderson, and also to Mrs. Jill Staniforth (Ladies), who was resigning from the committee because of other commitments. Finally he thanked the officers of the Council for their continued interest and help in the committee’s work.

Mr. D. A Bayles seconded, and the report was adopted.

Turning to The Ringing World accounts, Mr. Wilson said that inflation accounted for most of the increase in both income and expenditure, although the increase in donations was particularly welcome, donations being untaxed. The increased interest was partly due to a new arrangement with the bank, whereby any spare money was automatically transferred to a deposit account; this had in turn meant more tax, of course. In passing he commented that the special supplements, containing the official report of the Exeter CC meeting, had cost some £500.

The market value of investments at the end of 1974 had been £13,552, against a cost of £13,425, but by the previous Friday their value had increased considerably. In this context he paid tribute to Mr. David Tate, their accountant; although he was only paid for the professional auditing he did, he freely gave valuable advice and regularly attended their committee meetings.

He proposed the accounts’ adoption, and Mr. D. A. Bayles seconded.

After the accounts had been accepted, the Secretary proposed the adoption of the Council’s accounts as a whole, and was seconded by Mr. F. E. Dukes (Irish). These accounts were then adopted without comment.

Mesdames J. S. King and A. Newing (Bristol Univ.) and Messrs. Wilson, D. A. Bayles, H. W. Egglestone (Suffolk), and R. F. B. Speed were elected to the new Ringing World committee.

(The Ringing World and the Central Council’s Accounts will appear in our next issue. - Ed.)


The Committee’s most notable achievement during 1974 was the publication of the “Towers and Bell Handbook”, which appears to have been well received and to be selling well. It is a united effort on the part of most of the present members of the Committee, but I feel that special mention should be made of the work of Alan Frost who acted as Editor, and of Fred Sharpe who carried out all the very tedious and time-consuming work of seeing the book through the Press, much of it during a time of great personal stress.

Though one member’s report of the year’s work is not to hand and exact figures are not available, our members have obviously had a busy year, with over 140 towers assisted, the vast majority having been given a detailed inspection. Economic troubles do not seem to be affecting the amount of work being done as yet; included in our list are six projected new rings and plans for transferring others from one tower to another, in some areas the problems of redundant bells figure largely: they are involved in 10% of our “cases”. Nearly half of the total were concerned with rehanging: 10% with augmentation: 17% with maintenance: 15% with tower stability or oscillation: 27% with sound control: 17% with general repairs. (These percentages do not add up to 100, because most of our advice covers more than one aspect of the whole).

Sound Control seems to be taking an increasingly prominent place to our lists, and will probably continue to show on increase, in two cases our members were concerned with threatened legal action under noise abatement regulations, and both cases sound-control measures succeeded in solving the problem to everybody’s satisfaction.

We gratefully acknowledge reports from Derbyshire and Suffolk, giving details of work carried out by Diocesan advisory bodies which are not directly connected with our Committee. Obviously they are doing excellent work, not only in giving advice but also in mobilising and directing voluntary maintenance and repair work of a high order, and we hope that they will not hesitate to call on us if ever they feel that we could help them or give them support.

Three or four cases during the past year have included the preservation of all or part of an ancient bellframe which was no longer fit for service. In some cases this can be done by rehanging the bells at a lower level and leaving the old frame in situ, in others part of the frame can be preserved, either in a local museum or in the Church, where our frame-side fixed against a wall would take up very little room and preserve at least a sample of the original.

We are sorry to report that Trevor Roderick of Porthcawl has been incapacitated by ill-health for the past year, but he hopes to be in action again before too long, in the meantime we send him our best wishes.

Moving the adoption of the report, the Revd. J. G. M. Scott said he was sorry that Trevor Roderick was no longer a member of the Council and that he had not been elected an honorary member. He had recently been unwell, and he was sure the Council would wish to send him its wishes for a speedy recovery. Mr. A. J. Frost seconded.

Mr. W. F. Moreton commended the committee for its work, saying that he had been extremely grateful for the help he had received from it in the past. The report was then adopted.

Mrs. O. L. Rogers then proposed that “in view of the recent avoidable destruction by fire of the interior of the tower at St. Leonard’s church, Streatham, and other such examples, the Towers and Belfries Committee should investigate and report on preventative measures for the avoidance of fire damage in towers”.

The proposal was seconded by Mr. H. L. Rogers.

Mr. F. B. Lufkin said that free advice was available from the local fire authority, wherever the church was; if the Towers and Belfries Committee sought advice, it could doubtless be readily obtained. Mr. A. J. Frost said the Towers and Bells Handbook already contained the essential information, and the Revd. J. G. M. Scott added that, although the committee had already considered the problem, it would be willing to do so again if required; the chief problem was that there was a great variety of towers, each posing different problems. It would probably be better for the church to contact its local fire authority and get specific advice, rather than get generalised advice from the committee.

On being put to the vote, the motion was lost.

A new committee was then elected, consisting of the Revd. J. G. M. Scott and Messrs. B. Austin (honorary), J. C. Baldwin, W. L. Exton (Southwell), J. Freeman, A. J. Frost, F. E. Collins (honorary), G. W. Massey, F. Reynolds, F. Sharpe, B. D. Threlfall, and S. C. Walters (Cambridge Univ.).

The Ringing World, June 27, 1975, supplement

Central Council Meeting, 1975, Official Report (Part III)


The committee has met twice during the past year - at Exeter in May, and in Birmingham this January.

The first was a special meeting, at which the committee after a lengthy discussion authorised Mr. Cartwright to tell the Solicitors of the Vicar of St. Giles’, Camberwell, that the Council would be prepared if necessary to give some financial help towards the cost of fighting an application made under the Noise Abatement Act to restrict ringing at that church, in the event the action was withdrawn and the case consequently dismissed. There was no cost to the Council.

At Birmingham the arrangements for the Council’s 1975 meeting, including the open meetings on Sunday, were discussed and agreed.

Since its formation in 1972 at the London meeting, the present committee has met on six occasions.

Attendances have been:

6 - J. Freeman, C. A. Wratten
5 - E. A. Barnett

6 - G. R. Drew, W. F. Moreton
5 - T. J. Lock, J. S. Mason, W. G. Wilson
4 - F. T. Blagrove, (of 4) Revd. J. G. M. Scott
3 - W. E. Critchley, C. K. Lewis, F. B. Lufkin
2 (of 4) - F. Sharpe, J. R. Taylor

6 - D. Beresford, W. B. Cartwright, F. E. Dukes
5 - P. A. Corby, P. M. J. Gray, B. D. Threlfall
4 - Mrs. O. D. Barnett, C. Crossthwaite, R. F. B. Speed
2 (of 4) - G. W. Pipe
1 - P. J. Staniforth, Dean Thurlow

C. A. Wratten, Secretary.

The Secretary proposed the adoption of the report, subject to showing Mrs. Barnett as having attended five meetings, rather than four; Mrs. Barnett seconded.

Mr. Sibson enquired why there had been only one meeting of the committee since Exeter, and commented that it was a great pity that the two open meetings on Sunday, dealing as they did with subjects of such interest, should have been arranged to take place simultaneously. Mr. Wratten said the committee had had nothing to merit a second meeting, and that it had decided to try the simultaneous meetings as an experiment. It had been hoped that the two topics would have been so diverse as not to cause many people to want to attend both.

Dr. Baldwin said that he, like Mr. Sibson, had also been concerned about the arrangement, and that he would prefer not to have similar parallel sessions in future (hear, hear). The President said that this would be borne in mind for next year, and the report was then adopted.

After the Secretary had announced the names of the thirteen committee chairmen who were ex-officio members of the new Administrative Committee - Messrs. T. J. Lock (Biographies), J. R. Taylor (Computer Co-ordination), W. Butler (Education), J. S. Barnes (Bell Restoration Funds), F T. Blagrove (Methods), W. E. Critchley (Peal Compositions), F. B. Lufkin (Peals Analysis), G. R. Drew (Publications), Mrs. J. S. King (Public Relations), Messrs. D. E. Sibson (Records), D. Beresford (Redundant Bells), W. G. Wilson (The Ringing World), and the Revd. J. G. M. Scott (Towers and Belfries) - nominations were received for the twelve elected members of the committee.

As 15 names were proposed and seconded, the election was by ballot, members of the Lincoln Guild again acting as tellers. As a result, Mrs. E. A. Barnett and Mrs. J. Staniforth and Messrs. W. B. Cartwright, P. A. Corby, C. Crossthwaite, F. E. Dukes, P. M. J. Gray, J. Freeman, W. F. Moreton, B. D. Threlfall, R. F. B. Speed and A. G. G. Thurlow were elected, Messrs. W. T. Cook, E. Billings and F. Sharpe being unsuccessful.


After the President had reminded members that the 1976 meeting would be held in Hereford on June 1st, Mr. D. A. Bayles invited the Council to come to the Durham & Newcastle Diocesan Association’s area in 1977 to mark that society’s centenary. The meeting could either be on conventional lines, or it could use college accommodation, but that could be discussed later. He knew that there was to be an invitation from Derby for 1977, but if the Council decided to visit the Durham and Newcastle area for their centenary, he promised not to oppose the Council going to Derby for that Guild’s centenary in 2047 (laughter).

Mr. D. Martin seconded.

Inviting the Council to come to Derby in 1977, Mr. G. A. Halls said that 1977 would mark the 300 years since there had first been 10 bells at the Cathedral, 50 years since the formation of the Derby Diocese, and 30 years since the formation of the Derby Diocesan Guild. There had been extensive cleaning of the Cathedral and Guildhall, and a new Civic Hall was being built. As a visual aid, he pulled out and held aloft a Derby County - League Champions’ banner, to general laughter. (Mr. Bayles commented that this was a little late - there was already a sign on the M1 reading “Durham and Newcastle”.) His invitation was seconded by Mr. M. Phipps.

In reply to a question, the President said that the Council had last visited Newcastle in 1954, and Derby in 1901. On a show of hands, the invitation to Derby was accepted, and it was agreed that the meeting should be held at the Spring Bank Holiday. The President expressed the Council’s thanks to both societies for their kindness in making the invitations.


The Secretary reported that of the 207 members, 176 were present, one less than at the record meeting in London in 1972. 52 societies were fully represented, 12 partially represented, and only one not represented.

Mr. R. H. Dove (honorary) asked that society secretaries let him know which rings of bells in their area were rung from the ground floor, and also details of practice nights, so that they could be included in the next edition of his Guide; he thought there had been something like a 50% change in practice nights since the last edition, and therefore needed up-to-date information if it was to be worth including anything in the book, if possible by the end of June.

Mr. I. H. Oram thanked the Library Committee for its hard work, and the Secretary for getting the Council papers out so early. Mr. G. A. Dawson enquired whether any books had been sold from the Library during the past year, and, if so, how had they been valued. As Mr. Sharpe had left the meeting, the President asked whether a written reply would suffice, and Mr. Dawson said that it would.

A short discussion ensued on the merits or otherwise of changing the date of the meeting in order for the Council to take advantage of College accommodation, the Revd. J. G. M. Scott and Messrs. J. G. A. Pryor (Llandaff & Monmouth), D. A. Bayles and R. B. Smith speaking in favour of trying the change. An informal show of hands however showed a general preference for retaining the present Spring Bank Holiday meeting.


The President expressed the Council’s thanks to the Lincoln Diocesan Guild for its arrangements, and in particular to the secretary, Mr. Denis Frith, his committee and helpers, and the tellers; to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln for allowing the Council to have its Communion service in the Cathedral that morning, and to the Dean and Bishop for officiating; to the various incumbents for allowing the use of their bells; to those who had prepared and served such an excellent lunch; to Miss D. E. Colegate for taking the notes of the meeting (applause); to the Secretary; and to the members for attending.


Life Members: E. A. Barnett, J. Freeman, F. W. Perrens, F. Sharpe, E. C. Shepherd, A. G. G. Thurlow, W. G. Wilson.
Honorary members: Mrs. O. D. Barnett, H. Chant, F. E. Collins, C. W. Denyer, R. H. Dove, G. R. Drew, K. W. H. Felstead, Mrs. M. J. Wilkinson, D. Hughes, S. J. Ivin, C. K. Lewis, G. W. Pipe, R. B. Smith, R. F. B. Speed, P. L. Taylor, W. H. Viggers, Mrs. M. A. Wratten.
Anc. Soc. of College Youths: W. T. Cook, D. E. House, J. G. A. Prior, A. N. Stubbs.
Australia & N. Zealand Assn: P. M. J. Gray, R. J. Johnston.
Bath & Wells Dio. Assn: G. W. Massey.
Bedfordshire Assn: J. H. Edwards, T. W. Groom, A. E. Rushton.
Beverley & Dist. Soc.: I. G. Campbell.
Cambridge Univ. Guild: B. D. Threlfall, S. C. Walters.
Carlisle Dio. Guild: R. W. D. Wetenhall.
Chester Dio. Guild: A. P. Foster, A. J. Martin.
Coventry Dio. Guild: P. Border, G. W. Randall, H. M. Windsor.
Derby Dio. Assn.: G. A. Halls, M. Phipps.
Devon Assn.: B. E. Bartlett.
Durham & Newcastle Dio. Assn.: D. A. Bayles, D. Martin.
Durham Univ. Soc.: C. C. Monson.
E. Derbys. & W. Notts. Assn.: A. Dempster.
E. Grinstead & Dist. Guild: A. N. Brock.
Ely Dio. Assn.: A. M. Barber, G. E. Bonham, J. G. Gipson.
Essex Assn.: J. Armstrong, F. B. Lufkin, D. Sloman.
Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn.: L C. Edwards, A. R. Peake, J. R. Taylor, C. A. Wratten.
Guildford Dio. Guild: M. J. Church, T. Page, D. E. Parsons, T. Skilton.
Guild of Devonshire Ringers: J. G. M. Scott.
Hereford Dio. Guild: T. Cooper, P. Hughes, R. G. Powell, A. T. Wingate.
Hertford County Assn.: G. Dodds, R. E. Hardy, G. Penney.
Irish Assn.: F. E. Dukes, J. T. Dunwoody, D. McEndoo.
Kent County Assn.: P. A. Corby, M. J. Miller, S. Jenner, I. H. Oram.
Ladies Guild: Miss D. E. Colgate, Mrs. P. J. Staniforth, Mrs. J. Summerhayes.
Lancashire Assn.: C. Crossthwaite, D. R. Jones, J. Kershaw, F. Reynolds.
Leeds Univ. Soc.: A. M. Glover.
Leicester Dio. Guild: B. L. Burrows, J. M. Jelley, P. J. Staniforth, B. G. Warwick.
Lincoln Dio. Guild: G. E. Feirn, D. A. Frith, J. L. Millhouse, P. Reynolds.
Llandaff & Monmouth Dio. Assn.: J. C. Baldwin, Mrs. D. J. King, M. J. Pryor.
London County Assn.: H. W. Rogers, Mrs. O. L. Rogers, M. J. Uphill, Dr. J. M. Weddell.
Manchester Univ. Guild: M. C. W. Sherwood.
Middx. County Assn.: F. T. Blagrove, T. J. Lock, C. H. Rogers, B. C. Watson.
Midland Counties Guild: J. W. Cotton, J. K. Smith.
National Police Guild: N. S. Bagworth.
N. American Guild: W. A. Theobald.
N. Staffordshire Assn.: E. Nixon.
N. Wales Assn.: Mrs. N. M. Randles.
Norwich Dio. Assn.: H. W. Barrett, M. Cubitt, F. N. Golden, N. V. Harding.
Oxford Dio. Guild: W. Butler, K. J. Darvill, N. J. Diserens, T. G. Pett.
Oxford Soc.: F. A. H. Wilkins.
Oxford Univ. Soc.: J. E. Camp.
Peterborough Dio. Guild: E. Billings, C. J. Groome, J. M. Tyler.
St. David’s Dio. Guild: J. H. Payton.
St. Martin’s Guild: T. R. Hampton, R. W. Pipe.
Salisbury Dio. Guild: E. J. Hitchins, R. G. W. Robertson, N. O. Skelton.
Scottish Assn: T. Lewis.
Shropshire Assn: R. B. Dorrington, Mrs. A. E. Stevens.
Soc. of Royal Cumberland Youths: J. S. Barnes, D. Beresford, D. E. Sibson, P. M. Wilkinson.
Soc. of Sherwood Youths: G. A. Dawson.
S. Derbys. & N. Leics. Assn: J. E. Collins.
Southwell Dio. Guild: W. L. Exton, S. Humphrey, R. B. Mills, Mrs. B. N. Reed.
Stafford Archd. Soc.: C. F. W. Eyre, C. M Smith.
Suffolk Guild: T. N. J. Bailey, H. W. Egglestone, C. W. Pipe, L. R. Pizzey.
Surrey Assn.: R. J. Cooles, S. F. W. Kimber, C. F. Mew.
Sussex County Assn.: C. J. Champion.
Swansea & Brecon Dio. Guild: J. A. Ellis.
Truro Dio. Guild: W. C. Boucher, F. M. Bowers, W. R. Curtis, Miss J. H. Dash.
Universities Assn.: M. C. C. Melville.
Univ. of Bristol Soc.: Mrs. A. Newing.
Univ. of London Soc.: A. J. Frost.
Winchester & Portsmouth Dio. Guild: K. S. B. Croft, G. K. Dodd, G. Nabb, W. T. Perrins.
Worcestershire & Dist. Assn.: A. C. Berry, W. B. Cartwright, M. D. Fellows, R. G. Morris.
Yorkshire Assn.: W. E. Critchley, S. J. Gullick, E. Hudson, W. F. Moreton.

The Railwaymen’s Guild was the only society not represented.


Bath & W.D.A.1824963920121253128
Beds. A.6224384343
Beverley D.S.296617623
Cambridge U.G.1341145411135331952
Chester D.G.23166346155811413628164
Coventry D.G.13822946112355560
Cumb. & N.W.A.21161411415
Derby D.A.914512428282
Devon A.111
G. Devonshire R.21130534242
Durham N.D.A.31312692111341448
Durham U.S.222
E.Grinstead D.G.222
Ely D.A.42351111153255
Essex A.366605294113113
G & B.D.A.2636307261554429515110
Guildford D.G.2112671229231
Hereford D.G.112121320116060
Hertford C.A.431374231142212027332105
Irish A.12144
Kent C.A.296122109815132633266
Lancashire A.411281234116221621615138189
Leeds U.S.32166
Leicester D.G.9914913717373123153323527262
Lincoln D.G.156212246131587693
Ll.&M. D.A.41633247912166470
London C.A.111081221134236
Manchester U.G.2122451125135944
Middlesex C.A.2521743939
Midland C.G.11331671150151
N. Police G.111
N. American G.1332204643539
N.Staffs A.1566
N. Wales A.111
Norwich D.A.252723047070
Oxford D.G.426285125091152141183217056226
Oxford Soc.14277
Oxford U.S.12511181220
Peterboro’ D.G.7230431918484
Railway Men’s G.111
St.David’s G.333
St.Martin’s G.44413243411112112
Salisbury D.G.133151756144751
Scottish A.2133
S.Sherwood Y.14166
Shropshire A.111661515
Southwell D.G.14223642131173275
Staffs. A.S.211711742342547
Suffolk G.18247151181131285133
Surrey A.2243121414
Sussex C.A.2485474519139139
Swansea B.D.G.4155
Truro D.G.121531053636
Univ. A.413538
U.Bristol S.12431010
U.London S.22225964401050
W & P.D.G.3719648103262428319113157188
Worcs. & D.A.123510581382111454149
Yorkshire A.4213210534122311726178
Aldenham C.Y.12123
Birmingham U.S.1312527
Bristol S.111
Bushey S.81619716
S.Camb. Y.111
Computer Lab.G.111
G. Clerical R.222
Cumbria A.1111174812
Dronoldore S.42426
Halifax As.111
Leicester U.S.11112
Liverpool U.S.21366
Manchester Soc.222
Newport Pagnell Soc.111
Nottingham U.S.222
G.Post Office R.1122
S.Rambling R.222
Sheffield U.G.2133
S.Northants S.32811414
U.Wales S.11133
York Coll.G.111
Affiliated Societies12490229125167411799084232322844791781011723035694273996
GRAND TOTALS12591236128172211829245236422844791861212323836544514105


170Affiliation fees338.13


Committee expenses:
Towers and Belfries44.62

15Secretary’s expenses15.00
53Stationery and printing92.89
10Ringing World notices17.20
-Bank commission.25

20Excess of Income over Expenditure94.17


-Clement Glenn Bequest17.39
124Cash and Bank Balances201.25

15Publications Fund15.64

119Net Assets213.00

99Accumulated Fund, 1st January 1974118.83
20Excess of Income over Expenditure94.17



695Stock, 1st January728.14

728LESS Stock, 31st December1695.04

70Postages and telephone158.26
21Stationery and sundries57.33

98Excess of Income over Expenditure826.63


5General Fund15.64
477Cash and Bank Balances326.08

1Clement Glenn Bequest.63

1209Net Assets2036.13

1111Accumulated Fund, 1st January 19741209.50
98Excess of Income over Expenditure826.63


11145Postal subscriptions15263.84
79Profit on sale of calendars118.21
325Sundry receipts433.58
814Interest receivable1422.00
78Profit on redemption-


3634Wrappers and postage4413.10
1576Editor’s fees and expenses1707.62
1342Editorial and Accounts assistance1438.39
136Rent and telephone166.01
348Postages, stationery and sundries374.71
184Miscellaneous expenses83.69
80Accountancy and taxation charges100.00

102Excess of income over expenditure2770.50

200Goodwill, Blocks, etc.200.00
200LESS amount written off200.00

Investments at cost:
2000Abbey National Building Society2000.00
500Brighton Corporation 6¾% Bonds500.00
3500Tyndall Income Units - 5002 Units3499.57
842Distillers Co. Ltd.-
£1000 7¾% Unsecured loan stock 1988/93
1029Bass Charrington Breweries Ltd. -
£1200 7¾% Unsecured loan stock 1992/ 97
1000Vickers Ltd.- £1000 9½% Unsecured loan stock 1974-
17953% Savings Bonds 1965/75 - £40003705.25
914Imperial Group Ltd.-
£900 8% convertible unsecured loan stock 1985/90
935E.M.I. Ltd.-
£850 8½% convertible Unsecured loan stock 1981

Cash at Bank:
500Deposit Account5300.34
2102Current Account2808.29
94Trustee Savings Account105.58

-Cash in hand2.46

LESS Creditors:
2796Expenses and taxation5238.88
4080Subscriptions in advance5810.10


10803Net assets13573.44

10701Accumulated Fund, 1st January 197410802.94
102Excess of Income over Expenditure2770.50



We have audited the annexed balance sheet dated 31st December 1974 and have obtained all the information and explanations we required. In our opinion, the balance sheet is properly drawn up so as to exhibit a true and correct view of the state of the affairs of “The Ringing World” according to the best of our information and the explanations given to us, and as shown by the books.

Chartered Accountants

Temple Chambers,
Temple Avenue,
London, EC4Y 0ER.

March 1975.

728Stock of Publications1695.04
2477Debtors and payments in advance3013.66
13637Investments at cost14592.40
3412Cash and Bank Balances8876.47

2806Sundry creditors5272.54
4086Amounts received in advance5810.10


13372Net Assets17104.93

119General Fund213.00
1241Clement Glenn Bequest1282.36
1209Publications Fund2036.13
10803“The Ringing World”13573.44


Audited and found correct.

Harold N. Pitstow)Hon. Auditors.
Douglas Hughes)

April 1975.

On behalf of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers:-

Wilfred G. Wilson - Chairman, Ringing World Committee
Cyril A. Wratten - Hon. Secretary and Treasurer

53Investment income58.54
6Hire of Washington film (net)3.66
1Prayer Sheet sales.63


Education Committee expenses13.99
Education Committee expenses, ’72-37.06
60Excess of Income over Expenditure41.78


398£563 Treasury 3½% Stock 79/81 at cost397.92
724Leeds and Holbeck Building Society768.73
1Publication Fund.63
118Cash and Bank Balances132.47

-General Fund17.39

1241Net Assets1282.36

1181Accumulated Fund, 1st January 19741240.58
60Excess of Income over Expenditure41.78


The Ringing World, July 4, 1975, supplement

At Lincoln, during the Central Council Meeting, one of the two open meetings on Bank Holiday Monday evening at Moor Lodge Hotel was a talk and discussion on The Community, the Church, the Ringers - or What can we do about the Vicar? The following is the text used by the Rev. J. G. M. Scott, who was the Speaker.



You may be ashamed, you may be embarrassed, or you may be angry when you read that another Vicar has fallen out with his ringers, or another band of ringers has ceased to co-operate with the Vicar; you can hardly be unmoved. You will be more likely to read of it in the local or national papers than in the “Ringing World”, because many of us do feel ashamed, and we don’t like to have our shame too much publicized; but among themselves your ringing friends will probably be discussing it and lamenting the intractability of clergymen, and quite possibly your clergy will be lamenting the intransigence of bellringers: and somewhere in the middle will be a small handful of ringing clergymen who scratch their heads in perplexity.

There are some cases, truly, in which the Vicar is unreasonable beyond all normal bounds, or the ringers make demands which are impossible to accord with the life of the Church; but these are few. The great bulk of the cases which have accumulated over the years are caused by a moderate, normal amount of unreason on both sides, a moderate, normal degree of pig-headedness on both sides - and a quite intolerable lack of understanding. And while I can do very little about the unreason or the pig-headedness of my fellow-men, either clergy or ringers, I can and must try to do something to remedy the loss of understanding.

Being by training some kind of an historian, it’s from an historical direction that I’m bound to approach this, but this is not a history lesson except insofar as history is about people and the way they behave. All the same, there is one very good reason for looking into the past in this matter; the attitudes which most deeply affect it are largely traditional. We are not dealing merely with human traits which turn up in every generation: we’re dealing with attitudes which are passed on from one generation to another.


Everybody knows the almost audible click with which a congregation of ringers at a festival switches off when the preacher comes, as he almost always does, to the matter of church attendance. He only very rarely attends ringing festivals, and then usually to officiate: he doesn’t know how often they’ve heard it all before, nor how little good talking at them about it will be. All he knows is that among the ringers of his acquaintance are pleasant, friendly, good-living people who are not the least bit opposed to the worship of the Almighty God but generally in favour of it: but who do not and will not stay to Church on normal occasions, and who seem unable to give a rational reason for walking out. Like many clergymen, he may have concluded that there is about bellringing some mysterious element which encourages irrationality and makes otherwise normal people inconsistent. Like many clergymen, he may have decided that the secret is to provide the belfry with churchgoing recruits - voice-broken choirboys and servers for whom the church cassocks are too small - only to find that they soon became as quick to disappear as the rest of the band. If he is a strong-minded, dogmatic kind of man, he will probably already have had a dispute with his ringers: if he is more tolerant, he will have learnt to co-exist with their foibles: in either case he will not like their attitude, and will not understand it.

If the situation were the same all over the Church one could put it down to a conflict of interest between clergy and ringers, but it is not universal. In one tower the ringers may all walk out; in another they may all stay in. Whatever they may say, it has very little to do with the character or policy of the Vicar: I have known places where the ringers complained that their Vicar took no notice of them; “when he comes to the belfry, we’ll come to Church”. Then they got a Vicar who was himself a ringer, and many of them actually stopped ringing. And I’ve known places where for generations it was an accepted thing that the ringers were church-people just like anyone else, and changes of incumbent made no difference whatever. There is only one explanation that fits these facts, and that is the attitude is traditional in some places and not in others: an unspoken and almost indefinable tradition but none the less binding and enduring for that: that ringing is the ringers’ business, and that a ringer who cooperates with the Vicar is letting down the side.


If this is the case - and I grow more and more sure that it is - then we need not think that there’s an easy way of changing things. Inarticulate attitudes are far more difficult to uproot than clearly defined ones: people may work together happily enough if they know and can analyse one another’s weaknesses; it’s when they just can’t get on, without being able to explain why, that it’s better to keep them apart. Still, it does usually help just a little if some of the origins of our divisions can be discovered, and if I can begin to show my fellow-ringers why clergymen behave as they do, and reveal to my fellow-clergy why some ringers hold the attitudes they hold, then I may have made a beginning towards a better understanding.

It sure has not always been like this. In fact, the beginning of the rift is fairly clearly marked at the beginning of the 19th century, and the trouble seems to have been at its worst in the middle years of the century. Things were indeed bad enough by any standards. Bell-ringing was apparently more of a sport than a religious activity in many people’s minds: villages were matched in ringing as today they’re matched in football or darts, and as often as not the local publican offered the prize of a set of gold-laced hats or a guinea apiece to the winners, ran a book on the result, and did handsomely out of the supporters. Many bands of ringers had their own jug - some still surviving - which was taken round the village to be filled with beer, and there are accounts in William Fussell’s diaries of rural bands at the end of the 19th century who at the end of the evening had to keep hold of their ropes to avoid falling over. No wonder the Victorian clergy were moved to interfere in such sacrilegious doings - but why was it happening? Did bell-ringing just naturally appeal to the irreligious and uncivilized elements in the community? Or was there perhaps the same streak of defiant independence about these goings-on which still sometimes appears today in tower-grabs and peal-ringing?

In the previous century, certainly, bell-ringing does not seem to have attracted only the uncouth and ignorant.

We have a little evidence of the kind of men who manned the ropes then: in Totnes, for instance, there is a beautiful brass candelabrum which was bought by the ringers to hang in the ringing-room “for ever” - it now hangs in the Lady Chapel - and is inscribed with their names. They include that of Dr. Benjamin Kennicott, who in 1742 wrote as follows: “The ingenuity required for the diversion ministered in, and the health subsequent upon this exercise, give it a particular sanction among mankind and recommend it as an employment at vacant hours, worthy the regard of all denominations”. Taken along with the candelabrum itself, an elegant and sumptuous one, this is evidence enough that the Totnes ringers in 1740s were no peasants. Maine Swete of Modbury, who devised a marvellous clock, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, for his brother Adrian (a High Sheriff of Devon) in about 1700, “delighted much in bell-ringing and Bell-music and once (in the disguise of a blacksmith) headed the ringers of Modbury in Winning a Prize at Totnes.” The blacksmith disguise is accounted for by the fact that Mayne Swete had learnt the trade and had his own forge as a hobby. From Torrington comes a song which describes the ringers and their occupations:

Good ringers we be that in Torrington dwell,
And what that we are I will speedily tell;
The first is called Turner, the second called Swete,
The third is a Vulcan, the fourth Harry Neat,
The fifth is a Doctor, a man of renown,
The Tenor, the Tailor that clothes all the town.

The presence of the doctor, the tailor and the blacksmith confirms the evidence of the Totnes candelabrum, and perhaps even more significant is the tone of the song with its classical description of the third ringer as a “Vulcan”. The song dates from about 1790.

The evidence I have given is all from market towns in Devon, but I believe it could be matched in most places in the kingdom; one can hardly imagine that ringing attracted elsewhere an entirely different breed of men in villages or in different part of the country, any more than it does today. Yet by the third decade of the 19th century we find one example after another of bitter disputes between ringers and incumbents, some ending in violence and some in court.

There had been, disputes before, it is true: at Feniton in 1693 the wardens recorded, “spent uppon the ringers the 5th of November & at other reioyceing daies 12s which ye pishoners looks uppon to be to muche & very extravigant & hardly alow it” - but then the Feniton people were not over generous: they deemed the 2s fee to the “Dean Ruler” to be an “incroachment on the parish” in 1718, and earlier, in 1689, they paid Mr. Churchill six shillings for keeping the register “which we looke uppon as not due to him”. In 1723 the Alphington Vestry voted to pay for only three ringing days in the year, and in 1751 the Corporation of Torrington voted to discontinue ringing “on the present or any future King’s Coronation Day”, and limited ringing on the 4th and 5th of November to a sum of 10s 6d, with no allowance for candles on those or any other days whatever. They did, however, relent enough to pay 7s 6d for ringing “upon the News of repealing the Cyder Act” in 1766. But these arguments were with churchwardens or town authorities: the controversies with the clergy are something new.

The Ringing World, July 18, 1975, pages 597 to 598

That sad and tormented clergyman, James Skinner of Camerton in Somerset, carried on a bitter warfare with his ringers for years, in which they were backed up by Mrs. Jarrett of the local big house, who on one occasion lent the ringers her key after Skinner had locked them out of the church. And indeed it is over this matter of the church key that the battle mostly raged. The earliest case seems to have been an opinion given by Dr. Lushington in 1821, also in Somerset, and another the same year at Chardstock, when the ringers forced open the church door on three successive nights to celebrate the Pains and Penalties Bill (part of George IV’s campaign against his wife Caroline) and the Vicar had them committed to the Sessions for riot and breaking and entering. In 1830 up in Chesterfield there was a row in which the ringers, backed by the Mayor, were stopped from ringing for the races. There was a tremendous row at Prittlewell in 1840, where the dispute was over the ringers’ long-established practice of ringing on Sunday mornings at 5 o’clock. The Vicar Mr. Nolan asked them to change the time to 8.00, and they refused: the Vicar then ordered them to change it, and when they still rang at 5 o’clock the following Sunday he appeared in the ringing-room with a carving-knife to cut the ropes. The following Sunday he had the Church picketed by police and armed his wife and family with pistols, but the ringers climbed on to the Church roof and through the ringing-room window, with shots coming from the Vicarage windows and howls and groans coming from the crowd. The Vicar finally cited them in the Consistory Court, and had one of them committed to prison for thirteen weeks until the court fees had been paid which they were by public subscription.


At Longney in Gloucestershire the Vicar took his churchwarden to court for having the bells rung without permission, and the same happened at Wanborough in Wiltshire in 1859. The trouble came to Devon in 1861, when the churchwarden at Mortehoe put a padlock in the belfry door to keep the Vicar out, and the case came to the Consistory Court. The following year the ringers of Thurnby, Leicestershire, were committed to prison and stayed there for five weeks, at the end of which the patron paid their costs of £48 and set them free. Their crime was to have broken open the belfry door so that they could ring in honour of Lord Stamford when his Lordship’s hounds met in the village, and the case was heard in the Court of Arches. In all these vases Dr. Lushington or Dr. Phillimore ruled unequivocally that the incumbent had the sole right to possess a key to the church, and could withhold right of entry to the parishioners, even to the churchwardens, except at time of service: and that he and only he could allow the ringing of the bells. In the opinion of Dr. Phillimore, the incumbent could forbid ringing at unseasonable hours or without just cause: according to Lushington, no ringing was legal unless he had expressly permitted it.

Now very much is bound to turn on the incumbent’s view of a “just cause”, and in all these examples this was the question. We don’t know why the Mortehoe ringers wanted to ring, but in the other instances they were ringing for what their parsons considered secular or even profane reasons, or just because they wanted to. Yet any set of churchwardens’ accounts of the 17th and 18th centuries will prove to be full of entries relating to the ringing of the bells for what the Victorians would have called secular reasons. Gunpowder Treason, the invariable ringing day, could be called a religious occasion inasmuch as there was a service laid down for it in the Prayer Book, and the same for Oak-Apple Day. But all those victories, from Sedgemoor to Waterloo, and the peace treaties which eventually followed them: the royal births and marriages; the repeal of the Cyder Act at Torrington (where they also paid for the bells to be rung for the arrival in town of Lady Walpole), and the election of the local squire to Parliament at Alphington, when the tower was struck by lightning and a boy killed in 1826: why was ringing tolerated for them until the 1830’s, and found sacrilegious thereafter? Why did the clergy allow the Bath Abbey ringers to welcome every notable who arrived in town to take the waters?

We need to go further back still, I believe, to search out the answer.


It was often said - more often than the evidence warrants, perhaps - that the ringing of bells in ancient times was the province of ordained ministers, and not of laymen. But the earliest real evidence that we have, from the late middle ages, indicates that by then the ringers were laymen, and that they were paid for their services. The Ashburton wardens’ accounts show that the great bellringing season was at All Souls’-tide, and the Coventry (Holy Trinity) statutes show that the Deacon and sub-deacon were to collect offerings from the parishioners for ringing for the dead on All Souls’ eve and through the night to All Souls’ Day. In addition the bells were rung for obits and requiems, and when the Bishop visited the parish. All this ringing, except for the regular Sunday ringing, was paid for either by the parish or by the people, and many parishes had other special paid ringing during the year. The soul-ringing on All Souls’ Day was forbidden by statute in 1546, but not stopped: several injunctions and Visitation articles during the reign of Queen Elizabeth show that it persisted most obstinately, and the reason probably is that it was connected in folk-tradition with the pre-Christian festival which All Souls’ Day replaced: bonfires were another part of this festival, and they too were impossible to eradicate. It was not until 1604, when Guy Fawkes, taking advantage of a season at which people were often seen carrying combustibles around, filled the cellars of the Parliament House with gunpowder, that the rulers of England succeeded triumphantly in converting a partly pre-Reformation and partly pre-Christian custom into an anti-Papist demonstration: the survival at Shebbear, Ottery, Bridgwater and many other places of ceremonies quite unrelated to the Gunpowder Plot but held on November 5th is very significant here, and at Shebbear the pre-Christian element survives very strongly in the jangling of the bells - the ancient use of them for driving away evil spirits.

Although the liturgy and the customs of the Church had changed so much after the Reformation, one thing was true both before and after, and continued true until the early 19th century. The distinction between sacred and secular in the relationship of church and community was very slight indeed. The Ashburton accounts include the costumes for the players as well as the linen for the altar, just as 18th century accounts cover repairs to the bridges and head-money for bullfinches as well as wine for the Communion. In a mediaeval parish the Church ales took their place with the other ales, the church sheep at Morebath grazed with the farmers’ sheep, the Church tin-working at Chagford worked alongside the private workings, and in unenclosed parishes the church lands lay intermingled in the open fields with the lord’s and the peasants’. The Church Ales were replaced by the Church Rates, but the Church Rates were spent on any amount of “secular” purposes - the poor, the roads, the vermin, the bridges and ransoming captives from the Turks among others. The activities of the ringers were all of a piece with the whole life of the Church, which was so closely intermixed with the life of the community that it is hard ever to disentangle them - the school in the Church porch, the May-games in the churchyard, the fives-court against a buttressed wall. The church buildings reflect it, where they have been allowed to: the panelling of the mahogany pulpit at Newton St. Cyres is identical with the doors at Saltram House, and the box-pews which were taken out in 1922 might have served as well in a Georgian coffee-house. The churches belonged to the people, and if they were elaborately decorated it was to the squire’s taste in the country and the Corporation’s in the town.


The reason for this is that it was the Squire, the Corporation or the Vestry that was running them. Once again the wardens’ accounts give overwhelming evidence of this: for year after year in most parishes during the 18th century the incumbent is seldom mentioned, unless it be the purchase of a new surplice for the minister or his dinner, along with the wardens, at the Archdeacon’s Visitation. Preb. J. H. B. Andrews in a masterly paper in the “Transactions” of 1964 showed we have to be extremely careful in reading 19th and 20th century accounts of the dreadful state of the Church of England in Georgian days, and Tindal Hart writes of the eighteenth-century clergy thus; they “could, indeed, claim none of the ecclesiastical ‘busyness’ of the modern parson. They possessed little sense of ‘vocation’ in the modern meaning of that word; and they made no attempt to ‘work’ their parishes in the modern way. Yet in a very real and vital sense they were ‘at home’ in their parishes and akin to their people in a manner and to a degree that the present-day rector is not … In the dread hours of pain, sickness and bereavement, and in upholding cultural standards, social graces, and the education of the poor, their villages looked to them for guidance and never in vain. ‘Smile at us, pay us, pass us, but do not quite forget, that we are the people of England who never have spoken yet’. Many country parsons did not forget, because they were part and parcel of the secret people themselves.”

The Ringing World, July 25, 1975, page 616

The Evangelical Movement and the Tractarian Movement worked together in one thing - perhaps in only one - and that was to divide the secular and the sacred in a way that was new. With the enclosures, which according to Cobbett turned the “Commons of England” into the “lower orders”, with the industrial revolution and later with the coming of the railways the village lost its unity and most of its autonomy. The most important roads were managed by the Turnpike Trusts and not by the way-wardens, the poor were looked after by the Unions after 1834; the tithe which, however much resented, had meant a sharing of good years and bad between parson and people, and a shared interest in the village’s chief concern, was replaced by a money payment: and finally the people lost their churches as well. The eighteenth-century clergy had been preoccupied, sometimes disgracefully so, with the material side of their benefices: it is hard for us to accept their attitude to a cure of souls as a piece of property and little more, but they did live in an age when property was seen as automatically carrying obligations and loyalties, before the Old Testament ethic of Samuel Smiles had taught men that wealth was a reward for superiority of character. What they do not seem to have been so concerned with was the rights which in law they still had over the church building and its use, and it is this which seems to be new in the 1820s and became increasingly strong thereafter. The struggle with the ringers over the church keys is a symptom of it, but a book published by the Rev. W. H. Pinnock in 1870 called “Church Keys” and subtitled “The Autocracy of the Clergy” shows us its full extent. Pinnock was firing a salvo against the proposal to institute Lay Councils - eventually to come into being as Parochial Church Councils and he passionately believed in the autocracy of the clergy. “In this age of Church progress,” he says, “it is remarkable that the chief obstructives of Church development, and of the gathering in of the waifs and strays of our people … are the Laity. The clergy as a body are alive and ready with persevering activity, and every experiment to win over the waverers and wanderers and outcasts. The Laity seem opposed to every advance. Undue Lay power is as certain to produce Sectarianism, as excessive Sacerdotalism is sure to produce Romanizing proclivities”, he says. And to back his arguments he adduces a long succession of judgements by Dr. Lushington and Dr. Phillimore to show that the powers of the Vestry and Wardens are minimal and their duties only custodial.


One very potent weapon in the hands of the clergy in this conquest was the unpopularity and final abolition in 1868 of the compulsory Church Rate, for nothing was supplied in its place. Coupled with the increasing desire on the part of most clergymen to have things arranged as they wished, and the fact of their greater affluence, this made a clerical take-over almost inevitable in most country parishes. The chance discovery in a farm-house cupboard of a wardens’ account-book for Tetcott parish first brought this home to me. At its opening, in the 1820s, it gives a picture of a church carefully maintained and provide for by the wardens: the Rural Dean’s Book bears this out. There was a string band to play the music - the great-grandson of its leader was still organist in 1962 - and strings for the instruments and tunes for the singers appear regularly. The Rector was a member of the Molesworth family who owned the estate, and during his incumbency rebuilt the Rectory. He also wrote up several pages of notes about the parish on blank sheets of the old register which show a keen and human interest in the community and its people. When a new Rector arrives during the 1850s, the change is dramatic. The Rural Deans become more enthusiastic than ever about the Church: the new roof, the re-seating, the choir stalls - soon to be filled by a surpliced choir - the beautiful organ housed in a specially-built extension - but the Wardens’ accounts suddenly contract from a page and a half each year to a few lines. There was very soon no income at all, and for the last three years the only disbursements were the statutory fees, which annually added to a deficit. It is with this deficit - presumably made good by the Rector - that the accounts cease altogether. The improvements to the church were all carried out at West’s expense or by subscriptions from his friends, and the Rural Dean noted that the organ was his own personal property.


Examination of a number of other Devon parish histories has told me the same tale almost everywhere: at Chittlehampton a certain Vicar, who was said by a church- warden to have taken too much on himself, rebuilt the church in 1872: the Church Rate in this parish was made voluntary in 1873, expenditure dropped from £38 a year to £16, and the Clerk’s salary was cut to one-third: from that time on an annual deficit was made good by the Vicar. At Woodland the “fourmen” who had formerly managed the Church’s affairs ceased to exist in 1869, their duties taken over by the Curate: at Lydford the Church building was transformed by the Rev. Chafy Chafy, “the rich and generous Curate and benefactor of the Church”; at Mortehoe the Rev. J. Derby Ness, in memory of his son, renovated and restored the church and replaced the instrumental choir with a harmonium: four years later he was taking his churchwarden and ringers to court. From Thurlestone we have a charming and graphic description of the same process from Miss Helen Ilbert: “There was a terrible tempest in the place when the rector held a parish meeting to arrange about reseating the church, the farmers rising as one man to protest against their comfortable boxes and corners being removed for open seats. This was the first parish in the neighbourhood to suggest such an innovation, and they did not all appreciate the honour of being pioneers! The meeting dissolved in uproar, and the people thought the matter had dropped, but that was not the case.

“The rector was a determined man, and, having made up his mind as to what was the right thing to do, intended to carry it through, regardless of consequences, though it had to be done entirely at his own expense. So all through the winter months he and his devoted carpenter (a deaf man who knew how to keep a silent tongue in his head when ‘Maister’ desired it) worked away in the big barn, carving and planning and fitting, no one knowing what work was in progress till all was ready. Then, one fine Monday morning in the spring, a band of workmen arrived at the Church with axes and hammers, and almost before the news got about that ‘summat was doin’ up to chairch’ the old high pews were all demolished and carted away and the new well-made open seats put in their places! It was all finished within the week, so there was no need to close the church for a single Sunday; but when the congregation arrived the next Sunday morning and found their boxes had disappeared then there was a hubbub! It was like disturbing a hornets’ nest. Many of the men marched straight out of church again and held an indignation meeting in the churchyard, one farmer saying that ‘he hoped Old Nick would fly away with him if he ever set foot in the church again’.”

Miss Ilbert puts their opposition down to a “sense of equality, all the seats being exactly alike, free and open,” and says that the women and children appreciated the change. She also says that gradually the old choir dwindled away, and soon the inevitable harmonium arrived. Hymns A. & M. were distributed free, the clerk’s part of the responses was taken over by a choir of children, and the clerk himself “retired in dudgeon, saying ‘They’ll be singing the sarmon next’.” She concludes by saying that now the Church has again been transformed, and that “that generation has passed away, and the present-day farmers do not make it an invariable custom to come to church on Sunday.” One is left feeling that the reason for the stronger and more enduring alienation of the men was perhaps their greater loss of the stake which they one had had in the building and its use - wardens, vestry, choir and clerk together. Perhaps to the women, who had had less part in the old order, the change was less traumatic.

The Ringing World, August 1, 1975, page 627

It is clear enough when one looks round our country churches that this story could be repeated for a great majority of them. Churchwarden’s Gothic and the old Georgian layout was replaced by Vicar’s-architect-brother-in-law Gothic: the new obeyed the rules of the Ecclesiological Society, whereas the old had obeyed no rules whatever: but the old had fitted the community like an old shoe and the new did not. Because the old shoe had fitted a foot deformed by corns and bunions, it was far from elegant, and not very effective: the new shoe was seemly and potentially far more useful, but the community as a community could not wear it.

The tragedy is that Thurlestone’s reforming Rector is typical of his time - godly, zealous and earnest, deeply desiring the good of the people under his care - as he understood their good to be. The Victorian clergy were a magnificent collection of men; they had as much zeal as today’s clergy if not more, better discipline, better education and a far greater certainty of their aims and methods. They knew their ideals and they knew how to attain them, and nobody was going to stand in their way, least of all the people among whom the ideals were to be attained. They could hardly have been expected to be otherwise: the state of the clergy described by Macaulay was a long way back, and the parson who might in the time of George II have been the “resource of a lady’s maid whose character had been blown upon” might very well now be a close relative of the lady herself. Enclosure and the industrial revolution had increased his stipend; education in a reformed University had advanced his status; the effects of two great revivals in religion had intensified his sense of vocation and raised his ideals: how could such a man be shackled by a pair of yeoman churchwardens and an illiterate Vestry? He was, in fact, not shackled; Lushington and Phillimore, interpreting a Canon Law which was framed under the threat of Presbyterianism, gave him all the power he could wish to make a clean sweep. The singing seats were replaced by choir-stalls in the Rector’s chancel, and the singers by a choir in the clerical livery of cassock and surplice: the Parish Clerk in his rusty black frock-coat by a verger, if one could be afforded, in a gown. The end result was to change the village’s church into the Vicar’s church: in many people’s minds the Vicar’s shop, with the congregation as his customers. It would be unjust to expect the Victorian clergy to have foreseen the results of their policy; the policy was to a great extent forced on them by the circumstances of their time, and the results were contributed to by social changes which were a long time ahead of them. They found a great deal of very scummy bath-water, and it was left to later generations to wonder what had become of the baby.

Ringers have more reason than most for recognizing this change in the life of the Church of England. Look at bell inscriptions for one thing: on bells which are cast today, or have been cast since the middle of the last century, the name of the incumbent is inscribed almost as a matter of, course. On bells cast before 1800 it is the names of the Churchwardens which are there as a matter of course, and the Vicar’s name is unusual. There is no doubt there who felt responsible for the Church and its bells. Or look at the ringers’ rules which appear in many towers: if they were set up on the wall before about 1840 they will be what the name implies - the ringers’ rules, with penalties for overturning a bell, or swearing, or ringing in spurs or hat. But if they’re later than the 1860s they are almost certainly no longer ringers’ rules; they’re rules for the ringers, either imposed by the Vicar or agreed between him and the band, often along the lines recommended by H. T. Ellacombe. And unlike the older ones, they will certainly not be in verse.


Not all clergymen were obstinate or autocratic: most tried - and some succeeded in - persuasion and reasoning, of which the agreed and signed ringers’ rules are evidence. Ringing floors were brought down to ground-level and opened to the Church to encourage the ringers to feel part of the congregation: ringers’ seats were set aside and labelled: the Vicar gave the ringers a dinner every year, and eventually encouraged them to join one of the new Guilds. He might even take up ringing for himself, to show them that a man could ring and still remain sober and pious. But none of these schemes solved the problem, because the problem was deeper than anyone guessed: the attitude of both clergy and people to their Church had changed radically, and hardly anyone had noticed.

Perhaps the Georgian parson had been shockingly lax in administering the parish - except maybe in the matter of paying tithe - and let people run things their own way more than was good for anybody. But the Victorian ideal of a parson was that he should be the Church in his parish, and this was arguably worse. Yet it has coloured much of the thinking behind clergy training right up to the present day, and colours a great deal of clerical thinking. To give just one example - it’s assumed without question today that it’s an essential part of the priest’s business to go about and encourage people to go to Church. But in the days of Oliver Goldsmith it was Sir Roger de Coverly the squire, not the Vicar, who chivvied the peasantry into Church: and I might make so bold as to suggest that he did it better; the Christian Stewardship movement is just beginning to show how much more effective laymen can be in this kind of work than clergymen who are “paid to do that kind of thing.”

It was only occasionally and perhaps exceptionally that this change produced any open opposition. For the most part the ordinary parishioners of the 19th century were well schooled to accept what was given them by their “betters”, and often accepted a loss of freedom if it meant also a loss of responsibility. This is one of the sad features of this story: that for the most part the usurpation was carried out with the willing consent of all parties. After all, many lay-people find it less bother to have a church which is the parson’s shop: they can respond to appeals for it as an act of kindness rather than one of duty, which is always more gratifying: they receive grateful acknowledgement in the parish magazine for doing what their forefathers had to do by law maintain their own church: and if business seems to fall off, who can be to blame except the man whose shop the Church is? In a great many parishes the people are almost incurably conditioned to leaving all initiative to the parson, and as often as not the parson is trained to believe that initiative is his exclusive right and duty. What is more, any parson will tell you that it is far easier to run most parishes autocratically than to get lay-people to make their own decisions.


But the ringers - often the ringers alone - did not accept this handing-over of sovereignty. They inherited a tradition of being functionaries of the parish rather than servants of the incumbent; they regarded the bells as their bells - after all they had usually been there a great deal longer than the Vicar - and they had a material interest in being able to ring when they wanted to. Their ringing for the coming-of-age of the heir to the estate may have been prompted by feudal loyalty, but they could have been sure that it would be rewarded by a pin of beer at least: their ringing for the King’s accession day would once have been paid for by the Tory farmers even if the Whig parson didn’t like it: and on occasions of general rejoicing they could have been certain that a profitable whip-round could be made through the parish. If now they had to go cap-in-hand for permission to ring their bells to a Vicar who might not think the squire’s son’s birthday a religious enough occasion, they would be losers of more than traditional custom.

At first, the conflict was usually about times of ringing - the ringers wanting to ring at times when the Vicar disapproved - but the ringers lost that struggle almost every time, and it rarely recurs nowadays. In our day the issue is more often over the ringers’ second line of defence - church-going. Even though they had to accept the fact that the Vicar could tell them when they might ring, they saw no reason for doing anything else just because he said so, and herein can be seen a measure of the change which had come to the Church in general. There was once a time - can you imagine it? - when parishioners would demonstrate their objection to the parson by coming to Church in a body - to their Church. Now they show their opposition by staying away - from his.

Can this situation, where it exists, really be improved until the parish churches really belong to the people again? Probably not, and the restitution may be a slow process. We have a generation of clergymen whose ideal of leadership, carefully inculcated in their training, is that a priest’s business is to attract people into his church, and a generation of lay-people whose notion of faithful churchmanship is to support the incumbent - if he deserves it - in keeping his show going. These assumptions will die hard, but there are some hopeful things happening.

Firstly, in the rural areas at any rate, the shortage of clergy is leading to groupings of parishes, and the disappearance of the one-parish-one-resident-parson system which used to be the ideal (though it was not as often the reality as some people think). This almost always brings out lay leadership and a revived feeling that the Church is the community’s affair, if only because most of the little proprietorial jobs which used to be done by the Vicar now have to be done by someone else.

Secondly, the status of the clergy is declining along with their income - in fact going back to the place where it used to be for much of the Church’s history, when the priest has not been the boss the proprietor or even the manager of the local Church but one member who is trained and ordained to carry out one special function. We’re so used to shaking our heads sadly over Macaulay’s harrowing description of the low status of the 17th-century clergy that we often fail to notice that it’s much nearer to the Apostolic ideal than the high status and dignity which came in the 18th and 19th. It will not be a disaster if the clergy experience a loss of income or of social standing - only if they suffer a loss of faith.

And thirdly, the Church is coming to accept its true situation in this country, which is that of a minority force with very little material power but incalculable spiritual potential. We have for so long looked with satisfaction on the high standing of the Church in our land - the Queen its head, crowned by our Archbishop; the Bishops in the House of Lords, the honoured place given to religion in the media, the physical impact of thousands of magnificent Church buildings on our very landscape - that, we may forget that without the power of God the Church is nothing, and compared with the power of God all other power is negligible.

When these changes have run their course, it is hardly possible that people will still think of their parish Church as the parson’s business. And then, please God, the ringers, along with all the other people of the Church, will see themselves as sharing in a ministry and calling which is theirs as much as the Vicar’s. In the meantime ringers may have to bear with the incumbents whose ideas are shaped by the old notions, and incumbents will have to do the same for ringers who are equally behind the times. There is no magic ingredient to sweep away all the difficulties - only the hard graft of all becoming better Christians.

NOTE.- The day after this was delivered at Branston, members of the Council rang at Belton, a little church in the grounds of a large country mansion. The ringers’ rules of 1875 included one which forbade ringing on Sundays, and ended with the dates of his Lordship’s and her Ladyship’s birthdays - as good an example as one could wish of the old order.

The Ringing World, August 8, 1975, pages 647 to 648


The following will bring up to date the Central Council Collection of Surprise Methods as far as the end of 1974.


1L.Jenufa(a)- 34 - 1458 - 56 - 36 - 12 - 38 - 12 - 3.
2L.Pidley(mx)- 36 - 14 - 58 - 16.34 - 14.38 - 16 - 5.
3L.Healey(b)- 36 - 1456 - 58 - 38 - 14 - 38 - 34 - 7.
4L.Eastleigh(e)- 36 - 1458 - 58 - 16 - 34 - 38 - 34 - 1.
5L.Grays(f)- 38 - 14 - 12 - 16 - 12 - 38 - 1236 - 3.
6L.Offord d’Arcy(f)- 38 - 14 - 56 - 36 - 14 - 58.34 - 34.5.
7L.Geddington(b)- 38 - 14 - 58 - 16 - 34 - 3458 - 14.36.7.
8L.Measham(b)- 38 - 14 - 58 - 36 - 14 - 1258 - 34.16.7.
9L.King Alfred(b)- 38 - 14 - 58 - 36 - 14 -
10L.Hugglescote(b)- 38 - 14 - 58 - 36 - 14 -
11L.Farncombe(k)- 38 - 14 - 58 - 36.14 - 14.38.16 - 16.5.
12L.Barkingside(a)- 38 - 1458 - 56 - 36 - 34 - 1458 - 16 - 1.
13L.Frindsbury(h)- 56 - 14 - 56 - 38 - 14 - 1258.
14L.Chatham(j)- 56 - 14 - 56 - 38.14 -
15L.Showsley(f)- 58 - 14 - 12 - 36 - 34 - 38.14 - 14.5.
16L.Tichmarsh(b)- 58 - 14 - 56 - 36 - 14 - 1258 - 16 - 1.
17L.Partington(b)- 58 - 14 - 58 - 16 - 12 - 1458 - 34 - 3.
18L.Ruddington(mx)- 58 - 14.58 - 58.16.34 - 14.58 - 14 - 3.
19L.Queenborough(j)- 58 - 14.58 - 58.36 - 14 - 1458.
20L.Llanfeugan(mx)- 58 - 14.58 - 58.36.12 - 12.3458 - 12 - 1.
21L.Jevington(j)- 58 - 14.58 - 58.36.14 -
22L.Orlingbury(b)- 58 - 1456 - 56 - 36 - 14 - 38 - 14 - 3.
23L.Barbourne(b)- 58 - 16 - 12 - 38 - 34 - 1238 - 16 - 7.
24L.Halling(d)- 58 - 16 - 56 - 16 - 34 -
25L.Old Wives Lees(d)- 58 - 16 - 56 - 36 - 14 - 1238 - 16 - 7.
26L.Matabeleland(d)- 58 - 16 - 56 - 36 - 34 - 38.14 - 34.7.
27L.Wrotham(h)34 - 38.14 - 12 - 38.14 - 14.58 - 36 - 5.
28L.Buckfastleigh(k)34 - 38.14 - 58 - 36 - 14 - 58.16 - 56.1.
29L.Malpas(l)34 - 58.14 - 58 - 36 - 14 - 58.14 - 14.7.
30L.Eboracum(f)34 - 58.16 - 12 - 36 - 14 - 58.36 - 36.1.
31L.Newlyn(c)36 - 38.14 - 58 - 16 - 14 - 58.16 - 36.1.
32L.Caterham(mx)36 - 56.14.58 - 58.36 - - 16.5.
33L.Nottinghamshire(mx)36 - 58.14 - 1258 - 38 - 14 - 58.16 - 56.1.
34L.Water(l)38 - 38.14 - 12 - 38.14 - 14.58.16 - 16.5.
35L.Saddleworth(h)56 - - 14.38.12 - 16.7.
36L.Dunstable(mx)56 - 58.16.58 - 1256.38.14 - 14.58.36 - 16.5.
37L.Durham(c)- 38 - 14 - 12 - 38.14 - 34.16.
38L.Notlob(mx)- 58 - 14 - 58 - 16 - 34 - 36.
39L.Maplin(b)- 30 - 14 - 56 - 16 - 12 - 30 - 14 - 30 - 14 - 3.
40L.Little Ashfield(d1)- 30 - 14 - 50 - 36 - 78 - 16.
41L.Little Snoring(e)- 30 - 14 - 70 - 16.70 - 34.16.
42L.Thornham Parva(d1)- 50 - 16 - 50 - 16 - 78 - 56.
43L.Rickinghall Inferior(b)30 - 30.14 - 12 - 30 - 78 - 36.
44L.Smallbrook(g)- 5T - 14.5T - 5T.36.14.9T.14.58.9T.14.9T.70.18 - 18.9T - 18 - 1.
45L.Huddersfield(e)36 - 56.14.5T - 5T.36 - 14 - 3T.16 - 16.3T.16 - 16.3T.16 - 16.3.
46L.Thamesdown(c)9T.50 - 14.50.9T. - 38.14.E.


Barbourne18 - 8 - 74Bath (St. Michael)23L.
Barkingside29 - 6 - 74Barkingside12L.
Buckfastleigh27 - 7 - 74Oakham28L.
CaterhamRung in Spliced32L.
Chatham9 - 2 - 74Chatham14L.
Drogheda18 -10 - 74Drogheda52C.
Dunstable2 - 3 - 74Dunstable36L.
Durham Little29 - 3 - 74West Bridgford37L.
Eastleigh12 - 2 - 74East Tytherley4L.
Eboracum21 -12 - 74Dewsbury30L.
Ecton9 -11 - 74Watlington19K.
Farncombe26 - 6 - 74Watford (on handbells)11L.
Frindsbury15 - 2 - 74Frindsbury13L.
Geddington24 - 8 - 74Rothwell7L.
Grays28 - 9 - 74Terling5L.
Halling5 - 7 - 74Frindsbury24L.
Healey23 - 3 - 74Market Drayton3L.
Hugglescote22 - 5 - 74Measham10L.
Jenufa15 - 9 - 74Salehurst1L.
Jevington9 - 3 - 74Brenchley21L.
King Alfred26 -10 - 74Wantage9L.
Llanfeugan19 - 7 - 74Llanfeugan20L.
Malpas7 - 6 - 74Stratton St. Margaret29L.
Matabeleland30 -11 - 74Kingham26L.
Measham19 - 9 - 74Measham8L.
NewlynRung in Spliced31L.
Notlob Little2 -11 - 74Deane38L.
Nottinghamshire28 -10 - 74Salford (Sacred Trinity)33L.
Offord d’Arcy30 - 8 - 74Meldreth6L.
Old Wives Lees16 - 2 - 74Selling25L.
Orlingbury27 -12 - 74Rothwell22L.
Partington5 - 5 - 74Heywood17L.
Pidley6 - 9 - 74Cambridge (St. Andrew-the-Great)2L.
Queenborough11 - 5 - 74Frittenden19L.
Ruddington1 - 1 - 74Ruddington18L.
Saddleworth6 - 8 - 74Saddleworth35L.
Showsley17 - 8 - 74Easton Neston15L.
Tichmarsh19 -10 - 74Tichmarsh16L.
Water21 -11 - 74Salford (Sacred Trinity)34L.
Wrotham12 -10 - 74Wrotham27L.
Evercreech21-12 - 74Chepstow47E.
Little Ashfield Little8- 1 - 74Grundisburgh40L.
Little Snoring Little17- 8 - 74Aylsham41L.
Maplin17-11 - 74Prittlewell39L.
Rickinghall Inferior Little25- 2 - 74Grundisburgh43L.
Thornham Parva Little9- 7 - 74Grundisburgh42L.
Halifax23 -11 - 74Birmingham Cathedral46D.
Huddersfield10 - 1 - 74Birmingham Cathedral45L.
Indiana14 -12 - 74Aston75F.
Smallbrook17 -10 - 74Birmingham Cathedral44L.
Thamesdown22 - 9 - 74Reading46L.
Utah8 - 6 - 74Kidderminster76F.

The Ringing World, October 17, 1975, page 853

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