To mark the centenary of its first formal meeting, held at the Inns of Court Hotel in Holborn on 31st March 1891, the Central Council was invited by the Ancient Society of College Youths to hold its 1991 meeting in London. This, the Council’s 94th meeting since its formation (there were no meetings for two years during the First World War and none between 1939 and 1945), took place on 28th May in the impressive surroundings of the Livery Hall in the City of London Guildhall, and was attended by a near-record number of members.

The meeting began promptly at 10 o’clock, immediately following a corporate service of Holy Communion in St. Lawrence Jewry. The President, Christopher J. Groome of the Peterborough DG, welcomed all those present, and the meeting was then led in prayer by the Revd. Dr. J.C. Baldwin, a former President of the Council and a representative of the Llandaff & Monmouth DA.

The Secretary, Mr. C.A. Wratten (Life Member), reported that there had been no change since the last meeting in the number of societies affiliated to the Council or in their representation. The S. Derbyshire and N. Leicestershire Association continued to have insufficient members to be represented, but the remaining 69 societies had between them 186 representatives. As a result of the recent death of Dean Thurlow there were now eight, rather than the previous nine, Life members and there were 21 Honorary members, giving the Council a total membership during its centenary year of 215.

He added that when the Council first met it had had a representative membership of 74 ringers, drawn from 33 different societies. Twenty-two of those societies were still in existence and remained affiliated to the Council.

His report that all subscriptions had now been paid caused a brief burst of laughter, for members had been aware of several last-moment payments immediately before the President had opened the meeting.

Apologies for absence

The Secretary said that apologies had been received from two Life members - Messrs. W.B. Cartwright and F.E. Collins; and from several representative members - Mrs. C. Higby and Messrs. A. Cattell, R.M. Cox, A.D. Evans, D. Hird, P.T. Hurcombe, A.J. Martin and D.D. Smith. Apologies were also relayed from Mr. M.J. Stone; as an alternate member, Mr. C. O’Mahony was representing ANZAB in his stead.

New members

The President said that there was only one new member of the Council this year, Mr. A.J. Martin of the Chester DG, who was returning to the Council after an interval of eleven years, but because of his absence he was unable formally to welcome him.

Losses through death

Members stood in silence as the Secretary read the names of members of the Council who had died since its last meeting: F.W. Goodfellow (Middx CA & London DG, 1938 and 1950-66); A.W. Gibbs (National Police G, 1977-81); J. Bray (Lincoln DG, 1936-72); E.E. Whitmore (Peterborough DG, 1948-50); G.W. Hughes (Archdeaconry of Stafford S, 1955-76); R.A. Post (Oxford DG, 1936-47), and Gilbert Thurlow (Norwich DA, 1945-63, a Life Member since 1963, and a former President of the Council).

Another former President, Prebendary J.G.M. Scott, said a brief prayer.

Election of Honorary Members

Five of the Council’s Honorary Members would complete their term at the end of the meeting, and there were in addition three vacancies among the 24 seats provided for in the Rules. Eight places were consequently available to be filled.

In the event seven people were individually nominated for election. They were Messrs. D.G. Thorne, the Editor of The Ringing World and a member of the Administrative and Public Relations committees; Mrs. M.J. Wilkinson, on the Committee for Redundant Bells; Miss E. St. John Smith, Press Officer at Westminster Abbey and a consultant of the Public Relations Committee; A.E. Bagworth and W.H. Dobbie, the trustees of the Carter ringing machine; A.P.S. Berry, managing director of the Loughborough Bellfoundry; and R.H. Dove, well-known throughout the Exercise for his Bellringer’s Guide to the Church Bells of Britain.

As required by the Council’s Rules, the election was by ballot. After the votes had been counted by tellers from the College Youths the President was able to announce later in the meeting that all those nominated had been elected. (Applause)

Minutes of the last meeting

Adoption of the Minutes of the 1990 meeting in Wells, which had appeared in The Ringing World of March 22nd and had subsequently been corrected in the issue of April 19th, was proposed by the Secretary and seconded by Mr. F.E. Dukes (Irish A). They were accepted without comment.

Ringing Centre

Members had received an interim written report on progress to date on the establishment of a Ringing Centre. Summarising the current position, Mr. A.J. Frost (Honorary), the chairman of the small working group set up at Wells last year to investigate the idea, said that the group had now met six times. It had been wary of pushing the idea of a centre, which he said would need visionary appeal and sound financial backing, if there were no enthusiasm for it among the Council’s various committees. However there did seem to be sufficient interest, and eight possible sites had now been identified. The working group would like to investigate further these and other aspects, with the aim of producing a comprehensive brief for the Council and reverting next year with some positive proposals. He added that there was the possibility that a financial benefactor or benefactors might emerge, which would obviously ease some of the financial concerns.

Members accepted the President’s suggestion that they should simply receive this report.

Secretary and Treasurer’s report

Mr. Wratten moved the adoption of his report, and was seconded by Mr. D. Potter (Yorkshire):

By the beginning of April, when this report was written, there had (most unusually) been only one change in the membership of the Council since its meeting in Wells a year ago.

Financially there has been rather more change. Both the General Fund and the Friends of the CCCBR Library account show increased values that are roughly in line with, or slightly better than, the rate of inflation during 1990. However, on the advice of the Council’s auditors, a somewhat larger amount of Publications Committee stock was written off at the end of the year than had been planned, with the result that the gross value of the Publications Fund has decreased during the same period by something over £1,500. Had no stock been written off, the account would have shown a net income of about the same amount, but still slightly less than the comparable figure for 1989.

The overall result is that the Council’s book worth has increased by some £7,000 to nearly £138,000. Included in this global figure is a Capital Reserve of £37,515 and £11,300-worth of publications stock.

Turning to the future, members may like to note that the Council has now formally received invitations for its annual meeting for every year until the end of the century except 1994 and 1995. I would be grateful if affiliated societies would consider whether they would like the Council to meet in their area in either of these two remaining years, and let me know accordingly. Three years may seem a long way off, but experience shows the advantages of forward planning.

After Mr. D. Bleby (ANZAB) had accepted the President’s suggestion that he defer a question on the Accounts until the next item on the Agenda, this report was adopted without further comment.

1990 Accounts

Mr. Wratten explained a number of the General Fund items, stressing particularly that the growth in investment income had been the result of high interest rates during 1990. He suggested that questions on the Publications and Library Funds might best be taken with the reports of the relevant committees.

Mr. Bleby expressed his concern that the Council seemed not to be paying its way, instead relying upon benefits from the past: affiliation fees, he pointed out, barely covered the basic administrative costs of the annual meeting, and all other expenditure was being paid for from the interest received on investments. If there were to be any significant capital expenditure in the future, affiliation fees would need to be increased by a considerable amount to make good the resulting loss in income. He asked that the Administrative Committee look at the position.

Mr. A.R. Smith (Suffolk) said that he took a quite contrary view. He felt it “almost obscene” for a charity such as the Council to be making a profit, and he urged committees to make much more use of the available money in furthering the Council’s aims and objects.

At the President’s suggestion Mr. Wratten then proposed the adoption of the Accounts, and was seconded by Dr. J. Armstrong (Essex). This was accepted, the President adding the Council’s thanks to the Secretary for his work.

Accounts for 1990
General Fund
Income and Expenditure Account for the Year 1990
General income
925Affiliation fees940.00

Less: Administrative costs
841Council meeting868.05
50Secretary’s expenses50.00
99Stationery, post and telephone100.83
24Printing and photocopying23.56


Investment and Committee Income
10360Dividends and interest13083.76
2454less transferred to Capital Reserve3192.00

6214Education Committee: courses etc7634.82

Less: Committee costs, grants, etc.
1691Committee expenses2947.20
5910Education Committee courses7649.97
152Centenary committee259.78
280Code of Practice working party296.75
1339Survey of Ringing550.37
less: RW Ltd contribution500.00

700The Ringing World Ltd.600.00



4726Excess of income over expenditure5307.82
Balance Sheet as at 31 December 1990
90000NS Income Bonds90000.00
8086NS Investment Account16843.94
2123Bank Deposit accounts3017.04

279Cash and Bank balances910.98
4500Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells2600.00
97Payments in advance86.57
2347Sundry debtors1851.56

280Affiliation fees in advance85.00
897Sundry creditors519.12


106255Net Assets114705.97
65929Accumulated Fund, 1 January 199070654.52
4726Excess of income over expenditure5307.82

961Add: donations for bell restoration and
interest thereon to 1 Jan. 1990
316Donations and interest, 1990351.56

-less grants paid400.00

31869Add: Capital Reserve, 1 January 199034323.00
2454Allocated from income, 19903192.00

Publications Fund
Income and Expenditure Account for the Year 1990

2516Publications sold4,936.50
125Stock written off2,974.94
442Stationery and post776.32
196Publications Committee expenses41.66
259Ringing History project229.60
50Bank charges210.40

(1790)Excess of expenditure over income1,553.62

Balance Sheet as at 31 December 1990
10350Stock, at lower of cost or net realisable value11,307.48
11909Bank Deposit Account10,896.04
2236Cash and Bank balances569.62
978Payments in advance121.23
1430Sundry creditors405.13

24043Net Assets£22,489.24
22253Accumulated Fund, 1 January 199024,042.86
(1790)CrExcess of expenditure over income1,553.62

Friends of the CCCBR Library
Income and Expenditure Account for the Year 1990
150Transfer from General Fund150.00

456Books etc271.60
30Stationery, post & photocopying47.37


(70)Excess of income over expenditure103.08
Balance Sheet as at 31 December 1990
256Bank Deposit Account169.55
347Cash and Bank balances441.15

95Sundry creditors-

518Net Assets£620.70
588Accumulated Fund, 1 January 1990517.62
(70)Excess of income over expenditure103.08


The market value of the Council’s Library is not reflected in these accounts. It is insured for £25,000.

Consolidated Balance Sheet as at 31 December 1990
10350Stock of publications11,307.48
2861Cash and Bank balances1,921.75
4500Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells2,600.00
1074Payments in advance207.80
2347Sundry debtors1,851.56

280Amounts received in advance85.00
2421Sundry creditors924.25


130815Net Assets£137,815.91
Capital Accounts
106255General Fund114,705.97
24043Publications Fund22,429.24
518Friends of the CCCBR Library620.70



We have audited the financial statements on pages 2 to 6. In our opinion the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of the Council’s affairs at 31st December, 1990, and of its income and expenditure for the year then ended.

) Hon. Auditors
March, 1991

Committee reports

The Council’s day-to-day work is carried out by members of its elected committees, the reports of which are circulated in advance of the meeting. The first to be considered this year was that of the Administrative Committee, which was introduced by Mr. Wratten.

Administrative Committee

The Committee has met twice in London, as usual, during the past year. It has continued to monitor progress on the development, in conjunction with the Council for the Care of Churches, of the revised Code of Practice for dealing with bells and bellframes; and of the idea of a Ringing Centre.

For the former Dr. Baldwin has now been joined by Philip Corby (replacing Jim Taylor) as the Council’s representative on the joint Working Party; and Alan Frost, Chairman of the Council’s Towers and Belfries Committee, is also a member, at the invitation of the Working Party’s chairman, Chancellor Spafford. The final draft of a new Code is expected to appear by the summer, but not in time for consideration at this year’s Council meeting.

The working party set up at Wells to investigate the idea of a Ringing Centre has kept the Administrative Committee aware of its developing ideas, and will be providing an interim report to the Council.

At the Wells meeting the Council also asked the Committee to examine the Rules relating to representation of societies. As a result a small working party, consisting of Jane Wilkinson, Christopher Rogers, and the Hon. Secretary, was set up in October to consider the question. This reported at the Committee’s next meeting, in March. Their suggestions were modified in discussion, and it was agreed that in view of their wide-ranging nature it would be best to present them to the Council in the form of a consultative document. It was not felt right to ask representatives to vote on the proposals before they had an opportunity to consult their parent Societies; and the latter are asked to let the Hon. Secretary have their reactions, in writing, by the end of September. These will then be considered by the Administrative Committee when formulating firm proposals for debate at the 1992 Council meeting in Peterborough.

Finally, the Committee was asked to consider the legal position in the event of wilful damage as the result of unauthorised “grabbing” of unringable bells. The Committee’s considered view was that since incumbents, churchwardens and PCCs had the statutory authority in such cases, the Council would be unwise to become involved. It concluded that there was no action to be taken.

Mr. Wratten said that, although not mentioned in the report, the Committee had also decided to make no change to the established procedure whereby the retiring President passed the chairmanship of the annual meeting to his successor immediately following the latter’s election.

After he had said that Dr. Baldwin would follow him to give the latest position regarding work on the Code of Practice, he drew attention to the paper that had been sent to members about the make-up of the Council and which had been produced as the result of a motion passed by the Council at Wells last year. It was, he stressed, a consultative document, intended for consideration by affiliated societies. The suggestions and proposals it contained were all open to amendment in the light of their views and those of their representatives, and since it could perhaps lead to a significant alteration to the constitution of the Council it was important to ensure that any changes were well thought out and generally acceptable to the Exercise as a whole. This could take some time. Adoption of the Committee’s report, which he formally proposed, would mean acceptance of the consultation procedure which it proposed, and not of the detailed proposals for changes in representation contained in the consultation paper. He was seconded by Mr. M.J. Church (Honorary).

Dr. Baldwin briefly outlined the background to the Council’s involvement with the Council for the Care of Churches’ Code of Practice for the Conservation of Bells and Bellframes. The original had been published in 1981, having been agreed with the Towers and Belfries Committee but not formally by the Council as a whole. In 1986-7 the Bells Sub-committee of the CCC and a Central Council working party under the chairmanship of the late John Freeman had each independently produced draft revisions, dissimilar both in form and content. This had in turn led to the CCC establishing a working party made up of representatives from its Bells Sub-committee, the Central Council, the bell-founders and bell-hangers, and English Heritage, with the task of producing an entirely new Code.

The working party had met eight times in the past 18 months, and last Monday it had completed a final draft. Unfortunately neither of the Central Council’s representatives had been able to be present (although Mr. Frost had attended in a personal capacity), and neither had yet seen the final text. Although he was concerned about the unexpected conclusion of the work and wanted to study the final wording carefully, he reassured members that work on the Code had not been rushed and that the views of the Council’s representatives had been taken fully into account; he had no reason to be suspicious about the ultimate contents.

The CCC was however now anxious both to obtain the Council’s endorsement of the revised Code and to publish it as soon as possible. There was consequently a problem of timing. Should the Council be concerned over any points of principle (as opposed to those of detail) in the draft, the CCC secretariat would arrange a further meeting of the working party to try to resolve them; and he had therefore asked the CCC to arrange for the draft to be published in The Ringing World. He also offered to produce an introduction, explaining the background. Publication in this way would open three possibilities - that the Council would find itself so out of sympathy with its provisions that it was unlikely ever to endorse them; that it might be able to endorse it after one or more points of substance had been amended; or that it would be content to endorse the draft essentially as it stood.

How any of these conclusions might be reached was, he suggested, a procedural question for the President to decide. Possibilities were a postal ballot of members, a specially-convened meeting of the Council later in the year, and the collation of written comments by someone who would then be in a position to advise the Administrative Committee on the next step; the Council might even wish to empower the latter Committee to act on its behalf if there proved to be an obvious way ahead.

After Mr. P.A. Corby (Life) had said that he had nothing to add to Dr. Baldwin’s report, Mr. Frost (Honorary) said the document was now much closer to the Freeman draft, and for example made special reference to bells hung for full-circle ringing. As a Code of Practice its recommendations would not be mandatory - although in view of the concern felt by some about the work of English Heritage it might be thought desirable for them to be mandatory as far as that body was concerned. Mr. Berry added that the bell-founders and hangers would be meeting to agree their comments for the CCC, but felt that the draft seemed likely to be a more satisfactory document than might at one time have been anticipated. Mr. Corby agreed that the published draft would prove to be more acceptable than expected to ringers.

Prebendary Scott, who said that he had been involved with the 1981 Code but not with the present work, drew attention to the importance of “ecclesiastical exemption” - the present ability of the Church to rely upon its faculties procedure and not to have to go through the normal planning process for listed buildings. It was essential to resist attempts to do away with this exemption, and therefore important that a Code of Practice should be agreed and promulgated.

There was general agreement with the President’s request that the draft should be made generally available, as soon as possible, in The Ringing World. When he then invited comments on how to proceed thereafter, Mr. H.W. Rogers (London CA) proposed that, since the Council had already asked the Administrative Committee to deal with the drafting, the matter should be left to the Committee. He was seconded by Mr. F. Reynolds (Lancashire). Dr. A. Newing (Glos. & Bristol) disagreed: the Committee was not entirely representative of the Council, she said, and there should be either a postal ballot or a special meeting before any decision was reached.

The President said that the Committee would be asked to assess the weight of views expressed by affiliated societies, and would only agree to the draft if there proved to be general acceptance of its broad principles and general thrust. The aim should be for it to appear in The Ringing World as soon as possible and for comments to be made in writing to the Hon. Secretary by the end of September. Mr. Rogers’ proposition was then passed by a large majority.

The President then opened discussion on the paper on the representation of societies on the Council by reiterating what the Secretary had said - that the Committee had been tasked at Wells to make recommendations this year, but felt that the subject was too weighty for consideration at one meeting; it was important to reach the right conclusion. Affiliated societies were being invited to comment by the end of September, but comments received after that date would be considered at the Committee’s meeting in March, he said.

Mr. D.C. Jackson (Winchester & Portsmouth) thought it right that the proposals should be treated in this way, and suggested that the paper be made available to the Exercise generally. He also suggested that representatives should report back to their societies in their own way, and should come to next year’s Council meeting prepared to represent their society’s views and if possible with delegated authority to act on its behalf.

Mr. A.W.R. Wilby (ASCY) felt that the Council should first decide whether in fact it wished to proceed as the President was proposing. At the latter’s instigation, he then formally proposed “that no further action be taken on the matter relating to the representation of societies”, and was seconded by Mr. D.J. Kelly (Bath & Wells).

Mr. P.M.J. Gray (ANZAB) supported him. He accepted that there might be both theoretical and practical grounds for changing the present anomalous system, which had developed over the last century; but the paper provided no evidence that the latter had distorted, or indeed done any harm, to the Council’s work. Would the committees work any better if societies’ representation changed, he asked? He thought the matter a trivial one, and that the Council had more important things to consider.

Mr. D. Potter disagreed, believing that the Council made itself look foolish whenever it considered applications for affiliation, denying access to societies of the same type as others which were already members. Mr. Wilby was, he said, either playing the role of devil’s advocate or trying to defend some ground on which he felt vulnerable. However he noted that the paper did not explicitly refer to the Verona Association, whose affiliation had he said been accepted at the Coventry meeting in a spirit of unwarranted euphoria; he intended to propose the latter’s exclusion as part of any new Rules. The Council had been set up to deal with the English style of change-ringing, but because this was not stated explicitly in its Rules it had begun to accept quite different conventions. Against a background of protests from members he asserted this was a nonsense.

Mr. S.J. Coleman (Honorary) said he disagreed with Mr. Potter’s remarks about the Veronese ringers, but agreed with the rest. It was not a question of how the Council did its job, but of how it was seen to be doing it.

Mr. G.A. Halls (Derby) said that Mr. Gray had forgotten why the report had been commissioned. The Medical Guild’s application to affiliate had twice been rejected, and it was therefore not surprising that similar types of society might consequently be disaffiliated. He thought that the Council’s membership should be drawn from territorial societies. Personally he had not expected the Committee to “have the guts” to make the radical suggestions that it had, and he congratulated those responsible.

Speaking for the smaller territorial societies, Mr. D.T. Sim (Carlisle) said that it was intrinsically wrong that they should have to pass a “minimum membership” test every three years while non-territorial societies were exempted by the present Rules.

Mr. A.R. Kench (ASCY) thought that the Committee had gone beyond its remit, which had been to look at multiple representation of resident ringing members. The Council should represent all forms of ringing activity - the College Youths and Cumberlands were not “special cases”, but examples of a number of Societies which encouraged genuine ringing activity. The only problem was how “genuine ringing activity” was to be defined.

Mrs. Jane Wilkinson (Honorary), who had been one of the originators of the paper, was surprised that Mr. Halls should believe she was a radical (laughter), but said that the Committee proposed that the Council should go ahead as it were by bus; Mr. Wilby worked for British Rail, and was perhaps understandably suggesting that the Council should go nowhere (renewed laughter); but surely it would be better to keep moving by seeking the views of societies?

Mr. B.A. Richards (Southwell) was however concerned that if major changes were implemented they might provoke a split in the Exercise; and he consequently felt it better to maintain the status quo - a suggestion disputed by Mr. R.J. Perry (Truro), who foresaw time continuing to be wasted on sterile debate every time an application to affiliate was considered unless something were done.

Mr. S.C. Walters (Cambridge Univ) argued for the continued - and he suggested even wider - affiliation of university societies, making the point that their Council representatives represented the Council to the society as well as vice versa. A special formula might need to be devised to cater for such societies, but he felt it important to encourage the involvement of younger ringers in the Council’s work. Mr. R.B. Smith (Honorary) supported this argument, but felt that it was something which could be resolved as further work was done on the consultative paper.

After Mr. A.W. Gordon (Guildford) had commented that there was clearly a range of opinions but that members were in no position to represent their societies without first consulting them, Mr. B. Peachey (Police) warned against the danger of alienating the Council from ordinary ringers. Mr. D.J. Jones (Peterborough) felt that members were becoming bogged down in the detail of the paper rather than discussing its principles. Although the paper could be misconstrued, it provided a basis for discussion. He asked only that there should be no attempt to push through a decision next year, but that as much time should be taken as was necessary.

Mr. Wilby said that he had proposed his motion in order to clarify the position. As for the ASCY, it had existed for 250 years without a Central Council “and could if necessary do so again”. Societies were represented on the Council, not individual ringers, and therefore “multiple representation” was a myth; nor were the majority of societies restricted to change ringers. He asserted that the territorial societies were in effect operating a cartel, keeping out any new ones, and if the paper’s suggestions were adopted this would no longer be possible. He would therefore like to see at least some of the proposals accepted.

At this point Mr. R. Bailey (Middx CA & London DG) proposed, and Mr. G.A. Dawson (Southwell) seconded, that Mr. Wilby’s motion for no further action be put to the meeting, and this was agreed, only one member voting to the contrary. Although the tellers stood by to count hands, Mr. Wilby’s motion was clearly defeated by a very large majority.

In reply to a question from Mr. Walters, the Secretary said that he would be sending a copy of the paper to every affiliated society, the President adding that it would also appear in The Ringing World. He also assured Mr. J.F. Mulvey (Lichfield) that comments received after the September target date would be afforded equal consideration by the Committee.

The Administrative Committee’s report was then formally adopted.

Library Committee

The committee’s report was proposed by the Hon. Librarian of the Council, Mr. W.T. Cook (ASCY), who said that work was now going ahead on producing a catalogue of the Library’s contents, and that he was about to start learning how to use a computer (laughter). He added that the committee was grateful for all the Association reports and newsletters donated to the Library, but would encourage those societies who did not already provide copies to join those who did. He also said that there had been a slight fall in the number of Friends of the Library, and he would be pleased if more would join.

The report read as follows:

The Library Committee met twice in 1990. Apart from the vexed question of publication of a new, up to date Library Catalogue (still unresolved at the time of writing this report), the main topic was the proposed acquisition of a computer for the Library. This has not yet been purchased, but when it is, later in 1991, it will be used for storing this catalogue, together with known details of other libraries and collections of books on bells and bell ringing, and for the compilation of indices, in particular of past numbers of The Ringing World. The Administrative Committee has agreed to the use of Council funds for the purchase of this computer. The Library Committee is grateful to John Baldwin, Anthony P. Smith and others for their advice on this subject.

Work is in hand on the revaluation of the contents of the Library for insurance purposes, as was requested at the 1990 Council meeting.

The general running of the Library has gone on in much the same way as in previous years. Forty-five new titles were added to the collection, including a microfiche version of the records of the Biographies Committee. Ten of these additions were by purchase; the rest were donations, for which we are most grateful. Seven books were skilfully rebound by the company whose services we are now using. As usual, we gratefully acknowledge the receipt of twenty-three Association Guild Annual Reports; regrettably, this is only three more than last year, when we appealed for copies of reports to be supplied to the Library to help form a central archive. We are also very grateful to those who supply copies of local Newsletters; it is pleasing that ANZAB now regularly sends us copies of Ringing Towers. Again, these Newsletters help to provide the central archive which we feel is an important part of our work. We again appeal to Council members to help to keep these Reports and Newsletters coming in; to save postage, they can be handed to the Librarian at Council meetings. Thirty-three books were borrowed from the Library during the year, and there were the usual number of requests by correspondence for information of one sort or another.

The accounts of the Friends of the CC Library show a welcome upturn, with an excess of income over expenditure of £103.10, but perhaps this was mainly due to the fact that fewer purchases were made than in previous years. The number of Friends has fallen slightly, and once again we would urge fellow Council members to consider supporting this scheme with a small annual donation to the Library’s funds so that we can maintain the Library as the best collection in the world of books, manuscripts, etc. on bells and bell ringing (especially change ringing), and provide the best possible service to ringers in answering their queries, lending out books, and assisting their researches.

After Mr. W. Butler (Oxford DG) had seconded the report’s adoption, Mr. T.J. Lock (Middx CA & London DG) enquired whether the Library contained a complete run of Ringing Towers. Mr. Cook said that it had early and recent numbers, but that there was something like a 20-year gap in the set.

The report was then adopted without any further questions.

Education Committee

Proposing adoption of his committee’s report, Mr. R. Cater (Winchester & Portsmouth) invited societies to sponsor attendees at the Daventry course, the closing date for applications being at the beginning of June. He also commented that the “strategy” referred to in the first paragraph was relevant to the proposed Ringing Centre; but the committee wished to encourage societies to fulfil their responsibility for providing tuition in ringing. The committee could act as a catalyst and could provide teaching aids; but it could not on its own provide all the tuition that was needed.

Seconding him, Mr. P.W. Gay (N. Staffords) said that the ringing simulator was now in almost constant use. Equipment had subsequently been bought to enable a BBC computer to be used as a simulator, so in effect there were now two available. The seminar referred to at the end of the report would be held at Knowle on 8th February 1992, he added.

The Committee’s report for 1989 set out a strategy for the Committee for the coming triennium and discussed the teaching of ringing vis a vis the Committee, the Guilds and Associations, and local towers. Following the report’s adoption at the CC meeting in Wells, the Committee has endeavoured to implement the strategy. This present report therefore is a factual record of the Committee’s achievements during the past year.

At the meeting at Wells David Parsons and Steven Coleman left the Committee. Our thanks are due to them for their inspiration and hard work over many years. Philip Gay and Nigel Goodship joined the remaining previous members on the new committee.

The Committee met three times in 1990 and also at the Ringing School at Moulton, near Northampton. In addition several members attended training events at Steyning (Sussex) and in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The eleventh annual Ringing School was held over three days in late July at Moulton College of Agriculture, with the kind cooperation of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild. Ninety students attended, with 17 joining the Teaching & Management group and 57 receiving theoretical and practical tuition in method ringing. For the first time the CC Towers & Belfries Committee organised a group on Belfry Maintenance, which 16 students attended. Thanks are due to Alan Frost, Harry Windsor and Brian Threlfall, who gave this tuition. Thanks are also due to the Officers and members of the Peterborough DG who helped to organise the event, made towers available, and stood in at the practical sessions.

In 1991 the School is moving to the Penguin Hotel in Daventry, still in the Peterborough DG’s area, but with the Coventry DG close by. The School will take place in 1992 and 1993 at Bretton Hall College, near Wakefield, in cooperation with the Yorkshire Association.

In late March several members attended a highly successful Training Day held by the Sussex County Association at Steyning. Indeed, applications were so numerous that a repeat event was held later in the year.

In May a similar event was held at Gosforth with the Durham & Newcastle Diocesan Association, when ringers from across the north of England and from Scotland attended.

A party of young Italian ringers visited Worcestershire as guests of ringers from Malvern and area. Two members of the Committee assisted in a small way. Plans were made (CF) for a return visit of young British ringers to Verona in the summer of 1991.

Work continued on several educational projects, viz. A Selection of Quarter Peals (NM), Another 8 Surprise Major Methods (NM), Belfry Steps (JMT), An Education Officer’s Handbook (HC), A Recruiting Package (SC, then RC), Prayers for Ringers (JMT). Filming was completed on a video on teaching bell handling, which illustrates the method given in the Tutors’ Handbook (RC, NG and Derek Carr - the Committee’s video advisor).

All the educational publications prepared by the Committee in past years are to be reviewed (PG) to ascertain the need for revision or reissue.

One member (RC) joined the Administrative Committee’s group evaluating a “ringing centre”.

Arrangements were made (RC) for a regional seminar for the Midlands entitled Agenda for the 90s in May, on behalf of the Administrative Committee.

The Ringing Simulator purchased by the Central Council last year is now in Philip Gay’s stewardship, following its evaluation by Hayden Charles. A User’s Manual has been written, and the simulator may be borrowed from Phil Gay. It is already quite heavily booked for the first half of 1991. During 1990 it was used by six members of the Committee on a number of occasions, sometimes in conjunction with events run by the Committee, sometimes as part of an Association meeting or training day, and also for informal sessions with interested people. As a result several Associations and individuals are now considering buying their own simulators. It is clear that this type of equipment is going to play an increasingly important role in the training of ringers, and it is hoped that a seminar will be held within the next few months to bring together prospective users and those who are already familiar with the simulator.

Publications Committee

Mr. J. Couperthwaite (Guildford) made special mention of the appearance of the new Towers and Bells Handbook when proposing the following report. He also noted the recent move of all publications stock to Morpeth from Guildford, and repeated the report’s thanks those at Guildford who had looked after its distribution in the past. He was seconded by Mr. D.J. Jones.

Total sales of publications in 1990 were slightly lower than in 1989, but sales of some of the older books reduced significantly. The Publications Fund shows some increase in income compared to 1989, mainly due to sales of the Towers and Bells Handbook; but a major increase in expenditure - due to higher running costs, production costs of the Handbook, and the write-off of both a major bad debt and large amounts of surplus stock - has caused a significant deficit on the year’s working.

The major new publication of the year was the Towers and Bells Handbook. This is a high quality, professionally designed hardback book. Some initial production problems were resolved satisfactorily, and sales have been quite encouraging. A significant percentage of our cash assets was used for this project.

Other new publications were Results of the CC Survey of Ringing, Will You Call a Touch Please, Bob - a beginners’ guide to conducting, Guidelines for a DIY Project, Rung Surprise Addendum, and Collection of Principles. Reprints of Raising and Lowering in Peal, CC Decisions and the Handbell Cassette were commissioned.

Early in 1991 we expect to publish the Belfry Maintenance Schedule and to reprint Plain Minor Methods. Agreement has been reached with the Education Committee on the final format of the Recruiting Package and camera-ready copy is awaited. Liaison continues with several committees on new publications, and we are grateful for the helpful and constructive attitudes displayed.

Last year we reported the intention to relocate our stock from Penmark House. Several people replied to our “invitation to tender” in The Ringing World. Most were not able to offer all the facilities which we required, but we are very grateful to everyone who showed an interest. It was finally decided that Barbara Wheeler, already a Council member, was best able to take on the storage and distribution task. New publications were dealt with by Barbara from May onwards, and the transfer of all stock from Guildford to Morpeth has recently taken place.

We offer our thanks to Anne Carpenter and David Thorne at the Ringing World office for all their hard work on our behalf.

Referring to the Publications Fund accounts, he said that sales had been at a similar level to those in 1989, and that the ostensible losses on the year’s working had been due to a combination of heavy capital expenditure on the Towers and Bells book (which was selling well), the sizeable amount of stock that had been written off on the advice of the auditors, and the increase in overhead costs.

Mr. M.H.D. O’Callaghan (Honorary) asked for more information on the bad debt referred to and on the large amount paid in bank charges; Mr. D.C. Jackson enquired whether the stock that had been written off had actually been destroyed, or whether it was now available free of charge; Mr. W. Butler (Oxford DG) regretted the omission of a list of publications sales during 1990; and another member asked about the status of the proposed book containing the biographies of famous ringers.

Replying, Mr. Couperthwaite said that work was continuing on the latter; apologised for the lack of sales information, but said that a list would be produced next year; and said that a certain amount of damaged stock had indeed been thrown away, while some (such as copies of Volume I of the ringing History) had simply been written down in value. The Secretary added that the “bad debt” was some £500 paid to produce masters for a new Library Catalogue that had never been completed and was now too out of date to be of use, while the bank had begun to levy charges at the end of 1989. Those paid in 1989 had been repaid after a protest (and appeared as a sundry income item in the accounts), but the bank was now routinely levying them. Several members suggested that the possibility should be explored of transferring the account to another clearing bank, Mr. N.E. Booth (Scottish) pointing out that the Bank of Scotland offered a special “Treasurer’s Account” for charities.

After Mr. Frost had added that the Belfry Maintenance Schedule was now available for sale, the report was adopted.

Computer Coordination Committee

The membership of the Committee changed substantially at the 1990 Council meeting, and time has been spent on familiarisation with and assessment of the nature and functions of the Committee. The first task was to determine the Committee’s previous projects. These and the terms of reference of the Committee were reviewed to determine the most useful activities that the Committee could undertake. One of the factors that most influenced this review was the great increase in private ownership and use of personal computers that has taken place recently.

The Committee is, essentially, a means of providing information and advice both to ringers and ringing organisations wishing to use computers for administrative and other activities associated with ringing, and to those who wish to run (or write) various types of ringing simulation programs. To this end the Committee has to be aware of both the individuals and organisations and their needs, and also what is available and who can provide. The information which the Committee holds on this is being updated and expanded to help fulfil this requirement.

Other activities and projects may only be undertaken with the active co-operation and support of others involved in any particular area. This requires an identification of a desire for these activities to be undertaken. During 1990 only one request of this nature came to the notice of the Committee.

1990 has been a year of self-examination. It is hoped that this will enable the Committee better to aid others in 1991-92.

Mr. Gordon proposed the report’s adoption, asking members to draw their societies’ attention to the existence of the committee. He was seconded by Mr. M. Thomson (Chester), who stressed that the committee’s function was one of coordination, and that if it was to fulfil its remit people needed to approach it more frequently - a comment that impelled Mr. Bailey to remark that committees could be active as well as reactive. Mr. A.R. Smith (Suffolk) said that a number of other committee reports referred to the use of computers, leading him to wonder whether the suggested Ringing Centre might be electronically, rather than physically, co-located. Mr. Gordon acknowledged the points, but remarked that it was difficult to coordinate activity of which the committee knew nothing.

Biographies Committee

Proposing the report’s adoption, Mr. T.J. Lock (Middx CA & London DG) said it was now known that Mr. Bray had died on 5 November 1990. He added that the original intention was that the Biographies of Famous Ringers book should have been published this year, to coincide with the Council’s centenary, but as he had not heard from the committee member responsible for the work he was unable to say anything about its current status.

After he had urged members to complete and return their biography sheets, he was seconded by Mr. N.G. Sharp (N. Staffords).

The following past members of the Council died during 1990:

All Biography Record Sheets have been microfilmed, with the product contained in a fiche tray and housed with the Hon. Librarian.

The Committee member dealing with the subject of Biographies of Famous Ringers prefers the matter to be included in the report of the Publications Committee.

Arising from last year’s meeting in Wells, the Committee has found no adequate reason to request the use of a computer. Apart from the unnecessary expense involved in maintaining a data base, and access to the relevant hardware, there has not yet been (neither is there expected to be) a request for information that cannot be dealt with expeditiously through currently available means.

It must be reported that far too many members have not filled in or returned the Biography Sheet which is distributed at the time of election. The Committee would be pleased if immediate attention could be given to this matter, and will itself be more actively engaged in gathering the information.

At the conclusion of the Central Council’s first 100 years of existence - the first meeting of the Council was on Easter Tuesday, 1891 - a few statistics from records available may be relevant and of some interest:

Mr. D.C. Jackson asked how many people were contributing to the work on the biographies of famous ringers and where the present material was. The Revd. M.C.C. Melville (Universities) said that he was pleased to see that the biography records had at last been microfilmed, but wondered whether the originals were now stored in a fire-proof container, as he had suggested on a number of occasions in the past; and Mr. Peachey asked how the committee’s records were updated.

Dr. J.C. Eisel (Honorary) said that the Famous Ringers draft was about three-quarters complete, he having himself written the bulk of it but with further contributions from Mr. W.T. Cook and Mr. G.A. Dawson. A partial draft had been approved by the Publications Committee, and the whole draft should have been completed in a few months’ time.

Replying to Messrs. Melville and Peachey, Mr. Lock said that some, but not all, of the records were kept in tin boxes at his home; and that they were updated from reports that appeared in The Ringing World. After Mr. J.M. Jelley (Leicester) had asked whether it was possible to have items deleted from one’s file (laughter), Mr. J.A. Harrison (Oxford DG) made the point that, while Ringing World accounts were doubtless helpful, not everything was reported there. He asked that the Committee should consider some more methodical way of up-dating its records. Mr. Dawson said that fresh Biography sheets could easily be provided on request.

Summing up this discussion, the President said he would ask the Committee to consider how best to ensure its records were safe-guarded and how to update and check them, and to report at next year’s Council meeting. The report was then adopted.

Methods Committee

Adoption of the Committee’s report was proposed by Mr. A.P. Smith (Winchester & Portsmouth), who said that updated lists of amendments to the committee’s Collections could be obtained by writing to him. He also said that the Committee had decided to make its Collection of Plain Methods available through the Publications Committee in computer-readable form.

The report, whose adoption was formally seconded by Mr. P.D. Niblett (Oxford University), read as follows:

The Committee met on three occasions during the year, in Whitchurch on 11 March (RW p. 550), in Wells during the Council meeting on 28 May, and in Winchester on 14 October (RW p. 1095).

Corrections and amendments to our publications up to the end of 1990 appeared in The Ringing World of 18 January 1991 (p. 71). The service of free leaflets containing all corrections and amendments was maintained.

Camera-ready copy of an up-to-date set of the Council’s Decisions was passed to the Publications Committee and distributed to all members of Council at the meeting in Wells. This is now available through Central Council Publications.

Once again a great deal of the Committee’s time was spent scrutinising peals of Doubles and discussing Doubles variations. We proposed an amendment to recommendations in the report of the Peals Analysis Committee which provided Council with a consistent way of recording a number of peals of Doubles rung during 1988 and 1989 which did not conform with Decision (D) C.3. This amendment was only possible through the courtesy of the Peals Analysis Committee in providing us with a draft of their report.

As a consequence of another recommendation in the report of the Peals Analysis Committee, we proposed a change to Decision (E) A.3 which removed the restriction that a lead of a Doubles variation containing a call could not constitute a plain lead of another method.

The Collection of Principles was completed and camera-ready copy passed to the Publications Committee. Much of the material is now accessible for the first time and the Collection was favourably reviewed by Mr. J.R. Mayne (RW p. 1121).

As usual we have also provided advice to other Council committees and responded to written and telephone enquiries about methods and method names from home and abroad. We are always happy to provide this service.

We were sorry to say goodbye to Patrick Brooke after his six years on the Committee, but pleased to welcome Roger Bailey in his place.

Mr. D. Bleby (ANZAB) said that he had never thought to speak on a Methods Committee report, but his Association was concerned about the position taken by the Committee on the extension of Turramurra Surprise Major to Royal. It accepted without question that the method which had been rung to a peal on 3 November last as Turramurra Surprise Royal was not an acceptable extension of the Major method according to the report on extension adopted by the Council in 1953, but believed that this reflected a shortcoming in that report.

With the aid of a chart he showed how the blue line of what the Records Committee’s report called “Emily” Surprise Royal closely matched that of Turramurra Surprise Major, while the blue lines of two legitimate extensions bore far less resemblance to the original: both Turramurra and Emily had pure Cambridge work above the treble and the Cambridge sequence of leadends - neither of the “legal” extensions did; the middle 3(5) leads of Turramurra (Emily) were identical to Lincolnshire - neither “legal” extension had this feature. To him this suggested there was something wrong with the report on extension; and while this was not the place to debate how the report should be changed, he asked the Committee to review the current position, bearing in mind the points made in an editorial in The Ringing World in June 1950 - that “very little attention has been given to the views of the ordinary ringer (who) we believe will judge an extension by a comparison of the ‘work’ contained therein with that of the parent, and by the order in which such ‘work’ is performed.”

After Mr. Bleby had strongly denied a suggestion from Mr. Corby that he was implying that the Committee had been “economical with the truth”, Mr. Smith said it was understandable that ANZAB should have been disappointed. His committee was always pleased to be consulted before, rather than after, a method or extension had been rung. The Council had accepted in 1953 the need for extensions to observe certain rules, and under those then agreed “Turramurra” Royal had been rejected - he believed rightly - because the Royal version introduced a completely new block of work, which was not present in the Major. However, the Committee was intending to suggest some amendments to the Report on Extension at next year’s meeting, and it would bear ANZAB’s points in mind.

The report was then adopted; and the Council then broke for lunch.

Peals Analysis Committee


We have recorded a total of 4,856 peals rung in 1990, of which 4,391 were on tower bells and 465 on handbells. This is an increase of 120 over the revised total for 1989, but was 191 less than the record total of 5,047 rung in 1988. On tower bells there were increases on all even numbers except Minimus, and there was also a substantial increase (26%) for Caters, balanced by a 24% decrease for Cinques. The handbell total was a decrease of 4 compared with 1989.

There was a significant increase (64, compared with 22) in the number of peals rung in single Surprise Minor methods other than Cambridge, while the popularity of single Delight Major methods continues to increase (65 in 1990, following 43, 24 and 19 in previous years).

The Oxford Diocesan Guild was again the leading society, but its total of 354 was a considerable drop after its record-breaking 497 in 1989. This year Oxford was closely followed by the Leicester Diocesan Guild, thanks largely to 93 peals being rung at the Loughborough Bell Foundry.

The Committee met once during the year, to finalise records for 1990 and to agree the format of the report. We are again grateful to Canon K.W.H. Felstead for supplying the section on Towers. We also thank the Chairman of the Methods Committee for information concerning peals of Doubles.

Peals not strictly complying with the Decisions on Peal Ringing have been included in the Analysis where their acceptance by the Council is recommended.

The five leading societies appear in the same order as in 1989. The list includes three more societies than the equivalent list for 1989: the Peterborough Diocesan Guild has dropped out and been replaced by the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association, the Kent County Association, the Winchester & Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, and the Hertford County Association. Altogether, 18 societies rang 100 or more peals in 1990 (16 in 1989).

First pealers and firsts as conductor

There were 416 first pealers in 1990 (432 in 1989) and 68 firsts as conductor (55 in 1989).

Peals of Note

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


Peals were rung in 1,735 towers (1,824 in 1989). The following 69 towers (a record number) had ten or more peals, totalling 1,131 peals altogether - over 25% of the tower bell total for the year:

93Loughboro’ Foundry
30Leicester, St My/C
29Maidstone, All Ss
26Birmingham, Cath
26Croydon, St Peter
25Reading, St Laur
21Barrow Gurney
19East Farleigh
18Burton Latimer
18South Wigston
17Bedford, St Paul
15*Newport (IoW)
15Nottingham, St. Peter
14Birmingham, St Martin
14Bristol Cathedral
14*Broughton (Staffs)
14Windsor (St John)
13-Boston (Advent), Cattistock, Derby Cathedral, Edenham, Edgbaston, Heywood, Kingsbury (Warks), Leicester Cathedral, Leighton Buzzard, *Middleton (Lancs), Spitalfields, Stratton St. Margaret, Sydney (St Mary’s Cathedral)
12-Bushey, High Wycombe, Lambeth (St John), London (St Mary-le-Bow), Midsomer Norton, Tolleshunt d’Arcy, *Welbourn
11-Birstall (Yorks), Bishopwearmouth, Bristol (St Stephen), Cambridge (St Andrew), *Countesthorpe, *Derby (St Peter), *Haselbech, Ipswich (St Mary/Tower), Isleworth, Leckhampton, Sproxton, Sydney (St Andrew’s Cathedral), *Sydney (St Philip), Willesden
10-Bathwick, Bishopstoke, Grundisburgh, Newcastle Cathedral, Newcastle (St John), Portsmouth Cathedral, *Radlett, Staveley, *Sutterton, Warsop, *Washington (Old Post Office)

* Towers which appear in this list for the first time

During the year Loughborough Foundry had its 2,700th peal, Birmingham Cathedral its 1,400th, Isleworth its 700th, and Rotherham, Maidstone (All Saints), Bedford (St Paul) and Ipswich (St Mary le Tower) all reached 500.

Breakdown of peals by number of bells and comparison with 1989

Breakdown of peals by number of bells and comparison with 1989
Fourteen25+ 3
Maximus253278+ 255442- 12
Maximus/Cinques2+ 2
Cinques11890- 28510+ 5
Royal386403+ 179474- 20
Royal/Caters2+ 2
Caters135170+ 351213+ 1
Major20252049+ 24203201- 2
Triples281280- 166
Minor861920+ 598597+ 12
Minor/Doubles12+ 11+ 1
Doubles196186- 10613+ 7
Doubles/Minimus1+ 1
Minimus119- 2

42674391+ 124469465- 4

The Leading Societies

The following societies rang 150 or more peals:

Oxford Diocesan Guild29460354
Leicester Diocesan Guild29113304
Yorkshire Association2137220
Lancashire Association19012202
Derby Diocesan Association13537172
Gloucester & Bristol Dio. Assn.164164
Ely Diocesan Association12434158
Kent County Association158158
Winchester & Portsmouth DG1478155
Suffolk Guild1504154
Chester Diocesan Guild9657153
Hertford County Association11931150


Numbers of peals rung in the more popular methods are set out below. Figures for 1989 appear in brackets. “Single S” means the total rung in single Surprise methods other than those listed separately.

Single S.95(68)18(31)
Cambridge S.52(53)8(12)
Bristol S.47(42)7(2)
Yorkshire S.34(36)1(1)
Spliced S.15(25)0(0)
Single S.141(122)26(23)
Cambridge S.76(64)12(23)
Yorkshire S.64(58)7(8)
London S.38(45)3(6)
Spliced S.21(36)8(11)
Plain Bob25(20)4(5)
Bristol S.22(21)6(13)
Kent/Oxford T.B.6(2)8(10)
Single S.526(490)15(17)
Spliced S.265(412)35(19)
Yorkshire S.183(177)19(19)
Plain Bob141(138)41(46)
Cambridge S.144(126)12(7)
Bristol S.149(155)5(15)
Rutland S.82(87)6(7)
London S.81(78)6(8)
Lincolnshire S.74(81)6(7)
Single Delight62(43)3(0)
Superlative S.58(72)4(9)
Double Norwich57(44)2(5)
Pudsey S.47(35)8(6)
Kent/Oxford T.B.12(15)32(30)
Glasgow S.28(25)2(3)
Belfast S.12(19)0(0)
Plain Bob25(34)2(0)
7 methods291(306)15(15)
2-6 methods199(176)22(20)
8+ methods192(181)16(12)
Plain Bob116(110)32(30)
Single S.63(2)1(0)
Cambridge S.51(56)7(1)
2+ methods139(145)4(2)
Plain Bob9(11)6(4)

Peals not complying with the Decisions on Peal Ringing

The Devon Association rang a “peal” at Buckland-in-the-Moor on 17 March consisting of “5040 Single Call Changes to traditional method called at handstroke” in 6 hours and 36 minutes. This does not comply with Decision (D) A.2, which requires that no row shall be struck more than once before the next change is made, and we recommend that it be not accepted as a peal. However, we congratulate those who took part in this, the first 5040 rung by call changes.

Some 26 peals of Doubles do not comply with Decision (D) C.4 in that the reports did not correctly state the number and names of all methods and variations separately. We recommend that all these peals be accepted, subject to correction of the numbers of methods and variations to satisfy Decision (E) A.3 in 11 cases, but we request that conductors pay attention to the requirements of Decision (D) C.4 when reporting peals.

Corrections to the 1989 Analysis

Changes to the 1989 peal totals arising from late publication of peals are listed below. Except where stated, all refer to tower bell peals:

Revised totals for 1989 are: tower bells 4,267; handbells 469; total 4,736.

Moving the adoption of this report. Mr. D.H. Niblett (Kent) said that a further 13 tower-bell peals rung during 1990 had been reported in The Ringing World since it had been compiled, bringing the total number of peals known to have been rung that year to 4,869; details would be included in next year’s Committee report. He did not think there was anything controversial in this year’s report, and noted that the recommendation that the call-change “peal” rung at Buckland-in-the-Moor should not be accepted was a technical formality: the Committee nevertheless congratulated those who had rung it on an outstanding achievement. Finally, he said that those interested in the last paragraph, about peals of Doubles, should refer to the letter from A.P. Smith that had appeared in The Ringing World (29 March 1991).

After he had been seconded by Mr. J.D. Cheesman (Surrey), Preb. Scott endorsed his remarks about the Buckland-in-the-Moor “peal”, asking that the Council’s congratulations be recorded in the Minutes (applause).

The report was then adopted without further discussion.

Records Committee

After asking that one method (Pasadena Delight) be deleted from the circulated report, it having been previously pealed in 1989, Mr. D.E. Sibson (SRCY) moved the adoption of what he said was probably the Committee’s longest report to date. Mr. P.J. Agg (Cambridge University) seconded him, and the report was adopted without discussion.

A. First peals on tower bells
Jan15184Heyford S. MajS. Northants Soc
15024Pinhoe S. MajEly DA
15024Rodewell S. MajPeterboro DG
15040Zeist S. RoySouthwell DG
45088Hallaton S. MajLeics DG
55056Xuthus S. MajEly DA
65002Braemar S. RoyS. Northants Soc
125120Chippenham S. MajEly DA
135056Dictum S. MajYorks A
135088Glyn Ebbwy S. MajUniv. Bristol S
135152Smallbridge S. MajLancs A
135152Totteridge S. MajEly DA
135042Wigorniensis S. MaxWorcs & Dist A
195088Stow S. MajEly DA
205120Qatar S. MajLancs A
205040Balmoral S. RoyS. Northants Soc
235056Windermere S. MajEly DA
245056Niton S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
255024Grimoldby Del. MajSouthwell DG
265152Calderbrook S. MajLancs A
275024Dumna Del. MajYorks A
275152Asshstede S. MajOxford DG
305040South Yorkshire S. RoyKent CA
Feb35184Durocintum S. MajYorks A
35024Lambourn S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
35042Piggottshill Del. MaxOxford DG
35088Newport S. MaxWinch & P’mouth DG
65040Maidstone Del. RoyKent CA
95024Royton S. MajLancs A
105040The Hundred S. RoyPeterboro DG
105280Thurnby S. MaxChester DG
145152Embleton S. MajLeics DG
145040Eyres Monsell S. RoyLeics DG
175040St. Ethelflaeda Bob TriplesWinch & P’mouth DG
175088Eburo S. MajYorks A
175152Terrific S. MajUniv of Bristol Soc
215216Deuterium S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
225040Maiden City S. RoySRCY
235056Whitchurch Del. MajGlos & Bristol DA
235088Brightwell S. MajSt. Thomas’s Soc
245056Benhall S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
245000Carnoustie S. RoyS. Northants Soc
275024Waratah S. MajANZAB
Mar15120Gaulby S. MajLeics DG
25120Peterhouse S. MajEly DA
35184Englishcombe S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
35000Whitechurch S. RoyS. Northants Soc
45020Tameside Little Alliance RoyLancs A
55088Sipora Del. MajLeics DG
95056Rowell S. MajPeterboro DG
105024Mumps S. MajLancs A
145040Judgemeadow S. RoyLeics DG
165152Jordan S. MajEly DA
175002Melrose S. RoyS. Northants Soc
175040Newport Del. MaxWinch & P’mouth DG
195088Alpine Del. MajLeics DG
235024Christ’s College S. MajEly DA
245152Broxbourne S. MajHertford CA
245088Openwoodgate S. MajYorks A
245040Golspie S. RoyS. Northants Soc
285040Valley S. RoyLeics DG
315184Cenio S. MajYorks A
315152Farndish S. MajS. Northants Soc
315152Woodrow S. MajOxford DG
Apr35040West Yorkshire S. RoyKent CA
45024Jacob S. MajLancs A
45152Marsium S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
65056Dingley S. MajPeterboro DG
75056Helions Bumpstead S. MajEssex A
115040Freehold S. RoyLeics DG
135152Brockenhurst S. MajWinch & P’mouth DG
145152Tilburstow S. MajLondon CA
185088Apsley Del. MajLeics DG
205040Castleblayney S. RoyLeics DG
215040Dalhousie S. RoyS. Northants Soc
235056Psara Del. MajLeics DG
255120Wattle S. MajANZAB
275056Quack S. MajEly DA
285152Lubcloud S. MajLeics DG
285040Gullane S. RoyS. Northants Soc
285040Parbrook S. RoyGlos & Bristol DA
May15056Sparta Del. MajLeics DG
25152Protium S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
45056Clifford S. MajLeics DG
45024St. John’s College S. MajEly DA
55056Pitsford S. MajPeterboro DG
55040Evercreech Junction S. RoyOxford DG
75088Corda Del. MajYorks A
105056Illston S. MajLeics DG
125152Merefield S. MajS. Northants Soc
135352Poole Little S. RoyLancs A
155120Northfleet S. MajEly DA
155088Siam Del. MajLeics DG
175120Hinckley S. MajLeics DG
195100Upper Armley Alliance MajYorks A
195152Axbridge S. MajBath & Wells DA
205088Earl Sterndale S. MajYorks A
245056Sapello Del. MajLeics DG
245184Ascension S. MajOxford DG
255024Shanklin S. MajEly DA
265120Littlecote S. MajS. Northants Soc
June55024Aspen Del. MajLeics DG
65088Sisland Del. MajLeics DG
75056Buckminster S. MajLeics DG
85056Queens’ College S. MajEly DA
95184Eccleshall Del. MajN. Staffs A
95056Bath and Wells S. MajBath & Wells DA
95088Shottlegate S. MajYorks A
95040Barrowford S. RoyLancs A
115184Aisterheim Del. MajLeics DG
135056Unnilbium S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
225056Almar S. MajEly DA
235152Drumbo Del. MajIrish A
245042Restoration Del. MaxOxford DG
255120Plaistow Del. MajLeics DG
255088Fulmer S. MajOxford DG
275152Sulfur S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
295056Pisa Del. MajLeics DG
305024Malling Abbey S. MajKent CA
305042Tyneside S. MaxDurham & Newcastle DA
July15042Quedgeley S. MaxDurham & Newcastle DA
65152Grassington S. MajS. Northants Soc
105040All Saints Del. RoyKent CA
145088Albiniano Del. MajYorks A
165184Aipe Del. MajLeics DG
185040Yauv S. RoyLeics DG
205152Alice S. MajPeterborough DG
205184St. Catherine’s College S. MajEly DA
215120Tolly S. MajSuffolk G
235088St. Helena Del. MajLeics DG
245184Midlothian S. MajEly DA
255152Aluminum S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
Aug15056Asia Del. MajLeics DG
55024Elizabeth of Glamis S. MajOxford DG
65120Salvador Del. MajLeics DG
75056Piacenza Del. MajLeics DG
75184Colindale S. MajEly DA
85040Tugby S. RoyLeics DG
105120New Hall S. MajEly DA
145088Wold S. MajPeterboro DG
185056Facula S. MajUniv Bristol Soc
185056Tixover S. MajS. Northants Soc
205088Paisley Del. MajLeics DG
225152Didymium S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
255024Coria Del. MajYorks A
255040Dornoch S. RoyS. Northants Soc
255000Julian S. RoyHereford DG
255090Strathmore S. MaxSRCY
275184Storefield S. MajPeterboro DG
295040Owston S. RoyLeics DG
315088Gallipoli S. MajLancs A
Sept15184Cassi Del. MajYorks A
15056Mars S. MajSuffolk G
25040Wisbech S. RoyEly DA
25088Everest S. MaxASCY
55056Cassandra Del. MajLeics DG
65024Castle Park S. MajLeics DG
75056Churchill College S. MajEly DA
155152Spitfire Del. MajHertford CA
185056Ulverscroft Del. MajLeics DG
195056Tilton Del. MajLeics DG
195152110 S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
225088Boothgate S. MajYorks A
225024Velindre S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
295002Muirhead S. RoyS. Northants Soc
295040Medeshamstede S. MaxPeterboro DG
305056Brackley S. MajPeterboro DG
Oct25040Raksha S. RoyKent CA
25088Vega S. MaxSRCY
35088Unnilunium S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
35040Mawegon S. RoyLeics DG
45088Peatling S. MajLeics DG
65184Marleberge S. MajSalisbury DG
105152Gnilley Del. MajLeics DG
125088Pembroke College S. MajEly DA
135040Grantley S. RoyS. Northants Soc
135042XL S. MaxSt Martin’s G
145022XL S. MajOxford DG
205024Kingsdown S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
205088Tutbury S. MajLichfield Archd S
235184Duxford S. MajEly DA
255004New Bob CatersSouthwell DG
275024Hullavington S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
285042Mancroft S. MaxOxford DG
295040Guildhall S. MaxLeics DG
305040XL S. RoyKent CA
315040Jouleonne S. RoyLeics DG
Nov25056Redruth S. MajEly DA
25024Zanesville S. MajLancs A
25040Silver S. RoyS. Northants Soc
35024Kingwood S. MajOxford DG
35040Emily S. RoyANZAB
35040Upham S. RoyGlos & Bristol DA
45152Wokingham S. MajOxford DG
55056Ecuador Del. MajLeicester DG
65024Therfield S. MajEly DA
65040Lamberhurst S. RoyKent CA
75152Drofaels Del. MajLeics DG
85120Churchgate S. MajLeics DG
95024Kipton S. MajPeterboro DG
105088Butis S. MajYorks A
105056Hatherley S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
135120Revelstoke S. MajPeterboro DG
145040Rags Little S. MajLancs A
145040Zacherymerton S. RoyLeics DG
175152Bushey Del. MajSRCY
175088Clavinium S. MajYorks A
175184Hauxton S. MajEly DA
185152Wangaratta S. MajANZAB
185152Zebra S. MajMiddx CA & London DG
215024Nevilholt Del. MajLeics DG
245056Wells Del. MajBath & Wells DA
245024Bibroci S. MajYorks A
255040Jet S. RoyYorks A
285040Xanthomonas S. RoyLeics DG
295040Jacobite S. RoyDerby DA
305040Heywood Little S. MajLancs A
305120Twerton S. MajEly DA
Dec15152Frogmore S. MajHertford CA
15040Moulton Del. RoyS. Northants Soc
25088Fat Cat S. MajUniv. of Sheffield S
85152Xmas S. MajSalisbury DG
155152Atomic Del. MajOxford DG
155184Easthampstead S. MajGuildford DG
155088Serebro S. MajGlos & Bristol DA
155024Wardgate S. MajYorks A
155120Wedmore S. MajEly DA
155042Fingest S. MaxBath & Wells DA
195040Ambion S. RoyLeics DG
225040Pagham Little Del. MajSussex CA
245024Christmas Eve Del. MajLeics DG
245152Marshfield S. MajPeterboro DG
285152Dido S. MajS. Northants Soc
285056Knowle S. MajEly DA
315040Garthorpe S. RoyLeics DG
315040Redesdale S. RoyKent CA
315090Quayhead S. MaxGlos & Bristol DA
B. First peals on handbells
Jan185232Xavier S. MaxEly DA
215152Hartspring Del. MajSRCY
Feb115040Reach S. MaxEly DA
145042Southdown Del. MaxOxford DG
Mar15280Queenscliffe S. MaxEly DA
85280Framingham Earl S. MaxEly DA
95040Samuel S. RoyN. American G
Apr145280Prospect Row S. MaxEly DA
May55280Kingshurst S. MaxEly DA
295120Indian-Pacific S. MajANZAB
July55184Immingham S. MajHereford DG
85148Brandon Parva Alliance MaxNorwich DA
Sept65184Dunholme S. MajHereford DG
135056Higher Walton S. MajHereford DG
195152Massachusetts Del. MajN American G
265056Vermont Del. MajN American G
265152Dunster S. MajOxford DG
Oct45088Eccleston S. MajHereford DG
215184Frankley S. MajHereford DG
225184Norwich S. MaxMiddx CA & London DG
Nov85152Kenya S. MajHereford DG
145246Cambridge S. SixteenEly DA
205038Bourne S. MaxMiddx CA & London DG
Dec105152Hinton S. MajMiddx CA & London DG
205088Evesham S. MajHereford DG
C. Record peals on tower bells
Jan2010080Henleaze S. RoyGlos & Bristol DA
Mar1725000Stedman CatersNon-Assocn
3115120Grandsire TriplesLancs A
D. Record peal on hand bells
Aug813680Lincolnshire S. RoyLeics DG

Peal Compositions Committee

Proposed by Mr. P. Sanderson (London University) and seconded by Dr. D.W. Beard (Honorary), the report evoked no comment and was adopted without debate.

The new Committee met for the first time in August 1990 and agreed objectives for the first and subsequent years of the triennium. Due to work and family commitments our progress towards meeting those objectives has in some cases been frustratingly slow, but we are now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Our work has fallen into three main categories. The first of these is the processing of compositions for publication in The Ringing World. A start has been made to reduce the inherited backlog of compositions and 53 were published in The Ringing World during 1990, one more than in 1989. By the time of the 1991 Council meeting it is hoped to have virtually cleared this backlog. The Committee is grateful to Julian Morgan for his initiative in working with us in order to include compositions in his Which Method? articles.

The second area of work is the compilation of composition collections. The General Purpose Major collection, largely compiled by Tony Cox, is moving steadily towards publication. During the previous triennium John MacDonald (now no longer on the Committee) started work on a collection of Stedman Triples compositions. No current committee member claims to have any particular expertise in that area, and so the work of compiling the collection has been “contracted out” to Philip Saddleton, to whom we are most grateful. Tony Cleaver has also made a substantial contribution to this collection. The yearly publication of Ringing World compositions in booklet form has fallen by the wayside in recent years. However, it is the Committee’s intention to publish the missing years by the end of the current triennium. No further progress has been made on the Spliced Surprise collection.

The third area of work is the answering of ad hoc requests for compositions in particular methods. All such requests have been dealt with speedily, in one case involving an interesting piece of research into Single Darlaston Bob Triples.

The Committee continues to make extensive use of the BBC micro computer purchased in 1984. However, we are now of the opinion that an IBM-compatible machine would greatly ease the work of the Committee and improve our throughput. It is anticipated that an approach will be made to the Administrative Committee for agreement to purchase such a machine during 1991.

Towers and Belfries Committee

Like its predecessor, this too was accepted without discussion:

Committee membership has altered very gradually over the past several decades, and in this respect 1990 was a year of change. Some of the longest-serving members stood down and we welcomed to the Committee Roger Booth, George Dawson, Peter Hayward and Ian Whitear. The work in past years of George Massey and Clarke Walters has been greatly valued and we are particularly indebted to Brian Threlfall, whose 36-year membership included a period as chairman, and to Jim Taylor for his enthusiastic chairmanship over the past three years.

The Committee’s programme of seminars continued, with day courses for bell advisors at Hartshill in June and in the Bridgwater area in October.

A new venture in 1990 was the Committee’s participation with the Education Committee in their Ringing School at Moulton in July. The course included various aspects of bell and belfry maintenance, and was very well attended.

Seventeen years after the first edition, the extensively revised second edition of the Towers and Bells Handbook was finally produced by the Publications Committee. The Towers and Belfries Committee is anxious for this book to be made widely available and has been concerned that at least one national church authority has reported difficulty in obtaining a copy more than six months after publication. The third of the Committee’s current programme of four publications was welcomed during the year, and The Bell Adviser joins the Do-it-Yourself guide which was produced last year. A new edition of the Maintenance Manual should be available in 1991.

The day-to-day work of the Committee has continued, with advice being given in 75 cases ranging from letters to full belfry inspections and reports. These were made up of 25 general reports, advice on 15 major rehangings and 14 minor overhauls. There were two cases of welding bells, and four of recasting from one bell to whole rings. Tower and belfry structures featured in 15 cases, including two dealing specifically with sound control.

The Committee has continued to be represented on the Joint Working Party with the Council for the Care of Churches revising the Code of Practice for the Conservation of Bells and Bellframes, initially by Jim Taylor and latterly by Alan Frost at the invitation of the Working Party’s chairman.

Formal Committee meetings, held in April and August, were reported in The Ringing World, and members prepared for more seminars, this time on belfry maintenance, for 1991.

Its adoption was proposed by Mr. Frost and seconded by Mr. F.D. Mack (Devonshire Guild), the former adding that copies of the Maintenance Schedule were now on sale, and that details of the promised maintenance Seminar would appear in The Ringing World in due course.

Bell Restoration Funds Committee

Again the report failed to prompt discussion. Proposing its adoption, Mr. J.S. Barnes (SRCY) said that notes on Good Practice in Bell Funds were available for members to take, and comments on their content would be welcome. He also said that Mr. E.J. Billings (Honorary) had begun preliminary work on investigating the possibility of establishing a National Bell Fund, the aim being to raise up to a million pounds from sources outside the Exercise. He had a small list of people qualified and willing to provide advice and help, but would welcome further names.

Three meetings have been held, all in London.

We have again been pleased to respond to requests for assistance and information from many parishes. Each enquirer has been sent our leaflet Bell Restoration: A Guide for Parishes and details of charitable trusts, together with advice on specific problems. Where appropriate a copy of our booklet Organising a Bell Restoration Project has also been sent and some parishes have welcomed a copy of our promotional paper entitled Church Bells. On occasions we have put a project leader in touch with the leader of a successful project elsewhere.

We have continued to undertake the administrative work on behalf of the Manifold Trust, which in 1990 widened its conditions to accept applications from churches which were planning to install rings of bells where none had hung before; four grants were in this category. In all 16 offers of grants were made, totalling £33,750, by far the highest yet offered in a year by the Trust. Various small donations for bell restoration have been received by the Council from time to time; nominal grants have been offered to four parishes to date (being parishes applying for Manifold Trust grants but not meeting the Trust’s conditions), and one grant has been paid. Although we have had no contact with the Barron Bell Trust, it is pleasing to report that we have been made aware of four grants received from the Trust.

The Survey of Unringable Bells was completed during the year and the results appeared in The Ringing World dated 30 November (pp. 1141-22). We are pleased to note a significant fall in the number of bells classed as unringable and we congratulate Societies on their efforts. At the same time we are concerned that preventive maintenance has not stopped a large number of bells from becoming unringable in the past ten years.

In 1989 the Essex Association held a seminar for representatives of parishes whose bells were unringable. We are working with the Peterborough Diocesan Guild to arrange a similar seminar on November 2nd 1991. We hope that it will also act as a demonstration seminar for the surrounding Societies, so that further such events can be arranged with them.

Work has continued on making a video to promote bell restoration. Because of the nature of the project it will be some months before the work is finished.

A study of the Survey of Ringing resulted in identification of areas for action, some of which will be discussed with other committees.

Over the years our contacts with Societies have made us aware of the various ways in which they both obtain support for and operate their bell funds. Accordingly initial consideration has been given to producing guide-lines of good practice.

Two items were referred to us as a result of the work of the Centenary Committee. Firstly, we were asked to investigate the possibility of establishing a National Bell Fund, funded by sources outside bellringing. Secondly, we were asked to consider a model promotional leaflet which could be adapted by Societies: work is proceeding on this.

In October 1990 there was initiated an important new method of giving to charity without cost to the donor - Gift Aid. In order to keep Societies informed we mailed their BRF Officers with information about Gift Aid, Payroll Giving, and Covenanting. Background information was supplied, together with specimen forms. In particular the covenanting forms introduced in 1990 are much simpler than those used previously. A note was included on the use of credit cards for payments to charities, and a summary given of the services available from the Directory of Social Change. Also in the mailing was a leaflet from the Charities Trust which operates Workaid, a payroll giving scheme.

We are grateful to Richard Offen for drawing our attention to organisations which are running courses for fund raising managers. We are making an assessment of these and will make details available in due course.

Committee for Redundant Bells

Mrs. Jane Wilkinson (Honorary) said that this committee was the only one to have lost a member through death during the year: Gilbert Thurlow would be sadly missed.

She then proposed that the following report be adopted, and was seconded by Mr. Billings:

The number of churches declared redundant under the Pastoral Measure 1983 has now reached 1,312, with 30 declared redundant in 1990. Twenty-nine churches were declared redundant in 1989.

These figures are in line with the Church Commissioners’ view that redundancies are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, though not at the rate seen in the early days of the Pastoral Measure 1968 - the original Pastoral Measure - when seventy or eighty churches a year became redundant. Now that a major part of the pastoral reorganisation envisaged in 1968 is clearly over, what could perhaps be described as natural change and decay is likely to mean that there will always be some churches becoming redundant, just as there will always be some new churches being built.

The Committee has been involved this year with some forty cases, including six new enquiries for rings of bells, and eighteen for bells for replacements, augmentations, or for use as singles. Three enquiries for rings - one admittedly for use as a chime - and five for single bells, came from overseas, including one from the Middle East for a single bell. It was interesting that among the enquiries for rings four fell outside the usual requirement for “a nice ring of six to eight cwt.” and were seeking heavier bells. On a less serious note, one request came from the English National Opera: we do not know which opera was involved, but fortunately they were able to borrow a ship’s bell. Again on a musical level, the plans mentioned last year for St. Thomas’, Bristol, to be transferred from the Redundant Churches Fund to become an orchestral rehearsal hall have not yet reached fruition.

Now that the annual redundancies seem to be settling to a smaller but steadier number of churches, we are regularly seeing a small number of active churches seeking to dispose of their bells.

Often it seems unavoidable; sometimes of course it is simply to install better or more suitable bells. At the same time, new churches are still being built - some four hundred in the last twenty years. New churches need bells: we have some in the list now wanting single ones. By the time they come to the list, however, plans are usually too far advanced to allow for a ring rather than a single. This may be yet another opportunity for local associations. Influence at an early stage might provide the potential for a ring. That potential might be realised by bells from a redundant church, or from one forced for good reason to lose its bells.

Though the Committee has not been involved this year in its own proper person with the Council for the Care of Churches’ Working Party on the Code of Practice for the Conservation of Bells and Bellframes, it is fortunate in having members directly involved. We are well aware that the working party’s deliberations may be very relevant to bells in churches affected by redundancy.

We are grateful to the Church Commissioners and the Council for the Care of Churches for their help and interest this year. We have said it many more than the Bellman’s three times; but it remains true that we are most grateful to Mr. Ranald Clouston for sending us copies of the notes he prepared on the bells of churches referred to the Council for the Care of Churches.

Public Relations Committee

Introducing the Committee’s report, Dr. A. Newing said that she was delighted that Emma St. John Smith had been elected a member of the Council, and that she would now be co-opted to the committee, rather than being a consultant as hitherto. She was also, she said, grateful to Harold Rogers for his splendid work on the exhibition at St. Mary-le-Bow: of the 4,000 explanatory leaflets that had been printed, some 500 had been distributed to visitors. And she congratulated Steven Coleman on his Easter Sunday radio programme on bells and ringing.

She said that there had been some criticism of the Committee’s work, with a suggestion that it should spend more time promoting the work of the Council and its committees. She rejected this, pointing out that the Committee’s responsibilities were defined in its terms of reference, while a suggestion made in 1989 that each committee should have one member with responsibility for public relations had never been acted upon. She moved the report’s adoption.

Seconding, Mr. Coleman described his work on the TVS “Help Squad” programme to be broadcast on 2nd June, saying that TVS was publicising the programme in newspapers in its region and would be providing a four-page Factfile on ringing to all who asked for it. Such publicity - at no cost to the Council - was, he said, of enormous value to ringing. He was congratulated by Mr. S.C. Walters on his work with the broadcasting media.

The Public Relations Committee has had a very active year, although only three formal committee meetings have been held. At the first of these jobs were allocated to members and a consultant, Miss Emma St. John Smith, was appointed. She is a ringer whose job as Press Officer for Westminster Abbey puts her in a unique position of being able to influence the media in favour of ringing. Emma has many useful PR contacts and she has been a great help to us as we approach the Central Council’s centenary celebrations.

Central Council Centenary

Stella Bianco coordinated the work on the First Day Cover postage stamp. She liaised with the designer, sold the CC President’s signature on a limited edition, and arranged the publicity which David Thorne printed prominently in The Ringing World. We are grateful to Pat Halls for taking a photograph of Duffield Church for this project. This first issue sold out, so a second limited edition, showing St. Paul’s Cathedral, was produced. As well as advertising the CC centenary to a very wide audience, this project allowed £150 to be donated to the CC Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells and £125 to the Bishop of Derby’s Urban Fund.

Stella is also steering another scheme for Centenary Year: to encourage lapsed ringers back into the fold.

Harold Rogers has renovated and updated the Committee’s exhibition material, and has planned his “best ever” display for St. Mary le Bow over the CC weekend. In addition, during the year Harold has prepared promotional and exhibition material for use at over 30 different locations in the UK.

Press contact

A letter written by Stella Bianco was published in The Times in the President’s name on 14 July 1990, following the bad publicity caused by tower grabbers in Lincolnshire. Copies of the letter were also sent to The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph, which did not print it.

The article in the British Medical Journal caused much discussion among ringers generally. The Committee felt that it nevertheless gave much publicity to ringing. David Thorne devoted a large part of the 8 February 1991 issue of The Ringing World to this article and its repercussions.


Following the resounding success of his TV programme last year, Steve Coleman has recently negotiated, written, and recorded an hour-long programme for Radio 2. The programme is an exploration of ringing in words, music, poetry and bells, and is due to be broadcast on Easter Sunday. Not only will this be the longest ringing programme ever broadcast, but it has been allocated a prime slot on the station with the greatest number of regular listeners. The work involved has been very substantial, requiring Steve to allocate four weeks of his annual leave to the project in addition to numerous evenings and weekends. He is to be congratulated on its successful conclusion, and deserves our gratitude for his efforts.

Church and Community liaison

Alison Hodge took over this remit at the start of the year. She represents the PR Committee on the Working Party investigating the establishment of a ringing centre. Alison is also working closely with George Morris, our publications link person, on the production of a leaflet for distribution to ringers and the general public at the Centenary exhibition and on a re-vamped PROs Handbook which is in the early stages of preparation. George set up TV and radio broadcasts from the Three Counties Show at Malvern in June 1990. These gave some interesting feedback from visitors. He has also had correspondence with the BBC’s Natural History Unit about the broadcasting of ringing activities.

International liaison

Fred Dukes has continued his enormous task of maintaining contact with ringers overseas by means of his newsletters and personal correspondence. His work of coordinating the teams for the international striking contest has taken much time and effort. The full International Liaison report has again been published separately in The Ringing World.

Association liaison

John Illingworth arranged a seminar for Association PROs for October 1990. The response from Associations was very poor; indeed, less than half replied, and many of those that did had no PRO and felt that they needed to organise themselves locally. Thus, in spite of an excellent programme for the day, involving a lot of hard work, it was cancelled. Since it appears that far more grass roots work, needs to be done at Association level, John now proposes to pilot in the Coventry Guild a scheme to enable each tower to have its own PRO. This could create a reservoir of talent and ideas, and should then provide a model for other Associations.

The Ringing World

This Committee benefits greatly by having the Editor of The Ringing World as a member. David Thorne gives publicity to the work of all CC committees. He also maintains a file of press cuttings relating to ringing activities.

Referring to the report’s second paragraph, Mr. Dawson said he could find no reference in the Council’s Accounts to any income from the sale of the President’s signature, and trusted that he was not making some personal profit from it. The President referred him to the Accounts of the Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells (which showed a donation of £150), commenting that he had not realised that his signature was worth so much (laughter).

Picking up Dr. Newing’s reference to criticism of the Committee, Mr. Barnes said that the Bell Restoration Funds Committee had, after studying the implications of the Survey of Ringing, produced a 12-point action plan. It had then realised that many of its points were relevant to the work of other committees, and in particular the Public Relations Committee; he had consequently been asked to send a copy of the plan to the latter.

As a result two members each of the Bell Restoration Funds and Public Relations Committees had met the previous day; Dr. Newing had unfortunately been unable to be present. They had decided that the PR Committee should coordinate a unified fact-sheet, giving details of the work of the Council’s committees; but this implied no criticism of anything that the Committee had either been doing or not doing.

Mr. A.J. Illingworth (Coventry) remarked that not all the publicity for ringing during the past year had been good publicity. In order to help societies in their dealings with the media the Committee would be holding a training seminar for PROs at Westminster Abbey on October 26. In this context Dr. A. Hodge (Verona, and another member of the Committee) asked representatives present to let her have the name and address of their society’s PRO before leaving.

Mr. Harrison confirmed the earlier point about bad publicity, saying that when he arrived at the Guildhall that morning and said he was a bell-ringer, the two attendants had immediately mentioned the recent trouble in Norfolk. He said he was however aware of a freelance reporter who was working hard to persuade the BBC to revivify its Bells on Sunday programme, which he criticised as containing an unfortunate mixture of poorly-recorded good ringing and well-recorded poor ringing.

Replying to the various comments, Dr. Newing said that she was grateful for Mr. Barnes’ clarification. As for bad publicity, ringers should always bear in mind that they were ambassadors for the art. She acknowledged that there had been great problems in recent years over Bells on Sunday, and she feared that the programme might well go the way of Christmas Bells; Steven Coleman’s work was consequently all the more welcome.

The report was then adopted.

This was the last of the committee reports to be considered. The President commented that the speed with which this part of the Agenda had been dealt reflected the excellence of the work being done, and asked members of the Council to join him in congratulating committee members for their labours (applause).

Trustees’ reports

As Trustee of the Council’s Rolls of Honour, Mr. Cook proposed adoption of his report (which he commented was, for once, not the shortest report on the agenda!) (laughter):

The two memorial books in which are recorded the names of ringers killed by enemy action in 1914-18 and 1939-45, together with the display case in which they are kept, remain in good condition in their present position in the passage leading to the ringing room in St. Paul’s Cathedral. A page of each book is turned once a month.

Before being seconded by Prof. Johnston (Yorkshire), Mr. Cook added that, at the instigation of the Conductor of the St. Paul’s Company, Michael Chilcott, a plaque written by Tom Fox had been placed above the Rolls’ display case, explaining their purpose and origin. The report was adopted.

He was followed by Mr. Bagworth, who proposed the report of the trustees of the Carter Ringing machine and who was seconded by his fellow-trustee, Mr. Dobbie. Mr. Bagworth said that the April session had been a successful one, with some 27 visitors present, and that Barry Ward, of Birmingham Science Museum, had made a recording of the machine in operation which would be for use when the machine was not manned. The trustees were also in contact with the Master of the St. Martin’s Guild about a number of events planned for next year in association with centenary celebrations in Birmingham.

Their report was then adopted:

The machine has remained on public display at the Birmingham Science Museum. No requests for demonstrations were received during the year. A maintenance/operating session, with a public display, has been provisionally scheduled for April 27th.

Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells

Mr. R.J. Cooles (Honorary) said that the report (printed below) might be taken to imply that the Fund might itself be becoming redundant. It had however recently been asked to assist in rescuing the twelve bells formerly in St. Martin’s in Birmingham, which had been saved literally a few hours before being broken up. There was a real possibility that the ring would be transferred to a church in York, but if this did not materialise the Whitechapel Foundry would buy back the bells in two years’ time. In the meantime £25,000 was needed, and he was anxious to call again upon the offers of interest-free loans. These would be repaid, hopefully within less than two years.

He concluded by saying that Mr. E.A. Barnett (Life) was now the Fund’s chairman in place of the late Dean Thurlow.

The dedication of the bells at St. Clement, Sandwich, (ex Kirkheaton) and of St. Lawrence, Towcester, (ex Todmorden) in 1990 were sources of pleasure to the Committee, both schemes having been crucially supported by the Rescue Fund. It was gratifying that both churches, and especially Towcester, acknowledged the vital role played by the Fund in preserving these two rings of bells. It is good to be able to record that all four churches involved now have flourishing bands of ringers.

No new schemes requested support in 1990 and the work of collecting in funds to repay those who had made loans went steadily ahead. Towcester made a significant payment in advance of schedule, and this enabled all individual and Association loans to be repaid.

The Fund has enabled the increasing awareness of the need for conservation to be given practical effect. The efficiency of local Associations and ringers may mean that the risk of sudden destruction of a ring should diminish. Next year’s report may give evidence of the trend. In the meantime our grateful thanks to all who have supported the work of the Fund with loans.

Mr. O’Callaghan seconded him, remarking that those who had made interest-free loans in the past would be able to vouch for having had their money returned (laughter). The report was adopted.

Rescue Fund for Redundant Bells
Income and Expenditure Account for the Year 1990


23Excess of income over expenditure172.25
Balance Sheet as at 31 December 1990
13750Balance of loan to PCC of St Lawrence, Towcester3,750.00
2496Bank balances5,262.93

5555Interest free loan50.00
4500Central Council General Fund2,600.00


6191Net Assets£6,362.93
6168Accumulated Fund, 1 January 19906,190.68
23Excess of income over expenditure172.25

R.J. Cooles
M.H.D. O’Callaghan


We have audited the above financial statements. In our opinion the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of the Fund’s affairs at 31st December 1990, and of its income and expenditure for the year then ended.

) Hon. Auditors
March, 1991

Future meetings

At the President’s invitation Mr. D.J. Jones said that a provisional programme for next year’s meeting in Peterborough had been given to members, together with a questionnaire that would be used by the organising committee to tailor arrangements. Prices at the headquarters hotel had, he said, been arranged so as to encourage members to stay for two or more nights.

Dr. Baldwin said that the Llandaff and Monmouth Association was looking forward to the Council’s visit in 1993. Although the arrangements had yet to be finalised, it looked as though the meeting would be held in the Monmouth diocese.

The President then announced that, in response to the request in the Secretary’s report, an invitation for 1994 had been received from the North Staffordshire Association, and one for 1995 from the Salisbury Guild. Acceptance of the former was proposed by Mr. P. Gay, seconded by Mr. N.G. Sharp, and agreed amidst applause.

Mr. F.M. Mitchell (Shropshire) said that, since bookings would soon need to be made, he would welcome the Council’s formal acceptance of his Association’s invitation (made some years ago) to come to its area in 1996. After he had been seconded by Mr. J.F. Mulvey (Lichfield), this too was agreed.

Two invitations had already been made for 1997, one from the Truro Guild and the other from the Ely Association, both of which would be marking their centenaries that year. Proposing acceptance of the latter, Mr. G.E. Bonham (Ely) said that his Association’s members were enthusiastic for the Council to make its first visit to Ely on the occasion of their centenary, and commented on the suitability of Cambridge as a centre. He was seconded by the Association’s Secretary, Mr. S.S. Meyer.

Speaking for the Truro Guild Mr. P.J. Tremain noted the Secretary’s reference to the need for forward planning, and said that his Guild had done exactly that, making its invitation for 1997 as long ago as 1986. The Council had twice visited the Guild’s area, and would know from experience the welcome they would receive there. He too was seconded by his Guild’s General Secretary, Mr. R.J. Perry.

Mr. Cook had remarked that it would not in fact be the first time the Council had visited the Ely Diocese - “it went as recently as 1908!” (laughter) - and Mrs. Wilkinson pointed out the debt owed to the Truro Guild for the way it had accommodated the Council at very short notice in 1979. After Mr. Wilby interjected that disaffiliated non-territorial societies could perhaps go to whichever centre was rejected (laughter), the President called for a show of hands on each proposition. After a very careful count the tellers reported that the Ely invitation had received 77 votes, and Truro 75. The former was therefore accepted.

On behalf of the Council the President thanked the Truro Guild for its invitation, saying how greatly he regretted that it had been impossible to accommodate both (applause).

Any other business

The Secretary reported that 55 societies had been fully represented at the meeting, nine partially represented, and two not represented; in all 172 of the 186 elected representatives had been present. There had also been six of the eight Life members, and all 21 Honorary members, giving a total attendance during the day of 199. This was three less than the record that had been established at Wells last year.

After the President had said that the Editor of The Ringing World had agreed to publish the consultative paper on representation on the Council close to the report of the discussion earlier in the day, he said that he was trying to visit all affiliated societies during his term of office, and would therefore welcome suitable opportunities being brought to his notice.

Dr. Baldwin commented that 1991 was a very special year in the Council’s history. At the service in St. Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday he had however noticed that it seemed to be somewhat behind many of its affiliated societies in that it did not have a chain of office for its President, and he suggested that action be set in train to make good this shortcoming. A member of the Council had offered an amount of precious metal for such a purpose, and he asked that the Administrative Committee be asked to decide upon a suitable design.

The President concluded the meeting by proposing a comprehensive vote of thanks - to the Officers and organising committee of the College Youths, for making all the administrative and social arrangements for a most successful and enjoyable weekend; to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul’s Cathedral for the Centenary service and to the Dean in particular for his sermon at that service and his speech at the dinner; to the Rector of St. Lawrence Jewry, for allowing the Council to hold its corporate Communion service there and for officiating; to the clergy and churchwardens of the many churches who had made their bells available to members of the Council and other ringers over the weekend; and to the many others, ringers and non-ringers, who had contributed in any way to the success of this Centenary meeting. (Applause)

He declared the meeting closed at 3.30.

The Ringing World, June 28, 1991, page 613 to 624

International Liaison Report 1990


During the year 1990, there was much activity in all areas of ringing beyond the shores of the British Isles, which included advances in change-ringing, bell-ringing, restorations, repairs, teaching courses and last, but not least, keenness and enthusiasm amongst the general body of bellringers themselves. There is nothing to fear for the future of the Exercise in these areas with such attitudes.

The Report is based on the extracts from the many letters received from friends abroad, and from notes and appearances in The Ringing World - it can truly bear that title with the amount of material published almost every week. The Clapper, Ringing Towers, SA Ringing Circle and Look To were also closely studied and extracts of general interest are used in the various sections of this Report.

The writer is very grateful to the several correspondents and to the Editors of the above publications from which items were extracted and due acknowledgement for the use of this material is made to all concerned.

Council meeting at Wells

There was a full representation from every affiliated Society from abroad at the Central Council meeting held in Wells on May 29, 1990. The idea for the attendance of alternative representation is certainly working and benefits the Societies concerned and the Council itself. It was a great pleasure to see Ann Philips (Zimbabwe), Don Morrison (NAG), and Michael Stone (ANZAB) all “Stand-up” in response to their names being read out from the list of “first-timers”.

The Overseas Display presented the usual map of the World with the locations of rings of bells marked thereon and up-dated by the inclusion of additional towers and bells. Photographs of towers and ringers being representative of each affiliated society were displayed. We are grateful to all who gave or lent photographs for the display, which, from comments made was well received.


It was a busier year than previously with so many organised tours from the UK to Canada, Italy, South Africa, USA and Kenya. Also, a number of internal ringing tours by individual societies and some inter-society tours were organised. There was a great welcome by the host societies to the visiting parties and much mutual benefit was obtained and some peals and quarter peals enabled many local ringers to take part and gain from such associations.

Newsletters form an important means of communication within societies and are informative beyond the boundaries of the respective societies by giving news of the activities in the several towers which appear in them.

The writer is again very grateful to the editors of The Clapper, Ringing Towers and SA Ringing Circle for reproducing the contents of the Overseas Newsletters in their respective journals. This means that every member of these societies knows that this committee is in touch with and is very appreciative of what these “grass roots” ringers are doing for their own towers in particular and for bell-ringing in general.

Letters “fly” to and fro with many ringing friends beyond our shores and it is a real pleasure to receive them and to write back to these friends.

Additional rings, augmentations, restorations, maintenance

The redundant six from St. Aidan’s Church, West Acton, London found a new home in the Church of St. Pius X, West Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia. There is still no news of the University of Western Australia ring of 17 bells materialising. Proposals to augment the eight at Perth Cathedral to a ten will depend on the organ being transferred from the tower to another location in the Cathedral. It is learned that Christ Church, Beechworth, Australia has been granted approval for the installation of a ring of bells and that a redundant light six in the UK has been earmarked for this purpose. For the Church of St. Mathew, Albury, NSW five new bells were cast and together with the original bell form a ring of six.

Good news comes from New Zealand, that Papanui bells have been given a reprieve of ten years, last year’s report mentioned the possible demolition of the church tower.

It is learned that the eight bells from St. Alkmund’s, Shrewsbury have been shipped to Hawaii for erection in St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Honolulu. The EXPO tower which was used at the Queen Mother’s birthday parade, was shipped to America on the new Crown Princess and is to stay in that country, eventually finding a home at St. Paul’s Church, Chicago. The troublesome ring in the Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene, Texas, were rehung by Eayre & Smith, in co-operation with the original installers, Schulmerich, and are now reported to be in a satisfactory ringing condition. The bells at Smith College, Northampton are once again ringable after being idle for a year whilst repairs were effected to the tower following water damage. Projected restorations are planned for St. Mary’s, Burlington, NJ and St. Peter’s, Philadelphia, Penn. Hopefully, some positive news will be forthcoming about these projects ere long.

The old ring of 12 from St. Martin’s, Birmingham have been destined to have a new home in St. James’s Cathedral, Toronto. Further, an enquiry was received from a church in Ontario about the possibility of installing bells therein, but so far as is known, no developments have taken place based on the advice given to the church concerned.

An appeal for funds to restore the ring of eight bells in Grahamstown Cathedral to a satisfactory ringing condition was launched, with a sterling account being opened in the UK for the receipt of donations made in these islands towards the cost of necessary fittings. A new frame is to be erected and the bells are to be re-tuned and fitted with new headstocks, etc. Provided sufficient funds are available, it is also intended to augment the eight to ten. Still in Africa, very good news that Kilifi bells are again ringable with a local band of ringers, thanks to what Paul Smith and his companions did during their holidays in Kenya. Some repairs are still necessary to complete the work in the tower of St. Thomas’s Church, and an appeal for funds was launched in the UK to meet the further expenditure. Both of these appeals are deserving of the support of ringers in these islands.

It is worthy to mention the directive the Education Officer of the North American Guild received at their Annual Meeting, that was to find homes for redundant rings of bells and hopefully some good results will be forthcoming in America as a result of the directive. Likewise, Chris O’Mahony, President of ANZAB has set goals to be achieved by 2001, which includes “a spreading network of towers throughout the ANZAB territory. Centres of populations capable of supporting a ring of bells should be considered”. We certainly are supportive of both of these objectives.

Public relations, publicity

Good public relations was created by the advanced publicity with photographs of the band in relation to the first peal by the local team of ringers in Philadelphia, which resulted in creating much interest in the successful peal, to mark the 10th anniversary of the installation of the bells. A large audience assembled outside the church during the ringing.

The transfer of the EXPO belfry to the USA on board the Crown Princess where at Brooklyn, NY, its bells were rung during the ceremony of the naming of the new liner.

Chicago tower, bells and ringing from the Mitchell tower received much publicity in a 15 minute spot on Radio as well as being given a five minute stint in the Wild Chicago Show about change-ringing; The result of this stint was the acquisition of an ex-UK ringer. The local ringers again appeared on TV and were even mentioned in the evening news programme. The Hyde Park Herald had a feature article on the bells and the ringers. The last practice in June at the Advent Church, Boston was covered on the TV in readiness for the usual 4th July concert nearby. The completion of the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. meant that there was an invasion of TV crews and journalists on more than one occasion. During Holy Week the ringing was shown on TV whilst in the June issue of Smithsonian magazine three paragraphs were allocated to bell ringing in a feature about the completion of the Cathedral. The actual event itself, brought further publicity to the bells and ringing.

The removal of the headstocks from the tower of the Cathedral of the Holy Rosary, Vancouver was duly recorded by the local TV stations - two channels, on Radio and in various newspapers. The publicity did not end there because when the work undertaken by Linda Woodford and Eve Munns was completed 28 days later, the TV crews were again on site and showed the ringing at the Cathedral.

A five-minute “filler” on bell-ringing was broadcast in March from Durban SABC on TV and it received a very favourable public comment. A photograph of the Durban ringers appeared in Durban’s Daily News, and a special request was made for the bells of St. Paul’s, Durban to be rung at 6 a.m. for the start of the Comrades Marathon and the bells were given an “airing” on TV. “Cool, competent and charming - Jane Webster” was the subject of a full page article in The Settler a South African periodical. It was principally about her ringing career and spoke of her trojan work for bell-ringing in South Africa. The Settler also gave space to publicise the appeal for the restoration of the bells of Grahamstown Cathedral. The Rhodes University, Grahamstown, Music department hosted a public lecture on bells and bell-ringing with the aid of slides given by Alan Berry, of Taylor’s Bell Foundry, Loughborough. During the lecture several points were demonstrated on handbells. The result of this event was a visit to the Cathedral tower by the Professor of Music and a number of students. The bell ringers were also filmed for the Antenna TV programme as part of the Arts Festival coverage and the film was used as an introduction to the Festival programme. The bells were heard too, ringing for the festival services on TV.

The North-Eastern Branch of ANZAB held its annual dinner in Sydney to which ten representatives of ACTA Shipping were invited in order to thank them in a small way for the tremendous amount of support they had given to ANZAB over a number of years. Brisbane held an Open Day with the object of obtaining recruits to ring their bells and as an education exercise for the public. This event had good coverage in the media. St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney also held an Open Day with the same objectives as in Brisbane.

Some bad publicity resulted in Australia and in New Zealand, as a result of the article by Drs. Lamont and London in the British Medical Journal. The Sydney Morning Herald published a note under the title, “Dead bell ringers; the Christmas toll” which asked the readers to spare a thought for the bellringers - because they are risking their lives. Most of the article dealt with the accidents in the belfry, and it did conclude with a bright paragraph mentioning that some people considered bellringing was wonderful for back pains and that one man with two slipped discs found that ringing the big bells gave excellent relief. The next day’s issue of the same newspaper, published a photograph of the ringers at the ropes in the Cathedral, under the caption “Ding dong warily on high? Not at St. Mary’s”. Thanks to John Cummins who kindly sent me copies of the newspaper references. He was able to refute much about what had been written about the subject by the press and was recorded as saying “bell-ringing is safe and if you are careless you are in trouble”. The newspaper references led the TV crews to contact Mr. Cummins, and they were invited to the tower where they filmed ringers in action and also the ringing of bells themselves. All eight ringers were interviewed but only four were to be seen on TV later that day.

In New Zealand, the NZ Herald contacted Valerie Stone, of St. Matthew’s in the City, Auckland, regarding the references which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and referred to in the previous paragraph. Mrs. Stone was firm and said that we like good publicity and invited the writer concerned to visit the tower. The journalist attended two practices, which resulted in a front page of the magazine of the paper providing an article which was fair to bell-ringers, photographs were included of the bells, the ringers at the ropes and an instruction to a recruit picture. On the first day of Sunday Trading in New Zealand, the St. Matthew’s bells were ringing for service as usual, during which a TV crew entered the belfry for the purpose of filming them as ringing for the operation of the Sunday Trading Act’s first day of implementation

They were told in no uncertain terms that the bells were not ringing for Sunday Trading and any filming done must not be related to it. In spite of reassurances, the TV station showed the bells ringing for the Sunday Trading. A very strong complaint was made to the authority concerned with no effect. The TV people again at a later date entered the belfry during Sunday service ringing and said they wished to record the bells for “National Ringing Day” about which Auckland had heard nothing, and this was confirmed by the other towers in New Zealand. Because of the insistence by the ringers that they were not ringing for the National Day, the TV showed them as “just practising” on that evening’s News. It behoves everybody to carefully assess the purposes of requests from the media for information and pictures of ringing, before cooperating with those concerned. Good publicity - Yes! Bad publicity - definitely “No”. In regard to the “National Ringing Day” Wellington Cathedral bells were ring at the request of the Dean and were shown on TV News.

Ringing courses, education, recruitment

The inaugural school of ringing in New Zealand was held at Old St. Paul’s, Wellington in October and was attended by ringers anxious to learn a wide variety of change-ringing methods from Plain to Surprise. After chalk and talk sessions there were practical exercises at the Cathedral. All in all, the weekend was declared to be a “very definite success”

In Africa, the Transvaal Guild held a “Ringing Day” during which there was concentrated training in particular methods aimed at those interested in them, the “Day” concluded with quarter peal attempts. The South African Guild at its AGM had a “Ringing Workshop” for beginners and covered the ground from rounds to plain hunting. Zimbabwe too, ran two tuition groups in conjunction with the Guild’s AGM, one for the junior ringers learning Stedman and the other for the seniors, which explored the intricacies of Primrose Surprise. Good and satisfactory progress was made in all of these efforts.

The Italian relationship enabled a school of English bell-ringing to be held in Italy and there was a training course at Malvern Link for the visiting team of Italian ringers particularly their younger members, in the English style of ringing, which was highly successful.

Over in America, a number of teaching and training sessions were held. At Old North Church, Boston the annual ringing course aimed at gaining more ringers through MIT. Ithaca, NY continued with their conductors-in-training courses and for their visit to their adopted tower, Quebec, had a number of novice tower bell ringers with them. The AGM of NAG in Philadelphia saw the usual Ringing course being held before the meeting day itself. Such good progress was made that some of the beginners were scoring their first quarters. After the successful rehanging of the Abilene bells by Eayre & Smith, Bob and Ruth Smith spent some time teaching a local band to ring these bells. Likewise, Marie Cross spent six weeks at Little Rock, to lay a sound foundation there for the local band.

The fifth annual ringing course in Melbourne, Australia attracted over 70 ringers representing every tower in Victoria. The course was divided into several Groups covering all stages from Plain Hunt up to Bristol Surprise. The Sydney Ringing Weekend, operated at St. Andrew’s Cathedral and Christ Church, St. Lawrence and had 16 topics covered by nine teachers, which covered aspects from correcting handling faults, rhythm, striking in changes, conducting: and maintenance. There were both theoretical and practical sessions throughout the course. This was a profitable and popular weekend. Since the bell tower of St. Pius X, West Heidelberg is in the grounds of the local school, the opportunity is taken of teaching the more senior pupils how to ring the bells on one day of each week at lunch-hour. This should lead to a regular supply of ringers to that tower and perhaps others in Victoria. ANZAB has designed and published a recruiting poster under the title BELLRINGING. It asks a number of questions and gives some information about bell-ringing, and finally there is a space saying “the local Bellringers need new recruits”.

It is very evident that in all areas covered by the affiliated societies, there is an increased awareness for training, education and recruitment. All concerned are to be complimented on these necessary exercises.


We Sing in a Strange Land written by Elizabeth Bleby of Adelaide for ANZAB, is an excellent concise history of all the bells in Australia and New Zealand, and it is worthy of a place on every bellringer’s bookshelf. The high standard of both The Clapper and Ringing Towers was maintained during the year. Jessie Ravage and Peter Whitehead, the respective editors deserve the congratulations of the Exercise on these excellent publications, giving much news of happenings in the NAG and ANZAB spheres. The SA Ringing Circle too, is full of news about all towers in South Africa and again three issues were produced and edited on a tower rotational basis. Look-to from Zimbabwe again gave us an insight to the more personal sides of the Guild members. The Verona Guild continued to present us with Notizario in Italian, as well as pamphlets (Italian) Arte Campanaria in connection with a bell ringing festival in Veneta in the May-June period.


Ringers from all over New Zealand gathered in Christchurch from 4-6 February for a National Ringing weekend. It was a pleasant and successful get-together and apart from the social side there was plenty of ringing and some successful quarter peals.

The Zimbabwe Guild held its AGM on 24th February, which included plenty of ringing during the weekend with some theory sessions for Stedman and Primrose. Their half-yearly meeting in Kwe Kwe was in July during which a concentrated teaching session brought some success.

The annual meeting of the Transvaal Guild was in March and their annual dinner, the highlight of the year, was the usual pleasant and sociable occasion. The guest speaker was the Chairman of the South African Guild, Jane Webster.

The Three Towers Festival was held this year in Texarkana in April when 27 ringers including those from beyond the compass of the three towers enjoyed a very useful weekend of bellringing, and which included a number of quarter peals and two peals with a number of firsts in them. There were instruction sessions on rope-splicing, conducting and handbell ringing. Then in May, Raleigh was the venue for the annual striking contest. It was won by a team from Washington D.C. In all seven teams competed, and advantage was taken with so many visitors present to ring some quarter peals. The annual meeting of the North American Guild was held at Philadelphia in September when the opportunity was taken by some of those present to visit towers with unringable bells, and also to visit the famous “Ringing Rocks”, as well as Newcastle tower. The weekend was an outstanding success, thanks to excellent local organisation work.

Melbourne was the venue for the ANZAB AGM in June when over 100 ringers were present representing all districts. A striking contest was held at St. James’s Old Cathedral, when Sydney Central team were declared the winners. It was an enjoyable, progressive and sociable weekend. Another striking contest was arranged by the NE Branch at Christ Church, St. Laurence, Sydney in August when nine teams competed in the 6-bell contest which resulted in a convincing win for the “babes”, St. Andrew’s, Sydney.

Cape Town was the venue for the South African Guild’s meeting in July which also incorporated a striking competition. The contest was won by the home team. The Guild at the meeting appointed an Appeal Committee to raise funds for the Grahamstown major restoration project.

Peals and quarter peals

The appended table records the totals of peals and quarter peals rung both on tower bells and in hand in each of the countries shown. Tower bell peals showed increases over the numbers given in the 1989 Report. In Australia and the USA there were considerable increases in the numbers of quarter peals rung.

The methods concerned show a great variety particularly in the Surprise Major and Royal peals with many being rung for the first time in Australia, the USA and New Zealand. Superlative S. Major and Cambridge S. Major were pealed in South Africa and Kent T.B. Royal and Stedman Caters in Zimbabwe. Over in New Zealand Surprise Major methods being the place names of towers were rung to peals, and Plain Bob Maximus and Yorkshire S. Major achieved in quarter peals.

The successful ringing of these various methods plus many more show the great advances being made in change-ringing in all of the countries concerned over the past decade or so, which is most creditable and confirms the keenness and enthusiasm amongst “the few” compared with the much greater number of change-ringers in the British Isles (see “State of ringing”).

The leading towers in each country are given in the table for both quarter peals and peals. The totals shown may differ from the actual totals after all returns have been assembled by the societies catering for each area.

It was good to see a number of first timers in both peals and quarters, also to note first peals on the newer rings of bells. Claremont, WA scored their first peal; Raleigh, USA accumulated 31 quarters; St. Andrew, Brisbane had three quarter peals; Burnley (1) and Gardenvale (5) also appear in the quarters.

TowerHandLeading TowerTowerHandLeading Tower
Australia67 (53)22 (15)St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney 17307 (241)57 (51)St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney 96
Canada2 (1)1 (1)- (1)-
New Zealand9 (7)2Papanui & Dunedin 3 each65 (97)9Auckland 31
South Africa5 (5)-Parktown 412 (15)-Parktown 5
USA51 (23)23 (26)Boston, Advent 18191 (153)78 (50)Boston, Advent 62
Zimbabwe1-9 (8)-Harare 7
The figures given for 1990 are based on recorded details up to and including 1st March 1991.
Figures in brackets are taken from the 1989 Report.

State of ringing

In a report on the state of ringing it was said that “North American ringers are apparently much keener than their British counterparts” and “The overall impression is of a small and keen group working hard to keep the bells ringing at most places there. Most of the towers are relatively isolated and recruitment is in general not easy”. (RW 4125).

The messages of Christopher O’Mahony, President of ANZAB which appear in each issue of Ringing Towers are very encouraging and constructive. In one issue, he asks all Captains and ANZAB officers to take time to sit down, and seriously think about where they would like ringing to be in ten years time and he gives specific areas for study. Then in another issue, he mentions the Association’s achievements in ringing at the newest towers and in advanced methods; also, it’s great to hear about and see the tremendous number of learners being taught at new and established towers.

The situation in Africa remains much the same as previously. Thanks to the very enthusiastic few in South Africa, Transvaal and Zimbabwe learners were taught to ring in an endeavour to fill gaps due to departures of regular ringers. It is an uphill struggle in most areas, to ensure that all bells will be rung on Sundays and practice nights. Nevertheless, in a few towers there is great keenness and change-ringing methods are well established in them, particularly Durban, Parktown and Harare. The main good news comes in regard to Kilifi where a team of locals were taught to ring the bells of St. Thomas’s Church. At present the proposed twinning of Kilifi with a Yorkshire tower augurs well for Kenya.

It is evident from the above areas that great progress is being made and from the performance reports in peals and quarters, some very advanced methods of Surprise are being rung regularly. This would have been unheard of 20 or 30 years ago. It is very encouraging to note that various projects for the provision of more rings of bells and some augmentations are being considered and hopefully most, if not all of them, will bear fruit. Whereas, regretfully, churches are closing in the UK and their bells are becoming redundant, there is a bright future for many of these bells finding new homes in Australia, America and hopefully Africa.

According to returns received from the affiliated societies, there are over 700 ringers who are members of the various societies. In addition there are many more who lapsed their memberships, but are still actively ringing. The total number of lapsed ringers since I became Overseas Liaison nine years ago, amounts to just over 300. For almost 70 active towers there is an average of just ten members of affiliated societies per tower (a few have actually three times that number). The percentage of towers where ringing takes place regularly is well into the nineties, with as far as is known only three which have not got local bands.

Miscellaneous notes

Zimbabwe. Two quarter peals were rung to the memory of Jill Andrews who started a handbell team in Salisbury (Harare) in 1959 when the donation of tower bells for the Cathedral was announced. She was the first Hon. Life Member of the Guild which was a reward for the outstanding services she provided in preparation for the new ring of bells. There is good news about Pat and Margaret Gendall, who are moving to Gweru which will enable Margaret to travel about once a month to her old tower Kwe Kwe, where she did a wonderful job before her departure from there a few years ago. The Guild benefitted from visiting ringers from the UK when very good progress and helpful instruction received to enable methods such as Cambridge Royal, Kent T.B. Royal and D.N.C.B. Major to be practised. Unfortunately, we have had to say “Good-bye” to Hazel Sharon Hazelwood, from Kwe Kwe, who has returned to Canada.

USA. Don and Elisabeth Trumpler have returned to Scotland, and already we are reading of their peal performances in the UK. The major event of the year was the completion of the National Cathedral in Washington DC after 83 years abuilding. The occasion was celebrated by the bell-ringers in great style, which included the return of some of those ringers who rang in the dedication of the bells peal on May 9, 1964 - they were nice looking young ringers then! The 10th anniversary of the installation of the bells in St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Philadelphia, was marked by the first peal by the local band.

South Africa. Regret on learning of the death of Arnold Philogene who had been one of the earliest ringers in Durban, and managed to get his sons to take up bell-ringing, one of whom still rings. The first quarter peal of Royal was rung in Durban for the Guild. In Parktown, the Royal School of Church Music visited St. George’s Church, when the tower bells and handbells were used to demonstrate to the visitors the principles of change-ringing as well as to show how the bells are rung. A successful ringing day was held in Parktown in August when four quarters were scored.

New Zealand. The GOM, George Nelson Sloane, died in June. He had been a ringer at Christchurch Cathedral for over 60 years. His loss is deeply regretted and his keenness and regular attendances will be sorely missed. The NZ 90 year was marked by the ringing of six quarter peals. Hamilton celebrated the fact that their bells were installed 40 years ago. Auckland, suffered from many ringers being abroad, and their performances were greatly reduced as compared with the previous year. There was some recovery towards the end of the year with the return of Michael and Valerie Stone from the UK.

Kenya. As already reported elsewhere, repairs were effected sufficiently for the bells of St. Thomas’s Church, Kilifi to be rung again. Thanks to D. Paul Smith, Deborah Blagden and Michael O’Callaghan who spent their holidays there, a society was organised when officers were appointed. Deborah Blagden is the UK correspondent with Kilifi and Mrs. Doreen Creighton, a nearby resident, keeps a watchful eye on the local scene. We hope that the foundation laid by Paul and his party will grow in the future.

Italy. Thanks again to George Morris, who is the main committee contact with the Verona Guild, we have received a report of the activities in general of the Guild which took place during the year:

“This year is the first year of a new triennium for the ASCSV, yes, it has a structure very similar to the Central Council. The annual meeting took place in Verona on November 24th, but there was much activity well before then.

“The first outstanding item of the year was a quarter peal with Giancarlo Tommasi ringing the tenor. This was the first quarter by a member of the association. In Italy there was a full calendar of activities of between 25 and 30 events. There have been a number of exchange visits all of which have been reported in The Ringing World. A full contingent attended the Central Council meeting at Wells and some stayed on to gain experience at English style ringing.

“One of the most important items on the calendar was the CC backed school for young Italians to learn change ringing. The high pressure timetable made this hard work for the pupils and instructors, however, both enjoyed it and very good results were obtained. Visits of British ringers to Italy were mainly of the holiday sort but all had a distinct cultural value.

“At the annual meeting Sig. Tomassi was again elected President and Sig. Avesani became the Secretary. It was reported that six new towers have been affiliated to the Association. The 1991 calendar of activities has 27 dates fixed up until November 17th, the next annual meeting date.

“One of the outstanding events of this year is the school for young British ringers to learn Italian style ringing. This will be in Verona and will be an experience of a lifetime for all who take part.”

When the Italian Premier, Sig. Androtti, visited Bozzolo, the Italian ringers brought their mobile tower to the town to ring for him.

Canada. The adopted tower of the Ithaca Society, NY, Quebec was visited by 40 persons in May when ringing took place at both towers in the city. A party of English ringers came to Canada and rang at all towers available and some peals were scored. Good news about the possibility of a 12 for Toronto.

Australia. It is reported that enthusiasm abounds at Walkerville with its six tower bells and 27 handbells. The school attached to the church includes handbell ringing in its music curriculum and the pupils give concert recitals.

The centenary of the first peal on the bells of St. Philip’s, Church Hill, Sydney was celebrated. Jack Roper of Melbourne had his 60 years as a bell-ringer duly marked.


The future of bellringing and change-ringing beyond the shores of the British Isles is in very good hands as is evidenced by this Report. Suffice it therefore to say a very sincere “Thank you” to all of the ringers throughout the World for what they are doing, for their keenness and enthusiasm to ensure that our ancient Art is flourishing and will continue to do so in the future. This includes all those who train, instruct and maintain as well as those who see to it that the bells ring for Sunday services and on practice nights.

The Editors of the several journals mentioned in the Introduction of course deserve the congratulations and gratitude of their readers. Such unselfish work must not be allowed to go unnoticed and full appreciation and thanks for their efforts must be accorded to them.

I have also to thank all the letter writers who communicate with me with friendship and keep me informed of local activities and I hope that their help has been in some small way been reflected in this Report.

The Public Relations Committee in particular, and the Central Council in general on whose behalf I am writing, as well as personally, are coupled with this expression of thanks and appreciation.

International Liaison.

Meadow Cottage,
Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland.

The Ringing World, April 19, 1991, page 368 to 371, corrections June 21, 1991, page 580


Chairman’s Report

On re-reading my report for 1989 I realise that this report for 1990 is going to seem very familiar. Again I am able to report a satisfactory financial situation, although I must stress that our profit for the year has been significantly boosted by the high level of interest rates available during the year.

The continuing and welcome changeover from copies sold through newsagents, to postal subscribers, has helped maintain this healthy financial position. Against this the harsher economic climate noted at the end of 1989 has affected our overall sales, with a marginal decrease in total copies sold.

Although my report every year reads like a vote of thanks, it is nevertheless a sincere attempt to express the Board’s gratitude to all those who contribute in any way to the continuing success of The Ringing World. David Thorne’s work as Editor has taken the paper from strength to strength, and I am sure he would be the first to acknowledge the contribution made by Anne Carpenter as editorial assistant.

The co-operation of the management and staff at Seven Corners Press is an important factor in the efficient production and distribution of the paper, as is the enthusiastic contribution of our peal and quarter-peal setters. Our thanks go to our regular advertisers for their support; and last but not least to those regular contributors whose “copy” makes the paper the interesting and informative journal which readers will support.

The Ringing World celebrates its 80th birthday in 1991. It goes into the next decade in good health and with confidence. Confident of its role and value to the Exercise as it links the family of bellringers round the world. Confident of its future, because of the continuing goodwill and support of all those ringers who recognise the paper as an important contribution to the overall health and future of our Art.

H.W. Egglestone


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