THE MEMORIAL BELLS FOR THE CATHEDRAL.
The annual meeting of the Winchester Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers was held at Winchester on Saturday. Following a meeting of the Central Committee in the morning, a general meeting took place at the Guildhall in the afternoon. The Master, the Rev. C. E. Matthews (Titchfield), was in the chair, and there were with him on the platform the treasurer (the Rev. W. E. Colchester), and the general secretary (Mr. George Williams). There was a numerous attendance of members.
The 39th annual report and accounts referred with regret to the death of Mr. H. White, of Basingstoke (Hon. Guild Auditor for many years), one of the oldest and most enthusiastic members; also the Rev. F. G. Hume, of Church Oakley, hon. district secretary for Basingstoke. Another loss deplored was that of Sergt. C. H. Russell, 4th Hants Regt.; he was a most promising and enthusiastic member of the Cathedral band. The return of the Master (the Rev. C. E. Matthews) from his second term of service in France as Chaplain to the Forces was welcomed. Bell restorations and augmentations were already in progress in the Diocese, and the hope was expressed that the Mother Church of the Diocese would not be lacking in taking this opportunity of adding two trebles to its fine ring of ten at the Cathedral, to make a complete ring of twelve for the Diocese.
The treasurer’s balance sheet showed that the credit balance amounted to £131 17s. 8d., an increase on the year of £10 5s. 5d. Of the balance, £102 12s. 7d. was invested in War Loan; £27 2s. 8d. was at the bank, and £2 2s. 5d. in the hands of the general secretary.
A NEW RINGING MASTER.
The Vice-President said a further recommendation by the Central Committee was that Mr. George Williams, of West End, should be appointed Master, or ‘Ringing Master,’ as the meeting pleased. For the years he (the Rev. Matthews) had been Master, he felt the title was a misnomer because he was not an actual ringer, much interested as he always had been. That would not apply to Mr. Williams, and he hoped they would consent unanimously to his election. Mr. Geo. Williams had been with them for many years, he had worked loyally and indefatigably for the business of the Guild (applause), he was a well-known change ringer throughout the South of England - probably all over England - and they could not have a better man to represent them as Ringing Master. He was very pleased to put from the chair that the recommendation be assented to (applause).
This was unanimously approved, and Mr. George Williams thanked the members, and expressed his appreciation.
The Vice-President added that, as it was known Mr. Williams was willing to do a great deal to help young bands in different parts of the Diocese, the committee recommended that his reasonable travelling expenses be defrayed (hear, hear).- This recommendation was also at once approved of.
On the motion of Mr. Whittington, seconded by Mr. George (Eastleigh), the Rev. W. E. Colchester was unanimously re-elected treasurer.
The Rev. W. E. Colchester, returning thanks, remarked that he had held the purse strings rather closely. When he took over the treasurership the balance was on the wrong side, but they now had the very creditable balance of £130 to the good (applause).
On the election of an auditor, the Vice-President made allusion to the death during the past year of the former auditor, Mr. H. White (of Basingstoke), who had always been interested in the Guild, besides being a delightful character and charming personality.
On the motion of Mr. Wilfred Andrews (Winchester), seconded by Mr. Tucker (Eastleigh), it was resolved to ask Mr. George Smith (Twyford), who had acted as auditor pro tem., if he would continue the work.
Mr. T. W. Fairey (Camberley) was re-appointed recorder of peals.
The Vice-President said that Mr. Williams felt that after seven years’ service and having been elected Master, someone else should take over the post of general secretary. The Central Committee recommended that the Rev. Sir John C. Herschel, Bart., Rector of West Clandon, be invited to become general secretary.
On the motion of Mr. J. J. Jones (Guildford), seconded by Mr. R. Whittington, this was unanimously approved.
Mr. A. M. Kennett (Camberley) was re-appointed hon. solicitor, and Mr. W. Shepherd (Horsham) was elected a representative on the Central Council.
The next annual meeting of the Guild was fixed for the third Saturday in June, 1920.
The Rev. W. E. Colchester mentioned that amongst the matters considered at the Central Committee meeting was that of the presidency. Mr. J. P. Stilwell desired a year or two ago to retire from the presidency, but consented to hold office till the termination of the war. The committee now recommended that for the future the Bishop of the Diocese should be ex-officio President of the Guild; that there should be a Vice-President elected annually (a new officer), who would be practically the executive head of the Guild; that the patrons should be those who appeared in the present list as vice-patrons - such as the Dean, the Archdeacons, and Canon Braithwaite and Canon Madge - that a Ringing Master should be elected, and other officers as before.
In answer to a question it was stated that the Bishop had not been asked, but he had shown so much interest in the Guild that it was confidently expected he would be quite willing to accept the position (the Bishop has hitherto been patron of the Guild).
The committee’s recommendation was unanimously agreed to.
The Rev. W. E. Colchester said the Central Committee unanimously recommended that the Rev. C. E. Matthews be the first Vice-President, and, therefore, executive leader of the Guild (applause). It was unnecessary he should go into details of what Mr. Matthews had done for the Guild. Mr. Matthews had been working 25 years for them, and he was recognised as an authority on all matters connected with the Guild (applause). He moved the confirmation of the recommendation.
Mr. R. Whittington (Cranleigh) seconded the proposition. Two years ago, when Mr. Stilwell wished to retire from the presidency, he (Mr. Whittington) had the honour of proposing Mr. Matthews as successor, and but for the fact of the Bishop of Winchester having been proposed he should now have opposed tooth and nail the election of anyone but Mr. Matthews (hear, hear).
The recommendation was unanimously adopted, and the Rev. C. E. Matthews resumed the chair, which he had temporarily vacated.
The Vice-President returned sincere thanks for the honour done him, and said he was very grateful for the kind expressions of feeling towards him. A quarter of a century was a very long time to have been connected with the Diocesan Guild, but all through that time the Guild had progressed very wonderfully, and he believed it was no exaggeration to say, as regarded the Church work of the Diocese all members of the Guild had contributed a very large share towards their duty as Church workers, which had always been the ideal before them (applause).
£100 VOTED FOR WAR MEMORIAL.
The Vice-President said the Central Committee discussed the question of a memorial to the ringers who had fallen in the war from this Diocese (the names of 42 were printed in the report). It was a recommendation from the Committee that two treble bells should be placed in the Cathedral, making it a ring of 12 instead of 10 as at present. They had approached the Dean and Chapter, who had expressed their full approval of the scheme. The idea was that these bells should be provided by the Guild by subscriptions and out of the Guild funds, and should be a gift to the Cathedral from the Diocese in memory of ringers who had given all for King and country. The proposal seemed to recommend itself to the committee generally. They had obtained estimates from three leading firms, but before going into details the committee desired to submit their scheme to the members. What they proposed was that the Guild should start a fund for providing the bells and fittings, and paying the whole cost with the sum of £100, and, having done that, the Central Committee should draw up some kind of recommendation asking for subscriptions from the various towers throughout the Diocese, and no doubt in that way they should be able to collect a considerable sum. In addition to the bells it was suggested there .should be an oak panel bearing the names of all the fallen men, their rank, and regiment; this would be erected according to the wishes of the Dean and Chapter, in the cathedral probably or in the belfry. The whole cost would come to something like £300. It was also recommended that the Central Committee would act for the whole Guild with regard to the details and going into any points raised, but not to give any definite order to either of the firms until they were financially equipped with the proper funds. The committee desired to bring the scheme before the annual meeting, and invited discussion, and he hoped they would unanimously adopt it as the most suitable scheme they could think of to perpetuate the memory of their dear brothers who had given their all for us and their country (applause).
Mr. Jones moved, and Mr. Whittington seconded, a resolution in accordance with the recommendation of the Central Committee - that the permanent memorial should consist of the two new bells for the Cathedral and a tablet with the names of the fallen, and that the fund be started with £100 from the Guild.
The Hon. Treasurer remarked that the Guild needed a working balance, and that would be provided by the £30 remaining after the £100 was applied in the manner suggested. But towers must not expect the Guild would be able to help them in any individual war memorial.
An amendment that the whole of the £300 should be raised by an appeal to the belfries and through the belfries to the parishioners of the various parishes, having been withdrawn, the motion, was unanimously agreed to.
The Vice-President expressed his satisfaction at their not being divided. It was a matter of Diocesan importance, and for the honour and glory of the Guild, and a unique occasion which could never come again in their lifetime.
In answer to the Rev. E: H. Duke, the Vice-President said the position of the memorial tablet must be left to the Dean and Chapter. Personally, he felt the tablet should be in the Cathedral, and not in the belfry; it would be seen by many in the Cathedral, but only by the ringers if in the belfry (hear, hear).
A resolution was then unanimously passed empowering the Central Committee to carry out the scheme in all its details.
This concluded the business of the annual meeting.
The members attended evensong at the Cathedral, which was made special for the occasion. The Rev. C. D. P. Davies, Rector of Deane, and district secretary for Basingstoke, was the preacher.
Tea was afterwards served at the Guildhall, 110 being present. The Cathedral bells were at the disposal of the members, and most of the Standard methods were practised during the day.
The Ringing World No. 434, July 11th, 1919, pages 279 and 281