The annual meeting of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild was held at Winchester on Saturday [July 7th], when Canon Braithwaite, Canon Residentiary of Winchester Cathedral, and an hon. member of the Guild presided over an attendance which included representatives from a large number of towers. He was supported by the Master of the Guild (Mr. G. Williams), the hon. secretary (Mr. G. Pullinger), and the hon. treasurer (the Rev. N. C. Woods). Ringers were present from St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Portsmouth, Portsea, Ryde, Christchurch, Yateley, Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Brockenhurst, Winchester, Blackmoor, North Stoneham, Bishop’s Waltham, Fareham, Newport, I.O.W., Ringwood, Twyford, King’s Somborne, Romsey, Swanmore, Southampton, St. Mary Bourne, and Woolton Hill. The visitors included Mr. J. S. Goldsmith, hon. secretary of the Guildford Diocesan Guild, Mr. Denyer (Aldershot), and Mr. S. A. Banford (Raunds). After confirming the minutes of the last annual meeting, and of a special general meeting, in which matters relating to the splitting up of the old Guild and the formation of the new were the most important, the Secretary reported that in accordance with resolutions then passed the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild had been split up into eight new districts, and that since the reorganisation no fewer than eighteen fresh towers had joined the Guild (applause). They had also been very fortunate in the district secretaries they had been able to secure. Although he was unable to give the actual number of members at the present time, it was considerably higher than when they started.
The joint report of the Master and hon. secretary and the last balance sheet of the Winchester Diocesan Guild were adopted.
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS.
The report stated that it was well to think that the affairs of the old Guild had been wound up in such an amicable manner, and while they were sorry to part with so many old friends, it was generally agreed that the smaller areas would give easier working facilities, and therefore become of more benefit to ringers and the Church. Attention was drawn to the reciprocal arrangement between the new Guilds, whereby resident members of one might become compounding members of the other upon payment of 1s., if application be made during the year 1928. The number of members who paid their subscription during the year was: Honorary 74, full 646, probationers 114, unattached 14, compounding 9. After referring to the lamented death of the vice-president, Rev. C. E. Matthews, and the effort being made to provide a suitable memorial by giving an additional bell or bells at his old church at Milford-on-Sea, the report said restoration work had been going on apace. Haslemere had been augmented to 10, Deane to 6, King’s Somborne to 6. Fordingbridge (8), Gosport (8) and Newton Valance (5), had been rehung and restored. It was also understood that the bells at Milford, Highclere, Monk’s Sherborne and Burgclere would be put in hand shortly. Increased bell restoration, the report continued, meant more work for the Guilds, and individuals as well as bands should ever be on the alert in obtaining and training likely recruits for the Exercise, as only by ever increasing their numbers could they hope to get the bells rung regularly for the Sunday services. Keen appreciation for the support given by life and honorary members, whose generous help and encouragement was of great value to the work of the Guild, was given, and the report added that it was good to find that quite a number of the clergy were beginning to take an interest in the Guild. It remained to ask for the wholehearted support of all incumbents in the area of the three dioceses and to assure them of the readiness of the two Guilds to help them in any way they could. In conclusion, the report thanked the officers and members for their help and co-operation, and expressed the best wishes to the Guildford Diocesan Guild and the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, with the hope that both would enjoy a long life of prosperity.
The treasurer’s balance sheet showed that £50 7s. 10d. was received from the districts, and that a balance of £31 19s. remained in hand at the end of the year. The balance was disposed of by paying £3 2s. 4d. in committee expenses, £14 10s. for the printing of the 1927 report, the £14 6s. 8d. then remaining being divided as to £3 11s. 8d. to the Guildford Diocesan Guild, and the remaining 75 per cent. to the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild.
The Master presented a report on the Central Council meeting, for which he was thanked.
THE MATTHEWS’ MEMORIAL.
The Hon. Secretary reported on the present position of the Matthews’ memorial. The Guild’s appeal had met with a good response, £81 15s. 2d. having been received. A further £10 had been promised from Lymington tower and friends. The Parochial Council at Milford had agreed on a scheme for recasting the present five bells and making them into a peal of eight, with tenor of 12½ cwt. The cost would be about £600, and it was hoped to raise enough money in the Guild to provide the two trebles. Following an old custom, it was intended to give each of the bells a name. These names would be: Treble ‘Faith,’ 2nd ‘Hope,’ 3rd ‘Love,’ 4th ‘Peace,’ 5th ‘Joy,’ 6th ‘Liberty,’ 7th ‘Patience,’ tenor ‘Victory.’ The Rector had asked what inscription the Guild would like put on the bells which they proposed to give, and had suggested the following, which he (the speaker) thought would have met with the wishes of the late Mr. Matthews had he been alive: Treble: ‘“Faith.” The gift of the Winchester Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers, in memory of their vice-president, Rev. C. E. Matthews, 1928.’ Second: ‘Hope,’ and the same inscription. Mr. Pullinger hoped they would be able to raise the memorial fund to £100, which would more than pay for the metal in the two bells. It would not be sufficient to pay for the fittings as well, but he believed the Parochial Church Council would be satisfied with that amount. He had already issued three appeals, but there were still a number of prominent towers in both dioceses from which nothing had been received.
Mr. Andrews suggested that another appeal might be broadcast, and hoped that the total amount required would be in hand in the course of the next two or three months.
The inscriptions were approved, and it was thought that the ventilation of the subject would be sufficient to bring in amounts from those who had not yet subscribed.
The vice-presidents, the Bishop of Southampton, and the Archdeacons of the dioceses of Winchester and Portsmouth, were re-elected, and Canon Braithwaite and Mr. George Williams were added to the list amid applause.
The following officers were re-elected: Master, Mr. G. Williams; hon. treasurer, Rev. N. C. Woods; hon. secretary, Mr. G. Pullinger; recorder of peals, Mr. F. J. Rogers; auditor, Mr. G. Smith.
Mr. Pullinger said he thought it was time he handed the work over to someone who had more time to carry it out, but the members would not hear of any change, and eventually the secretary’s suggestion that he should have the assistance of Mr. F. W. Rogers in getting out the annual report was unanimously adopted.
Mr. Smith, who was unable to be present, also asked to be relieved of his duties as auditor, but the Master, having remarked that this was his ‘annual report,’ the members at once re-elected him.
WINCHESTER GUILD’S JUBILEE.
A long discussion ensued on the place and date of the next annual meeting. Next year the Guild will celebrate the jubilee of the Winchester Diocesan Guild, and the desire had been expressed that the members of the new Guildford Diocesan Guild should join in with the members of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild. In order that some place convenient to both Guilds might be considered, the feeling of the Guildford Guild had been ascertained, and of the places suggested Petersfield and Haslemere were recommended.
Some members expressed the view that the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild should have two separate gatherings, one for the annual meeting and the other for the jubilee celebration, and this was ultimately resolved upon. It was decided to hold the annual general meeting at Portsmouth on the first Saturday in June, 1929 (an amendment to hold it at Christchurch being defeated), and the jubilee festival at Petersfield and Haslemere on the first Saturday in July, proposals to hold it at Farnham and Alton and on August Bank Holiday being defeated.
A sub-committee, consisting of the hon. secretary, the Master and Mr. F. W. Rogers, was appointed to act with representatives of the Guildford Diocesan Guild in making arrangements.
The Rev. Thomas, of Romsey, was elected an hon. member, Mr. B. J. B. Beale, of Lymington, a life member, and Messrs. C. Green and J. Green, of Ringwood, were elected ringing members.
The meeting then discussed a new set of rules, the draft of which had been recommended by the committee. The rules follow fairly closely the rules adopted by the Guildford Diocesan Guild, and the only point that raised any discussion was that of the affiliation of towers. Mr. F. Tucker said that, as the Parochial Church Council in his parish already paid the ringers’ subscriptions to the Guild, he could not ask them to pay another 5s. He was opposed to such a rule.
It was pointed out that the rule was not compulsory, but only that the towers, through the incumbent and Parochial Church Council, should be ‘invited’ to subscribe.
Being asked to say how the rule worked in the Guildford Diocese, Mr. Goldsmith explained that the object of this affiliation was not merely a question of raising funds. The principal desire was to give the Church authorities a direct interest in the work of the Guild, and in this he felt the Guildford Diocesan Guild had very largely been successful. The affiliation scheme had been well received, and out of the 48 towers from which they had members, about 40 had actually paid the affiliation fee for this year, and he believed most of the remainder would do so.
In view of the fact that payment of the fee was not compulsory, Mr. Tucker withdrew his opposition, and the rules were unanimously adopted.
The Secretary reported that since the last meeting Col. Stillwell, of Yateley, a great supporter of the Guild, had passed away, and in the Guild’s name he wrote to Mrs. Stillwell expressing the sympathy of the members. He read a reply conveying grateful thanks from Mrs. Stillwell and family, and his action was endorsed.
A vote of thanks to the chairman, moved by Mr. W. T. Tucker, concluded the business, and the members then had tea together, a party of about 70 sitting down.
Service in the Cathedral, at which the Bishop of Southampton was the preacher, then took place, the Guild’s form being used.
On account of the amount of business to be transacted, there was no opportunity for ringing until the evening, and the twelve bells at the Cathedral then came in for good use, among the visitors being members of the Hillingdon (Middlesex) band, who were in the district for their annual outing.
The Ringing World No. 903, July 13th, 1928, page 441