The annual general meeting of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild was held at Winchester on Saturday, July 1st, when 100 members and friends visited the historic cathedral city from most towers in the two dioceses. The visitors included Mr. Rupert Richardson (Master of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild) and Mrs. R. Richardson.
The business meeting was held in St. Maurice's Hall, with Mr. G. Williams, the Master, in the chair.
The Master's report stated that the Guild's work for the year 1932 must be considered satisfactory again as regards finance, although the amount to the general fund was a trifle less than last year. The balances in hand of the districts showed an increase. The annual and district meetings had been well attended, and it was gratifying to note the amount of young blood that turned up at most of these meetings, considering the number of present-day attractions. There was still plenty of room for missionary work for members in the districts, to try and bring in more of the unaffiliated towers. The peal records for the year were somewhat disheartening, considering the number of members in the Guild, proficient in the higher methods. This year's list showed only three Surprise peals, compared with twelve in 1931, and the total falling from 36 to 25. "Let us hope and endeavour," said the report, "not to let the Guild go back this year from the prestige it has held in the past." Bell restoration had been fairly active during the year. Christchurch had been augmented to 12; St. Mary's, Portsea, recast and rehung in new iron frame by Taylor and Co.; Romsey Abbey, eight retuned, the third, fifth and seventh recast and all rehung in ball bearings by Mears and Stainbank, while other minor jobs were about to be taken in hand. Thanks were due to the Barron Bell Trust for the help they had given during the year. In conclusion, the Master appealed to the more advanced members to try and keep up the prestige of the Guild, both in peal ringing and good striking, not forgetting the latter as the most essential work of the Guild for Sunday service ringing.
The report was adopted, as was also the balance sheet, presented by the treasurer (the Rev. Evan Jones). The balance on the general account had been increased from £56 18s. 5d. to £59 18s. 9d., while the special purposes fund, which began with a balance of £25 10s. 4d., now had a balance of £35 14s. 10d., the receipts having included £15 transferred from current account and 9s. 6d. interest. The expenditure was £5 5s. to the Rev. C. D. P. Davies Memorial Fund.
The officers were re-elected en bloc as follows: Master, Mr. G. Williams; hon. secretary, Mr. F. W. Rogers; hon. treasurer, the Rev. Evan Jones; recorder of peals, Mr. C. E. Bassett; auditor, Mr. G. Smith.
The recommendation by the Executive Committee to alter Rule 7 was unanimously adopted. This now reads: "That each tower in the Guild's area shall be invited to subscribe, through the incumbent and Parochial Church Council, an affiliation fee of 5s. annually." The draft copy of the proposed circular to towers inviting them to pay these fees, which had been drawn up by the Master, treasurer, secretary and Mr. Pullinger, was approved, and sanction given to proceed with the printing of same.
Mr. E. Denison Taylor (Loughborough) was elected a life member and the election of Mr. F. Hopkins (Christchurch) was also confirmed. Several full members were elected from Alton, Fareham, Hambledon and St. Mary's, Southampton.
For some time past the question of re-forming the districts in the north west corner of the Guild (embracing the towers in the Alton District and North Portsmouth District) had raised serious opposition from some members and also the Bishop of Portsmouth, on the ground that the proposed new district would cover part of two dioceses. At the last annual meeting a motion that the transfer of the towers should be made provided equal voting, many abstaining. A subsequent motion that the matter should be considered after the views of the Bishop of Portsmouth had been obtained was put and carried. As a result of this, the Executive Committee recommended to the general meeting, a resolution brought forward by Mr. G. Pullinger in the following terms: "That the towers of Blackmoor, Bramshott, Buriton, East Meon, Froxfield, Hawkley, Liss, Petersfield, Privett, Steep and West Meon, all in the diocese of Portsmouth, be formed into a Petersfield District. That the towers of Alton, Bentworth, Binstead, Chawton, Froyle, Newton Valence and Selborne, all in the Diocese of Winchester, be formed into an Alton District. These two districts to be united for administration purposes until such time as they are more fully developed, and to be known under the joint title as 'The Alton and Petersfield District.' That the isolated tower of Ropley in the Deanery of Alresford be transferred to the Winchester District. That the tower of Upham in the Deanery of Bishop's Waltham be transferred to the Portsmouth District."
The resolution was unanimously approved, and to operate from January 1st, 1934.
It was decided to hold the next annual meeting at Petersfield on Saturday, July 7th, 1934, and to invite the Bishop of Portsmouth to be the special preacher.
Votes of thanks to the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral, the Rector of St. Maurice's and the Vicars of Hursley and Twyford for the use of the bells concluded the meeting.
Tea was served in St. Maurice's Hall, after which members attended the Cathedral evensong, which was followed by further ringing at the towers mentioned.
The Ringing World No. 1164, July 14th, 1933, page 437