The Annual General Meeting of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers was held on Saturday 6th July 1986 in St. Mark’s Church Hall, Highcliffe. The Guild Master, Mrs.G.W.Davis, occupied the chair, and she was supported by the Hon. General Secretary, Mr.D.C. Jackson, and the Hon. Treasurer, Mr.J.P.Colliss. The meeting opened with prayers, and then the Master, thanked the Vicar, the Rev.J.N.Seaford, and the curate, Rev.B.J.Fry, for their willing support on this ringing occasion, and for ensuring that the new Archdeacon of Winchester, the Venerable A.G. Clarkson, would attend and preach at the service following the meeting. The Master stressed the importance of thanking those who had the responsibility for arranging special functions, but stressed that the most effective mode in which each Guild member could express thanks for the enjoyment of their bellringing was to regularly support their own, weekly practice night, and the Sunday service ringing. Mrs. Davis welcomed the 68 members attending this meeting.

The Master then announced that the Guild Secretary and his wife would celebrate their Silver Wedding on 13th August, and offered best wishes on behalf of all Guild members.

Apologies for absence

Apologies were received from:-

Mrs.G.Cater, Mr.R.Corke, Mr.L.Duguid, Mr.G.C.Grant, Mrs.J.Hall, Mr.A.Hoar, Mr and Mrs.P.J.Hill, Mr.H.L.Hatfield, Mrs.R.A.Jackson, Miss W.Lines, Mr.D. Lay, Mr.T.Matcham, Mr. and Mrs.P. Miller, Messrs.H. and R.Milford, Mr. and Mrs. A.Townsend, Mr.A.C.Webster, and from all 12 members of the newly formed band at St. Mary’s, Eversley.

Loss of members through death

The meeting stood in silence to respect the following, deceased members:-

Mr.J.Chesterman (Life Member. Church Oakley and Sherborne St.John); Mr.L.Bailey (Life Member. Godshill. Guild Auditor since 1954); Mr.C.Callaway (Life Member. Godshill); Mr.H. de Combe (Petersfield); Mr.W.E.Fletcher (Lymington); Mrs. Ethel Hibberd (née White) (The youngest daughter of Henry White, one of our founder members. Also sister of Alice White, the first lady to ring a tower bell peal); Mr. K.Jacobs (Romsey Abbey); Mr.O. Smart (Andover); Mr.F.Taylor (Life Member. Newport); Miss D.Wilson (Abbotts Ann).


Minutes of the A.G.M. held at Winchester on 7th July 1984 had been duplicated by the Secretary and circulated with the agenda. The Master signed these as correct, on the proposition of Mr.D.A.Chapman, seconded by Mrs.C.K.Colliss.

Matters arising

(a) The public relations questionnaire had been completed and returned to the public relations committee of the Central Council.

(b) Letters had been despatched by the Secretary to Messrs. Cockle, Dudman, Hasall, Cope, Tremeer and Duguid, and to Mrs.Hall, welcoming them as Life Members.

(c) The Secretary had despatched letters to the absent members of the Striking Competitions sub-committee. In his reply, the convenor, Mr.J. Reynolds, tendered his resignation due to his anticipated promotion abroad. The Secretary explained that Mr.A.T.Collins had volunteered to act in Mr Reynold’s sted, and that Mr. and Mrs.P.W.Hill had been persuaded to volunteer for this sub-committee. Mr.J.W.J.Mather was happy to remain a member. The November 1984 Executive Committee Meeting had confirmed this arrangement.

(d) The Secretary had drafted and despatched a letter to the “Ringing World” concerning the second change of rule 19. He pointed out that, with two changes of this rule last year, we no longer printed the current peal fee in the Guild Report. This error should be remedied.

(e) Mr.W.O.Hawthorne asked what steps had been taken to streamline the Guild A.G.M. The Master explained that the Executive Committee had decided to remove a report on the proceedings of the current Central Council Meeting, and replace this with an opportunity to comment upon any item relevant to our Guild.


(a) Letters of thanks had been received from the following, recently-elected Honorary Life Members:-

Mr.R.E.V.Cockle, Mr.W.F.J.Cope, Mr.W.A.C.Davis, Mr.L.D.Duguid, Mr.H.Dudman, and Mrs.J.H.Hall O.B.E.

(b) Letters of thanks had been received from the following, after the Secretary had notified details of B.R.F. grants allocated in 1984:-

Mr.P.Miller on behalf of St.John the Baptist, Niton.
Mrs.R.Haviland on behalf of St.Mary the Virgin, Micheldever.
Mrs.J. Le Conte on behalf of St.Pierre du Bois, Guernsey.
Rev.J.R.A.Shaw on behalf of Ste.Marguerite de la Forêt, Guernsey, the latter sending copies of the Parish Magazines containing details of local fund raising.

(c) A letter had been received from Mr.P.Gallienne on behalf of Ste. Marguerite de la Forêt, confirming completion of the augmentation, and enclosing a copy of the dedication service held on 7th December 1984. Subsequently the grant of £500 was despatched from the B.R.F.

(d) A letter had been received from Mrs.J.Le Conte, written at the time of the peal rung at St. Pierre du Bois for the 40th Anniversary of the Liberation, 9th May 1985. She eulogized the ring of 10 bells and extolled the dedication service on 27th April 1985, enclosing a copy of the booklet printed for the service. The ringers were very involved with various parts of this service, the fanfare by trumpeters was written especially for the ringers, and closed-circuit television enabled the congregation to watch both ringers and bells in operation. Our Guild Master led the 20 visitors, read the lesson, and presented the B.R.F. grant of £1500 during the ceremony following the service. The prestige of the Guild had received a high kudos amongst Channel Island bellringers.

(e) Letters of thanks had been received from St.Nicolas, North Stoneham, and from St.Barnabas, Swanmore, following receipt of their B.R.F. grants.

(f) A letter had been received from St.Christopher’s, Pott Shrigley, Macclesfield, asking for news of redundant bells to assist their augmentation. The Secretary had replied that any such bells had been used by the Guild.

(g) The new Archdeacon of Winchester, the Venerable A.G.Clarkson M.A., had replied to the Secretary, delighted to be a Guild Vice-President. Not only did he admit to being an ex-member of the band at Wrington in Somerset, but he would be present this afternoon, to present the address during the service.

(h) The new Bishop of Southampton, the Right Rev. E.D.Cartwright M.A., had replied to the Secretary, honoured to continue to act as a Guild Vice-President, and offering to help in any way.

(i) The new Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Rev. T.Bavin, had replied to the Secretary, delighted to act as a Guild President, and admitting to ringing experience while at Theological College.

(j) The new Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev.C.James, had replied to the Secretary, delighted to act as a Guild President, and pleased to know that the ringers at St. Peter’s, Bournemouth, one of his previous parishes, were in good heart.

(k) Details of the 1985, inter-Guild, 10-Bell Striking Competition had been received from the Kent County Association. The Guild Peal Recorder volunteered to organise a representative, Guild team.

Mr.Smith asked if the copies of the Channel Islands dedication services could be placed in the Guild Library.

Honorary Life Members

The following have been members of the Guild for over 50 years. In accordance with rule 6, the Master was pleased to confirm that they become Honorary Life Members of the Guild:-

Mr.W.F.Bessent (Hambledon); Mr.A.W.Betsworth (Petersfield); Mr.C.A.Pound (Hawkley)

Hon. General Secretary’s report

This is to be found on page 3 of the 1984 Guild Report. Cdr.Harris pointed out that the recorded membership was 979 Ringing Members, consequent upon a decision made at the Executive Committee Meeting, but returns from District Secretaries contained 1009 names. This discrepancy caused many problems, and he asked that Tower Secretaries submit accurate lists of members in future. Mr. Esbester pointed out that only members elected up to December 1983 should appear in the 1984 Report. Mr.Dodd suggested that District Treasurers should check each list each year. Mr Cater suggested that we print only names of members resident within the Guild area, but Mr. Smith pointed out that this conflicted with rule 6, section (a). The Secretary’s report was accepted, on the proposition of Rev. B.J.Fry, seconded by Mr. R.Wilson.

Hon. General Treasurer’s report

This, and the Guild accounts, are printed on pages 5, 6 and 7 of the current Report. These were accepted, on the proposition of Mr.J.Frodsham, seconded by Mr.F.E.Collins.

Election of a Guild Auditor

Following the death of Mr. L.Bailey, Guild Auditor from 1954 to 1985, it is necessary to fill the position for the final year of the triennial period. Rev.B.J.Fry was proposed by Mr A.D.Elsmore and seconded by Mr. J.Frodsham, but declined to stand. Mr.C.H.Kippin was proposed by Mr.F.E. Collins and seconded by Mr.M.K.Waldron. Although Mr.Kippin protested that he was handicapped by age he was elected unanimously.

Hon. Peal Recorder’s report

This, the peal analysis for 1984, and details of the 110 peals appear between pages 42 and 54 of the 1984 Report. Mr. Le Marechal stated that, as anticipated, peals 7286, 7304 and 7373, recorded at Liss Campanile, were rejected by the 1985 meeting of the Central Council. This report was accepted, on the proposition of Mr.N.M.White, seconded by Mr.L.A.Tremeer.

Peal number 7239

Following their meeting in the Autumn of 1984, members of the Executive Committee proposed “That peal number 7239 be recorded as a Miscellaneous Performance”. The meeting was reminded that these 5000 changes of Kent Treble Bob Royal were the first performance of peal length upon the new ceramic bells at Liss Campanile. This proposition was seconded by Mr.J.Frodsham. 33 members voted for the proposition, and 4 voted against.

Hon. Librarian’s report

This and the accounts for the library fund are printed on page 14 of the current Guild Report. Mr.N.White added that he had, that Wednesday, met the keeper of the special collection at Southampton University Library. The new building was not yet started, and hence it would be at least two years before our library could be moved there. Mr. Haythorne added that it is unlikely that the library cabinet could be accommodated at the University. Mr.I.M.McCallion pointed out that it would be difficult to gain access, and that security arrangements at the University would require the issue of a membership card each year. The Master stated that we should leave these problems to be solved by the Guild Librarian. The report was accepted on the proposition of Mr. Smith, seconded by Mr.B.H. Oakes. The Treasurer proposed that the Library Fund be “topped-up” to £25, as is customary. This was seconded by Mr.W.O. Haythorne, and carried, nem. con.

Election of Guild Librarian

Mr.W.O.Haythorne had written on 24th March 1985 to relinquish the position of Guild Librarian, in order that Mr. White could fill his shoes. It was proposed by Mr.R.D.McGowan that Mr. White be appointed as Guild Librarian, seconded by Mr. W.O. Haythorne, and carried, nem. con.

Bell Restoration Fund

Mr. J.P.Colliss stated that the report from the Trustees was printed on page 9 in the Guild Report, with the balance sheet on page 8, and the Rules on pages 20 and 21. Mr.Colliss pointed out that we had spent over £2000 on grants during the past twelve months. The Master encouraged bands to make tower donations so that the sum of £428-82 could be exceeded next year. The Treasurer encouraged members to covenant their donations to the B.R.F. Mr.N.M.White proposed the acceptance of the Trustees’ report, this was seconded by Cdr.W.A.Harris, and carried, nem. con.

On behalf of the trustees, Mr.F.E.Collins explained the requests received for grants, and the recommendations made by the Trustees:-

(a) St. Peter’s, Curdridge (8)

Repair to number 7 bell by Mr. J.Wannacott. Cost £280. Recommended grant £25.

(b) St. Peter, Soberton (8)

Essential repairs to masonry of tower. Part of restoration to mark centenary of earlier restoration, the augmentation of the bells, and the first peal for the Guild in Hampshire (see Ringing World issue 3801). Cost £11000 for tower. Recommended grant £500, with the possibility of increasing the sum if the church authorities re-apply in 1986.

(c) St. Andrew’s, Hurstbourne Priors (6)

Rehanging of the bells in the original frame, with the fittings supplied by Whites of Appleton. All work to be on a D.I.Y. basis involving Andover district members. Cost of fittings £4639. Unfortunately this application arrived two days after the 1984 A.G.M. and, although given priority consideration in 1985, we have been advised by the Andover District Secretary that the Rector has now retired and that the new incumbent would be inducted to a large, joint parish. Mrs. Townsend suggested that this request be again “held-over” to 1986 in order to confirm support from the new Rector. The Trustees, however, proposed a provisional grant of £350, to encourage the new incumbent, with the proviso that it could be increased if the authorities reapply.

(d) St. Peter, Goodworth Clatford (6)

The scheme to augment these bells to 8, originally proposed in 1980, has been re-activated by the new band under their captain Mrs. Clare Le Marie. They have acquired a redundant bell, started fund raising, and placed the order with Whitechapel Bell Foundry, who have quoted a cost of £7234. Recommended grant £500

(e) St. Leonard, Sherfield English (8)

In 1982 we had provided a grant towards the re-hanging of the tenor bell. This year it was necessary to replace all the pulleys, and Taylor’s will supply these at a cost of £276-57 for fitting on a D.I.Y. basis. Recommended grant £25.

(f) St. Mary, Eversley (Chime of 2)

The Rector has suggested that the 250th anniversary of the tower be marked by augmenting the bells into a complete ring during 1985. Plans and fund raising are well underway, and an order has been placed at Whitechapel Bell Foundry to install a steel frame for a ring of six, and to augment the two bells to four in 1985, planning further augmentation to six in the future. This will cost £16100. Recommended grant £1000.

Mr. Dodd queried the allocation of grants for repairs to masonry. Mr. Collins pointed out that grants for this purpose are specified in B.R.F. rule 3, and that we have already made similar grants to SS. Peter and Paul, Hambledon, and to St. Mary the Virgin, Micheldever. After much discussion about the advantages of a ring of 4, Mr.I.M.McCallion proposed that Eversley be offered only £500, with the proviso that this could be increased to £1000 if they install 6 bells. This was seconded by Mr.W.O.Haythorne, but was lost by an overwhelming majority. Mr.J. Frodsham proposed that we accept the Trustees’ recommendations, this was seconded by Mr.M.Hough, and carried against 1 vote.

The Secretary pointed out that St. Peter’s church, Brown Candover, had requested Whitechapel Bell Foundry to conduct an inspection of their bells and fittings. Subsequently they had received a recommendation to recast the bells into a light ring of 6. Remedial work on the present 5 bells would cost £13873. Since the church still owes £9000 for completing work and repairs on the church structure it is very unlikely that any remedial work will be initiated. Mr.Hough explained that R.S.Js. have been installed in the tower, eliminating damage during ringing.

Guild Public Relations Officer

Mr.Cater’s report appears on page 10 of the 1984 Guild Report. Referring to the second paragraph, Mr.Cater stated that he had still not received enough material for a second newsletter. This report was adopted on the proposition of Mr.W.O.Haythorne, seconded by Miss J.W.Reed.

Education sub-committee

Mr.A. P. Smith referred to his report on page 11 of the Guild Report, and wished to express his thanks to the members of the sub-committee who had given support during his period of office as convenor. Mr.W.O. Haythorne regretted that the “Ringing World” report of the 1985 Central Council Meeting indicated little enthusiasm for the Graded Ringing Assessments. Mr.R.Cater stated, that participation is now limited entirely to this Guild. The Master expressed her thanks to the full sub-committee for all their hard work in wide ranging forms of instruction. The report was accepted on the proposition of Miss J.W.Reed, seconded by Mr.N.M.White.

Striking Competitions sub-committee

Mr.A.T.Collins stated that this report appeared on pages 13 and 14 of the Guild Report, He thanked Mr. and Mrs P.W.Hill for joining the sub-committee and working hard on the administration. The 1986 competitions were tentatively planned as follows:-

8-Bell and Inter-District, 17th May.
6-Bell, 28th June.
10-Bell, September - October.

Mr.M.Hough asked if evening ringing could be arranged after such competitions. Mr.Collins stated that few people had shown interest in such arrangements, but the sub-committee would keep it in mind. The report was accepted on the proposition of Cdr.W.A.Harris, seconded by Mr.N.M.White.

Social sub-committee

Mrs. E.Chapman commented that the report was printed on pages 10 and 11 of the 1984 Report. She regretted that the main speaker, the Bishop of Southampton, had failed to materialise, leaving Mr.G.K.Dodd with the difficult task of proposing and replying to the toast “The Guild”. A Riverboat Shuffle on Southampton Water was planned for 14th September 1985, and a Barn Dance for 4th October 1986. The Guild Dinner would be incorporated into the Guild Festival on the Channel Islands. The report was accepted on the proposition of Mr.J.Frodsham, seconded by Mr.R.Le Marechal.

Election of Education sub-committee.

Mr.C.H.Kippin rose to propose that this Guild does not elect such a sub-committee. This was seconded by Mr.F.E.Collins. On being put to the vote, 2 voted for and a large majority against. Mr.R.Cater proposed the election of Messrs. H.L.Hatfield and J.K.Foot. This was seconded by Mr.R.M.Esbester. Mr.A.P.Smith proposed Mr.G.C.Emerson, and this was seconded by Mrs.R.Haviland. These elections were confirmed, nem.con., together with powers for the sub-committee to co-opt extra members.

Election of Striking Competitions sub-committee

Mr.F.E.Collins proposed the re-election of the sub-committee, Messrs. A.T.Collins, P.W.Hill, J.W.J.Mather and Mrs. C.R.Hill. This was seconded by Cdr. Harris, and the elections were confirmed, nem. con., together with powers for the sub-committee to co-opt extra members.

Items relevant to the Guild arising from the 1985 Central Council Meeting

The Secretary pointed out that the Guild’s four representatives always sat together in order to consult on such matters, this being a rare arrangement for other Guilds. Central Council publications had been available at specially reduced rates, with a further discount on bulk orders. The Secretary had duplicated the order forms, and circulated them to District Secretaries. Unfortunately only three districts ordered these publications at the reduced price, so that we obtained a reduction of 10% instead of 15% on the total order. Copies of the 1984 Guild Report were taken for the special sales counter, but only six were sold. The Biographies Committee ask that all, important members of each Guild who are not already C.C. members, complete one of their new, biography forms. Mr.A.P.Smith has now been elected as Chairman of the Methods Committee. The method, Reverse Canterbury Doubles, has been renamed Canterbury Pleasure Place Doubles, details being given in “Ringing World” issue 3855. The renaming was challenged at the 1985 Meeting, and the original name re-established.

The Secretary was allowed to raise the subject of peals number 7286, 7304 and 7373, rung at Liss Campanile, because he had been absent from the 1984 C.C.Meeting. Officially the subject had received a decision in 1984 for the triennial period. He encountered a hostile attitude, which included propositions to ban their appearance in “The Ringing World”, and to officially classify them as “Hoax” peals, After 1¼ hours the meeting had voted not to accept these performances.

The Master stated that the subject would not be aired again during the current triennium, and that the Guild was in danger of losing its credibility with the Central Council. Both Messrs. McCallion and Dodd then spoke vehemently, and at length, on the expectations of Guild members that the representatives pursue this matter. Mr.Cater stated that such attitudes discredit the Guild in the eyes of C.C. members. Mr.S.Stanton proposed “Next business”, this was seconded by Mrs.E.Chapman, but the proposition was lost by a large majority. After further, lengthy discussion, Mr.I.M. McCallion proposed that the Guild, in its Report, should record performances of peal length rung for the W. & P. at Liss Campanile, and should state this intention by letter in “The Ringing World”. This was seconded by Mr.M.K.Waldron, and carried by a large majority.

Due to the length of the business meeting it was necessary to postpone the remainder of the business until after the service and tea.

1986 Guild Festival in the Channel Islands

Mr.M.R.Hilson explained that the programme and the administration were well in hand, end that application forms would be printed in time for distribution during the autumn. The final, basic cost would vary between £115 and £155, depending upon the hotel selected, and it was anticipated that the cost of the folk dance would be £5, the dinner £8 and the visit to Alderney and Jersey £40. The Dinner would be arranged for Friday evening to allow ringers from Alderney and Jersey to attend. Guernsey ringers will accommodate them in their homes. It would be possible to accept up to 200 applications for participation in the festival.

Guild Masters’ Board

Mrs.Davis explained that Portsmouth Cathedral was a possible venue, but, due to proposed building it was not possible to discuss the position cost or design at present. She suggested that the matter be temporarily left in abeyance. However, Miss J.W.Reed enthusiastically described an alternative arrangement, after which Mr.M.K.Waldron proposed that we establish a portable board, which can be displayed, when necessary, with our various relics and regalias. Mrs.R.Haviland seconded this proposition. The voting was 16 for and 16 against, after two different counts. The Master thus used her casting vote against the proposition.

Guild support for retaining the ring of 8 at St. Peter’s, Ruthin

The Secretary referred to the appeal for support by the North Wales Association in “Ringing World”, issue 3862. This was discussed at length by the Central Council, where it was agreed that support was essential, but that tact was vital.

Mrs.R.Haviland suggested that we offer a financial loan, which the Treasurer stated was possible if we used our reserve funds. Mr.A.P.Smith stated that verbal support only was required. Mr.L.Tremeer suggested we could also add our willingness to discuss financial support. Mr.W.O. Haythorne proposed that the Guild respond to this request, affirming support in its endeavours to persuade the P.C.C. of St. Peter’s, Ruthin, to abandon its decision to convert the ring of bells into one incapable of being rung full-circle. Also to consider restoration of the existing ring of bells, alternatively reduction in size or in number to not less than six. This was seconded by Mr.G.E.Evenden, and carried, nem.con.

1986 Annual General Meeting

By rule this should take place in the Basingstoke area, and, by tradition, should be held on Saturday 5th July 1986. Mr.F.E.Collins proposed that we accept this venue and date, this was seconded by Mr.R. Wilson, and carried, nem. con. Mr.A. P. Smith suggested that it would be better to arrange the service before the business meeting, and not have a limited time for the latter.