The Annual General Meeting of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild was held on Saturday 4th July 1987, in St. Saviour's Hall, Shanklin, following two coach and ringing tours of the Isle of Wight. The Guild Master, Rev B.J.Fry, occupied the chair. Also present on the top table were the Hon General Secretary, Mr. D.C.Jackson, and the Hon General Treasurer, Mr.M.Bubb. At 1408 hours the Master opened the meeting with prayers and welcomed the 56 members to the first ever Guild AGM to be held at Shanklin.

Apologies for absence.

The Secretary had received apologies from:-

Mrs M.Aylieff, Mr.and Mrs D.Chapman, Mr.G.K.Dodd, Mr.L.Duguid, Mr. and Mrs S.Dunster, Mr.J.J.Hill (on behalf of All Saints, Basingstoke band), Mr. and Mrs P.Hill, Mr.M.R.Hilson, Mr.J.Nicholas, Mrs H.Peachey, Mr. and Mrs A.Russell, Mr. R.Skinner, Mr.A.P.Smith, Mrs B.Townsend, Mr. and Mrs A.Webster and Mr.N.White. The meeting was distressed to hear that cardiac problems prevented the attendance of Messrs J.P.Darch, E.Salmons, and G.E.Turner, the Master asking that the meeting's best wishes be conveyed to these three gentlemen.

Loss of members through death

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

Mr.W.Andrews (Selborne); Mr.P.Ball (Milford on Sea); Mr.H.Dudman (Life Member; Soberton); Rear Admiral D.Everett (Milford on Sea); Mr.W.Freeman (Life Member; Sopley); Miss P.Jenkins (Hinton Admiral); Mr.D.Matthews (Hinton Admiral); Mr.A.Scott (Alverstoke); Mr.V.Shadbolt (Life Member;Blackmoor).


Minutes of the AGM held at Basingstoke on 5th July 1986 had been typed and duplicated by the Secretary. A copy was circulated with each agenda. Mr. J.David proposed an amendment concerning the comments made by Mr.P.Gallienne concerning the bells in the town church of St Peter Port and the £320.43 presented by the Channel Islands to the Guild BRF. This was seconded by Mr.M.Bubb. The Master proposed the adoption of the amended minutes, and this was carried, nem.con.

Matters arising

a) Mr.M.Hough stated that he had organised a Guild 10-Bell Team for the Essex Striking Competition at Horsham on 18th October 1986, but had been unable to participate himself. The team came 3rd out of 6.

b) Mr.L.Hatfield stated that the Education Committee had now adopted the ex CC Ringing Assessment scheme as a Guild one, and that special, Guild certificates have been designed.

c) Mr.A.A.J.Buswell's suggestion for a summary of tower locations and practice nights in the Guild Report was under review by the Executive Committee, who planned to update the data provided by Mr.Buswell and photocopy this for every tower in the Guild. The value of such a summary could then be established from our membership.

d) The Master congratulated the Social Committee on an excellent Guild Dinner, organised at Winchester Guildhall on Saturday 25th April. A presentation had been made to the retiring convenor, Mrs E.Chapman, who had written to thank the Guild.


a) Letters of thanks had been received from Highclere PCC and from Mr.G.K.Dodd following receipt of the grant of £600 from the BRF. The Secretary read out the letter in full. A similar letter had been received from the PCC of Kings Somborne following receipt of their £250 grant.

b) A letter of thanks had been received from the ringers at Hinton Admiral, following the allocation of a grant of £600 towards the proposed augmentation.

c) A grant of £500 had been paid to Micheldever in 1985. Further fund raising for restoration of the complete church is still underway, and a copy of all the accounts up to 1986 had been received. The Secretary drew attention to the £16,862 received by covenanting, from which Micheldever received £7144 from the Inland Revenue.

d) A copy of literature concerning the intention to promote the restoration of unringable bells had been received from the Central Council. Copies had been sent by the CC to churches listed by them as unringable. In our Guild this would be:-

Gosport; Guernsey St Peter Port; Hurstbourne Tarrant; Netley; Ovington; Pamber; Shanklin; Winchester (St John the Baptist); and Winchester (St Michael in the Soke). The Secretary had requested Mr.Barnes to also circulate St Mary, Portchester and Newport I.O.W.

e) Another item in the above initiative was the one day seminar on bell restoration organised by the CC on 4th April 1987. The Executive Committee had proposed that Mr.R.Knight be asked to represent the Guild. Mr.Knight thanked the Guild, described the excellent organisation of the course, referred to the report in "Ringing World" issue 3966, and summarised the highlights.

f) Mr.D.Holmes of Overton had published a second book, this time concerning all church bells in the Basingstoke district. Profits would be donated to the Guild BRF, and the Secretary displayed his autographed copy.

g) Details of the second national seminar on the teaching of ringing, organised by the CC Education Committee on 17th October had been circulated to all District Secretaries.

h) An invitation to the 1987 Essex Trophy Striking Competition had been received from the Essex Association. The Master suggested that the Peal Recorder might be prepared to organise a team, and Mr.Le Marechal readily accepted.

Honorary Life Members

The Executive Committee proposed that Senator Rev. P.G.K. Manton of Jersey be elected. This was seconded by Mr.J.David, and carried. The Secretary referred to the Minutes of the 1986 AGM, first paragraph and last item under AOB. Mrs G.W.Davis had been an outstanding Guild Master and in his experience of Guild affairs no one had worked harder for the good of every Guild member. It was his pleasure to propose Gilian's election to Honorary Life Membership. This was seconded by a large proportion of members present, and carried unanimously. Mrs Davis rose to thank the Guild, and to comment upon a well-kept secret.

Honorary General Secretary's report

This appears on pages 3 to 5 in the 1986 Guild Report. However copies of the Report had, to date, been received only by members of the Alton and Petersfield District and by Guild Officers. The Secretary explained, in the absence of the Report Editor, the difficulties experienced by someone very new to ringing who had been persuaded to undertake this responsible job without fully understanding all the implications. All reports were now packaged and boxed, and should be available for District Secretaries after the meeting. The Master proposed that the Secretary be not asked to read out his report, and that it be accepted unread. This was carried, nem con, with about half the meeting abstaining.

The Secretary proposed that the Executive Committee consider reducing the amount of time devoted to administrative matters at AGMs by eliminating or pruning the presentation of reports by officers. This was seconded by Mr.L.Duguid. Mr.L.Hatfield pointed out that the Guild Treasurer must present the Guild Accounts. Mr.G.Evenden pointed out that democracy could only be maintained if members were provided with the opportunity to question officers on their printed reports. The proposition was carried by a substantial majority.

Hon General Treasurer's report

Since members lack their Guild Report containing the accounts, Mr.M.Bubb read out details to the meeting. Mr.C.H.Kippin proposed we accept these accounts, which he had audited on 20th March 1987. This was seconded by Mr.F.E.Collins, and carried, nem con.

Hon Peal Recorder's report

Mr.R.Le Marechal stated that members would find this on page 37 of the Guild Report. He commented that Guild peal ringers had this year achieved an increase. Mr.Esbester proposed we accept this report without the Peal Recorder reading it to the meeting. This was seconded by Mr.J.Colliss and carried, nem con.

Hon Librarian's report

In the absence of the Guild Librarian the Master stated that the report, and a complete inventory, could be found between pages 10 and 14 of the Guild Report. He then read out the Library Accounts in full. It was proposed by Mr.H.L.Hatfield and seconded by Mr.J.Colliss. that these be accepted. This was carried, nem con. The Secretary stated that the previous Guild Treasurer, Mr.J.Colliss. possessed a large amount of paperwork relating to years past, and that he wished to move this from the space occupied in his home. Mr.R.M.Esbester proposed, and Mr.Colliss seconded, that the material be passed to the Librarian who then stored the important items in the Guild Library. This was carried, nem con.

Bell Restoration Fund

Mr.M.Bubb stated that members would find this, and the Accounts, on pages 7 and 8 of their Guild Reports. He then read out the full details of the latter. Mr.J.Colliss proposed and Mr.A.T.Collins seconded that these be accepted without the report being read in full. This was carried, nem con. Mr.Bubb stated that the Deed of Covenant had been redrafted, and now was printed on white paper. He requested all Officers to destroy copies of the older, green coloured version.

On behalf of the Trustees, Mr.M.K.Waldron outlined details of the requests received for grants, and the recommendations made by the Trustees:-

a) St.Mary, Portchester (3)

Initially the newly trained band had persuaded the PCC to consider rehanging in a metal frame and augmenting to 5. This would cost £27,563. However the PCC had now purchased the octave at Holy Trinity, Gosport, and planned to obtain a quotation for hanging these bells at Portchester. Since the church is situated within Portchester Castle there are added complications in obtaining permission and agreement with English Heritage. The Trustees suggest that Portchester re-apply when they have definite plans and quotations.

b) St Peter, Hurstbourne Tarrant (4)

The PCC proposed to rehang the unringable 4 bells for swing chiming only, as part of the restoration of the 12th century church. The cost will be £6982, but the Trustees recommend that a grant only be made if the parish consider the rehanging for full circle ringing. Both the CC and the Secretary had already pressed this alternative through the CC initiative.

c) St Mary the Virgin, Carisbrooke (8)

After inspection by Taylor's, a general restoration and, in some cases replacement, of the bell fittings is vital. The cost will be £8000, with the local band prepared to undertake part of the labouring work in order to reduce this to about £4386. The Trustees recommend that a grant of £250 be paid from the BRF.

d) St Thomas of Canterbury and St Thomas the Apostle, Newport (8)

After inspection by Taylor's, it is clear that the original wooden frame here must be replaced, and thus all the bells will be rehung. It is hoped that Taylor's plans can be utilised by Westland Aerospace for the construction of the frame. The opportunity will be taken to augment this set of bells up to 12. The total cost with the locally made frame being £16500. The Trustees recommend that a grant of £1750 be paid from the BRF.

Mr.L.Doubleday amplified the details concerning the Portchester scheme, and described the enthusiasm and interest in the parish. Mr.F.E.Collins proposed the grants, as specified, and this was seconded by Mr.G.Evenden.

Guild Public Relations Officer

Miss J.W.Reed's report will appear on pages 14 and 15 of the Guild Report. Miss Reed described the production of the first two Guild newsletters, and mentioned that Ringwood band had applied for display material to augment their celebrations on 1st August.

Education sub-committee

Mr.H.L.Hatfield's report will appear on page 9 of the Guild Report. He added that new, graded assessment cards had been produced for the Guild scheme. Mr.G.Emerson had withdrawn from the committee as a result of his forthcoming marriage, and Mr.N.Allingham had agreed to act in his place.

Striking Competition sub-committee

Mr.A.T.Collin's report will appear on pages 9 and 10 of the Guild Report. Mr.Collins stated that his committee would experiment with the fixture for 1988. The 6-Bell and 8-Bell Competition would take place on the same day, probably 18th June 1988, at two adjacent towers in one district, probably Andover. The Inter-District Competition would take place separately, probably on 14th May 1988, in another district, probably IOW. The aim was to appease those who at present had to endure a long wait if they were only participating in the Inter-District Competition.

Social sub-committee

Mrs M.G.Aylieff's report will appear on page 8 of the Guild Report. In her absence, Mrs P.Tremeer reported on the Guild Barn Dance, planned for 3rd October 1987, and presented the accounts of this committee. Mr.R.Le Marechal proposed adoption, this was seconded by Mr.R.M.Esbester, and carried nem con.

1986 Guild Report

In the absence of the Report Editor the Secretary reminded District Secretaries that boxes of Reports were available for their collection after the meeting. A letter from Mr.Dunster suggested changes for the next edition, including the idea that it should be for 1987/88, with members listed for election up to the date of publication. Mr.G.Evenden stated that he would prefer that we produce a Report for a full, calendar year and not a handbook. He proposed that the Report remain in its present format, this was seconded by Mr.R.M.Esbester, and carried. Mr.Dunster also wished to inform the Guild that pages 50, 51 and 52 were unintentionally left blank. Messrs J.Longridge had omitted to print three advertisements, and it will be necessary to refund the money paid by these firms. The Master commented that the Report was of an excellent standard.

Relocation of Guild Library

Mrs G.W.Davis had dispatched several items of correspondence to the Secretary on this matter, and was asked by the Master to address the meeting. The problems with damp were explained in the Librarian's report on page 12 of the 1985 Report, and were mentioned on page 10 of the 1986 Report. If the library at Southampton University were utilised our books but not the bookcase could be accommodated, but not necessarily together. They must be lodged for a minimum of 25 years and must be available to all members of the library. Mrs Davis stated that all churches in the Winchester Diocese had received instructions over their documents and archive material. Either this must be sent for storage to Winchester or the parish must produce a special archive room to stated specifications. At Christchurch Priory the PCC were converting the Porch Room into such an archive room, and were prepared to accommodate, in addition, our Guild Library and cabinet, provided liaison could be established between the verger and a member of the Guild. Mr.M.K.Waldron proposed we accept this offer, this was seconded by Mr.G.Evenden, and carried, nem con. Mr.R.Cater pointed out that a second cabinet, belonging to the library, was located in Winchester Cathedral belfry. This should be included in the move to Christchurch, and should appear in the inventory. The Master asked if Mrs G.W.Davis was prepared to act as the liaison required, and Mrs Davis agreed.

Change of Rule 19

This concerned the requirement that peal bands, at present, can only ring peals for this Guild if they contain a minority of visitors. Mr.R.M.Esbester rose to propose that the motion on the agenda be not put. He stated that the Executive Committee had received incorrect information while formulating the proposal. None of the Guild surrounding ours had rules limiting the number of visitors permitted in peals for their Guild, and hence we should continue to limit the number of visitors participating in peals for the W & P. Mr.P.W.D.Miller seconded this proposition. The Secretary read out part of a letter from Mr.A.P.Smith, opposing the change of rule, and suggesting that the W & P is innovatory in limiting the number of visitors who may ring in its peals. The Master explained the intention of the change of rule to the meeting, stating that the practice of other Guilds was not relevant to the proposed change of rule. However Mr.Esbester's proposal was put to the meeting, 16 voting for and 10 against. The Master stated that the Executive would reconsider the matter.

Change of Rule 8

Andover District wished to propose that subscriptions be paid by 31st March rather than 31st December. Mr.R.J.Knight, chairman of Andover District proposed this change, and explained Andover District's reasons for this. Mr.M.K.Waldron seconded this. Mr.R.M.Esbester stated that the suggested change was impracticable and was supported by four more speakers. On being put to the vote 12 voted for and 21 against.

Items relevant to the Guild arising from the 1987 Central Council Meeting

Mr.A.T.Collins stated that only general matters applied to the Guild:-

a) With DIY bell restoration it was vital to request advice on insurance from the Towers and Belfry committee.

b) The Public Relations committee had available material for displays and exhibitions.

1988 Annual General Meeting

By rule this should take place in the Alton and Petersfield area, and by tradition should be held on Saturday 2nd July. Mrs V.Williams stated that the district hoped to utilise Petersfield as the centre for this event. The Master reminded the meeting that the 1989 AGM should be held in the Southampton area. He would then be Vicar at St.Barnabas and hoped to welcome the Guild to his own parish.

Any other business

a) Mr.R.M.Esbester explained that the Executive had authorised expenditure of £250 for the construction of wooden handbell cases in which to store the Guild's handbells. He had carried these from Portsmouth and invited the members to inspect the excellent workmanship.

b) Mr.M.K.Waldron asked who was responsible for arrangements at a Guild AGM. The Secretary explained that the District Secretary usually made decisions and arrangements after consulting the Executive at its March meeting.

c) Mr.R.J.Knight stated that Whitchurch had organised a Flower and Ringing Festival for the 26th and 27th September. It would be advertised nationally. Proceeds would be for the Parish capital projects campaign, which included augmentation of the 8 bells to 10. He asked Guild Members for their support.

d) The Master expressed thanks to all concerned with the arrangements for the day.

Rev B.J.Fry closed the meeting at 1617 hours.