A meeting of the Executive Committee was held on Saturday 11th December in the headquarters of the 1st. Testwood Guide Company, behind Testwood Church, Totton, at 1405 hours. Mrs. Gilian Davis, the Guild Master, was in the chair, supported by the Hon. General Secretary Mr.D.C.Jackson, and the Hon. General Treasurer Mr.J.P.Colliss. Mrs. Davis opened the meeting with a prayer, and then welcomed the 24 members present out of a total, possible membership of 27. The following, new members were introduced:-

Mr.W.O.Haythorne, Guild Librarian; Mr.J.W.J.Mather, proxy for convenor of Striking Competitions sub-committee; Mr.B.Oakes, proxy for Andover District Secretary; Miss H. Piper, Andover District representative; Mr.A.C.Webster, Christchurch and Southampton District Secretary; Mr.M.Wilson, I.o.W. District Secretary.

Apologies for absence

A written apology was received from Mr. Croft. Verbal apologies were received from Mr.P.Murduck, Mr.I.Holdsworth and Mr. J.Reynolds, the latter sending Mr.J.W.J Mather as his proxy.

Loss of members through death

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

Mr.D.Cane (Bramley and Wolverton); Mr.J.Harding (Catherington); Mr.G.Noakes (Alton); Mr.F.Price (Bournemouth).

Honorary Life Members

Mrs.B.Foster reported that her father, Mr.J.Weaver, of St. Michael's, Basingstoke, has been a member of this Guild for fifty years and therefore would be eligible for life membership at the next A.G.M.

Alterations to information in the Guild Report

The Guild Secretary requested members to alter the names and addresses of the Guild Librarian and the District Secretaries of the Andover, Basingstoke, Christchurch & Southampton, and I.O.W. Districts in their Guild Reports.


Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting held on 20th March 1982 at Winchester had been duplicated and circulated by the secretary. Messrs. Colliss, Smith and Esbester pointed out that, in the Hon. General Treasurer's report, there was no dissatisfaction with the accounting system, only with the District dues arriving two years in arrears. A suitable correction was effected. Cdr.Harris requested that, in "1981 Guild Report", the word former be changed to first. Cdr.Harris also questioned whether the three, principal officers had not been given authority to accept a quotation in advance of each March meeting. Mrs.Salmons could remember such a decision, but three other members agreed that the secretary had recorded the decision correctly. Cdr. Harris agreed to raise the matter again, under A.O.B. The meeting then agreed that the Master sign the amended minutes as correct.

Matters arising

(a) Guild Service Sheets. These have been reprinted. Copies are available from the secretary at 10p each.

(b) Guild Library. Mr.Haythorne reported that he is combating the dampness by opening all the doors of the library case on Friday evenings during St. Mary's practice.

(c) Resiting of library. Mr.Grant reported that he had investigated the possibility of location in Winchester Cathedral but the Dean had objected to the idea due to security problems.


(a) A letter of thanks had been received from Rev.A.R.Croad of St.Leonard's, Sherfield English, following receipt of the £70 grant from our B.R.F.

(b) The Editor of "The Ringing World" had written regretting the poor standard of work by the printer of our Guild Reports, and stating that he will not accept any further advertisements from this firm.

(c) Mr.Denyer had written to the Guild, delighted by his election as a Life Member.

(d) The secretary of the Salisbury Guild had written acknowledging our good wishes for their Centenary.

(e) Mr.R. Savory had written a seven page letter, sending his good wishes from the U.S.A.

(f) Both the Bishop of Portsmouth and of Southampton had written expressing delight at the Guild's participation in United Nations Day ringing on Sunday 24th October 1982.

(g) Several letters had passed between the secretary and the Portsmouth Diocese in an attempt to have the Guild recorded in the "Portsmouth Diocesan Directory".

Bells in redundant churches. Restoration work

Mr.Grant, our representative on the Winchester Diocesan Advisory Committee, reported:-

(a) Upton Grey parish had sought advice on the sale of the old, cracked tenor bell, stored on the churchwarden's farm. The P.C.C. were advised to sell and they have subsequently advertised in "The Times".

(b) St.Michael's, Andover, had been provided with advice on rehanging their single bell.

(c) The Good Shepherd, Four Marks, parish had requested permission for a Mr.Townsend to erect steel joists in the tower to support a future ring of 5.

The secretary reported on the progress of restoration work in St.Mary, Carisbrooke; St.Mary, Sydmonton; The Good Shepherd, Four Marks; All Saints, Deane; St. Peter's, Goodworth Clatford; Holy Trinity, Gosport; St. Pierre du Bois, Guernsey; St.Edmund, Wootton; and in the Roman Catholic church of the Sacred Heart, Bournemouth. A summary of this will appear in the 1982 Guild Report.

Mr.Bailey stated that the work at Carisbrooke involved replacing the bearings. He also stated that the Rev.Rayner of St.Edmund, Wootton, was even more enthusiastic about purchasing Gosport bells and rehanging then himself. He had approached the local "Society for the preservation of church bells" and persuaded then to guarantee the £2500 needed. He had displayed the plans for the tower to hold the bells, though this would be at St. Mark's rather then St. Edmund.

The subject of Gosport bells will appear on the agenda of the next Portsmouth Diocesan Advisory Committee meeting. At the Portsmouth Cathedral ringers' dinner, the Guild Master had been introduced to the new Provost, The Very Rev. D.Stancliffe, chairman of the D.A.C. He had mentioned the subject of Gosport bells and requested that a ringer attend meetings whenever bells need to be discussed. After some, discussion it was agreed that we ask Mr.Esbester to act in this capacity.

The secretary had received a letter from Father Buckley, of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Bournemouth, thanking the Guild for the gift of three clock bells, donated to us by the Portsmouth Navy Chaplain for our next bell project, and stating that one of the new bells would receive an inscription "A Gift from the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Bell Ringers". The Master stated that, such was the enthusiasm over this project, the authorities at the Sacred Heart had contacted all Roman Catholic churches with rings of bells and intend to found a Roman Catholic Guild of Bellringers, dedicated to St. Agatha, patron saint of bellringers. A service to initiate this Guild would be held either in Westminster Abbey or in Birmingham. Our Guild Master has been invited to attend with her personal chaplain.

Mr.Wilson stated that Mr.Fidler, of Bow, Devon, would be visiting the Isle of Wight on 20th December in order to inspect the bell fittings at Carisbrooke, Newport, Newchurch and Arreton.

Mrs.G.Cater stated that Winchester College bells were now silent since the tower is unsafe.

Mr.Croft had written, to place on record, that during his period of office as Master he was not informed by the then General Secretary, of the arrangements concerning bells at The Good Shepherd, Four Marks. He requested that his letter be placed in the appropriate file.

Reports from conveners of sub-committees

(a) Striking Competitions.

Mr.J.W.J.Mather presented details due for printing in the 1982 Guild Report. The report was accepted, on the proposition of Mr.R.M.Esbester, seconded by Mr.R.Le.Marechal. Mr.Mather also summarised the rewording of the competition rules by the sub-committee, but pointed out that it was preferable that tower captains have the responsibility for complying with any rules, rather than expanding them so that they rigidly cover every eventuality. The sub-committee also did not wish to limit participation only to paid-up, Guild members, as had been suggested. Many comments were made about these proposals, but eventually the Master instructed the sub-committee to consider all comments and undertake the organisation of the competition. It was proposed that the 6-bell competition be held on Saturday 15th October 1983 but the date for the 8-bell caused problems since all Saturdays in May were already booked for Guild functions. It was suggested that the sub-committee consider Saturday 30th April as a possible date. Because of this and other conflicts over dates, the secretary was asked to re-circulate the "meeting rota", if possible before Christmas.

(b) Social

Mrs.G.Cater read her report on the Guild Dinner, held on 1st May 1982 at the Potters Heron hotel, Ampfield, and on the Guild Barn Dance, held on 9th October 1982 at Henry Beaufort school, Winchester. This report was accepted on the proposition of Mr.G.C.Grant, seconded by Mr.L.Bailey. The meeting agreed that both events were highly successful. Mrs.Cater then outlined plans for a Guild Luncheon planned for Saturday 21st May on the Isle of Wight.

A short break for tea followed at this point.

(c) Education

Mr.R.Cater announced that Mr.A.P.Smith would be convener of this sub-committee for the next Trienniel Period. However, Mr.Cater presented the details for printing in the 1982 Guild Report, and this report was accepted on the proposition of Mr.J.P. Colliss, seconded by Cdr.W.Harris. Mr.Haythorne pointed out that, during the Guild Maintenance Course on 2nd October, Mr.Waldron had supervised those under instruction in completely dismantling number 4 bell at All Saints, Hursley, and then re-assembling it. Mr.A.P.Smith stated that the next Ringing School was planned for Saturday 7th May 1983 and he wished to distribute publicity material about it to District Secretaries before the end of the meeting. He also stated that the sub-committee had received only a 15% reply to the questionnaire sent out with the 1981 Guild Report. In some Districts there was only a 4% response. The sub-committee would summarise the replies but they would not be representative of the complete Guild.

Central Council Graded Assessments

The secretary had attended a meeting, organised by the Central Council Education Committee, at Northampton on Saturday 18th September 1982, called to discuss this topic. To reported that it was a non-compulsory scheme of progress, designed to help instruction and improve the outcome of recruitment. The content of each Grade had been fully discussed and, as a consequence, these had been re-drafted. The secretary had photocopied and distributed copies of the latter. Many comments and suggestions, some of them derogatory, ensued. Eventually it was proposed by Mr.R.Cater and seconded by Cdr.W.Harris, that the Guild adopts the Central Council Education Committee's recommendations for the introduction of a Pilot Scheme of "Graded Ringing Assessments". This was accepted by 11 votes in favour, 4 against, Mr.R.Cater then proposed and this was seconded by Mr.W.O.Haythorne, that the decision to adopt "Graded Ringing Assessments" be referred to the Guild Education sub-committee for promotion and implementation, and that the sub-committee submit their conclusions to the Annual District Meetings. This was accepted by 16 votes against 1.

1983 Executive Committee Meeting

It had already been agreed that this be held on Saturday 19th March 1983. Mrs.G. Cater announced that she had booked the Pastoral Centre in the Close, Winchester Cathedral, from 1400 to 1900 hours on this date. The secretary was asked to provide clear instructions for locating this venue.

Any Other Business

(a) Mr.J.K.Foot informed the meeting that a Bishops Waltham ringer had recently been injured when a weakened stay had collapsed on the bell she was ringing. She had been forced to be absent from work for a period of six weeks, and had needed a skin graft. The church's insurance company had taken no action until they received a solicitor's letter, and even now were employing "delaying tactics". The secretary reminded District Secretaries that the summary of the Insurance sub-committee's findings had been circulated at the A.G.M. and that this document was due for discussion at each Annual District Meeting so that District Secretaries could report back to the March Executive Committee Meeting.

(b) Mrs. B.Salmons reported that the Portsmouth diocese would be involved in a pilgrimage to Canterbury over the May Day Bank Holiday of 1983. Arrangements had been made for bellringers from the diocese to ring on the bells of the four Canterbury churches equipped with peals of bells before the service in the Cathedral. She requested that the District Secretaries of A.&P. and I.o.W. Districts circulate this information and ask interested bodies to make contact with her.

(c) Mr.W.O.Haythorne reported that he had approached the Senior Librarian at Southampton concerning storage of the Guild Library in the reference section. The librarian had expressed interest. Several members expressed misgivings over this scheme and the Master requested the Librarian to present details of the scheme, in writing, to the March Executive meeting. Mr.Webster requested that we discover arrangements made by any other Guild using a similar scheme with their County Library. Mr.Smith requested that Mr.Haythorne make a similar approach to the Senior Librarian at Winchester, since this would be a better situation geographically. Mr.Haythorne also reported that a book is missing from the library, having been issued during the period when Mr.M.J.Butler was librarian. He had written to Mr.Butler but had received no reply.

(d) Mr.J.K.Foot reminded members that "The Ringing World" would soon be established as a limited company, and there would be a liability on each member of the Central Council for £5. He asked that the Guild indemnify its representatives for such sums, and it was agreed that this be raised at the A.G.M.

(e) Cdr. Harris proposed and Mr. R.M.Esbester seconded that the three, principal, Guild officers be given authority to make a decision on the estimate to be accepted for printing the Guild Report in advance of the March Executive Committee meeting. This was carried, nem. con. Mr. Smith wished to make a strong suggestion that Mr. J.Longridge be given better consideration in future.

(g) Mr. J.K.Foot reminded the meeting that the Central Council Bell Restoration Funds Committee had organised a one-day seminar on Saturday 23rd October 1982. He asked if the Guild was represented at this function. The Master replied that, although the secretary had announced details at the 1982 A.G.M. and had circulated details, no Guild member had been able to attend. She had, however, received copies of all printed information from Mr. K.S.B.Croft; photocopies of this had been forwarded to the Salisbury Guild, and the originals were in the hands of the trustees of the Guild B.R.F.

(h) Mr.J.K.Foot asked why the total, Guild membership was not stated in the Guild Report. Cdr. Harris commented that there had been considerable acrimony over this at the March Executive Meeting, as reported in the Minutes. It was hoped that all District dues and numbers would be submitted to the Guild Treasurer by 28th February 1983.

The Master closed the meeting, with prayers, at 1735 hours.