A meeting of the Guild Executive Committee was held on Saturday 16th March 1985 in the St. Lawrence Parish Rooms, Colebrook Street, Winchester, 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, welcomed the 22 members present out of a total, possible membership of 26, and introduced the following, new members:-

Mr. Anthony Townsend- Alton and Petersfield District Secretary.
Miss Wendy Lines- Basingstoke District Secretary.
Mr. Richard Wilson- Basingstoke District Representative.

Apologies for absence

Written apologies were received from Messrs. Wilson and Hilson. Telephoned apologies were received from Messrs. Hill and Knight.

Loss of members through death

Members stood in silence to respect the following, deceased Guild members:-

Mr. L.Bailey (Life Member, Godshill and Guild Auditor since 1954); Mr. J.Chesterman (Life Member, Church Oakley and Sherborne St. John); Mr. H. de Combe (Petersfield); Mr. O.Smart (Andover); Miss D.Wilson (Abbots Ann). The name of Canon P.Chandler, Rector of Andover, was added to this list.

Honorary Life Members

It was reported that Mr. Alan Betsworth of Petersfield had just completed his 50th year of Guild membership.


Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting held on 17th November 1984 had been duplicated and circulated by the Secretary. The Master signed these as correct, on the proposition of Mr.F.E.Collins, seconded by Mr.Case.

Matters arising

(a) The Secretary had written to Mr.W.O.Haythorne to ascertain whether he wished to relinquish the position of Guild Librarian.

(b) A letter had been despatched to Messrs. Awards and Trophies, concerning a fresh pressing of Membership Badges.

(c) Mr.M.Wilson had written the article to explain our Public Liability Insurance. This was passed to Cdr. Harris for inclusion in the 1984 Report. The Secretary was asked to thank Mr.Wilson.

(d) Mr.Grant stated that he had visited the Vicar of St. John's, Winchester, and had explained our interest in restoring the ring of 6.He passed on information about our B.R.F., but gained the impression that the Vicar had inherited a large number of essential church repairs.

(e) Mr.Esbester stated that Mr.Grant had kindly produced drafts of the proposed, 1986, Guild calendar.


(a) The Secretary again produced copies of his letter, enclosing Guild information, sent to Mr.Viggers for publication, in order to prove that errors in the "Ringers' Notebook and Diary" originated at Aldershot.

(b) An enthusiastic letter from Mr.P.Gallienne described the excellence of the augmented ring of 6 at Ste.Marguerite, and the splendid dedication service on 7th December in Guernsey.

(c) The new Archdeacon of Winchester had replied to the Secretary, delighted to be a Guild Vice-President, and admitting to being an ex-member of the Wrington band in Somerset.

(d) The new Bishop of Southampton had also replied to the Secretary, honoured to continue to act as a Guild Vice-President, and offering to help in any way.

(e) The Society of Royal Cumberland Youths had circulated a questionnaire on Ringers' Dinners. Miss A.Bennett received this on behalf of the Social sub-committee.

(f) The Performing Rights Society had widely circulated printed information to explain why handbell groups should pay them £9-78 per year. Mr.Esbester proposed and Mr.Smith seconded that we take no action on this matter, as a Guild. This was carried, nem. con.

(g) The Central Council Bell Restoration Funds Committee had circulated a questionnaire on unringable peals, which had been completed by the Treasurer and the Secretary, then returned.

(h) The Secretary of the Central Council had sent the usual envelope-full of C.C. reports. Also enclosed was an article on covenanting, and an article describing the staging of a ringing exhibition in Chelmsford Cathedral.

(i) The Sussex County Association, celebrating their Centenary, had asked to purchase a Guild Membership Badge, and a piece of headed notepaper. These were despatched in November, but payment had still to arrive.

(j) An excellent C.I. District Newsletter had been received from Mr. Hilson.

(k) The Central Council Education Committee had written to advertise their July Ringing School at Nantwich, in Cheshire, and asked if Guilds would sponsor students to attend. Mr.Esbester stated that we again do not sponsor a few students for this School but instead encourage many of our members to utilise the excellent Ringing School organised by the Guild.

Guild Membership Secretary

Mr. Barnsdale stated that he intends to store our list of members on computer disc, and has started to work through recent Reports. He and the Report Editor have immediately discovered a discrepancy between names submitted to the Report Editor for printing and the membership fees actually paid to the Guild Treasurer. This has surfaced since we are very close to achieving a membership of 1000 for the first time. Cdr. Harris produced data to support this discrepancy:-

Total number of members claimed by District Secretaries1008989
Total number of names in Report979936
Total number of subscriptions received by Treasurer837894

Cdr. Harris pointed out that various deductions could be made from this data, and many present proceeded to do so. Mr.Broad stated that Andover District always had the problem of members paying their previous year's subscription at the A.D.M. in January, after the balance sheet had been prepared, and he imagined that other districts encountered the same problem. The Master stated that each district must now attempt to "put its house in order" on this matter before March 1986.

Hon. General Secretary's report

This had been duplicated and circulated with the agendas. After some discussion it was agreed that the membership total shown would be 979. It was proposed by Mr. Smith that this report appear in the 1984 Guild Report, seconded by Mr.A.T.Collins, and this was carried, nem. con.

Hon. General Treasurer's report

Mr. Colliss had duplicated this in advance, and copies were circulated with the agendas. Copies of the accounts were provided for members. Mr. Colliss pointed out that there was only a slight increase in the dues he received compared to 1983. The Treasurer's accounts were accepted on the proposition of Cdr. Harris, seconded by Mr. F.E.Collins.

Hon. Peal Recorder's report

Mr. R. Le Marechal presented the details due for printing in the 1984 Guild Report. The number of peals had increased by 4 over the 1983 total, but 3 of these had been scored on the Liss Campanile, one of which was the first of Liss Surprise Major. Mr. Le Marechal commented that he had not separated the Liss peals, and Mr. Smith stated that the Guild should not prejudge the decisions of the Peals Analysis Committee of the Central Council. Mr. Colliss proposed we accept the submitted report, this was seconded by Mr. Smith, and carried, nem.con.

Hon. Librarian's report

Mr. White presented this report, due for printing in the 1984 Guild Report, and also the accounts of the library fund. These were accepted on the proposition of Mr. Grant, seconded by Mr. R.Wilson.

Mr. Cater enquired if access to the library in St. Mary's, Southampton, was now easier, whether there were any Guild Members in the band, and whether the hostility to visitors was still in evidence. Mr. White replied that there were 3 Guild Members in the band, and he had no difficulty over access. Hostility and those responsible had now disappeared. Mr.Grant suggested that our library could be housed with the Diocesan Library in the Cathedral Close. It would experience better conditions. He promised to forward an address to Mr.White for further action. Mr. R.Wilson suggested that a "damp chaser", working off the electricity supply, be positioned in the bottom of the library case. He promised to forward details, price, and operating costs to Mr. White.

Guild Public Relations Officer's report

Mr. Cater read his report, and stated that the inventory was unchanged apart from some handouts. It was proposed by Cdr. Harris, seconded by Mr. White, that this report appear in the 1984 Guild Report. This was carried.

1984 Guild Report

Cdr. Harris stated that he intended to print the full set of Guild Rules in the Report. They had undergone many changed since the last printing in the 1981 Report, and the Secretary had prepared the full, up-to-date set for the printer. 1100 copies were printed in 1984, but District Secretaries were asking for more this year. Hence he proposed to order 1150 copies. Mr.Hilson had obtained several quotations from printers in the Channel Islands, but none could better the £785 quoted by John Longridge, and the Guild Officers had accepted this quotation.

The contributions sent in by the District Secretaries were not impressive, with the exception of that from Portsmouth which was excellent. Some were not printed, there were many inaccuracies, names were often wrong, the standard of written English dreadful, and the map references sometimes inaccurate. That from the I.O.W. contained all the above faults. Mr.Buswell's quarter-peal analysis always produced problems, and inevitably outraged the members of C.I. District.

Mr. F.E.Collins proposed that Cdr. Harris be given authority to produce the Guild Report to the best of his ability, this was seconded by Mr. White, and carried nem. con.

Mr. Le Marechal asked if the unringable 8 at St. Peter Port, Guernsey, could be included again in the Report, while the Secretary asked about the ring of 3 at Chalton in the Portsmouth District.

Bell in redundant churches. Restoration work.

The Secretary had duplicated and circulated a report of current restoration work. Mr. Colliss requested that Mr. P.Olding's name be added to Mr. Waldron's, for assistance provided in the restoration at St. Barnabas, Swanmore. Miss W.Lines reported that the D.A.C. had granted the faculty for the augmentation at St. Mary, Eversley, that 12 members of the congregation had volunteered to learn to ring, and that instruction would commence on 30th March. … reported that the two bells at St. John the Baptist, Greatham, had recently been rehung by Whitechapel. Cdr. Harris proposed and Mr. White seconded that the duplicated report appear in the 1984 Guild Report. This was carried, nem. con.

A short break for tea followed at this point, after which the Master proposed a vote of thanks to Miss A.P.Bennett.

Bell Restoration Fund

Mr. Colliss circulated copies of the accounts to be printed in the 1984 Guild Report. The income for the past year was £2221-48, the best ever if we exclude legacies. £60 of this had been raised during the Open Day organised by Portsmouth District on 9th June. I.O.W.District would organise the 1985 Open Day on 25th May, and hoped that all towers (except Shanklin) would be visited by two coaches. There is an unfortunate, downward trend in the amount of contributions from individual districts, and no new covenants have been made. The accounts were accepted on the proposition of Cdr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Esbester.

Striking Competitions sub-committee

Mr. A.T. Collins presented a report on the 8-bell, Inter-District, and 6-bell competitions, prepared by himself for the 1984 Guild Report. This was in place of that which Mr. Reynolds had promised to write for the November 1984 Executive Committee Meeting. Mr. Grant proposed and Mr. Routh seconded that Mr. Collin's report be printed in the 1984 Report. This was carried, nem. con., with thanks to Mr. Collins.

District Representatives were asked to report back on members attitudes to plans for a 1986 10-bell competition, as outlined at the November meeting. There were many contributions at this point, and firm commitment to participation was presented by Winchester, I.O.W., Portsmouth and Andover Districts provided call-changes composed by the band rather than the sub-committee were permitted.

1986 Guild Festival

Mr. Hilson had arranged for the printing of 500 descriptive leaflets to advertise the festival planned in the Channel Islands District from 29th May to 1st June 1986. These arrived by post in time for all Annual District Meetings except those of Andover and of A. and P. Unfortunately the package arrived split open, and there were just enough leaflets for distribution at the A.D.Ms., with only a few left over for distribution at later quarterly meetings. Mr. Hilson had arranged for a second printing, and these would be distributed with agenda before the Guild A.G.M. The Secretary was listing those who wished to make tentative bookings for the festival, and to date over 100 names and addresses were recorded.

Guild Masters Board

Arising from Mr. Smith's request at the previous meeting, Mr. Esbester stated that Portsmouth Cathedral authorities had stated that positioning the board in the ringing chamber presented no problems. However if it were positioned in the Cathedral it must match the work proposed for the new extension, and must be of a design acceptable to the authorities. Mr. Grant regretted that he had no similar, positive news concerning the positioning in Winchester Cathedral. Mr. Smith asked if the November proposition could therefore be put to the Guild A.G.M., but the Master requested time to consult Mr. Routh on suitable design and material.

Guild A.G.M.

This will take place at St. Marks, Highcliffe, on Saturday 6th July 1985. Mrs. F.Webster stated that all arrangements had been made and the details circulated to District members at the A.D.M. on 26th January 1985. The curate, Rev.B.J.Fry, was hoping to invite the new Archdeacon of Winchester to preach at the service. The Secretary complimented the officers of the Christchurch and Southampton District for such immaculate arrangements so far ahead.

District Representatives were asked to report on the decisions made at their District Meetings concerning the inclusion of a full report of the Central Council Meeting on the agenda of the A.G.M. Representatives of the following districts requested it be excluded:-

A. & P.; Basingstoke; C. & S.; I.O.W.; Portsmouth; Winchester.

Three requested that the item continue to appear, but only to permit members to discuss or question points relevant to the Guild. After some discussion the meeting agreed to the latter course.

Date of the next meeting

Mr. Hilson had written to state that he could attend a meeting on Saturday 16th November, and it was proposed by the Master that we adopt this date. This was carried unanimously. Mr. Cater stated that he would approach Mrs. Cater and ask her to book again the St. Lawrence Parish Rooms, if the meeting wished. This was agreed.

Any Other Business

(a) Miss A.P.Bennett stated that the Social sub-committee were planning a Guild Barn Dance for 4th October 1986. Only 100 could be accommodated for the Annual Guild Dinner at the Bere Hill House Hotel, Andover, on 20th April 1985, and there were only a few tickets unsold.

(b) Mr. Le Marechal stated that, at the election of the new Education subcommittee, he, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Cater did not wish to stand for re-election.

(c) Mr. A.T.Collins distributed entry forms for the 8-bell and Inter-District Striking Competitions, to be held at St. John the Baptist, Shedfield. Also for the 6-bell competition, now to be held at St. Peter's, Liss, rather than Niton, on 29th June.

(d) Mr. Esbester proposed that trienniel elections be adjusted to avoid the loss of three principal officers in any one year. Rule 5 should be amended so that the election of only one principal officer occurred each year. This was seconded by Mr. White. After discussion it was agreed to present a change of rule to the A.G.M. on condition that the re-phrased rule be submitted in writing to the Secretary.

The Master closed the meeting, with prayers, at 1745 hours.