Bell Rope the Clergy's Fishing Line.

The annual meeting of the Island District of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild was held at Ryde on Saturday, January 29th, when representatives were present from the towers of Portsmouth Cathedral and St Mary's, Portsea, Ryde, Newport, Carisbrooke, Ventnor and Godshill churches. The early afternoon was spent in ringing in the tower of All Saints' Church, placed at the disposal of the Guild by the Vicar (the Rev. Canon Moxon, D.D.), who subsequently conducted a ringers' service in the church. Mr. E. G. Welsh was at the organ and the singing was led by a contingent of the choirboys, who were entertained to tea at the Welby Institute.

The annual meeting followed, with the president of the district (Dr. J. B. Williamson) in the chair.

The report of the hon. auditor (Mr. H. A. Phillips) showed receipts of £11 3s. 11d., including a balance of £5 5s. from the previous year. The expenditure included £2 10s. 5d. remitted to the general treasurer of the Guild, and a credit balance of £5 8s. 3d. remained.

Mr. H. P. James, the hon. secretary and treasurer, in his report, referred to a gratifying increase in the number of ringers attending the meetings, and thanked the president for his deep interest in the work of the district. The clergy who had allowed the ringers the use of bells and all who had in any way assisted in the progress of the district were thanked.


The Ringing Master (Mr. H. Barton) reported that he was satisfied with the ringing he had heard in the Island churches. After giving a summary of the peals rung during 1937, the Master said he felt sure of a revival of interest in ringing.

Dr. Williamson was unanimously re-elected president.- In returning thanks, he referred to the fact that the clergy often complained if the bells of their tower were not rung for service on Sundays, and asked how often the clergy themselves visited the belfry when the ringers were there. He claimed that the bell rope was the clergy's fishing line and expressed the opinion that more frequent visits on their part to the belfry would create new interest amongst the ringers. He appealed to the clergy not to lose sight of the fact that a bell-ringer was a churchworker.

The officers were re-elected and cordially thanked for their services. Four new members were elected.

The meeting discussed and deprecated the use of amplified gramophone records in church towers, and passed a resolution in support of the protest against this practice, particularly in churches where bells are available.

The quarterly meeting is to be held at Godshill in April, with a by-practice meeting in March at Arreton and Newchurch, subject to permission to use the bells.

The meeting terminated with thanks to the Vicar, the organist and choirboys, and to the Portsmouth ringers for their interest. Further ringing in the tower and on the handbells followed.

The Ringing World No. 1404, February 18th, 1938, page 115