The Guild peal total for 2019 increased slightly with 133 compared to 127 in 2018, but this is still well below the numbers from the early and mid 2010s.

I must thank Andrew Craddock for sharing the statistics generated by PealBase, allowing me to cross-check the Guild’s records. I would also like to thank all those conductors and organisers who submit details, compositions and fees within the one month deadline specified by the Guild rules. Please may I remind conductors that we do require all compositions in full. As noted in previous years, I can take peal fees electronically and I am pleased to say that an ever increasing number of conductors have taken up this facility.

Tower Bell Peals

There were 96 tower bell peals rung for the Guild in 2019. 122 ringers rang a tower bell peal during the year which is 29 fewer than 2018. 2 ringers rang their first peal in a W&P peal and the Guild Officers would like to extend their congratulations to Will LeRay and Nikki Brown. Sadly, Nikki has now left the area to work in Norway and will be missed by the Portsmouth District.

The list of prolific peal ringers and conductors remains broadly similar to previous years with the familiar names appearing. Due to the birth of my first child this is likely to be the last year for a while when I will have to report myself at the top of both lists (which will make writing this report somewhat easier). The total number of conductors remains at 20 and it would be pleasing to see this to start increase again.

St Agatha, Portsmouth is comfortably the leading peal ringing tower in 2019 with more than twice as many peals rung as any other towers. Southampton, St Barnabas experienced a spike in popularity during the first half of the year due to the uncertain future access following the retirement of the vicar and former Guild Master Barry Fry. As in previous years Bishopstoke and Awbridge also feature in the top four.

There were a small number of personal milestones achieved in the year: Toby Arkless scored his 850th peal, Annabel Preston 400th, Colin Butler 275th, Claire Merivale 75th, Josh Harris 50th and my 1500th. Toby also rang his 400th for the Guild during 2019, as did Mark Esbester, and Kath Arkless her 250th.

Peals at Hambledon and Owslebury were rung to mark the 75th anniversary of D-day. Two peals, at Portsmouth Cathedral and Bishopstoke were rung for Armistice Day. A peal was rung at Alverstoke to mark 100th anniversary of the dedication of the bells on 11th November 1919, the bells being cast as a war memorial.

Two peals were in memory of former tower captains. In May a peal of Stedman Cinques was rung at Winchester Cathedral in memory of Graham Grant, and in September a peal of Grandsire Caters was rung at Fareham in memory of Alan Sturgess.

A peal of 7 Doubles was rung at Bishopstoke in January recreating a peal from 50 years earlier with 5 of the original band. The original peal was the first peal for 4 of that band, all of whom rang again in 2019.

In a similar vein, a peal was rung at Bishopstoke to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landings also in 1969. The band consisted of ringers who all rang their first peal in a year ending in 9 including 6 from 1969.

Analysis of Tower Bell Peals
Leading RingersLeading ConductorsLeading Towers
Edward P D Colliss59
John P Colliss44
Ian J Carey43
James A Hodkin39
Stephen Russ37
James W G Twiney37
4 ringers31-36
3 ringers25-30
6 ringers12-16
10 ringers6-10
17 ringers3-5
11 ringers2
65 ringers1
Total Ringers122
Edward P D Colliss46
Roy LeMarechal14
Benjamin J Carey11
Frank R Morton5
Toby Arkless4
Ian J Carey2
14 conductors1
Total Conductors20
Portsmouth, St Agatha26
Bishopstoke, St Mary12
Southampton, St Barnabas5
Bitterne Park3
Portsmouth, Cathedral2
Southampton, St Mary2
28 towers1
Total Towers38

Methods Rung
Spliced TD (8m)5
7m TD2
5m S1
7m S1
Cambridge S1
Plain B1
Spliced TD (8m)1
Bristol S8
Yorkshire S6
Cambridge S2
Spliced TD (4m)2
Cambridge Blue S*1
Cooktown Orchid D1
Downton Abbey S#1
Ely S1
Embarcadero S*1
Essex S1
Glasgow S1
Iphigeneia S#1
Jovium S1
Lessness S1
Little B1
London S1
Painswick S#1
Plain B1
Pudsey S1
Rutland S1
Scrumpy and Western S#1
Spliced (2m)1
Spliced (3m)1
Spliced (9m)1
Spliced P (5m)1
Spliced S (13m)1
Spliced S (19m)1
Spliced S (7m)1
Superlative S1
Tennessine S#1
Uxbridge S1
Windy Gyle D1
Ytterbium S1
Cambridge S5
Yorkshire S4
Bristol S2
Awbridge D*1
Jarl S#1
Oswald D1
Spliced S (4m)1
Bristol S2
Yorkshire S2
Spliced S (4m)1

(* denotes first peal in the method, # first for the Guild)

Handbell Peals

Handbell peal numbers remained broadly similar to 2018, with 37 scored compared with 36. The number of ringers ringing a handbell peal for the Guild also remained the same, although the number of conductors reduced to just 7.

Ian Redway was once again the leading handbell ringer for the Guild in a list looking very similar to 2018. Frank Morton was the most prolific conductor as he has been for the last few years.

Martin Daniels and Maureen Hanney scored their 600th and 350th peal in handbell peals during 2019, Ian Redway also rang his 300th peal in hand.

I mentioned in this report last year that a band conducted by John Croft had broken their own record 3 times for the most Spliced Royal rung in hand for the Guild. During 2019 they proceeded to break this a further 3 times, settling (for now?) at 22 Spliced Plain and I offer my congratulations to them.

Handbell peals were rung in memory of Derek Yates and Sheila Daniels.

Analysis of Handbell Peals
Leading RingersLeading ConductorsVenues
Ian Redway34
John S Croft23
Maureen J Hanney16
Frank R Morton16
Martin J E Daniels15
John A Dodd11
E C Gareth Higgs10
4 ringers3-5
3 ringers2
6 ringers1
Total Ringers25
Frank R Morton16
John S Croft13
William S Croft3
Martin J E Daniels2
Andrew G Craddock1
Edward J Futcher1
Thomas J Hinks1
Total Conductors7
New Alresford, Jubilee25
Awbridge, The Clockhouse3
Hitchin, 2 Orchard Road3
Chandler’s Ford, 10 Wallington Drive2
4 venues1
Total Venues8

Methods Rung
Plain B2
Plain B13
Kent TB5
Spliced P (4m)2
Spliced P (6m)2
Cambridge S1
Cooktown Orchid D1
Spliced P (8m)1
Superlative S1
Plain B4
Spliced P (10m)1
Spliced P (18m)#1
Spliced P (20m)#1
Spliced P (22m)#1

(* first peal in method in hand, # first for the Guild in hand)

Edd Colliss