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Quarterly Meeting at Cruwys Morchard

Cruwys Morchard has had a busy week.

The Quarterly general ring and service of the Guild’s NE Branch was held at the church of The Holy Cross, Cruwys Morchard on Saturday, July 2. The bells here provided a fine upper-body workout and tested the level of fitness – imagined and otherwise! – of many of the ringers; this ring is widely held to be unusually hard work.

Stoodleigh L to R - Les Boyce, Sharon Sproate, Les Tosdevin and Carla Dawes

Following an excellent tea in the church, people indulged in some advanced orienteering to find Nellie Croft’s version of Southfork where a barbecue had been arranged. Those who succeeded in this were rewarded with an uncharacteristically (for Devon!) grand summer’s evening and views of the local geography as well as a splendidly arranged social get-together which made such a change from the more usual venues at which we ringers tend to congregate. It was a profoundly enjoyable evening, marred only by Muffett (my usually impeccably behaved dog) deciding that she took precedence over the two much larger animals upon whose territory she was a guest. Not surprisingly, the residents took a dim view of this with the usual canine consequence but no real harm done. We were grateful for the effort put in by our hosts to provide such an evening. I complimented Nellie on the excellence of the sausages so expertly grilled by Guy Cruwys and was a little taken aback when she replied “They should be good, they were my pigs!” Suddenly, I had lost my appetite . . . .



Stoodleigh John Kape gives his grand-daughter a few pointers on botany

The following Tuesday evening found many of us back in the Cruwys Morchard church, this time for a concert of 18th and 19th century settings of music which might have been performed in the church by contemporary musicians but on this occasion by the West Gallery Quire of Crediton. This was both amusing and informative – I particularly liked the “vernacular” rendition of the Psalms and was caused to wonder when these might have been abandoned in favour of the now more familiar metrical psalmody. Those gloomy Victorians again, I shouldn’t wonder.

Like last year’s ‘cello recital, the aim of the concert was to contribute to the raising of the forty-odd thousand needed for the overhaul of the Cruwys Morchard bells which have been creaking around on their plain bearings since 1905. It was with considerable self-interest that those who know these bells were particularly generous in their financial support!

Dermot Elworthy


The “Big Society” is promoted as a new initiative but, in fact, there is nothing new about it at all; such has existed in various guises since man first evolved into a social animal. Similarly, bells have played a fundamental role in the culture of all societies succeeding the bronze age. Thus the good citizens of Stoodleigh were following a centuries-trod path when they demonstrated a practical manifestation of what man always has managed without the need for attendant political whimsy.

Having had the bells at St Margaret’s pronounced “unringable” in mid-2008, the small Stoodleigh community set about raising what for them was the enormous sum required to refurbish the ring of six and at the same time, restore some of the church’s medieval decorations. It is to the great credit of the people involved in this undertaking and with gratitude to those who donated to this effort – individuals, Uffculme Environmental Ltd., Heathcote Trust, the Central Council and particularly, the Heritage Lottery Fund and many others – that in February of this year, the work was completed and the bells were again able to ring out. These adventures have been chronicled in past issues of Ringing Round Devon by Jennifer Rowlandson.

Culmination of this stalwart enterprise was Sunday, 26 June’s Service of Thanksgiving and Rededification of the bells by the Bishop of Crediton, the Right Reverend Robert Evens.

During Evensong, augmented by a choir made up of local singers, Bishop Bob commanded the switching on of the new church interior lights. These are of a pleasant and entirely complimentary style and for which he offered a thanksgiving. Following one of his characteristically humorous and always relevant addresses, the Bishop presented Jennifer Rowlandson with the two volumes of the “Towers and Bells of Devon”, that extraordinarily comprehensive work by Messrs Scott, Mack and Clarke. This gift was made in recognition of the pivotal part played by Jennifer – it has been around her that the success of the undertaking has hinged. Subsequently, the Bishop, Vicar, Chuchwardens and Bell Ringers moved to the west end of the nave for the Rededification of the Bells. This was the cue for the resident band under Gerald Palfrey to catch hold and let the bells peal forth. Nearly all the ringers who attended the service then took a turn – in one touch, the Presidents of both the Guild and the Association together with the Chairman of the NE Branch could be seen in deep tintinabular concentration. It was a joyous occasion and a fun evening celebrating the outcome of such a worthwhile enterprise.

Stoodleigh Mervyn Way, President of the Devon Association of Ringers,
in the background Jennifer Rowlandson's record of restoration

Stoodleigh In action - Lester Yeo, President of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers and Les Boyce, Branch Chairman

I had been invited to ring at Stoodleigh not long after the bells had been recommissioned and thought at the time that they possessed a very distinctive brightness and clarity. Later, these qualities were confirmed from outside when the bells were rung for the service. It is an interesting ring with the combination of light weight (the tenor being a few ounces over 7cwt) and longish draft making for some lively ropes. Gerald Palfrey is the Tower Captain on 01398 351271.

Dermot Elworthy

John Hutchings Memorial Competition

The eleventh John Hutchings Memorial Competition, held in association with the North East Branch of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers, this year took place at St Mary's, Silverton. A healthy entry of six bands was received and when not ringing, competitors were able to mingle outside in the balmy evening of a glorious early June day. A Pimm's would have rounded things off nicely!

The judges who kindly gave their time for this event were Richard Johnston and Robert Franklin. After two hours of Plain Hunt, Bob Doubles and, I believe, six courses of Grandsire, the trophy was awarded to a deserving Broadhembury.

Results are as follows:
Broadhembury 21 faults
St Paul's, Tiverton 36 faults
Cullompton 45 faults
St Peter’s - Tiverton 58 faults
Troyte Ringing Centre 64 faults
Silverton 72 faults

Members of the Broadhembury band were:
Lucy Tame Treble
Pauline Champion (Conductor) 2
Martin Turner 3
Ken Manley 4
Reg McKenzie 5
David Farrant Tenor

John Hutchings Competition John Hutchings Memorial Competition 2011

Afterwards, a buffet was laid on at the Lamb Inn where Lucy Tame is seen being presented with the trophy by Richard Johnston. Robert Franklin is seated at the back on the left of the picture. As well as to the judges, thanks must go to Martin Clough of Silverton for so efficiently masterminding an enjoyable competition..

Dermot Elworthy

St. Peter’s Shield

On the evening of Saturday, 14 May, six teams drawn from the Guild’s North East Branch assembled at Burlescombe to compete for the 2011 six-bell St. Peter’s Shield.

The draw took place at 6pm and after five minutes of practice, each team provided not less than ten minutes of the best striking they could manage. As was the case last year, all the teams, with one exception, chose to ring call changes; the exception this year being St Peter’s who provided 720 changes of Plain Bob Doubles. The character of the Burlescombe ring immediately became evident and proved to be a factor in the overall quality of ringing; a point acknowledged by Ian Campbell who, with Wendy as a co-judge of the competition, later addressed the assembled company and when describing the bells, felt moved to employ the oriental adjective “interesting.” However, they are not at all unpleasant to ring and given greater familiarity with them, the performance of the entrants undoubtedly would have improved but at the time, we felt confronted with hurdles enough without needing to contend with additional odd-struck challenges.

Participating bands are listed together with the judges’ markings:

Bampton 12 faults
Cullompton 21 faults
Silverton 33 faults
St Peter’s - Tiverton 72 faults
St Paul’s - Tiverton 73 faults
Cruwys Morchard 79 faults

A fun competition was rounded off with a buffet in the Ayshford Arms where the Shield was presented by Les Boyce, Chairman of the N E Branch. to Sheila Scofield who accepted the presentation on behalf of a justifiably proud Bampton band composed of:

Pat Hatchett Treble
Ann Barrow 2
Carla Dawes 3
Sheila Scofield 4
Mike Hatchett 5
Tony Trigg Tenor

Many thanks go to Ian and Wendy Campbell for judging the competition and offering sympathetic and confidence-maintaining advice and suggestions.

First Steps in Method Ringing at Huntsham

On Saturday 7th May 2011 my husband Chris and I, in company with our friends from Cullompton and Gordon from Uffculme, attended a first steps in method ringing course at Huntsham.

The morning was a theory session with Mike Hatchett - a brief overview of the history of bellringing and how method ringing was developed as an alternative to call changes following the development of full-circle bells in the 1600s. We looked at how many possibilities of different changes there are on 3, 4, 5 and 6 bells, until one line is repeated and the process used to create a different ringing order each time.

There are three main ‘ingredients’ to method ringing:

Plain hunting – bells changing one place at a time. We wrote this out and looked at the path of the treble and number 2 bell.

Dodging – going ‘back on yourself’ to ring over or under the same bell in order to increase the amount of changes that can be rung.

‘Making a place’ - to stay/strike in the same place more than once consecutively other than leading or ‘lying’ behind (being the last bell).

The practical afternoon session was at All Saints Church, Huntsham and we were joined by (patient) helpers so that all 8 bells could be rung. We practiced dodges until all the bells had been swapped on the first strike and back to rounds on the second strike. We then tried ‘making places’ before hunting on 3, 4 and 5 five bells (plain hunt) and finished with plain bob doubles which included practicing the dodge!

 We all enjoyed this introduction to the basics of method ringing and are now continuing to learn back in Cullompton Tower.

Rachel Cozens

Wedding Celebration Bells

The Troyte Ringing Centre wanted to celebrate the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We mustered a keen, loyal band of one asthmatic, one chest infection, one lymes disease,( ? cured ) one possible migraine,two artificial hips, an artificial heart valve, and one who thought they were probably quite well. Raising the bells was rather daunting. The three fittest ringers nobly rang up first the two, four and tenor then the treble, three and five, after which we all had a rest. Having agreed to ring Queens Changes, we started well until we realised not all of us had taken off our glasses. So we stopped, sorted ourselves out and tried again. This time we got through to the end when a bottle of pink champagne magically appeared, and with a glass each, we were able to toast William and Catherine in the traditional way. After this we decided we had rung rather well and were feeling fit enough to ring down all six bells together. Eventually this was satisfactorily achieved though not quite in peal. We discovered we hadn't finished the champagne so we thought we ought to do that then the bottle wouldn't be too heavy to carry home. Bell ringing has lots of very happy moments.

Our tower captain was ringing something long and difficult elsewhere. We missed him very much, but he was spared the irritation of some moments of inadequate ringing. As I think he was with a very experienced band, I'm sure he too was able to toast William and Catherine with something. Anyway I hope so because we all want to wish them good health, long life, joy and happiness together.

Libby Ford

North East Branch Quarterly Meeting – 2 April, 2011

For the second of this year's Quarterly Meetings, the Branch was the guest of the ringers at Hemyock and where the first ring of the day was enjoyed in the unusually squat tower of St Mary’s; a ground-floor ring without the rope draft. Wonderful!

The service which followed produced an unexpected treat; the Rev John Stone, formerly vicar at Bampton before his retirement to Hemyock and well known to many N E Branch ringers, dusted off his vestments to conduct a fun bellringers’ service. Brenda Persey, a Clayhidon ringer, provided excellent accompaniment at the organ.

A splendid Ringers’ Tea in the village hall was followed by the business of the day with a reasonably good turn-out of the membership and most of the Committee members being able to attend. Guild rules dictate that the current Chairman must stand down at the end of the year. Leslie Boyce has been a popular and effective Chairman but he has held the office for the maximum period allowed under the Guild constitution and a new Chairman must be appointed for next year. Les's shoes will not be easy to fill but consideration has to be be given to appointing his successor and it is hoped that the membership will exercise itself in the matter.

A short trip from Hemyock to Clayhidon found the intrepid visitors in the tower at St Andrew’s for more fun and games. Here the A-team delighted with some first-class striking in a touch of Bob Minor. The rest of us did our best to copy our betters but in the case of the writer, with customary lack of success.

Clayhidon Those who made it to Clayhidon. As Claude Rains* said to his lieutenant, "Round up the usual suspects".
You all know who you are!

To Brian Samuels and Lin Holway (Tower Captain) as well as the behind-the-scenes helpers at Hemyock must go special thanks for hosting a thoroughly enjoyable day. And thanks too to the Ringing Masters, Sheila Scofield and Richard Johnston who kept things in order, supported the less advanced and ensured everyone managed as much rope time as was wanted.

* To see the Claude Rains reference above, click here.

Dermot Elworthy

NE Branch at Exeter Cathedral

At the request of the Cathedral Dean and Chapter, made through the Deanery Lay Chairs, the North East Branch of the Guild was invited to ring for Saturday's Evensong on the 26th February at Exeter Cathedral. Invitations like this are not often extended, so the band assembled was conscious of participating in a special event. Regrettably, some members who usually would be included in the band were not available, so only eight ringers could be mustered. Fortuitously, Ian and Wendy Campbell "happened to be about", so an augmentation was possible.

Exeter Cathedral The Front Six at Exeter Cathedral

The ringing programme comprised a touch of Stedman Triples, Call Changes on 10 and touches and courses of Grandsire Caters. Even making allowance for the teensiest possibility of judgmental bias on the part of the writer, it has to be acknowledged that the quality of ringing was high and unquestionably to "cathedral" standard. The Stedman - that most musically balanced of methods - was taken at a spot-on speed and the striking was exemplary. Branch members involved in the ringing were Les Boyce, Charlotte Boyce, Dermot Elworthy, John Kape, Richard Johnston, Terry Hargreaves, Sheila Scofield, Richard Shere and Matthew Weighell. Grateful thanks are extended to Ian and Wendy Campbell for more than making up the numbers.

Exeter Cathedral . . . and the back four as rung.

Dermot Elworthy
(with acknowledgments to Ringing Round Devon)

Huntsham Training Day

Saturday 19th March was a treat of a training day at All Saint's, Huntsham. A sparkling frosty morning, a carpet of wild daffodils and Pat already with the coffee on, got us off to a perfect start. While we drank our coffee in the pews, Michael explained the theory of "First Steps in Method Ringing", and the main difference between called changes and method, illustrated and enlivened by Hatchett ancecdotes.

Huntsham Training Photo inspired by Sheila Scofield

Three called-change ringers, Maureen Taylor, Simon Bartlett and Barbara Ford were taking first steps in method ringing, plain hunting on 3, 4 and 5 bells and even (in Maureen's case) ringing the treble to Plain Bob Doubles - thus proving that with ringing, as with bike-riding, one never entirely forgets. Libby Ford and Eve Grosse were practising and consolidating Plain Bob Doubles.

Huntsham Training L to R: Eve Grosse, Libby Ford, Maureen Taylor, Barbara Ford, Simon Bartlett and Mike Hatchett

In all this we were patiently and expertly helped by Leslie Boyce, Charlotte Boyce, Sheila Scofield, Matt Webb and Matthew Weighell. Pat warmed and refreshed us with hot soup, cold cuts, cheese and salad. What a healthy way to spend a day! Many thanks to all who helped.

Eve Grosse

Branch Outing

Wednesday, 9 March, celebrated the first of this year's midweek outings of the North East Branch. Joint organisers John Kape and Ken Wannell were faced with unexpected logistical difficulties as one of the churches to be visited had a last-minute funeral. This dictated a hasty change of schedule and things were further compounded by a fire the previous night at the pub where the lunch had been booked.

The morning ring was on the eight at Newton St Cyres where there is excellent car parking. The landlord in Newton St Cyres village provided a magnificent response to the very short warning of the invasion by some 20 hungry ringers and gastronomic plans also had to be changed; thus I was obliged to substitute the Stilton Ploughman's ordered some weeks ago at The Beer Engine for Fish Cakes at the Crown and Sceptre - all very discomfiting but they did have an excellent beer called "Bob". I asked the pretty girl behind the bar if the brewery did one called "Single". Strangely, this remarkably witty query was met with reaction little more than the raising of an uncomprehending eyebrow. Oh well, clearly a hint for some more ringing.

This time at the quite drafty but very well behaved six at Shobrooke. I think this was my favourite ring of the day but the similarly weighted eight at Pinhoe which followed was a very close second. Unusually for a Guild assembly, there seemed as many call-changers as methodologists present, so the standard fare of Grandsire, Plain Bob and Stedman was well sprinkled with 3-1, 5-2, 5,3, 7-1 etc. Also a little unusual on this ooccasion was the midweek "wrinklies" being joined by a few who did not qualify for free bus passes. This is always refreshing.

Grateful thanks to John and Ken for organising a very enjoyable day out. Some had to miss the Pinhoe ring due to other imperatives but those who stayed the course are pictured below:

Peal Board L to R: Terry Hargreaves, Ken Wannell, Alan Edwards, John Kape, Lynda Smith, Richard Johnston,
David Smith, Glen Morgan, Tony Trigg, Martin Clough, Derek Norrish and James Kingdon.

Dermot Elworthy

Sad Loss

It is with considerable regret that the death of Chris Shere is recorded here. Chris, who suffered a heart attack some eleven years ago, succumbed to the consequences of a further and much more recent attack and died at his home in Huntsham on 18 February last. He was fifty six.

He was both respected and liked as a member of the Huntsham community and a keen participant in the activities of the Troyte Centre where he had been ringing for some four years; in this he followed his father who rang at Huntsham in the 'forties and early 'fifties and with his sister Ann and cousin Richard, shared an enthusiasm for the bells. He will be sadly missed by those who knew and rang with him.

The funeral will be held at Huntsham church, 2 pm on Tuesday, 1 March. After the service, a farewell touch will be provided by fellow ringers.

Dermot Elworthy

New Zealand Disaster

Those who know the fine ring at the cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, will be greatly saddened by the extent of the damage suffered as a consequence of the latest earthquake, pictures of which have been seen in the English news media. The photos show the absence of the once lofty spire but what is not immediately obvious is that the bells and frames have gone too. This is a dreadful devastation, particularly as this was, perhaps, the finest ring in a country not over-endowed with full circle towers. Sadly, there will be no calls of "Go Yorkshire Surprise Maximus" here for some years to come.

Sympathy is extended to the ringing brotherhood in New Zealand.

Dermot Elworthy

Bampton's New Vicar

After a year's interregnum, Bampton once again has a resident vicar. The Rev Lynne Burgon was greeted by some splended ringing as recorded by these two "Peal Boards"; she is welcomed by the local and very active ringing community of the North East Branch.

Peal Board Peal Board for Bampton

Peal Board Peal Board for Huntsham

Dermot Elworthy

Raising & Lowering Training

The first course in Raising and Lowering was held at Huntsham on 23 October last year and proved such a success that popular demand dictated a second seminar on 22 January last. This proved no less successful as Sharon McCabe's account testifies. Consequently, a "consolidation" day is being planned as a successor to these two training days. Watch this space . . .

Troyte Ringing Centre, Huntsham – 22 January, 2011

Having started my new hobby of bell ringing nearly a year ago, I was asked if I would be interested in attending a day’s training course at Huntsham on raising and lowering the bells. Of course I jumped at the chance.

We arrived at 10.00 to a lovely warm welcome of hot coffee and biscuits and we all got to know where everyone on the course had come from (there were 5 of us) and, of course, asked the usual questions of “how long have you been bell ringing?” and “how did you get into it?”

Mike (our instructor) gave us a run down on what the day would hold for us, and then we made our way to the ringing chamber. Six of the eight bells were already “up” and we took it in turns to lower the bell on a one-to-one basis so Mike could observe our “technique”. He then gave us feed back on how we could improve. This was all put across in a very friendly manner so none of us was left feeling intimidated.

The rest of the morning was taken up by practicing raising the bell and lowering while following an experienced ringer (our thanks go to Richard for being so patient in repeating the same thing over and over). Mike continued to encourage us all and answered every question we put to him.

Training L to R Les Boyce, Dermot Elworthy, Bill Cruell, Richard Shere, Sharon McCabe, Catherine Ash, David Garrod, Barbara Ford, Charlotte Boyce, Mike Hatchett and John Kape.

At 1.00 we stopped for lunch which included warming soup, rolls, salad, cold cuts, cheese and a wonderful banana trifle (I don’t think I will ever forget that trifle, it was so good). Again we were very grateful to Pat for all her hard work in keeping us fed and watered.

During lunch we were joined by more helpers for the afternoon session. We spent the afternoon putting into practice what we had learned in the morning by taking turns to lower in peal, firstly as one of 6 bells and then one of 8. These were incredibly helpful and although we were not always keeping in time it was really useful to learn the reasons why and how to get back into time with the other ringers.

At the end of the course we all enjoyed a chat over a cup of tea and slice of Victoria sandwich.

I am sure I am not alone in saying how helpful and enjoyable this course was. I certainly intend to take part in more in the future.

All I need to do now is put everything I have learned into practice (and plenty of it) so that I, too, will be able to raise and lower in peal with confidence.

I cannot thank everyone enough (especially Mike) for their time and kindness.

Sharon McCabe
Cullompton Tower

Bell Advisor

The branch has a Bell Advisor, Jack Ward who is ready, willing an able to help any tower regarding inspections (incuding Quinquennial inspections). Advise PCCs how to approach and work with commercial bell hangers. Jack is also available to give advice and help with project management and maintenance training.

Jack Ward Jack Ward

Click Here - for a full list of services available

Huntsham Winter Training

On Saturday 4 December the North East Branch held the last of its training events for 2010. The weather could have been more kind, and as a consequence three of the intended participants were unable to attend because of the snow and icy roads. The trainer made a trial run the day before to check the routes into and out of Huntsham and route information was given to those requesting local knowledge. This session was to consolidate Plain Bob Triples, which has been a Monday evening method at Huntsham whenever there have been sufficient ringers present.

The morning started with coffee or tea and biscuits - essential on a cold morning - and then straight into the first exercise which was plain courses of Bob Triples. Emphasis was placed on coursing order and the order in which each bell passes the treble. The second exercise was to ring three courses with three bobs at home. For those ringing the second, third or fourth bells this touch has similarities with Plain Bob Doubles with the fifth bell as observation. It was emphasised that the second reason for this touch was to keep five, six and seven coursing as in the plain course. The third exercise was a bobs only touch in which the second, third, fourth and fifth bells were all affected by bobs giving more varied coursing orders. The fourth exercise involved singles and the final exercise of the morning was a touch including bobs or singles at every lead with the participants on bells two or three. This provided an opportunity to look at what was happening as each of the other working bells made fourth's place at bobs or singles. Each of the three participants who made it to Huntsham rang each of these five exercises on the bell of their choice.

Training L to R Mike Hatchett, John Kape, Ken Wannell, Janet Ritterman, Chris Bolt, Les Boyce and Tony Trigg.

The session ended with one of Pat's light lunches - hot soup, cold meats, cheese, rolls, salad bits and pieces and a yoghurt to finish.

Sessions such as this place a burden on the helpers who rang between them fifteen touches of Plain Bob Triples in three hours. Without helpers we cannot run our training events and helpers become thinner on the ground as the year progresses. So a big "thank you" to all our helpers this year. Our 2010 programme has been well received and all sessions have been fully booked - only the weather has really influenced attendance.

The 2011 programme starts with another raising and lowering all day session on Saturday 22 January.

Mike Hatchett

NE Branch Dinner

Saturday, 27 November was the date for this year's annual North East Branch dinner. The place was the Redwood's Inn, Uplowman, just a brisk walk from the Uplowman church, scene of recent Branch success in the Guild 6-bell striking competition. A couple of dozen or so hardy souls braved an unusually cold night to enjoy an excellent meal and an evening of fun in the pub which turned out to be much more convivial than the sepulchral venue of last year's do. Everyone had fun and it seemed a little selfish that all this bonhomie was not spread amongst a wider section of the Branch membership.

We now have just over 100 Branch members of the Guild so Saturday's turnout was, perhaps, not so bad but sadly, of the 16 towers represented within the Branch, only regulars of the two Tivertonians and Bampton were present. It is a pity that there is not greater support for the activities of the Branch and to the organisation of which the committee devotes considerable effort. Perhaps next year will see an increase in enthusiasm generally and for this very worthwhile annual get-together in particular. Most of those who shared all this year's fun are pictured below:


Sheila Scofield was behind the camera and is the one to blame for Glen Morgan and Terry Hargreaves not being in front of it!

Dermot Elworthy

NE Branch Quarter Peal Week, 29 October - 7 November,  2010

During the week, 33 ringing members of the NE Branch took part in Quarter Peal attempts.  We rang 13 attempts in the Tiverton and Cullompton Deaneries and in 9 of our Branch affiliated towers. At the end of the week, £190.00 had been raised for the Devon Church Bell Restoration Fund (DCBRF). 7 of the attempts were successful and there were a number of FIRSTS. Details below:

Bampton, Saturday 30 October
1260 Plain Bob Minor:

Pat Hatchett 1
Ann Barrow 2
Sheila Scofield 3
Charlotte Boyce 4
Tony Trigg 5
Michael Hatchett (c) 6

Rung in memory of Richard Charles (Dick) Sloman a Bampton ringer for many years.

Huntsham, Monday 1 November
1260 Plain Doubles in two methods:

Alan Edwards 1
Christopher Bolt 2**
Sheila Scofield 3
Leslie Boyce 4
Michael Hatchett ( c ) 5
Jack Ward 6
Brian Samuels 7
Mike Heard 8*

Rung with 768 covering. *1st quarter peal, **1st quarter peal in two methods on an inside bell.

Broadhembury, Tuesday 2 November
1260 Plain Bob Doubles:

Lucy Tame 1*
Pauline Champion 2
Richard Shere 3
Matthew Webb 4
Reginald McKenzie 5
Martin Lloyd 6

*1st quarter peal.

Washfield, Wednesday 3 November
1260 Doubles (1 P & 5 M):

Sally Lawrence 1
John West 2
Martin Blazey (c) 3
Terry Hargreaves 4
Giles Morely 5
Bryan Williams 6

Cruwys Morchard, Wednesday 3 November
1260 Plain Bob Doubles:

Nellie Croft 1
Charlotte Boyce 2
Richard H. Johnston 3
Michael Hatchett 4
Matthew Weighell (c) 5
Clive Jones 6*

*1st quarter peal.  ** 1st quarter peal in this tower including 2 local ringers.

Cullompton, Sunday 7 November
1296 Plain Bob Caters:

Charlotte Boyce 1
Sheila Scofield 2
Michael Hatchett 3
Richard Shere 4
Richard H. Johnston 5
Leslie Boyce 6
Matthew Webb 7
Matthew Weighell 8
Pauline Champion (c) 9
Terry Hargreaves 10

*1st quarter peal of plain bob caters rung by a NE Branch resident band.

Tiverton St Peter, Sunday 7 Novemeber
1280 Yorkshire Surprise Major:

Sheila Scofield 1
Charlotte Boyce 2
Richard Shere 3
Michael Hatchett 4
Leslie Boyce 5
Richard H. Johnston 6
Pauline Champion 7
Matthew Weighell (c) 8*

*1st as conductor in Surprise major.  **1st quarter peal of surprise major with a resident NE Branch band.

It was a most encouraging quarter peal week for the Branch.  The participation rate was high and most attempts included ringers who were pushing their personal envelopes.  Even where quarters failed, they  provided useful practice at a sustained period of ringing.  Standards are rising, and, as our 2nd place in the recent inter-district striking competition showed, the Branch now has a core band of ringers who can reliably ring together to a high standard of striking.  The week concluded with two quarters by North East members that not only pushed the Branch’s ringing boundaries but also provided real ringing pleasure. 

This report submitted jointly by the Branch Ringing Masters.

Quarter Peal Week North East Branch - Charlotte’s Diary

Saturday 30 October 10.30am

Bampton – Bob Minor

This was the day after the Bampton Charter Fair, so parking was difficult due to the car park near the Church being full of camper vans. It was very tempting to stay there to savour the smell of other peoples’ breakfasts but instead we gave warning to the campers and went off to the Church to ring up the bells and generally disturb everyone’s quiet morning. This was a pleasing quarter peal; certain coursing order combinations allowed some very good striking provided by Pat Hatchett, Ann Barrow, Sheila Scofield, Charlotte Boyce, Tony Trigg and Mike Hatchett conducting from the back. Some members of the band were tiring towards the end but Mike and the other ringers kept up the support and encouragement and we successfully arrived at rounds after 1260 changes.

Monday 1 November 6.15pm

Calverleigh – Doubles: 3 methods

An intrepid team of ringers (Glen Morgan, John Kape, David Bromwich, Charlotte Boyce, Terry Hargreaves and Dermot Elworthy) met up in the darkness in order to ring. We found some torches and set off to the church to ring the lovely set of six bells. The plan was to splice 3 methods (Grandsire, St Martin's and Plain Bob) with Terry, John and I taking turns calling. This was Dermot’s first quarter experience ringing tenor behind and he did a splendid job. Unfortunately there were some method mistakes and miscalling so , after three tries, we eventually called it a night and retired to the pub.

Wednesday 3 November 7.30pm

Cruwys Morchard – Plain Bob Doubles

I arrived slightly late to find 4 other members of the band and several supporters but no conductor! After finding a phone signal in the churchyard, we phoned Matthew and he duly arrived just after 8pm. Cruwys Morchard has an enthusiastic band of ringers who have only been ringing for Sunday services for just over a year, so it was lovely to see so many of the local band out to support Nellie and Clive. We spent the intervening time having an impromptu practice of plain hunting for Hillary and Lesley who did very well and were pleased to have the practice. The quarter peal, rung by Nellie Croft, Charlotte Boyce, Richard Johnston, Michael Hatchett, Matthew Weighell and Clive Jones was successful and Guy Cruwys arrived to listen to the end. Clive, ringing the tenor in his first quarter peal attempt, was shattered at the end but he did a sterling job on a very difficult bell whilst also contending with his glasses slipping down his nose!

Thursday 4 November 3pm

Culmstock – Plain Bob Triples

Culmstock bells are rather a challenging ring - four ringers have to stand in a straight line making ropesight difficult for even the most experienced ringers. We gave it a good shot but unfortunately there were some swapping and method mistakes, so eventually we retired from battle. However, we are determined to try again, perhaps at a different tower! The team were Alan Edwards, Ken Wannell, John Kape, Charlotte Boyce, Richard Johnston, David Bromwich, Mike Hatchet (C) and Tony Trigg.

Charlotte Boyce


Included for the first time within the Troyte Ringing Centre’s training programme was a course in "Raising and Lowering in Peal". This took place at Huntsham on 23 October but had been fully subscribed since it was first announced months previously, indicating a particular interest in and a need for instruction in this neglected but important element of ringing.

After an introductory welcome from Mike Hatchett, the morning was devoted to individual tuition, firstly in lowering and when some competence (and confidence) in coil-making was acquired, moving on to raising. Up, down, up, down – everyone was thankful for the lightness of the front six Huntsham bells! Mike introduced a novel and effective exercise – ringing up to, perhaps, half way and holding the bell in that arc whilst just lightly touching the sally with thumb and finger of one hand and “no more and no less” pulls on the backstroke. Take the bells up a bit and repeat; bring them down a bit and repeat. This is strange behaviour not usually found in a ringing chamber and the racket of six bells all doing their own thing was frightful (thank goodness for sound attenuation!) but it proved a really first class means of “feeling” the bell and establishing improved control. Pat Hatchett laid on her customary cold collation lunch and for which people always are grateful but doubly so now in view of the amount of physical effort expended during the morning.

Course participants were joined after lunch by the helpers needed to make up the band for peal work. So often helpers are the anonymous, unsung heroes of ringing training without whom the ultimate in team participation could not function and, so often, it is the same people giving of their time and knowledge who throw themselves into the breech. There are many others who could and should pitch in to share these obligations to the welfare of The Exercise. On this occasion the selfless included Richard Shere, Charlotte Boyce, Sheila Scofield, Tony Trigg and Leslie Boyce.

So, on to the raise en tout ensemble; firstly on six bells and then the full eight. This engendered considerable discussion of the merits of different conventions of starting; “Go on three . .” (generally regarded as the Devon style) or the “Bristol” arrangement. Similarly, how to stop when back at the bottom? General experience seemed restricted to either “123, miss and catch” or just an unresolved fizzle into timid silence with the ringers putting on their coats denoting the end of ringing down. However, Richard Shere introduced another option wherein the bell leading down stamps his foot to indicate the end. This achieved instant acceptance as the “Cullompton Stomp” and is sure to receive widespread adoption . . . As much can be learned from this sort of discussion as from the more formal elements and it ended a thoroughly delightful day during which much wisdom was imparted and much received, thanks to the work put in by Mike Hatchett.

Training at Huntsham
Training at Huntsham
Training at Huntsham

A second course of this syllabus will be held on 22 January, next year.

Dermot Elworthy


On Saturday,16 October, the North East Branch of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers hosted the annual Guild striking competitions. Good bells, good ringing, good company and, to general acclaim, good food. These coupled with splendid autumn sunshine combined to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable day, even if, in the end, some were not placed first in their respective competitions. The occasion was divided into three competing classes: 8-bell, 6-bell and Novice.


The easy-going, light six (8cwt) at St Paul's, Tiverton were an ideal choice for the Novice competition and that may have been responsible for encouraging a record number of teams to enter. Regrettably, an imposition of a time limit on the availability of the bells meant that the length of the test piece had to be reduced from 180 to 120 changes. Nevertheless, the smaller number proved more than adequate for teams to demonstrate their abilities.

The Guild rules define Novices as less experienced junior members or adults who have not rung a quarter peal and this section's teams were composed of ringers meeting these criteria in about equal measure. It was good to see youngsters from Exeter and Plymouth performing well but no less encouraging to have recently recruited adults demonstrating that it is never too late to learn. The youngsters of Emmanuel Plymouth were unlucky to have been pushed into third place by the grey hairs of St Peter's Tiverton by a mere quarter of a fault! Later, at Huntsham, judge John Foster emphasised the need for bands to concentrate on establishing a good rhythm at the outset. However, he commended all the Novice teams for some good ringing.


A noteworthy performance (37 faults) of Double Oxford Bob Major was given by the band representing the N E Branch, gaining a highly creditable 2nd place behind the winners, Exeter 1, who, as one would expect of a cathedral band, were in a rather different league at 13,25 faults. Those ringing the eight at Huntsham and bringing much kudos to our neck of the woods were:

Michael Hatchett (Cond.) 1
John Kape 2
Richard Shere 3
Sheila Scofield 4
Leslie Boyce 5
Matthew Weighell 6
Charlotte Boyce 7
Richard Johnston 8

Judges at Huntsham were Steph Ewings and David Trist.

Competition All Saints, Huntsham with 8-bell contestants.
Competition Les Boyce receives the Second Place Certificate for a fine 8-bell performance.

Some thoughts from Mike Hatchett, the Branch Training Officer:

"Each year we enter a team for the Guild 8 bell striking competition. We have struggled during the last two or three years to bring the team together for pre-competition practices. We have limited experience ringing major methods together as a team. However this year we were able to practice together as a team on, I think, five occasions over a six week period. After the first practice we decided we would ring Double Oxford Bob Major and after the second practice we decided to ring a little faster than we normally ring. Richard Johnson helped considerably by making constructive comments after each touch. Most of our practices were held during the evening and many of us were tired at the end of the working day, so there were several method errors during an evening of practice touches. In my opinion there are three stages in the preparations for a striking competition; the first stage is to eliminate method errors, the second stage is to strike the whole touch well, and the final stage is to ring the test piece with confidence. As each practice session progressed the number of method errors increased and we had some difficulty in striking the first three or four leads really well. We had the great advantage of ringing on a tower within our own Branch and at the final practice we decided to finish earlier than normal and before we got too tired and our ringing deteriorated. Our test piece during the competition went well, there were no significant method errors and we struck the first three leads really well enabling us to settle down quickly and our confidence grew as we progressed through the test piece. We probably rang as well as we could without significant additional practice. We do not ring extended touches together as a team and in my opinion our ringing would benefit from a quarter peal or two as part of our pre-competition preparation. This would help us to develop our concentration and we may then be able to ring together at a more consistent speed.

We enjoyed our tea, we were all very pleased with our second place in the competition and we considered the Exeter team were very worthy ringers."


6 teams competed for the 6-bell prize on the 8cwt ring at Uplowman, where Exeter St Mark's won the John Longridge Plate. St Peter's Tiverton proudly took second place with 120 changes of Plain Hunt Doubles rung by:

Charlotte Boyce 1
Margaret Cadogan 2
Glenis Morgan 3
Mike Heard 4
Matthew Weighell (Cond.) 5
Leslie Boyce 6

Competition Award presentations - Lester Yeo looks on.

A splendid Ringers' Tea was provided by the host Branch and grateful thanks must go to those who slaved at home and subsequently in the Huntsham village hall to lay on such an excellent spread.

Competition Sue "Marigold" Partridge - just one of the hard-working stalwarts behind the scenes.

In all, it was a very successful and much-enjoyed day. Two bands from the North East competed in two of the three categories and gained a second place in each case; a hearty "Well Done!" to them both. However, for a few this may not have been enough ringing - later that evening your roving reporter spied several contestants engaged in Cambridge Maximus at the Cathedral!

Dermot Elworthy


As an experiment for the next six months some Sunday Services are being jointly held with Tiverton St George.

This means that there will only be Sunday ringing on the first and third Sunday of the month at Tiverton St Paul.

Lynda Smith
Tiverton St Paul


Members of the North East Branch extend a warm welcome to two new incumbents in the Tiverton and Cullompton Deaneries. On Saturday 11th September the Revd. Steve Goodbody was installed as Rector of the Exe Valley Group of parishes at a service in St Peter’s, Oakford, while at the end of the month the Revd Sue Blade was officially made Rector of the Sampford Peverell Group at a service at St John the Baptist’s Church. Steve was previously curate at St Leonard with Holy Trinity in Exeter and Sue was a chaplain at the University of Christ Church, Canterbury. They now have responsibility between them for 12 churches with ringing peals of bells.

Ringers from across the Branch came together to ring quarter peals to welcome them. In both cases the bands included ringers from churches in their respective group of parishes. Here are the details:

At St Mary’s, Washfield

On Saturday 11th September 2010
1260 St Simon’s, Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles in 45 mins.

1. Nellie Croft (Cruwys Morchard)
2. Richard Shere (Cullompton)
3. Terry Hargreaves (Tiverton, St Paul)
4. Matthew Weighell (Tiverton, St Peter)
5. Leslie Boyce (Tiverton, St. Peter) - Conductor
6. Catherine Thorpe (Washfield & Halberton)

Rung to welcome the Rev. Steve Goodbody, the new Team Rector in the Exe Valley Group of Churches, and his wife, Sarah, to Withleigh Rectory.

At St Peter’s, Uplowman

On Friday 1st October 2010
1260 Reverse Canterbury, St Simon’s, St Martin’s, Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles in 45 mins.

1. Catherine Thorpe (Washfield & Halberton)
2. Sheila Scofield (Bampton), Branch Ringing Master
3. Charlotte Boyce (Tiverton, St Peter)
4. Richard H. Johnston (Plymtree)
5. Leslie Boyce (Tiverton, St. Peter), Conductor
6. Colin Davey (Halberton)

Rung to welcome the Rev. Sue Blade, the new Team Rector in the Sampford Peverell Group of Churches, to Sampford Rectory We wish both Steve and Sue every success in their ministries and look forward to working with them in the future.

Les Boyce
Branch Chairman



Pencils 50p
Bookmarks £1.00
Drink Bottles £3.50
1/2pt Glasses £3.00
Mugs £4.00


A collection of brand-marked items are for sale to support the Troyte Ringing Centre. The souvenir goods are available at both Huntsham and Bampton churches, you can also find them at training or social events, or order them when you book your training or ringing sessions. If you are really keen then e-mail Sheila Scofield on .


The Ringing Round Devon quarterly Newsletter of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers can be found here.