Guild of Devonshire Ringers


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News Index

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Uffculme Restored

Last Sunday, 4th September, brought the sound of bells back to Uffculme after a silence of several months.

Much-needed work has included rotating all the (8) bells 90 degrees on their principal axes and some general machining. All clappers were rebushed and the tenor given a wooden sheathing around the shaft as well as being treated to a new set of trunnion bearings - as the photo suggests, replacement of the latter was a matter of some urgency!

Uffculme An old trunnion bearing from the Uffculme restoration.

It has been a long wait but the ring is now going well with the tenor's new predictability being appreciated by all. Tony Lane, when ringing at the back, was heard to mumble something about "odd on the backstroke" but where is perfection to be found? The Uffculme ring should now be set for a good many years of providing pleasure to both the ringers and listeners.

Dermot Elworthy

Bampton - No Picnic for Teddy Bears

August bank holiday Monday saw again teddy bears raining from the Bampton skies. The parachuting teddies event, held as part of Bampton Open Day, raised £232.70 for the ringers, being £111.70 on the day plus £121.00 from local sponsorship of the brave teddies.

Bampton Teddies

Click HERE to see a short video of tower-top events.

Ken Smith

Devonshire Association Competition

Those whose Servce Ringing times on Sunday, 18th September do not clash, may like to enjoy a pleasant morning in Bampton where between 10am and 11am, the Devonshire Association will be holding their 2011 six-bell competition final.

This will provide an opportunity to hear striking par excellence on what, in my view, for its weight is one of the best six-bell rings in the county. It will be a treat. Afterwards the 8-bell finals will be held at Dunster, so there will be ringing of unusual quality in the North East neck of the woods - have a listen if you can.

Dermot Elworthy

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

Competition Sheila of the Bampton band accepting the St Peter’s shield from Les

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

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



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.