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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


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, Johyce and Tony Trign Kape, Ken Wannell, Janet Ritterman, Chris Bolt, Les Bog.

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


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


A small group of children from the Bampton C of E Primary School investigated whether or not they live in a diverse but cohesive part of Devon by taking photographs of their village and its inhabitants and entering them in a primary school photographic competition.

The team of four, helped by a parent, decided what makes a good photograph, by taking pictures and discussing them. They then decided to visit the bellringers and learn more about what bellringing is as well as taking pictures. They really enjoyed being encouraged to "... have a go ..." which was a high highlight for them. They also visited the weekly toddler group and loved playing with the youngsters. They took photographs during th e School's  "Quiztastic"  evening, when many parents turned out to support their children.

They then selected their best photographs, added captions to them and submitted their entry. A few weeks later they discovered that they had won the competition in which there were 120 entries. They will be presented with their prize of £500 in September to be used to buy photographic equipment. Well done kids!! Here are just a few of the photographs which they included in their entry.

Michael Hatchett

Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image - click again to close.


A young teenager walked through Bampton churchyard with his teddy bear and proudly announced to the assembled company of helpers that this would be the "... tenth certificate of bravery 0n my bedroom wall that my bear has won ...". So it was August Bank Holiday Monday, aka Bampton Open Day and we were all set once again to parachute teddy bears from the top of the church tower. Our bellringers now know the ropes. Two of us are at the top of the tower armed with rope and wicker basket, fishing rod, launch rod and lifeline. Another team is assembled below taking money, recording teddy names, fitting parachutes and lifelines and filling the wicker basket with apprehensive teddies. Yet another team of first-aiders offers jelly babies to those reluctant to bid farewell to their teddies, and to check out those teddies who suffered hard landings or who get tangled up in trees or the church roof. Finally, there is our scribe whose job it is to write up the Certificates of Bravery, getting all the details correct, including the sometimes-incomprehensible names of migrant bears.

Of course there is much more that goes on behind the scenes. For some years now a team of bears has spent time in various Bampton shops advertising the event and gaining sponsorship. This year Costcutters' bear was a clear and outright winner persuading customers to part with £92.01 in the run up to Open Day, whereas the Butchers' bear failed dismally to get people to part with their small change. Maybe the idea of a bear loose in a butcher's shop did not appeal, so next year we might try a gorilla in the butchers!!

Pre-event sponsorship raised a total of £129.89 and we parachuted one hundred and thirteen bears during the afternoon. As usual we refused to parachute spouses and mothers-in-law and this year with great reluctance we had to turn away two enormous bears for whom we did not have adequate lifting gear or large enough parachutes. We all had a wonderful time, it was great fun and we had lots of bears enjoying their first parachute descent as well as some very experienced bears with many successful descents to their credit. Incidentally, what happened to the snake we parachuted last year? Did he take offence at being tied into a knot so that we could fix his parachute? We raised a total of £242.89 this year, thank you all so much.

Michael Hatchett

Bampton Teddies Bampton Teddies
Bampton Teddies
Bampton Teddies Bampton Teddies
Bampton Teddies Bampton Teddies
Bampton Teddies Bampton Teddies

See this video on Youtube of a brave Teddy parachuting for charity - and fun!


It all started when the Bampton PCC decided to postpone a “Weekend of Fun” for parishioners programmed for 7 and 8 August. So we were left with a free Saturday – unbelievable! What should we do? We decided it was about time we did something to help all those brave young people who return wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq. And so the idea of “To ring or not to ring to provide Help for Heroes” was born. We divided Saturday, 7 August into half-hour slots between 10.00 am and 6.00 pm and invited friends of the Troyte Ringing Centre to become sponsored to either have the Bampton bells ringing or silent for each half hour.

With a little care we programmed the day so that the ringing slots were between 10.00am and 1.00pm and between 3.00pm and 6.00pm, giving just enough time for one peal in the morning and another in the afternoon. The period between 1.00pm and 3.00pm could be periods of silence or periods of ringing by the local band. Life got just a little complicated when various Bampton ringers were either on holiday or at the Taunton Flower Show on the Saturday in question.

Some late night mental arithmetic suggested that if we raised £1.00 per minute throughout the day, we could total £500 for the day as a whole. Therefore, we set ourselves a target of £500. By mid July, we realised we could comfortably reach this target and so we raised our sights to £1,000. We produced a “thermometer” with increments of £50 up to a maximum of £1,400 and wondered if we were being too ambitious. By 1.00pm on Saturday, 7 August as the first peal ended at exactly 1.00pm – well done Robert Brown – we had burst the thermometer and we reached £1,500 during the first period of silence. At 6.00pm we stopped fund raising just as Tim Collins completed the second peal in less than 2 hours and 56 minutes; Fred Sage led us down with less than 10 seconds to spare. Who was it who said “. . . take a calendar with you when ringing a peal with Tim Collins”?

We served tea and coffee, biscuits and cakes throughout the day. We had a collection box in the town during the morning and another in the church all day. During the post-6.00pm reckoning, we found the “tea ladies” had pockets full of banknotes totaling £300 and our collection boxes raised nearly £350 – fantastic! Pledges and additional funds are still coming in but we know we have raised in excess of £2,550. So our original hopes of raising £1 per minute resulted in us raising more than £5 per minute and has exceeded our wildest dreams. A very big “thank you” to the friends of the Troyte Ringing Centre and to the Bampton parishioners. You have all been absolutely wonderful. AND, we did not receive a single complaint. So just remember, all you tower representatives who don’t like your bells rung too often just in case there are complaints, this particular day touched the hearts and minds of a very generous small town population.

Just imagine what we could do if every tower held one such event during the year. The world in which we all live might just become a better place for many of those who are disabled or disadvantaged in some way.

Both peals were rung for the Devonshire Society.

10:00am   Morning Peal

BAMPTON, Devon, St Michael and All Angels,
Saturday, 7 August 2010. 2h 59m (14)

5040 Surprise Minor:
(7 methods: London, Bourne, York, Ipswich, Beverley, Surfleet, Cambridge)

1    Mervyn C Way
2    Sheila C Matthews
3    Lesley A Knipe
4    Michael Hatchett
5    Jeffery Knipe
6    Robert D S Brown (c)

Peal Band L to R: Lesley Knipe, Jeffrey Knipe, Sheila Matthews,
Michael Hatchett, Mervyn Way and Robert Brown.


2:00pm   Devon Call Changes

1    Pat Hatchett
2    Eve Grosse
3    Sue Partridge
4    Ann Barrow
5    Dermot Elworthy
6    Jack Ward (c)

Peal Band L to R: Pat Hatchett, Sue Partridge, Ann Barrow, Eve Grosse,
Dermot Elworthy, Jack Ward.


3:00pm   Afternoon Peal

BAMPTON, Devon. St Michael and All Angels,
Saturday, 7 August, 2010. 2h 56m.

5040 Surprise Minor:
(11 methods: (1) London, Wells, (2) Westminster, (3) York, Durham, (4) Norwich, (5) Beverley, Surfleet, (6) Bourne, (7) Cambridge, Ipswich)

1    Frederick J Sage
2    Sheila C Matthews
3    Lesley A Knipe
4    Michael Hatchett
5    Jeffrey Knipe
6    Timothy F Collins (c)

Peal Band L to R: Jeffrey Knipe, Lesley Knipe, Mike Hatchett,
Sheila Matthews, Frederick Way, Timothy Collins.

Life is just amazing at times! Thank you all so much.

Michael Hatchett

Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image - click again to close.

Photos by David Whiteway



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 your really keen then e-mail Sheila Scofield on .


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

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