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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.

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

Ken Smith

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

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

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



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.

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