In a break from tradition, two towers were visited on this very wet evening in November. At the very light ring of four at Outwood a variety of minimus methods were rung, including Plain Bob, Double Bob and Double Court. Moving on to Burstow, a notoriously difficult ring of six, methods including Plain Bob and Cambridge were rung. The humid conditions meant that the bell frame had tightened up and the bells were considerably easier to ring than they were during the hot, dry summer of 2018.
It was a warm October evening when ten members arrived to ring on the six bells at West Hoathly. Call changes, Plain Bob Minor, St Clements. Double Court, Double Oxford, Stedman, Cambridge and Norwich were all rung.
Although relatively few members were presnt for the early part of the afternoon session, around 16 members attended the service of BCP Evening Prayer led by the vicar, Kathryn Percival. Lessons were read by Rosalind Cowsill and Kate Wills. 18 members sat down to tea in the Miller Room at the rear of the church and this was followed by the business meeting which was concluded in the record time of ten minutes! Ringing continued until just after 7.30 pm, with Double Norwich Court Bob Major, Stedman Triples, Cambridge Major and Middlesex Bob Triples being among the methods rung.
About 18 members of the Guild met at Hartfield at 3 pm to ring on these easy-going bells. Methods rung included Plain Bob Doubles, Stedman, and Norwich Surprise Minor. There were also rounds, call changes and Plain Hunt for the less experienced members. At 4.30 pm a service of Choral Evensong was held at Coleman's Hatch, led by the Rector Julie Sear with assistance from the resident organist, Barry Tilston. Lessons were read by Andrew Brock (Vice President) and Kate Wills (Chairman). Tea, prepared by Ros and Roger Cowsill (with help from Lynda Johnson) was taken in the church hall where we were joined by the Rector, the organist and the local cat. The business meeting commenced just after 6 pm with Kate Wills taking charge. Matters discussed ranged from the Guild Outing to be held on 14 July in the Basingstoke area, the annual meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (at Lancaster in May) and the recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation. One new member was elected - Dr Christopher Westwood, from Hartfield. Moving to the tower at Coleman's Hatch ringing included Plain Hunt on 7, touches of Stedman Triples, Double Oxford Court Bob Triples, and Double Norwich Court Bob Major and a half-course of Yorkshire Surprise Major. A total of 24 members attended during the afternoon and evening, and the standard of ringing was generally good. The bells were lowered at 8 pm, whereupon a group of members retired to the Hatch Inn for some well-earned refreshment.
12 members of the Guild took the opportunity to ring on these interesting bells. Although usually regarded as a ring of eight bells, there are acctually nine bells hung for full circle ringing. In 1885 the Belgian bell founder Severin van Aerschodt cast and installed a complete ring of eight bells, with an additional bell (a sharp 5) for the chiming apparatus. In 1926 Gillett and Johnston recast the treble, 2, 5 and tenor. Although the 5# was originally hung dead, in 2000 it was hung for ringing so it is now possible to ring a true diatonic Belgian five: 3, 4, 5#, 6, 7. The first ringing of the evening was a 120 of Reverse Canterbury Doubles on this five. Later Plain Bob Minimus was rung on the "chromatic four" (4, 5#, 5 and 6), and Grandsire Caters was rung on all nine bells - with interesting musical results. Other ringing icluded Stedman Triples and Double Norwich Court Bob Major.
Afterwards, refreshment was taken at The Plough, just across the road from the church.
A total of 29 members attended the AGM at Edenbridge, where we were warmly welcomed by the Tower Captain, Richard Dyson. Ringing commenced at 3.00 pm under te direction of the Ringing Master, Robin Grant. At 4.30 the Vicar, Father Stephen Mitchell, led a service of Evensong, accompanied by Paul Isom on the organ. Following tea (taken in the church), the AGM commenced at 6.00 pm. As a result of the recent death of the Chairman of the Guild, David Threlfall, the chair was taken by the President, Ray Large. The meeting began with all present standing in silence in memorty of David. Five new members were elected: Andrew Wickenden (Cowden); Philippa Nelson (Lingfield); Richard Dyson (Edenbridge); Jonathan Large (Bramley, Hampshire); and Emma Tamkin (Speldhurst), and those present were welcomed to the Guild by the President. Kate Wills was elected Chairman of the Guild and immediately took over the Chair from Ray, following which Milica Reardon was elected to take over from Kate as Assistant Secretary. An additional committee member, David Finch, was also elected. All other officers were re-elected. After a short discussion it was agreed to raise the membership subscription from £3 to £5, with effect from 2019. Kate Wills gave details of Guild Clothing, and handed out order forms. The meeting closed at 7.00 pm and ringing continued until 8.00 pm, following which members adjourned to "The Old Eden" for welcome refreshmant.
15 members enjoyed a very pleasant evening at The George and Dragon, Spedhurst, organised by the Guild's Treasurer, Mike Bullett. Andrew Brock, a Vice President of the Guild, proposed a toast to "Absent Friends" - Margaret Large, Jean Kimber and David Threlfall - all of whom had passed away in the previous twelve months.
Considering the date the weather was kind to us at Balcombe, and 16 members assembled to ring on this rather pleasant eight. Tea was taken in the church and this was followed by the business meeting, chaired by Mike Bullett (as David Threlfall was away on holiday). It was agreed that the Guild should try to arrange an informal dinner on 10 February in place of the evening meeting. The Secretary circulated a "suggested" programme for meetings in 2018 - 2019 and members made some helpful comments. Ringing continued for an hour after the meeting.
Winter had come and it was cold and frosty! However this did not deter the 12 stalwart members who came from far and wide to ring on this light six. Coffee, sandwiches, mince pies and chocolate biscuits were served mid-morning. Ringing ranged from call changes, through St Nicholas Minor, to London Surprise, and was of a higher standard than at some recent meetings.
On a very dark and dismal evening 12 members of the Guild met to ring the challenging bells at Penshurst, half-muffled ready for Remembrance Sunday. Methods ranging from Grandsire Triples to Yorkshire Surprise Major were rung with varying degrees of success.
A very pleasant evening was enjoyed by 12 members of the Guild.
A total of 20 members attended during the afternoon and evening. There was a wide variety of ringing to suit all abilities organised by the Guild Chairman (David Threlfall) in the absence of the Ringing Master (Robin Grant). It had not been possible to arrange for a service on this occasion so ringing continued until 5 pm rather than the more usual 4.30 pm. Tea was taken in the Church Hall, with members of the local band doing all the hard work of setting out chairs and tables and presiding over the teapot. The business meeting was short and uneventful, and one member commented that perhaps we could follow the example set by the Sussex Association and have only one business meeting each year, with any new members being elected at the other meetings. Following the business meeting ringing continued until 8 pm.
12 Members met at Slaugham on this very pleasant summer evening. It was good to see Adrian Grant on a visit from his new home in New Zealand. Methods rung included Double Norwich and Little Bob Major.
13 Members met on a very pleasant summer evening to ring on the eight at Maresfield. The long draught proved to be something of a challenge, but there was, nevertheless, some good ringing. Methods rung included Oxford Bob Triples, Middlesex Bob Triples, Stedman Triples, Double Norwich Court Bob Major and Cambridge Surprise Major (and minor). Unusually, there were no takers for rounds and call changes this month. It was very pleasing that our President, Ray Large, was able to attend. By 8.20 all present had worked up a good thirst, so we adjourned to The Chequers for some welcome refreshment.
Following the Anniversary Dinner the previous day, and a peal in the morning it was, perhaps, not surprising that only nine members ventured to Limpsfield Chart for this evening meeting. Nevertheless a good variety of methods was rung, including Cambridge and Surfleet Surprise and spliced Plain and Little Bob. Once again the local hostelry disappointed as it was closed for a private function. However, the Bull at Limpsfield proved a satisfactory alternative.
PEAL TO MARK THE 90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE GUILD - Saturday 10 June
90th ANNIVERSARY DINNER - Friday 9 June 2017 Crowne Plaza, Felbridge
32 Members and friends attended the dinner in the comfortable surroundings of the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Felbridge, just outside East Grinstead. The Guest of Honour was Christopher O'Mahony, President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.
After the meal the President of the Guild, Ray Large, welcomed all present and proposed the Loyal Toast. Christopher O'Mahony responded with a very witty speech and went on to propose a toast to "The Guild". The Chairman of the Guild, David Threlfall, responded.
An Anniversary Cake, baked and beautifully decorated by Sheila Marsh (a member from Lingfield) was cut by the President and enjoyed by all.
As usual, members had donated prizes for a raffle and more than £130 was raised for the Guild's Rope Fund.
14 members attended this evening meeting at one of the western outposts of the Guild area. Methods rung included Norwich and Beverley Surprise, Double Oxford, and St Clements. Sadly there was no real ale availble at The Six Bells, across the road from the church.
A total of 28 members of the Guild attended. Ringing began at 3.30 under the direction of the Ringing Master, Robin Grant. Sadly, the ringing was not of a very high standard as few of our members are experienced on 12 bells, and some people found the bells difficult. At 4.45 a service of Evening Prayer was conducted by the Vicar of East Grinstead, Rev Andrew Hawken, who preached a very interesting sermon. Prayers were said for Margaret Large, President of the Guild, who had died on 4 February. We are grateful to Andrew Brock for playing the piano for the two hymns. Tea was taken in the Church Hall, and despite the fact that only 18 members had notified the Secretary that they would require tea, 27 people were actually catered for. The business meeting commenced at 6.35 pm. with David Threlfall in the chair. Two new members were welcomed to the Guild: Betty Green (East Grinstead) and Milica Reardon (Caterham, St John). Ray Large was unanimously elected President and thanked those present for their confidence in him. All other officers of the Guild were re-elected. The Secretary gave brief details of the meeting programme for 2017/18, and of the 90th Anniversary Dinner which is to take place on Friday 9 June at the Felbridge Hotel. The meeting closed at 7.21 pm. Ringing continued at East Grinstead until 8.15. The Minutes of the meeting will be available soon in the "Minutes and Agendas" section of this website.
Eleven stalwart members of the Guild braved inclement weather to ring at this curious anti-clockwise ring of eight. The 7 and 8 were cast by Lester and Pack in 1766 at the Whitechapel Foundry; the 3, 4, 5 and 6 were cast at the Croydon foundry of Gillett & Co in 1884 and replaced bells cast by Robert Patrick (a cheesemonger by trade) at Whitechapel in about 1780; while the treble and 2 were added by Gillett & Johnston in 1914. Strangely the 2 (at about 5 cwt) is heavier than the treble, and the treble, 3, 4, 5 and 6 all weigh in at just over 4 cwt. The 7 is about 6 cwt and the tenor almost 8 cwt. Curious indeed!
Anti-clockwise rings always cause a few problems, and at Ditchling these problems are exacerbated by the rather awkward positioning of the treble and tenor ropes. Nevertheless, some respectable ringing was achieved - though perhaps the course of Double Norwich is best forgotten.
This Quarterly meeting was held at Limpsfield. Ringing began shortly after 3 pm under the direction of the Master, Robin Grant. The small ringing chamber was quickly filled with members and visitors and methods up to Cambridge and Norwich Surprise Minor were rung, as well as rounds and call changes for the less experienced ringers. Some ringers (of all abilities) experienced difficulies with the second and fourth bells, which both have a tendency for the ropes to slip their wheels. At 4.30 pm a service of Evensong was conducted by the Rector, Fr. James Percival who also played the organ for the two hymns. 19 people sat down to tea in the Milennium Room, with Marianne Bell and Lynda Boast (ringers at Limpsfield) providing welcome cups of tea, The Business Meeting, chaired by David Threlfall, commenced just after 6 pm. Two new members were elected: Barbara Taylor (Coulsdon) and Christopher Cooper (nominated prior to a peal at Withyham on 7 January). Members were pleased to hear that Ollie Watson (aged 13) had rung in this peal - his first attempt. Details and photo here. After the business meeting had finished, ringing continued until 8 pm. A total of 27 ringers signed the Meeting Book. Minutes of the meeting can be found here.
This joint meeting with the Tonbridge District of the Kent Association was well supported. Ringing on the excellent 19 cwt ring of eight commenced at 4.30 pm, and ranged from rounds and call changes to surprise major. The carol service was even better attended, with a good selection of carols for all to sing, and readings by members of the Guild and the Kent Association. After the service, mulled wine and mince pies were served in a very pleasant room at the back of the church.
As only six members were present at 6.30 p.m. a quarter peal of Stedman Doubles was attempted, but this was unsuccessful. Further ringing on the back six continued until about 7.25 when two more members arrived. Various methods were rung including Single Oxford Bob Triples, Cambridge Surprise Major and spliced Little and Plain Bob Major.
Before this evening meeting, six members of the Guild rang a quarter peal of Julie McDonnell Doubles in support of the "Strike back against blood cancer" campaign. Details on BellBoard.
Following the quarter peal the band was joined by a further seven members of the Guild and ringing ranged from call changes to London Surprise Minor. We were pleased to welcome Ros Cowsill, who gave a very favourable report of Roger's recovery following his recent surgery, and members signed a "Get Well" card for him.
Rearranged at short notice owing to the unavailability of Fletching bells, this Quarterly meeting was attended by 18 members and friends. Unfortunately it was not possible to arrange for a service, but a splendid tea was provided by Ros and Roger Cowsill and Ros's mum and dad. At the short business meeting members decided that the 90th Anniversary Dinner should be held at the Felbridge Hotel (near East Grinstead) on FRIDAY 9 JUNE 2017. This would be preceded by a peal attempt, probably at Colemans Hatch. It was also announced that a booking had been made for members of the Guild to visit the Whitechapel Bell Foundry on Saturday 12 August 2017 at 1.15pm. 25 tickets would be available at £15 each. [This date was subsequently changed to 18 February owing to the pending closure of the Foundry]. Minutes of the meeting can be found here.
14 members and 5 non-members met at Mayfield for this evening practice. Methods rung included Yorkshire, Double Norwich, Single Oxford Bob Triples, Plain and Little (spliced). plus the usual fare of Stedman, Grandsire Plain Bob Triples and Major and Cambridge Minor.
2016 GUILD OUTING to Surrey - Saturday 9 July 2016
The Guild Outing, organised by the Chairman, took place on Saturday 9th of July, a fine sunny day. Approximately 15% of our members attended to have an enjoyable day of ringing at Cobham, Stoke d"Abernon, Ashtead, Epsom (St Martin of Tours) and Banstead.
The Ringing Master ensured that all present had a good ring at all the towers with ringing ranging from call changes to surtprise.
There were two venues for lunch in Ashtead, with 40 per cent choosing a fish and chip retaurant and the rest choosing The Woodman pub. Those dining at the pub found they had a part-owner with them and were delighted to get a 20% discount off their food and drink!
The afternoon towers were the most challenging: Epsom has ten bells; and Banstead had the heaviest tenor of the day. We were therefore grateful that refreshments were available at the end of the church drive before heading home.
CHIDDINGSTONE - Saturday 11 June 2016 Quarterly Meeting
Approximately 12 members were present for the afternoon ringing, which ranged from Rounds and Call Changes to Double Norwich. At 4.30 the vicar, Martin Beaumont, presided at Evensong, with Bob Wilson playing the organ. The two lessons were read by Roger Cowsill and Kate Desbottes. 16 people sat down to tea, which was taken at the rear of the church. This was followed by the Quarterly Business Meeting which was held in the chapel at the foot of the tower. As well as the usual business, the Chairman gave details of the Guild Outing to the Epsom area on 9 July, members discussed an application from Bletchingley for a grant from the Guild's Rope Fund, and the Secretary, Patrick Wills, gave a demonstration of the new Guild Website he had designed and implemented. This resulted in a longer than usual meeting with less than half an hour available for ringing afterwards. Some members then adjourned to the Kentish Horse at Markbeech for well-earned refreshment. Minutes of the meeting can be found here.
BUXTED - Saturday 9 April 2016 Evening Meeting
16 members were present. The Master, Robin Grant, supervised. Rounds & call changes and methods from Grandsire to Double Norwich were rung with varying degrees of success.
The Pig and Butcher at Five Ash Down proved to be a popular watering hole afterwards.
BLETCHINGLEY - Saturday 12 March 2016 Annual General Meeting
A total of 25 members attended, including our President, Margaret Large. Ringing began at 3.00 pm under the direction of the Ringing Master, Robin Grant. Good use was made of this easy-going ring of ten. At 4.30 a service of Choral Evensong, led by the Rector, Peter Moseling, was held in the church. This was followed by tea (also in the church) and the business meeting which was held in the tower. Minutes of the meeting can be found here.
Further ringing continued until 8.30, when some members adjourned to The Whyte Harte for well-earned refreshment.
THE ANNUAL DINNER - Saturday 13 February 2016 Rowfant House
27 Members and friends attended the dinner, and a very convivial evening was enjoyed by all. As usual, members had donated prizes for a raffle and more than £100 was raised.
WARNHAM - Saturday 9 January 2016 Quarterly Meeting
A total of 23 members attended. Ringing began at 3.00 pm under the direction of the Ringing Master, Robin Grant. A service of Evening Prayer was conducted by the Curate, Rosemary Cattell, in the church at 4.30 pm. Following the service tea was taken in the Parish Room. This was followed by the quarterly business meting, and Minutes of the meeting can be found here. Ringing followed until 8.15 pm. The Sussex Oak was a popular venue afterwards.