Guild Newsletter

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Celebrating Our Millennium Babes 20 Years On

On Wednesday 27th February we celebrated 20 years since four of our ringers began learning to ring. In 1998 there wasn't any regular ringing at Brinklow, Warwickshire and only one ringer resident in the village. The church took a keen interest in the Millennium project which was to have all the bells across the country ringing on New Year’s Day 2000 and decided they wanted to be part of it. One of the Churchwardens, Jennie Wykes and Hamish Middleton the Church treasurer volunteered and I gather Philip and Sally Mawson were rather nagged into giving it a go!

Over the year the group were taught by Melvyn Howkins, who was the only ringer at the time, with help from the vivacious John Illingworth and the neighbouring Monks Kirby ringers. New Year’s Day arrived and all went well despite a very late night (or late morning) and a few hangovers! A photo that has hung on the ringing room ever since records the event.

What of our four intrepid learners then? Jenny Wykes has stuck with it over the years. Philip and Sally Mawson have recently come back to ringing after a few years break mainly in a bid to overcome a niggling arm injury! Unfortunately, Hamish Middleton passed away in 2012 but not before helping to kick start an augmentation and rehanging project. We still have the simulator he built!

One might think this would be the end of it with mission accomplished. But it hasn't been the case. In fact, in retrospect, it has taken on a larger consequence. We now have a handy ring of 8 bells, two regular practises a week and a healthy-looking band with plenty of promise, the majority of whom live in the village. The Millennium ringing initiative certainly set a seed for us. I wonder how many other similar tales exist?

Brinklow Ringers February 2019 after practice night

Brinklow Ringers

Melvyn Howkins (left) who taught Sally, Jenny and Philip. We were joined by Sheila Middleton,(2nd right) widow of Hamish who is pictured in the photo marking the event.

Tom Griffiths

18th February 1929 – 28th January 2019robin

Robin’s funeral was held at St Mary’s, Clifton upon Dunsmore on what would have been his 90th birthday, with open ringing before and after the service to celebrate his life.

Robin was born in Leicester and at the age of 8 years he boarded at Abbotsholme School in Derbyshire. It was during his time there that his various interests came to the fore, notably the great outdoors, travelling and bellringing. He also became a proficient pianist and his love of classical music was a constant throughout his life.

After 2 years National Service, Robin started reading Chemical Engineering at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1949. The Guy family drove through Europe and as far as the Middle East where his father was to work with refugees, towing their caravan which, incidentally is on display at the Museum of Transport in Coventry. You must go and see it.

It was on a joint Cambridge and Oxford bellringing outing in June 1951 at Rowington in Warwickshire, that Robin met Elizabeth Roe, eventually marrying on 7th December 1953 on the Island of Sark.

After graduation, Robin began working for Courtaulds in Coventry and while there rang at Allesley, later moving to Corley where he began training a band of ringers. With their move to the Coventry Guild, earlier university friendships with Dick and Anne Speed and Peter Border were rekindled. After a spell working in Derbyshire, their next move was to Southport, where Robin joined the local band at Emmanuel Church. His children Catherine, Patrick and Joan started ringing there. Following his time at Courtaulds, Robin became chairman of the Coventry Health Authority, where he was closely involved with medical staffing appointments and the commissioning of Walsgrave Hospital, as it was then known.

Their final move was to Clifton, where both Robin and Elizabeth were soon involved with getting the bells ringing again, augmenting them to six and of course, teaching more ringers. He was Tower Captain at Clifton for 30 years, passing that responsibility to daughter Catherine in recent years.

Robin, with others, was instrumental in the creation of the Rugby Deanery District of the Guild in the 1980s. I recall many a committee meeting held in their sitting room at Dunsmore Hall Farm. He became Chairman of the District and was extremely good at getting other people involved in committee work, don’t I know it!

He and Elizabeth were always very hospitable and over the years held many events in their lovely garden. The Clifton ringers began what became the annual Christmas social, with hilarious games which everyone enjoyed, that is when they had recovered from being bent double with laughter. The ‘Guys’, as they became known, were also keen on ringing outings and one that particularly comes to mind, was the ‘Ringing and Architecture’ outing in August 1992 to Northamptonshire. A grand day out.

Robin rang about 200 peals and was in the band for the first peal on the refurbished 12 at Coventry Cathedral in 1988 and also the 25th anniversary peal in 2013, which turned out to be his last peal. He was 83 at the time and as reported, ‘he rang faultlessly throughout’.

What a privilege to have known this talented, humble and gentle man.

Freda Bennett

*With grateful thanks for information from Andrew Jamieson (Robin’s grandson), Clarke Walters and John Fielden.

Results of the Guild Striking Competition

This was held at Radford Semele on Saturday 2nd March.

Call Change Section

Band No of
Stoke 19.5 1st
Youth Team 21.0 2nd
Kenilworth B 30.5 3rd
Aston/Bidford Ringing Remembers 51.0 4th


Method Section

Band No of
Warwick 6.5 1st
Aston/Bidford 10.0 2nd
Kenilworth A 10.5 3rd
Bulkington 11.5 4th
Lillington 15.5 5th
Leek Wootton 19.5 6th
leek wootton
Berkswell 26.0 7th
Radford Semele 43.0 8th
redford semele


Congratulations to Warwick and Stoke on winning their section of the competition. Special congratulations to the team from Bidford and Aston whose members had been recruited through Ringing Remembers and some had only been ringing for a few weeks.

method cup
Judge, John Fielden, handing over the Call Change and Method Cups to Noah Poulton and Simon Rogers respectful.



As you may recall, CRAG's Proposal H, which was passed at the May 2017 Central Council meeting, called for the Decisions of the Council to be replaced with a simple, permissive and descriptive framework for ringing with only the minimal detail required to maintain the historical record.

After 16 months of intensive work, involving two major consultation exercises, the Framework Team led by Tim Barnes delivered version 1 of the Framework to the Executive in January 2019. The Framework has since been reviewed by members of the Executive over the past four weeks, with questions and comments satisfactorily addressed by the Framework Team. At their monthly meeting on Sunday February 24th 2019, the Executive voted to adopt and implement the Framework.

Here are some explanatory notes to accompany this decision and announcement:

  1. Permissive and Descriptive.
    1. The Framework will take its place in the Council’s rulebook as a “standard”, which is a form of policy as defined in Council rule 10.4, and will be maintained by the Technical & Taxonomy Workgroup under the supervision of the Executive as stated in CRAG’s Proposal H and under Council rules.
    2. It is important to note that the Framework fulfils the objectives set out in CRAG’s Proposal H that it should be a permissive document, which is not over-prescriptive, but instead describes in simple language the norms and understandings which are common to almost all method ringing performed around the world. It will inform and govern the Council’s various collections and records (e.g. methods, record lengths, extension processes), including how things are recorded, classified, analysed and reported.
  2. Magnum Opus
    1. In addition to the Framework, there is also supporting material comprising examples, further explanations, technical comments and appendices. The supporting material is not part of the Framework itself, but assists in the understanding of the Framework, expands upon certain definitions and requirements, and further assists ringers in communicating about method ringing. The supporting material will be updated by the Council's Executive when the need arises.
    2. The Framework, appendices and supporting material are combined in a single website at PDF versions of the Framework and appendices can be downloaded from this link (ref section 1.B). The rest of the supporting material can be accessed through the website.
  3. Consultative and transparent
    1. Two ringing community consultations have been completed on the Framework. Over 40 ringers participated in the consultations, raising over 130 points between them. This feedback resulted in the team making around 60 improvements to the Framework. The consultations were widely publicised, including in the RW, on ringers’ email lists, on Facebook and Twitter, on the CC website, and by communication to all CC members and to all CC-affiliated societies. The live draft of the Framework has been publicly available on the Internet since October 2017, and the team published four articles in the RW explaining the Framework development. In addition, The Ringing World has recently been serializing the FAQs from the Framework website. This process has been an intensive exercise not only for the members of the Framework Team, but also for those ringers who have devoted many hours reviewing the various versions as they have been produced.
    2. In short, the development of the new Framework has been undertaken with full transparency and consultation. Consultation submissions and the team's responses can be found in Appendix I (FAQs).
  4. Implementation
    1. Council rule 10.8 calls for new policies and standing orders to take effect no earlier than three months from the date of notice. We therefore give notice that our decision to implement the Framework takes effect on June 1st 2019. The Framework directly replaces Decisions D, E, F, G, I and J.
    2. We also give notice of our decision to retire the remaining (“non-method”) Decisions A, B, C, H and K, with effect from June 1st 2019. This is in accord with the Council’s wishes as expressed in votes at the 2017 Edinburgh meeting and the 2018 Lancaster meeting. The Executive have reviewed these “non-method” decisions and where possible consulted those responsible for them to confirm that they may be safely retired. We are satisfied that their purposes are achieved by the Council’s current objects and rulebook, although in the case of Decision H (Ringing Alliances) we will be writing to those few organisations with whom alliances have been formed to emphasise that the Council will continue to nurture these relationships and seek new ones. The latter Decisions may be replaced in due course by new Council policies if needed
    3. The version of the Framework which will be implemented on 1st June is version 1. The Framework Team have intentionally left some things to consider in subsequent versions, since trying to do everything in one go would have taken too long. For example, the Framework's method extension requirements largely follow the current Decisions, but this is an area where more analysis may lead to improvements and simplification. Timing for a second version has not yet been determined, but will likely follow between 6 and 12 months after version 1.
    4. The Framework Team will be ready to address any issues that arise in the implementation of version 1. While there's been a good level of review in the consultations, it's possible that notice of implementation may generate more scrutiny that uncovers something that has been overlooked. The Framework Team will be setting up an online forum that is open to all ringers to join, where ideas, issues, criticisms, etc can be raised. The Framework Team will use this input to inform future development of the Framework in what we expect to become a process of continuous improvement. Comments can also be sent to this email address:
    5. Day to day ringing
      1. A significant amount of effort has been devoted to ensure that the new Framework reflects ringing as it is currently performed, so the new Framework should have very little impact on day to day ringing. Quarters or peals rung by the vast majority of ringers will be the same after 1st June as before.
      2. For the more technically adventurous, who enjoy pushing the boundaries of method construction or composition, the Framework will offer both guidance and support in a way which we hope will encourage rather than stifle innovation and so promote further advancement of the Exercise.
    6. In conclusion
      1. We know, after a century of debate over the Decisions, that there will never be a version of the Framework with which all ringers fully agree. However, we believe the new Framework will be acceptable to the vast majority of ringers. We also believe it meets, to the extent possible, the CRAG mandate of simple, permissive and descriptive while maintaining the historical record, and we hope the transition from a prescriptive approach to a descriptive one will largely eliminate controversy in this area in the future.
      2. The Executive wish to express their sincere thanks to the members of the Framework writing team. This first version of the Framework for Method Ringing represents countless hours of volunteer time, robust debate and careful deliberation of fundamental theoretical concepts.
      3. We ask you to communicate details of the new Framework and the web links set out above among your society. If you or your members have any concerns or questions, please direct these to

I commend the Framework to you.

Christopher O’Mahony
President Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
On behalf of the CCCBR Executive