Richard III Tour

On Saturday 15th July, the Coventry Diocesan Guild held its annual summer meeting. The possibility of arranging a ringing tour around the theme of Richard III, had been discussed and we were delighted when a number of towers associated with him were available on that day. When organising a Guild tour, although you invite people to say whether they will be attending, one can never be quite sure how many will attend. There was also a concern whether anyone named ‘Stanley’ would attend.

The tour began at St Mary’s Warwick. Richard 111 had spent part of his youth in Warwick as a squire to the Earl of Warwick. He also married Anne Neville of Warwick. The Rous rolls were written in St Mary’s, one of the few documents which was written during his lifetime which presents a favourable image of King Richard. 22 members arrived to ring these challenging bells, a good omen, before we set off for Leicestershire.

Arriving in Sutton Cheney’s glorious church, the chancel was packed with members eagerly waiting to ring on these charming bells. An even better omen. Mark Sayers took charge and as it is ground floor ring there was great enthusiasm while people awaited their turn. There is a monument in this church to the fallen at Bosworth Field, where fresh flowers had recently been laid. A Richard 111 quiz was available to test people’s knowledge about this much maligned King.

Then it was off to Market Bosworth to ring on these glorious bells. The battle of Bosworth was fought just south of the town and shields and Tudor roses adorn many of the street signs and shop fronts. It is a low entrance to the spiral staircase leading to the ringing chamber and there were so many members wanting to ring, people were marshalled in and out of the tower. Members enjoyed the humour of standing in line and chatting with friends old and new. Most members had a couple of rings and there was the opportunity for the beginners to ring a few rounds.

A picnic lunch was held on the Bosworth Battlefield Country park. There is a very informative visitors centre along with a monument to the battle. Recent archaeological digs have proved the battle took place further from the Country park, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Feeling replete, we then set off to Leicester. We entered Leicester along the A47, the very route King Richard would have taken on route to the battle. We crossed Bow bridge, where legend says he struck his heal. An old crone prophesied he would hit his head on the way back to Leicester, and maybe he did when his dead body had been thrown unceremoniously over a horse.

The ringing at St Mary De Castro was well attended as more members joined us for the afternoon towers. The bells sounded beautiful as people chatted on the lawn in front of the Great Hall. We then formed a long crocodile and followed King Richards banner to the Cathedral. Molly did a great job waving the banner and we passed the location of the abbey where his body was laid in repose before being hastily buried the following day. As we approached the Cathedral, people in the visitors centre were heard asking if ‘those people were on pilgrimage’. Time had been allowed for people to visit the tomb in Leicester Cathedral or the new centre containing the car park where his remains were discovered in 2012.

The 12 bells at Leicester Cathedral sounded beautiful as they echoed around the local streets, now a traffic free zone. They are easy to handle, and the large ringing chamber allowed more members to be present at one time for the ringing. It was a great finish to a wonderful day. Over 70 members had rung during the day, some at just one tower and others at all 4. There had been ringing at all levels. We rang rounds to Treble Bob Maximus, and the learners had rung at most towers. 3 members of the youth team attended as well as members who could have rung in the competition had it been held in the 1950s. Aston Cantlow ringers won the quiz, gaining a score of 19 out of 20. The final question was: Have you enjoyed yourself? To which Isobel and Keith Murphy answered ‘ Of course, of course, my kingdom, but of course’.

This photo shows Molly Woodier with King Richard 111 standard. Also in the photo are Tracey Newbold, John Martin and Albert Williams. Both Molly and Albert are members of the Guild Youth Team.

Molly Woodier - King Richard III Standard

The following photo shows most of the group sitting outside St Mary De Castro.

Outside St Mary de Castro

Ringing at Market Bosworth
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Guild Newsletter

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Central Council Meeting, Edinburgh.

26th – 29th May 2017
CDG Delegates: Annie Hall, Becki Johnson, Joy Pluckrose, Chris Mew.

From reading the Ringing World, one might have thought the very future of bell ringing would be determined at the Central Council meeting to be held in Edinburgh on 29th May 2017. Our Guild had 3 new members representing its interest and so it was with some trepidation we made the long journey north. Owing to Training Strategy commitments in our own Guild, we did not travel to Edinburgh until Sunday 28th – although Chris Mew, our fourth member and President of The Council, had been there since Friday.

The ‘New Members’ Meeting’ on Sunday afternoon resembled a University’s Fresher’s Fair! After an initial welcome and introduction to Officers of the Executive we were turned loose at the mercy of the Chairs of each of the various sub-groups, all vying for our membership of their particular group. This in itself seemed a pointless exercise since the CRAG report, to be discussed and voted on the next day, was advocating the demise of the groups in their present form, in favour of new working groups with new remits.

The location for The John Taylor Dinner and Ceilidh on Sunday evening was at Ghillie Dhu a dramatic vaulted Georgian hall with booths for Scottish dining, live music and ceilidhs – a stunning venue. Access was via a wide sweeping spiral staircase and the main function room was divided into an eating area, a relaxed sofa’d area and an enormous bar! The evening was opened by The Rev Ian Gilmore, Vicar of St Andrew’s and St George’s (where the main meeting was to be held on the Monday) – a very entertaining, witty, and sincere man who set the atmosphere for the rest of the evening. And, of course, all staff were dressed in traditional Scottish dress – kilts and all! It’s amazing too how many bellringers are competent folk dancers too!

Monday brought us to the nub of the weekend – the main meeting taking place at St Andrew’s and St George’s Church, an absolutely ideal setting for a meeting with a good refectory, a circular meeting room with gallery and excellent acoustics.

After the initial welcome and introduction of New Members, and the usual business-generated items of an agenda, the rest of the morning was devoted to the CRAG report, the contents of which had been widely published with a follow up of a 28 page document on FAQs.

Dr Phillip Barnes sought to give us the background to the Consultation following a mandate from last year’s CC meeting, and the position of the CC from both actual and perceived opinions of it. This is what I would deem to be ‘The Starting Point’.

Following on, he then took us through a number of motions that outlined the principles for change and the vision of the Council from 2018. This I deemed ‘The Finishing Line’.

What I could not get my head round was ‘The Process’ of how we get from the Starting point to the Finishing line - there seems to be a great faith put on a sort of ‘Osmosis’ procedure or a ‘Phoenix rising from the Ashes’. An amendment to the ‘Adoption Motion’ that the vote on it be delayed until 2018 when ‘the Process’ would be transparent, (our choice) was defeated and so the CRAG report and all its changes for 2018 stands.

After lunch the Annual Ringing World Meeting was held, and it is obvious that this publication will only survive if more people use it. Do you subscribe? Do you have a copy in your tower? If the answer is ‘No’ the Newsletter has details of you can rectify this and help sustain this valuable part of our ringing exercise.

The final part of the meeting was, quite frankly, boring and beyond the reach of the coalface ringer. Groups had submitted their reports for us all to read and then proceeded to justify their existence. I understand that ‘setting standards’ is essential and part of their remit, but really, do we have to debate whether 5040 changes rung on a mini-ring of flower pots constitutes a bona-fida peal?

The weekend could be dubbed ‘an experience’ and there are some changes we would like to make to our Guild meetings in light of our involvement in the Council as ‘rookies’.

  • Were the delegates warm and welcoming – I think not.
  • Is the Council still dominated by ‘The Old School Tie’ brigade – most certainly.
  • Will the ‘New Look Council’ appeal more to the ordinary Sunday Service Ringers – I would hope so, or CRAG has been a waste of time.



 2017 Edition Available

The latest newsletter is available to view as "Current Edition" and a printable version has been put into "Downloads".

Please note that the deadline for the following edition is Saturday 30th September 2017 and items submitted after this date may have to be held over until the October 2017 edition.


Taking Forward CCCBR Reform

It's now a month since the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers had their annual meeting in Edinburgh. At that meeting, among other things, the Council voted to embark on an ambitious programme of reform.

This communique is a call to all ringers to express interest in being involved in the reformed central organisation.

A PDF document and an equivalent web page have been developed to highlight the short term actions, and explain how to indicate interest in any of the identified roles.

Do please follow the links and read the document or the web page, and circulate the information to other ringers as widely as possible.

Kind regards

Christopher O'Mahony
President CCCBR