Guild Newsletter

The Guild Newsletter is published quarterly and is distributed to the Districts at each of the quarterly Whole Guild Meetings which are held in January, April, July and October, in rotation between the districts.

Articles for inclusion in the next newsetter should be sent via email to

They will be published on receipt on this website and included in the next available edition of the newsletter. They can be accessed from the tabs at the top of this page.

Please ensure that all items for inclusion are sent in by approx. a fortnight prior to a meeting to allow time for the collation and printing of the Newsletter. The deadline is always shown in the current edition.

The current edition can be read online via the appropriate link in the Newsetter menu, as can PDF copies of previous newsletters.


Bells as a Symbol of Church and Community

Leading church insurer Ecclesiastical is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the contribution of churches to the local community, beyond their religious duties alone. The sound of church bells is synonymous with a feeling of community spirit and togetherness, so the campaign would like to include bell ringing in its plans, to remind the public of the role that churches play in their local area. Churches provide vital community services free of charge such as food banks, mother and toddler groups, shelter services for the homeless, activities for the elderly and simply a place to go if you need a chat and some company.

The campaign coincides appropriately with the 2017 Heritage Open Days, and therefore they are asking that as many of us as possible ring our church bells during the period from 7 – 10 September 2017. Please consider helping them keep the role of churches alive this September, and ring your bells to remind your local community of your church’s presence!

To let the public know that church bells will be ringing in unison across the country, Ecclesiastical will be engaging with the media to promote the event and the important message behind it.

Have a look on the Heritage Open Days website to find out more about the wider concept of the open days, including a nice spotlight on bells and ringing:

Have a look on the Heritage Open Days website to find out more about the wider concept of the open days, including a nice spotlight on bells and ringing:

What the CRAG Report Means for the Coventry Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.

Last year the Central Council established a group to look at radical reform, the Council Reform Action Group, or CRAG. This group issued an 87 page report, a summary of which was published in the Ringing World and links to the full report and the summary were put on the Guild website. As this was only published the week of our AGM, there had been no opportunity to discuss this at our meeting.

The Central Council is perceived as being a far from perfect organisation and reform is needed. There was a vote for change in the meeting which covers the following points:-

  • The Council needs to change its name to be the Central Ringing Organisation (CRO) where it will become a direct communication channel to all ringers. The day to day running of the CRO will be entrusted to a small executive group, empowered to make decisions.
  • There will be a representative group, the Council of Representatives to hold the Executive to account. This may be smaller in number to the current council.
  • There will be fewer committees which will be called working parties.
  • A shadow organisation will be established to run alongside the current arrangements by the end of the year.
  • It aims to become a direct membership organisation in addition to providing services to affiliated societies with its own income stream.
  • It will continue to work closely with the community, the Church and bell owners.
  • It must offer professional quality services which may include employing a small professional support staff.

The implications for the Guild may be that people will affiliate directly and not wish to join the Guild. We will certainly have fewer members sitting on the Council of Representatives.

However, there may be no implications for the Guild. The new President, Chris O’Mahony, asked for nominations to take up some of the key positions and has received only 19 applications.

The topic will be on the agenda at the next Guild meeting in October so come along and have your say.

Harry Bodenham - 70 Years a Ringer

In June, the Stoneleigh bell ringers raised a glass to fellow team mate and former tower captain Harry Bodenham. A BBQ was held in his honour to celebrate his achievement of 70 years of dedicated ringing alongside his 86th birthday!

Harry Bodenham BBQ

Harry started learning the ropes at the age of 16 in June 1947 at All Saints in Warwick. He then went on to ring at St. Mary's in Warwick and in 1990 he joined St. Mary's in Stoneleigh where he still is at present, an active member of the band. Harry had to have a break from ringing to complete his National Service in North Africa where he was famed for his architectural skills. Over the years, Harry has successfully rang four peals. He has taught and instructed numerous ringers - new and old.

Today Harry enjoys his Thursday night bell practises and Sunday services where he can be found leading the ringing up and down of the bells. He encourages the new learners with their understanding of counting places and gives out his valuable advice where required.

Stoneleigh bell ringers past and present, wish him the very best and thank him for his immense contribution to their tower over the past 27 years.

Three cheers for Harry!

Wedding of Amelia Corry and Jonathon Chester

Jonathon Chester, of Allesley and The Cathedral, married Amelia Corry on Saturday July 22nd.

He got the day off to a good start by ringing, appropriately, his first peal of spliced in the morning.  After a "wash and brush up" a very different looking Jonathon arrived at St Mary's Guildhall in Coventry for the wedding ceremony.  This was a lovely occasion in a wonderful setting.  The bride and groom were very pleased to hear the Cathedral bells ringing as they left the Guildhall.

A downpour curtailed the photographs somewhat, but, nevertheless, plenty were taking when the party moved on to Warwick Castle for a marvellous reception.

Our best wishes go to Mr & Mr Chester for a long and happy life together

Jonathon and Amelia Chester

Jonathon and Amelia with their Best Man and Matron of Honour.

The details of the peal are:-

Coventry Diocesan Guild
Allesley, West Midlands, All Saints
Saturday, 22 July 2017 in 2h 39m (12–0–0 in A♭)
5056 Spliced Surprise Major
2M: 2624 Yorkshire, 2432 Cambridge. 91com, atw.
Arr. M Chester (from Middleton's)
Nicholas K Allsopp
Michael Chester (C)
Simon E Adams
Raymon A Sheasby
Jonathon R Chester
Julie A Tarling
Andrew F Alldrick
Michael Angrave
Rung as a wedding day compliment to Amelia Corry and Jonathon Chester, who are to be married at St Mary's Guildhall, Coventry later today.
First peal of spliced: 5. 300th together: 2 & 4. 50th for the Guild: 8

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
start stop bwd fwd

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

The Education Column

The first series of some well written education articles from David Smith, Chairman of the Central Council Education Committee are available to read and/or download for printing at:-

The Education Column

The second series will be available from the same link when all have been published.

“Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New”

It may be that some future commentator will reflect on the CCCBR proceedings in Edinburgh over the May bank holiday weekend, and refer to them as “a seminal moment” in ringing history. In the meantime there will no doubt be lots of commentary and analysis in The Ringing World and other fora, discussing the events and their ramifications for ringing.

At its meeting in Portsmouth in 2016, the Central Council voted to establish an arms-length review of its structure and activities, and to report back to the 2017 meeting with recommendations. Members of the Council Review and Action Group (CRAG) have been diligent and conscientious in their task, bringing to the meeting a straight-talking analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, along with a proposed timetable for reform.

Some have expressed concern that CRAG’s consultation was not sufficiently broad, and stakeholders have not had sufficient time to respond or deliberate. The counter argument is that CRAG has used all possible communication channels throughout the consultation, and has stuck to the timelines agreed in Portsmouth.

Around 170 members of Council were present at the AGM in Edinburgh, and the motions to adopt CRAG’s proposals were passed by a large majority, followed by spontaneous applause (a somewhat rare event at Council meetings!) The assembled change ringers became change agents, and the appetite for reform and renewal has never been stronger.

Into this milieu I have been elected as President and, although it’s not surprising to feel somewhat apprehensive about the task ahead, I feel privileged to be in a position to help carry forward this agenda. All stakeholders, through their representatives on Council, have given us a clear and bold mandate. The work cannot be done entirely by the Officers, and the CRAG recommendations encourage much wider participation in Council’s activities than in the past. I trust that those with the relevant skills, experience and enthusiasm will step up to the challenge!

I would like to give tribute to those who stepped down from office at the Council meeting. Chris Mew has worked tirelessly as President on behalf of all ringers, and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for all he has done (and continues to do) to support ringing. Kate Flavell, as former President and more recently as Public Relations Officer, has similarly been an unstinting advocate for ringing and ringers, leading the PR team (which she will continue to do) to raise our positive public profile. Andrew Taylor steps down as Treasurer, having kept a steady hand on Council’s finances over these past three years.

Ringing faces many challenges – recruitment and retention, leadership, clergy relations, potential church closures, communications, compliance, financial viability and more. We come away from Edinburgh energised and ready to take on these challenges, embarking on a journey with our fellow ringers everywhere, to revitalise our wonderful art, and leave a positive legacy for those who follow.

Christopher O’Mahony
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers


ART Workshops

At the ART Conference in March ART announced the development of training workshops in number of subjects. There are many good training sessions that take place throughout the country, but so often the trainer has to develop their own materials causing a huge duplication of effort. ART is keen to have a repository of good materials and have ‘off the shelf workshops’ available for use to encourage more workshop training in new areas using the best materials and teaching. This may help avoid so many people reinventing the wheel. Many of these will have to be capable of variation to allow for audiences of different experience levels.

Each workshop uses a combination of presentations and practical work. Currently handouts are handled by email but deletes on the workshops will get access to SmART Ringer in due course to view all handouts and other relevant information.

All workshops will be advertised via the ART web site and already a number of successful pilot workshops have taken place. Currently the following workshops are available – full details are at

  • Calling Bob Doubles – basic level bob calling for the aspiring conductor
  • Conducting – this focusses on Bob Minor but includes coursing order, transposition etc.
  • Mentor development - aims to increase the awareness of the mentoring process
  • Bell Maintenance – A full day’s workshop to understand what basic maintenance a bell installation needs.
  • Simulator Awareness - designed for people with limited or no knowledge of simulators it explains the various sensor systems and software available .
  • Listen & Strike - helps develop listening skills and rhythm, leading to a reduced reliance on looking and better striking.
  • Tower Leadership - covers stakeholder management, leading the team, good practice and performance. Theory sessions augmented with lots of discussion. (Produced in conjunction with CCCBR).

Other workshops are being developed and we would welcome good additional materials for existing workshops and ideas and assistance with new ones.

These workshops will be run on a regional/local basis and we need to hear not just from people who would like to arrange a course but those who are prepared to run them. Workshop leaders clearly need to have knowledge of their subject as well as good communication skills and the ability to present well using Power Point. (Mileage expenses are paid to appointed workshop leaders).

So, if you need workshop training or could run one – get in touch!

Graham Nabb


September 2017 Ringing Courses at Tulloch

2 peals of bells, a simulator, handbells, patient & friendly ART tutors and no neighbours – all add up to a winning combination

Learn to Ring Week Sept 18th – 22nd

Are you struggling to get enough ‘rope-time’ in your home tower? 18 places are available @ £50 per head for 5 days of total immersion in the fun of ringing. ART registered tutors will lead students through bell handling, change ringing in hand and working with a simulator to produce ringers fit for the 21st century. We will liaise with your local tower for easy integration when you get home. 5 days of concentrated handling/listening/ rounds/theory & vocabulary – what better way to spend a week? We will provide a light lunch of soup/sandwiches & all day tea & coffee. Accommodation available locally, we can make recommendations but you must book your own.

Improve Your Ringing Week, Sept 25th – 29th

Can you ring a bell unaided but want to polish your handling? perfect your raising & lowering, work on your call changes, understand ropesight & work towards plain hunt. Learn about plain bob, what does it mean to dodge. Fancy a go on handbells? we can help:-) 18 places available for a week of intensive tuition covering handling, hunting and bob doubles. Learn to ring handbells. Perfect your striking with a simulator For £50 pp we will provide a week of patient tuition, easy to ring bells & friendly support – extend your horizons at Tulloch. Light lunch and all day tea & coffee provided. Accommodation available locally, we can make recommendations but you must book your own

This is an opportunity to get on track with the best team sport/performing art/mathematical puzzle in the UK.

For more info & to book your place please see

Coventry DG Brokerage Scheme

The Guild is hoping to be able to give a helping hand to ringers and towers in the area by arranging for ringing support for what YOU want to be able to do next.

Do you need some ringers to provide a steady band around a learner in a given method?  Do you just need the odd ringer extra so you can make the next step with your, or your tower's, ringing?  Do you need a conductor for a quarter or a peal?  Do you want to ring a quarter peal or a peal and don't know the next step?

Help is at hand!  Simply download the CDG Brokerage file that you can find from

, in both pdf and Word format, complete it and then send it off.