First Quarter Peal at an improved Weston on-the-Green

Big congratulations to Gerald Bushby of Weston on-the-Green for achieving his second Quarter Peal on 7th October 2021, and the first at Weston since the improvements to the ringing chamber and rope circle as well the first there by a member of the team re-formed in 2018.

In the team for this special occasion were appropriately ringers representing the Oxford Guild: Tony Crabtree, conducting and ODG Deputy Master, Lesley Belcher, Chair of ART, Susan Read, head of the ringing school at Abingdon, Jeremy Adams, joint Ringing Master Bicester Branch and Steve Vickars, Branch Training Officer.

Many thanks also to Mandy Jones for laying on some wonderful refreshments after the event and taking the team photo. Thanks also to Jeremy, Lesley and Susan for staying on afterwards for some ringing practice with the Weston Team.

The Bellboard event is at: https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=1463208

The new team at Weston is a real recent success story of a band reforming and there appears to be a prospect of re-starting handling practice for the Weston recruits that started early 2020 just before the Pandemic.

There have been many very favourable comments about the improved ringing facilities at Weston. I hope you get the chance to ring there soon.

2021-10-07 QP at Weston

Quarter Peal at Middleton Stoney, 3 September 2021

I was very pleased to be part of the band that rang a Bob minor quarter peal yesterday at Middleton Stoney, most ably conducted by Alison Merryweather-Clarke, with Charlie Bates who returns to Uni this weekend and to whom the quarter is dedicated. Thank you Charlie, for your support this summer, best of luck with your studies and see you at Christmas if not before!

Thanks also to Andrew Goldthorpe, Anthony Williamson and Michael Haynes for making up the team.

The Ringing World BellBoard entry is here: https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=1458695

Steve Vickars
4th September 2021

the band treble to tenor, left to right

Branch Practice at Weston, 2nd September 2021

A very creditable 13 ringers from five towers came to tonight’s branch practice at Weston-on-the-Green, kindly hosted by Gerald and Andy.

For many it was their first visit since the improvements had been completed to the ringing chamber ceiling and to the rope circle, if not their first visit altogether. It is now a very welcoming space and should be the location for many quarter peals in future.

We are very sorry that Mandy, Jeremy and Richard couldn’t join us, due to needing to self-isolate.

After ringing up we rang some rounds and call changes with Dinah, who is learning at Islip and who appreciated visiting another tower and meeting other ringers.

We rang several plain courses of Grandsire doubles, called by Charlie and Teresa, as well as plain hunt on five, with Andy showing that he hasn’t forgotten how to ring the three to it. Well done Andy.

Some more rounds and call changes for Dinah, then we managed to complete a plain course of Bob Minor at the third attempt, with James on treble and Willie rolling back the years taking two. Kathryn, despite strong reservations, also showed it could be done on four, Teresa on three and Charlie on five.

Finally, we attempted to ring the front five down in peal, where Andy kept behind the treble very nicely. I hope to see more of our Weston friends at Bletchingdon, Islip and Kirtlington in future!

Please don’t forget to put our next branch practice on 29th September at Middleton Stoney in your diaries. See you then!

Steve Vickars
2nd September 2021

Branch Practice News

13 ringers from 6 towers came to the Branch Practice last Wednesday at Bletchingdon – some of us even remembered how to ring Grandsire Doubles! Earlier that evening Gerald Bushby rang his first quarter – Plain Bob Doubles – congratulations to him!

Our next scheduled branch practice is on Thursday 2nd September at Weston-on-the-Green at 7.30pm when we can admire the work done to make the bells, and ringing them, so much more enjoyable and then on Wednesday 29th September at Middleton Stoney at 7.30pm.

Do come to both/either if you can.

There’s a Ringing Day on Saturday 18th September organised by the Banbury Branch, and also a Tower Belfry course on 23 October which will be useful for those looking after our bells to ensure we can ring in safety.

A new look in Kirtlington Tower

Steve Vickars and his team have been hard at work continuing to renovate much of the ring at St Mary’s, Kirtlington.

After last year’s replacement of pulleys and ceiling bosses, they finally completed cleaning and re-painting the bell frame, which had previously been painted some 50 years ago and definitely needed doing.  They noticed that there had been some corrosion on one part of a supporting girder, but the expert opinion was that the frame overall is still sound.

Steve helped Isaac and Aaron (socially distanced, naturally) to remove wheels and clappers, prepare the frame for painting, then apply Red Oxide primer and top coats to the frame, headstocks, clappers and supporting girders. This took two long weekends between end February and early March 2021, with some additional work in the intervening week.

The result is quite striking! Below are some before and after photos. Seve hopes that the frame should not require re-painting for another 40 years or so. This will be aided by the installation of a weather-proof membrane in front of the louvres, to keep moisture and dust out of the bell chamber.

Steve said, “While we intend to chime and toll for a few occasions over the next two months, we hope to return to socially-distanced ringing from May, all being well.”

News from the Branch – September 2020

Returning to Ringing – Advice and Guidance from the Guild Secretary

The current round of Harvest Festivals has triggered the resumption of services at more churches and we have heard of more towers that have rung again. This will remind people that the church is there and remind them that the silence was only temporary! Some have rung handbells where the tower bells cannot be used.

The year is moving on, and the Ringing World shop at has seasonal items in stock https://www.ringingworld.co.uk/purchase/shop/calendar.html, hopefully including diaries by the time you read this. The Central Council guidance is updated every Friday at https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/. The key metrics haven’t changed this week, but the Central Council has recently got extra skilled resource looking at the detail of the ringing environment in the hope of identifying and justifying further relaxations that the CofE will accept.  We must be grateful for CCCBR’s efforts on our behalf. You can play your part in this effort by keeping in touch with your local clergy and spreading the word about the benefits of ringing and the importance of restoring ringing to both ringers and the church as a whole.

Some are uncertain as to what can be rung that is safe, musical and hopefully enjoyable. This depends on the individual tower as well as the ringers. For instance 2, 4, 6 of a six sounds nice and bright whereas 1, 3, 5 of a six is mournful and may be suitable if you have an All Souls Service around 1st or 2nd November. If you are lucky to have a family group of three, you could try 1, 3, 4, 5 of an eight (think of Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto) or 2, 4, 5, 6 of a six. The mournful equivalent for an All Souls or Remembrance service is 1, 3, 4, 5 of a six. Any towers looking for advice on safe chiming, musical combinations or refresher sessions for safe ringing may contact depmaster@odg.org.uk

The three overriding requirements remain, namely:

  1. The local church wardens and clergy must have agreed
  2. Ringing in Church of England churches is on the condition that it is in accordance with the guidance at https://cccbr.org.uk/coronavirus/, and
  3. The tower must be well ventilated and must be inspected and risk assessed if the bells haven’t rung for a considerable time). Email tbchair@odg.org.uk   for more details

It would be good to hear back from towers with their experiences and how they are returning to ringing. Please send any stories to prworkinggroup@odg.org.uk

Katie, Ken, Stuart & Tony – Guild Officers

News from the Branch – August 2020

Here’s a summary of what’s been going on in the Bicester Branch in August.

Ringing Events

Saturday, 15 August 2020 Islip (St Nicholas), Oxfordshire Tolling
Saturday, 15 August 2020 Kirtlington (St Mary the Virgin), Oxfordshire 75 Tolling
Saturday, 15 August 2020 Weston on the Green (Blessed Virgin Mary), Oxfordshire Tolling

Activities

The improvement works at Weston on the Green are nearly complete; the new ropes are in and the new carpet is down.


In Stratton Audley they are hoping to ring three bells at each of two weddings coming up in September.



Ringing Room

Several groups of local ringers have been making good use of the online platform for virtual change ringing called Ringing Room, which is the ‘go-to’ application used by a huge number of ringing teams in the UK and across the world. It’s very enjoyable, is free to use and can be accessed at https://ringingroom.com/


Jon Mills of the Oxford Guild has written an interesting account of his journey to find and use Ringing Room – click here to read it.


Kirtlington, Bletchingdon and Weston-on-the-Green Ringing Room practices

Shortly after lockdown began, the ringers from Kirtlington, Bletchingdon and Weston towers transferred their practices to the Ringing Room website, creating a shared virtual tower for weekly practices and for virtual quarter peal attempts.

Our virtual practices are been well attended and we have seen great progress in the learning of methods by all regular attendees, many of whom have only started ringing in the past 2 – 3 years, with all having rung inside to plain courses of Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles, and a number ringing observation to touches of Bob Doubles. The team has also been able to practice variations on Plain Hunt including Treble Bob Hunt.

With the temporary removal of the challenge of handling together with learning the  methods, our ringers have achieved a number of successful virtual quarter peals including first on covering tenor and first on treble. More virtual QPAs are planned.