Bicester Branch Outing, Saturday 27th April 2024

On 27 April our branch outing was to five towers around the Lambourn area of Berkshire – some outings are memorable for their ringing achievements, others for a variety of others.

The 2024 Bicester outing was memorable for high level access to ringing chambers (see photo of Great Shefford), an anti-clockwise ring, great lunch, one of the longest draughts ever, and ringing with a broken stay (not caused by anyone on the outing).

We rang call changes, plain hunt, touches of Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Doubles as well as Plain Bob Minor. Our thanks go to Jeremy Adams, who organised the outing, and to those who opened the towers for us – and particularly Stefan in Lambourn who provided us all with coffee too!  

Here’s the survivors’ photo!

This is the spiral staircase at St Mary, Great Shefford:

Branch Practice at Ambrosden 7 February 2024

At last night’s BP twelve ringers from nine towers (including two visitors) came to ring at Ambrosden where a number of newer ringers are practising regularly on a Tuesday morning – contact Steve Walker for more details or Jill Colyer (Churchwarden

We rang a remarkable number of methods mostly on all 8 bells – Rounds and Plain Hunt, followed by Bob Major, Stedman Triples (tenor ably rung by Marcus) and the piece de resistance a touch of Reverse Canterbury Doubles when, teenagers, Marcus rung the 5th and William rang the treble! How good it is to see such enthusiasm and encouragement from the Branch for our youthful ringers.

Thank you to all who came and especially to Richard and Jeremy (suffering a bad back) for a great evening.


Branch Practice at Piddington on 24 January 2024

Eight members from five towers came – Cheryl was the only local ringer but was persuaded to revive former skills. We rang call changes, plain hunt and Grandsire Doubles – which was good practice for those who ring more regularly with the tenor behind. Ringing down we finished in Weasels!

Apparently there are two or three people in the village who would like to learn and, hearing the bells rung (the first time since Morwen Ashton’s funeral in June) might increase that number. With learners at nearby Ambrosden, being taught by Steve Walker, perhaps putative Piddington ringers might join there and revive ringing in time at their home tower

Kathryn Grant

Branch Practice Caversfield 2nd August 2019

Twelve ringers turned up at Caversfield to find no light in the tower, apparently the electrics have been condemned! Before we rang up it became clear that there was something very wrong with the 2nd, Jeremy investigated to find that a bolt had fallen out of the stay preventing the bell from swinging.

At this point we decided to decamp to Stratton Audley (there was some speculation that Jeremy had deliberately removed the bolt in order to get a few more ringers than normal at a Stratton Audley practice! )

Everyone had a good ring, the general consensus being that the bells weren’t as bad as some of us remembered probably due to the new ringing floor. Methods rung were Plain Hunt, Plain Bob, Grandsire, Stedman, Reverse Canterbury, St Simon’s and St Martin’s.  It was a warm evening and the bells were quite hard work but it was generally agreed that it was an enjoyable if eventful practice.

Richard Haseldine

Branch Outing Saturday 27th April 2019

Saturday’s Bicester Branch April outing to Gloucestershire as well as Oxfordshire coincided with this year’s warm Easter weather and churches decorated with lovely Easter flowers. The morning’s three of Northleach, Sherbourne and Windrush were all challenging whilst the afternoon’s group of Taynton (what a great ringing chamber!), Fulbrook and Asthall were much easier for the wearier group of 20 ringers in total from 5 branches officially!

All of us had opportunities to extend our ringing range with rounds, call changes, plain hunt, St Clements, Stedman Triples and Kent amongst the repertoire. A very enjoyable day out – and many thanks to Richard Haseldine, joint Ringing Master with Jeremy Adams, for organising it so well. Our supporting team – only 3 this year – gave it (and the extended lunch) full marks too!

Branch Practice at Ludgershall 3 August

The 5 bells of Ludgershall attracted 16 ringers from 6 towers for the monthly branch practice. Several ringers were missing – on holiday, suffering from the heat or celebrating wedding anniversaries! Although Richard Haseldine is rather hidden in this photo – taken to record the Cliff East shield before it (possibly) moves from last year’s winning team – he and Jeremy Adams ensured all ringers had plenty of practice – whether call changes, Stedman, Grandsire and even a touch of Reverse Canterbury.

Let’s hope we get as many, if not more, for the Striking Competition and barbecue on Saturday 1 September!

‘Taster’ evening at Weston-on-the-Green

We had a successful evening on Thursday 26 July with 8 potential recruits given an introduction to bellringing.
7  helpers came from Abingdon, Buckingham, and Maids Moreton to give support and encouragement with the addition of local ringers, Tower Captain  Bob Hessian, Willie Haynes, Michael MacArthur, and Jeremy Adams.. The plan is that the new recruits will take part in a reasonably intensive (i.e. 10 hours) programme at W-o-t-G or possibly Bletchingdon, Kirtlington, Islip for instance as well. That’ll probably be an autumn project and we are extremely grateful to those who gave up their time (on one of the hottest evenings – so far!) to help.

Special Practice 17th July 2018 at Islip

14 ringers from 6 towers came to Tuesday night’s special practice at Islip – we were delighted to see the perpetually youthful Louise Brown who was such a stalwart welcome visitor for many years.

Although we were missing 5 other Islip ringers, we had 4 of our most recent #RingingRemembers learners who might have felt overwhelmed by the attempts of the more established to ring the designated method of Kent Treble Bob Minor (slightly more successfully on the 2nd attempt) but all are making steady progress. Without our learners we won’t, in the future, be able to ring Grandsire and Bob Triples – both of which we managed for the first time for ages under the direction of both Ringing and Deputy Ringing Masters!  So something for everyone – even if not enough time for all!

Two upcoming events are Branch Practice on 3 August at Ludgershall and the Striking competition at Islip on 1st September. Hope to see lots of you then.

Kathryn Grant