Making a noise at Ambrosden!

Eight ringers from four towers came to tonight’s branch practice at Ambrosden, aiming to make a good noise on a stately ring of eight that sadly isn’t much so rung these days.

After ringing the front six up in peal and ringing some rounds and a few plain courses of Bob doubles with Anne and Sally in we felt we had to get the tenors up and try out all eight, which we did with Dinah in the band, who did very well.

Next we rang some plain courses of Grandsire doubles, and couple of plain courses of plain Bob minor, which went quite well. After some more call changes on eight we rang a couple of touches of Grandsire doubles including one with Sally trebling and finished with more call changes before ringing the back six down in peal.

We were joined at the end by Pam, Ambrosden tower correspondent (see photo).

A very enjoyable evening. Look out for an opportunity to ring there for the Christmas Tree festival later this year. Hope to see lots of you at the next practice at Piddington on 27th October!

The team with Pam

Steve Vickars

Old Bicester Branch website laid to rest February 2021

After over a decade of trying, the branch website has finally completed its migration from Anthony Cole’s server to its new home on the Oxford Diocesan Guild’s servers.

In December 2020 we worked with Anthony and the Guild Server team to re-direct internet addresses to the new home, while final checks of content have now completed and under Gus’ patient and methodical care, we have verified all content has safely migrated to the new server.

We have also now established new mailing lists for members (, officers ( and tower correspondents (

Farewell, old Bicester Branch site (, hello new Bicester Branch site (

Very big thanks go to Anthony for hosting the branch site and mailing lists and providing responsive and reliable support for such a long time!.

Steve Vickars and Gus Bridges

Kirtlington, Bletchingdon, Weston and Islip Virtual Christmas Social 21 December 2020

It was great to welcome fourteen ringers representing five towers to the 2020 Christmas social tonight, including very welcome returns from two of our dispersed ringers Helen and Ellie.

Notable welcomes also to Kathryn and Barbara Summers with their canine companions Dilly and Rufus who joined us specially for this occasion, also that Sally from Islip was able to participate in the video chat and Ringing Room for the whole session.

After some Carol melodies in Ringing Room we split into four teams representing Bletchingdon, Weston, Islip and Kirtlington for a quiz in four rounds featuring a range of bellringing and seasonal questions, as well as a Christmas music round.

The result was closely contested between Islip (8 points) and Kirtlington (9 points) with Bletchingdon (7 points) a close third and Weston a bit further back.

Finally we returned to ringing room and rang some rounds on 12 followed by carol melodies and a brave attempt at a multi part version of O Come All Ye Faithful. Rufus gave a very touching accompaniment of his own.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Our next practice of 2021 will be at 8pm on Monday 4th January. Hope to see you then.

Quarter Peal at Kirtlington 1st March 2020

This afternoon at Kirtlington, a band completed a very nicely struck Quarter Peal of Grandsire Doubles, rung to celebrate the 32 years of service given by Jean Sambrook to Kirtlington Village Shop. The quarter, conducted expertly by Hugh Deam, was also Charlie Bates’ first inside to the method, supported by Teresa, Kathryn, Paul and Steve.

This was also Charlie’s final practical target for his ART Learning the Ropes Level 5, achieved in less than eighteen months after starting to learn to ring. Very many congratulations, Charlie!

The Bellboard record is at:

The team for Charlie’s quarter inside to Grandsire Doubles

Focussed Practice 16th February 2020 at Bletchingdon

A very successful Focussed Practice this afternoon with a strong band of helpers to support five of our regular ringers progress in trebling and inside to doubles and minor methods.

Sue M rang 3rd inside to plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, then trebled to a touch of St Simons bob doubles.

Sue C rang 3rd inside to plain courses of Grandsire doubles, then trebled to Plain Hunt Minor and two plain courses of Bob Minor, a first.

Gus rang treble to a touch of Plain Bob Doubles, then to plain courses of Bob Minor, for the first time. Well done, Gus.

Judith rang inside to touches of Grandsire doubles, practicing different work bobs and singles at and near lead.

Charlie rang inside to different touches of Grandsire Doubles, in the end without a stander (not needed), and also trebled to a plain course of Cambridge Surprise Minor, for the benefit of Benjamin.

I think everyone got a “prime ring” and will have gained confidence in their chosen work.

Our helpers were rewarded with tea, coffee and cake, brought by the students, and was much appreciated.

I hope to arrange a further session on 1st March, more focussed on Plain Hunt and trebling to doubles. Watch this space!

the band of students and helpers

the band of students and helpers

Branch Practice at Weston on-the-Green 13th February 2020

Ten ringers came to tonight’s branch practice, including a welcome back to Charles and Rachel Morrish from Old North Berks Branch and also Gilly, a recent recruit to the Weston band, who received instruction from Andrew at intervals during the practice.

With us were Jeremy, Kathryn and Teresa, so we were able to provide a good band around the Weston ringers.

After warming up with a number of courses of Plain Hunt on five, we rang a few plain courses of Grandsire Doubles with Andrew on treble and Gerald on two, quite nicely struck.

Next we rang a well struck touch of Grandsire Doubles for the more experienced ringers, followed by more plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, then a touch of Plain Bob Minor, called by Charles.

Finally, we gave Mandy and Gerald a chance to ring treble to mini-touches of  Grandsire Doubles, with a strong band and a stander to help them. Well done Mandy and Gerald.

We all appreciated the improvements that the Weston team have recently made in moving the ropes for bells two and three away from the wall to improve the ringing circle. The good news is that a faculty has been granted for the remainder of the work, including inserting another floor to add sound control and ensure straight fall of ropes and improvements to the lighting in the ringing chamber and belfry.

It would be nice to think that we will see these welcome improvements at practices at Weston in the near future.

Hope to see lots of you at the Branch AGM on Saturday 15th February at Bletchingdon.

Branch Practice 21st January 2020 at Bicester

Sixteen ringers from six towers and two branches came to tonight’s branch practice at Bicester, including a warm welcome to Darren, from Central Bucks Branch. Proceedings were led by our joint ringing master Jeremy, with Teresa and Kathryn.

After ringing up we rang rounds and call changes on ten, then rang Plain Hunt on Seven for Sue, Helen and Chris.

We next rang two nicely struck plain courses of Plain Bob Minor for Anne, Faye trebling, called by Steve, followed by more rounds and call changes on six for one of the Islip recruits.

Next up a plain course of Kent Minor for James to treble bob to, guided by Jeremy, which made it to the end, so a first for James.

In an interval, Teresa presented Sue with her ART LTR Level 3 certificate, achieved last week with her Quarter Peal at tenor to Grandsire Doubles. Congratulations, Sue!

We rang some plain hunt on five for Mandy, Chris and Jane, then Mandy was stretched a bit further by trebling to a touch of Grandsire Doubles. Well done, Mandy!

We then rang a couple of plain courses of Grandsire Triples, then more rounds on six. Finally all ten rang in rounds before we lowered the front four and back six in peal.

Good to see lots of people tonight. Hope to see lots of you again at the next Branch Practice on 13th February at Weston, to experience the recent improvements to the rope circle.

Bicester Branch recruits gather at Abingdon

On Saturday 4th January the first group handling session of the year was held at St Helen’s Abingdon, attended by five learners from Weston, Wendlebury and Kirtlington plus Andrew gaining experience in teaching handling. Susan Read and her Abingdon team have most kindly offered to host training sessions at St Helens every Saturday morning until end March, so that we can offer training to a large number of recent recruits from Kirtlington, Weston and nearby.

This was a really good session, with one or more teachers per student and five learning at the same time.

I think the future of teaching handling looks quite like this.

Branch Practice at Islip 7th January 2020

St Nicholas, Islip

A very healthy 18 ringers from seven towers came to the first Branch Practice of 2020 at Islip on the 7th January, including two new recruits from Charlton, who got a number of goes at handling practice.

In charge were Richard and Jeremy our Ringing Masters, who were keen to get all eight bells going as much as possible, so we started with Plain Hunt on seven with Mandy, Andrew and Gerald from Weston and Chris and Jane from Bicester.

From there we rang a number of rounds and call changes on eight for our less experienced ringers, then a number of plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, with Judith inside and Sue covering. Gerald and Andrew had turns at ringing the 2 to these

After more rounds and call changes, we rang a touch of Grandsire Doubles, again with Judith inside and Sue covering, Faye, Jeremy and Teresa supporting.

More rounds and call changes followed, with a couple of plain courses of Plain Hunt on five, then a plain course of Plain Bob Minor for our helpers and Sue trebling, assisted by Judith.

A full practice again, with very encouraging numbers.  Hope to see lots of you at the next Branch Practice at Bicester on 21st January.

Special Practice at Kirtlington 16th December 2019

Thirteen ringers from four branches came to our final Special Practice of 2019 at Kirtlington, led by Richard, our joint ringing master supported by Kathryn, Malcolm, Clare, Charles and Rachel, Ron and Jane Burgess.
We welcomed Elaine from Ludgershall for the first time to Kirtlington tower, and Jane from Bicester, returning after four decades.
After raising in peal, we rang rounds and call changes for Elaine, Fay and Jane, then an attempted touch of Stedman Triples, which we tried at a later point, getting a little further.
 Next we rang a plain course of Bob Triples for Charlie inside, with some nice striking.
After some more rounds and call changes we rang a nice touch of Grandsire Triples, called by Charles, Kathryn Grant trebling.
Next up we rang a reasonably well-struck plain course of Bob Major, for Charlie to treble to. Well done, Charlie!
As Cambridge was on the billing (and quite a few of our helpers were hoping to get a chance to ring it), we attempted Cambridge Major, which unfortunately fired out after 1 and a half leads.
After some nicely struck call changes we then made a fair attempt at spliced Plain and Little Bob Major, with Charlie trebling again, getting a reasonable way through.
Our second attempt of Stedman Triples was followed by a completed touch of Grandsire Triples, called by Richard with Kathryn inside, with the practice ending in some rounds on eight.
An enjoyable Practice, with a big thank you to Richard for leading us and our helpers from near and further afield who enabled us to ring a good range of methods on 7 and 8.
 A very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
Hope to see lots of you at the first Branch Practice of 2020 at Islip on the 7th of January.