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.

Branch Striking Competition 7th September 2019

This year an impressive seven teams (considering the size of the branch) and over 40 branch members, partners and friends attended the branch striking competition on Saturday 7th, again kindly hosted by Islip and enjoyed the barbecue afterwards at Kathryn’s house. This was a strong contrast with last year’s reduced competition where only two “tower” teams and a small number of “harlequin” teams took part.

First up was a Bicester team, supplemented by Ludgershall, ringing a number of plain courses of Grandsire doubles, scoring 57 faults.

Next was Islip, the local team, again choosing plain courses of Grandsire Doubles and scoring 165 faults.

Third was a scratch team from Kirtlington and Bletchingdon, ringing a set of call changes, scoring 192 faults, improving through the call changes section after a tricky set of rounds.

Fourth up was Weston on the Green, including three ringers who only started ringing for the first time in September 2018, assisted by Jeremy, Kathryn and Steve. Again, a set of call changes was rung and a very creditable 68 faults scored. Well done to Weston!

Fifth was the experienced Ludgershall team, ringing a touch of Plain Bob Doubles, scoring an impressive 38 faults and winning the competition.

Sixth was a harlequin ladies’ team, ringing Grandsire Doubles and scoring 70 faults, while the final team was a harlequin young ringers’ team, comprising Islip’s youngest recruits and Charlie from Kirtlington. This team only rang part of the allotted 5 minutes and achieved a score of 120 faults, after rounding up to the equivalent time.

A big thank you to our judges, Katie Lane, Guild Master, and David Cornwall, who undertook the scoring. Also thank you to former branch member Louise Brown, who acted as time-keeper in the tower. [Photo of Ludgershall]

Team scores in ascending order

Team Score Notes
E  Ludgershall 38
A  Bicester 57
D  Weston on the Green 68
F  Ladies’ team 70
G  Young ringers 120 Faults adjusted to full length of test piece
B  Islip 165
C  Kirtlington/ Bletchingdon 192

Bicester Branch Outing 27th April 2019

Richard has kindly organised this year’s outing to a number of towers starting at Northleach, Gloucestershire on 27th April. Please see the attached itinerary.

Bicester Branch Outing
April 27th. 2019

09.30 – 10.15 Northleach Glos. SS Peter & Paul
Bells 8 18½ cwt in E
OS grid ref. SP111145 Post Code GL54 3EA

10.45 – 11.30 Sherborne Glos. St. Mary Magd.
Bells 6 9cwt 3qtr 23lb in G#
OS grid ref. SP168147 Post Code GL54 3DZ

12.00 – 12.45 Windrush Glos. St. Peter
Bells 6 7cwt 1qtr 13lb in Ab
OS grid ref. SP193130 Post Code OX18 4TS

Lunch own arrangements. There are two pubs fairly close.
The Fox Inn Barrington 01451 844385
The Lamb Inn Rissington 01451 820385
Numerous places in Burford

14.15- 15.00 Taynton Oxon. St. John Evangelist
Bells 6 6cwt 0qtr 27lb in Bb
OS grid ref. SP234135 Post Code OX18 4UB

15.30-16.15 Fulbrook Oxon. St. James Great
Bells 6 4cwt 0qtr 13lb in C
OS grid ref. SP258130 Post Code OX18 4BN

16.45- 17.30 Asthall Oxon St. Nicholas
Bells 6 6cwt 0qtr 10lb in B
OS grid ref. SP287114 Post Code OX18 4HW

There will be ringing for all standards but we do ask that you are able to handle a bell.
In addition to rounds and call changes we will hopefully be able to at least attempt the methods listed for the special practices.
If you are able to come it would be helpful if you could let me know


Word attachment below:

bicester branch outing 20190427

ART comes to Bicester Branch!

ART M1 Course at Kirtlington 16th February 2019 On Saturday 16th February, Kirtlington hosted sixteen delegates and three senior members of  the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART), led by tutor Paul Lewis, who attended the teaching of bell handling course M1. Kirtlington was chosen through its proximity to Weston-on-the-Green, where an entirely new team of ringers was trained by instructors from the Oxford Guild (of which just over half had attended ART training) over three months in 2018. The course, sponsored by Oxford Diocesan Guild for guild members, formed part of the concluding activities of the Weston training and was arranged by ODG’s Susan Read and Lesley Belcher from ART, who with Branch Secretary Kathryn Grant co-ordinated the many training sessions at Weston and neighbouring towers. The delegates came from as far afield as Newbury, Milton Keynes and Berkhamstead and also locally from Bladon and Islip, bringing varied, but also substantial ringing and teaching experience.

After a welcoming introduction by Katie Lane, ODG Master,  the course combined theory and practical sessions, including how people learn (“learning styles”), how to break down teaching complex handling skills into manageable chunks, what makes a good teacher as well as follow-on activities after the course. The practical sessions introduced teaching handling from bell down, teaching separate strokes, putting the strokes together, raising and lowering, ringing style and how to intervene when needed. The course was well received by all delegates. Tea, coffee, biscuits, cake and lunch were provided and much appreciated. Many thanks to the team who contributed to a successful event! A follow-up assessment event is due to be scheduled for the delegates and their learners in the Autumn, also at Kirtlington.

‘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.

Bicester Branch Ringing Outing April 21st 2018

This year’s ringing outing on 21st April 2018 is to 5 towers in the Old North Berks Branch between Abingdon and Wantage.
The itinerary is as follows:
10 am Drayton (near Abingdon)    – 8  bells, 9 cwt,  post code: OX14 4JW
11 for 11.15  am Milton                   – 8  bells, 6 cwt,   post code: OX14 4EJ
Lunch is proposed at the Cherry Tree, Steventon
For details of their lunchtime menu see:
1.30 pm Steventon,  6 bells,  11 cwt, post code: OX13 6SN. Note this is reached via a level crossing
2.45 pm West Hanney, 6 bells,  18 cwt, post code: OX12 0LP
3.45 to 4 pm Marcham, 6 bells, 8 cwt, anticlockwise ring. Post code: OX13 6NW
As these towers are within 20 miles, own transport is advised, sharing where possible.
Tower fees per participant will depend on numbers coming on the outing.
Please confirm if you would like to come, how many and lunch menu choice, to give an idea of numbers for lunch.
Further details to be provided in the near future.
Hope to see lots of you there!
Steve Vickars

Branch AGM Practice 5 March 2018

St Edburg's, Bicester

14 ringers from 8 towers attended the ringing practice following the Branch AGM on 5th March, including Colin, our area ODG steward.

After ringing up the back 8, at Helen’s request we rang call changes and Plain Hunt on 9, tenor covering.

After a couple of plain courses of Grandsire Triples we turned our attention to a number of plain courses and touches of doubles, comprising:

  • Two courses of Plain Bob Doubles, clearly called by Ellie, ringing from 2
  • Plain courses of Grandsire Doubles for Helen.
  • Plain Courses of Reverse Canterbury Doubles, with Stephen on 5

Getting more ambitious, we started a touch of Reverse St Bartholomew Doubles (plain courses are same as Grandsire Doubles Singles, Bobs cause a Plain Bob lead end). However, the band was thrown into confusion by the bobs (the work occurs immediately after the bob), so some more theory work is needed here.

Finally, we rang some more Plain Hunt Caters, before ringing down the back 8, finishing  quite nicely.

Hope to see lots of you at the Special Practice at Bletchingdon on 14th March.

Ring for Peace Recruitment event Kirtlington 18 Feb 2018

On the afternoon of Sunday 18th February 2018 Kirtlington hosted a recruitment event for the Ring for Peace 2018 initiative culminating in ringing commemoration events later this year. We had an excellent turnout of helpers including Sue from Bletchingdon, Judith from Kirtlington, Alison Merryweather-Clarke from Witney and Woodstock Branch, as well as Hugh Deam and Paul Lucas from Oxford City Branch. Presiding over the whole proceedings was Willie Haynes.

We had three interested recruits including Rory from Bletchingdon, and Judy and David from Kirtlington, who all had a go ringing part up as well as back stroke and hand stroke, making great progress.

Having a good team of ringers we were able to demonstrate Plain Hunt on 5 and 6 as well as a some plain courses of Grandsire Doubles.

A very promising start for hopefully some new members of the “1400” for 2018.


Judy and David having their first ringing lesson

Report – Bicester Branch Striking Competition 2 September 2017

In contrast to last year’s washout, 2nd September was a fine late summer evening.

Three teams from different towers in the Bicester Branch assembled from 5.30 at Islip, who were hosting this year’s event.  Last year’s champions Bicester were unable to field a team, and a new team: Kirtlington/Bletchingdon  had thrown down the challenge to the two other experienced teams: Ludgershall and Islip, who had won the competition several times in the recent past. The hosts had also implemented a cunning plan to change the bell ropes a few days before the competition.

Each of the competing teams was allowed three minutes practice, then stand, followed by ringing the treble. The scored elements consisted of one minute of rounds going straight into a 120 touch of a method or set of call changes, aiming to complete the set within 5 minutes.

First to ring was the band of Ludgershall, with highly experienced and skilful ringers. The shield was theirs to lose as they chose to ring a 120 change touch of Plain Bob Doubles

Next were the newcomers, Kirtlington, three of whom had never been in a striking competition. The team rang the set of Ely call changes.

Finally it was Islip’s turn to showcase their skills. After their minute of rounds the team rang four plain courses of Grandsire Doubles.

Hugh Deam, Judy and Paulina made up the judging panel, and while marking fairly and scrupulously, very much entered into the relaxed spirit of the occasion. Our President, Willie Haynes undertook the role of steward.

After completing their striking the teams repaired to Sally Wale’s house, Sally having very kindly opened her house and gardens for the ringers and associated parties. There was a barbecue expertly managed by Peter (a specially imported Australian for the occasion), a plentiful selection of fine desserts and a well-stocked drinks table.

When everyone was suitably refreshed, the judges announced their deliberations. The winning team was Ludgershall, achieving scores of 90% and 80% for rounds and method sections, respectively. The team won a bottle of champagne, the promise of receiving the competition shield from the outgoing champions, and the opportunity to represent the branch at the Guild Striking competition.

Islip were a close second, achieving the highest score (82%) for the method section, but a lower score (84%) for rounds.

The new team, Kirtlington in the words of Branch President “did not disgrace themselves by any means” and achieved 88% in rounds, however it incurred additional penalties late on in the call changes section.


Ludgershall:  Richard Haseldine, Jan Haseldine, Anne Martin, Jill Bailey, Andy Windmill, Jeremy Adams

Islip:  Teresa Carter, Kathryn Grant, Sally Wale, Ricky Shaw, James Carter, Mike MacArthur,

Kirtlington: Steve Vickars, Judith Vickars, Caroline Cater, Ernie Cannings, Kathryn Grant, Jeremy Adams


Band A (Ludgershall)  – Rounds 90% Method / Changes 80%                  (1)

Band C (Islip) – Rounds 84% Method  / Changes 82%                             (2)

Band B (Kirtlington/Bletchingdon) – Rounds 88% Method / Changes 70% (3)


–  Band A: rounds 1 min 5 sec, rest 4 min 50 sec;
–  Band B: rounds 1 min 0 sec, rest 7 min 8 sec;
–  Band C: rounds 1 min 2 sec, rest 4 min 36 sec.

The winning team receiving their prize

Ludgershall receiving their prize
Ludgershall receiving their prize

The competition judges
The competition judges

The judging party discussing detailed rules with Kirtlington

Poster – Branch 6-bell Striking Competition at Islip 2nd September 2017

When:  Saturday 2nd September 2017 Bicester Branch social – BBQ with striking competition.

Where: Islip

Details: Informal striking competition: 6pm BBQ immediately afterwards.

Ringing friends, partners and children all welcome to party at: Waverley House, Lower Street, Islip whilst ringing in progress (5 mins from garden to tower).

Sausages, burgers and salads freshly prepared.

Tickets only £3 (children under 16 free) – please bring your own drinks. Please get your ticket by Wednesday 30th August from: Sally Wale (01865 841926)/ Teresa Carter (01865 374909)/ Kathryn Grant (01865 373972)

Striking competition pieces may be call changes, plain hunt – anything you feel you can make sound nice!

Winners of Striking Competition will NOT be required to go forward to the Guild competition unless they wish to!

If you’re not part of a tower team still come along and perhaps join a “harlequin” team so you can experience what these competitions are like. Prize for winning team: A bottle of champagne! Poster attached: BBQ2017