Bicester Branch Outing, Saturday 27th April 2024

10 – 10.45am St Michael, Lambourn 8 bells
RG17 8PA
OS Ref SU326790
11 – 11.45am All Saints, East Garston 6 bells
RG17 7HH
OS Ref SU361771
12 – 12.45pm St Mary, Great Shefford 6 bells (interestingly shaped tower)
RG17 7DZ
OS Ref SU380754
Lunch at The Fox, Peasemore
Hillgreen Lane, Newbury,
Berkshire RG20 7JN
2.30 – 3.15pm St Barnabas, Peasemore 6 bells
(‘a lovely ring of six’)
RG20 7JQ
OS Ref SU45877
3.30 – 4.15pm St Nicholas, Beedon 6 bells
RG20 8SW
OS Ref SU482781

Please email Jeremy Adams ( if you’d like to have lunch

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

Oxford Diocesan Guild 10-bell striking competition

The ODG held the 10-bell striking competition at Bicester on Saturday 25 November, when five teams took part ; the test piece was 288 Little Bob Royal.

Tower Captain Steve Walker was in charge of the arrangements, and the event received print and TV publicity.

Well done to all involved – we await news of the winning team!

Branch Practice at Islip, Tuesday 17 October 2023

Eighteen ringers came to the Branch Practice in Islip on Tuesday 17 October – including three visitors from Sutton Coldfield who were most welcome and enabled us all to ring Plain Hunt on six, a touch of Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire and rounds/call changes for all.

We are lucky in Islip to have three teenage boys who are becoming valuable members of the team (and came second in the recent striking competition), and who enhance the enjoyment of the evening too!

So, something for everyone. However we missed Richard and Jan Haseldine, whose intention to come was thwarted by coping with a wasp sting to their puppy (happily recovering).

Kathryn Grant

A Model Bell in memory of Willie Haynes

The Bicester Branch is now the proud possessor of a model bell, made by Robin Noble, in memory of Willie Haynes, our past President.

The bell will be used to show recruits and those interested in ringing how bells are hung and rung. Anyone who would like to borrow it should contact the Branch secretary for its current whereabouts!

On the case and model are two plaques, which were engraved by Keith Thomas. One is worded The Willie Haynes Memorial Bell, while the other is In Memory of Willie Haynes, President Bicester Branch, ODG 2001 – 2022.

Bicester Branch Striking competition 2023

Congratulations to the Ludgershall Team who won this year’s competition when 7 teams took part.

We were immensely grateful to Chris and James Mundy who came to judge and gave us useful comments (see below) to ponder. The teams were:

  • Team 1 – Weston-on-the-Green: 5th place (Gerald, Mandy, Nick, Andy, Teresa, Kathryn) ringing call changes
  • Team 2 – Islip B: 2nd place (Leandro, Marcus, William, Ricky, Teresa, Kathryn) ringing call changes
  • Team 3 – Bicester: 6th place (Anne, Jeremy, Sue, Michael, Diane, Pinder) ringing call changes
  • Team 4 – Ludgershall B: unplaced (Jill, Melanie, Sue, Lynda, Jan, Andy) ringing call changes
  • Team 5 – Islip A: 3rd place (Teresa, Sally, Sue, Ricky, Leandro, Kathryn) ringing Grandsire Doubles
  • Team 6 – Ludgershall A: 1st place (Jill, Anne, Jan, Andy, Richard, Michael) ringing Clifford’s Pleasure
  • Team 7 – Kirtlington: 4th place – Christine, Julie, Ruth, Dan, Steve, Jeremy ringing plain hunt
The Weston-on-the-Green team

Judges’ comments

Thanks for a very pleasant late afternoon. We enjoyed all the ringing and it was all very respectable. Thank you all for taking part.

As a general comment, we noted how important leading is to the whole change. If the leading is good the whole change tends to flow well whereas if the leading is a little out, it tends to rock the whole row and accumulate faults. This is especially the case if the leading is late.

In terms of marking, we scored 1 fault for a minor clip or irregular rhythm and 2 faults where 2 bells hit together with a maximum of 4 faults per row. In many striking competitions a minor clip attracts 1⁄2 fault and a major “hit” attracts 1 fault. We had intended to do this – but we forgot to halve the numbers when we announced the results – hence the faults might seem high!

Team 1 (149 faults)

The band rang call changes.  This was generally a consistent piece of ringing.  There were one or two specific changes which accumulated a high proportion of the faults, and this was particularly around the leading where some of backstroke leading was early and before the end of the previous change.  The treble led well in this band.

Team 2 (90 faults)

This band rang call changes.  This was a good piece of ringing.  It started strongly and the rounds at the start were very good and accumulated very few faults.  There were also lots of clear rows in the call changes which did not accumulate any faults.  The main faults accumulated with slow leading and this was most prevalent at specific changes in the test piece where the  majority of the faults were picked up.  On the whole a very good piece of ringing.

Team 3 (165 faults)

The band rang call changes.  The rounds at the beginning were rung well and did not accumulate many faults.  There were certain changes which tended to accumulate the faults and many of these were caused by inconsistent leading.  There were a number of late backstrokes which caused the change to pile up.  The band accumulated lots of faults towards the end where perhaps nerves overcame them.

Team 4 (didn’t finish)

This band rang call changes.  The band seemed to struggle with the bells a bit and did not finish.  Many of the faults accumulated because some bells held up and then the ones behind crashed into them and this accumulated  the faults.  The tenor rang well in this band and we were sorry they didn’t finish.

Team 5 (94 faults)

The band rang Grandsire Doubles  This was a good piece of ringing.  The rounds were struck very well and picked up only a few minor faults.  There were many clear rows within the changes and just a few rushed leads occasionally upset the rhythm.  A number of faults arose half way through the 3rd course and then in the last couple of leads of the test piece – and this is  where most of the faults accumulated.

Team 6 (85 faults)

This team left us in suspense as they only rang rounds for their practice!  We thought the test piece was Reverse Canterbury.  This was a very good and confident piece of ringing.  The rounds were excellent and hardly picked up any faults.  The ringing was generally good and consistent – the faults accumulated evenly throughout and no specific part seemed to  cause particular challenge.

Team 7 (123 faults)

This team rang plain hunt,  The rounds were good and accumulated only a few minor faults. The start of the changes seemed to cause some difficulty and  a number of faults accumulated in the first couple of leads but then the ringing settled down and there were a large number of  clear rows.  The last lead caused some challenge and accumulated quite a few faults here which was a shame as some of the ringing had  been very good.  Generally the leading had been good throughout.

Bicester Branch Social – Party with Striking Competition, Saturday 2 September 2023 at Islip

#13024 Caucasian Family Barbequing Clipart by DJArt

Saturday 2 September
Bicester Branch social – party with striking competition


Informal striking competition: 6pm
Food and refreshments immediately afterwards

Ringing friends, partners and children all welcome to party at:

Church Key Cottage, The Walk, Islip

whilst ringing in progress (5 mins from garden to tower).  

Fish, caught in the pond, served alongside quiche and

salads freshly prepared – BBQ too with any luck.

Tickets only £4 (children under 16 free) – please bring your own drinks. Please get your ticket by Saturday 26 August from:

Kathryn Grant (01865 373972)/ Teresa Carter (01865 374909)

Jeremy Adams (01869 277471)

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!

Branch Practice at Launton, 9 August 2023

On a wonderfully sunny evening, twelve ringers came to the Branch Practice at Launton.

We were particularly glad to see two new ringers from Stratton Audley who bravely swopped their idiosyncratic familiar bells for the light bells of Launton, in possibly the smallest ringing chamber in the branch!

Rounds, grandsire, plain hunt, Clifford’s Pleasure and Kent Minor were on the menu – something for everyone.

Thank you to Michael and Anne of the ‘home team’, and to Jeremy and Richard for arranging the practice – plus Colin Lee, our Guild steward, for giving us a boost too.

Kathryn Grant

Nadine graduates from Ringing Handling School

At Saturday’s Ringing School , we welcomed three students from Standlake for the first session, then David, Michael and Nadine to the second hour.
I’m really pleased to report that Nadine from Witney successfully passed her Learning the Ropes Level 1 assessment.
We then took the opportunity to give our students some practice ringing rounds, call changes and Kaleidoscope exercises using the Simulator – a first experience for some of our teachers too!

Nadine gave this summary of her experience of Ringing School:

“I am thrilled to have completed the bell handling course. I just want to thank all the teachers who put so much work into me. Their patience, encouragement, and expertise are inspirational. All those comments in my blue log book will remind me of all the hours they gave so selflessly. Thank you, everyone who makes this ringing school such a success!”

Sarah presenting Nadine with her graduation certificate