Welcome to the bell-ringers page
Tower Captain: Angie Ayling
Please CLICK HERE for Contact details
The Tower is affiliated to the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell-Ringers
We meet in Minchinhampton church tower every Friday evening at 7.30 for practice, which finishes at 9.00
We ring for the 10.00 Sunday Eucharist (starting at 9.15) and for weddings and funerals as required.
There is a branch 8-bell practice at Horsley every 4th Wednesday in the month except in October and December and when it falls in Holy Week. There is also a monthly 6-bell practice, which is a 'movable feast' - see below.
New members - whether experienced or not - are always welcome - but please contact Angie Ayling
The Declaration of War on Sunday Sept 3rd carried considerable interruption to ringing & from the Sunday following all ringing was stopped for the month by order of the Police. Permission was given to commence again on Sunday Oct 1st, this on the same date that evensong was introduced at 3.30pm on account of Black-out. Order prevailed for a time till Armistice Sunday when for some unknown reason we were again banned for the day. Since this service ringing has been uninterrupted.
It was felt by some it would be difficult to arrange afternoon ringing for service but luckily the majority were convinced it was our duty to carry on as often as possible. Up to this time practices had been suspended since August but by Blacking Out the tower we made a start on Handbells on Oct 3rd . Xmas early ringing 6-30am was as usual & we were pleased to find there were no restrictions in Ringing out the Old & Ringing in the New Year. As usual we had many interested spectators in the tower for the event.
Generally speaking, although we have suffered no depleted ranks through the war so far we have perhaps missed the longer evening practices which was beneficial to us all.
By broadcast on Tuesday June 13th that
1/ No person shall in any area in Great Britain sound any Church Bell or cause or permit any church bell to be sounded, except for the purpose of making a signal, in accordance with directions given by a commissioned officer of His Majesty’s Forces or the chief officer of police for the area, to indicate that members of an enemy force are landing or attempting to land, or have landed from the air.
2/ In this Order the expression “Church Bell” includes the bell of any church, chapel or other place of public worship ordinarily used or intended for summoning persons to public worship or for any like purpose and any bell ordinarily used or intended for tolling at a cemetery. 3 This order may be cited as the Control of Noise.
Defence Order 1940
During July the Priest in Charge (Rev Evans) approached the Captain on the subject of the Home Guards ringing the bells in case of invasion or as an alternative would the bellringers undertake to ring them themselves on the instruction of the proper authority. The former was pointed out as being entirely impractical, both from the safety of the H.Gs themselves as well as of the bells & fittings. They evidently imagined a Church bell was rung after the manner of a door bell. As regards the latter the ringers, however patriotic they might be, could not commit themselves for an unknown duration. On consideration what was finally arranged was for the H.Gs to chime 2 bells, 3rd & 4th with the chiming apparatus. This it was thought would be an altogether unusual chime in the locality.
We are very pleased to have three learners at present (not that we are not all learning all the time actually, but these are beginner-learners!). Sheryl has been learning since July while Bea and Charlie only started in November. All are making excellent progress, having been helped by receiving some individual practice outside of the usual Friday practice night. These sessions have been on a muffled bell, which you may have heard tolling on the odd evening.
It is said that it takes about 12 hours to learn how to handle a bell properly, but that means 12 hours on the end of a rope, not just 12 hours in the ringing chamber. At a Friday practice, a learner may only have the opportunity for three or four 5-minute goes.
If you are interested in finding out more about what we get up to in the Bell Tower, please come along on a Friday evening, 7.30pm or ring Angie on 884203.
The Stroud Branch of ringers held an outing on Sept 28th and two of us from Minchinhampton joined in. We visited 4 towers in Monmouthshire— St Nicholas, Trellech; St Thomas à Becket at Shirenewton; St Mary Virgin Caldicot and, lastly, St Mary, Chepstow. At the second tower, the heaviest of the 6 bells was only the weight of our lightest, so that made the bells more challenging to ring. Access to the towers varied as ever—with the route up to the ringing chamber in Trellech, via steep, uneven stone steps and wooden ladders, being particularly interesting!
You may have noticed that, of late, we have occasionally only been ringing 5 bells —or sometimes have not rung at all on a Friday or Sunday. This has been due to a lack of ringers, so we need more recruits! If you would like to come and see what we get up to, please come along on a Friday 7.30pm-9pm and say hello, have a look, perhaps have a go and consider learning to ring yourself.
We had hoped to have taken part in the Stroud Branch ‘Striking Competition’ which, this year, was held at Frampton on Severn. Unfortunately, after having fielded two teams last year, we were unable to gather even 6 ringers together for this event because of injury and other circumstances. Therefore, we had to borrow 3 ringers from other towers so as to even participate. This just shows how much we are in need of new or returning ringers to come and join us.
On Saturday April 6th a team from the church bellringers travelled to Hewelsfield, in the Forest of Dean, to take part in the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan 6-Bell Striking Competition, competing for the ‘Croome Trophy’. (This came about because Minchinhampton ringers won the Stroud Branch striking competition last June.) Later the same morning, the 8-Bell ‘Penn Trophy’ Competition was held at St Briavels and Tony Natt was a member of the Stroud Branch team taking part.
The competition rules required each of the 10 teams (in 3 groups, over the course of 2½ hours) to ring a method with a total of 120 changes; this takes about 4 minutes. Judges sit nearby (outside) and assess every single blow of every bell, marking as a fault any that are not struck at exactly the right time. The faults are then totalled and the team with the fewest is the winner.
We rang the method ‘Bob Doubles’ which is 40 changes long; when augmented with ‘bobs’ it is extended to 120 changes.
The bells took a bit of getting used to—particularly the treble (no. 1) - but each team had 7 minutes to practise, so as to familiarise themselves with the handling of the bells. We were the 4th team to compete, which meant standing outside in the cold for 45 minutes before it was our turn!
The team comprised: 1.Sally Haigh 2. Naoko Ponter 3. Angie Ayling 4. Paul Verney 5. Tony Natt (conductor) 6. Mick Wright
The results: we came 9th, which was perhaps a bit disappointing. However, we were competing against some of the best ringing bands in the county, so we felt we had done ourselves justice. The Stroud Branch team came 8th out of 9 teams in the Penn Trophy.
2018-2019 was another good year in the tower, the chief success of which was winning the Branch Striking Competition held at Kemble. We had expected to come second at best, so winning it was rather a surprise! We are representing the branch at the Diocesan competition on April 6th in the Forest of Dean.
We have not rung as frequently as in previous years, having to miss a number of Friday practices because of events being held in the church (or the Market House) or because of insufficient ringers being present. However, we continued to have elevern regular ringers for much of the year but then lost one of the younger ones recently; we hope he might return one day.
We rang in February at the Colesbourne Snowdrop Festival and had a very enjoyable tower outing in April to Tetbury, Malmesbury and the vicinity, arranged by Paul Verney. We hosted the branch meeting in September, some of us joined in the Branch outing in October and in December we enjoyed a very pleasant evening playing skittles in the Cotswold Club. This year we also rang for a number of weddings (having rung for none last year) and some of us rang elsewhere in the branch for weddings where they were short of ringers.
Three quarter peals were rung in the tower: for Jilly Jennings’ 100th and for David Pobjoy’s interment of ashes, both in April, and the last one by a visiting band. Between three of us, we rang a total of 100 quarter peals (the vast majority being rung by Tony Natt.) As indicated above, David Pobjoy – previous Tower Captain – died in April; two of his sons rang in the quarter peal, along with Paul Barton who learnt here and now rings at Canterbury Cathedral. Finally, the ringing which was most favourably commented upon by those listening outside was that for the funeral of Gynnis Mayes in November. It was great that the ringing contributed so much to the solemnity of the occasion.
Angie Ayling - Tower Captain
On February 10th, 7 of our ringers plus 2 spouses went to Colesbourne to ring at the church there, which is in the grounds of Colesbourne Park. The estate is owned by a former Lord Lieutenant Sir Henry Elwes and each year he opens it up for people to visit the wonderful snowdrops and partake of delicious teas.
This was our 4th visit; bellringers—mostly from the Cheltenham area—are invited to ring for one Saturday or Sunday afternoon whilst the gardens are open. There are 5 bells on the ground floor, so visitors to the gardens can come into the church and watch the ringing in action. The bells are very light—the heaviest being the same weight as our lightest—so they take a bit of getting used to!
We are busy practising for our diocesan association striking competition in April. This is being held in the Forest of Dean—with care being taken by the organisers to hold the event at a tower that will not be familiar to any of the competing teams. Whilst for the branch striking competition (which we won) we were required to ring for about 5 minutes, this time the ringing will have to be twice as long—with every strike of each bell being judged by the assessors, so it is likely to be a nerve-wracking affair!
Angie Ayling, Tower Captain
Wanted - New/Returning Bellringers
We currently have 10 bell ringers who call you to worship each Sunday morning and practise on a Friday evening; we are now in a good position to take on some new ringers.
We can offer expert tuition—no experience or particular ability is required; just the fitness to be able to climb 44 stairs up to the ringing chamber (and be aged11+).
If you would like to find out more about what is involved, do come along when we are practising and have a look. We are a friendly bunch from all walks of life and with a variety of ringing experience—ranging from 2-50 years. The door at the bottom of the tower will be open and you can just come up.
If you wish to learn, you will receive 1-1 tuition to start with, so as to learn how to handle a bell, before moving on to ring with others. This process is likely to take a few weeks (or possibly months) depending on a range of factors. The expectation is then that you would regularly be available for practices and Sunday morning ringing—this is very much a team activity, so commitment is necessary.
To find out more, ring 884203 or come and find us on a practice night 7.30- 9pm
It has been a few months now since there was any news from the bell tower. We have, of course, continued to be busy practising on Fridays and ringing for the Sunday morning service; I hope that you have heard us!
We currently have 11 ringers though, unfortunately, work and other commitments mean that we are rarely all together at the same time. As we have 6 bells, we need at least 6 ringers in the tower to ring properly and, for the most part, we achieve that.
STROUD BRANCH ANNUAL BELL STRIKING COMPETITION SUCCESS!
On Saturday June 16th, the church bellringers took part in the branch striking competition which was held this year at Kemble, a 6-bell tower.
There were 9 teams in all and, as we had 9 ringers keen to take part, we entered 2 teams (so some of us rang twice). Each team performed a piece of ringing totalling 120 changes, which is just about 5 minutes of ringing. Outside, hidden from view, were two judges who assessed the striking/ringing of each team, recording errors when they occurred and the results were announced at the barbecue in Horsley afterwards.
We were most thrilled to find out that one of our teams was judged to have been the best and Minchinhampton tower was duly awarded the trophy (pictured right) and the honour of representing the Stroud Branch in the next level of competition (to be held next March).
Our ringers were: George Burfoot, Charlie Hodges, Richard Rider, Naoko Ponter, Angie Ayling, Jean Hand, Tony Natt, Mick Wright and Paul Verney.
On Saturday April 28th, the bellringers enjoyed an outing, arranged by Paul Verney, to 5 towers all situated not far away. In all we were a group of 17 over the course of the day, including 5 non-ringers, plus one dog. We were pleased to be joined by 2 ringers from Horsley and Woodchester whose presence enabled us to ring a variety of methods occasionally, as well as rounds and call-changes.
We began the day at 9am in Tetbury where there are 8 bells—this being a challenge as most of us are much more used to ringing on 6. There was quite a climb up to the bells—50 steps in all!
Next we drove to Long Newnton where we first had to clear the ground-floor ringing chamber of various items—2 huge mock-stone urns on pedestals, 2 tables, 2 brooms and sundry flower vases– before we could begin ringing! Here there were 6 bells and some of us were able to explore the church while others rang, then swapping over.
Our final tower before lunch was Charlton (pictured) where we found the bells more pleasing on the ear than Long Newnton.
We had a very enjoyable, leisurely lunch in ‘The Horse and Groom’ and then progressed to Malmesbury Abbey—the tower of St Paul’s— where again there were 8 bells. This tower stands separately from the abbey and has a very tricky staircase to the ringing chamber; also one can feel the tower swaying slightly as the bells are rung. Lastly we rang in Sherston (6 bells, easier staircase) before repairing to ‘The Angel’ in the village for tea and cakes.
We were very sad to learn of the death of David Pobjoy, who died in hospital on Friday 9th of March.
David was captain of the tower for many years. He was a prominent member of the Stroud branch of the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers and he was proud to have rung all over the world as well as throughout the UK—keeping a careful record of the hundreds of towers at which he had rung.