Welcome to the bell-ringers page
Tower Captain: Angie Ayling
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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
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.
2017 was another successful year in the ringing chamber (and in the Tower as a whole, as some preliminary steps have been taken to address the sound proofing). The standard of ringing continues to improve steadily- even though it can sometimes be two steps forward one step back- and for the second successive year we were nominated 'Tower of the Year'. During 2017 we practiced on a total of 43 Fridays. There was no practice on six occasions:- Good Friday, too few ringers, Stuart Singers Concert (x2), no electricity and on the 29th of December, however there had been an extra ringing on Christmas Day and there was to be ringing twice on December 31st. The average number of ringers at practices was 9.
There was ringing every Sunday morning except two and in addition there were eight quarter peel attempts of which seven were successful. We rang for the Snow Drop Festival at Colesbourne as we will this year and enjoyed an outing in May to the Tewksbury/Gloucester area. There were no weddings due to the Re-ordering which had been planned to start in April but in the event did not do so until August 2017.
In June we once again took part in the branch Striking Competition which was held in Upper Cam. Our team was Tony, Paul, Mick, Naoko, Richard and Angie and, rather to our dismay we came last! However we enjoyed the barbecue at Horsley afterwards. We can now aim to improve on this when we take part again this year!
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.
During 2017 we practised on a total of 43 Fridays; There was ringing on every Sunday morning except 2 and, additionally, there were 8 quarter peal attempts of which 7 were successful.
I have been asked to explain about peals and quarter peals, so I hope that the following will help non-ringers understand a little better what goes on when we are ringing the church bells.
We have 6 bells and, at a most basic level, they are rung in ‘rounds’, that is 1-2-3-4-5-6 repeatedly. The ringing of the bells should be evenly spaced so that you can hear each bell clearly. Moving on from this, once a ringer can control the speed of his/her bell, ‘call changes’ can be rung; for this, the ‘conductor’ will call pairs of bells to change places so, for example, the order changes to 1-3-2-4-5-6 and then perhaps, a few rounds later, to 1-3-4-2-5-6. This has endless permutations and breaks up the monotony of just ringing ‘rounds’ all the time. For ‘call changes’, only the conductor really needs to think about what is going to happen next and the other ringers just do as they are told.
The bell ringers enjoyed an annual outing in early May, visiting 5 towers, one pub and one tea room. Thirteen of us - 9 Minch ringers, 2 ringing guests and 2 partners - started at Churchdown, where St Bartholomew church is situated on the top of Chosen Hill with a commanding view. After ringing the 6 bells for 3/4 of an hour, we progressed to the six at Holy Trinity, Badgeworth followed by Upton St Leonards; there we had the challenge of 8 bells, something most of us are not used to.
We ate a fine lunch at Birdlip and then travelled to St Michael's Brimpsfield where the ringing is carried out right in the middle of the church, in quite a confined space! Our final tower was St James the Great, Cranham from which we repaired to a tea room in Painswick. We managed to ring quite a variety of things, ranging from rounds and call changes to Bob Minor, St Simon's and touches of Grandsire. We all benefited from the experience of ringing on unfamiliar bells and are grateful to Paul and Richard for arranging the outing.
Over the past few weeks we have been thrilled to have a number of new ringers turn up to learn - including some teenage boys who have made rapid progress. While they are learning, much of their ringing will be on a 'tied' bell, that is, the clapper is tied so that it does not strike; this makes it more pleasant for anyone outside the church who may be within earshot! Once the learners can handle a bell competently, they will join in ringing with others, so at that point one can expect the ringing to be a little less polished for a while. Bear with us as it will soon improve!
Towards the end of October, there was a national 'Quarter Peal ' week during which a few of us rang with others from a variety of towers to notch up some quarter peals; this entails ringing a total of 1260 changes and it takes about 45 minutes during which no mistakes are permitted. Once achieved, the quarter peal is submitted to a national directory and recorded for posterity.
We are aiming to start ringing quarter peals at the tower with more regularity as our more experienced ringers gain in competence and confidence. We are hoping to ring regularly for choral evensong (on the 1st or 3rd Sunday of the month), commencing ringing at about 4.30pm. This will improve our method ringing as well as remind parishioners that a service is about to begin.
It’s that time of year again – when we all begin to dream up a new ringing tour for our band – so -
On Saturday 23rd April – St George’s Day, a team of 10 ringers from Minchinhampton, Holy Trinity, plus 5 guests from Painswick and Cirencester – plus partners (and a dog)- undertook a day’s outing centred around the Cirencester Branch area.
The bellringers enjoyed a visit to Colesbourne Park on Feb 6th and rang the bells in the church while visitors struggled round the vast grounds, in the driving rain, looking at the snowdrops. The owner of the park - Sir Henry Elwes - invites ringers from local towers to come, by arrangement, and ring on the 5 Saturdays and Sundays each year when the park is open for people to see the spectacular snowdrops.
We were 8 ringers in all with 4 spouses; as the church has only 5 bells, we also had the opportunity to brave the elements and walk in the woodlands and park, looking at the snowdrops, when we were not ringing. We had quite an audience at times as visitors of all ages came in to look at the church and watch us ring. It was fortunate that the bells are rung on the ground floor at the back of the church so people can easily watch. We finished off the afternoon with a welcome mug of tea and large slab of cake in the tea room.
The photo shows Paul, Naoko, Tony (hidden), William and Sally ringing.
Angie, Tower Captain
Naoko, Ringer of the Year
and Tony, now Assistant Ringing Master of the Stroud Branch
At the AGM of the Stroud District branch of Church Bellringers, Naoko Ponter was presented with the prestigious 'Ringer of the Year' award in recognition of the great progress she has made this year - the range of methods she has learnt to ring and her first quarter peal on Sept 27th. Furthermore, Tony Natt has been made Assistant Ringing Master in the district.
Lastly, the Minchinhampton Tower was declared to be the 'Tower of the Year' and will represent the district in the Glos & Bristol Diocesan Assoc. of Church Bellringers competition. We are very pleased to have 2 new learners in the tower now but we are still looking for more!
We do hope that you appreciate the improved standard of ringing sounding from the tower over the past months. This is due in no small part to the arrival a year ago of Tony Natt, who has been able to share with us his vast experience and expertise. Several of us have attended Branch ringing sessions, regular practices in other towers as well as our own and the Glos. Association autumn training day and, in September, Naoko rang her first quarter peal (44 mins of ringing a specific method) when the bells were rung after the service for the rededication of the Sanctus bell. This was a great achievement!
We are still, as ever, keen to welcome new or returning ringers to the tower. Just turn up on a Friday evening (7.30pm-9pm) or phone me on 884203.
Angie Ayling, Tower Captain