1. Apologies for Absence

2. Minutes of the Autumn Meeting and meeting of 26th January 2008.

3. Treasurer’s Report

4. Secretary’s Report

5. Branch Representative’s Report

6. Training Report and Training Day

7. Holloway Shield

8. Branch Outing

9. Election of Officers and Other Appointments

10. Election of New Members and Presentation of Certificates

11. Any Other Business

Treasurer’s Report by Kay Bartholomew

The number of subscriptions again increased in 2007 as did the number of members supporting the 100 Club.  All donations to the Ringing World from quarter peals in celebration of both 1000 Years of Oxfordshire and HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Diamond Wedding were paid for out of Branch Funds.

I should like to thank Frank Norman for agreeing to audit the accounts again for me this year.

Secretary’s Report by Kay Bartholomew

Our Branch AGM was held in February at Brightwell Baldwin, when all officers were re-elected to serve another year.  A successful Training Day was held in March, concentrating on doubles in the morning session again at Brightwell Baldwin and triples at Dorchester, following a pub lunch in the village and coffee at Aileen’s house!  This spurred several of the students to follow on by ringing a quarter peal in their chosen method.

Drayton St. Leonard won our inter-branch Striking Competition this year, beating two other towers.  Four teams entered the Branch 6-bell Striking competition, held at Shabbington in April.  Aston Rowant won and represented the Branch at the Guild competition in October, but congratulations must go to Shabbington, who rang very well to finish second.  The Branch also entered a team in the 8-bell competition at Kidlington in May.

We had a successful Spring Outing to Hampshire in May, which included a train ride on the Watercress Line from Alton to Alresford.  As well as ringing at both station towers, we rang at Binsted and Upton Grey before coming nearer to home to round off the day with an evening meal at The Chequers at Berrick Salome. Sadly, our official Branch outing to the Cotswolds had to be cancelled for lack of support.   Our Chairman, Brian Gay and his wife Glenys, again opened up their garden for another summer BBQ in August.  Although the weather was cooler than the previous year, it did manage to stay dry and was enjoyed by everyone who attended.

The Branch celebrated 1000 Years of Oxfordshire by holding a Branch Quarter Peal month in May.  Eleven towers successfully rang quarters and one tower rang call changes and plain hunt for 45 minutes.  In November, several towers rang quarters for the Diamond Wedding Anniversary of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

In March, the Branch was saddened by the death of Christiane Norman, tower correspondent of Dorchester Abbey and a quarter of Cambridge Surprise Major was rung at the Abbey following her funeral.

Doubles, minor and major practices continued throughout the year and have resulted in several members ringing their first quarters in new methods.  The simulator at Shiplake has also proved a popular venue for training sessions.

We hope to build on these results with more steady progress being made through the coming year.




Brought Forward 


100 Club -2007


Surplus from BBQ

Interest (Gross)

AGM Collection











Guild Subscriptions

Guild Bell Fund

100 Club

AGM collection

Guild Restoration Fund

100 Club

100 Club prizes

Ringing World Notices

Newsletter Printing



Subscription refund

Register of Website

Domain name

Balance Carried forward
















AS AT 31st DECEMBER 2007

Balance brought forward 1.1.2006



Balance carried forward 31.12.2006

Current Account Balance

Deposit Account Balance












Prepared by  K Bartholomew   Date  1st January 2008

Audited by F D Norman          Date 13th January 2008

Branch Representatives Report by John Tchighianoff

I attended the Guild AGM and the two General Committee meetings during 2007 and matters discussed included the following:


It was confirmed that the Guild Insurance covers members for ringing at other towers as well as their own and cover is therefore included when ringing on outings etc


It is recognised that communication to members is difficult in an organisation as large as the ODG. A working party is looking at ways of improving this and is considering setting up a membership database to assist communication with members. In addition consideration will also be given to members who do not wish to use e mail or do not have it.

Honorary Membership

There has been much discussion about changing the criteria for honorary membership. Although no decision has yet been made a recommendation will be made to the 2008 AGM that the rule is amended to the effect that to qualify a member must have at least 30 years membership and have reached the age of 70 (instead of 65 as under the present rule).

Guild CD and Website

A final issue is being produced and a copy given to each branch to enable them to put the information onto their websites

Young Ringers Award Scheme

This will be run again in 2008 and we are asked to encourage young ringers to take part

Ringing Roadshow

For the first time this will be a two day event and will be on 5th – 6th September at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.  I thoroughly enjoyed the last roadshow and would encourage branch members to go.

From the Ringing Master by Hilarie Rogers

The Grandsire Doubles practices on the afternoon of the last Tuesday of the month, and the Surprise Minor practices, continue to run and be enjoyed by those who come. Attendance by branch members at the daytime Surprise Major practices diminished, but I have been asked to include some ringers from other branches, so the sessions have diversified slightly and good progress is being made. The “Cambridge and Double Norwich” practices at Warborough on the last Wednesday of the month give us the opportunity to ring without help!

We had a second Double Norwich evening before Christmas, at which some of us tried bobs. I hope to arrange another practice before too long.

If you are interested in anything mentioned, please get in touch. I am also happy to arrange one-off practices and quarter peals if you would like to try something, but check with your Tower Captain first.

I would be very glad to hear of any achievements of you and your ringers.

Hilarie Rogers 01865 890163 Email:

Training Day – Saturday 15th March 2008

Elsewhere in this newsletter you will see a notice about the branch Training Day. Please consider coming along, as it is a good opportunity to consolidate something or try something new. Anyone is welcome to come – just let me know what you would like to do, and I will do my best to find enough helpers to do it!

As last year, we hope to be able to offer doubles (and possibly minor) in the morning and triples in the afternoon, for 4 or 5 students each. In order to do this, I will need at least 5 helpers for the morning and 7 for the afternoon; and offers of towers to use. Please let me know ASAP if you can help.

Hilarie Rogers 01865 890163 Email:

"I took 5 young people from Shabbington and Drayton St Leonard to the Ringing Centre at Shiplake in January, where we were joined by one local young ringer, and we all had an interesting and challenging morning. The young people in the picture are Katherine, Anna, Lizzy, Daniel and Hannah

Young people Jan 08 resize

100 Club   Sue Dyke 100 Club Co-ordinator

South Oxon Branch 100 Club 2007







1st Prizes 11x £18

2nd Prizes 11x £7

Christmas Prizes

Total Prizes

Transfers to

ODGCBR Restoration Fund

Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund









I am pleased to report that the 2007 100 Club was well supported with 63 members.  This enabled the branch to transfer 25% of the income (£157.50) to the ODGCB Restoration Fund and a further 25% (£157.50) to the Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund.  The balance of the income was paid out in prize money in 10 different towers as follows:














1st Prize £18

Aston Rowant Twr.

Paul Smith

Allan Smith

John Tchighianoff

A Herlihy

Alan Keen

Great Milton Twr.

Moyra Hollick

Bill Caudwell

Little Milton Twr.

Chris. Rogers

Robert Wells £25

2nd Prize £7

Great Milton Tower

Sarah Jones

David Watkin

Kay Tuckwell

Ken Webb

Chris Webb

Sheila Turton

Shirley Smith

Ken Webb

Ann Thompson

Kay Tuckwell

Maureen Owens £10

3rd Prize £5

Clare Burnett















Holloway Shield by Andrew Davis

This year three teams entered but unfortunately Chalgrove had to withdraw. By the time you read this either Aston Rowant or Drayton St. Leonard will have won or come second.

The future and format of the Holloway Shield will be discussed at the AGM, all ideas are welcome.

New Members

New members can be nominated in advance, or at the meeting.  In either case, please let the Secretary have names in writing – including title and Christian name.

First Quarter Peals

Any members who have rung their first quarter peal, please let the Secretary have details of where, when, the method/s and with whom.

25 Years Ago

The Annual General Meeting of the branch was held at Dorchester on 26th March 1983. There was ringing at Warborough and this was followed by a service conducted by the Guild Master.

Other than the usual business items the only item noted in the minutes was a discussion on the format of the Guild Annual Report!


Aston Rowant by Robert Newton

We are continuing to ring regularly for services and on practice night and our recent recruits are becoming increasingly competent. Inevitably, a greater proportion of our practice is taken up with rounds, call changes and plain hunt, but with support we can still manage Stedman and the occasional course of Cambridge. Visitors always welcome: Tuesdays at 7:30.

A very respectable quarter was duly rung at Church Hanborough as mentioned last time. At Aston, too, we have rung some for special occasions. Allan and Shirley Smith celebrated their Golden Wedding at the end of September and Plain Bob Minor was rung to mark this: congratulations to you both. We rang one of Grandsire Doubles to celebrate the Diamond Wedding of Her Majesty and Prince Philip – this was William Bowers’ first on a working bell. Then we rang not one but two quarters of Doubles as an engagement compliment to William and Jane. Congratulations to you both! The first (Grandsire and Plain Bob) was Alexander’s first quarter attempt and the second (Plain Bob) was William’s first inside.

At the Guild Six Bell Striking Competition in October, some members of the band were rather disconcerted to discover that there were insufficient entries to warrant heats. So Aston found itself in the final at Spelsbury. Not only that - being drawn between Oxford and Reading, the eventual winners and runners-up contributed to an even more nervous (and in one case, breathless) test piece. When the results were declared, Aston had been placed 8th out of nine, and the 9th band were disqualified owing to a miscall. However, we were only 1½ faults away from 7th place and our band had the potential to be in the top six. Next year, maybe? Many thanks to John Tchighianoff for agreeing to be our ‘borrow one.’

A final thought: 2008 was ‘rung in’ at just after midnight by all six bells – the first time this has been achieved for a number of years – and Shirley was as pleased as punch.

Benson Tower by John Tchighianoff

Back in March last year I gave an illustrated talk on bell ringing to our local village society (The Bensington Society). As a result of this one person asked me if I would teach him to ring and subsequently I persuaded his wife to learn at the same time. Shortly after this another couple approached me and said they were interested in learning.

They all started together in September and I think this is the first time I have taught four people all at the same time. I have been greatly impressed by their interest and enthusiasm. Initially we had two tied sessions a week and this certainly paid off as they very quickly progressed to the next stage of ringing rounds with others on our normal practice nights. All of them admitted they had not realised what was involved in ringing and how long it took to master the control of the bell. One of them had set himself a target to ring for Christmas and progress with all four was such that they were all able to have a short ring (with a minder) on Christmas morning.

Hopefully within the next few months we will have enough ringers at Benson to ring all eight bells on a Sunday – something which we have been unable to do for some time

One of the great things about ringing is the opportunity to welcome ringers from elsewhere and we are always pleased when Diana all the way from

Skibbereen in West Cork comes to ring with us when she is staying with her family in Ewelme. Perhaps some of us will have the opportunity to visit her in her home tower one day.

Berrick Salome by Wendy Simon

We have not recruited any new ringers in the past year, although one or two villagers say they might learn in the spring.   With only two of us, we have still managed to ring the bells on most Sundays for service.

Thanks to Chalgrove, once again, for helping us out with weddings and special services.  We have had three weddings this year - unheard of for our small village.    One of the weddings was on the 23rd December.   The Chalgrove ringers were back again to help us with Christmas ringing for our Carol Service, and for Christmas morning.

Brightwell Baldwin by Mary Wells

So here we are in January 2008, and no one can tell where 2007 went!! It’s certainly true that the time goes faster the older you get, and that the short term memory goes completely- particularly when confronted with a keyboard, a blank screen and the thought that she who must be obeyed will be here in the morning expecting a completed report!

So what have you been doing……

Well, the short answer is not very much really. Claire has had surgery on her foot, and her husband David has lost weight as a consequence. This was due to him being in sole charge for a number of weeks, whilst Claire had to rest her leg up. Since then things have moved on in leaps and bounds (not literally you understand!) and for a while Claire was the scariest thing ever seen in a kitchen as she whizzed round on her office chair preparing meals. It was Ironside meets Delia Smith!! There has been more progress since then and now she’s down to one crutch, and hoping to make a date with the physio soon.

So on Christmas morning we managed to make quite a nice noise with five of us on the bells- apart of course from the Olive-like groans coming from the treble. Old age and dodgy shoulders are taking their toll (as it were!). Still with any luck, the cortisone injections should help (not with the old age – only the shoulders) and we’ll be back in action in a few months time.

It’s a bit like that children’s song….Ten Green Bottles….we’re down to four now.

On a more serious note, we’re all feeling a bit sad here at the moment, as Martin our Rector died unexpectedly this week. He was a real old fashioned sort of Rector- King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer, but with a twinkle in his eye and a real depth of knowledge on all sorts of subjects, that made him the fascinating person to have round for a meal or tea and cake. There’s so much we’re going to miss about him- turning out when we rang in the New Year, the look of agony on his face at the choir as he tried to hit those top tenor notes, his sense of humour, the occasional pulpit thumping sermons, the way he made every funeral, wedding and christening so personal and interesting, but mostly the way he cared for all the people of Ewelme, Brightwell Baldwin, Cuxham and Easington.

Chalgrove by Brian Gray

We rang a quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles on October 5th 2007 to celebrate our new ringing chamber. We are very pleased to have our own room, which is so nice, especially after the cold and draughty ground floor ring chamber we had before.

Our monthly practices are going well, anyone who would like to come and have a ring are most welcome. We practice on the second Wednesday of each month.

Over the Christmas period we helped Wendy out at Berrick Salome as usual, and vice versa. On January 19th 2008 we rang a quarter at Berrick for Wendy and Bill who were having a wedding blessing. 

We are sorry that we unfortunately had to withdraw from the Holloway Shield due to various circumstances.

We are saddened to hear of the death of Martin Garner, Rector of Ewelme, Brightwell Baldwin and Cuxham.

Dorchester by David Parker

We continue to have loads of fun in the tower at Dorchester, and judging by some recent comments from the parish, our striking is often quite good! That’s thanks to a lot of hard work by our ringers over the last year or two.

We have had some very welcome help from outside – for example Alf has been coming to our practices regularly since August 2006 and he has been invaluable in helping us to make progress on triples methods. Another welcome visitor has been John the Organ, so called because he was in Dorchester for the last six months of 2007 rebuilding the organ in the Abbey. His home tower was in Hertfordshire but he was staying in Dorchester during the week. He too was good for Plain Bob and Grandsire Triples. We miss him now that the organ is back in use, but instead we can enjoy the magnificent sound of the organ, thanks to all his dedicated work and craftsmanship.

Between January and May last year we worked on Plain Bob Doubles and Triples, and then a change of mood took us on to Grandsire Triples for a few months. Since then we have been able to mix our ringing, depending on who comes, and we have been making good progress on touches of Bob Doubles with Aileen calling. On some occasions, when it is important to have good striking (e.g. Bishop visiting) we may choose to do call changes, and having Aileen call the Devon changes is most popular.

As always, it is good to hook a keen recruit if one comes by. Our latest catch is Chris May, a ‘young’ man from neighbouring Burcot who is off to a good start. He earned his round of applause when he rang his bell ‘together’ (hand and back) at only his sixth session.

We may appear to be well off with eleven ringers in our band, but it is important to allow occasional time off for things like dog events, visits to and visits by grandparents (John, can’t you stop at four grandchildren, surely that’s enough?), deputy churchwarden and treasurer duties, and (last but not least) holidays. Three of us nearly got a ticking off for going on holiday together trekking in Bhutan recently, but that’s another story. Bob Minimus is a good standby, so long as we don’t make a habit of it. It goes without saying that visitors from neighbouring towers are always welcome, and we are sorry we so rarely manage to fit in visits to your practices. Perhaps we should turn over a new leaf.

Drayton St Leonard by Hilarie Rogers

We continue much as ever on a Wednesday night, having fun as well as ringing. As I write we are preparing to defend the Holloway Shield, and have had a few goes at trying to strike well!!

During the autumn, we rang a quarter peal to welcome our new vicar, which pleased her no end as she has never had anything rung for her before! We also rang to celebrate the Diamond Wedding Anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip.

We are always grateful to the visitors who ring with us from time to time, and are very glad to welcome more.

Ewelme by Kay Tuckwell

Judith’s daughter Mary started learning to ring in the summer and achieved her Blue badge just before Christmas. She writes “I have worn the badge lots, including to my cousins’ house where everyone commented on it! Thank you for teaching me how to ring the bells. I love it!”

Well, we love having Mary as part of the team (and not just because it means us older ringers don’t have to climb the ladder to release and secure the ropes) – seeing the enthusiasm of new ringers and the progress they make is wonderful. Just a couple more helpings of Christmas pudding and Mary will really have the measure of our bells.

The village was treated to some very enjoyable ringing on 5th January, when a peal attempt was permitted. The original request was to mark 40 years since the conductor first called a peal at Ewelme, but the timing meant it was also possible to include congratulations to the Master of Ewelme Almshouses, Professor John Bell, who was awarded a Knighthood in the New Years Honours List.

The peal, of Surprise Minor in 7 methods, took 2 hours 57 minutes, and the (by the end) slightly warm and blistered band was as follows:

Joyce I Cornwall             Treble Robert H Newton            4

Hilarie Rogers                2  Robert A Partridge (C)             5

Patricia M Newton          3  David A Cornwall              Tenor

Great Haseley by Hilarie Rogers

The ringing on a Monday has progressed very well lately, and now regularly includes touches of Bob Doubles as well as Grandsire. We did have one go at Plain Hunt Minor, and hope to revisit that in 2008. We still welcome ringers from Little Milton, Drayton St Leonard and Shabbington who join those from Haseley itself.

We rang a quarter peal for the Diamond Wedding Anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip in November, and were very happy to score a quarter of doubles (including Eynesbury, St Osmund, St Martin and St Simon) over the Christmas period! Having failed to find a date we could all make for a Christmas celebration, we are planning a pre-Lent “do” instead.

Colin Turner is bringing a band for a peal in February, so it will be interesting to hear the bells being rung for an extended period.

Great Milton by Pat Cox

It's 2008 - so Happy New Year to all from GMB.  We have been quite busy since September - there have been 3 weddings and 2 bands of ringing visitors, as well as our normal practices and service ringing.

Our Christmas supper was a huge success as always - and the year was brought to an appropriate conclusion by a visit from a real live Father Christmas!  -

Great Milton Yule Tide Surprise

"The Bellringers had a Yule Tide surprise. We were startled, when a loud knock on the Tower door revealed Santa Claus complete with large sack of goodies for the Bellringers. Rudolf the red nose Reindeer took our photo to mark the occasion"

Great Milton Bellringers

Left to right - Paul Simms, Graham Griffiths [the boss] Mark Hunter, Patricia Walker,

Michael Hayes, Raymond Fergusson, Alan Booker and Santa.

Little Milton by Raymond Fergusson

Our Tuesday night practices continue to be enjoyed by all the team and our most recent recruits are making excellent progress after such a short time. We rung over the festive period and rang for a short time on New Year’s Day. We appreciate the continued support of Chris Rogers.

Our social activities over the past few months have included a St Andrew’s night supper as well as a Burn’s supper and on both occasions there was no need for an interpreter!  It suggests that the language barrier is being overcome. Hopefully this will be reflected in the quality of our ringing in 2008.

Shabbington by Ann Mayou

We continue to make encouraging progress under the watchful eyes of the Rogers family.  We were all delighted to congratulate Lizzy Giles on ringing her first quarter in October.  We have rung several other quarters since September: for the Queen and Prince Philip’s diamond wedding anniversary in November; in December to welcome the new Vicar, David Kaboleh, of the parishes of Shabbington, Ickford, Worminghall and Oakley, and to celebrate the New Year on 1st January.  This quarter was also dedicated to the memory of my friend and colleague, David Dixon, who died on 29th December.

We are pleased that ringers from other towers seem to enjoy our bells.  A group from Dinton rang here in September, and a group from the Oxford City branch rang a quarter of mixed methods on 1st December.  Another large group from Nottingham and points north rang in quick succession on 18th December before hurrying on to grab a few more towers in the area. Some members of the Durham University Society of Change Ringers were here on New Year’s Eve.  It’s good to think that the bells of our tiny church are known by ringers so far away!

The Grandsire practices are going well and we are very grateful to our kind and patient tutors.

Warborough by Sue Dyke

Since September we have been training two young boys to ring and they are coming on well - Andrew is ringing Call Changes and Kieran is ringing rounds.

Our practices are usually well attended and on one evening we had 11 ringers. On the occasional Sunday we have had 8 or 9 ringers, so things are looking up.  We are still struggling with our Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles, which are gradually improving, together with Plain Hunt for the less experienced ringers.

We are due to renew our Tower Maintenance Award so we shall be having a major Spring Clean when the weather gets warmer and drier.

Learning to Bellring – the first 30 years

I suppose this year could be classed as a milestone for me.  In March 1978 there was an appeal for new ringers to join St Andrew’s Chinnor.  Most youngsters joined the choir, something which never interested to me; I was fascinated with the creaks and groans from the belfry whilst waiting for Evensong to begin.  I already knew Eric Harmsworth, the tower captain, so the following Friday my Father accompanied me to the ringing chamber.  Formalities over with, yes I was 11 and I would do my best to ensure Chinnor continued to win the Branch Striking Competition, Eric introduced me to Fred Keen and the other ringers. At that time they included Noel Bartlett, Mr and Mrs West from Wycombe, all of whom I rang with for many years. The encouragement given to me by all of these people is what led me to continue when so many moved on to other pastimes.

I started off on two boxes so I could reach the rope. This gradually reduced to one and then the “squashed” box.  A sign of getting taller at Chinnor is when you hit your head on the low lintel at the bottom of the stairs!  How many of you within the branch have done that?

Over the years at Chinnor I looked after the Church clock and raising the flag. I also learnt Eric’s infamous “10 plonk system” for treble ringers, if all else fails, lead, 10 plonks, lead again! Always works, providing you are ringing doubles of course! 

In time I became Branch Rep, Ringing Master and latterly Holloway Shield co-ordinator.  I had also better mention that I did meet my wife and father in law through ringing.

How do I sum up 30 years ringing?  Above all friendship with people of all ages and walks of life, there aren’t many hobbies that mix such diverse groups of people with a common aim, be it to learn rounds or the latest ‘touch’.  You get as much out of ringing as you wish to, I have never progressed to the really complicated stuff. For me the most important thing is ringing for Sunday Service at Chalgrove, after all, that is why the bells were hung to begin with.

Andrew J Davis