28th FEBRUARY 2009


Ringing will start at 3.00 p.m. and will be followed by a church service beginning at 4.00 p.m. After the service there will be tea in the Hall and this will be followed by the Annual Meeting. If you would like to book a tea at the AGM 

Please contact Sue Dyke: 01865 858555 by Thursday the 26th February.

History of the Bells

In 1618 there were three new bells in the old church tower; they had been cast by Henry Knight of Reading. There may have been other bells, perhaps a Sanctus Bell. The bells were taken down (about 1660) and stored in the church while the tower was being rebuilt (competed 1666). In 1673 the Vicar noted that the church “lyes more like a barne with five good bells lying here and there”. A new oak frame for five bells had been constructed, but almost immediately a new treble pit was added and three more bells were cast in 1675 by Ellis and Henry Knight of Reading. The bells were hung anticlockwise, as were many of the local churches on this side of the River Thames.

The Fifth was recast by Samuel Knight in 1701 and in the mid 1800’s any work needed on the bells was done by Albert White of Besselsleigh near Abingdon. In 1871, at the same time as the church clock was installed, the old third bell which had broken in 1860 was recast by Mears & Stainbank and was rehung by Frederick White of Appleton. The funds were raised by public subscription and the names of the committee and churchwardens are inscribed on the bell.

Sometime in the early 1900’s the six bells were rehung (still anticlockwise) by Richard White with new headstocks, strap gudgeons and self aligning ball bearings. The old six bells were augmented to eight in 1955 when Mears and Stainbank cast two new bells and recast the old Fourth to become the new Sixth. They were rehung clockwise in a new steel frame by Frank White.

The bells were refurbished in 1998 by Whites of Appleton with new gudgeons, clapper bearings and bushes.





























39.75 "











Mears & Stainbank

Mears & Stainbank

Ellis II & Henry III Knight

Henry Knight I

Mears & Stainbank

Henry Knight I

Samuel Knight

Ellis II & Henry III Knight


1. Apologies for Absence

2. Approval of the Minutes of the Autumn Meeting on 25th October, 2008

3. Treasurer's Report

4. Secretary's Report

5. Branch Representative's Report

6. Alteration of cycle of Newsletter publication

7. Ringing Masters Report

8. Holloway Shield

9. Branch Outing on 9th of May

10 Election of Officers

11. Election of New Members and presentation of certificates.

12. AOB

Treasurer’s Report            by Amy Herlihy

The number of subscriptions for 2008 was 112. Seventy three members/towers supported participated in 100 Club. Due to an oversight of the new secretary there was no Ringing World advertising during 2008. Donations were made to the Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund and the ODGCB Bell Restoration fund.

I would like to thank Frank Norman for auditing the books for 2008 and for agreeing to audit them for 2009.

Secretary’s Report      by Amy Herlihy

In February our AGM was held in Chalgrove.  All officers but one remained in post. Kay Bartholomew has stepped down as Secretary/Treasurer. The branch would like to thank Kay for all of her hard work over the past years. It should also be noted that a new post has been created and that Raymond Fergusson is the first to hold the office of Website Manager.

In the spring we have had two training days, for one for Plain Bob Doubles and one for Plain Hunt which had good attendance.  One Saturday morning last January, a group of truly young ringers (all under 16 years old) spent several hours at Shiplake working on the simulator. Reports have been given that it was a good time out - and they picked up some pointers on ringing too!

In March a 6 Bell Striking Competition was held at Great Haseley.  Five teams turned out providing serious competition resulting in a rather close score between Drayton St Leonard and Chalgrove.  Chalgrove came out on top and represented the branch in the Guild Final in October. Over the course of last winter and spring we held our inter-branch striking competition, the Holloway Shield. The winners for 2008 were Drayton St Leonard.

The Branch Spring Outing, on the 10th of May, was to the Isle of Wight. This event was well attended and the group reported that it was an excellent day, although a little hair-raising for the ringers in the car that almost missed the ferry back in the evening.

Our September branch practice was notable in that it was a 10 bell practice, and as we don’t have a tower of 10 in our branch we are most grateful to Wallingford for hosting this practice. Thanks should also go the experienced ringers who came along to help. For those of us in the branch who had never been in a tower with 10 bells, much less had the chance to ring them, this was a real treat!

The Autumn Branch Outing in October was held at towers local to our branch, Long Wittenham and Sutton Courtenay, and was followed by a pub lunch. This half day event was well attended, so well that we had to “look to” rather sharply so that everyone had a chance to ring.

Finally, a welcome to our new members: Wendy Hawkins, Jennifer Flynn, Timothy Spalton from Aston Rowant; Jane and Jennifer Willis from Little Milton; Gill Skinner from Chinnor; and Liz Rhodes from Drayton St Leonard.




Brought Forward


100 Club -2008

Autumn Outing

Interest (Gross)









Guild Subscriptions

Guild Bell Fund

100 Club

Guild Restoration Fund

100 Club

100 Club prizes

Newsletter Printing


Ringing World Notices


Balance Carried forward













AS AT 31st DECEMBER 2008

Balance brought forward 1.1.2007



Balance carried forward 31.12.2008

Current Account Balance

Deposit Account Balance










Prepared by  Amy Herlihy            Audited by F D Norman

Date  1st January 2009  Date 31st January 2009

Branch Representatives Report   by John Tchighianoff

The following matters were discussed at the Guild AGM and at General Committee meetings during 2008 and have been reported to the branch in more detail during the year:


Jon Chamberlain stood down as Guild Master at the AGM and was replaced by Robert Newton with Alan Marchbank as Deputy Master


It is recognised that communications are difficult in a guild as large as the ODG. Discussions on improving communications are ongoing. In the meantime generic e mail addresses have been set up for guild officers and is being extended to branches


The Bell Fund received applications in 2008 from  Benson, Shiplake and Gt Brickhill. The Restoration Fund approved a provisional grant to Olney

Ringing Trends

A survey of ringing trends is being carried out by the Central Council and questionnaires have been circulated in the ODG

Membership Fees

The budget for 2009 indicates a likely deficit. It was therefore agreed that subscriptions be increased by 50p to £6.00 per annum.

Honorary Membership

There was much discussion during the year regarding Honorary Membership. One of the main concerns is the increase in average age of ringers and the effect on future income of the Guild. The final proposal on the table is that Honorary Ringing Membership - Rule 5(e) - is removed and that in its place Distinguished Membership could be awarded to a Resident Ringing Member of the Guild who has been a member for at least 30 years and given meritorious service to the branch or Guild. The person to be proposed by two members with a citation of the reasons for the proposal. This would then go before an Honours Committee for approval and ratification at a Guild AGM. Those being awarded Distinguished Membership would receive a certificate but still be liable to pay their annual subscription. This proposal will be put before the AGM in May. This will not affect existing Honorary Ringing Members.

Due date for payment of annual subscription

Rule 8(a) currently states that the latest date for payment of annual subscriptions is 31st December during the relevant year. It is proposed that this be changed to 31st March. As this is a rule change it will be brought up at the AGM for approval.

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.  The Surprise Major practices at Warborough on the last Wednesday of the month have also continued bar a few months when there were not enough of us, and we have begun to include Lincolnshire! The Surprise Major with helpers from other branches also continues, and is often over-subscribed.

I have made one trip to Shiplake to use the simulator, and am happy to arrange more should anyone want to go.

Please see my pieces below on 8-bell ringing, and about the Training Day.

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

8-Bell Ringing

For some time now, I have been wondering how best to develop triples and major in this branch. Much of the ringing on practice nights is on 6 bells, even in 8-bell towers. I feel that many of those who can ring Bob Doubles and Grandsire Doubles would benefit from having somewhere to go on a regular basis where they can experience ringing on 8, and pick up rhythm and listening skills. When ringing on 8, there are a number of things that are different, apart from the fact that there are more bells to listen to and more ropes to watch: the speed changes in hunting are less, and the interval between bells is in most cases less (and therefore the hand stroke gap is less). However, when learning Grandsire or Plain Bob for instance, the dodges don’t come along as quickly as in doubles, and there is more time to relax and hunt up and down between! 

I therefore plan to set up some branch 8-bell practices this year to which everyone is invited, and at which we will ring anything from rounds upwards. My ultimate aim is to build up a regular core of ringers at one or two 8-bell towers (either tower members or regular visitors), so that people who don’t get 8-bell ringing in their own tower have a practice elsewhere they can go to.

The first of these will be on TUESDAY 17TH MARCH AT DORCHESTER, from 7.30pm – 9pm. Please note that the access door (at the rear of the tower) will be locked at 7.45pm. The second will be on the afternoon of SATURDAY 25TH APRIL, venue to be arranged.

Hilarie Rogers 01865 890163

Training Day – Saturday 25th April 2009

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!

You will see that we are offering something a little different this year. We still hope to be able to offer doubles (and possibly minor) in the morning, but in the afternoon I would like to have some ringing on 8, at all levels, but would like to know who is coming so that I can plan accordingly!

In order for the day to work, though, I will need at least 5 helpers for the morning and some ringers for the afternoon; and offers of towers to use. Please let me know ASAP if you can help.

Hilarie Rogers 01865 890163

100 Club   Sue Dyke 100 Club Co-ordinator

Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers

South Oxon Branch 100 Club 2008







1st Prizes 12x £20

2nd Prizes 12x £10

3rd Christmas Prize

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 73 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:

Saturday 25th April 2009

Suggested outline

Please contact Hilarie Rogers (01865 890163) by FRIDAY 3rd APRIL if you are interested, and indicate what you would like to ring. If there are more applicants than places, a ballot will be held on 5th April. There will be a charge to cover use of the towers.


This is for anyone who would like to ring on 8, from rounds up to surprise major. Please let Hilarie Rogers, contact as above, know if you would like to come.

100 Club (Cont)


Holloway Shield           by Andrew Davis

After a slow start due to the usual problems of getting groups together, four teams are now taking part in this year's Holloway League. To date there has only been one away win and some very close scores.

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 AGM 25 years ago was held on the 31st of March in Little Milton Village Hall. The ringing and service before the meeting was at Great Haseley.  Roy Fuller was the Chairman. It was noted that the cost of the annual report was £1.20. The minutes also note that a cycling/ringing tour was being organized round Wallingford, Brightwell cum Sotwell and Dorchester. There was some mention of an allowance being made for more experienced but "geriatric ringers" to use 4 wheels to get to the towers - and oddly enough they "would require amphibious cars".


Aston Rowant         by Robert Newton

We have had a busy time over the last few months. In October, a band of ringers from the BBC society visited Aston Rowant and we also enjoyed an outing of our own, visiting an 8, a 5 and a 6 in north Bucks.

November 1st was a very special day. William and Jane Bowers were married at Tetsworth and several of our ringers were able to help celebrate by ‘ringing out’ the happy couple. We also rang two quarter peals of Doubles in November to celebrate significant birthdays (coincidentally the same number of years) for our two stalwart supporters – Kay and Paul. Congratulations to all.

Attendance for Sunday service ringing and at practices continues to be most encouraging. We also have a couple of new recruits so we are feeling quite optimistic about the future of ringing at Aston. On the other side of the coin, Shirley is having to take a break from ringing at the moment as she awaits surgery, but we hope that it will not be too long before she is back with us again.

Benson Tower       by John Tchighianoff

For the first time for many years we rang the bells at midnight to welcome in the New Year. We originally had ten ringers planning to take part but due mostly to the flu four dropped out at the last minute.  However we rang the back six and have had favourable reports from several people.

At the time of writing we are looking forward to the arrival of Whites on Monday 2nd February to start the removal of the bells. In the meantime we have been very busy in the tower. We have had to lift a section in two of the floors as we do not have any trap doors and we have also constructed a ramp from the bottom of the tower down into the church so that the bells can travel by trolley out of the main doors.

Our final ringing was on Sunday 25th January. We rang in the morning as usual and then in the evening a quarter peals of Plain Bob Triples some of which was recorded by Clive. We felt quite sad when the bells were finally rung down.

The final day of ringing was also part of a weekend of celebration as on the Saturday our vicar, Andrew Hawken, had been installed as Honorary Canon in Christ Church and several of us had been to the service. The celebrations continued on Sunday after church with a lunch for about 80 people in the school hall. All a good reason for the quarter peal.

Finally congratulations to Maureen who rang her first quarter on 27th October and to Mike Frances and James Anderson-Besant who were elected members of the Guild on Saturday 24th January.

Chalgrove                                     by Andrew Davis

It doesn't seem long since I was writing the piece for the last Newsletter. We reported then about our plans to have the bells rehung on new head stocks and bearings and possibly retuned.  Work towards this is progressing very slowly, not made any easier due to 3 of our bells being listed.  Both Barry and I joined the PCC to assist with getting this work completed.  This of course means that having been voted on to the Fabric and Finance Committee, we now have little time to actually ring!

Having won the Branch Six bell Striking competition, we took part in the Guild competition at Milton Keynes village in October. I would compare it to a trip to the Dentist, nice waiting area, just painful when in the operations room! We had to ring 240 changes instead of our usual 120, as conductor, I decided we would ring a "Morris" 240 to ensure that we didn't fall asleep. I don't know if this was a good idea or not, I was so shell shocked from the whole experience. We didn't disgrace ourselves, but out of nine teams, there is only one direction we can go.... We would like to thank Hilarie for turning out to our practice session beforehand and giving guidance to the team.

Following our Floral Bells Flower Festival 5 youngsters expressed an interest in learning to ring.  Having given them a date to come along and have a go, we were very pleased that they all turned up.  One of the girls learning to ring is my daughter Lucy, who just like when I started, (in 1978) requires two boxes to reach the rope. Over the last few months we have had weekly training sessions where we silence two bells to avoid upsetting our neighbours (if anyone wants to know how to make silencers I can supply a plan). One of the girls has sadly given up, but Lauren has started ringing with us on a Sunday morning. The others are almost ready to progress to this stage.

Barry is ringing Plain Hunt without any problems and we hope to progress to Grandsire over the coming months.

At Christmas we rang for all the extra services at both Chalgrove and Berrick Salome, from the many comments this was appreciated by the local communities.  As always thanks to Wendy for making up our team.

We are enjoying ringing in the Holloway League, although it is always a struggle to get the team together. If you would like to ring in our enclosed heated ringing chamber, we meet on the 3rd and 4th Wednesday of the month.

Finally, on behalf of the team I would like to congratulate Brian who has reached a notable milestone at Chalgrove;

"Having recently read a peal board in my tower, I realised that it was 25 years ago since I was asked to be tower captain by the PCC. I took over from the late Mr Cyril Woodwards who was captain for 21 years from 1962 - 1983.

Where has all the time gone to !!!”

Dorchester        by David Parker

It is my impression that lately newspaper columnists have frequently been choosing the subject of exercise and health as a topic to write about. They usually focus on walking – 30 minutes a day – as something that anyone can do as it costs nothing. Some say that this amount of regular exercise can give you the physique of a 60 year old at age 70. Combine your walking with friends and you have the bonus of social activity and valuable stimulation of the brain!

One thing journalists hardly ever mention is that, for health, bellringing is probably every bit as good as walking, especially if ringers walk as well! Ringing scores well on modest exercise (and has a very low accident rate compared with some forms of exercise), scores well on mental stimulation (you can choose your own level), and scores well on social stimulation (I think of how loudly I have to raise my voice when calling “Catch hold” at practices, for as soon as we stop ringing the chatter begins!). Furthermore, it costs very little to take part, and ringing is a service to the community.

At Dorchester, we may not be brilliant on method – our limit is plain courses of Grandsire Triples and Plain Bob Triples, although we do some nice touches of Bob Doubles – and if striking needs to be good (weddings etc.) we often choose call changes. Aileen is our ace caller for the Devon Sequence. Amongst our 12 members, we have a wide range of experience, and if we are all present it can be complicated giving everyone a good ring frequently enough to avoid getting cold on a wintry night. Currently we have 3 novices, and the latest one told me she had read up about ringing on our website – that was a first! Also, we are fortunate in having two or three visitors who come frequently. Nevertheless we have room for a few more if any Branch members would like to come and help. Triples ringers are especially welcome.

Keeping up with what is going on in each others’ lives provides much social interest. Because of our wide age range, there frequently seems to be another grandchild to celebrate or a new addition to a ringer’s family. Sometimes sad events are shared too, and kindly support comes into play. Eight or so of our ringers are regular churchgoers, and most of them have other jobs in the church which compete with ringing. Others, though not so familiar with church routines, are just as valued as ringers, and they too find outside commitments compete with ringing. The important thing is that we all share a commitment to ring the bells and call people to worship Sunday by Sunday and on special occasions.

We are pleased to welcome visitors to our practices on Tuesdays at 7.30pm. For security reasons we have to keep the outside door locked, but if you arrive on time it should not be many minutes before one of our ringers arrives with a key. Alternatively, give me a ring an hour before the practice on 01865 340402 to let me know you are coming. Please note that there will be no practice on 28 April, 5 May, 23 June and 15 December when there are functions taking place in the Abbey.

Drayton St Leonard          by Daniel Rogers

Ringing at Drayton has continued as normal on Wednesday evenings and most Sundays. Our learners are improving every week – Claire is regularly ringing rounds, and Liz is starting to look at Plain Hunt.

A couple of months ago, the band were approached by a journalist friend of somebody in the village who was looking for a local ringing band to write an article about for Country Life magazine. She interviewed a few of us about various aspects of ringing and the logistics behind us, and one wet Sunday afternoon saw the whole band come out for a series of photos in the tower. By the time you’re reading this, the article will be out (the magazine is released on 28th January).

Great Haseley          by Hilarie Rogers

We continue to enjoy ourselves on a Monday night, joined by ringers from Little Milton, Drayton St Leonard, Shabbington and Benson. Sunday ringing depends greatly on help from these ringers, many of whom regularly ring in more than one tower on a Sunday. Over Christmas, a rota of ringers rang for the Carol Service, Crib Service and Benefice Service in less than a week, which was much appreciated by incumbent and village.

We are mastering Bob Doubles now, and recently had a session concentrating on striking and listening, including facing the wall and trying to stay in place. The annual quarter in memory of John Aspley was rung recently – five different doubles methods – by Helen and Jim Diserens, Kay Bartholomew, Robert Newton (conductor), Ray Fergusson and Hilarie Rogers.

We have high hopes of completing the painting of the frame in 2009, ready for a repeat inspection for the Tower Maintenance Award.

Little Milton                            by Raymond Fergusson

There is always a degree of excitement around when we have our Annual Meeting as we always have a special award to someone in the tower who has made most progress during the year. The fact that the meeting is held in the local pub adds to the enjoyment. This year the tower members presented Chris Rogers with the award for his endurance and patience. It was an unusual item best described by Chris when you see him. All the Tower members appreciate the support given by Chris as he encourages the established ringers and develops the learners.

Our learners Hil and Katie have made good progress and they have been joined by Luke who is learning a new skill for his Duke of Edinburgh Award. All these extra numbers could mean two packets of Jaffa Cakes on our practice night

Great Milton                                         by Pat Cox

We had a great start to the winter.......


This really was a grand day out! GMB set off on the Oxford Express to London - enjoyed lunch and the hurly burly sights of Covent Garden, then, off to St Paul’s Cathedral to see the ringing of the 12 magnificent bells. Our guide was so pleased at our interest and went to great lengths to make sure we all saw the Ringing Chamber (with great plaques commemorating the city’s events for which the bells have been rung through the years) Then, up 168 steps to the Bell Tower - quite overwhelming - 12 huge bells at the very top of the Cathedral - the earplugs only just made it possible to bear the tremendous noise - and then the ‘tour’ at the very top of the building, looking full length down the aisle to the altar.

We walked along the Embankment, and then enjoyed a flight on the London Eye. Throughout the day we met happy, helpful and interesting people - a visit we will remember for a long time!


Our special thanks go to our Captain – Graham, who persisted, cajoled and managed to arrange a superb day!

Since then, we have enjoyed ringing our lovely bells at Christmas and New Year

Shabbington                                     by Ann Mayou

There is not very much news to report since the last Newsletter in September.  We continue to make progress and remain, as ever, extremely grateful to Daniel Rogers for guiding and inspiring us. 

We were delighted to host the branch half yearly meeting in October when three of our learners, Hannah, Katherine and Caroline, were elected members of the Guild.

Roy Jones continues to arrange regular quarter peals to help us progress and I am most grateful to him for his support.  Other visiting bands of ringers have come to Shabbington, one ringing a quarter of Cambridge Surprise minor.

The stonework of the tower is currently under repair as is the clock and clock face.  We should soon look much more beautiful!  We have also arranged for handholds to be strategically positioned in the belfry to make it easier to get round the bells for checking and maintenance (hooray!).

Warborough                                      by Sue Dyke

We continue to ring Call Changes, Plain Hunt, Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles on practice nights and Sundays and our striking is certainly improving!

Our Christmas party had to be cancelled due to illness but was rearranged for New Year’s Day when we enjoyed drinks and delicious nibbles at Sheila’s.

We seem to have had an influx of visiting ringers in January from Cambridge University, Barnes and Essex.

Branch Secretary  Amy Herlihy  

Newsletter Editor  Raymond Fergusson