26th FEBRUARY 2011


Ringing will start at 2.00 p.m. and will be followed by a church service beginning at 3.00 p.m. After the service there will be tea in the Pine Lodge and this will be followed by the Annual Meeting. If you would like a tea either e-mail  Ray or phone 01844 279150 by Monday 21st February.


1. Apologies for Absence

2. Approval of the Minutes of the Autumn Meeting on 23rd October 2010

3. Treasurer's Report and approval of accounts

4. Secretary's Report

5. 100 Club Report

6. Branch Representative's Report

7. Ringing Master’s Report

8. Branch Outings 14th May 2011 and 8th October 2011

9. Election of Officers:

10. Election of New Members and presentation of certificates.

11. Any Other Business

History of the Bells


























John Stevens Gave Me

Thomas Franklin Gave Me

W T Franklin Gave Me

W G Sawyer, Incumbent

E J gale & J Franklin , Churchwardens Gave Me

Not Unto Us O Lord but unto thy Name Give the Praise

Glory to God in the Highest










Mears & Stainbank

Mears & Stainbank

Mears & Stainbank

Mears & Stainbank

Mears & Stainbank

Mears & Stainbank

W & J Taylor

The Parish Church of St James stands in a dominant position in the village of Little Milton, some ten miles south east of Oxford. The church was built in 1844 and the tower was added in 1867. It is a grade 2 listed building. A Quinquennial inspection in 1991 expressed concerns about the safety of the bells and in 1993 the Diocesan Bells Advisor issues a report that resulted in the ringing being suspended by the Rector. A major project was put together that included structural work on the tower and addressing the report issued in 1993. In 1999 the six bells were re-tuned and re-hung with new ringing fittings in the restored bell frame in time to ring in the new Millennium.

Treasurer’s Report

There were 127 members in 2010, of whom 4 were honorary members. The 100 club was supported by 76 members/ towers. In accordance with the resolution passed at the AGM in February 2010, tower fees for Branch outings and practices outside the Branch were paid for out of Branch funds.

Donations were made to the Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund and the ODGCB Bell Restoration fund.

I should like to thank Frank Norman for auditing the accounts again this year.




Brought Forward


100 Club

Historic uncleared cheques

Interest (Gross)









Guild Subscriptions

Guild Bell Fund

Bell Restoration Fund

100 Club prizes

Newsletter Printing


Ringing World Adverts

Tower Fees (Outings etc)

Balance Carried forward













AS AT 31st DECEMBER 2010

Balance brought forward 1.1.2010



Balance carried forward 31.12.2010

Current Account Balance

Deposit Account Balance











Prepared by  Maureen Bosely            Audited by F D Norman

Date  1st January 2011  Date 26th January 2011

Secretary’s Report                            by Amy Herlihy

In 2010 the South Oxon Branch has had quite a lot of construction taking place. Chalgrove bells are being refurbished and so the Chalgrove band was our nomadic band of ringers! You could find them at Brightwell Baldwin and Benson. The work to remove the bells began in July – and Chalgrove hope to see the bells installed again in December. We all look forward to having a branch practice at their tower. Shabbington too is having work done on their tower. Their ringing chamber, which doubles as a vestry, will have a ringing floor inserted above the vestry. They are looking forward to having a dedicated ringing room, and hope that all the work will be done by Christmas 2010 or the New Year.  While the work is underway they are ringing at Little Milton and Great Haseley.  Benson tower had their first peal on their newly re-hung bells on Easter Monday.

The young ringers in our branch are definitely coming along.  There are at least six ringers under the age of 15. We are pleased to have a 12 year old in the Benson tower who has run his first quarter peal to Grandsire Doubles.

 The South Oxfordshire branch typically runs a ringing competition, the Holloway Shield. This year we felt that due to dwindling numbers of participants and recalling the difficulty of organizing the competition during bad winter weather, the branch decided to not hold the competition in 2010. We will rethink this event for 2011.

Our AGM was held at Ewelme in February. After ringing and a service, we enjoyed a fantastic tea at the Ewelme Watercress Beds visitors Centre.  At this meeting we elected Maureen Bosley as Treasurer as the branch decided to split the position of Treasurer/Secretary. We also found we had enough members to warrant an extra Branch Representative and elected John White as our second representative.  All other officers remained in post.

Our Spring Outing was to Stourhead in Wiltshire. It was a very enjoyable day. The group rang at 3 churches, including St Peters which is near the gardens at Stourhead.  I am happy to report that none of the branch members got lost at all on the trip!

We held a half day Autumn Outing in October to Cuddington and Haddenham.  This outing was well attended and ended with lunch at the Rose and Thistle in Haddenham. 

Over the year there have been regular monthly practices of Grandsire and Surprise Major. At six weekly intervals there are Surprise Minor practices. This year saw several one off training sessions which included a day for the youngsters (i.e. under 18) and a session to concentrate on ringing up and ringing down. All of these events have had very good attendance. Unfortunately our monthly 8-bell practices have experienced dwindling attendance. This monthly event will be re-evaluated in 2011.

Branch Representatives Report   by John Tchighianoff/John White

The following matters were discussed at the Guild AGM and at General Committee meetings during 2010 and have been reported in more detail to the branch during the year:

Guild Officers

Robert Newton was re-elected as Guild Master.

Three of the Guild Stewards stood down at the AGM and were replaced by

John Manley, James Haseldine and Caroline Yeo There remains a vacancy for Public Relations Officer


Subscriptions remain at £6 and are due on 1st January. Subscriptions must be paid by 31st March


It was agreed to donate from the General Fund £550 each to the Bell Fund and the Restoration Fund. £100 was donated to the Ringing World and £40 towards the Ringing World Centenary events in London which are to take place on 26th March 2011

Ringing Trends

Due to the increasing average age of ringers the Central Council Ringing Trends Committee have expressed concerns about recruiting and retaining young ringers. The Guild will be undertaking a survey.

St George’s Day etc

There was much support for ringing to celebrate St George’s Day in 2010. The Bishop of Oxford has a preference for bells not to be rung on that occasion in 2011 as St George’s Day falls on Holy Saturday. However he is happy for local incumbents to make their own decision on this. The Bishop has also stated that he is not in favour of bells being rung on Good Friday as it is a day when the Christian world must stop and hold its’ breath.

Guild Festival

This will be in Oxford on 9th July 2011. There will be ringing in central Oxford towers, a service in Christ Church followed by lunch at a suitable venue.

From the Ringing Master                    by Hilarie Rogers

Over the course of 2010, regular events have included

One offs in 2010 have been

Hilarie Rogers  01865 890163

Branch Outings 14th May and 8th October 2011

We will once again be arranging a full day outing on 14th May, hopefully to Hidcote Manor Gardens and Chipping Campden with ringing on the way there and back and a meal in the evening. Also a half day local one plus lunch on 8th October.

Please put the dates in your diary and look out for details.

Hilarie Rogers 01865 890163

100 Club          Sue Dyke 100 Club Co-ordinator

Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers

South Oxon Branch 100 Club 2010


We had an increased membership this year with 76 members. This enabled us to allocate 25% of the income (£190) to the ODGCB Restoration Fund and a further 25% (£190) to the Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund.  The balance of the income was paid out in prize money as follows:

8 Bell Practices                            by John Tchighianoff

Over the last year or two I have organised regular 8 bell practices alternating between Dorchester on their Tuesday practice night and Benson on their Wednesday practice night.

 Unfortunately these have not always been entirely successful as on some occasions only a few extra people have turned up and they have not always had the opportunity to ring what they had expected.

 I am therefore considering arranging these in future on a one off basis but still in Dorchester and Benson on their respective practice nights. The objective remains as before which is to give those who ring mainly in 6 bell towers the opportunity to ring on 8 and this can be anything from rounds and call changes to plain hunt and basic triples methods and at the same time to give more opportunity to those who are able to ring triples methods but get little opportunity without enough ringers being available in their own tower.

In the first instance I would like a list of names and email contact details for all those who are available and might be interested in attending 8 bell practices bearing in mind these will be on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Once I have a list of names I will then pick a date for the first practice and circulate all on the list to see who is available and if there are enough to make it worthwhile.

Please therefore let me know if you would like to take part and include anyone in your tower who would like to take part but is not included in my contact list.

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 South Oxon Branch AGM was held on the 26th April 1986 at Drayton St Leonard. Dorchester received a grant of £2,250 for work on their bells. The branch was encouraged, yet again, to participate in the monthly Stedman and Double Norwich practices at Benson. The officers elected were: Roy Fuller (Chairman), Stan Day (Ringing Master), Doreen Stoneham (Vice Chairman), Fred Keen (Deputy Ringing Master), Cyril Lawrence (Secretary/Treasurer), Roy Fuller (Branch Rep).


Aston Rowant         by Robert Newton

The bells have been rung regularly for services and practice throughout the festive period, even when the roads were decidedly ‘dicey’. We have made good use of the hand bells (for ringing carols) as well.

Two quarter peals were rung towards the end of the year. One was Guy’s first quarter (on the tenor) and the other was Wendy’s first (on the treble). Both of them rang very well, particularly in view of their lack of experience. It was satisfying to associate the second quarter with the Royal engagement and we are hoping to match it (at least) when the wedding day arrives.

As always, we are indebted to our regular visitors for their support. New faces are welcome at our practice - 7:30 on Tuesdays – and we’re really quite friendly.

Benson Tower       by John Tchighianoff

Looking back to my report for the October Newsletter I am reminded that at the time we were having difficulties with the clock chimes. I am pleased to say that this has now been sorted and the quarters and hours can be heard properly.

The final work in connection with the restoration of the bells has now been completed. Many visitors to the church have admired the restored oak door to the entrance of the tower. The old door and frame were in a very poor condition and had deteriorated even more whilst the work was going on in the tower. The door and frame are in oak using the original ironwork.

Sadly we seem to have lost our three young learners – at least for the time being – as they have found it difficult to fit ringing in with their other commitments since moving up to secondary school. Also we very much miss Alf who has been off ringing for a few months following a bad attack of asthma. We hope he will soon return to full health and be joining us again.

We are fortunate that we still manage to ring all eight bells most Sundays. We also rang for the Christmas services and eight of us rang in the New Year with much celebration both before and after ringing!

Chalgrove      by Andrew Davis

After 500 man hours of work in the Tower and assisting White's, our bells are back in action having been re-hung. Details of all the work carried out are on the branch website.

The Bells were re-dedicated by the Bishop of Dorchester on Sunday 23rd January in front of a packed congregation including many Guild members and locals who had so generously donated their time and money to the project.

The highlight of the service for me as Steeple Keeper was when Brian (Tower captain) and I were called to the front of the Church to be presented with a Gold Tower Maintenance Award from the Guild. This was the "icing on the cake" after all of the hard work over the last few months.

 We are now ringing every Wednesday from 7.30pm and are often joined by Gordon and Ray. It is a challenge to get the team to ring faster, our bells no longer plod along like they used to!

 Lauren is now able to ring the Treble to Grandsire and Plain Bob. The rest of the team are now ringing Plain Hunt and learning on different bells as well. On a Sunday we have at least 8 ringers available every week, this is a great help as we can now ring something other than call changes.

 If anyone is considering re-hanging their bells, We have fundraising details, Risk Assessments / Method Statements and a PowerPoint presentation (sent to the DAC for approval) available. It's hard work but really rewarding. Our community were incredibly generous; many comments were made about how much the bells were missed. We had to tactfully explain to one Lady that the Village clock wasn't striking because the bell was at White’s; she gave us a donation to aid its return!


Judy Kidman, Jeanette Barrington, Wendy Simon, Brian Gray, Andrew Davis, (Conductor), Mark Wasmuth

The first quarter peal rung by members of the Parish following the re-hanging and rededication of the bells at St Mary’s Chalgrove.

Dorchester        by David Parker

Last September I wrote about our young people who started to learn to ring at the end of the summer holidays. After their initial course on four consecutive days, they continued to have tuition once a week for half an hour before our main practice. They have been full of enthusiasm, and six have been coming regularly. Three of them – Joshua (16), Veronica (14) and Christian (12) – are from the Paul family, Isabel (12) is Jane’s daughter, Joshua (12) is Nick’s son and Andrew (14) is the son of our PCC secretary. John, Aileen, Gillian and I have been teaching them and it has been a most enjoyable experience for us, in spite of the temperature having been near zero for most of the practices! We set them a target to ring for their first service on Christmas Eve, before the crib service. Their parents, several of whom had not seen bell ringing before, were invited to come along and watch. They were obviously delighted, and it was a really happy occasion, with lots of clapping and photographs. The striking was not perfect all the time, but nobody minded, the important thing being that they had rung for a service, a service furthermore to which 250 people came!

While introducing these youngsters to ringing, our established ringers have been practising regularly and slowly improving so that sometimes our Grandsire Triples, or touches of Bob Doubles, or plain courses of Grandsire or Stedman Doubles are a delight to ring. So thank you Klaas, Chris Hill, Frank, Alan, Nick, Cyd and our friends from Benson for all your support and hard work. Thanks again to Chris for winding the clock every week for the last eight years, and to Klaas for deputising when Chris is away. Thank you, Gillian, for getting our teams together for weddings and for supervising visitors, and thank you Alan for being a perfect treasurer.  

Drayton St Leonard               by Hilarie Rogers

The bells have become easier to ring during the autumn and winter, and we have resumed ringing on all 6 on practice nights. Over the summer, they were easier to handle when only the back 5 were used, due to the way they swing.  Some Sundays we have been short of ringers, and have not managed to ring all of them, but we coped well with the additional ringing over the Christmas period, and Linda rang for her first service on Christmas Eve! Niall started to learn in the early summer, but has been ringing at Gt Haseley as the bells there are easier than ours for a nine year old to handle.

During the summer, we were visited by a reporter from Radio Cherwell (the hospital radio) and for the Talking Books for the Blind, and I was interviewed for a broadcast. Much of the ringing on our practice night was recorded (mistakes and all!!), and we look forward to hearing how we sound.

As many of you know, our best news came in October, when we represented the branch in the final of the Guild 6 bell competition. The band was Amy Herlihy, John White, Hilarie, Christopher, Charlotte and Daniel Rogers. During late August and September, we arranged some practices at different towers in preparation for the final which was held at St Mary, Cowley (not too far for us to travel). On the day we rang extremely well, and were somewhat surprised to be placed first with 90%, ahead of teams from Reading, High Wycombe, Oxford, Wokingham, and Shrivenham, to name but a few. It is the first time since 1965 that a team from this area (Warborough) has won a Guild competition!

Great Haseley               by Hilarie Rogers

Despite having no local ringers, practices continue on Mondays with regulars from Benson, Shabbington, Little Milton, Aston Rowant and Drayton St Leonard! I am trying to spend the first half of the practice ringing rounds and call changes for those who need that, finishing off with method ringing for the others. We have added St Simon’s to our repertoire, and have also rung Reverse Canterbury for a bit of a change. When there are enough of us, Bob Minor is on the menu – and when we are few, we explore some Minimus methods.

We rang a quarter over the Christmas period; and the bells have also been used roughly once a month for quarters of Surprise Minor with visiting ringers. Work in the tower has continued through the winter – more of the frame has been painted and work has begun on the headstocks. John and I spent two very dusty Saturdays removing the redundant clock weight casing (and enough twigs and debris to house a whole murder of crows!) from the corner of the belfry, revealing more frame to treat and paint……

Little Milton                     by Jane Willis

Our practices continue to be well attended.  We have just about fulfilled the targets we set ourselves in January 2010 – and have managed to ring a plain course of Grandsire.  Just one plain course you understand!

We are pleased to welcome Gordon Smith as a permanent fixture in our tower – he has been a big help to us over the last months and now officially belongs to us!  He is looking forward to fulfilling the requirements of his new job as Steeple Keeper.

We rang regularly over the festive season, for our Christingle Service, Lessons and Carols, Crib Service – and four of our ringers helped out at Great Haseley for the Christmas Eve midnight service.

Thanks as always are due to Chris Rodgers for his amazing patience and support.  We will try not to let you down in 2011 Chris!

Great Milton                     by Pat Cox

The heavy snow and bouts of 'flu rather curtailed the GM activities before Christmas. The Carol Concert is a major event in the Festive calendar, and sadly had to be cancelled due to the weather.

Otherwise, we have practised regularly - our 2 new recruits are steaming ahead and enjoying their ringing. We all celebrated at our Christmas supper - most enjoyable!

We started 2011 by ringing for a New Year Day wedding - and are looking forward to a full year of bells - both serious and social!

It is our New Year resolution to improve and enjoy! Happy New Year to everyone from the GMB.

Shabbington                      by Ann Mayou

The good news is that the improvements, started in October, to the vestry at the bottom of our tower are now nearly complete and we are able to ring the bells again.  Those of you who have rung at Shabbington in the past would not recognise the tower!  The damp has been dealt with with the digging of a ‘French drain’ outside, and inside the walls have been lined and plastered.  A toilet and kitchenette have been installed and it all looks immensely smart.  A new ringing floor has been inserted on a higher level and the bells are even easier to ring!  We have good lighting – and – a proper heater. We were able to ring joyfully on Christmas morning.

Our learners continue to make encouraging progress under the patient tutelage of Chris Rogers.  We are, as ever, indebted to him, and to Dan who is a welcome visitor in his university vacations.

Warborough                          by Sue Dyke

October started with a visiting band of ringers from Somerset who were staying at The Shillingford Bridge Hotel.

Later in the month a quarter peal of 1260 Stedman Triples was rung to celebrate 50 years since my election to the ODG on 22nd October 1960. Both my younger brother Roger and I started ringing at Warborough in July 1960 where my elder brother Andrew, had been ringing for a couple of years under the instruction of the Tower Captain Frank Absolom.  I was pleased that my brothers were able to join me and my other ‘old’ friends on this special occasion as Rog and Andrew now ring in North Wales and Wiltshire respectively. After the Quarter Peal Hilarie Rogers, Hon Secretary of the ODG, presented me with a Testimonial Certificate from the ODG in recognition of my 50 years membership of the Guild.

Brian Gray, Kay Bartholomew, John Tchighianoff, Andrew Howes,
Robert Partridge, Sue Dyke, Roger Howes, Hilarie Rogers.

My two young learners, Kieran & Kate, and I went on the Autumn Branch outing to Cuddington & Haddenham which was very much enjoyed by all. It was the first time Kate had rung on bells other than Warborough and she coped extremely well.

We have had a couple of weddings to ring for in October and December which is always enjoyable.  A visiting band rang a Peal of Superlative in November.

Otherwise things tick along in Warborough as usual, although we were unable to ring over Christmas due to the bad weather.

South Oxon Branch

Branch Events 2011



Chairman:                                         Brian Gray (Chalgrove)

Vice Chairman                                    Andrew Davis (Chalgrove)

Secretary                                           Amy Herlihy (Drayton St Leonard)

Treasurer                                          Maureen Bosely (Benson)

Ringing Master/Training Officer:      Hilarie Rogers (Drayton St Leonard)

Deputy Ringing Master                      John Tchighianoff (Benson)

Branch Representative                      John Tchighianoff (Benson)

Branch Representative                      John White (Drayton St Leonard)

Newsletter Editor                              Raymond Fergusson (Little Milton)

Web Master                                       Graham Griffiths (Great Milton)

Holloway Shield                                  Andrew Davis (Chalgrove)

100 Club                                           Sue Dyke (Warborough)