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 which will be followed by the Annual Meeting which will start at 5:15 p.m.  Please inform Brian Gray on 01865 890339 if you would like a tea by 22nd February 2012.


History of the Bells

The six bells at St .Mary's are hung in a beautifully crafted oak frame and were last re-hung in 1888. Further minor works were carried out in the 1970s, but the bells had become increasingly difficult to ring and thus limiting. Old age creates difficulties! As can be seen from the table below, three of the bells date from 1664, two from 1729 (Listed because of their historical importance), and the smallest from 1888. The largest, the tenor, is the one that strikes the hour. There is a little additional "Ting Tang" (Sanctus) bell, the earliest, which dates from 1652 which can be rung before services. New headstocks and clappers would enable more people, and particularly the young of this village, to ring.

A plan was put together for the refurbishment of the bells and an appeal made to the people of Chalgrove, who responded magnificently so that the complete sum required was raised in a very short time. When all permissions and advice had been received, the bells were taken down in July, refurbished and then replaced in November

We currently have a team of 14 ringers and are about to increase by three more.

A more detailed account of the re-dedication service can be found on the following website that includes the history of the famous wall paintings that are in the church.

St Mary's Church, Chalgrove, Oxfordshire




Weight (cwt)

Ting Tang




The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

1664 Recast 1888



Praise to the Lord




Hope in God




Fear the Lord




Robert Hall and William Gray Churchwardens




I to the Church the living call and to the grave do summon all



Treasurer’s Report




Brought Forward


100 Club

Interest (Gross)

Total Income









Guild Subscriptions

Guild Bell Fund

Bell Restoration Fund

100 Club prizes

Newsletter Printing


Tower Fees (Outings etc)

Judges Honoraria

Total Expenses

Balance Carried forward














AS AT 31st DECEMBER 2011

Balance brought forward 1.1.2010



Balance carried forward 31.12.2010

Current Account Balance

Deposit Account Balance











Prepared by  Maureen Bosley  Audited by F D Norman

Date  8th January 2012 Date 12th January 2012

The Branch had 145 members in 2011 of whom 5 are Honorary members. The subscription remained at £6 for the year and the number of subscriptions in 2011 was 140 (plus the 5 honorary members).

76 members supported the 100 club in 2011 and £190 each was raised for ODGCB Bell fund and the Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund.

The Branch income for the year 2011 was £1601.14 whilst the expenditure for the year 2011 was £1485.22, giving a surplus of £115.92 for the year.

In accordance with the resolution passed at the 2010 AGM, tower fees for Branch outings and practices outside the Branch, were paid out of Branch funds.

On behalf of the branch, I extend my thanks once again to Sue Dyke for running the 100 Club and to Frank Norman for auditing the accounts. Their help and support is greatly appreciated.

Secretary’s Report  by Amy Herlihy

This autumn/winter has seen our first Tower Twinning exchanges. This is the activity we are undertaking as a branch instead of the Holloway Shield. Each set of paired towers get together for a practice night at each tower, providing a chance to ring at a different tower and to socialize! The first pairings, from mid-October to end December 2011 were: Chalgrove and Little Milton, Aston Rowant and Benson, Shabbington and Drayton St Leonard. From January to March 2012 the pairings are: Aston Rowant and Lt Milton, Drayton St Leonard and Benson, Shabbington and Chalgrove.

On Saturday 19th November a band from Drayton St Leonard, representing Oxfordshire County, participated in the Four Shires competition which was held in Cherington in Warwickshire. In this six bell competition the “set piece” includes ringing up and ringing down.  By some turn of fate, Drayton St Leonard won the competition (!) and has benefitted tremendously for all the practice of ringing up and down.

I’d like to thank Sue Dyke for organizing the December Branch Practice at Warborough. The mince pies were a lovely treat!


If you want to nominate a new member, please give Amy Herlihy the names of the ringers 2 weeks prior to the AGM.


Should you wish to nominate a branch member for Distinguished Membership please contact the branch secretary. This award is given to a member of at least 30 years who is considered to have given meritorious service to the Guild or Branch.  Details can be found here:

25 Years Ago

The AGM was held in Benson on the 25th April 1987.  The minutes document discussion about Miss Cross offering to run a ringing up and down course.  It appears this course was not run.  This was also the meeting when Roy Fuller stepped down as chairman and Eric Harmsworth was elected. The accounts show that 20 badges were purchased by the branch. Subs were £2.85 and there were 98 paying members.

Branch Representatives Report  by John Tchighianoff/John White

The following matters were discussed at the Guild AGM and at General Committee meetings during 2011 and have been reported in more detail to the branch during the year:

Guild Officers

Robert Newton was re-elected as Guild Master, Alan Marchbank as Deputy Master and Hilarie Rogers as Hon. General Secretary. Brian Gatward stood down as Treasurer after many years and was replaced by Stuart Gibson with Susan Read as Assistant Treasurer. There still remains a vacancy for the post of Public Relations Officer.


The Guild remains financially sound. It was agreed to donate from the General Fund £500 each to the Bell Fund and the Restoration Fund. £600 was donated to the North Bucks branch for help with their recruitment and training project and £100 was donated to the Ringing World. Subscriptions remain at £6


We are advised to record all maintenance that we carry out on our bells in the church log book as it would be important to have this record in the event of any insurance claims. Due to the high value of metals there has been an increase in theft of bells and there is a particular risk if they are left in the church whilst work is carried out in the belfry.

Ringing World Centenary

The Guild entered a youth band in the Ringing World National Youth Striking Competition during the centenary celebrations. Although not overall winners the ODG team were judged first of those who rang a method. This is to become an annual event.

Special Ringing 2012

There are several opportunities in 2012 for celebratory ringing:

Monday 23rd April St George’s Day. We are asked to ring at 6.00pm

Sponsored Ringing for the ODG Bell Fund 25th February – 3rd March

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We are asked to ring on Tuesday 5th June to coincide with the end of a special service at St Paul’s. We may also like to ring in support of our own village celebrations.

Olympics. We are encouraged to ring when the Olympic torch passes through our area on or around Tuesday 10th July and for the opening of the games on Friday 27th July.

From the Ringing Master by Hilarie Rogers

During 2011 we didn’t run any specific courses/sessions for people, as much of our training was undertaken as part of the regular practices which included

Branch Practices took place most months, and there were two 8-bell practices hosted by Benson tower to which others were invited.

I have observed that most people gain experience by attending practices at other towers, and they seem to feel most comfortable when the ringing is just challenging enough for them and not too advanced. So if you want more experience, do seek out a tower where you feel comfortable. The Tower Twinning exercise is giving many people the chance to go to towers they might not have visited otherwise, and has been very popular and enjoyable. If your tower is not taking part, do consider it – 3 times a year you will be asked to invite another tower to your practice night and respond to an invitation from them.

Do ask if there is anything we can help you with, or if you would like a concentrated session on something particular

Sponsored Ringing for Bell Fund: every leap year we are invited to do some sponsored ringing for the Guild Bell Fund, this year it is from 25th February to 3rd March inclusive. This is sponsorship of any pieces of ringing including touches or sessions of rounds and call-changes, quarter peals and even peals. A copy of the Sponsorship form which is to be used for each piece of ringing can be obtained from Amy or from Hilarie.  The form includes the necessary wording for the recovery of tax under the Gift Aid Scheme. Please return completed forms and monies to the Bell Fund Hon Treasurer, Mr Brian Gatward as soon as possible after the event so that the Guild may identify the Branch which has generated the greatest amount of sponsorship and recognise their efforts.

As in previous leap years, we will be arranging one or more branch quarter peals for which we invite sponsorship, so if you are not planning to do any sponsored ringing in your own tower please use the form to sponsor the branch ringing which is planned for Sunday 26th February. Please let Hilarie Rogers ( know if you are able to get sponsors for this, and she will let you know the details for the top of the form.

Jubilee, Olympics and St George's Day:  There are more opportunities to ring this year, and we are being encouraged to ring for any local events in connection with the Jubilee (main weekend of celebrations 2nd - 5th June) and the Olympics. For the Jubilee, it has been suggested that we may wish to ring to coincide with the end of the national service at St Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday 5th June. For the Olympics, you may wish to ring for the procession of the Olympic Torch as it passes through the Guild on 9th and 10th July - or for the opening ceremony on 27th July, not necessarily at 8am but at a time to suit. Try looking at And once again we have been encouraged to ring at 6pm on St George's Day (23rd April), or at a time to suit.

100 Club  Sue Dyke 100 Club Co-ordinator

Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers

South Oxon Branch 100 Club 2011







1st Prizes 12x £21

2nd Prizes 12x £10

3rd Christmas Prize

Total Prizes

Transfers to

ODGCBR Restoration Fund

Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund









The membership of 76 was the same as in 2010. We were able 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:














1st Prize £21

Gordon Smith

Warborough Tower

Maureen Bosley

Mary Kirkness

Paul Smith

Mary Kirkness

Allan Smith

Anne Thomson

Maureen Bosley

Andrew Davis

Sue Dyke

Beverley O’Connor

2nd Prize £10

Gt Milton Tower

M Wasmuth

Dorchester Tower

M Wasmuth

Dorchester Tower

Sue Dyke

Andrew Davis

Rosalie Gibson

Maureen Bosley

M & R Jewson

Clair Armit

Chris Webb

3rd Prize £8

John White
















Aston Rowant by Robert Newton

There is not very much to report this time. Service ringing and practices continue to be well supported and we are delighted to have taken on yet another recruit.

Following some months of building work, our new annexe will be fully operational by the time you read this. I’m sure we will find the new facilities to be most convenient.

We would like to thank Benson for their kind ‘twinning’ hospitality just before Christmas. For some of our band, it was their first experience of ringing on eight.

It was good to be able to join in the celebration of Kay and John Bartholomew’s Ruby wedding by ringing a quarter peal of Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles on 15th November. Congratulations to you both!

Benson Tower by John Tchighianoff

Our Wednesday practices continue to be well supported and we are usually able to ring touches of Plain Bob or Grandsire Triples in addition to a variety of Doubles methods.

Congratulations to James who recently rang his first quarter of Stedman Triples (at Shiplake) and to Maureen who rang her first quarter of triples inside (Plain Bob at Benson

Congratulations also to Alf and Betty Cooper who celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in December. Many of us attended the very moving service in St Helen’s when they renewed their wedding vows. Following the service we rang the bells and then joined a large party of family and friends to celebrate at the Waterfront.

We have enjoyed the first round of Tower Twinning. Both Home and Away were well supported and enjoyable evenings and we are looking forward to continuing with this in the following rounds.

Our Bell Fund is growing quite well, mainly due to a large number of weddings in 2011. So far there are only a couple planned for this year but perhaps there will be more to come. On the other hand this year is clearly going to be busy with ringing for special events and we are looking forward to ringing on St George’s Day, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and for the Olympics.

We continue to receive very favourable comments from people in the village and it is clear that many people really enjoy the sound of church bells. Perhaps this is especially so during these worrying times in the economy and when so many of our near neighbours at RAF Benson are involved in the conflict in Afghanistan.

Chalgrove by Andrew Davis

At Chalgrove we have recently welcomed Mary and Geoff who have moved into the village. The knowledge and experience they have brought with them will be a great asset to the team. Our newer ringers can now move on from Plain Hunt to Grandsire and Plain Bob having a strong band around them. Practices are now very busy with often over a dozen attending each Wednesday. We are grateful to Gordon who rings with us regularly and Ray who joins us when he can and of course Wendy. Their help makes all the difference as we can push the team forward; we have been able to ring Stedman and our old favourite St Simons.

Over Christmas we managed to ring for all of the services at St. Mary's Chalgrove and St. Helen's Berrick Salome, this often meant members of the team jumping into a car straight after a service for a quick dash down the road.

We are twinning with other towers which gives us the opportunity to get to know other ringers and share practice nights thus gaining experience ringing different bells. We hope to continue with this initiative throughout the summer as it is also a chance to enjoy the social aspect of bell ringing.

Dorchester by David Parker

Call changes have been popular in our tower lately, not only because everyone, including our novices, can take part, but also because we like to have good striking.  The striking is usually very good, and our young novices Isabel, Joshua Paul, Veronica, Christian and Joshua Forman are to be congratulated on making such good progress.  They now ring on Sundays, as often as not taking part in the Devon call changes.  Thanks to Nick and Aileen who have become quite expert at calling these changes.

However, we have not given up change ringing!  We work away at ‘method’ at our Tuesday practices.  We are enormously grateful to Maureen and Annette for coming frequently from Benson – their presence and experience enables us to ring plain hunt and Bob Doubles, and sometimes Triples.  Joshua Paul’s Bob Doubles are now secure, and given a little shove he could manage bobs.  The same applies to Jane!  Veronica and Isabel have picked up Plain Hunt easily and could move on to Bob Doubles.  Joshua Forman (our youngest ringer) has improved his handling in leaps and bounds and will soon be secure in call changes, like Christian.

All this progress by our juniors would not have been possible without the patient attendance and steady ringing of our seniors who have not complained about having less time practising the more difficult methods.  Do they like call changes because they do not have to think too hard?!

John has been a tower of strength in teaching the young, right up until a few days before he went into hospital for a hip replacement – from which he is making a splendid recovery.  Frank and Alan are getting stiff in some of their joints but they are not letting that stop them ringing.  Also, thanks to Alan for acting as treasurer.  Gillian has been most efficient as secretary, and she rings rather well too!  Chris has often been missed – he has a lot to do as vice chairman of the Parish Council – but he manages to wind the church clock every week.  Aileen also climbs the tower, but to fly the flag whenever required and whatever the weather.  Sadly, we may not see so much of her in future as she is moving from Dorchester.  She will be hugely missed, as indeed will be Klaas who is soon going back to Holland.  I shall miss his help on repairing stays and putting on muffles, and we shall miss welcoming his visitors from Holland – they all love climbing the spiral staircase to the belfry to see the bells before coming down to watch us ring.

Drayton St Leonard by Hilarie Rogers

We have resumed ringing all 6 bells over the winter, and have shut ourselves in the tower on particularly cold evenings which makes for quite a cosy evening if we are all there! We entertained Shabbington ringers as part of the Tower Twinning, and once the fear had diminished I believe they enjoyed themselves! The mince pies they brought were very welcome. Our return visit to Shabbington put the boot on the other foot, and an enjoyable evening was had by all. We enjoyed ringing for several services over Christmas, mustering 14 ringers for the Carol Service!

We rang as planned in the Guild 6-bell final in October, finishing 6th equal. We were however surprised to be invited to represent Oxfordshire in the Four Shires competition in November as a result of our placing. We duly travelled to Warwickshire where we competed against one team from each of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. Despite the competition including ringing up and down as well as a method, we came out winners largely due to one team having a momentary problem with one of the bells.

Over the New Year weekend, John moved the ropes around so that they better matched the bells they were on; and I hoovered up the piles of flies in the tower and clock room! Could become a habit….

Great Haseley by Hilarie Rogers

Monday night practices have continued – James has joined us when he can, and we have rung some interesting methods (Antelope) as well as the more usual. We also ring minor when enough of us are there.

The Long Crendon ringers rang a peal in September, which was very pleasant to listen to. There is also a group which rings quarters of Surprise Minor most months; and some local quarters have been rung, including first Stedman Doubles for James and Maureen; and a 1290 of Grandsire Doubles for the 90th birthday of Ron Rogers, Christopher’s father and Daniel’s grandfather. I called it and had to call a 210 at the beginning to make the 1290.

Much work has taken place in the belfry.  At the end of the summer, a temporary platform was constructed across the top of the frame in front of the east window, from which work began to replace some stones and repoint the wall. This proved to be very time consuming!  During September, we gathered materials in readiness for replacing the wire mesh and constructing new sound control boarding on the first of the window openings. This included waiting outside the church for a wood delivery that was timed between 7am and 1pm!! Guess who had the early slot…

The next stage was constructing and installing the framework for the new boarding, and coaxing some large pieces of thick plywood up to the belfry. This was made less pleasant by the presence of hundreds of tiny flies up there which were noisy and annoying. We then spent part of our November holiday removing the old chicken wire and boarding from one of the windows – waking up hundreds more tiny flies in the process, which made the job a bit less attractive! New mesh was fitted to this window, and the lower part of the new boarding. We have since cut and fitted the hopper-style upper boarding and are nearly finished the first window. We are, however, at the stage where dropping items (e.g. the screwdriver) behind the not-yet-complete boarding is all too easy, and retrieval is challenging! I now have a strong magnet.

We have also had the old wiring removed from the ringing chamber and two additional lights fitted. It has made such a difference – and prompted me to hoover the walls from floor to ceiling to get rid of the cobwebs!

Little Milton by Jane Willis

Interestingly, we have managed to hold two annual general meetings within the space of one year!  The second meeting took place a week before Christmas in the Lamb at Little Milton.  – a well attended evening of fun and frivolity!

As is our tradition, awards were presented.  We were delighted to award our newest ringer, John Hughes D’Aeth with the infamous “most improved bell ringer” hat.  He looked very fetching in his brown bobble hat, adorned with two large gold bells worn for the remainder of the evening.  We all congratulated him on the great improvements he has made since joining us.

A new certificate was awarded this year – to our International Envoy, Hil Pennick.  Our first ringer to venture abroad to have a go on foreign soil.  Hil joined the D’Aeths on a snowy New York evening to ring the bells at Trinity Church on Wall Street.   Twelve bells – so a first in that respect too.

As always, an award was made to Chris Rogers for his outstanding loyalty and patience to us lesser mortals in the bell ringing world.  Chris is unfailingly calm and encouraging and we would be lost without him.

After awarding gold medals to all present – (in advance of our ringing for the opening of the Olympics) Raymond was presented with two metre high parcels – sufficient Jaffa cakes to last him for at least the month of January!

We were pleased to welcome ringers to our tower from Chalgrove – as part of the new twinning arrangements.  Our ringers enjoyed a return visit to Chalgrove – and were surprised at how heavy their bells are.  Our next foray will be to Aston Rowant – with feelings of great trepidation.  I for one am relieved to hear that they have recently installed rope guides – having heard lots of scary stories about a ground floor ring and long, long ropes not easily controlled by the inexperienced!

Practices continue regularly on Tuesday evenings and we have been pleased to welcome Caroline from Shabbington, who joins us most weeks.  Our ringers were busy over the Christmas period – ringing for the Christingle, the carol service, and Christmas morning.  We even managed to turn out on New Year’s Day – complete with headaches and hangovers - to ring in the New Year.  Albeit 12 hours late – a noon ring!

Great Milton  by Pat Cox

We have had an interesting Winter so far - including ringing for Ron Roger's birthday (he is the Church organist), and of course attending the Bell ringers Christmas supper.

During the year we rang for 16 weddings, which called for lots of willing ringers and lots of detailed organisation! There were also 7 bands of visiting ringers including one full peal.

Each week we meet to practise, apart from the evening when all the electricity was lost in Great Milton for hours.

Our current band was formed in 1994, and we are still all together plus others, so our captain is right to feel pleased - long may it continue!

Thame by Rosalie Gibson

We had a very busy Christmas, but managed to field a full home band for all services. Christmas Eve we rang at 2.30.p.m. and 4.30.p.m. for Christingle services and again at 10.30.p.m for Midnight Communion. The next morning we were ringing again at 7.30.a.m. and then at 9.30.a.m. each time for half an hour.

During 2011 we rang for 27 weddings and 2012 looks like being equally busy with weddings not only on Saturdays but some on Fridays and one on a Sunday.

On November 11th and again on Remembrance Sunday we rang the bells half muffled.

We continue to have a full band on Sundays and often extra’s, as well as good attendances, on the whole, on Practice nights. We have been fortunate of late having some visitors on practice nights, including Hugh Dean and John Witham regularly, which has helped us to progress a bit more . At a recent practice we managed to ring a Touch of Grandsire, Reverse Canterbury, Bob Doubles and Cloisters with the help of our Visitors. This was quite an achievement for us. In October four learners learnt to ring Plain Hunt minimus on ‘hand bells’ (not real ones of course) and at the end, each ringer was able to ring a plain course from each position.

New electric sockets and lighting have been installed in the Tower as a step towards us regaining our Gold Award. The current Silver one must know its days are numbered as it fell off the wall last week and smashed.

Gill started coming to practice nights regularly saying she was storing up tick marks for the Christmas party to be held at Rosalie’s house, to which all the ringers came.

The scaffolding mentioned in the last newsletter has finally been taken down so the entrance to the Tower is now much more approachable and we would welcome anyone who would like to join us, particularly on Monday evenings

Warborough  by Sue Dyke

Unfortunately the two youngsters, who were learning to ring last year, have fallen by the wayside and as our numbers have dwindled we have suspended our practices on Thursday evenings.   However, we are still able to muster sufficient ringers to ring 5 or 6 bells on Sundays.

We have welcomed 2 visiting bands of ringers to ring quarter peals and the Sonning Deanery Branch ringers on their outing.