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 Amy on 01865 400 864 or by Wednesday 20th February


Drayton St Leonard: History of the Bells

Little is known about the bells prior to 1884, but the inventory of church goods and possessions lists “3 belles yn the steple” on 28th day of July 1552. The oldest bell still bears the date 1470, and was cast by William Chaimberlain of the London foundry, and was probably hung in the church at that date. It is inscribed “Sancta Katerina Ora Pro Nobis” [Saint Catherine pray for us] and was the heaviest of the three, weighing just over 7cwt. It is not known when the other two in existence in 1552 were cast.

It is likely that the church continued with three bells up to 1884, although two of these early bells must have been either replaced or re-cast in the seventeenth century. The lighter of the two is now dated 1625, weighs around 4 cwt, and is inscribed “Our hope is in the Lorde.”  The remaining bell, also weighing around 4cwt, is inscribed “Benedic hereditati tuae” [Bless your inheritance] and dated 1603.  These two were cast by Ellis Knight I and Henry Knight I respectively.

By 1884 all three were reportedly cracked, and were sent away to the Mears and Stainbank Church Bell Foundry in Whitechapel.  The metal from them was recast to provide the present 4th, 5th and tenor bells.  At the same time, three new, lighter bells were cast to provide the treble, 2nd and 3rd of the new ring of six.  The treble, weighing just over 3cwt, is inscribed “Domine labia nostra aperias” [God, you open our lips]; the 2nd is inscribed “Os nostrum annuntiabit laudem tuam” [Our mouths will sing your praises] and weighs a little over 4cwt.  The 3rd, which is slightly heavier, is inscribed “Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine” [God, make your people safe].

The oak frame and gear to hold this new ring of six was made by Frederick White, of Appleton, Berkshire.  The total cost of the bells, with fittings and frame, was £253-11-9d, and was invoiced to H D Betteridge, churchwarden, who lived at Drayton House Farm.  The frame was slightly larger than the internal size of the tower and therefore had to rest on the west wall of the church. 

The tenor of this peal was apparently not heavy enough for it was recast again in 1885 at the expense of Mr Betteridge and the weight increased to over 7cwt.

As those of you who have rung here will testify, the bells are harder to ring during the summer months when the frame dries out. However they are going very well at present!

We have 10 regular ringers and one learner, and lately we have been joined by a couple of the new ringers from Marsh Baldon.

Treasurer’s Report

The Branch had 147 members in 2012 of whom 6 are honorary members. The subscription remained at £6 for the year and the number of subscriptions in 2012 was 141 (plus the 6 honorary members).




Brought Forward


100 Club


Total Income









Guild Subscriptions

Guild Bell Fund

Bell Restoration Fund

100 Club prizes

Newsletter Printing

Tower Fees

Judges Honoraria


Total Expenses

Balance Carried forward














Balance brought forward 1.1.2012



Balance carried forward 31.12.2012

Current Account Balance

Deposit Account Balance











Prepared by  Maureen Bosley            Audited by F D Norman

Date  13th January 2013  Date 18th January 2013

76 members supported the 100 club in 2012 and £190 each was raised for The Bell fund and the Restoration Fund.

The Branch income for the year 2012 was £1622.00 whilst the expenditure for the year 2012 was £1584.68, giving a small surplus of £37.32 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.

I welcome Margaret Coombe as our new 100 Club organizer and wish her a successful term of office.

Secretary’s Report                            by Amy Herlihy

At the Guild General Committee Meeting on Saturday the 24th November 2012, the ODG approved the transfer of Marsh Baldon Tower from the Oxford City Branch to the South Oxon Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild. Thanks goes to John White, Hilarie Rogers and the team of helpers for the on-going support in helping train the team every week.

Over the past six months the branch has had a few firsts – Hil Pennick from Little Milton and Margaret Coombe from Chalgrove both rang first quarters. Andrew David rang his first peal ringing at Chalgrove. He only reported two blisters! 

Tower twinning has continued. We still have six towers in the twinning groups. Comments are that the towers are really enjoying visiting each other – perhaps more for the social event!

At this AGM we welcome a new 100 Club organizer. Margaret Coombe from Chalgrove is taking over for Sue Dyke from Warborough. Sue has done an excellent job running the 100 Club for many years and definitely deserves congratulations for such a successful program!  (As a side note, Ray Fergusson has expressed an interest in relinquishing the reins of this newsletter at the end of 2013. Should you be interested in this job, please contact one of the branch officers!)

Once again the Drayton St Leonard tower represented Oxfordshire at the Four Shires competition in November. This year the towers representing their counties were: Tewkesbury Abbey, Drayton St Leonard, Ilmington, Pershore Abbey. Drayton St Leonard placed second (fractions of a point) after first place Tewksbury Abbey.

I’d like to thank Kay Tuckwell and the ringers at Ewelme for organizing the December Branch Practice at Ewelme. About a dozen people turned out for a good evening ringing and eating lovely cakes.

Election of New Members – Reminder

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

Distinguished Membership

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 Wheatley on the 23rd April 1988.  The minutes note that, instead of general ringing prior to the meeting, a six bell striking competition was held, with four towers participating. Aston Rowant was the winner. Some names to note: at this time Noel Bartlett was the branch representative, Cyril Lawrence was the Secretary/Treasurer and Jeanette Barrington was being elected as a new member!

Branch Representatives Report   by John Tchighianoff/John White

The following matters were discussed at the Guild AGM and at the two general committee meetings during 2012. These matters have been reported to the branch during the year.

Guild Officers

Robert Newton was re-elected as Guild Master at the AGM with Alan Marchbank as Deputy Master. Hilarie Rogers stood down as Hon. General Secretary and James Champion was elected in her place. Katie Lane was elected Children’s Officer. The position of Public Relations Officer remains vacant.


There is a certain amount of pressure on the General Fund which although it has sufficient reserves is predicted to be operating at a deficit over the coming year if the annual subscriptions remain unchanged. The cost of insurance has risen by the equivalent of about £1 per member. It was agreed to increase the subscriptions for 2013 by £2 to £8 per member. £5 is to be allocated to the Guild and £3 to the relevant Branch (previously £4 and £2 respectively)

Association of Ringing Teachers

An appeal has been received from the Ringing Foundation for a grant towards the cost of employing a paid administrator. It was proposed to donate £1000 subject to approval at the Guild AGM in May 2013

Guild Annual Report

It was agreed to allow advertisements (ringing and non-ringing subjects) in future Guild Reports

Bell Fund and Restoration Fund

The year-end accounts for both Funds are reported in the Guild Annual Report.

The Bell Fund, which is by far the larger fund, continues to offer grants for refurbishment of bells and frames. The Restoration Fund is much smaller and offers grants for augmentation of bells. This needs more support if it is to continue to offer grants at the same level as in the past. The General Fund donated £500 to each of these in 2012

Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman, South Africa

A committee has been formed to look into the possibility of the Guild supporting the installation of a ring of bells in the Cathedral of St Cyprian the Martyr. This is in the Diocese linked with the Diocese of Oxford and the project has the support of the Bishop of Oxford

Marsh Baldon

Marsh Baldon tower has been transferred from City Branch to South Oxon Branch

From the Ringing Master                    by Hilarie Rogers

During 2012 we ran one Grandsire Doubles session for a couple of ringers who weren’t able to make the weekday practices. We also arranged a couple of quarter peals to follow up the regular practice sessions (one of Plain Bob Doubles and one of Cambridge Minor). As last year, much of our training was undertaken as part of the regular practices which included

Monthly afternoon Doubles practice alternating between Grandsire and Plain Bob

Branch Practices took place most months, including a more advanced practice at St Thomas’, Oxford, which gave the opportunity to ring on 10.

The Tower Twinning has proved popular and enjoyable and it would be lovely if other towers would consider joining in - 3 times a year you will be asked to invite another tower to your practice night and respond to an invitation from them.

Both John White and I should have attended the annual meeting for Training Officers across the guild by the time you read this – I have been invited to lead a session on starting a new band from scratch, and will draw on our experiences of teaching the band at Marsh Baldon to start off the discussions. The new Tower Captain, Catherine Mason, is coming with me.

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

100 Club          Sue Dyke 100 Club Co-ordinator

Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers

South Oxon Branch 100 Club 2012







1st Prizes 12x £21

2nd Prizes  12x £10

3rd Christmas Prize

Total Prizes

Transfers to

ODGCBR Restoration Fund

Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund










The membership has remained static at 76. 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

Anna Herlihy

Alf Cooper

Judy Kidman

Clare Armit

Warborough Tower

Alan Harwood

Brian Gray

Anne Thomson

Maureen Bosley

Arthur White

Anne Thomson

Dorchester Tower

2nd Prize £10

Moyra Hollick

Daniel Rogers

Michael Smedley

Warborough Tower

Robert Newton

Clive Bosley

Anita Gibson

Wendy Simon

Richard Parker

Linda Blandsjaar

Mike Francis

Alf Cooper

3rd Prize £8

Wendy Hawkins
















The Branch 100 Club was started in 2003 and since that time has raised a total of £3277, split between the ODG Restoration Fund and Bell Fund.  I should like to thank everyone for supporting the 100 Club during this time and I am grateful to Margaret Coombes of Chalgrove for ‘volunteering’ to carry on the Club


Aston Rowant         by Robert Newton

There is not very much tower news to report for this edition.

Our October half-day outing to north Oxfordshire duly took place, although we did not visit the towers originally planned. Another group, apparently with an identical draft itinerary, held an outing in the area on the same day. For some, Bodicote was their first experience of ringing on more than six bells. An ample and delicious lunch in Hook Norton was a highlight for all.

We enjoyed our ‘twinning’ practices with Shabbington and look forward to ringing home and away with Chalgrove very soon.

Attendance over the Christmas season was good, despite the absence of two of our stalwarts – Shirley and Paul. Now Wendy is having an enforced break following hip surgery in January. We wish them all well and hope they will be back ringing again very soon.

The handbell group had two ‘bookings’ on the same afternoon: the Chinnor Christmas Tree Festival, where we rang for about half an hour, and the Aston Rowant village Carol Service at which ‘Jingle Bells’ was omitted from our earlier repertoire! Both performances were well received.

Benson Tower       by John Tchighianoff

After all the excitement last summer with so many opportunities for special ringing, the last few months have been fairly quiet and routine.

It is pleasing that we usually manage to ring all eight bells on Sunday mornings often with more than eight ringers available. Our two young learners are continuing to make good progress.

We were saddened to hear of the death of Roy Fuller on 2nd January at the grand age of 90. Roy and Betty moved to Benson in 1977 and soon became a regular and committed member of our band. Initially they lived in RAF Benson but soon moved to a caravan on a plot of land they had bought in Preston Crowmarsh whilst their house was being built.

Roy was a very active and loyal member of the tower and he and Betty took part in many social events with the ringers. They worshipped at the RAF Chapel but also attended many services at St Helen’s as well as taking part in church events. For a time Roy was Chairman of our Branch of the Guild.

Roy was a great organiser and arranged many bell ringing coach outings where he always managed to fill the coach by persuading non-ringers to make up the numbers. He also organised ringing weekends where we stayed in caravans on a farm near Chipstable in Somerset. These were always great fun and very popular. This was due not only to the well organised visits to towers but also to the social side in the evenings when we would gather in the farm barn for a meal which all had helped to prepare.

The Benson bell ringers had two old sets of handbells and Roy was instrumental in the decision to sell these and buy a new set from Whitechapel Bell Foundry. He then set about teaching us how to ring tunes four in hand.

Roy and Betty moved to Hailsham in about 1989 and they were greatly missed. However they kept in touch and when Betty died some of her ashes were scattered in the river near where they had lived - an indication of how fond they were of their time in this area. More recently it was pleasing that Roy was well enough to come with his family to the service in St Helen’s Church in November 2009 when the Bishop of Dorchester re-dedicated the bells following their recent re-hang.

A Quarter Peal of Plain Bob Triples was rung in Benson on Sunday 20th January in thanksgiving for his life. The band was made up of those who had known him and members of our tower.

Berrick Salome             by Wendy Simon

We have just come to life again after a dearth of ringers over the last couple of years.   Four ladies in the village have asked that they be taught to ring, and we are running a Monday afternoon practice each week.    Geoffrey and Mary Riglar from Chalgrove have offered to come over and teach them.   Geoffrey is a very able teacher, and we are making good progress.   A visit has been made to Chalgrove for a visit to the belfry and an explanation on the workings of a bell.   It is, of course, the worst time of year to learn particularly in a church that is situated in the middle of a field – very cold and dank.   Given that we are making good progress at the worst time of year, we hope for accelerated performances during the spring and summer!

A big thank you to the Riglars, and to the Chalgrove ringers, who have been very positive and helpful as ever

Chalgrove           by Andrew Davis

Ringing has continued to progress steadily at Chalgrove. Practice nights are very busy, Plain hunting has now become Bob Doubles. We have been ringing a fair amount of Minor, Little Bob and Kent being the favourites. Brian is keen for us to try St. Clements Minor, which takes me back to practices with Stan Day at Benson.

It has been a pleasure to welcome new teams to our tower, with fairly easy access to the bells; it has been an ideal place to show the new ringers from Marsh Baldon and Berrick Salome what happens at the other end of the rope. If anyone else hasn’t seen how a bell swings let me know, it is a chance for me to show off our Gold standard tower.

Have I mentioned we were awarded Gold again in the Guild Tower Maintenance Award scheme? This is well worth participating in as it is a chance to review any issues that have arisen with the bells.

We have rung a couple of quarters for special services, as already reported Margaret rang her first quarter for the Remembrance service. A couple of weeks later a quarter of Bob Minor was rung for the Advent service. I hadn’t realised that this would be the practice I needed for the 22nd December, after nearly 35 years as a bell ringer and three hours three minutes I completed my first Peal! Thank you to the Haseldine’s for arranging this. I might one day be tempted to ring another...

We continue twinning with other towers, as well as ringing it has been a nice way to meet and socialise with other people. Having close ties with Little Milton we are still to try a morning mini outing followed by a pub lunch sometime in the spring.

Finally, we are very sorry to lose Chrissie who has moved to Wallingford, she has met and been welcomed into the team there. Since beginning with us, not long after we moved upstairs, Chrissie has been a loyal member of our team a regular Sunday ringer and member of St Mary’s Church community. We all wish her well and hope she will join us occasionally in the future.

Chinnor      by Moyra Hollick

Practice nights have continued in Chinnor whatever the weather.  We rang for the carol service and then, sorely missing the Burdett family who were away for Christmas, we managed a band to ring for the midnight service and Christmas Day.

On the 20th January, despite heavy snow, we rang for the visit of the bishop of Dorchester who came for the dedication of our new servery.

We have welcomed Daniel who started two weeks ago as he is working towards his duke of Edinburgh bronze award.

Dorchester        by David Parker

After all the excitement of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, our tower has settled down to routine ringing, concentrating on good handling and keeping to rhythm.  We have done rather a lot of call changes in the last year which has unfortunately allowed several of us to become rusty on even the simplest methods.  We are determined to put this right by concentrating on methods in the second half of our practices, after the juniors have left to do their homework.

We are delighted with the progress our young ringers have been making.  It is not easy for them to fit in their ringing when there are competing demands elsewhere, but with determination they seem to manage.  Isabel has applied to go on the next Radley course, as has Nick Jenkins, a senior novice who is ready to learn plain hunt, and they will find the course inspirational.  Henry has made rapid progress and manages to attend practices on the same night as he does rowing (surely not in the dark!).  Christian, Veronica and Josh Paul will be training for a swimming competition in Spain in a few months time, and that has interfered temporarily with their ringing.  We don’t see Josh Forman as much as we would like – another case of school pressure I suspect.

Without our experienced ringers we would be in difficulty because we have needed them to provide steady ringing while our novices are learning new tricks.  I am grateful to them for never grumbling about doing lots of the basic stuff – perhaps they find it more relaxing that way?  They let me know when they are getting tired, especially if there is something good coming on the television at 9 o’clock!

I hear we have only one wedding booked so far for 2013 – we usually have five or six.  I wonder if other towers have the same experience.  If so, that is not a good trend, but there is not a lot we can do about it!

Drayton St Leonard               by Hilarie Rogers

We have resumed ringing all six bells and now that the evenings are chillier, we close the doors to the ringing chamber and just about all fit in! We rang for all of the Christmas services but cancelled our practice night the week before Christmas so we could all have a meal in the pub.

We have begun to teach one learner when her college work allows. At the beginning of December we were visited by several ringers from Chalgrove as part of the Twinning, and several of us visited them in return, enjoying the challenge of a heavier ring of bells.

We were pleased to be placed 6th in the Guild 6-bell competition in October, and largely as a result of that we were invited to ring in the Four Shires Competition just over the border at Long Compton in November to represent Oxfordshire (the other teams were from Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire). The bells were tricky to ring and to strike well, and we were extremely pleased to be placed second behind Tewkesbury Abbey, by a slim margin of one fifth of a fault!

Great Haseley               by Hilarie Rogers

We continue to ring on Monday evenings, and the two girls from Marsh Baldon – Carys and Kirsty – join us most weeks and are making excellent progress. Ed from Benson now rings with us when he can. Although there are no local ringers, we are still able to ring on the first Sunday of the month for service and also when there is a Benefice Service. We also managed to find a band for the services over Christmas.

We rang a quarter of Cambridge Minor over Christmas, which was first for Maureen on the treble (and was also my 100th quarter as Conductor, only taken 31 years!).

Work has continued in the belfry. The framework and all boarding apart from the hinged lids are now fitted on 3 windows, and new stainless steel mesh fitted. One more to go! This, encouragingly, is the one where access is easiest and we don’t have to climb over several bells to fetch tape measure, screwdriver, etc that has been forgotten!

Great Milton                                                by Pat Cox

After the excitement and activity of the Olympics and the Jubilee, these past 6 months have been quite serene!

We have rung for 3 winter weddings, and St Giles ringers came in December. GMB rang for the Christmas services and the Children's service, so we have not been idle!

The Christmas supper was a great success - generally agreed to be the best so far!

Our 2 youngest ringers are now off to University with promises to come and ring when they are home on holiday.

Best wishes to everyone for 2013!

Little Milton                                    by Jane Willis

Our tower’s main achievement since the last newspaper was Hil Pennick’s successful first quarter!  Well done Hil – I am sure this will be the first of many.

Practices have been well attended – even crowded on occasion, as we have been joined by three Ordinands from Ripon College.  We had an abundance of ringers too for the Christmas Services – 11.30 pm on Christmas Eve being no exception.  And the good stretching exercises at noon ringing on New Year’s Day certainly helped to dispel that hungover feeling.

Our thanks to members of the Benson tower for welcoming us for the twinning evening.  Two additional bells certainly resulted in extra stress for those of us battling with rope sight.  We enjoyed hosting their return visit, and now wait in trepidation for the Drayton St Leonard bells, about which we have heard so much. 

Of course we have managed to fit in a social event – Raymond kindly hosted an Anglo-Scottish evening – not quite on Burns night, but we ate haggis doused in whisky in any event.  The main topic (apart from bell ringing methods) was Scottish devolution – with John Hughes D’Aeth giving the Scot’s view as to why they should be independent, and Raymond for maintaining the status quo.  Perhaps there should have been a third view – why the English think the Scots should be independent too!  Copious amounts of Drambuie have clouded my memory of the final decision……

As ever, our gratitude to Chris Rodgers, and Geoff and Mary from Chalgrove, for keeping us focussed on ringing – their stoicism is impressive.

Shabbington            by Caroline Lewis

Our regular ringing on Thursday’s continues to be well attended. We have had three Weddings which is so lovely to ring for!!   The Bells were rung half muffled for Remembrance Day.  We also rang for the Carol, and Christmas Day Service’s.  

Congratulations to Carol who rang her first quarter peal on 14th October. I believe Erica is on a mission!! And has now rang several quarter’s.

We are enjoying the Tower Twinning and had a good visit to Aston Rowant Tower, where we were made very welcome. Our three young recruits are progressing well and enjoying their ringing. Susan and Simon continue to make good progress, the rest of us are now busy getting to grips with Grandsire, with lots of input from Gordon Smith and Chris Rogers very many thanks for all your help and support.

Warborough                                                               by Sue Dyke

Everything seems to have gone very quiet after all the events we have rung for in 2012. 

Unfortunately we are now down to 5 regular ringers at Warborough due to Sheila Turton ‘retiring’ from ringing in October.  Sheila had been a very supportive member of our band since learning to ring here in 1989 and could always be relied upon to ring on Sundays, weddings and any other event – we are missing her greatly, especially her super shortbread biscuits and brownies!  The ringers presented Sheila with a planter of flowers for her garden and the PCC gave her an orchid in recognition of her service to the church.

I was pleased to be able to arrange a quarter peal of Plain Bob Triples in October for the Licensing of our new Vicar at Dorchester Abbey – it was very much appreciated by Caroline.