Interim Treasurer’s Report 2012 by Maureen Bosley

The Branch has 144 members, including 4 new members elected during the course of the year, and six Hon members. At the start of the year we had seven Honorary members but sadly, Noel Bartlett has recently died, reducing the number to six.

The subscription remained at 6 for the year and the number of subscriptions in 2012 was 138 (plus the 7 honorary members).

73 members again supported the 100 club in 2012 and 190 each was raised for ODGCB Bell fund and the Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund.

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

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

Branch Practices for the remainder of 2012

8th December Ewelme 4pm - 5.30pm

Guild Programme for 2012

25th November 10 Bell Striking Competition Long Crendon

25th November Autumn General Committee Meeting Long Crendon

From the Ringing Master by Hilarie Rogers

Our targeted practices are continuing with many ringers benefitting from the monthly afternoon Doubles practice; the monthly early-evening Major practice; and a monthly afternoon Surprise practice which alternates between minor and major. I now plan to arrange some quarter peals to back up what people have been practising.

The tower twinning was much enjoyed and will run again this winter, so if your tower is not taking part do consider it 3 times per annum 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.

Hilarie Rogers

01865 890163

25 years ago

The Autumn Meeting was held in Watlington on the Saturday, 24th October, 1987. It was at this meeting that a decision was taken to report finances once a year. It was also minuted that Noel Bartlett, Branch Representative, noted that Guild insurance contributions were set at 25p per person. The minutes imply that the insurance policy was just starting. Mention is also made of the Pilgrim Festival held in Oxford where each branch of the Guild rang a quarter peals. The chairman spoke about several points including branch practices. He was proposing that several branch practices be devoted to nothing more advanced than Plain Bob to encourage learners to attend. The minutes make mention of an after tea sale having a good profit . Perhaps we could consider this again for the left over cakes at the next AGM?

Secretary’s report

As I review all of the activities over the past 8 months, I realize that we, as a branch, have been VERY BUSY! We began in February with our AGM which was held at Chalgrove on Saturday the 25th February. All of the branch officers stayed in post, but Sue Dyke announced that she would like to step down as the 100 Club Organizer this year. The week after the AGM was the Guild Leap Year Sponsored Ringing week. We rang a branch quarter peal at Great Haseley. Eight branches participated and South Oxon branch raised a total of 555 which equates to 3.83 per member, the second highest in the Guild. In March we held our striking competition at Chinnor with four towers participating. Drayton St Leonard won and will represent the branch at the Guild Six-bell completion in October. Several towers have reported that they rang for St George s Day in April, and on the 7th May the South Oxon Branch hosted the Guild Ringing Day. Twenty seven towers were open in and around our branch to raise money for the Guild Bell Fund. Over 1400 was raised on the day. May and June had extensive ringing for the Queen s Diamond Jubilee (see the list of Jubilee activities further on). July and August were busy with Olympic and Paralympic activities. On Friday 27th July, as part of the All the Bells project, there was widespread bell ringing (of all sorts) at 8:15am. It was a huge success with many towers participating! See the comments recorded below. What I gleaned from reviewing all of this activity is that the towers thoroughly enjoyed the Olympic ringing! Even if it was a rather early time of the day for us to be ringing, this event seems to have captured the imagination of many.

Other points of interest - we are very close to welcoming the Marsh Baldon Tower into our branch. We are only waiting for the Guild to approve the paperwork. This group of ringers started ringing just after Christmas 2011 in order to be able to ring for the Diamond Jubilee this year - and THEY DID! Congratulations!! We all know how much work you have been doing! We ve not had branch outings this year at all. This has been attributed to a combination of not enough interest and a dis-inclination to travel too far. Personally, I think given the number of national activities this spring andsummer, perhaps an outing was just one thing too many to squeeze into our busy schedules!

I end this report with a sad note. On 20th July Noel Bartlett died. Noel was formerly tower captain at Aston Rowant, chairman of the S Oxon Branch, member of the ODG Committee and of the Guild's Towers and Belfries subcommittee. A memorial service was held at Ss Peter & Paul, Aston Rowant, on Thursday 23rd August at noon. To celebrate Noel s life and the contribution he made to the South Oxford Branch and the Oxford Diocesan Guild, a branch quarter was rung on the 25th August.

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:


South Oxon Branch Ringers from the branch rang a quarter peal at Great Haseley on Monday 4th June.

Aston Rowant Tower rang on Saturday 26th May from 4 - 4:45pm at the conclusion of the County Service, and rang a peal on Tuesday 5th June, starting at 12:30, after the conclusion of the service at St Paul's Cathedral.

Benson Tower rang a quarter peal at 6.00pm on Saturday 26th May in support of the County Service at Christ Church, on Sunday, 27th May for a Songs of Praise service and again at noon on Tuesday 5th June.

Chalgrove Tower rang at noon on Sunday the 3rd of June to announce the village Jubilee "Big Lunch" which was held in the church.

Chinnor Tower rang on Sunday 27th May at 14.15 and on 5th June at 12.30.

Drayton St Leonard Tower rang on Sunday 3rd June in conjunction with a service, as part of the village celebration.

Dorchester Abbey Tower rang on Saturday 26th May at 4.00pm and again on Tuesday 5th June at noon. Ewelme Tower rang after their Jubilee celebration service on Sunday 3rd June - a prelude to the village street party.

Great Milton Tower rang for an hour on 5th of June.

Little Milton Tower rang on Saturday 2 June around 6.15 p.m. to coincide with the village celebrations and rang a quarter peal on Tuesday 5 June around midday.

Shabbington Tower rang on Saturday at 1pm to kick off the village celebrations.

Thame Tower rang on the 5th of June.

Warborough Tower rang for a 'Songs of Praise' service at 5.00 pm 3rd June


South Oxon Branch was informed of the national initiative, the All the Bells project, which asked for all the bells in the country to be rung at 8.12am on Friday 27th July, just for a short time, to mark the start of the 2012 London Olympics. I had confirmation from the following towers that they rang (in various ways) at 8:15am on the 27th July:

Benson (Fast rounds with a change of ringers to allow everyone a chance to ring, and breakfast afterwards)

Brightwell Baldwin (Four enthusiastic ringers!)

Chalgrove (Bright and early)

Chinnor (Also for the Paralympics on 29th August!)

Dorchester (Right on time as noted by Canon Sue)

Drayton St Leonard (With assistance from Bishop Colin)

Great Milton (A huge noise and good fun)

Little Milton (Too early for Jaffa cakes!)

Thame (Fast and Furious complete with a change of ringers so all could ring)

Towersey (All 3 bells!)

Warborough (Local school children chimed the bells!),


On Saturday 6th October, 6 intrepid ringers from Drayton St Leonard set off to the Banbury area to represent South Oxon Branch in the Guild 6-bell competition. We had a brief stop at Little Milton en route for a practice, and arrived at Tadmarton in good time. The competition was timed to start at 2pm, and we were drawn first - at least we could get it over with! Access to the tower was via some normal-looking steps which turned into a short but steep ladder, but once there the bells were friendly and not difficult to ring, and the ropes were all of comfortable length. One of the bells seemed slightly odd-struck but once we got going that didn't cause any problems (just as well we placed our odd-struck ringer on that bell!!). We rang our test piece of 240 changes(Grandsire Doubles) without mishap and emerged into the sunshine greatly relieved. Tea was on offer as well as the chance to listen to the other bands and wince at any slight clip or hesitation. The verdict was delivered in due course and we finished a creditable 6th of the 9 teams that entered. High Wycombe were worthy winners.

For the record, our band (in order of ringing, treble to tenor) was: Charlotte Rogers, Daniel Rogers, Christopher Rogers, Hilarie Rogers, John White, Amy Herlihy.


Aston Rowant by Robert Newton

This has been a remarkable year for special ringing opportunities and I feel that we have played our full part in the celebrations here at Aston. A quarter peal was rung on St George s Day, followed by a peal of mixed Doubles on 5th June for Her Majesty s Diamond Jubilee. This was the first peal attempt on the bells since 2000. Particular congratulations to three members of the band: Paul Smith (first attempt), Shirley Smith (second peal and first inside ) and Kay Bartholomew (first attempt as conductor). Five early birds rang the bells for the Olympics on the morning of 27th July and they were joined by two hubbies who contributed to the overall effect with small handbells in the church yard. On 12th June, a quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles was rung to welcome Megan Parker, first daughter of Heather and Richard. Dad, whose first attempt it was, rang the treble and granddad David rang the 4th. We very much hope that Megan will take up ringing in a few years, when she s a bit bigger! On 23rd August, another quarter of Grandsire was rung to celebrate the life of Noel Bartlett prior to his memorial service. Noel was heavily involved in the restoration and augmentation at Aston in the 1970 s, was Branch Chairman and a member of the Guild General Committee for some years, with a particular interest in Towers and Belfries. At the time of writing, we are anticipating the modification of our tenor clapper with a timber shaft. This should help to bring out the bell s harmonics more fully and make it a great deal easier to ring up right We are also planning an autumn outing to north Oxfordshire and hope to ring at some towers where Guy s mother is a member of the clergy. Practice nights and Sunday morning ringing are still well supported and our recruits continue to make good progress.

Benson by John Tchighianoff

This has been a year with many opportunities for special ringing and I am pleased to say we took full advantage of it in Benson.

We rang in April on St George s Day. The following month we hosted the Guild 8 bell competition. Everything went well and we received many favourable comments on the teas we provided!

Four of our ringers were fortunate to be on a river trip to the Thames Barrier the weekend before the Jubilee. On our return journey up river we were passed by the Ursula Katharine and could clearly hear the bells as the peal was being rung in preparation for the following weekend.

At the Jubilee weekend there was an art and flower show in church and the tower was open on the Saturday for visitors to come and watch us ring and find out a little about what we do. We had an endless flow of visitors and were given a round of applause after each demonstration which is something ringers are not normally used to. We were even persuaded to take some of them up to see the bells once they had been rung down.

Then it wasn’t long before the Olympics. Most of us went to Wallingford to watch the torch on Tuesday 10th July. We then walked home and rang the bells before adjourning to the Waterfront Cafe for breakfast.

We were all keen to respond to the request to ring at 8.12am on the day of the opening of the Olympics. We decided that the best way we could respond to the request to ring fast and loud and still sound alright was to ring rounds as fast as possible. This went well and as there were ten of us we had two short sessions. Again an opportunity to follow this with breakfast at the Waterfront!

All this ringing was publicised in the village magazine and also in church and resulted in a lot of interest and favourable comments. Certainly ringing has had a high profile in Benson this year.

We are pleased to welcome Ed, a ready made ringer who has moved to Benson and we have just started teaching two young girls who are making good progress. We are also very proud that James took part in the ODG band that rang in the Ringing World National Youth Contest in Birmingham.

Chalgrove by Andrew Davis

Over the summer months ringing has progressed steadily at Chalgrove. Holidays and School work has meant practices have varied from just a few of us to the usual full chamber. Everyone is making progress, be it in Plain hunting or Bob Doubles. We have even been ringing Little Bob Minor which having had the bells rehung isn't such hard work for the person on the tenor anymore.

We have rung for all of the special events this year, for instance to welcome villagers to the Jubilee Big Lunch held in the Church when some 200+ people turned up. We were proud to take part in the "All the Bells" project, to mark the start of the Olympics, with the community showing their approval.

As the nights draw in we are looking forward to trying new methods, All Saints was rung this evening. We will also be twinning with other towers. Having close ties with Little Milton we will try a morning mini outing followed by a pub lunch sometime in November. I have been reminded that I still need to ring my first peal, watch this space...

Chinnor by Moira Hollick

We have continued to practice on Fridays and ring for most services on Sundays. We missed the Burdett family when they went on holiday as they make up half our ringers! Hattie now rings for some services and it won t be long before Amelia is too. We had two young boys start earlier in the year but sadly they haven't re-appeared since the summer holidays.

We rang for both the Queens jubilee and our church jubilee services. We could also be heard waking Chinnor for the start of the Olympic and Paralympic games. We have had three groups of visiting ringers and we've rung for seven weddings this summer.

Those of you who have rung at St Andrew's will know you have to bend double to reach the tower steps. A few months ago we had a dramatic evening when someone forgot to duck and knocked themselves out. We had to dial 999 for an ambulance which took the patient to the J.R. but luckily she made a full recovery.

Dorchester by David Parker

We have all had much to celebrate in our ringing this summer with both Her Majesty s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic Games coming close together.

On the 5th of June at noon we joined ringers throughout the country to ring at the end of the service of celebration at St Paul s Cathedral. Did any of you hear us on Radio Oxford? Probably not, as you would have been ringing at the same time in your own towers. However, you might have seen Isabel, our youngest ringer, on the late evening Television News South, although if you had nodded off for a few seconds you would have missed her!

Ringing for the opening of the Olympic Games on Friday 27th July was different, not the perfect striking which is our norm (hum, hum), but a precisely timed three minutes of firing starting at 08.12am, the intention being to make a very loud noise at the same time as hundreds of other towers throughout the country. The BBC had invited everyone to join in by ringing any kind of bell, including door bells. Our village did not get organised for that, but two of Gillian s grandchildren turned out with hand bells and joined in the clamour from the foot of the tower. Their mother made a delightful video recording of them jumping for joy and shaking their bells.

Apart from these exciting events, our ringing at Dorchester has been much the same as usual, with the novices making good progress some now ringing Bob Doubles and others of more advanced years demonstrating they are as good as ever. It has been marvellous to welcome two more new ringers to the band: Nick Jenkins and Henry Cotton. Both have made excellent progress and seem determined to catch up with the other learners, which I am sure they will soon. Nick is a golfer, and Henry is taking up rowing, and it is interesting to see the importance of handling in all these activities.

We have fifteen ringers at Dorchester now, which looks healthy, but surprisingly we often have difficulty ringing more than six bells on Sundays when ringing is in competition with other activities such as music, sport, family outings and, dare I say it, catching up on sleep! It is good that the standard of striking is usually very good on Sundays, which is as it ought to be, since our ringing is an invitation to people to come to church and good striking is more welcoming. It is always sad when we lose a longstanding ringer, and I wish to thank Aileen for all the support she has given us for many years. She has moved to Benson, but before our friends in Benson get excited I should warn you she will be hard to get because her interest in dog training is very competitive. We shall miss Aileen too for the help she has given with flying the flag, often in the most ghastly weather.

Drayton St Leonard by Hilarie Rogers

We rang for the opening of the Olympics on Friday 27th July, in common with much of the country, and many people from the village joined us to ring their bells handbells, sleigh bells, bicycle bells and many more in the churchyard. We were broadcast live on Radio Oxford just after Big Ben! The Bishop of Dorchester joined us for the occasion, and I assisted him to ring with us for a short time. Reporters from BBC local news and ITV Meridian also attended and we featured for a few seconds on the news bulletins later on. Our picture was also in the Oxford Mail and the Oxfordshire Guardian. Apart from that, we have rung for two weddings, and continue to practice each week, although we are only ringing five bells at present as that is easier when the tower dries out. We have enjoyed our twinning visits to Aston Rowant and to Benson this year and have welcomed them to our practice. At present we are practising at different towers in readiness for the Guild 6-bell competition in the Banbury area at the beginning of October. Two of the new ringers who we are teaching at Marsh Baldon have been joining us most Wednesdays, and they are making good progress.

Great Haseley by Hilarie Rogers

We continue to ring on Monday evenings, and have invited some of the Marsh Baldon ringers to join us to widen their experience. We ring on the first Sunday of the month for service and also when there is a Benefice Service.

We rang a quarter peal to mark the start of the Olympics, which was first of Bob Minor for James and Maureen; and also one of Bob Doubles for the Diamond Jubilee which was Amy s first inside. It was also the 10th anniversary of Daniel s first quarter which he rang on the same bell (not surprisingly, for the Golden Jubilee!).

Work has continued in the belfry. The framework and lower level boarding has been constructed and fitted on two more windows, one of which is hinged to open and allow light in. One of those windows still has its old boarding and chicken wire (and bird debris) but we have removed them from the other and fitted stainless steel mesh. These windows await the upper boarding. Much wood cutting, planing, drilling and painting with Sadolin has taken place! We also purchased a handy 5-way ladder with platform that is a big help. In between this, some headstock painting has also taken place. In the ringing room we now have a new carpet as the previous one had begun to disintegrate.

Great Milton by Pat Cox

Spring and Summer 2012 has been a time of mixed emotions for the GMB. In April, one of our founder members, Barbara Hingley, died. She was an enthusiastic bellringer, she was our treasurer for many years, she favoured the 2, she always used a box. Barbara was a good friend to us all, and a very brave lady. We miss her smile and her gentle way.

As the year progressed, like everyone else, we rang for the Jubilee and the Olympics - we especially liked the shot gun start for the Games - it suited GM very well!

For some time now, our Captain has been concerned by the lack of security to the Tower - this has now been remedied - we are as safe and secure as we can be!

Amongst all this, we have rung for services, and practised in the normal way - and are already planning our Christmas celebrations!

Little Milton by Jane Willis

We were very impressed with Ed Hughes D Aeth's display of gallantry, as he walked through a river in flood to make sure that the water was not so deep that our cars and passengers would drown! Having dried out his feet, we had an enjoyable twinning session with the Shabbington ringers. Their anti- clockwise ring tested our brains, in much the same way that the Chalgrove bells tested our brawn! And Aston Rowant were nowhere near as terrifying as we had been led to believe! Thank you to the three towers for welcoming us we look forward to the next round of twinning.

Little Milton ringers, renowned for their optimism (and occasional misplaced confidence), were keen to take part in the Striking Competition at Chinnor. Sadly our newly installed trophy shelf is gathering dust but we did enjoy the evening!

The Olympics gave us an opportunity for early morning and evening ringing followed by a very enjoyable evening at Raymond s home where we ate a gourmet supper and watched the opening ceremony on television. A big cheer went up when Bradley Wiggins struck the enormous bell!

Practices continue to be very well attended and progress is at last being made! Caroline is a regular visitor from Shabbington, and we are pleased to welcome Geoff and Mary from Chalgrove, who have cajoled and encouraged us to try to do better, in equal measure. Margaret from Chalgrove, and Anita and Robert from Thame also visit regularly and its great for we slow learners to be surrounded by such good ringers. As always, grateful thanks to Chris for his regular attendance, encouragement and quiet good humour.

Marsh Baldon by Catherine Mason

The ringers at Marsh Baldon (presently from Marsh Baldon and Toot Baldon villages) are delighted that Marsh Baldon tower has been welcomed into the South Oxon Branch of ODG, and look forward, when a little more experienced, to participating in the bell ringing and other activities of the branch.

The dedication by Hilarie Rogers and John White to a regular training schedule since the beginning of this year, and their personal encouragement for each one of us has led to steady progress and commitment in each of the eight apprentice ringers. We are also very grateful to the band of ringers from various towers who come on a Saturday morning to help us ring together.

In June, with help from our friends, we rang for the Jubilee, which was our initial aim in learning to ring. We chimed for the Olympics, and we rang in July, again with help, for the funeral of Jack Greenaway, a much loved former tower captain at Marsh Baldon.

On 14th October, we will ring for our first Sunday service, at Harvest Festival, again with a little help from our friends.

Shabbington by Caroline Lewis

Well it has been a busy year! Over in shabby we have all worked very hard to keep are ringing band together and we do have a lot of fun. The Guild Ringing day was held in our Tower on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May. There was an amazing turn out, ringers were queuing to come in, and the weather wasn’t great so the hot drinks and cakes were very welcome by all. Many thanks to Eric for all your help. We rang for the Jubilee and also managed to chime for the Olympics. In August we rang for a wedding, our first solo ring, (no Gordon, no Chris) we were going for it!! Carol called us out and back to Queens, Kat and David rang really well (their first wedding) we all felt very proud and happy.

Thame by Rosalie Gibson

Once again we have had a busy year ringing for weddings, 22 in all and strangely they came to a halt on October 6th this year with none booked between now and the end of the year. Saturdays no longer seem to be the only day that they take place as we have had one on a Monday, a Thursday, several on a Friday, a couple on a Sunday with the rest being Saturdays. We also rang, half muffled, for the funeral of Robin Gibb on June 8th which was quite an occasion. We hope many of you heard us ringing as it was broadcast on T.V. We rang for half an hour beforehand whilst the horse drawn glass hearse was taken around the Town and were joined by two of Robin s cousins from Manchester who were ringers. After the Service Luke Forshaw tolled the bell 62 times to denote Robin s age whilst the coffin was laid to rest.

The Tower hosted the O.D.G Training Day again in February and was also open for the Guild Ringing Day on 7th May.

In March the Tower was closed for three weeks as the Ringing Chamber and Stairwell were completely redecorated and our electrics were brought up to date in anticipation of a Tower Maintenance inspection. The Church held a Flower Festival in May which is does every two years and the money raised was used towards the redecorating. The Tower was open to visitors at this time and the bonus of this was that we gained a new ringer, Judith Harper who had not rung bells for about 12 years and she has now joined us. We are very pleased to have recently heard that we now have a Gold Award again. This is partly due to a small team from the Tower undertaking a three monthly check on everything and ensuring that anything that needs attention is taken care of. (Thank you very much to them for their dedication and also for all those who helped with the clean up after the decorators had left and again just before our inspection)

We have missed Mary throughout the summer as she decided to follow another of her hobbies during this time but we very much hope she will be back with us soon as she was a very loyal and useful member of the band.

The Scouts held a St. George s Day service in the Church on the 22nd April which we rang for, as well as ringing at 6.00.p.m.on the 23rd which all towers had been asked to. On 27th July we were all in the Tower bright and early to ring for the opening of the Olympics and rang just slightly longer than the three minutes requested as it takes us that long to climb the stairs so thought it was worth ringing a little longer.

Before we know it we will no doubt be compiling a list for the Christmas season ringing which in Thame always involves a large number of services. However we are fortunate to usually have enough ringers for almost any request and Service ringing is always covered by our own ringers.

Warborough by Sue Dyke

We continue to ring on Sundays and like many other towers we have been kept busy ringing for all the festive events this year. We were kept busy on the Guild Ringing Day in May with visitors from all over the country; then it was the Jubilee celebrations when we rang for the Songs of Praise Service and also on the Monday for the unveiling and blessing of our new Jubilee Stone which has been sited on The Green.

Ringing for the Olympics was somewhat unusual in Warborough! As we wouldn’t have enough people to ring the eight bells I approached the local school to see if they could help us out. I arranged to have a practice for the 8 children who had volunteered to chime the bells when even the smallest of them managed to make a noise on the tenor! The 27th July arrived and 5 of the children turned up eager to ring and they brought along their younger brothers & sisters armed with all sorts of bells to ring. The clock ticked away and at 8.12 am the children started chiming the bells very loudly even the 5 and 6 year olds had a go with the help of some adults. It was lovely to see all their excited faces and the noise of the bells brought along about 25 onlookers from the village to see what was going on and they all joined in with their bells to ring. All the children were presented with a certificate to say that they chimed the bells at Warborough for the Olympics 2012

young ringersyoung ringers 2012


Both the Radley Course and the Bradfield Course visited us once again for one of their sessions. We have been pleased to ring for 4 weddings this year and are grateful to Alf from Dorchester who regularly helps us out on these occasions and also Maureen and Benji from Benson.