Guild weekly update

Dear al, Helen’s weekly update is below.

Best wishes,


It’s been lovely to  hear of more towers starting to ring, with towers marking VJ day and Sunday services. If you need any help to get back to ringing, the Guild is keeping the website up to date, check here for help and support.

Return to Ringing

There has been little change to guidance since the last update, although some refinement. The Central Council guidance makes clear that ringing for any service is acceptable, meaning that weddings can be rung for, as long as a suitable risk assessment is carried out.


The guidance has had the term “face masks” replaced with “face coverings”, which brings this into line with the language used in both the government and CofE documentation.

Where there are exemptions for those who cannot wear a face covering in public spaces, for whatever reason, the Central Council’s view is that “… face coverings reduce the risk of transmission of the virus and therefore protect our fellow ringers. Anyone who is unable to wear a face covering should not ring.” The Guild would like to encourage towers with ringers who cannot or are reluctant to wear a face covering to seriously consider the situation before proceeding; we would not want to either ostracise a ringer nor to cause an increase infection risk to other ringers.

Training Session

From ‘adjacent places’ to ‘Yorkshire tail ends’, how much bell ringing language do you understand? This site is very useful for helping with this!

And what’s a Bob? And how do you call them? An introduction to simple touches.


How well do you know your Guild

We have 2 sets of 3 images to tax your brain. Can you identify 3 Branch Ringing Masters and 3 Branch Chairs from their younger selves? and

Brain teasers

A word fit challenge this time, can you fit these heavy rings of eight into the grid provided?

A reminder of the secretary’s competition: Read the text carefully. Devised by the Secretary herself, she’ll offer a prize if you can solve it.

And the more visually satisfying Ringers’ Tea competition.

The Language of Bells

This project is looking to put together a sound exhibition of bells, and things that are inspired by bells. Ringing, tolling, chiming or using the ellacombe chime would all fit the bill. Any short clip can be submitted. How inventive can you be?

A little light relief

One for the star gazers, is this an easy way to see stars.
Disclaimer – I can’t say this is recommended!

Cartoon: Les Lamb, Orwell Astronomical Society

Central Council

The President wrote his 15th blog

The Westley Award for Bell maintenance was awarded in a virtual session. You can read about those who were highly commended and the winner here:

The Blooms from Leeds judged the July YouTube competition.’s contest is for a video demonstrating change ringing but not on tower bells. How to enter can be found here:

As ever, if there is anything you want to see or know about, get in touch.



Happy Easter

Dear all, wishing you a very happy Easter, even if it is one that’s very different from the usual Easter Sunday, when we would be ringing the bells in advance of church services to celebrate that Christ is risen. Some thoughts from the guild, as follows:

Happy Easter

Peterborough Cathedral started their Easter day service with the sound of bells. Don’t worry, there was no lockdown breakage involved, it was a recording of Towcester provided to the diocese for this purpose. The service can be viewed again here:

Church bells on Sunday, which was from Canterbury Cathedral

News from the Central Council

Two announcements from the Central Council this week, both in a positive vein:

The first is about a “Ringing Returns” campaign to mark a return to more normal behaviour. This will obviously be difficult to plan in a continually shifting environment, and we should watch this space:

The second was an Easter greeting from the president.

Guild newsletter

In a normal year the Guild would be getting ready to send out the spring newsletter. Due to problems with distribution of hard copies, this edition is just in online form. You can access it here:

Let’s have bells for our online services!

I’ve been in contact with the diocese communication office about providing some ringing for parishes to use when livestreaming their services. This is now available from the diocese website here:

If your parish is producing worship, get in touch with them and ask them to add some bells. It is the one loud noise made to the glory of God and it is currently missing from our soundscape. This aims to fill that gap, in part, until we are back making noise again.

Take care everyone,



Keeping the Mind Engaged

Dear all, I hope everyone is keeping fit and well, and is coping with out their regular bell ringing fix.

The Guild is putting out a weekly bulletin with some exercises to keep the ringing mind engaged and entertained. Below are some of their suggestions:

For those missing their ringing, here are some YouTube videos of some good and some really excellent ringing to listen to.
When listening, think about the following and try to answer by ear alone.
Can you tell how many bells are ringing?
Is the tenor drumming behind, or turned in?
Can you follow the one bell (treble is often easiest) as it moves through the piece? You don’t need to know what is being rung to hear the bell’s progression.
Is your ringing this good? If not what do you need to make it this good?

Ringing related programmes and documentaries.

The Central Council has put together a playlist of different ringing films & documentaries for you to watch.…

Washing hands

One thing we’re all being asked to do is to wash our hands regularly and thoroughly. Advice suggests 20 seconds is sufficient to wash hands properly and singing “Happy Birthday” twice is long enough. But that gets very dull very quickly.
Instead, keep those methods in your head by reciting them as you wash your hands. 20 seconds should be long enough for a couple of plain courses of plain doubles or minor, 3 or 4 leads of surprise minor (and you may as well recite the whole course once you’ve done 3 or 4 leads), 2 or 3 leads of surprise major. Use all those hand washes to engage your memory as well as keep your hands clean.
You could even pin a method above the sink and learn a new method for when we’re all back ringing again.


The Diocese of Peterborough sees safeguarding as everyone’s responsibility, and would like all volunteers within the church family (that includes bellringers) to have a basic understanding of safeguarding (level C0). While you can’t go to practice, why not make use of the spare time to access the free online training portal and complete it.

As with everything else, the 8 bell practice on Friday 3 April, has been cancelled.

Stay safe and well,



VE Day Celebrations 8 May – Cancelled

Dear all, with the Covid 19 emergency, and following Government guidance, I am writing to inform you that the VE Day celebrations planned for the weekend of 8 to 10 May 2020 have been cancelled. I know many of you planned to ring, either as part of a local event, or at 7pm on the evening of 8 May as part of the national celebrations.

It is hoped that events already planned can be moved to the weekend of 15/16 August, to celebrate VE Day and VJ Day, both momentous points in our history.  I am sure that bell ringers will be asked to play their part in the celebrations again, so I will be in touch when I know more.

I hope everyone is keeping safe, but I am sure that, like me, you are missing your bell ringing.

Best wishes,

Hilary Hardie

Central Council Advice on Covid 19

Dear all, the Central Council has provided the following, thoughtful, advice for bell ringers in the light of the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday:

Coronavirus – Covid-19 – Update

New updates on the Coronavirus have been issued by the UK government today, which include avoiding any “non-essential” travel and contact with others and avoiding pubs, clubs theatres and social gatherings.  If you haven’t already decided to cancel ringing activities, it seems that now is the time to do so.

We must all ensure that we are following the most up to date advice from the Chief Medical Officer (or overseas equivalent) with regard to the Covid 19 outbreak.  Of course the Central Council is not in a position to provide professional advice, however there are some simple guidelines to consider to ensure that we adopt sensible precautions and support each other through a period of rapid change and uncertainty.   The advice is changing almost daily and the latest messages concern potential restriction of movement of people over the age of 70 in the coming weeks, if not sooner.

The demographics of the ringing community has a large proportion who fit in to the over 70 year old and/or medically vulnerable category, and ringers can be quite stubborn when it comes to continuing ringing, insisting that we “keep calm and carry on”.  However, under the current circumstances, we have a duty to be responsible for ourselves and towards others we ring with.  If you fit into a category that has been advised to socially distance yourself, please heed that advice.  If not for you, then to help prevent putting other people at risk.

Having said that, socially distancing yourself can create a sense of isolation, and we must ensure that we maintain contact with our ringing friends, and offer any help and support where we can.  Please check in with those who are advised to stay home, phone them for a chat to ask how they are, drop them a quick text, Whatsapp or social media message to let them know they haven’t been forgotten.

If you find yourself self isolating, consider how you might get your ringing fix if not on the end of a rope.  There are many apps for phones and computers that you can utilise to learn methods, practise listening skills and so on. There’s a multitude of YouTube videos on various aspects of ringing, ringing up and down, rope splicing and many other tower tasks that need doing.  Get out some good old paper and pencil to write out methods, learn the place notation, write out touches etc  – that’ll keep you busy for hours!  Keep in touch with friends on the various bellringing social media communities, maybe even start one of your own.  Get that tower website up to date.  Get around to writing up last year’s tower AGM minutes.  Plan what you are going to do once the restrictions have been lifted, maybe organise a reunion.

Keep up to date with the latest advice from the government, ensure that you support each other, keep calm and keep safe.


Following this advice, all Branch activities will be cancelled until further notice.

Please do keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.  We will be back bell ringing soon.

Best wishes,

Hilary Hardie

Branch Ringing Master


Coronavirus and Bell Ringing

Dear all, I am aware there have been some questions about how the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus will affect bell ringing.

The Guild has made a statement on the website, here.  This will be updated as necessary.

This references the NHS website page, here. There is information on symptoms and advice on how to contain the spread of infection available on this page.

Best wishes,

Hilary Hardie

Ringing Up and Down in Peal Workshop – 2 May

Dear all, the Branch will be holding a Ringing Up and Down in Peal Workshop on 2 May from 3pm to 5pm at St Mary’s in Peterborough.

This is an excellent opportunity for ringers who are confident in ringing up and down, and who want to learn, or improve their, ringing up and down in peal.  The workshop will be supported by a number of experienced ringers and there will be plenty of opportunities to practice.

If you would like to book a place on the workshop, or want more information, please email me here.

Best wishes,



8 Bell Practice tonight

Dear all, a reminder that we have the 8 bell practice tonight at 7.30pm at Castor. The practice will include rounds, and methods ranging from Plain Hunt to Surprise Major.

Whatever your ability, you will be made very welcome and the ringing will be organised to suit your requirements.

Hilary Hardie

8 Bell Practice on Friday 6 March

Dear all, a reminder that the 8 bell practice will be held on Friday 6 March, 7.30pm at Castor.

The practice will include rounds, and methods ranging from Plain Hunt to Surprise Major.

Whatever your ability, you will be made very welcome and the ringing will be organised to suit your requirements.

Best wishes,