I am sending you without delay the following information from Helen.
All, please communicate to towers asap.
I’m sure you will have seen the news of the death of Prince Philip, as announced today by Buckingham Palace. The appropriate way to mark this will no doubt be a question being asked. As yet there has been no guidance from the CCCBR, although it is expected today. I will forward that when it is issued. The following is based on the information being communicated by the diocese. The advice from the diocese is available on the website, see this page for links to the different guidance documents. https://www.peterborough-diocese.org.uk/bishop-of-peterborough/bishops-bulletin
The key document for ringers is the Guidance to Parishes.
Each parish will have received the same advice from the diocese and it is expected that each parish will have its own plan for services that follow the general guidance but take into account local variation. Not all parishes will be holding the same service at the same time and ringers should expect to fit in with local arrangements.
It is expected that tolling a bell on the day of the announcement, or during the day following, will be the initial means to mark the passing. In the absence of any local request of specific time period, tolling of 99 strokes, the Duke’s age, would seem appropriate.
Tolling of a bell for an hour prior to the funeral service is the next specific mention of bells within the guidance to parishes. That will need to await and date and time of the service to be able to plan.
I will provide additional information as it becomes available.
Secretary: Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers
Please see Helen’s latest update below. There is plenty of interest in it, not least an update on the Virtual ringing training sessions. Do read.
At least I didn’t have to worry about being an hour late turning up at ringing this morning, and could enjoy my lack of an hour in peace. Hopefully the clocks moving to British Summer time might mean that the weather will remember to warm up a bit soon.
The Guild’s new website has been launched. Please ensure that all links to the Guild website point to www.pdg.org.uk. Have a look and see what it looks like. Any comments can be sent to the new webmaster, Richard Allton on firstname.lastname@example.org. It remains a work in progress.
The Guild’s Easter virtual Training remains open for those interested. The first course will be on Wednesday 31st, so get your registration in soonest. The courses and dates can be found here. For the Towers, Knowledge Base, First Steps and Plain Methods you will need to register, using the links below, and state which theme you are interested in. This is so that we can assign you to the breakout room for the course you wish to attend.
We have been asked if the sessions will be recorded. The answer is no. The intention is that these sessions are interactive and we do not want anyone to feel inhibited by the thought of the sessions being recorded. Attendees need to be able to ask their questions, even those they think might be stupid. There is no such thing, by the way, and you should ask them; if you leave with an unanswered question, we’ve not done our job.
Ringing for Easter and beyond
The advice from the diocese is that the decision to ring for Easter and services thereafter is the responsibility of the incumbent. All incumbents are aware of the current situation with respect to meeting in groups and requirements for distancing; and have access to the latest government and CofE guidance. Until there is a relaxation on the ability to meet in groups inside, ringing should be undertaken with due caution and will most likely be limited to household or social bubbles.
Historic England published a video presented by Rev Kate Bottley as she uncovers the treasures of the Loughborough Bellfoundry.
From engineers to tuners, the bell foundry team produce bells of the highest standard, crafted with passion and dedication to the legacy of historic bell-making. Their bells can be heard from thousands of historic buildings in the UK and across the world.
There are any number of links between ringing and maths, but what about between ringing & poetry? Susan Gerofsky has been using plain hunt on 4 to move words around in poetical ways. Once you’ve selected your words, the pattern does the rest. http://archive.bridgesmathart.org/2020/bridges2020-273.pdf How about giving it a try?
Stedman is a beautiful method, one that I never tire of. This introduction aims to make it all a little less mysterious. https://youtu.be/Ebhxt_fltmY
Boggle the mind with a bit of branch Boggle. The 4×4 grid is made up of Culworth & Daventry. Tracking through adjacent letters, and not reusing any tile in any one word, how many words of 3 or more letters can you make? https://www.facebook.com/PDGCBR/posts/267147778223953
Please see this update from Helen regarding the upcoming Easter Virtual Training. Training has had to be re-organised because of very positive interest in participating. The good news for those who forgot to register means there is now a further opportunity to do so. Don’t delay!
Branches – please pass on to your members soonest.
An update on the Easter virtual training.
We had more people register interest in multiple themes than anticipated, so have rearranged slightly in order to allow people to attend more than one theme. Timetabling still means you can’t necessarily attend everything, but we hope that you’ll be able to find time to attend some of the sessions. They are intended to be interactive, so make sure you bring those questions you’ve always wanted answering. The timetable can be seen below.
For the Towers, Knowledge Base, First Steps and Plain Methods you will need to register, using the links below, and state which theme you are interested in. This is so that we can assign you to the breakout room for the course you wish to attend.
If you have not expressed interest so far, there is still time to register for the different sessions.
Wed 31st March
Saturday 3rd April
Towers 1All about Ropes & Stays
First Steps 1 Calling call changes & Ropesight
Towers 2Inspection & Maintenance
First Methods Plain Bob doubles (plain courses & touches)
Knowledge Base 1Higher Numbers
Plain Methods: Plain Bob Minor, Little Bob Minor & touches
Good morning on this sunny but brisk Monday. Below is a further update from Helen.
Tower captains to note the deadline for the Easter virtual change ringing contest.
A couple of things have come up this week that can’t really wait until next week before passing on.
Day of Reflection, 23rd March.
A follow up from last week’s information
The Church of England has partnered with the Marie Curie organisation on a day of reflection to mark a year since we entered lockdown. Bellringers have been invited by the Church to participate in this day by marking the end of the one minute silent reflection at 12 noon by tolling a bell at 12:01. This remains for individual towers to decide if they wish to toll a bell on Tuesday or not, in consultation with their incumbent. There is no set duration of tolling, anything from 1 minute to 15 has been mentioned. Tolling for 88 blows has been suggested as Marie Curie discovered Radium, atomic number 88. No one will be counting, you can’t be wrong, go with what suits the local situation.
There have been questions raised about the possibility of ringing on Easter Sunday. Unlike Christmas, the Government have not announced any relaxation of the current COVID regulation, meaning that it is not possible to meet indoors with people outside your household or support bubble. That being the case, ringing in most cases will be limited to household or support bubbles. The Central Council has put out this statement on the topic. https://cccbr.org.uk/2021/03/19/easter-sunday-ringing/ I hope to hear back from the diocese in the next week to determine their approach. As ever, discuss with your incumbent before planning any ringing.
Easter virtual change ringing contest
The CCCBR have announced details of the Ringing Room call change competition. They hope that this will provide some enjoyable focus for bands over the next couple of weeks getting to grips with the famous Devon call change peal ’60 on 3rds’ and seeing how well call changes can be rung in Ringing Room. Further details here: https://cccbr.org.uk/virtual-call-change-ringing-festival
To take place on April 3rd, with entries to be in by 29th March. Which is why this can’t wait until next week.
The usual fun and games to follow next week.
Secretary: Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers
Please find below Helen’s 14 March update. The news is still optimistic about a return to ringing. All does depend very much on everyone doing the right thing in terms of COVID compliance.
There are, as usual, interesting presentations, not least the one by Linda Garton: headlined “From Hats to Bikinis”. I leave you all to see if it whets your appetite.
Remember the deadline for participating in the Guild Virtual Ringing training is Saturday 20 March.
OPEN HELEN’S UPDATE
In a week that saw International Women’s day at its beginning and Mothering Sunday at its end, this presentation by Linda Garton on the history of Ladies’ peals seems appropriate to share. There is one peal of particular local interest. Who fancies a re-run in May 2022 for the centenary? https://youtu.be/yTK-xazWFto
Thanks to those that have expressed an interest in the Guild’s proposed Easter training. There is still time to do so, replies to the Guild secretary by the 20th please. They will be evenings via Zoom, with small groups and a tutor, making them interactive. Each would be ~ 45 minutes of workshop, plus setup and social. Zoom time intended to be no more than an hour. It might help refresh your memory of something you were ringing last year, or it might be an opportunity to understand the theory that underpins something you already know or want to learn.
There is no obligation to attend all items in a theme. Can you please express interest as to which workshops you would be interested in attending. Please register interest for all workshops, even if on the same day; timetabling may be adjusted to suit.
Sometime in the few weeks, the Guild website will be moving. BT are closing the current hosting location and so the site will revert to www.pdg.org.uk. This address currently forwards to the current site, it will transition to the new site when it is ready. If you have the Guild site referenced, please update your link. If you know of any external links that need updating, please let me know.
This mentions a survey that has been sent out by a number of Guilds and Associations. One has been sent out in this Guild to Tower Captains and Tower correspondents. Please fill this in, if you have received it. All information is useful as we navigate our way back to ringing. Thank you to those who have already done so.
The Church of England has partnered with the Marie Curie organisation on a day of reflection to mark a year since we entered lockdown. Bellringers have been invited by the Church to participate in this day by marking the end of the one minute silent reflection at 12 noon by tolling a bell at 12:01.
Borrowing an idea from an old Ringing World edition. Some towers have names that are compound words. How many rings of 8 can you find that are compounds of only this list of words: AGE, ALE, ALL AM, ARK, BAGS, BAR, BOLD, CAR, CARS, CHECK, COD, DEC, DON, DROP, EN, END, FIELD, FORD, HAIL, HALT, HAM, HAT, HERN, HERS, HIGH, HOT HOVER, KING,LOW, MAR, OFF, ON, PAR, RAW, SEA, SHAM, SIDE, STAIN, TALL TENS, THEN, TON, WANT, WET, WITH and WORTH.
The answer may be different from those stated in the puzzle for 1974 and 1992!
An introduction to conducting doubles methods. https://youtu.be/3nEeK-alykc Even if you don’t conduct, it can give insights into how the method is constructed and tips to stay right yourself.
In honour of World Book Day, here’s another book with a promising title. The Belfry Murder is not the outcome of a heated argument about who caused the fire up. Instead it’s a Golden Age mystery. It takes a good half the book for the corpse to appear at all and the belfry’s role is limited to the site of a grisly discovery after the bell tolled once, in suitably spooky and suspicious way…. The search for another good book featuring ringing continues.
Ahead of the Guild’s 50th anniversary in January 1974, Rothwell and a band of Guild ringers featured as the BBC’s Bells on Christmas morning. Thanks to Murray for the recording and Nick for the technical support. The commentary is something else! https://youtu.be/fBzUo7jrZ10
As ever, you know where we are if you need anything.
Secretary: Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers
Please see Helen’s Guild news update following the Guild Management Committee meeting held on Saturday 6 March. We will hear more about a return to ringing in due course. In the meantime, there is the opportunity to participate in Virtual Ringing Courses starting on 31 March.
An update for members on items arising out of yesterday’s Guild Management Committee meeting.
Guild Virtual Ringing Course – Easter 2021
The Guild is looking at putting on some online workshops. These would be via Zoom, with small groups and a tutor, making them interactive. Each would be ~ 45 minutes of workshop, plus setup and social. Zoom time intended to be no more than an hour. They are open to anyone interested. It might help refresh your memory of something you were ringing last year, or it might be an opportunity to understand the theory that underpins something you already know or want to learn.
There is no obligation to attend all items in a theme, and repeat sessions can be run if there is demand. Can you please express interest as to which workshops you would be interested in attending. Please register interest for all workshops, even if on the same day; timetabling may be adjusted to suit. Replies to me on email@example.com by 20th March, to give time for preparation.
If you feel you could contribute, the president would obviously very pleased to hear from you.
Wednesday 31st March
Saturday 3rd April
Wednesday 7th April
Saturday 10th April
Inspection and Maintenance
All about Stays & Ropes
Towers & Bell Frames
Calling Call Changes
Ropesight & Plain Hunt
Listening & Striking
Ringing Up & Down
Plain Bob method
Plain Bob Touches
Plain Bob Minor, including touches
St Clements Minor & Single Oxford Minor
Treble Bob & Little Bob Minor
Stedman Doubles & Triples
Treble Dodging Methods
Kent & Oxford Treble Bob Minor
Norwich & Annable’s London
Cambridge & Ipswich
London & Beverley Surprise Minor
Ringing on higher numbers
Terminology & Place Notation
Dates of Guild events.
The meeting debated the timing of upcoming Guild events for 2021. The conclusion is the diary below. Obviously the in-person events may have to be changed, according to circumstances at the time.
· AGM: 12th June to be held via Zoom
· Spring Meeting and 6 bell striking contest: 21st August – Northampton branch
· Summer Festival & inter branch 8 bell contest: 25th September – Thrapston branch
We will, of course, keep you up to date with any changes.
Returning to Ringing
There is obviously a lot at present that remains unknown about ringing again. This includes the requirements for distancing, masks, hand sanitising, session length, different ringer per rope etc etc etc. Rest assured that we will keep you up to date with information as it is available, including from the Central Council and the diocese.
Tower captains and correspondents can expect to hear from their branch Ringing Masters and Stewards in the near future. There will support available to enable towers to return to ringing; we need to know what support individuals, towers and branches will want, as it will vary. While we’re good, we’re not psychic. Talk to your branch or guild officers; we want to help.
And thank you to everyone who contributed to a productive meeting.
Secretary: Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers
On this rather dreary Monday, even if the weather is murky and overcast, we DO have reasons to be cheerful and optimistic about a return to real bellringing in the coming months. Do read the roadmap to ringing resumption below.
Readers might like to watch the youtube entries on maths and bellringing, and Plain Bob to place bells. Allow an hour for each.
Please note the Guild Management Committee are meeting on Saturday 6 March. Should anyone have any thoughts or items they wish to raise, then please send contributions to Alex Dyer, our Chair, and Nick Elks as the GMC Rep by Friday 5 March.
Let’s start with what I’m sure you’re all wanting to hear. The Government’s announcement of the roadmap for the country to leave lockdown has been discussed by the CCCBR and the CofE Recovery team. While dates remain open to change, and we can expect further details will emerge, there is a plan to open up ringing in accordance with the easing of lockdown nationally. This can be read here: https://cccbr.org.uk/2021/02/26/roadmap-to-ringing-resumption/ Limited ringing may be able to start as of 17th May, which I know is still some way off. But we could well be ringing come summer, and that has to be cause for optimism.
Now is the time to plan a tower inspection, write or revisit your risk assessment and keep in touch with your band.
Another television visit to Inverary to see the bells. This time Paul Murton is visiting different Scottish Lochs and drops in to the bell tower. Starts at ~ 23 minutes in. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000spt7
Another video showing the links between bellringing and maths. You may not have been an A* student, but you are using maths and group theory every time you ring. You can feel very smug about that. https://youtu.be/EHRZswpnnxU
The smallest people can ring the biggest bells. Even if that’s not your aim, this lets you in to some of the tips to ring more efficiently. https://youtu.be/ik4KuWgM_g8
A couple that will keep you quiet for ages this week. Legendary crossword setter Araucaria would have been 100 years old last week. To honour that, the Guardian found a few of his old puzzles, including 2 that are a fiendish offspring of plain bob doubles and a cryptic crossword. I wish you luck…
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers represents 65 different societies and associations, of which we are one. This puzzle is to fit the words in association titles into a grid. Organising bellringers is probably a bit like getting cats to walk in a parade! https://www.facebook.com/PDGCBR/posts/257034742568590
For those looking to arrange work or fund raising, the Listed Places of Worship Grant scheme is to continue.
What’s next on the reading list?
I’m a bit of a bookworm. I’m sure most ringers have heard of Dorothy L Sayers’ book “The Nine Tailors”, which has a ringing theme. But what other books are there that mention ringing? Bats in the Belfry by ECR Lorac maybe?? I bought it based on the title, but that misleads slightly. The Belfry in question is the name of a tower, and there are no bells beyond doorbells. Good mystery though. Available from British Library Crime Classics series. https://shop.bl.uk/products/bats-in-the-belfry-a-london-mystery
Next week is the Guild Management Committee. Your branch Chair and GMC rep should be attending. Get any thoughts and comments to them, so that your views are heard.
Secretary: Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers
A postscript to Helen Allton’s update of 14 February about Ringing Room. Readers might like a personal perspective. I am a Ringing Room regular with Nassington Tower ringers, led by Hilary Hardie and Terry Wright. We meet once a week and ring for an hour and a half. The average number of ringers is around 9-10. This number gives everyone a fair go at ringing during the allotted time. Once the early fear of Ringing Room dissipated, we mastered Plain Hunt on 5 and progressed to Bob Doubles. Once we had tackled that, we moved on to Grandsire. Then we moved on to Plain Hunt on 6, with a view to ringing Bob Minor – plain courses for now. It’s working! We are all challenged, but it’s a tonic after being at home, locked in by Covid and, until the other day, snow! It has been a steep learning curve and some weeks are better than others. It’s not just the ringing, but connectivity with the internet has been an intermittent issue. That said, Ringing Room is much better than no ringing. It allows us to learn and practice methods, albeit on a computer, without having to think about bell handling in a tower. The big question remains: how will this translate back into a real tower and real bells? In the interim, I’ve found it very helpful.
Please find below the latest update from Helen. Do note the deadline for participating in the survey in the paragraph headed “Your input needed”.
For those that use Ringing Room, Helen is interested in hearing how ringers find it. If you don’t use it, but are interested in doing so, then please contact Helen. She may be able to put like-minded and similar standard ringers together in a tower.
PS: A postscript to Helen Allton’s update of 14 February about Ringing Room. Readers might like a personal perspective. I am a Ringing Room regular with Nassington Tower ringers, led by Hilary Hardie and Terry Wright. We meet once a week and ring for an hour and a half. The average number of ringers is around 9-10. This number gives everyone a fair go at ringing during the allotted time. Once the early fear of Ringing Room dissipated, we mastered Plain Hunt on 5 and progressed to Bob Doubles. Once we had tackled that, we moved on to Grandsire. Then we moved on to Plain Hunt on 6, with a view to ringing Bob Minor – plain courses for now. It’s working! We are all challenged, but it’s a tonic after being at home, locked in by Covid and, until the other day, snow! It has been a steep learning curve and some weeks are better than others. It’s not just the ringing, but connectivity with the internet has been an intermittent issue. That said, Ringing Room is much better than no ringing. It allows us to learn and practice methods, albeit on a computer, without having to think about bell handling in a tower. The big question remains: how will this translate back into a real tower and real bells? In the interim, I’ve found it very helpful.
Let’s start this week with an anniversary, the 12th saw the 125th anniversary of the first woman to ring a peal. Alice White rang the treble to a peal of Grandsire Triples at Basingstoke in 1896. As a sensible woman, I bet she then realised that there are better things to do with 3 hours of her time! An article celebrating her success features in this week’s Ringing World. https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/
Your input needed
The University of York are conducting a survey on behalf of Church of England, Historic England, the Association of English Cathedrals, the National Churches Trust and the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance for you to contribute to thinking and planning at a key moment in the developing response to COVID-19. The aim is to draw together the experience and insights of clergy and other church staff, volunteers, congregations, and members of the wider community.
As volunteers associated with the church, bellringers can and should contribute to this survey, giving details of your needs in the belfry after lockdown restrictions are lifted. Are there more things churches/cathedrals could do to help you (and others) stay connected? What would you miss most if your church/cathedral was forced to close permanently?
The survey only takes a few minutes to complete. If we could get a significant proportion of ringers to complete it, it could help in informing and educating church and heritage organisations to the contribution that bellringers make. https://churchesandcovid.org/
The closing date is the 28th February, so please make an effort to complete this if you can.
The Guild is looking into the possibility of a series of talks on areas of ringing. That can be theory, teaching techniques, learning tips and tricks, maintenance, rope splicing, running a practice, community involvement, you name it really. If there is an area you want to know more or a topic that you think you could talk about, please get in touch. At present we’re gauging interest, so no commitment at this point.
This presentation was given as part of the Churches Conservation Trust’s lunchtime lectures, as an introduction to ringing and its history. https://youtu.be/lqw6E9zQjtU
And this lecture on the mathematics of bellringing covers both tuning and methods. This was by the Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, Sarah Hart, as part of a series of lectures on mathematics in music and writing. https://youtu.be/44jXUo6KaVs
This has now been with us for almost a year. Why use it? • It can help with listening skills and ringing by rhythm.
• Learners don’t need to worry about controlling the bell AND knowing the method.
• A good way to learn ringing the tenor behind to odd bell methods.
• You get some social interaction
• You get to ring in your pyjamas – as long as you turn the video off!!
• It’s fun!
If you’re using it, how have you found it? If you wanted to do more, get in touch and we can look at putting like-minded people in touch to progress.
The wordsearch features the Letter N. There are a few interesting names, including my maiden name. Plus some local links, Naseby, Northampton and Nene. The picture is of the Nene looking serene. Controversial question – does that rhyme? https://www.facebook.com/PDGCBR/posts/246414516963946
The Central Council and ART have together published the third Survival and Recovery newsletter. It can be downloaded here. https://cccbr.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Survival-Recovery-Newsheet-Issue-3.pdf It discusses a toolbox. That has already been sent out to branches for them to discuss what might be needed or could happen at branch level. We’ll be aiming to support you from Guild level. You can expect to see some of the items in the weekly updates as the weeks progress. Let us know what you want to see happen.
Please see the following e-mail from Helen reminding Branch Secretaries and Treasurers of how to access the Training Fund and what it would cover.
In the hope that we will be able to ring in towers around the Branch sometime later this year, it is a timely reminder that there is a Training Fund. Little or no ringing for over twelve months means getting back to real bell handling and ringing may require some help for some of us.
To: Branch Secretaries & Treasurers.
In today’s F&GP meeting, a question was asked about how to access the Training fund and what it would cover.
The form to apply for a grant is available from the same page and is relatively simple. The Fund will consider applications for equipment, attending training courses, running training course or ongoing training. Applications can be made by individuals, a tower, a group of towers, or branches. The extent of the benefit of the training is an important element of the application. This is looking at who will benefit from the training, both immediately and in the future.
Applications go to the Master for review and I’m sure he’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. We are all aware that this will be an important part of beginning ringing when we are able. Can you please communicate out to anyone who might find this relevant.