Ringing World 5251/2 (16/23 December 2011)
Front Cover: ‘Six for the 600th’ – The ring at St Salvator’s Chapel, St Andrews University
by Gareth Bennett
For as long as I have been visiting St Andrews (nearly 30 years now) the University Ringing Society had travelled to Dundee once a week to join the practice at St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral; there being no bells in St Andrews suitable for change ringing. The two original bells in St Salvator’s tower, Kate and Elizabeth, were hung on full-circle wheels as long ago as 1940, but whether they were ever rung this way is doubtful. In any case, Plain Hunt on Two does have its limitations in change-ringing interest, as well as trying the patience of the neighbours. So it was with great interest that I learned of the project ‘Six for the 600th’, to augment the ring to six bells in celebration of the 600th Anniversary of the foundation of the University.
Christmas message from the Central Council President
I have never really grown out of that child-like sense of excitement as Christmas approaches. For me it peaks on Christmas Eve, which is the most enchanting day of the year. To listen to the Nine Lessons & Carols from Kings College as I put together the final touches to food, to eat with friends, to ring for and attend Midnight Mass, where we also have a superb choir, to collapse into bed at about 2am with so much choral and bell music ringing in my ears – there is really no greater joy.
Around the World (well almost) in 27 towers by Lian von Wantoch (Washington, DC)
It has long been my dream to circumnavigate the globe and, after I started ringing in London in 2007, tower grabbing became part of the plan. In July and August this year I was able to do just that.
The first hurdle was to convince my boss to allow me two full months off work, but then I faced the puzzle of fitting together flights, trains, tour schedules, practice nights and service ringing. Could I really, as a lone ringer, make bells a central feature of my trip? The answer, with the help of generous ringers worldwide, was a resounding “yes”.
Ringing machines on display at exhibition
The Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition is an annual event for Model Engineers. Over five days, this event provides an opportunity for people to exhibit their work, and to view other people’s work. I normally attend for one day, but this year I decided I would like to exhibit the Carter Ringing Machine as I thought it would make an interesting change from the more regular display of steam locomotives and engines.
Face to Face with The RW Editor: Robert Lewis by Sue Lucas
The Ringing World’s Centenary Year is nearly over. No Editor can have more than one chance at seeing through a centenary, and it is the sort of occasion which can be the highlight of an editorship, an inspiration for the next hundred years, and a chance to look back. A good time, then, to talk to Robert Lewis about the year, ringing and ringers, and himself.
Ringing for CHOGM by Wizened of Oz
Over the past ten years, the ringers at the Bell Tower in Perth, Western Australia have become quite accustomed to being in the public eye: such is the nature of the tower. We have also become extremely adept at taking part in live performances with other musicians, usually positioned either on the Esplanade Reserve or Supreme Court Gardens on the other side of Riverside Drive. In early December, for the fourth year in succession, we will be part of a performance of the ‘1812 Overture’ given by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) as the Grand Finale to their annual free Symphony in the City concert – sadly this may be the last of these very popular concerts as the State Government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to redevelop the beautiful Esplanade Reserve, on which the concert takes place.
Illuminated records of ‘The Great Adventure’ by Philip Green
I found your ‘Face to Face’ interview with Mrs Susan Giles, (RW pp.981-983) particularly interesting. It coincides with a project I am currently working on.
Firstly some information about the picture on board ship at Singapore. From left to right the people in that photograph are, Revd Banks James, Enid Richardson, John Sparkes Goldsmith, Rupert Richardson and Annie Richardson. Enid is Rupert and Annie’s daughter, now Enid Wayman. Enid’s garden was used as the base for the 2003 12-bell striking contest at Surfleet; she presented the John Taylor trophy to the winners, Birmingham.
Logos for kneelers - VALERIE CLARK
Caught in the act - John Gwynne
Martin Creed’s Work 1197 ‘All the bells’ - Roger Tompsett
Olympic Ringing – as much as possible please! - Kate Flavell
Russian bell weights - John Tuck
James George 1853-1951, A ringing legend from the Midlands
But why was he laid to rest in a Dorset cemetery? Keith Fleming investigates
If, like me, you have heard of the name James George, but are not aware of what this remarkable man achieved in his lifetime, then read on and I will try to do justice to his memory, in this year – the sixtieth anniversary of his death.
This quest started rather by chance with my reading some information about James on the Central Council Biographies Committee web site. ‘Buried in Poole Cemetery’ were the words that jumped off the page at me and attracted my attention. I live in Poole and not more than a fifteen minutes’ walk from this place and so I decided that I must investigate further, and thereby began for me what has been a really fascinating journey through both local and national ringing history.
The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam Enthroned as Bishop of Salisbury
On Saturday, October 15th, a day of glorious sunshine, and in the presence of a huge congregation, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam was enthroned as Bishop of Salisbury.
A good many were present from St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, where he had been Vicar for almost sixteen years, and they included clergy, choir, members of the congregation and ringers. Nick learned to ring at St Andrew’s, Enfield in about 1967 - 68, and from time to time he joined us in the tower at St Martin’s. His final involvement in ringing with us was to cover for a quarter peal of Stedman Triples; his first quarter peal since he was ordained 33 years ago.
The best peal in England … The last word in every respect by David Cawley – part II
In his first instalment back in February, David Cawley explored the early history of bells at Dunstan-in-the-East in the City of London, and set the scene for the story of the legendary post-war replacement ring – which was destined to enjoy only a short life in the tower before plans to re-build the rest of the church were abandoned. Here David recounts the story from the destruction of the Blitz – “The Second Great Fire” – to the installation of the new 21cwt Taylor peal – which so few ringers had the privilege to enjoy – and explains what subsequently became of those acclaimed bells.
2011 European Bell Founders’ Conference at Ekaterinburg, Russia by Kathryn Hughes
September 7th - 10th saw a select gathering of European Bell founders in Ekaterinburg, Russia at the invitation of Nicolai and Galina Pyatkov of Pyatkov and Co., whose bell foundry is situated in Kamensk-Uralsky in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia, near the border between the Asian and European continents in the Ural mountains.
The smallest gathering since its inception over 30 years ago, the annual conference was attended by representatives from the following foundries: Eijsbouts (Holland), Reutschi (Switzerland), Grassmayer (Austria), Whitechapel (England), Rincker (Germany), Cornille Havard (France) and Campanas Quintana (Spain).
What’s up that tower?
Chris Pickford explores … North Petherton, Somerset
The county of Somerset is noted for its splendid church towers. Indeed, elaborately decorated towers elsewhere are frequently referred to as being of Somerset type. Moreover, the style has been widely imitated abroad, especially in North America.
To ringers, of course, Somerset is also known as a county of heavy bells. Big tenors in Somerset include those at Wells (56cwt), Yeovil (40cwt), Wrington and Queen Camel (both 36cwt) and there are many heavy rings of eight, six and five.
It is therefore surprising that a county so far-famed for its towers and bells should have been for so long without an authoritative and up-to-date survey of its bells. Little has appeared in print since Ellacombe’s original Church Bells of Somerset in 1874. The recent publication of the late George Massey’s study of Somerset bells fills a huge hole on the map and gives us a most welcome update on a county rich in bells and bell history.
“For now I’m a judge …”
[OK, you can skip the chorus.]
The other day I went on a course run by the Beer Academy (www.beeracademy.co.uk): “How to judge beer”. Assuming you wish to be fair and consistent, judging beer can be a bit nerve-wracking, like judging a striking contest. There’s not the same time constraint of course; at least you can take another sip of beer, whereas once you’ve heard a change it’s gone and you’re listening to the next one. But tasting beer, like listening to ringing, can be a very subjective experience, so I went along to the White Horse in Parsons Green hoping to gain a little more objectivity in the matter.
The Hereford Ringing Course reaches 50
The 2012 Hereford course will be the 50th. Founded in 1963 by Wilfrid Moreton, assisted by George Cousins and Austin Wingate, the course has grown from teaching around twenty students each year to over ninety. Many ringers have taken part over the 50 years, as students, helpers and tutors (with a few in all three categories!) and to celebrate this landmark we are planning some special events next April, which we hope many former participants will join.
New Diamond Jubilee bells for the City of London by Dickon R. Love
The year 2012 will be a very important year in the life of this nation as it sees our redoubtable Monarch reach the dizzy milestone of her Diamond Jubilee. This has only been achieved once before, by Queen Victoria in 1897. Jubilees are important ringing occasions, and quite often churches will look to restore their bells to ensure that they too can take part in the celebrations. The City of London will be getting not one, but two new rings of bells, and in both cases the Jubilee will be the important focal point for their delivery. In addition, one of these will lead the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant as they ring from a purpose built tower standing on a boat leading Her Majesty down the Thames!
Campanological Collectables by Chris Ridley
Research into the history of ringing has produced a wealth of historical information over the years, but there are still areas on which only limited material is published. This includes ringing badges, society membership certificates and ringing prints, which I have long had an interest in both as a collector and from a historical research perspective.
Thoughts on the Ringing World Centenary Day
My first thoughts came long before 24th March 2011. The paper work arrived in efficient order and I opted for a walk, a tour of the abbey, the service, tea and finally the handbell concert. Four of us would travel together so car and parking beside the Abbey seemed cheapest and easiest. Then the downside … the TUC announced a large protest march along the same roads we expected to traverse. Monday a quick phone call to Westminster Parking (well, a slow phone call: “If you want to pay a parking fine, press 1, If you want to challenge a parking fine, press 2” etc., etc. But eventually a human who said they had not been told of any problem and the car park would be open). By Thursday, press releases were firmly saying the roads round the Abbey would be closed – another hour on the phone and it was agreed we could not use that car park, we could get a refund and we could book into Pimlico! Then the press really started talking up the march and I had visions of the poor man who died during the student riots when merely trying to walk home from work … No one seemed to share this concern, everyone was still intending to go to London so I worried about more basic matters. What to wear on the feet (London pavements are SO hard). How hot or cold? Should I carry a drink? Would all kiosks be closed against the marchers?
“I’m a small offset man myself!” With some apprehension I looked at the speaker. He was over six feet tall, bordering on obese, but he appeared balanced enough, offset neither to one side nor the other. We were both waiting at the trade counter of a paper merchant and had exchanged views about the current weather. In that context, I understood his claim: he was a printer using small offset-lithography presses, not huge five-colour Heidelbergs or Solnas.
“What are you in?” he asked.
“Letterpress”, I replied.
He looked at me in astonishment. “Letterpress? Hot-metal? Blimey! I thought that had died out years ago!” It has, commercially. Letterpress printing, using raised metal type, the sort Gutenberg and Caxton made popular centuries ago, has disappeared in my lifetime. When I started work over fifty years ago most newspapers, books and most general jobbing work were printed letterpress. Now, almost everything is printed by the offset-lithography process. About the only survivors using letterpress are a few hobby printers.
Thought for the week
By this weekend I guess that most of us will be ringing for or will have rung for at least one Christmas Carol Service. It’s not just for us that Christmas bells are an indispensible part of this season: Charles Dickens in his famous story Christmas Carol depicted the relief of tight-fisted Scrooge who woke on Christmas morning to the sound of church bells.
Icon of St Agatha
The splendid icon of St Agatha reproduced on the back page is the work of John Coleman of Maiden Newton, Dorset. It was presented to Andrew Nicholson at the AGM of the West Dorset Branch of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild, held at Beaminster on 19th November 2011 – as a mark of respect from the artist and the ringers of the West Dorset Branch to acknowledge Andrew’s huge contribution to the Exercise, recognising also the part that his Christian faith has played in that work. The presentation was made by the Salisbury Guild President, Ross Robertson. In this short article John Coleman explains what is known about the ‘patron saint of bell ringers’ (we say “the” patron – although some say that St Anthony, St Barbara and St Dunstan also have claims on the title!).