News 2020

June - No Ringing on Trips in the Past

Annual Trips for Bell Ringers were organized and planned in meticulous detail up to the late 1960’s.  These trips never involved any bell ringing the main purpose appeared to be sight-seeing, eating and certainly much alcohol was taken! 

We are missing our annual trip this year but in contrast to past trips our trips in the 21st Century can involve weekends away and the purpose is to experience ringing the bells of as many towers in the locality visited as possible.  Sight-seeing may be fitted in, eating is enjoyed and certainly some alcohol is taken!

Here are details of Bingley All Saints’ Bell Ringers Trip to Derbyshire 18th August 1956
8.30am: Depart Bingley by Coach travel via Bradford, Huddersfield, Holmfirth, Woodhead and Glossop A616 to Honley then A6024.

11.00am: Stop in Glossop then travel via A624.

12.30pm: Arrive Buxton for lunch at The Eagle Hotel Market Place:
  • Cream of Tomato Soup
  • Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce, Roasted and Boiled
  • Potatoes, Garden Peas
  • Fruit and Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Roll and Coffee.
Price per Head 6/6 (32 pence)

2.00pm: Leave Buxton travel on A515/A5012 via Cromford to Matlock visit Hadden Hall.

3.30pm: Depart Matlock via A6/A623 to Baslow and Chatsworth House.

5.00pm: High Tea at The Devonshire Arms Hotel, Chatsworth:
  • Cold Chicken Salad
  • Bread, Butter and Jam
  • Cakes and Pastries.
Price per Head 7/6 (37 pence)

7.00pm: Return on A623 via Calver, Hathersage, Bamford, Glossop, Holmfirth, Huddersfield, Bradford to Bingley.

Cost to each ringer £1.12s 0d (£1.60)

Ann Cossavella

May - Ringing Is Cancelled Until Further Notice.

As March arrived our tower, like many others, began to look forward to the year ahead and the regular activities which must go into the diary for the spring and summer months.  Lists are created and ringers consult their diaries to sign up for these activities.  Our tower’s list of activities included the Spring Weekend Ringing Trip in the East Midlands, ringing for weddings, due to start in Easter week, ringing to celebrate Mother’s Day, Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and the date for the Annual Striking Competition.  This year, also on our list of things to look forward to, was ringing to celebrate 75 years since Victory in Europe at the end of WWII which was to coincide with celebrations in the town and a beer festival centred on Church House.

As usual we rang for the Sunday Service on 15th March, with a couple of our ringers, who are over 70 years old, missing to avoid any risk of exposure to the Corona virus.  On 16th March new updates on the Corona virus issued by the UK government, included avoiding any “non-essential” travel and contact with others and avoiding pubs, clubs, theatres and social gatherings.  As a consequence all ringing activities were cancelled immediately.  More draconian, but necessary, measures were announced by the Prime Minister on 23rd March, and we learned what the rules were surrounding social isolation, social distancing, shielding the vulnerable and staying home to stay safe.

Across the nation our website, like others, states clearly: “Please note that all ringing is cancelled until further notice due to the current Coronavirus threat”.

The last time this type of national direction was given was on June 13th 1940 then the order was given out on the wireless that; “Church and Chapel bells must not be rung except for air raids."

Almost 80 years, on let us hope that sometime this year there will be a national direction that Church and Chapel Bells can and should be rung again in order to celebrate the end of the global threat this virus has presented.

Ann Cossavella  

April - Our Seesaw Month of Gain and Loss.

This month has been a seesaw month of gain and loss in the tower.  We were sorry to hear that the roof of Saltaire United Reform Church has suffered damage from the recent storms and this has resulted in a suspension of bell ringing at the church until the problems have been addressed.  Pardoning the pun: “It is an ill wind that blows no one any good.”  

Our Tuesday practices are now benefitting from the presence of two extra and very experienced ringers from Saltaire and their young son, who, for a ringer under ten years of age, is a joy to watch.  He provides an incentive to us all, as he overcomes his disadvantages in size and weight, to tackle much heavier bells than Saltaire’s, with a frequent grin of pleasure as he does so. 

On the down side of the month, we are once again faced with the issue of ageing ringers, because with that ageing comes all sorts of health difficulties which knock on to the bell ringing skills.  One of our most stalwart, regular ringers and tower members, Meredith Woode has been instructed by his doctors to take a long term break from ringing while his health is addressed.  Meredith has been a member of the team for almost 20 years and in that time has been the “go to” person for all sorts of aspects of ringing and tower life.  He has rung two full peals and well over 40 quarter peals in our tower and around the Aire, Wharfe and Worth Valley Churches.  He has been a regular for all service ringing and a frequent conductor/ringer at weddings over the years.  It has also been Meredith’s role for many years to ring the Pancake Bell.  Meredith has supported our tower and other local towers in supporting new ringers and has held the roles of Steeple Keeper and Treasurer for our tower.   

It is perhaps appropriate that this piece, thanking Meredith for his long term support of the tower, should include a couple of puns.  Among all the ringers in the tower Meredith is the one who most enjoys relating these types of cringe-making anecdotes and jokes.  We miss Meredith in all his aspects and hope he soon returns to “All the bells and whistles” of good health again!!  

Ann Cossavella                                                                

March - “Reports Of Our Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”!

In order to ensure we continue to develop our ringing skills we have decided throughout 2020 to have a “Method of the Month”.  This means that each month this year, as a ringing team, we will learn or revisit a different method.  

A ringing method is a set pattern or distinct sequence in the order in which the eight bells of the tower are rung.  The method is committed to memory by each ringer, who will use a variety of techniques to remember the pattern.  There are over 20,000 methods in total registered by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.  The one we chose for January was St. Clement’s. 

It is unclear how this method was named but it possibly relates to the church of St Clement’s in the famous nursery rhyme.  Regular practice over the month has significantly improved our ability to ring it with some competence. However, at the end of the month we were a bit confused to see a headline article in The Times newspaper announcing “Technology Sounds Death Knell for Bell-Ringers”.  

This was an ill-informed article, porting that the single bell hung in the Catholic Cathedral of Shrewsbury had been fitted with an electronic device, which will make it toll at the press of a switch.  This is a long way from eight bells, being rung by eighgt ringers, ringing a method where each bell changes place on each blow.  This electronic tolling at Shrewsbury would be a single bell going “dong” repetitively.  So we feel that to paraphrase a saying by S. Clemens (Mark Twain), a name which coincidently is very close to the method name St. Clements: “Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated”!

Ann Cossavella                                                                

January / February - Snowdrop Treble Bob Minor

It was the habit of our ringers two hundred years ago to name their methods or “tunes” (to the uninitiated) after flowers. 

In “Campanology on the Bingley Bells” 1875, by 'One of the Craft' we hear about a performance, rung in 1849, of a “Crown Bob on the Three Flowers”, the methods being Violet, Tulip and Primrose.  These would be rung, one after the other, directed by calls from the conductor.  

A far more complex and challenging performance was composed around 1850 by James Platt of Saddleworth which included the method, Snowdrop.  This was the first ever spliced composition where the methods are changed back and forth during the ringing – something to really keep the ringers on their toes!  Platt's beautifully evocative gravestone in Saddleworth churchyard bears the legend, “An eminent Campanologist and Musician”, and carries an exquisitely carved church bell with a broken rope alongside a broken fife, both of which were now silenced for him.

The gravestone of James Platt

Karl Grave