Author Archives: Steve Vickars

updated guidance re. Return to Ringing

Opening cathedral and church buildings advice v.1_0


Kathryn Grant:

Re bellringing – see p.9 in the attachments with links in the ‘opening cathedral and church
buildings advice’.
Here are some particularly pertinent points:

It’s not up to us – It is up to the Incumbent whether we ring or not.
Re-starting ringing should be with their permission.

Clock room and any intermediate spaces – Clock may have stopped and links
disconnected (risk of tangling with bell installation)
Check pulleys still running freely
Check nothing has come dislodged and could interfere with the ropes when
Bell chamber – Check nothing is obstructing any of the bells
Bells left up may have filled with water
Check for nesting birds, squirrels, etc
If work has been done in the tower check that nothing has been left in the
way of bells
Inspect ropes for rot or rodent damage
Are shutters / louvres in place correctly?
Check generally that nothing untoward seems to have occurred

Ropes to be used should be at least 2m apart to comply with current
Government guidance. Measure this accurately so that you are sure where
ringers will stand and move during any ringing. Mark this out on a floor
plan, ideally on the floor if this can be done safely and without lasting
damage to the
floor surface. In most towers this will only enable only a few bells to be
used while maintaining “social distancing”. As well as spacing, consider
seriously the
sound that will be heard by neighbours; use only musical combinations of
bells, but only where they are 2m apart.

Ringing will be for specific purposes only agreed with the Incumbent, and
for a short period, no more than 15 minutes.

Advise ringers that in the limited time they will only ring up, ring a short
touch and ring down. Pre-plan what it may be feasible to ring given the
Whoever rings the bell up, rings it to the end of the session and then rings
it down.

Use a (minimum residue) hand sanitiser and do not use creams or lotions that
leave residues on ropes. Alcohol 60% – 70% is recommended. Allow it to dry
per the instructions (maybe 15s – 20s) so there is no residue and any
flammable vapours have dispersed and certainly before operating any

If required, ringers should agree to use protective equipment correctly.
Each ringer should wear a face covering, put on before entering the church
removed only after leaving the church. Use a suitable washing / disposal
facility. Consider most towers to be more akin to public transport as a
guide to what
protection to adopt. Note that gloves do not provide any protection. The
risk of sneezing and heavier breathing while ringing makes use of a face
covering desirable. Avoid touching your face or face covering whilst wearing

It’s not up to us – It is up to the Incumbent whether we ring or not.
Re-starting ringing should be with their permission.

All best, Kathryn

Kathryn Grant, Bicester Branch secretary
Church Key Cottage
The Walk, Islip, Oxfordshire OX5  2SD

Latest CCCBR communications on phased return to ringing after COVID-19

Here’s a message from the Oxford Diocesan Guild regarding the start of the process of returning to full-circle ringing.
Dear All
Simon Linford, President of the Central Council, has published an update on
the ringing situation that is available at
Further details can also be found at
This webpage includes guidance on further aspects of preparation for the
resumption of ringing.
It should of course be stressed that incumbents at your churches should be
consulted before any steps are taken.
Please ensure that this information is passed to all members.
Ken Darvill
Hon General Secretary
Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

Details of Guild AGM 30th May

Here are further details of the Oxford Diocesan Guild AGM, scheduled for
Saturday 30 May 4.30pm for 5pm. ACTIONS to be taken NOW are:

–          Pre-register if planning to attend or send apologies if not
(let’s have a good showing from the Bicester Branch!);

–          Send Ken Darvill (contact details below) details if you want toODG AGM Webinar Instructions v4
speak on any agenda item or raise an AOB;

–          Send Ken Darvill officer nominations if you wish to make any;

–          Remember the test session on Monday (6-6.30pm) particularly if
you are not familiar with Zoom;

–          Keep safe this email and the one that you received after
pre-registering since they have the necessary links.

Final Details

I attach the details showing how to pre-register and join the meeting. This
document also shows how the meeting will run including how voting will work.
Note particularly the request to join the meeting between 4:30 & 4:45pm if
possible to aid the moderators who will admit you into the meeting.

If you want to send apologies for absence, preferably do so in advance of
the meeting by email to <> .

If you know in advance that you wish to raise any subject for AOB or to
speak on any other agenda item, it will help in the smooth running of this
virtual meeting if you could notify me in advance. However the attached
document does show how you can indicate during the meeting if you wish to
speak. The same goes for officer nominations.

For the trial session on Monday at 6pm., you do not need to pre-register.
The link is below.

The final version of the agenda and paperwork on the website will be updated
and available from Thursday including who has been nominated for the officer

At the end of business of the AGM there will be an informal chat session for
which you will need to join a fresh Zoom meeting. The link for that is

Summary of Links

For the Test session: Monday 6:00 – 6:30pm use the link here

If you have not yet pre-registered, click here:

The agenda & paperwork (updated this coming Thursday) is at :

For the AGM itself on Saturday 4:30pm onwards, use the link on the email
sent to you after you registered.

For the informal chat on Saturday following the AGM meeting use URL.

Ken Darvill, Hon Gen Sec, 01494 713217,

A copy of the iinstructions can be downloaded from here:

Quarter Peal at Kirtlington 1st March 2020

This afternoon at Kirtlington, a band completed a very nicely struck Quarter Peal of Grandsire Doubles, rung to celebrate the 32 years of service given by Jean Sambrook to Kirtlington Village Shop. The quarter, conducted expertly by Hugh Deam, was also Charlie Bates’ first inside to the method, supported by Teresa, Kathryn, Paul and Steve.

This was also Charlie’s final practical target for his ART Learning the Ropes Level 5, achieved in less than eighteen months after starting to learn to ring. Very many congratulations, Charlie!

The Bellboard record is at:


Focussed Practice 16th February 2020 at Bletchingdon

A very successful Focussed Practice this afternoon with a strong band of helpers to support five of our regular ringers progress in trebling and inside to doubles and minor methods.

Sue M rang 3rd inside to plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, then trebled to a touch of St Simons bob doubles.

Sue C rang 3rd inside to plain courses of Grandsire doubles, then trebled to Plain Hunt Minor and two plain courses of Bob Minor, a first.

Judith rang inside to touches of Grandsire doubles, practicing different work bobs and singles at and near lead.

Charlie rang inside to different touches of Grandsire Doubles, in the end without a stander (not needed), and also trebled to a plain course of Cambridge Surprise Minor, for the benefit of Benjamin.

I think everyone got a “prime ring” and will have gained confidence in their chosen work.

Our helpers were rewarded with tea, coffee and cake, brought by the students, and was much appreciated.

I hope to arrange a further session on 1st March, more focussed on Plain Hunt and trebling to doubles. Watch this space!

the band of students and helpers

Weston on the green

Branch Practice at Weston on-the-Green 13th February 2020

Ten ringers came to tonight’s branch practice, including a welcome back to Charles and Rachel Morrish from Old North Berks Branch and also Gilly, a recent recruit to the Weston band, who received instruction from Andrew at intervals during the practice.

With us were Jeremy, Kathryn and Teresa, so we were able to provide a good band around the Weston ringers.

After warming up with a number of courses of Plain Hunt on five, we rang a few plain courses of Grandsire Doubles with Andrew on treble and Gerald on two, quite nicely struck.

Next we rang a well struck touch of Grandsire Doubles for the more experienced ringers, followed by more plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, then a nicely struck touch of Plain Bob Minor, called by Charles.

Finally, we gave Mandy and Gerald a chance to ring treble to mini-touches of  Grandsire Doubles, with a strong band and a stander to help them. Well done Mandy and Gerald.

We all appreciated the improvements that the Weston team have recently made in moving the ropes for bells two and three away from the wall to improve the ringing circle. The good news is that a faculty has been granted for the remainder of the work, including inserting another floor to add sound control and ensure straight fall of ropes and improvements to the lighting in the ringing chamber and belfry.

It would be nice to think that we will see these welcome improvements at practices at Weston in the near future.

Hope to see lots of you at the Branch AGM on Saturday 15th February at Bletchingdon.

2020 AGM Notice, Guild Report, other documents

Attached are the AGM notice, Guild Report and other documents to be discussed at the 2020 AGM.

AGM Notice

AGM notice and agenda – 2020 Minutes-AGM-2019 Guild Report 2019

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer’s report 2019 (AGM 2020)

Guild Representative’s report:

Guild Representative Report February v2 2020

Web Manager’s Report

Bicester Branch Web Manager Report

AGM Minutes


Branch Practice 21st January at Bicester

Sixteen ringers from six towers and two branches came to tonight’s branch practice at Bicester, including a warm welcome to Darren, from Central Bucks Branch. Proceedings were led by our joint ringing master Jeremy, with Teresa and Kathryn.

After ringing up we rang rounds and call changes on ten, then rang Plain Hunt on Seven for Sue, Helen and Chris.

We next rang two nicely struck plain courses of Plain Bob Minor for Anne, Faye trebling, called by Steve, followed by more rounds and call changes on six for one of the Islip recruits.

Next up a plain course of Kent Minor for James to treble bob to, guided by Jeremy, which made it to the end, so a first for James.

In an interval, Teresa presented Sue with her ART LTR Level 3 certificate, achieved last week with her Quarter Peal at tenor to Grandsire Doubles. Congratulations, Sue!

We rang some plain hunt on five for Mandy, Chris and Jane, then Mandy was stretched a bit further by trebling to a touch of Grandsire Doubles. Well done, Mandy!

We then rang a couple of plain courses of Grandsire Triples, then more rounds on six. Finally all ten rang in rounds before we lowered the front four and back six in peal.

Good to see lots of people tonight. Hope to see lots of you again at the next Branch Practice on 13th February at Weston, to experience the recent improvements to the rope circle.

Teresa presenting Sue with her LTR L3 certificate

Branch Practice at Islip 7th January 2020

A very healthy 18 ringers from seven towers came to the first Branch Practice of 2020 at Islip on the 7th January, including two new recruits from Charlton, who got a number of goes at handling practice.

In charge were Richard and Jeremy our Ringing Masters, who were keen to get all eight bells going as much as possible, so we started with Plain Hunt on seven with Mandy, Andrew and Gerald from Weston and Chris and Jane from Bicester.

From there we rang a number of rounds and call changes on eight for our less experienced ringers, then a number of plain courses of Grandsire Doubles, with Judith inside and Sue covering. Gerald and Andrew had turns at ringing the 2 to these After more rounds and call changes, we rang a touch of Grandsire Doubles, again with Judith inside (assisted by Richard) and Sue covering, Fay, Jeremy and Teresa supporting.

More rounds and call changes followed, with a couple of plain courses of Plain Hunt on five, then a plain course of Plain Bob Minor for our helpers and Sue trebling. Well done Sue!

A full practice again, with very encouraging numbers.  Hope to see lots of you at the next Branch Practice at Bicester on 21st January.

Bicester Branch recruits gather at Abingdon

On Saturday 4th January the first group handling session of the year was held at St Helen’s Abingdon, attended by five learners from Weston, Wendlebury and Kirtlington plus Andrew gaining experience in teaching handling. Susan Read and her Abingdon team have most kindly offered to host training sessions at St Helens every Saturday morning until end March, so that we can offer training to a large number of recent recruits from Kirtlington, Weston and nearby.

This was a really good session, with one or more teachers per student and five learning at the same time.

I think the future of teaching handling looks quite like this.

Andrew and Christine working together in the photo

Andrew and Christine working together