About this Guild

The Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers has ten branches through which its aims within the Peterborough Diocese are put into practice.  The aims are:

  1.  Ringing for Divine Service
  2.  Recruiting and training of Ringers
  3.  Encouraging the art of Change Ringing
  4.  Helping Ringers to improve their standard of ringing
  5.  Care and Restoration of Bells and their fittings

The Guild provides advice to ringers and the diocese but does not have any power to permit or control the ringing of bells.  Most of the bells in this diocese are in the ownership of the Church of England where the incumbent has the final word on whether the bells shall or shall not be rung on any occasion.  A few bells are under the control of the Churches Conservation Trust marked CCT in the list of Guild Towers.

Membership of the Guild is gained by election at any branch meeting of a person who can ring rounds.

Members of each branch need to elect annually a number of officers: Chairman, Ringing Master, Secretary/Treasurer, Steward and Management Committee representative are amongst the most important.  It is a ‘bottom-up’ Guild operating through three committees:

Finance and General Purposes Committee, which includes all the branch secretary / treasurers meeting together chaired by the Guild Secretary and Treasurer, usually twice a year;

Recruitment & Training Committee, which includes all the branch ringing masters meeting together once a year to share ideas and good practice, chaired by the Master, who also administers the Guild Training Fund ; and

Restoration & Maintenance Committee, which comprises all the branch stewards meeting and chaired by the Guild Steward, once a year to share ideas and good practice. The Guild Steward manages the Guild Bell Fund and recommends grants, usually of around 10% of total project cost, to particular restoration projects for the membership to approve or otherwise.

 

These committees report to the Guild Management Committee which consists of all branch chairmen, all branch management committee representatives, all the Guild Officers, our Central Council of Church Bellringers elected representatives, up to five representatives from the Diocesan Synod, chaired by the President. The committee usually meets once a year on the first Saturday in March. The Committee authorises an Annual Report for each calendar year.  It is published in late Spring to provide information on the Guild, its branches, members and towers. The current edition is available at £4 post free (£1.50 for members) from the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

This committee reports to, and seeks any recommended changes, through the membership at the Guild’s  Annual General Meeting, held on the second Saturday in June each year, chaired by the President and hosted in turn by each branch.

The Annual General Meeting can elect members as Life Honorary Members (LHM) in recognition of outstanding service to the Guild. They can be proposed either on behalf of the Guild Management Committee or on behalf of a branch.  A list of LHMs is shown below.

Most of the Guild’s work takes place at branch level and the Guild's annually elected officers are there to share with assistance, advice and support.  The Guild runs a few events each year to bring ringers from all branches together.  These are the Spring Festival in April (a six-bell striking competition); Summer Festival (an inter-branch 8-bell striking competition), and events to raise money for the Guild’s Bell Fund, like sponsored walks, or rides, quizzes and the  Guild 100 Club.

The first four aims, usually take place at local level, although the number of initial trainers is getting rather low.  (Do you want to try your hand?)  Tower practice nights usually enable the first steps to be taken through handling, rounds, call changes and perhaps plain hunt. If you feel that you are not making sufficient progress fast enough, please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for options and advice. From there progress can be made at the learner’s pace, depending on time and aptitude, through stronger-tower practices and special training sessions, to Plain Bob, Grandsire, Reverse Canterbury, Stedman.  In a few places progress to plain minor methods (St Clements, Single Oxford, Double Oxford) and treble bob methods (Kent, Oxford, Cambridge) is available.

Some branches put on training sessions to start people off or help them along in a specific method.  These are useful but require enough competent ringers in the method which can be difficult to arrange when they happen too often!  These also help ringers from the different areas to meet and to be willing to visit one another’s towers more often.

Branch meetings vary and can have different parts, some of which appeal more to some members than others.  Ringing on different bells, coming together for a short service and a good sing, a nice social tea and a business meeting to transfer information and feed-back from our members and the Guild and its other branches. In the evening another tower is arranged, so as not to upset the local population with over-long periods in one place.  Branches try to visit some towers with eight bells, so that we all get used to the feel of ringing on eight bells (even if it’s only to make ringing on 5 or 6 seem easier, or ringing during our outings better!).  The ringing is aimed at letting everyone have a good ring, be it call changes or surprise major methods. 

 

Generally at meetings we shouldn’t aim to ring something that was at the pinnacle of our achievement, but something less, so that we can better concentrate on ringing the host tower’s bells as accurately as possible. It could however be an opportunity to ring something that you have looked up well beforehand with a strong band around you and a stander-by.  This depends on the ringing master having the right people, in the right place, at the right time and cannot always be accommodated, so may have to be refused!

 

Beyond this, some branches organise 8 and 10-bell quarter peals.  Quarter peals are good value for your time as you get 45 minutes of continuous ringing with a strong band around you. 

 

For those who need more opportunities still, there are regular quarter peal and peal bands around the diocese who would take in new members.
 
The fifth aim is catered for by the local work of the branch stewards, who can also give advice when larger schemes of restoration, augmentation and repair are suggested.  Most of the Guild’s money raising activity goes into building up the Guild's Bell Fund to provide significant grants to such schemes. The annual members’ subscription at £7 per adult more than covers the Guild and Branch administrative costs and some surplus is sometimes transferred to the Bell Fund.  In the last ten years a total of £84,588 in grants has been given to schemes to our mutual advantage.
 
We look forward to new members joining us, making progress at their own speed and convenience, not just at their home tower but contributing to our heritage across the country with skill and fund raising.
 

The Guild is affiliated to the national body –the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers – which through its committees seeks to help all ringers and ringing to thrive.


Subscription Rates for 2020 and 2021

Adult members Non-Resident Members:   £7   payable in January to a Branch Secretary / Treasurer (please note that Gift Aid can be claimed by the Guild on your subscription see note here)
Student Members: £3.50  payable in January to a Branch Secretary / Treasurer

Non-Resident Members:   £7  payable once to the Peal Secretary

Peal Fees: 20p per rope  payable to the Peal Secretary

Annual reports £1.50 for Guild Members, £4 post paid for non-members from the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Annual reports are distributed free, one to each tower with a member and to each member when elected for the first time.

 

Life Honorary Members

The title was first written into the rules in 1974 to be an award for outstanding services to the Guild and was by election at the AGM on the proposition of either the Guild Management Committee or of a Branch.  From 1951 the Annual Report prints a list of LHMs but rarely are the elections mentioned in the report.  It appears that it was awarded upon payment from important people in the diocese and to retiring officers, including non-ringing clerics.  Please advise the webmaster of further information.

Date elected

Name

>1951

C Adams

10/06/2006

Hilary Aslett

11/06/2011

Maureen Basford

11/06/1977

Eric E Billings

>1951

Robert (Bob) G Black

22/05/1971

John H Bluff

13/06/2015

Janet C Bowers

>1951

Revd Canon  J L Cartwright

10/06/1966

Patrick I Chapman

12/06/2004

Mary R Coleman

09/06/1990

Murray A Coleman

14/06/2014

Hilda M Collins

13/06/2015

Brenda M Dixon

10/06/2006

Tony J T Evans

03/06/1972?

Revd C J W Faulkner

12/06/2004

Edward (Ted) C Garrett

1959

Ven C J Grimes

08/06/1991

Christopher J Groome

08/06/2019

Leonard J Hallifax

13/06/1998

James Hedgcock

10/06/2006

Ray Henman

>1951

C E Ivens

19/09/2020

Susan M Jones

13/06/1992

Derek J Jones

12/06/2004

Gerald Kingston

09/06/2001

Rex Line

1955

Canon T W long

>1951

W Loveday

08/06/2019

Alan J Marks

>1951

Rear-Adml Sir Wellwood Maxwell (Deputy Lieutenant)

>1951

Revd T Merriman

1959

Burley P Morris

14/06/1980

James (Jim) R Mossop

>1951

The Marquis of Northampton  (Castle Ashby House)

14/06/1980

Revd Canon Ernest Orland

14/06/2008

Denis G Pearson

08/06/1991

Victor Perry

11/06/2011

Geoffrey H Pullin

>1951

Revd Canon R H Robinson

11/06/1983

Stanley M Ruddlesden

>1951

Mrs Seamark

1969

Miss M Seamark

12/06/1982

Revd Roger W Smith

>1951

Lt Col H G Sotherby (Ecton House)

09/06/2012

Dorothy M Stopps

10/06/2006

Cecil Swann

10/06/2017

David Teall

10/06/2017

Patricia Teall

09/06/2012

Derek E Thornton

10/06/1966

Canon G F Turner

14/06/1980

J Malcolm Tyler

1963

H J Vaughan

14/06/1986

John Weaver

12/06/2004

Peter D Wenham

10/06/2017

David P Westerman

11/06/2005

Dorothy M Westerman

1955

Ernest E Whitmore

1974

William J Whitmore

12/06/1982

Revd Canon Michael Wilson

>1951

A N Wood

19/09/2020

Richard W Yates



Neighbouring Bell-ringing Organisations
Similar organisations covering areas adjacent to this Diocese are:
Coventry Diocesan Guild with three districts in its diocese
Leicester Diocesan Guild has six districts
Lincoln Diocesan Guild  has six branches
Ely Diocesan Association has four districts
Bedfordshire Association has 3 districts covering the county
and the large
Oxford Diocesan Guild has 15 branches.