The Guild was formed in 1924, and here is some information on how this came about. There is also some information on changes that have happened since then. Additionally, there is information in the Previous Societies menu about the Associations that were in existence previously.


June 9, 1923 Edited extracts from Ringing World 1923 page 395-6
A federation of ringing societies in the Diocese of Peterborough, which covers the counties of Northampton, Leicester and Rutland, was suggested by the Bishop at a meeting of the Central Northants Association held at Wellingborough and a resolution suggesting a conference on the subject was carried.

The meeting had been arranged in order that the Bishop might meet the ringers, and one of the largest gatherings in the history of the association took place. The Kettering District was represented by 57 members; Wellingborough by 51; Northampton by 22; Thrapston by 22; Peterborough by six; Guilsborough by seven and Weedon one. The Central Association officers present included the Rev J P Frend (president), Mr W T Wilson (treasurer) and Mr D J Nichols (secretary).

The collection for the bell restoration of Peterborough Cathedral realised £3 0s. 10d. Service over, an adjournment was made to the Church Hall, where 170 sat down to tea. The Rev. Frend presided, and the Bishop also honoured the gathering with his presence.

The Chairman with the opening observation that ringers were reasonable people, went on to say that they had improved enormously. When he started to ring 31 years ago he found the members of the team attending practices more regularly than on Sundays, and discovered that, the reason for that was an enormous stone jar in the belfry (laughter). He then pointed out that the belfry was part of God's House, though it had not always been looked upon as such. As a Rural Dean he always took care to visit the belfry of churches and look at the bells.

Mr D J Nichols observed that the presence of the Bishop that day would help to stimulate all matters connected with bells and ringers. He felt sure that the suggestion of the Bishop of the formation of a Diocesan Ringers' Association was welcomed by a huge number of ringers. It was suggested that the association should be called the Peterborough Guild of Church Bell Ringers, and should embrace all the Associations. They would still have their own district organisations.

The President moved the following resolution: 'That in the opinion of this meeting it is desirable that a Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Ringers should be formed; and that the president and secretary of this association be asked to confer with representatives of other associations, in the counties of Northamptonshire. Leicestershire, and Rutland, to report to our committee, for the information of the Bishop'- This resolution was carried unanimously.

The Bishop said he used the word federation instead of amalgamation, as it left each association freedom of movement, but it linked up the ringers from all parts of the diocese. Incidentally Dr Woods observed that the bell ringers of the diocese were not limited to the male sex.
The Bishop terminated this part of the proceedings, and several touches on the bells followed.

November 5, 1923. Edited extracts from RW 1923 p761
A special general meeting of the Central Northamptonshire Association was held at Kettering, when a company, numbering about 60, sat down to tea at the Cross Keys Cafe, presided over by the president (the Rev J P Frend).

The President, in presenting the report, stated that letters were written to the following six associations: The Peterborough and District, the Oundle and District, the Towcester and District, the Weedon and District, Brackley 1 Deanery, and the Midland Counties Association, inviting them to send representatives to a meeting to consider the formation of a Guild for the diocese of Peterborough.

At the meeting held at the Hall Memorial Buildings, Bridge Street, Northampton, on Saturday, October 23rd, representatives were present (in addition to those of the Central Northants Association) from the Peterborough, Oundle, Towcester and Brackley 1 Deanery. A letter was received from the Midland Counties Association stating that the matter was duly considered at their meeting on July 28th - see resolution.  In addition to the resolution it was pointed out that certain changes will take place in the area covered by the Peterborough diocese, and that only a small portion of the territory covered by their [MCA] association may remain in the Peterborough diocese. [The new Leicester Diocese was founded on 12 November 12, 1926 from the archdeaconries of Leicester, Loughborough and part of the archdeaconry of Northampton.]

After a very lengthy discussion, the President moved the following resolution, which was carried:-
That this meeting urges the committee to go forward with the formation of a Diocesan Guild of Ringers, and to report to the Bishop in accordance with the resolution passed at Wellingborough on June 9th, 1923.
During the afternoon and evening the bells of the Parish Church were rung by mixed companies, and some very good touches of Grandsire and Stedman Caters, Treble Bob Royal, Bob Royal and Cambridge Surprise Royal were rung, which brought a pleasant meeting to a close.

Edited extracts from The Ringing World January 11th, 1924  p75
The new Guild for the Diocese of Peterborough was successfully launched at a largely attended meeting at Wellingborough on Saturday [January 5], although several clergy were at the enthronement of the Bishop of Winchester, who, while Bishop of Peterborough, instigated the formation of the new Diocesan Guild.
The proceedings on Saturday afternoon began with a service in the Parish Church, the Vicar of Wellingborough (the Rev R G W Smeaton) preaching.  He recalled that in that Parish Church at one time were three Guilds - the Guild of the Rood Loft, the Guild of the Holy Name, and the Guild of St. Katherine. If the Guild they were inaugurating that day was to be a success it must be true to the principles of some of their ancient guilds, and make for brotherhood, loving kindness, and sympathy between its members, and love for the Holy Church.
The company then adjourned to the Granville Hotel, where, after tea, the business meeting was held, the Rev J P Frend, of Collingtree, presiding.
At the commencement, the Guild would consist of seven branches, comprising the five districts of the Central Northants Association, each working as a separate branch, and the Peterborough and District and the Oundle and District Association forming the other two. At present the branches that had become attached to the Guild numbered about 620 members.
A resolution formally bringing the Guild into being was moved. The Dean of Peterborough was elected president.  For the office of Master Mr Nichols moved the name of Mr F. Wilford, which was carried with unanimity. Mr W. Wilson was chosen treasurer, Mr Nichols secretary, and Mr Millward auditor. It was also intimated that the branch associations would hold their meetings for the election of officers and representatives on the Central Committee as soon as possible.
Extracts from The Ringing World July 31, 1925
A special meeting was held at Daventry on Saturday July 18th with a view to forming a new branch of  the Guild in Daventry. It was carried that a Daventry branch of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers be formed. The following ..were elected for the ensuing year: President, the Rev. W. H. Shackell; treasurer, the Rev. E. E. Law; secretary, Mr W Moore.  During the afternoon and evening several touches were rung, including a good course of London Surprise Major.

Extracts from the Ringing World of October 6, 1933 and November 17, 1933
A special general meeting was held at Oakham on September 23rd decided to establish a new branch for Rutlandshire. Canon E. E. Law presided and the proposition: 'That the Rutland Branch of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers be formed,' and this was carried. The first meeting of the Rutland Branch was held at Empingham on Saturday, November 11th, 1933.  The officers elected were: President, Canon E. E. Law; secretary and treasurer, Mr R. W. Daniels.  
[There were several letters to the editor of the RW on this subject, including from Percy Amos! -Worth a read]

The Ringing World  June 16, 1972  p487
The guild's A.G.M. was held on May 13 in Northampton, when the attendance was about 145. Evensong was sung in the Parish Church of St. Edmund and conducted by the vicar, Rev. F. P. Baker, who also gave the address. The lessons were read by Messrs. C. J. Groome and J. M. Tyler, and the organist was Mr. R. J. Robinson. The collection for the guild's bell restoration fund amounted to £11.05p.
Following tea, a draw took place, organised by Mr. R. Henman in aid of the bell restoration fund, the proceeds amounting to approximately £82.
Due to unavoidable circumstances the printed annual report was not available for the meeting and its adoption was deferred until the Summer Festival meeting at Welford in September.
Officers elected were: President, Rev. E. G. Orland; master, Mr. J. M. Tyler; secretary/ treasurer, Mr. E. Billings; peal secretary and auditor, Mr. E. Garrett; C.C. representative, Mr. B. R. Care. Thanks were accorded the officers for their work. Three applications for grants from the bell restoration fund were approved: Langham (rehanging costing ?543) ?60: Brixworth (rehanging costing ?960) ?100; Lyddington (rehanging and augmenting to six costing ?2,689) ?270.
The final proposition of the Guild Committee to reorganise the guild and revive the constitution and rules was one of the major items discussed. Work on the revision has taken nearly three years with periodic reference to members. On the chairman’s casting vote a motion to accept amendments at the meeting was lost and the committee’s proposition was then carried by 49 votes to 12. The new constitution requires some additional guild officers and these are to be elected at the Summer Festival in September.

A resolution that 3p from every subscription received by the guild be sent to The Ringing World towards its publication costs was lost. Members of the guild wholeheartedly support The Ringing World but the general consensus of opinion was that the paper should be self-supporting. It was agreed to hold the 1973 A.G.M. at Daventry in June. Members agreed to partake in the Sunday service ringing survey being organised by the Central Council Education Committee. As part of the preparations for the guild’s jubilee in 1974 the final design by Mr. Brian Austin for a 50-year membership certificate was unanimously approved. Mr. J. M. Tyler (master) congratulated the members who rang a peal of 53 Spliced Surprise Major at Moulton on May 6. A bookstall of Central Council publications organised by Mr. C. J. Groome realised approximately ?8.
Mrs. Brenda Dixon of Rushden proposed the omnibus vote of thanks, and members dispersed to continue ringing in the towers available.