About this Guild
- Ringing for Divine Service
- Recruiting and training of Ringers
- Encouraging the art of Change Ringing
- Helping Ringers to improve their standard of ringing
- 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;
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 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.
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 in the page Life Members of the Guild.
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.
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.
The Guild is affiliated to the national body –the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers – which through its workgroups seeks to help all ringers and ringing to thrive.
Current Subscription Rates
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: 0p per rope.
Annual reports are distributed free, one to each tower with a member and to each member when elected for the first time.
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.