Saturday 29th November 2003
Oxon · St Leonard (6) 8cwt
Oxon · All Saints (6) 8cwt
Oxon · St Blaise (8) 9cwt
Oxon · All Saints (6) 8cwt
01.15pm The Rose & Crown
Heather Banyard, Jonathan Beale, Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Jonathan Cresshull, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Simon Edwards, Keith Godfrey, Adrian Gray, Anthony Hughes, Steve Jeffrey, Roy Jones, Susan King, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd, Susan Morrison, Roy Peach, Sue Reynolds, Charles Smith, Leon Thompson and Serge Zvegintzov.
Grandsire Triples, Cambridge, St Clements, Double Oxford & Stedman.
Sunningwell · St Leonard
Sunningwell A settlement was documented as being here in the 9th century, when it was known as Sunninguuille (a spring or stream belonging to the followers of Sunna). As with dozens of villages to the south of Oxford, Sunningwell was in the county of Berkshire until the boundary reorganisation of 1974. The Sunningwell School of Art is based in the Old School opposite the church. The centre is most notable for its purpose-built pottery. The Flowing Well pub is a widely known and well used destination for walkers and bikers, situated as it is on a sharp bend at the eastern entrance to the village. The earliest parts of the parish church date to the 13th century, the nave and chancel being from this time. Late in the 15th century the south transept and north tower were constructed, and the nave was given Perpendicular Gothic windows and an embattled parapet. The Elizabethan polygonal west porch, with Ionic columns, was given by John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, who had been rector here in 1551. The church was restored by J.P. Seddon in 1877, with the stained-glass designed by William Morris. The bells are rung from a room that is in a well below the level of the entrance. The oldest bell is the tenor, 1653, cast by Henry II Knight of Reading. The middle four bells are all from Whitechapel, 1857, by Charles and George Mears. The treble was added in 1933. Marcham See Saturday 20th April 1996 for details.
Milton The village is now somewhat boxed in by the major roads north of Didcot, but thankfully retains a relatively rural idyll at its core. Milton was among a number of estates that Henry VII granted to Baron Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, in 1546, with Wriothesley selling it that same year to Thomas Calton, a London goldsmith. In 1709, Paul Calton married Catherine, daughter of Admiral Benbow, one of England’s most successful naval commanders. Milton House, constructed of yellow and red brick, was built for the Calton family in the 17th century. The original part of the house is of five bays and three storeys high. Peter the Great, Tsar Peter I of Russia, is said to have stayed here whilst consulting Admiral Benbow on naval matters. The parish church is located adjacent to the entrance to the manor house, and is dedicated to St Blaise, patron saint of the wool trades, that having been a major part of the mediaeval economy here.
Milton · St Blaise
The church was originally built in the 14th century, but only the porch, lower part of the tower and part of the nave survive from this time. The upper part of the tower was rebuilt in the 18th century, with the nave, chancel and 4-bay north aisle being rebuilt by the Gothic Revival architect Henry Woodyer in 1849 – 51. The tower has a ring of eight bells, all cast in 2001 at Whitechapel. Five of the old bells were sold to St Michael’s church, Hackthorn, Lincolnshire. One of Richard Keene’s 1682 bells has been retained in the tower. Chilton The village was noted as Cylda tun around 895 A.D., with a Domesday Book (1086) notation as Cilletone. A section of Grim’s Ditch, an Iron Age earthwork from 300 B.C., forms part of the southern boundary of the parish. The name "Grim" was one of several used to describe the Anglo-Saxon God Woden, literally meaning "the masked one".
Chilton · All Saints
The pre-historic Ridgeway passes close to the southern fringe of the village. Today the southern part of the Harwell Science & Innovation campus, including the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, lies within the parish. This pretty village belies its proximity to the busy A34, retaining its ambience of down-land tranquillity. The village pub, the Rose & Crown, is one we have used on several occasions during our excursions. The parish church at the other end of the village retains its 12th century nave and 14th century chancel. The stone tower is Victorian, with bells that date from 1623 to 1892. The fourth bell is the oldest, cast by Ellis I Knight of Reading. The fifth is from the same foundry by Ellis II & Henry III Knight, 1665. William & Robert Cor of Aldbourne cast the third bell in 1710. The other bells were cast by Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel. The bells were silent for some time (1959 – 2000) due to severe structural problems, but were restored around the Millennium, along with the clock. The ringing room is cleverly designed so as to maximise the use of the space available, with the bells being as flawless as you can hope to find.
The Rose & Crown · Chilton
Saturday 15th November 2003
SMV (5) 9cwt
10.45am Wotton Underwood
All Saints (6) 10cwt
Holy Trinity (8) 12cwt
01.30pm The Lions of Bledlow
Steve Davies, Hugh Deam, Simon Edwards, Clare Fairbairn, Nicholas Hartley, Steve Jeffrey, Roy Jones, Susan King, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd, Bernard Masterman, Leon Thompson and Richard Verrall.
Bledlow · Holy Trinity
Ludgershall & Wotton Underwood See Saturday 28th March 1998 for details. Bledlow A quintessential Chilterns village, Bledlow is probably most famous for the ridge to the east, with the name deriving from the burial mound of Bledda. The ancient road known as the Icknield Way existed on what is now the general course of the village. There are several springs here which form a pool called The Lyde, with the brook that runs from the pool into the nearby valley having provided the water power for two mills in years gone by. The surviving water-mill is now a popular tourist attraction. The well-known 16th century pub The Lions of Bledlow is very extensive due to its being the result of three cottages having been converted into just one. The hostelry is replete with low-beamed ceilings, inglenooks and a generously proportioned fireplace, so it should come as no surprise that this is one of the most famous in the Chilterns, featuring in any self-respecting Good Pub Guide or Pub Walks Guide. The pub and the church have been chosen regularly as locations for ITV’s Midsomer Murders. The Grade 1 Listed 12th/13th century Romanesque church stands on high ground overlooking the Vale of Aylesbury, and is built of flint with dressings of limestone, and designed on an unusual plan. There are two aisles and the nave arcades include capitals of about 1200. The nave has six huge pillars, each with different foliage patterns at the top, and the south porch contains the oldest surviving doors in the county. The building was subject to a general restoration during 1909. The excellent bells here are rung from the ground floor and were augmented by Whitechapel in 1983, the front three bells dating from this time. The tenor is of 1842, cast by William & John Taylor of Oxford, and the other bells are from 1683, cast by Richard Keene of Woodstock.
Saturday 11th October 2003
10.30am Church Lawford
Warks · St Peter (6) 7cwt
11.30am Ryton on Dunsmore
Warks · St Leonard (8) 9cwt
Warks · St Mary (6) 10cwt
01.30pm The Malt Shovel
Warks · St Giles (6) 5cwt
04.00pm Radford Semele
Warks · St Nicholas (6) 9cwt
St Mary · Stoneleigh
Ron Burgess, Jonathan Beale, Bob Benstead, Jane Burgess, Jonathan Cresshull, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Simon Edwards, Nicholas Hartley, Steve Jeffrey, Roy Jones, Susan King, Janice Knowles, David Lane, Peter Lloyd, John Lonsborough, Bernard Masterman, John Pusey, Leon Thompson and Richard Verrall.
Yorkshire Major, Cambridge Major, Double Norwich, Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples, London, Ipswich, Double Oxford, St Clements & Plain Bob Minor.
Church Lawford · St Peter
Church Lawford The Lawford villages were given their affixes in 1235, Chirche Lalleford and Long Lalleford. The first church here was constructed in the 13th century, with its replacement dating to 1872 – 74. Remains of its predecessor are to be found in the fields surrounding the current building. We were given the warmest of welcomes here on this day, with tea, coffee, biscuits and cake laid on, thus making for a fine start to the day. The tower, which rises in three stages divided by string-courses, has buttresses at each angle, and a battlemented parapet with gargoyles at each angle. On the north side is the tower staircase splayed to an octagonal battlemented turret. All of the bells are from the Taylors foundry at Loughborough, with the back three from 1872 and the front three from 1937.
Ryton on Dunsmore First noted as Ruyton (a farm where rye is grown) in 1045, the addition of Dunsmore came about during the 12th century, this being the old district name. Lady Godiva’s husband, Earl Leofric, gifted the parish to Coventry Priory in 1043. Lady Godiva most famously rode naked on horseback through Coventry in protest against high taxes. In 2012, a 6metre high puppet depiction of her, powered by 100 cyclists, paraded through Ryton on its way from Coventry to London as part of the London 2012 Festival prior to the Olympic Games. For nearly sixty years motor cars were manufactured in Ryton, originally constructed by the Rootes Group in 1940 to build aircraft engines. After the war the site was converted to car making, being taken over by Chrysler in the 1960s. They too ran into financial problems and sold out to Peugeot, the car plant finally ceasing production in 2006. Nowadays Coventry City F.C. having their training ground in Ryton. The parish church is early Norman and situated on high ground on the other side of the A45 from the greater part of the village. The main entrance is through a fine Norman doorway. The church is constructed of distinctive red sandstone and contains 18th century lunette windows, Jacobean pulpit, and turned-oak balustrade altar rails from the 17th century. The 14th century tower contains a fine set of eight bells, the front five being late 20th century additions by Taylors of Loughborough. The oldest bell is the seventh, cast in 1590 by William Watts of Leicester. Tenor is from 1653 by John Martin of Worcester. Sixth is from 1864, George Mears, Whitechapel.
Ryton on Dunsmore · St Leonard
Stoneleigh The first sighting of Stoneleigh (a stony woodland clearing) on crossing the elegant bridge over the River Sowe has long been recorded as having no peer in the rest of the county, with picturesque riverside meadows surrounding the village; also on view are late 16th century almshouses. Stoneleigh Abbey was founded in 1154 by the Cistercian Order, and from 1561 to 1990 it was the home of the Leigh family. In 1996 ownership of the Abbey and its 690acre grounds was transferred to a charitable trust. Stoneleigh Park (previously known as the National Agricultural Centre) hosted the Royal Show until 2009. England’s biggest annual agricultural show was held from 1839 to 2009 (at Stoneleigh from 1968 to 2009), but the diminution of farming led to its cessation, a fate which has befallen many such shows in recent years. Stoneleigh has not had a public house for over a century, and the reason has nothing to do with the modern-day travails of the pub trade.
Stoneleigh · St Mary
All three pubs here in late Victorian times were forced to close by Lord Leigh after his daughter was laughed at by drunks when she was going to church on a tricycle. The parish church is constructed of red sandstone, dating from Norman to Perpendicular period. The interior includes a 12th century font and high quality 20th century tapestry work. The bells are a sublime ring of six that make you want to re-visit. The oldest bell is the third (1525) by John Wooley of Nottingham. The fourth and tenor (1622) are by Hugh Watts of Leicester. The second (1752) was cast by Thomas I Eayre of Kettering. The fifth (1792) is by John Briant of Hertford, and the current treble was added in 1962 by Taylors of Loughborough. Bubbenhall The village derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon "Bubba’s Hill", being situated along the boundary formed by the River Avon between the Forest of
Bubbenhall · St Giles
Arden and the more open area of Feldon. For several centuries there were a goodly number of smithies in the village, but none now exist, the last one having been situated opposite the Malt Shovel pub. The medieval parish church stands at the end of a chestnut-tree lined lane and was restored in the 1860s, with new pews installed and the addition of a vestry. There is a fine triple chancel, and quality stained-glass from 1901 by Kempe. In the early 19th century the original three bells were rung every year to commemorate the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot and the anniversary of George III’s coronation. Four new bells were cast in 2000 by Taylors of Loughborough. The old second bell is now the tenor, having been cast in 1670 by Henry I Bagley of Chacombe. The fifth bell is the oldest, 1600, cast by Newcombe of Leicester. The old treble, also by Newcombe, was retained as the clock bell.
The Malt Shovel · Bubbenhall
Radford Semele The settlement here at the time of the Domesday Survey was known as Redeford (a place of red soil), the manorial affix dating to 1314 (Radeford Symely) and denoting the Saint Pierre de Semilly family, Lords of the Manor from the 12th century. A poorly preserved Roman villa was excavated in 1974 near Pounce Hill Farm just to the south of the village. The Weedon to Leamington railway line used to run through the heart of the village and has been turned into a cycleway that is part of the National Cycle Network. The 14th century parish church was extensively rebuilt in 1889, with the bells proving an eclectic ring of six. Since this time a fire on 16 March 2008 left the church as just a shell of a building. Initially the cause of the blaze was not thought deliberate, but on closer analysis it was found to be arson. The church’s records and silverware were saved as they were in a fire-proof vault, but nonetheless the estimated cost for repair was £2miillion. The building has been cocooned in scaffolding for several years, with the re-construction due to be completed by 2014. Although the tower mostly survived the ravages, the bells had to be removed and were due for re-installation by 2013/14, with the ringing chamber having been totally overhauled.
Radford Semele · St Nicholas
Pang Valley, Berkshire
Saturday 31st August 2003
10.15am Stanford Dingley
St Denys (6) 6cwt
11.30am Hampstead Norreys
St Mary (6) 10cwt
St Peter & St Paul (6) 6cwt
01.10pm The Pot Kiln
St Mary (3) 10cwt
Jonathan Beale, Hugh Deam, Adrian Gray, Steve Jeffrey,
Roy Jones, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd, Ailsa Reid,
Charles Smith & Leon Thompson.
Roy Jones, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd, Ailsa Reid,
Charles Smith & Leon Thompson.
Stanford Dingley Known merely as Stanworde (a stony ford) in the Domesday Book (1086), it is thought that the Romans had an encampment here. The relatively late manorial affix dates to 1535 in recognition of the Dyngley family, in residence here during the 15th century.
The village is located in the valley of the River Pang, the parish consisting primarily of farmland, with some woodland in the upland regions. The pond complex around the "Blue Pool", containing artesian aquifers, though adjacent to the village, is actually just across the parish boundary in Bradfield. The 12th century parish church retains remnants of the original Saxon church within its inner walls, and the font remains from the Norman era. The superb nave wall frescoes are medieval, with relatively recent conservation work undertaken on them completed in 2008.
St Mary · Aldworth
Stanford Dingley · St Denys
The white wooden bell tower, which undoubtedly makes the church so distinctive, was built in the 15th century. The churchyard is garlanded by an array of sweet chestnut trees (castanea sativa). The four bells here are rung from the ground floor, with treble and second cast by Henry I Knight of Reading (1609 & 1607). The tenor is by Samuel Knight, 1684, at the same foundry. The third bell is a late 15th century casting from the Wokingham foundry of John Mitchel. Hampstead Norreys, Yattendon and Aldworth See Sunday 29th September 2002 for details of these three locations. The Pot Kiln, Frilsham The pub is situated on high ground away from the village, and takes its name from the kiln on this site which was converted into a brewery. The brick walls that line the garden and entrance were fired in the kiln with clay dug from the entrance. Since this time it has become the epitome of a gastro-pub.
The Pot Kiln · Frilsham
Saturday 14th June 2003
Hants · St Barnabas (6) 3cwt
10.45am South Stoneham
Hants · St Mary (3) 8cwt
11.30am Bitterne Park
Hants · Ascension (8) 8cwt
Hants · All Saints (6) 5cwt
01.30pm The Brewery Bar
Jonathan Beale, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Steve Jeffrey,
Roy Jones, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd, Bernard Masterman,
Leon Thompson and Sonia Tucker.
Roy Jones, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd, Bernard Masterman,
Leon Thompson and Sonia Tucker.
Cambridge, St Clements, Winchendon Place and St Nicholas.
Southampton The city is situated on a peninsula which is bounded on the east by the River Test and on the south and west by an estuary formed by the confluence of the River Itchen with the Test. The Anglo-Saxon prefix differentiated the town from Northampton. After Canute became king he made Southampton his occasional residence, and then the Normans used it as a port for Winchester, enabling trading with Normandy, Venice and Bordeaux. Richard II enlarged the castle and strengthened fortifications around the town, thus Southampton has the longest stretch of medieval walls in England. It was here that Henry V discovered the conspiracy formed against him by his cousin Richard Plantagenet. Southampton has long been the premier passenger port in the country, due to ample depth of water and double tides that allow ships to berth and depart at any hour. The port is synonymous with famed shipping lines such as P&O, Cunard, White Star Line, and Union Castle. The shores of Southampton Water are still well wooded, alternating with villages, mansions and villas, being two miles wide at the entrance near Calshot Castle. In 1620 the Mayflower and Speedwell departed the port, taking the Pilgrim Fathers to America. The city was heavily bombed during the Second World War due to its handling of military cargo and the building of Mulberry Harbour components.
Portswood Documented as Porteswuda (a wood belonging to the market town) in 1045, what was once a village is now a suburb of Southampton and encompasses the main campus of the city's University. The two most notable residents of Portswood were R.J. Mitchell, the chief designer of the Supermarine Spitfire, and Capt. Edward J. Smith, captain of the ill-fated RMS Titanic. The late 19th century church is built on the site of an original place of worship that was constructed of nothing more than corrugated iron. The light set of bells that hang here are rung from the ground floor, directly inside the main doorway to the church. The fourth and tenor date to 1949, cast by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon. The fifth was cast by Taylor's of Loughborough in 1952. The front three bells are all from Whitechapel, treble (2002), second (2001), and third (2000).
Portswood · St Barnabas
South Stoneham Located some 3 miles north-east of Southampton city centre, South Stoneham is situated on the western flank of the River Itchen. As a result of the expansion of the city, what was once a large scattered parish with fertile land is now heavily urbanised. South Stoneham House, once the seat of the Barons Swaythling, is now owned by the university, having been used as a Hall of Residence since 1920. During World War II the college operated a school of navigation from the communal rooms. The original 18th century mansion is attributed to Nicholas Hawksmoor, with gardens and landscaping by Lancelot "Capability" Brown. St Mary's is one of only two remaining medieval churches in the city, with parts dating from the Norman period, and the chancel arch being 12th century. The church nestles in a secluded position amidst the university accommodation campus, and consists of a chancel, nave, two aisles, two transepts and a west tower of the 15th century. Above the belfry window on the south face of the tower is a sundial, bearing the motto "so flies life away 1738". The three bells are rung from the ground floor and were all cast in 1880 by Gillett & Bland. The ropes fall in a straight line, in the sequence 1, 3, 2.
South Stoneham · St Mary
Bitterne Park Bitterne stands on the site of what was once a Roman military station known as Clauentum, and this was succeeded by the Anglo-Saxon town of Hantune. The area is now largely residential, with Bitterne Park Triangle as its focal point. Cobden Bridge links the area to St Denys on the western bank of the Itchen. The southern section of Riverside Park is located in Bitterne Park and contains a miniature railway. The church, designed by Sir Charles Nicholson, was consecrated in 1926 and fortunately possesses an arresting interior to make up for the utilitarian exterior. Since our visit the bells have been augmented to a twelve, the front four bells cast in 2008 by Hayward Mills Associates of Nottingham. The oldest bells are the ninth and eleventh, cast in 1380 and 1420 respectively, Wokingham. The tenth is of 1603 by John Wallis of Salisbury. The seventh and eighth are from 1919 by Gillett & Johnston, London. The fifth, sixth and tenor all from Whitechapel, cast in 1957.
Bitterne Park · Ascension
Botley The name Botley describes a settlement from where timber is obtained, the area having been settled since at least the 10th century. Flour mills have existed here for over 1000 years, with the surviving Botley Mill situated at the end of High Street. Between 1806 and 1820, Botley was the home of journalist and radical politician, William Cobbett. There is a memorial stone commemorating him in the market square, with the Market Hall of 1848 and several interesting houses spread along the High Street. Botley grew around a ford over the River Hamble where an inn was built for travellers to stay in overnight on the occasions when the tide was in. At high tide, small boats such as canoes and kayaks can still navigate up the river as it runs through Botley. The early church here, dedicated to St Bartholomew, was largely destroyed by a large poplar tree falling onto the nave. The present church, built on a different site, dates to 1835/36. Recent fund-raising has taken place to pay for an extension, with a large choral society based here. Up until 2002 there were only three bells here, but after a course of strengthening work on the tower there is now a highly pleasing ring of six. The fourth and tenor are both from c.1420, having been cast at a foundry in Wokingham. The fifth is from 1920, cast by John Warner & Sons, London. The front three bells are all from Whitechapel, 2000.
Botley · All Saints
Saturday 10th May 2003
Gloucs · St James (5) 6cwt
Gloucs · St Michael (6) 11cwt
Gloucs · St Andrew (6) 10cwt
12.30pm The Seven Tuns
Robert Chadburn, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Simon Edwards, Keith Godfrey, Nicholas Hartley, Steve Jeffery, Roy Jones, Susan King, Peter Lloyd, Bernard Masterman, Susan Morrison, Hilary Nex, Roy Peach, June Steele, Hillary Stevens, Leon Thompson, Richard Verrall and Serge Zvegintzov.London, Cambridge, Plain Bob Minor & Stedman.
Colesbourne The village, situated on the road between Cheltenham and Cirencester, takes its name from "Coll's Stream", being notes as Collesburnan in the 9th century. Vestiges of a Roman villa have been uncovered in recent years. The pub in the village, The Colesbourne Inn, is one of the most unique in the country, being built in 1827 using quartz and tufa, the latter being a stone cherished by aquarists for its lightness.
This fine early Perpendicular parish church to the south-east of the village undoubtedly enjoys one of the most verdant settings for any place of worship in the country, nestling as it does within the western edge of Chedworth Wood. The woodland tapers down to the gently flowing River Churn as it meanders past the church. The Victorian horticulturalist Henry Elwes set out his collection of snowdrops here, with 200 variants on show. The church is cruciform, but probably started out as a Norman chapel, with transepts added in the 14th century. Inside there is a chalice shaped pulpit and superb stained-glass east window by William Kempe. The bells were originally hung counter-clockwise, and after a spell of being classified as unringable they were rehung in a clockwise configuration at the Millennium. All five bells were cast in 1719 by Abraham II Rudhall of Gloucester. Withington A host of pretty limestone cottages flank the grandiose13th century parish church, which was described by famed journalist and pamphleteer William Cobbett in 1826 as being like a small cathedral.
Colesborne · St James
The imposing tower contains a sublime ring of six bells, although the tenor is exceptionally fine set. Of the six bells, all bar the fifth date to 1738, the fifth being of 1747, all cast by Abel Rudhall at the Gloucester foundry. Whites of Appleton carried out a restoration in 1981, with a new wooden frame and canon retaining headstocks. Chedworth The River Churn and River Coln meet here at Chedworth, situated as it is on the lower slopes of a steep sided valley overlooked by Pancake Hill. The village possesses much to see, with a wealth of photo opportunities. A little way outside of the village, amidst woodland, is Chedworth Roman Villa. The beautifully appointed church, rebuilt in 1883 by Frederick Waller, is set on high ground overlooking the village. The bells are rung from the ground floor and are an endearing six that are well worth visiting more than once. All of the bells were cast in Gloucester, with the back five from 1717 by Abraham I Rudhall, and the treble by John Rudhall in 1831. Between the church and the pub is a magnificent water-wheel that can be viewed on YouTube from Christmas Eve 2012 when it was overrun by the surge of water from Seven Tuns Hill as the village flooded.
Withington · St Michael
The Seven Tuns was long one of the most popular hostelries in Gloucestershire, radiating classic Cotswolds ambience, offering a fine choice of meals from the simple to the indulgent on the two occasions we visited. The Chedworth Silver Band has performed outside the pub every Boxing Day (with the exception of the war years) since 1905. As of March 2013 it has been closed, but locals have been rallying around in hopes of it being re-opened rather than converted into a private dwelling.
Chedworth · St Andrew
The Seven Tuns · Chedworth
Kennet and Avon
Saturday 22nd March 2003
Berks · St Lawrence (8) 12cwt
Wilts · Holy Cross (6) 16cwt
12.15pm Savernake Forest
Wilts · St Katharine (5) 11cwt
Wilts · St John the Baptist (6) 7cwt
01.50pm The Horseshoe Inn
03.30pm Chilton Foliat
Wilts · St Mary (5) 9cwt
Heather Banyard, Jonathan Beale, Bob Benstead, Jonathan Cresshull, Steve Davies, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Simon Edwards, Jeanne Fahy, Keith Godfrey, Sally Harrison, Nicholas Hartley, Anthony Hughes, Roy Jones, Susan King, Janice Knowles, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Paul Morley, Hilary Nex, Marika Pascovich, Lisa Ryan, Charles Smith, June Steele, Hillary Stevens, Leon Thompson and Richard Verrall.
Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples & Cambridge.
Hungerford · St Lawrence
Hungerford The name of the town is an Anglo-Saxon description of a ford leading to unproductive land, although there is a legend that Hingwar the Dane was drowned in the river here and that the town was named after him. This stems from the mistaken belief that the Battle of Ethandun took place at the Eddington here. Hingwar was in actuality Ivar Ragnasson, nicknamed Ivan the Boneless, possibly the most famous Viking adventurer on whom the character played by Kirk Douglas in the 1958 movie The Vikings was based. The celebration of Hocktide, also known as Tutti-Day, in the town, takes place on the second Tuesday after Easter, and has its origin in the local celebrations following King Alfred's expulsion of the Danes. The Bellman (town crier) summons the commoners to the Hocktide Court held at the town hall whilst Tutti-men visit every house with commoners' rights, accompanied by Tutti-girls.
Ramsbury First documented as Rammesburi in 947 A.D., the derivation of the name is disputed, although it is agreed that it was a fortification. At one time the importance of Ramsbury was such that it had a bishop, with three of them ascending to Archbishop of Canterbury, probably due to the high profile that being installed here offered. Ramsbury went into a decline when the London to Bath road was turnpiked in 1774, and the Kennet & Avon Canal re-routed. In front of the Bell Inn, at the centre of the village, once stood the Ramsbury Elm, known to have stood here since Charles I was on the throne, and beneath which John Wesley later preached. The present parish church houses two coped stones from the 9th century Saxon chapel that existed on the same site. The chancel is Early English, and there is an elegant font with carvings around the stem that is the work of Thomas Meyrick. The west tower is primarily from the Decorated period, with mighty buttresses, although this upper part was added at a later date. The weighty bells are decidedly challenging, with the ringing chamber being cavernous. The front five bells all date to 1708, cast by Abraham I Rudhall of Gloucester. The tenor is from 1865, cast by John Warner & Sons, London.
Savernake · St Katharine
Savernake Forest Noted in 934 A.D. as Sefernoc, the name denotes a district of the river here, the ancient name being Severn, this now being called the River Bedwyn. As the name suggests this is essentially an expanse of mostly unbroken mature woodland, bridleways, and open glades, having been under the wardenship of the descendants of one family since the Norman Conquest. Henry VIII hunted wild deer here, later marrying Jane Seymour, whose family lived nearby. While their son was still young , the forest, along with the ruins of Marlborough Castle, passed to her brother Edward Seymour. One day each winter the forest is closed in order to prevent rights of way being established. Designated as a site of Special Scientific Interest, the 4,500 acre forest contains a herd of roe and fallow deer, 25 species of butterfly, and is further distinguished by its "Grand Avenue" flanked by a cathedral-like arcade of beech trees. The Victorian church, constructed of Bath stone, is an example of an Oxford Movement church, having been consecrated in 1861 as a chapel of ease to the mother church of Great Bedwyn. Some of the oaks that surround the church are believed to be over a thousand years old. The church received some bomb damage during World War II, with nearly all the stained-glass destroyed. All five bells date to 1862, cast at Whitechapel, and are fairly heavy for a five, but not as tricky as one might expect on first sight.
Mildenhall · St John the Baptist
Mildenhall Pronounced locally as "Minal", a settlement was noted as being here at the beginning of the 9th century, when it was described as Mildamhald (nook of land belonging to Milda). The area has been occupied since the Romans had a fortress town of Cunetio nearby, with a hoard of Roman coins having been unearthed here in 1978. Cunetio was deserted as a Romano-British site by 450 A.D., being re-occupied in the Anglo-Saxon era. The River Kennet, which runs through the village, is thought to have derived its name from Cunetio. The Horseshoe Inn was recommended as being a ringer-friendly pub, and this proved to be no idle boast, with a capacious function room, extensive menu, and friendly service. Water-meadows are still profuse around this valley area, with the village comprised of red and blue brick cottages, with thatched and slate roofs, especially in the area close to the church. Although much of the present church is 13th century, some parts of the tower are almost certainly Saxon in origin. The villagers clubbed together to enable the refurbishment of the interior in 1816. Of particular note are the box pews, the twin pulpit and reading desk. The bells are rung from the ground floor in a room which also doubles as a kitchen. The back five bells date to 1801, cast by James Wells of Aldbourne. The treble was added in 1958 by Mears & Stainbank.
The Horseshoe Inn · Mildenhall
Chilton Foliat Originally known as Cilletone (a farm of a young nobleman), the manorial affix dates to 1221, from the Foliat family. The village sits close to the River Kennet, which is a delightful example of a gentle chalk-land river. In 1974, the village and its surrounds were designated as being a conservation area – The North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The BBC television series of the late 1980s – The Victorian Kitchen Garden – was filmed at Chilton Foliat. The elegant parish church dates from the 12th century, although it was restored by Benjamin Ferrey in 1845. The lych-gate and the rows of lime trees are the parish's memorial to those who died in the Great War. The trees to the west of the limes each represent a life lost from the parish in the Second World War. The bells are a fluent anti-clockwise ring of five which were re-tuned and rehung by Mears & Stainbank in 1932. The ring had been increased to five in 1844 when the treble and second were cast by Thomas II Mears of Whitechapel. The oldest bell is the fourth, 1663, cast by William III Purdue of Salisbury. The tenor is of 1742, cast by Henry III Bagley of Witney, and the third is from 1771, by Robert I Wells of Aldbourne.
Chilton Foliat · St Mary
Saturday 22nd February 2003
Oxon · St Helen (10) 19cwt now 16cwt
11.00am Sutton Courtenay
Oxon · All Saints (8) 12cwt
12.30pm Berrick Salome
Oxon · St Helen (6) 7cwt
01.30pm The Chequers
Heather Banyard, Jonathan Beale, Jonathan Cresshull, Steve Davies, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Simon Edwards, Keith Godfrey, Corinne Grimley-Evans, Susan King, Peter Lloyd, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Paul Morley, June Steele, Hillary Stevens and Leon Thompson.Grandsire Caters, Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples & Cambridge.
Abingdon Documented as Abbandune (Aebba's hill) in 968 A.D., this ancient and historic town is set on the River Thames, with the 15th century Abingdon Bridge spanning the river. Little now remains of the town's Benedictine Abbey, which dominated life in the town, and well beyond, for centuries. After the Dissolution, the town and its surrounds evolved as an agricultural and then industrial centre. The Old Gaol was opened in 1811 after being constructed by prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars. After becoming a leisure centre in the late 20th century, it has now been redeveloped into apartments. Abingdon's most famous tradition is the bun-throwing celebrations which take place on notable occasions, with locals gathering in their thousands outside the 17th century County Hall in the hope of catching one of the buns thrown from the roof by dignitaries.
This 13th century building occupies the site of what was previously Helenstowe Nunnery. Within the churchyard are three sets of alms-houses, Long Alley (1446), Twitty's (1707), and Brick Alley (1718). Of particular note within the church are the painted ceiling panels of the north aisle which depict the Tree of Jesse. A ring of eight bells was cast by Whitechapel in 1764, with four of these surviving the 1885 augmentation. By early this century it was decided that the wooden frame needed to be replaced, and new cast-iron frame was installed and the bells were re-tuned at Whitechapel, 2006. Sutton Courtenay The settlement noted as being here in 870 A.D. was noted as Suthton (southern farmstead), with its manorial affix as Suttone Curteney, from the Curtenai family, here from the 12th century. Towering willow trees skirt the backwaters of the river here, with a wealth of substantial houses and cottages along the central part of the village.
Sutton Courtenay · All Saints
The abbey here, with its gabled wings and low battlemented front, was built around 1350 on land owned by Abingdon Abbey, and subsequently used as a summer residence for the Abbot. The grand 16th century manor house, which originally served as a chapel, is approached through gate-piers attributed to Inigo Jones, and inside are elegant panelled rooms and finely chiselled fireplaces. The gardens here are influenced by two famed gardeners, Norah Lindsay who lived at the house, and Brenda Colvin who remodelled the gardens into formal and wild styles. The parish church falls between Norman and Perpendicular, with the red-brick porch dating to Tudor times. There are two notable figures buried in the churchyard here, former Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith and author George Orwell, under his real name Eric Arthur Blair. The tower houses eight bells, the oldest of which are the sixth and seventh, 1675, cast by Richard Keene of Woodstock. The fourth is from 1775, cast by Thomas Swain of London. The third was cast twelve years later by Robert II Wells of Aldbourne. The fifth is from 1829, cast by Robert Taylor of Oxford. The other bells are from Whitechapel, tenor (1965), and front two bells from 1986. Berrick Salome See Saturday 6th May 2000 for details.
The Chequers · Berrick Salome