Saturday 25th November 2006
Oxon · St Bartholomew (6) 4cwt
Oxon · SMV (8) 16cwt
12.30pm The House of Windsor
Hugh Deam, Roy Jones, Susan King, Judy Kirby, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd,
Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, Susie Pavelin, Charles Smith and Mark Wastie.
Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, Susie Pavelin, Charles Smith and Mark Wastie.
Grandsire Triples, Plain Bob Minor, Stedman, St Martin's & All Saints.
Ducklington The River Windrush runs almost unnoticed through Ducklington, with the large village pond nestling picturesquely between the church and the Bell Inn pub. Beyond the obvious popularity of the immaculately kept village centre, Ducklington is noted for being one of the best places to see the now rare native lily, the snakes-head fritillary. St Bartholomew's is a Transitional Norman building, with chancel, nave and tower all dating from that period. Major alterations were conducted during the 14th century, with another restoration by E.G.Bruton in 1871. The aforementioned lily is depicted in one of the stained-glass windows and on an altar cloth here. Their flowering is celebrated each year on Fritillary Sunday, this usually being the 1st Sunday in May. Three of the bells (2, 4, 5) date to 1708, cast by William & Henry III Bagley of Chacombe. The tenor is from 1829, Robert Taylor of Oxford, and the treble from 1889, Mears & Stainbank. The bells were retuned, rehung and the third recast by the Royal Eijsbouts foundry in Asten, Netherlands in 1988.
Witney The town, then known as Wyttanige, came to prominence during Saxon times when the Saxon kings held their Witans (meetings) here. Witney expanded again in the years leading up to the Reformation, the Bishops of Winchester having a palace here which they used as a country residence, and the remains of which are to be found at the rear of the present parish church. For many centuries Witney was a pivotal centre for the weaving of blanket cloth due to the waters of the Windrush containing nitrous qualities suitable for the fulling process. At its height there were five blanket factories in the town, the Blanket Hall in the High Street having been built in 1721 for weighing and measuring the blankets. With the closure of Early's, which had been the biggest factory, in 2002 this chapter in the town's history came to an end, although the local football team recalls this trade in their nickname of the Blanketmen. For nearly a century and a half Witney also had its own brewery and malting's, until the site was closed by Courage in the early 1980's.
Witney · SMV
Since 1983, Wychwood Brewery has brewed real ales at the Eagle Malting's. Church Green is surrounded by the impressive presence of the church, the Buttercross and the rows of 16th and 17th century alms-houses. The parish church originates from the 11th century but was added to and significantly altered during the following two centuries, the central tower and spire being added at some point during the 13th century. The ring of eight bells always leaves a good impression, with the large ringing chamber garlanded with peal boards going back to the infancy of peal ringing. The oldest bell (7) is from 1660, cast by Richard Keene of Woodstock. The fourth dates to 1731 by Henry III Bagley of Chacombe. The fifth (1765) and sixth (1755) are both by Rudhall's of Gloucester. Tenor is from 1815, by Thomas Mears, Whitechapel. The front three bells added in 1938 by Taylors of Loughborough. This was the second time we had lunched at The House of Windsor, having previously visited here after a tour of the Wychwood Brewery in the town. Situated in the area of the town known as West End the pub provided a good lunch on both occasions and was warmly regarded on numerous websites relevant to pub culture. Sadly the pub has ceased trading since this time.
The House of Windsor · Witney
Saturday 4th November 2006
St John the Baptist (8) 17cwt
St Nicholas (6) 6cwt
01.00pm The Maytime Inn
Andrew Dunn, Hugh Deam, Roy Jones, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Leon Thompson, Simon Webb and Brian Hall.
Grandsire Triples, Cambridge, Double Oxford & Stedman.
Asthall · St Nicholas
Burford See Saturday 12th April 1997 for details. Asthall Taking its name from an east nook of land, the village is situated alongside the River Windrush and is a noted place from which to spot kingfishers. Asthall has twice been gifted by royalty, first by William I to Roger d’Ivery and later by Henry III to Richard, Earl of Cornwall. The widely known pub here, The Maytime Inn, is one of the most photogenic in the county, but has been subject to serious flooding in recent years, along with other parts of the village. The Jacobean manor house, Asthall Manor, was built in 1630 and enlarged in 1916 soon after being inherited by the 2nd Baron Redesdale, father of the Mitford sisters. The sisters were notable socialites, and weekend parties were regularly held here, with many society figures in attendance. Jessica and Nancy Mitford became noted authors, Unity became a devotee of the Nazi movement, Diana married the British Fascist leader Oswald Mosley, and the youngest sister, Deborah became the Duchess of Devonshire and a pillar of the English aristocracy. The house is situated directly behind the parish church The interior includes a rare 14th century stone altar, a well preserved 12th century font and a stone effigy depicting Lady Cornwall in a long, flowing dress that covers all but the tip of her right foot. The tower clock dates from 1665, having been made by a skilled and clearly versatile local blacksmith. The bells, rung from a gallery, were augmented from three to six by Whitechapel in 2005, with the gallery accessed from the vestry via a 13-step oak ladder. The back two bells are of considerable age, having been cast at the Wokingham foundry around 1499. The fourth bell, cast by John Taylor & Co, was added in 1859 when the bells were installed in an oak-frame. This frame was replaced as part of the extensive 2005 restoration and the gallery installed. The bells were first being rung as a six in early 2006. We were privileged to be the first visiting band from outside the branch to have the pleasure of ringing these superb bells.
The Golden Valley, Gloucestershire
Saturday 14th October 2006
Holy Trinity (8) 19cwt
Christ Church (6) 10cwt
St Mary (6) 9cwt
02.00pm The Weighbridge Inn
Holy Cross (6) 12cwt
St Nicholas (5) 6cwt
Jonathan Beale, Carole Beckley, Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Hugh Deam, Rev Anthony Ellis, Anthony Hughes, Roy Jones, Susan King, Judy Kirby, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd, Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, Miranda Oliver, Suzette Reynolds, June Steele, Tony Stewart and Serge Zvegintzov.
Watermoor · Holy Trinity
Watermoor The city of Corinium was founded by the Romans in 49 A.D., being second only to London in importance. Legend has it that in 879 A.D. Gurmund the Dane captured Cirencester from the Saxons by trapping a huge flock of sparrows, tying flaming twigs to them and releasing them to fly over the city which burnt down the defences, thus allowing the Vikings to march in relatively unimpeded. In later centuries sheep were traded here in numbers that can only be imagined at today, and the town was coined as being the "King of the Cotswolds". The Royal Agricultural College, the oldest such college in the English speaking world, is based here. There are four suburbs in the town, Stratton, Chesterton, The Beeches and Watermoor. Situated on the eastern flank of the town, the church in Watermoor was built in the mid-19th century to cater for the immense congregations of 1,500+ at St John the Baptist church in the centre of town. Despite being constructed on the scale of a cathedral it was unable to cope with the surfeit of worshippers and thus Holy Trinity church was built in this part of the town. Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott at the behest of Canon William Powell the church here is substantial enough to be the main place of worship in many large towns, with a substantial tower and spire to match. Six of the eight bells were installed at the end of the 19th century, and the front two added in 1901, all cast by Taylors of Loughborough, being rung from the ground floor.
Chalford lies amidst a deep wooded gorge at the heart of the Golden Valley, thus giving the village a distinct Alpine character, so much so that it referred to on maps as being an "Alpine Village". A settlement is known to have existed here some 5000 years ago, and the remnants of a later Roman villa are open to view. There are two schools of thought as to the derivation of the name, with the Norman Calf-ford or the Saxon Cealj (chalk) Ford. The village expanded rapidly with the construction of the Thames & Severn Canal (1783 – 89), and the settling of displaced Flemish Huguenots in the 17th and 18th centuries. Quality silk and woollen cloth was manufactured by these finest of weavers. Christ Church was built in 1726, and enlarged to meet the growing population during 1841. It enjoys a sumptuous view across to the eastern slopes and the railway line built along the escarpment. The bells are unusual in that they are one of the few sets in England to be made of steel, being the work of Naylor Vickers & Co, Sheffield, 1853 – 1859.
Chalford · Christ Church
Woodchester Roman villa was occupied between the 2nd and 4th century A.D., and its most famous feature, the intricate Orpheus Mosaic has been uncovered seven times since 1880. Dating to 325 A.D. it is the second largest of its kind known to exist in Europe. Direction signs still point to the original location of the parish church, with the churchyard and building remnants still in place to the anterior of a Gothic mansion. The church was moved to a more central position for the combined villages – North and South – in 1884, with church and school sited close together, and enjoying a woodland backdrop. Woodchester Mansion stands within a landscaped valley and is now owned by the National Trust. The parish church was designed by Samuel Sanders Teulon, one of the leading 19th century English Gothic Revival architects who, besides his numerous church designs, was responsible for work at Sandringham House in Norfolk and the Court House, Holborn. The tower and spire are arguably more impressive that the main body of the church, with this superb set of bells having been restored and rehung in 1956 by Whitechapel, with the second and third bells dated to this time. The oldest bell is the fifth, dating to the 15th century, from a foundry in Bristol. The other bells are from the Gloucester foundry of the Rudhall family.
Woodchester · St Mary
The Weighbridge Inn in Nailsworth is situated just outside the town on the Avening Road, and proved an absolute must to recommend as everyone was bowled over by the prompt service, superb quality of meals, well-kept Cotswold beer, and its speciality 2 in 1 pies that lived up to their lofty billing. Unfortunately, the town which epitomises this part of Gloucestershire doesn't have a church with bells, but the pub alone makes it worthy of mention. The deep valleys here are formed by Horsley Stream, Miry Brook, Avening Stream, and Nailsworth Stream as they all converge in the town as they flow on down to the River Frome. The town has an array of peculiar road names such as Frying Pan Alley, Egypt, Gydynap Lane and Pinfarthings. As a legacy of the woollen industry many mills still remain in good condition clustered on the hillsides.
The Weighbridge Inn · Nailsworth
Avening is a village with a wealth of history, an extensive Roman burial ground and several tombs having been unearthed here in a field known as "The Norm" during 1809. The village and lands surrounding are noted in the Domesday Book as belonging to Brittric, Lord of Gloucester. He was sent by Edward the Confessor on an important ambassadorial mission to meet Baldwin, Count of Flanders, and it was there that he first met Matilda, who would later marry William the Conqueror. At this time she was enamoured of Brittric, but he rejected her advances, a declension that turned out to be fatal as she later used her influence as Queen to dispossess him of all his properties and have him incarcerated in Worcester Prison, where he subsequently died. The original church was ordered destroyed and a new church built by Matilda, with it being consecrated on Holy Cross Day in 1080. Avening became a favourite resort of royalty from then on, with the church endowed to the Abbey of Holy Trinity, Caen for the next 333 years.
Avening · Holy Cross
The tradition of a Feast on Holy Cross Sunday led to the current Pig Face Day celebrations. The tower entrance is at the rear of the church, with the second and fourth by Roger Purdue of Bristol, 1628, and the third and fifth recast by Abel Rudhall of Gloucester. The tenor and treble are from Whitechapel, 1903. Cherington This pretty village is situated upon the gentler eastern slopes of the Golden Valley towards the southernmost extreme of the Cotswolds and borders the Gatcombe Estate. First documented as Cerintone, the settlement took its name from an amalgam of Anglo Saxon words to describe a village possessing a church. The area is noted for equine pursuits, and there are several 18th century coach houses and stables to verify this. The primarily Early English parish church is most noted for the exceptional medieval mouldings around the lancet windows. In the mid-19th century one of the bells was purloined, later reappearing in the tower at Avening. The ensuing scandal led to three ringers being sent to prison for six months after admitting to smuggling the bell out of the church here. As it transpired, their misdeed had all been nothing as this bell had not really been conducive with the existing bells. The augmented treble bell was added in 1993, being cast at Whitechapel.
Cherington · St Nicholas
Saturday 9th September 2006
St Andrew (6) 5cwt
St Mary (6) 8cwt
01.15pm The Bull Inn
St Mary (6) 15cwt
Hugh Deam, Roy Jones, Judith Kirby, Maarit Kivilo, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd,
Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, Neville Whitttell and Richard Bennett.
Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, Neville Whitttell and Richard Bennett.
Cambridge, Little Bob, Plain Bob Minor, Stedman & Grandsire.
Tostock · St Andrew
Tostock The settlement noted as being here at the time of the Domesday Survey was described as Totestoc, deriving it name from an outlying Anglo-Saxon farmstead by a look-out place. There was a church mentioned as being here at this time, but the present building is essentially from the 12th century, being sited to the east of the village. Flanking the flint and limestone building are an array of trees, with a large lime tree towering over the gateway. A course of restoration and enlargement was carried out in 1848. The tower, of square battlemented design, was constructed in stages from about 1350. It is believed that the tower was completed in the 1460's, with four bells cast in Bury St Edmunds being in the tower by the 16th century. In 1960 the existing bells were removed from the tower due to their mountings being declared unsafe. They were stored for safe keeping until a concerted fund-raising effort led to them being re-hung and augmented to a six in 1999, the new bells being cast by Whitechapel. Woolpit This is a village of considerable historical significance in a picturesque setting which attracts numerous tourists and painters, thus helping it maintain several shops, pubs and galleries, something which few other villages of comparable size can manage nowadays. We enjoyed an excellent lunch at one of the pubs, the Bull Inn, which as the picture demonstrates, is a somewhat more recent premises than the half-timbered properties adjoining. During the 12th century the settlement was described as Wulfpit because of the ditches constructed to act as wolf traps.
The village sign on the road fronting the church depicts a girl, a boy, the church and a wolf. This attests to the local legend of the two green-pigmented children who appeared out of one such pit at harvest time. Harvesters brought them to the village where the boy and girl would only eat green food such as beans and peas. When asked of their origin they could only remember vague details such as it being called the land of St Martin's across the river, with herds of cattle, churches with bells, and a sun that never rose high in the sky. The children changed colour after being encouraged on to a diet of bread, but the boy fell ill and died, although the girl is reputed to have gone on to marry a man from King's Lynn. The parish church is considered one of the most glorious such buildings in the country. Besides the 200 angel carvings, there are representations of jesters, dragons and eagles. The priests' door remains from the 12th century, although much else, including the tower, is from the 15th century. The two oldest bells (fourth and fifth) are by John Darbie of Ipswich, 1658. The other bells are from the Whitechapel foundry, 1844 and 1855.
Woolpit · St Mary
The Bull Inn · Woolpit
Buxhall The settlement here in 995 A.D. was documented as Bucyshealae (a nook of land belonging to Buce). The huge tower-mill here has long been a famous landmark in the county, although it has been devoid of any sails since a destructive gale in 1929. This is now a popular area for rambling, with an ancient wood adjoining the village. The Decorated period (c. 1275-1380) church is situated south of the village, with the imposing tower dating from slightly earlier. The art of change ringing, where adjacent pairs of bells may change places all at once, is generally considered to have originated with Fabian Stedman's "Tintinnalogia" in 1668. Dated 50 years earlier is a cipher carved into the tower door-post here that has five and a bit rows of single pair changes on 5, these being: 12345, 21345, 23145, 23415, 23451, 2----. The bells are a weighty six that are well worth the effort, although it was unfortunate that the clapper fell out from the tenor whilst we were here. The two oldest bells are by John Draper of Thetford, second (1632) and fourth (1635). The fifth is from 1698 by Charles Newman of Norwich. The treble and tenor bells are both from 1952, by Gillett & Johnston, and the third, 1995, from Whitechapel.
The Woolpit village sign
Buxhall · St Mary
Saturday 15 July 2006
10.15am Breakfast Bake Farm PYO
11.15am Tarrant Keyneston
Dorset All Saints (5) 7cwt
Dorset St Mary St Cuthberga & All Saints (6) 11cwt
01.15pm Witchampton Social Club
03.15pm Iwerne Courtney (Shroton)
Dorset St Mary (6) 9cwt
04.15pm Gussage St Michael
Dorset St Michael (6) 11cwt
Heather Banyard, Jonathan Beale, Carole Beckley, Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Hugh Deam,
Roy Jones, Judy Kirby, Janice Knowles, Bernard Masterman and Donna Murphy.
Roy Jones, Judy Kirby, Janice Knowles, Bernard Masterman and Donna Murphy.
Cambridge, St Clements, Stedman & St Martin's.
The villages that have grown up along the course of the River Stour have a rich history, probably most notably during the years of the English Civil War. Although much of Dorset was a Royalist stronghold, and had strongholds that were last to surrender, it was here around Cranborne Chase that a group disillusioned by the constant fighting on both sides came into being. The Clubmen were a largely clergy-led group who generally met the same fate at the hands of Cromwell as the eventually defeated Cavaliers. The organic bakery at Long Crichel in well worth a visit, housed in what were stables, this artisan bakery only opened in 2000, but has the appearance of having existed here for many centuries. Just prior to reaching Cranborne Chase we enjoyed a quick breakfast at Bake Farm, a large Pick Your Own farm, and some rapidly filled punnets of soft fruits in the most adjacent fields before we headed into Dorset.
Tarrant Keyneston is one of eight villages within a short radius to carry the prefix of Tarrant, this deriving from the Celtic river name that literally translates as "the trespasser", i.e. a river liable to flooding. The villages have developed around the area which was once graced by Tarrant Abbey, established c.1100 by Ralph de Kahaines. One of the first ever books in the English language was written at the abbey. All that remains of the mediaeval church is the tower and the tenor bell. In the 1850's a new church was built on the same site, being in Perpendicular style and constructed of flint and ham-stone so as to harmonise with the tower and resemble the original church. The 14th century tenor bell is one of the oldest bells in the country, with what are now the middle three bells by Gillett & Johnston, 1914. In 1977 a peal was rung in 16 minimus methods, a record number to a peal on four bells. What is now the treble was brought here from the redundant church of Christchurch in Savernake, having been cast by John Warner & Sons, 1853.
Tarrant Keyneston · All Saints
Witchampton The village is sited alongside the River Allen, deriving its name from a farmstead associated with an earlier Romano-British settlement which included a vineyard. From Norman times up until the 20th century there were two flour mills here, one of which originally belonged to Queen Matilda, wife of William I. Until the mid-20th century every house in the village was in the ownership of the Crichel estate thus helping to preserve its special character, with numerous thatched and timber-framed cottages, resplendent at various times of year with roses, honeysuckle and jasmine. The area of the village known as New Town was built to house the displaced inhabitants of Moor Crichel which was submerged beneath the 60acre lake constructed by the owners of Crichel House. Having undergone a rebuilding (1832 – 40), all that remains of the original church building is the bowl of the 13th century font, which was rescued from a field where it was being used as a cattle trough. The 15th century tower has four gargoyles, one of which is playing bagpipes. The bells are ideal for fluent ringing, with the back five bells cast by Robert I Wells of Aldbourne, 1776/77, and the treble added in 1935, Whitechapel.
Witchampton · St Mary
Iwerne Courtney (Shroton) This now extensive village is set in the Iwerne Valley and overlooked by the hills of Cranborne Chase to the east and Hambledon Hill to the south-west. For many centuries the village has alternatively been known as Shroton (sheriff's estate). During the Civil War a skirmish was played out between Cromwellian dragoons and the local Clubmen. A century later a different army mustered on the hills here under the training of General Wolfe as part of their training for the upcoming assault against the French in Quebec. The present church was rebuilt in 1610 in a Gothic style, with the interior greatly altered in 1872, with more elaborate windows inserted. The north chapel houses a monument to Sir Thomas Freke who paid for the rebuilding of the church.
Iwerne Courtney · St Mary
The bells are rung from the ground floor, and we were told by the local ringers that the ropes now have a notable tendency to be on the long side due to the loss of the trees that long bordered the entrance to the tower, and there certainly was plentiful capacity of tail-end on the ropes on this particular day. The tower houses six bells, the oldest of which is the fifth, 1524, by an unidentified founder. The fourth is from 1590 by John Wallis, Salisbury. The tenor is of 1887, by Llewellins & James, Bristol, and the other three bells from the Whitechapel foundry. Gussage St Michael This charming village, named after a gushing stream, has developed around the Roman road of Ackling Dyke. The Dorset Cursus that passes around the parish is a processional way that long pre-dates the adjoining Roman Ackling Dyke. The parish church is built on a hillside amidst the ruins of a Saxon predecessor, the oldest part of the present building being the base of the tower, dating to the 12th century. The nave is from the following century, with the chancel having been completely rebuilt in 1857 by G.E. Street. The bells are hung counter-clockwise and were restored in 2005 by Whitechapel. The oldest bell is the fifth, 1608, cast by John Wallis of Salisbury, with the second and third from 1663 by Francis Foster. The other bells are from the Whitechapel foundry.
Gussage St Michael · St Michael
Sunday 30th April 2006
Oxon · SMV (5) 6cwt
01.15pm The Red Lion
02.30pm Little Compton
Warks · St Denys (5) 6cwt
Oxon · SMV (6) 6cwt
Carole Beckley, Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Anthony Hughes, Roy Jones, Judy Kirby, Janice Knowles, Carrie Leonard-McIntyre, Peter Lloyd, Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy and Leon Thompson.
Plain Bob Minor, Stedman, St Simon's & Grandsire.
Although not as widely known as Stonehenge or Avebury, this corner of north-west Oxfordshire also possesses a complex of megalithic monuments, the Rollright Stones being three Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. The three separate monuments are constructed of local oolitic limestone and are now known as the King Stone, the King's Men and the Whispering Knights, the latter two being the oldest. The King-Stone was probably erected to mark a Bronze Age cemetery dating to somewhere between 1800 and 1500 B.C. The strange shape of the King is partly the result of 17th century drovers and visitors who continually chipped off bits to use as lucky charms and keep the Devil at bay. A Doctor Who episode (The Stones of Blood) from the Tom Baker era was partly filmed here in 1978. Salford The settlement here in 777 A.D. was noted as Saltford (a ford over which salt is carried). The parish church is situated adjacent to fields on the western edge of the village, and was largely Norman in structure until being rebuilt in 1854 by the eminent Gothic Revival architect George Edmund Street. His most noted work is probably the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London. The font and parts of two doorways are the Norman features to remain here. The tower was also rebuilt by Street, with the Decorated Gothic bell-openings surviving from the original construction. All five bells are by Matthew I Bagley & Henry II Bagley of Chacombe, being cast in 1687. Little Compton The original name of the village was Compton in Floribus on account of the profusion of flowers in the valley here. The small but aesthetically pleasing 14th century parish church adjoins the 17th century manor house that was built for Bishop William Juxon, and is unusual in having a saddleback roofed tower.
William Juxon, who had also served as Lord Treasurer of England, was the priest who accompanied Charles I to the scaffold. Scenes of the execution are represented in a stained-glass window in the Lady Chapel, and the bible used by Juxon at the execution is now on display at nearby Chastleton House. William Juxon was subsequently appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and is buried at St John's College, Oxford. Extensive rebuilding of the church took place during 1863/64, forming a new chancel and nave. A ring of five bells was installed here in 1720 by Abraham II Rudhall of Gloucester, the treble being recast in 1810 and again in 1899 by H. Bond & Sons of Burford. The bells were removed for restoration in 1990 and sent to Whitechapel for re-tuning, however spiralling costs associated with structural repairs to the tower delayed the project in its entirety, with it not being completed until 1999. Chastleton See Sunday 6th October 2013 for details.
The Red Lion · Little Compton
Little Compton · St Denys
Saturday 25th March 2006
5.00pm Stanton Harcourt
Oxon · St Michael (6) 11cwt
6.30pm Supper The Evenlode
Paul Bayes, John Beale, Jonathan Beale, Robert Bruce, Hugh Deam, Roy Jones, Susan King, Judy Kirby, Janice Knowles, Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, Susie Pavelin, Ailsa Reid, June Steele, Richard Bennett and Joan Beale.St Clements, Plain Bob Minor & Grandsire.
Stanton Harcourt For the first time visitor to Stanton Harcourt St Michael, it appears that there may be a second tower to choose from, this other tower being Pope's Tower, named after Alexander Pope, which is in the grounds of the adjoining manor house, but which has no bells within. It is so named as Pope resided here whilst translating a volume of Homer's Iliad in 1817/18.
There are plenty of towers that are broad in their girth but which have surprisingly modest ringing chambers within, and then there are towers such as Stanton Harcourt where the sheer immensity of the ringing chamber is almost certainly the first thing that comes to notice on entering the room. For all the room's expanse though, it is the wide spacing between sallies that generally provides the culture shock when actually ringing. For full details of the village and church, see Saturday 28th September 2013.
The Evenlode in Eynsham
Stanton Harcourt · St Michael
Saturday 25th March 2006
Herts · St Margaret (6) 11cwt
11.15am South Mymms
Herts · St Giles (6) 11cwt
12.15pm The White Hart
Herts · St Leonard (6) 6cwt
Joan Badger, Paul Bayes, Hugh Deam, Vince Emery, Roy Jones, Andrew King and Peter Lloyd.Stedman, St Simon's, St Martin's & Grandsire.
Ridge and South Mymms See Saturday 17th April 1999 for details. Sandridge The village is situated just north of St Albans, on the ancient road to Wheathampstead, and is a pleasant mix of old cottages and new housing. In Saxon times, when this area was part of Mercia, the settlement here was known as Sandruage (a sandy ridge). During the 19th century, Nomansland Common became nothing short of infamous thanks, in the most part, to the brazen exploits of Lady Katherine Ferrers, better known as "The Wicked Lady".
Her nefarious life is still famous today, probably due to the 1940s film of the same name starring Margaret Lockwood and James Mason, which is still one of British Cinema's highest grossing films (adjusted for inflation). During the 19th century cock-fighting and horse racing was more common than cricket hereabouts, with betting and gambling on the merest thing being truly rife. A Saxon church is known to have stood here in 796 A.D., with the present building being a Norman replacement. The semi-circular head of the arch between the nave and chancel is thought to survive from the Saxon building. The Norman tower collapsed in 1692 and was not rebuilt until 1836 – 38. During 1886/87 the church was subject to a restoration overseen by William White, re-opening on June 7, 1887. The ring of bells was dedicated on January 11, 1890. Unusually, the treble is the oldest bell, 1837, by Thomas Mears, of Whitechapel. The back five bells are from the time of the rebuilding, by John Warner & Sons.
The White Hart · South Mymms
Sandridge · St Leonard
Saturday 11th March 2006
10.00am Moreton in Marsh
Gloucs · St David 10cwt (8)
Gloucs · St Thomas of Canterbury (6) 12cwt
12.15pm Great Wolford
Warks · St Michael (6) 11cwt
01.30pm The Norman Knight
Warks · St Michael (8) 12cwt
Warks · St John the Baptist (5 now 6) 7cwt
St Michael · Whichford
John Beale, Jonathan Beale, Carole Beckley, Bob Benstead, Jane Burgess, Ron Burgess, Robert Chadburn, Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Clare Fairburn, Malcolm Fairburn, Adrian Gray, Anthony Hughes, Roy Jones, Judith Kirby, Susan King, Janice Knowles, Peter Lloyd, Paul Lucas, Bernard Masterman, Donna Murphy, June Steele, Hillary Stevens and Richard Verrall.
Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples, St Clements & Little Bob.
Moreton in Marsh · St David
Moreton in Marsh This busy old market town is situated at the crossroads of Fosse Way (now A429) and the A44, the majority of the town being built along the length of an exceptionally wide, grass-verged main street. The name of the town may well refer to its position close to the march (boundary) of Gloucestershire; some two miles distant is a stone column which marks the meeting place of three counties. At the very heart of the town stands a splendid 16th century curfew tower, the bell of which was long used to summon the fire brigade. Aptly, the National Fire Service Training College is based at the eastern edge of the town, these extensive facilities being highly visible to motorists approaching on the A44. Senior fire officers, fire-fighters, and relevant civilians from all over the country undergo operational, management and leadership training here.
Previous to this use the land had been developed as an RAF airfield used by Wellington bombers during the Second World War. The parish church began as a chapel of ease for Blockley, and then performed the same function for Batsford. Until the Second World War the Lord of the Manor at Batsford implemented the right to collect a shilling a year for every shop window facing Moreton High Street. Most of the church was rebuilt in 1858, with the tower replaced in 1860. The honey-coloured stone from local quarries gives the church an apparent age beyond its actual years, with the gravel walk to the west door lined by yew trees. The beautifully proportioned three-stage tower is surmounted by triangular-pierced battlements and an octagonal spire. The eight bells were recast and rehung in 1958 by Taylors of Loughborough, the third being an entirely new bell. The bells are a rewarding set, although the ringing chamber is quite small for an eight bell tower. Todenham See Saturday 17th October 1992 for details. Great Wolford The twin villages of Great Wolford and the smaller Little Wolford derive their name from the Anglo-Saxon for a place protected against wolves. The villages are characterized by a plenitude of Cotswold stone cottages that were owned by Lord Redesdale of Batsford up until 1924. Close by is Wolford Wood, which plays host to a number of rare orchids and a diversity of wildlife.
Great Wolford · St Michael
The parish church is an ashlar-faced 19th century rebuilding (1833 – 1835) upon the foundations of its 1st century predecessor. The work was conducted under the supervision of James Trubshaw, whose most widely known work is the Grosvenor Bridge in Chester, and who pioneered the technique of under-excavation with the work of straightening the leaning tower of St Chad's church in Wybunbury, Cheshire. The interior of the church is composed of a broad nave and short chancel, with richly coloured stained-glass work by Heinersdorf of Berlin. The west tower, capped by a recessed spire, contains six bells, the oldest of which is the tenor, cast in 1664 by George Mears of Whitechapel. The Norman Knight, Whichford is a classic Cotswolds pub with its own brewery and a campsite. The flagstone floors and exposed timbers all add to the traditional ambience.
The Norman Knight · Whichford
The pub offered a choice of three of their own ales, Apprentice, One for the Toad and Druid's Fluid. As there were a few more of us than had been bargained for we had to split into three groups as the pub is of modest size. The meals were good value and highly appetising. Whichford The settlement of Wicford (ford of the Hwicce tribe) is noted in the Domesday Book, with the Manor of Whichford granted to Bridlington Priory by the de Mohun family in the 12th century. The older buildings in the village are mostly of local stone and with thatched roofs. The Whichford Pottery, which specialises in terracotta flowerpots, has tours of its workshop during the week. The origins of the parish church date to the mid12th century when it was in the possession of the Augustinian Priory. From 1200 work on the tower began and the north aisle was added. Against the north wall of the chancel is the tomb of John Mertun, rector here 1507 – 1537.
Whichford · St Michael
The alabaster slab on top is considered one of the finest examples of an incised such carving in the country. The west tower contains eight bells which are rung from the ground floor. The oldest bell is the sixth, cast by William Bagley of Chacombe, 1695. The other bells are all by the Taylor family, the seventh by William Taylor, 1848, when the foundry was in Oxford, and the others from the later foundry in Loughborough. Cherington The village is often confused with the slightly larger village of the same name in south Gloucestershire, as although in Warwickshire, this Cherington Is situated close to the county border and hence the confusion. The parish church is primarily 13th century, although the tower was begun a little earlier. The eclectic array of stained-glass on display throughout the church is as a result of the rector here between 1750 and 1760 having assiduously collected C14th to C18th glass from a multitude of sources. The battlements atop the 12th century tower are 18th century additions. The tower had three bells until 1842, when one was recast, and two more added. The week after our visit Taylors Eayre & Smith recast the treble bell and cast the current treble to increase this to a ring of six. A new frame was made by one of the local ringers to the designs of the foundry.
Cherington · St John the Baptist
Saturday 4th March 2006
10.00am Dorchester Abbey
Oxon · St Peter & St Paul (8) 16cwt
Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Claire Fairbairn, Malcolm Fairbairn,A QP of Grandsire Triples.
Nicholas Hartley, Roy Jones, Paul Lucas and Leon Thompson.
Nicholas Hartley, Roy Jones, Paul Lucas and Leon Thompson.
Dorchester on Thames The name derives from the Roman town of Dorcic, the meaning of which, if the town in Dorset is to be used as a gauge, possibly refers to a place with fist-sized pebbles. Despite its name, Dorchester is not directly on the Thames, but close to the River Thame’s confluence with it. The area has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic period, and on the Sinodun Hills on the opposite side of the river a ramparted settlement was inhabited during the Bronze Age and Iron Age.
The Romans built a vicus (civilian settlement) here, with a road linked to the military camp at Alchester. In 64 AD, Pope Honorius I sent a bishop, Birinus, to convert the Saxons in this part of the country to Christianity. King Cyneglis of Wessex gave Dorchester to Birinus as the seat of a new Diocese, making it the de facto capital of Wessex. Dorchester was displaced by Winchester when the bishopric was transferred in 660 AD, but later the Mercian Bishop of Leicester transferred his seat to here between, a situation that pertained between 875 and 971 AD. During the 12th century the church was enlarged to serve a community of Augustinian canons. Henry VIII dissolved the abbey in 1536, leaving a small village with a huge parish church. Dorchester Abbey has a history going back to 635 AD, when it was a monastic building. The abbey was richly endowed out of the lands and tithes of the former bishopric.
St Peter & St Paul
The church is primarily Norman, although there are traces of Saxon masonry on the north side. The sanctuary, dating from 1330, has highly decorated windows as well as ornately carved sedilia and piscina. Other fittings include one of the few surviving lead fonts in England, frescoes of 1340, and the “Swaggering Knight” monument, possibly depicting Sir John Holcombe (d.1270). Today, besides worship the abbey is also noted for hosting the music events of the Dorchester Festival and many other concerts, recitals and drama events. The tower contains eight bells, the seventh and tenor being the oldest, circa 1399, from foundries in Exeter and Wokingham respectively. The third (1651), fourth (1603), fifth (1606) and sixth (1591) are all from the Reading foundry of the Knight family. The front two bells were added in 1867 by Mears & Stainbank, Whitechapel. The town has featured in numerous film and television productions, with the 16th century Old School Room next to the abbey serving as a museum. The most famous of Dorchester’s coaching inns, The George Hotel, dates to 1495 and is one of the oldest such hostelries in the country. Located directly across the road from the abbey, there is a decorative carriage outside and the interior is beautifully furnished. Although on this particular day we had tea and coffee in the abbey due to there being an exhibition taking place which meant refreshments were being served, we have used the George Hotel on several other ringing visits to Dorchester as we know that it serves a large cafetiere of excellent coffee to share.
Steeple Barton & Evenley
Saturday 25th February 2006
10.00am Steeple Barton
Oxon · St Mary (5) 9cwt
Northants · St George (5) 6cwt
Hugh Deam, Andrew Dunn, Simon Edwards, Roy Jones and Richard Verrall.
Evenley · St George
Steeple Barton See Saturday 20th September 1986 for details. Evenley The name of the village denotes a level woodland clearing, having been documented in the Domesday Book as Evelaia. The village is located on what used to be the point where the counties of Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire all met, with the River Great Ouse bordering the parish. Evenley Wood Garden is 60 acre private woodland that houses a varied collection of plants, trees and shrubs. The unusual band of acid soil set within a predominantly alkaline area provides the ideal opportunity to cultivate lilies, rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias, all of which would not ordinarily thrive in this location. Early in the year around 80 varieties of snowdrop carpet the woodland floor, to be followed in late spring by a swathe of bluebells. Evenley has had a church since medieval times, with the Augustinian Huntingdon Priory known to have held the rectory here in 1535. The original building was replaced in 1864/65 by the present church, designed by Henry Woodyer. Memorials salvaged from the previous church were re-set in the present building. Three bells from the old building were also carried over, these all having been cast by the Bagley family at the foundry in Chacombe. In 1865, George Mears & Co of Whitechapel cast the third and tenor.