Our practice sessions over the last couple of weeks have largely been spent practising call changes and plain hunt although the most recent ended with a touch of Grandsire. Practice makes perfect so they say.
Chawton entered the Winchester & Portsmouth Guild striking competition for the first time today, competing with some of the best bands in the county, ringing call changes in the 6-bell competition. It was a fairly nerve-wracking experience for a novice band but we all pulled together, got through it and triumphantly achieved fifth place.
Note the “competing with” above, not “competing against”. We were greatly assisted during the run up to the match by the Alton band who took fourth place and wouldn’t have done nearly so well without their help.
Groups of bell towers form ringing districts and ringers from one tower often ring at another in the district especially when a particular tower is struggling.
Service ringing yesterday, Easter Sunday 20th April, enjoyed a special boost with the band enjoying some expert visiting ringers from other towers within the Alton & Petersfield district. In addition to our usual diet of call changes churchgoers were serenaded with some Reverse Canterbury Pleasure Place Minimus rung on four bells plus cover.
Yesterday, Sunday 6th April, a Quarter Peal of Plain Bob Doubles was rung here to mark the 50th birthday of the brother of one of our ringers. Ringing commenced shortly after 5:30pm and “That’s all” was called at 6:20.
The band comprised:
- Bob Stammers
- Judy Sparling
- Mike Novell
- Matt Watts
- Andy Sparling – Conductor
- Jill Burry
and after the ringing, the debrief.
Excellent practice session this evening made possible by a wealth of visitors from Milland (not even in Hampshire!), from Alton and from Blackmoor.
Ringing included rounds & call changes, Plain Hunt, Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire Doubles and Stedman Doubles – how good is that? Lots of practice for Bob preparing for his debut as a Quarter Peal treble ringer. A good varied evening with something for everybody present (including a trip to the GreyFriar for “asbo”)
Wondering what all those strange names are (Plain Bob Doubles, etc)? They’re names of “methods”, the bell ringing equivalent of a tune, patterns of sequence changes which the ringers learn by heart. Wikipedia provides this explanation.
With the flood waters receding, electrics restored and spring just around the corner, bellringing at Chawton will resume this coming Sunday 16th March from 10am for the service commencing at 10:30.
We’ll also be holding our regular practice on Monday 17th from 7:30pm until 9pm (much to the dismay of the landlord of The Star Inn in Bentworth)
Why not come along and enjoy our bells.
Last Saturday I attended an education day run near Andover by the Winchester & Portsmouth Guild on the topic “Plain Hunting on 5 Bells & Trebling to Doubles Methods”. It was an all-day intensive course covering the subject matter both in theory and practice. The first practical session started with me (and others) fumbling basic bell control but the last session in the afternoon saw me trebling to several plain courses with considerable ease.
I was tired on Sunday, I am quite old after all.
On Monday with St Nicholas still flooded, five of us (and several from St Lawrence, Alton) joined the practice at Bentworth where we were all able to progress our skills at comfortable rates. We were introduced to the delights of a “special for beginners” version of Plain Bob – Nervous Breakdown Bob Doubles.
On Friday I accepted the kind invitations to ring at Blackmoor (the tower that wobbles during ringing) where I indulged in some Plain Bob Doubles.
This morning two of us attended the Learners & Improvers session in St Lawrence, Alton before indulging in a lunchtime pint in the Eight Bells while setting the world to rights.
There will be no Sunday ringing today and no practice session tomorrow because of the flood blocking the entrance.
Yes of course the ringing chamber’s quite a bit higher than the floodwater but ringing in waders is so unseemly.
Don’t worry, our skills won’t wither for want of practise, we’ll temporarily decamp to St Mary’s, Bentworth where they also practise on Monday evenings.
At last evening’s practice we enjoyed having visitors Nigel & Jennifer from Romsey, Mike & Jill from Alton, very handy as we were otherwise three down: two on holiday and one inhibited by flooding. Stella brutally worked us through Rounds and Call Changes, several courses of Plain Hunt Doubles as well as some Plain Bob Doubles. Some faults were picked up, some eliminated, some scheduled for elimination. Nigel explained to us how striking competitions work and what’s involved and generally encouraged us to enter the six-bell district inter-tower at All Saints, Alton on 17th May. We have five already, can we get a sixth by then?
We are always on the lookout for new recruits – perhaps that’s you.
- Are you aged between 10 and 100?
- Are you male or female?
- Are you a churchgoer or not?
- Are you of any religious persuasion or none?
If you can answer “yes” to all those questions then you too can become a practitioner of one of England’s oldest traditions: full circle change ringing.
Scared? Don’t be, you won’t catch any fatal diseases, the only one of your answers above that will be changed is the first one, every year.
We hold a regular practice session every Monday evening from 7:30 to 9pm. Why not come along? No commitment, no pressure, nothing difficult. Have a go or just watch and (over 18s only) join us for a pint afterwards.