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Old North Berks Branch - Young Ringers Outing,

Iffley and Cowley outing, Wednesday 4th April 2018


Iffley must have been surrounded by farmland and the river until relatively recently, but of course was swallowed up within Oxford around a hundred years ago. We drove down the main street, which still feels like a village with many narrow turnings which looked as if they might lead to fields and orchards. At the end it broadened out to frame the attractive honey coloured church. There we happily met up, nearly twenty ringers including seven young ringers under eighteen years old.


Lots of branches were represented among the seven young ringers: Banbury Branch, East Berks and South Bucks Branch, Oxford City Branch, Reading Branch and Witney & Woodstock Branch each were represented as well as two from our own Old North Berks Branch. We have often had more young people but lots were away with their families, making good use of the two week break from school.


We enjoyed the lovely Iffley bells, and especially remember the unusual central pillar in the ringing chamber! Our young ringer from Amersham called some excellent call changes for us. We also rang some Plain Bob, Stedman and Erin doubles. For a game, we threw a dice to decide which named change from a list to pull off in, then rang plain hunt on five from that change! It made our young ringers think, but they rung it successfully.


We were treated to an excellent talk and visit to Iffley church by Elizabeth, a member of the congregation there. It was difficult to believe that the beautiful crisp carving on the outside stonework of the church was nearly 900 years old! And it was fascinating to hear about the anchorite who built a cell against the north wall of the church with a window into the church. She lived there and devoted herself to Christ for ten years, never stepping outside her cell, until she died.


We walked the mile to St James, Cowley along what must have been a farm track between the two villages. There we were treated to scones, biscuits, cake, tea and pop kindly provided by Daphne. And we rang the light bells there, including a requested game of Twister as well as the proper methods.


The next ONB young ringer outing will be in the Half Term holiday, probably on Wednesday 30th May, (venue yet to be decided). Offers to organise something very gratefully received!


Susan Read

ONB Training Officer,

5th April 2018


Master's Blog - March 2018

Simon Linford’s article in a recent edition of the Ringing World talks about how the St Martins Guild questioned and discussed their vision and role for the future. This has inspired me to start the same conversation here in the ODG.  At the General Committee meeting on 10th March we are planning to have discussions on the following questions:  

1 What should tomorrow's ODG be like to be successful?

2 What is the best use of the General Committee?

3 What should the top priority be for the Guild?

It will be interesting to see what comes up.  Let us know your thoughts   In the meantime, we will keep you posted!

10 bell striking Competition

Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers 10 bell striking Competition

 25th November 2017

This year’s competition was hosted by the North Bucks Branch at Olney – a lovely 24cwt ring, augmented from 8 in 2009. The test piece was 240 of Stedman caters. As the judges later pointed out, this was a relatively straightforward test piece to call, but challenged all the bands on their striking.  Six of the 15 Branches in the Guild entered teams, and the local ringers at Olney did us proud with a marvellous “ringers breakfast” and a constant supply of tea and coffee throughout the morning. Thank you to the Olney ringers, and also to Tony Crabtree, the Guild Deputy Ringing Master who organised the morning, which went very smoothly.  The judges were Alison and Roy Williams, from Worcestershire, who braved a room without the benefit of heating, and with the windows open in order to hear the ringing clearly on what was the coldest day of winter so far.

The six teams who entered were Banbury, East Berks and South Bucks (EBSB), Vale of the White Horse, (VOWH), Reading, Newbury and Old North Berks (ONB). Two teams did not complete the piece – Reading and VOWH, leaving four teams to wait for the judges deliberations. Roy and Alison did not keep people waiting long, and everyone gathered to hear their comments and the results. Roy said the touch had needed lots of precision, with their being many challenges in the piece and several teams struggling with bells 8 and 9 dodging in 4/5. Alison then gave individual team feedback:

Banbury – The little bells were bunching at times, and sometimes there was some fast leading, the majority of faults were picked up in the middle, but it settled well in the second part. Peal speed 3hr 27.

EBSB – It settled quickly, but a lot of faults were picked up on leading.  The ringing was generally consistent but slowed a little towards the end. Peal speed 3hr 23.

VOWH -  Did not complete,  and struggled to settle, but a good effort.  Peal speed 3hr 21.

Reading – Did not complete.  Had a very steady start and the backstroke leads were very good, very pleasant to listen to.  Peal speed 3hr 30.

Newbury – Faults were mainly picked up from the heavier bells rushing a little. A good effort. Peal speed 3hr 19.

ONB – The practice time had been used wisely as the test piece settled quickly. There was a good consistent speed although all bells led a little quickly.  Overall very good. Peal speed 3hr 29.

Alison then gave the scores:

Banbury – 112.5 faults

EBSB – 91.5 faults

Newbury – 129 faults

ONB – 68 faults.

Congratulations were given to the team from ONB, who were particularly happy as they had not won the 10 bell competition before, and the trophy was presented to Tim Pett, the conductor.

Thank you to everyone who made the competition such a success and we look forward to seeing the competitors again next year.

Lindsay Powell

Tim Pett receives the trophy on behalf of the Old north Berks Team.

The winning team from Old North Berks –  anticlockwise in ringing order from front left – Gillian Loyd, Josie Irving, Mary Friskney, Malcolm Fairbairn, Chris Tuckett, Brian Read, Stuart Gibson, Tim Pett (c), Isaac O’Shea, Richard Loyd.



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