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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


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