Hanslope Bell Restoration Project

Hanslope bells were taken down from the tower by White’s with the help of the bell ringers and local people in September 2019, and they were put into the church so that the people were able to in come and see them.    We held a very successful “Goodbye to the Bells” evening which was extremely well supported and amazingly raised several thousand pounds.  

The bells were then collected by White’s and taken to their premises in Appleton to begin work on them, and with a planned return date to Hanslope of December 2019 / January 2020.    However, when they took the headstocks off they discovered that the 7th and tenor bells had too many holes in the crown so they needed to be sent away for welding and then re-drilled.   There was also a delay due to a backlog of work at the company where they were casting the frame.  

By this time it was March 2020 and, as we all know, the start of coronavirus which impacted further on the work at White’s. 

The bells were eventually returned to Hanslope in August 2002 and once again were put on display in the church for villagers and others to visit, but under very controlled conditions and wearing masks due to the imposed restrictions of the virus.   We had envisaged another big money making event to welcome the bells back to the church and hopefully raise a few more thousand pounds.  

In the event, we had a very low key Service of Dedication of the Bells on Sunday 16 August, with a socially distanced congregation.  Again, it was nothing like we had imagined.  

The following week White’s returned to put the bells back up into the tower with the assistance of several branch members (to whom we were very grateful) and villagers.  Over the next few weeks White’s completed the installation, it was not easy for them with all the Covid restrictions, especially as it was not possible for them to ring all eight bells together.  

The bells were finally inspected and signed off by Alan Marchbank at the beginning of October, well over a year from when we had stopped ringing.   Following this we received the grants from the ODG Bell Fund and the North Bucks Branch, for which we thank you and are extremely grateful. 

We have still not been able to ring the bells.  We had been scheduled to ring some of the bells for the first time on Remembrance Sunday, but the second lockdown scuppered that.   So as things stand, we’ve had no ringing at Hanslope for fifteen months.  The villagers keep asking “When are we going to hear the bells again?” but only Boris knows the answer to that!

As a result of the extra work required on the bells and an increase in the cost of the building work, we still have an amount of £12,500 outstanding to be found and no prospect in the near future of being able to hold any money raising events.  

White’s also mentioned that we might need some sound proofing between the floors, but until we are able to ring and try out the bells we won’t know for certain if this will be required.  

Finally I must say that the installation and the bells look magnificent – all the beautiful new wood fittings and the blue metalwork.   It’s just so frustrating that we cannot ring them.  Some of our ringers haven’t even seen them yet,  due to restriction on access allowed into the church.   

Report on Hanslope Bell Restoration Project, as given by Sheila Blenkhorn to the North Bucks Branch Half Yearly Business Meeting on Sat 5 December 2020 (held via Zoom)

ODG Young Ringers Lockdown Award

Hello Everyone,

I hope this message finds you well.

Given where we are with the Covid-19 pandemic and our ability to be active in our hobby, we (The Learning & Development Workgroup aka The Education sub-Committee) thought it would be a great idea to understand how the Guild’s younger membership were doing. To that end we are with immediate effect, launching the ‘ODG Young Ringers Lockdown Award’ which we sincerely hope will be a one off.

Obviously the ringing opportunities for all but a very few are very limited at the moment so we are looking for entries for anything at all related to ringing from the sensible (learned to ring handbells) to the completely ‘whacky’ (built their own mini ring out of matchsticks). Here are a few examples:

1.       Ringing crosswords
2.       Rope splicing (or using bell ropes to make something)
3.       Handbell ringing
4.       Use of Ringing Room, Abel, Handbell Stadium or other ringing platforms. What did you learn?
5.       Arts & Crafts (have you painted your local church, made a model bell, made a tapestry or cross stitch picture which is ringing related? – Anything goes)
6.       Composition (Methods, Touches, Peal etc)
7.       Anything else no matter how abstract, the more imaginative the better.

The Rules

1.       Entrants must be 18 or under at any time during 2021.
2.       Young Ringers can nominate themselves, or they can be nominated by an adult.
3.       Submission forms for the award are attached to this message and will be resent at intervals between now and the closing date.
4.       Multiple entries from each young ringer are permitted (the more the better)
5.       All entries to be received by 31st August 2021 (there will be an awards ceremony virtual or face to face by the end of September)
6.       There are no more rules 


Electronic submissions are preferred to youngaward@odg.org.uk<mailto:youngaward@odg.org.uk>. Please attach photographs of any physical artefacts and any other file attachments which support the submission. If a different method of submission is required, please contact youngaward@odg.org.uk<mailto:youngaward@odg.org.uk> and someone will get back to you..

Best wishes

Jo Druce
Colin Newman

General Committee Meeting Saturday 28th November

Dear Committee Members

You are all invited to attend the General Committee meeting on Saturday 28th
November 2020. The meeting is be held online for which you must
pre-register. Details are below.

The agenda, reports and accompanying papers can be found at
http://odg.org.uk/general-committee-meeting-nov-2020/ . Apologies for
absence should be sent to me (secretary@odg.org.uk
<mailto:secretary@odg.org.uk> ).

I would remind Branch secretaries that they need to forward this email to
their Branch Reps, since I do not have access to all names and email


Ken Darvill. Hon General Secretary, Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell

Lockdown in England and Remembrance Sunday

The Covid guidance has been updated in response to the lockdown in England that starts tomorrow for four weeks.

The government in England is asking people to stay at home if at all possible. Stopping ringing during this time is consistent with that request. Churches are closed except for private prayer and broadcast worship. We realise England’s senior faith leaders, including the Bishop of London who heads the C of E Recovery Group, are challenging the government’s decision to ban communal worship during this further lockdown period, but at the moment no exception has been made, and even if it was, our guidance wouldn’t change. This is a much stricter lockdown that Tier 3.

However, we support the tolling of a single bell on Remembrance Sunday, if it is with the permission of the incumbent and churchwardens. The tolling of a single bell is a powerful symbol of remembrance understood by communities and will mean a great deal to many. Please be particularly aware of the risks associated with entering a tower and ringing on your own – make sure someone knows you are doing it and can watch out for you. A muffle is not needed when tolling a single bell.