Shenley and Loughton win Branch striking competition

The Branch striking competition was held at Padbury on the afternoon of Saturday September 4th .
The church at Padbury is perhaps best known for its 13th century mural of a wolf rescuing the head of St Edmund from the Danes, but also houses an uncomplicated 10cwt ring of six ideal for a striking

The mural of the wolf and St Edmund

Three bands entered, from Lillingstone Lovell, Padbury, and Shenley and Loughton

The Lillingstone Lovell band, who rang Grandsire Doubles

The Padbury band, who rang Plain Bob Doubles

The band from Shenley and Loughton, who rang St Martins Doubles

The judges were the father and daughter team of  Elizabeth and Jonathan Pawley, from Leighton Buzzard.

The judges delivering their verdict

Shenley/Loughton accumulated 12 faults, and were declared the winners, followed by Padbury with 22 faults and Lillingstone Lovell with 25.

The  impressive Colin Snack trophy was presented to John Brookman by Jessica and Leo, the grandchildren of the Padbury tower captain, Richard Stanworth

The presentation of the trophy

Thanks must go to the Padbury ringers for hosting the competition and providing a splendid tea, to the judges for doing a difficult and thankless task well, and to Barry Eglesfield for organising the day

The winners will go on to represent the branch at the Guild 6-bell competition in October, at Stoke Goldington

Bells welcome Bishop Stephen to Milton Keynes

On September 2 nd Bishop Stephen, the Bishop of Oxford, started his pilgrimage to Milton Keynes. On that day he cycled between half a dozen or more churches in the north of Milton Keynes, blessing the church and its congregation, chalking his blessing on the lintel of the building, and praying with the local congregation.

He was welcomed to three churches on his route – Great Linford, Downs Barn and Bradwell – by a small group of ringers drawn from these towers, as well as Shenley, Woughton and Newport Pagnell.

The Bishop told the ringers that he was pleasantly surprised by the welcome, and said how he had heard the bells from far off as he cycled from Wolverton to Great Linford, guiding him toward the church.

Guild Quiz Results

The Woughton band aka “Roundabouts” entered the virtual Guild Quiz on Saturday 27th March and came third out of 16 teams and 80+ ringers taking part. The team feel the Branch was well represented and enjoyed the evening in break out rooms.

The Quiz Master, Kate, presented the winners with the award, (virtually), a rather amazing silver bowl that has recently been donated to the Guild. Some digging in the guild archives has revealed that this rose bowl was once presented to Rev F E Robinson – the guild’s first master and first ringer to a thousand peals. Kate hopes that this will become an annual event.

The event was run by the Abingdon Rotary Club with some very good Zoom technology, most of which went well

This was the final scoreboard:

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<>. 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<> and someone will get back to you..

Best wishes

Jo Druce
Colin Newman