Notable Achievements (Oct 2002 - ???)
On Sunday 10 March 1968, three founder members of the ECG, Malcolm Turner, John Longridge and David Atkins rang the first peal for the Guild; Plain Bob Minor on handbells at Rowancroft Court. 50 years later nine members gathered just round the corner at 155 Magdalen Road to mark the anniversary with a weekend of handbell ringing, cake, curry and beer.
The weekend kicked off with a successful peal of Major. Saturday morning was devoted to a series of quarter peals, with two attempts taking place simultaneously in three slots over the course of the morning. Four of these attempts were successful, including two quarter peals of Plain Bob Minor on the same bells used for the original peal. Alice Holden also achieved her first quarter peal of Cambridge Major in fine style. These endeavours were sustained by copious quantities of Dark Chocolate Gingers and cake.
After lunch the second peal of the weekend was achieved, a new composition of Kent Royal. With this ticked off and the 100% success rate for peals still intact, we headed round the corner to Rowancroft Court for a quick course of Bob Major on the ECG bells and some photos at the site of the original peal. Sadly the actual location of the particular feat of daring we were commemorating, Block A, was closed for renovation but we entertained the current Rownacroft residents by knocking out a quick touch in the car park.
Ringing rung for the day, the next stop was Pig & Pickle for much needed beer. After sampling the interesting brews on offer, we headed to the Gurkha Kitchen, serendippitously situated at the mid-point between the location of the first peal and the venue for the weekend's ringing. How appropriate that this concentration of handbell history has spawned such a fine curry factory. Thanks to a raucous hen party at the next table (who kept leaving the table to swap clothes between courses), we were far from being the rowdy table that we might otherwise have constituted, despite the ribald amusement generated by Daisy's starter.
We reconvened on Sunday after morning ringing for the final engagements. Tanked up on bacon, suasage, chorizo stew and eggs at Meat 59 we were ready to ring. Two simultaneous peals of Plain Bob Minor were attempted, each containing a first. The dining room band finished first, with Daisy Atkin achieving her first ever peal in 2 hours and 3 minutes. We waited intently for the spare room band to complete their peal, which they duly did. Richard Johnson ("Grich") rang his first handbell peal in 2 hours and 20 minutes. This second peal was rung on the same six bells used for the original 1968 peal.
Most people were then free to adjourn to the pub for a pint, but one additional quarter was then rung for Steph, who had had the misfortune to be in both the unsuccessful quarters on Saturday morning. With this quarter peal completed and everyone having rung at least one successful peal or quarter, we headed to the North Bridge Inn, a recently reopened pub near St David's.
All of the weekend's ringing can be viewed here: https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/event.php?id=8035
Our expedition to Lundy was organised around the expectation that we would (as a group of ringers) be able to grab the fine 13cwt ring of 10 on Lundy. There was talk of an ECG peal, and many ideas for quarters were flung around from the plausible to the ambitious. However, with a month to go before our trip, we found that essential work on the church as part of their renovation project meant there could sadly be no ringing on these wonderful bells. Although disappointing, members of the ECG are not so easily put off, and as such, we resorted to the type of tower that not even the Luftwaffe could take away: that's right, our bare hands, paired with handbells.
Fortunately, three sets of handbells were brought over to Lundy (by Martin, David and Phil), and we were able to ring a number of performances.
Our first foray into handbell ringing started with a practice session in Castle Keep South - a venue destined to become our modal place of ringing. Many of us turned up, each with different objectives, including Double Norwich, Yorkshire, Plain Bob Major (amongst others). Grich's Plain Bob Boot Camp was particularly memorable and successful, as he went on to prove by ringing a quarter of Plain Bob Minor in Castle Keep North a couple of days later, as well as truly excelling himself and ringing 7-8 to a quarter of Plain Bob Major two days after that.
Martin's first successful navigation of a course of Yorkshire S Major in hand became a cause for David and Tom to formulate a plan along the lines of "Let's get this lad through an intensive practice session on the tenors"! So, later that day, the first ECG quarter on the expedition became Yorkshire S Major in Bramble Villa West, with Martin achieving first of Surprise in hand.
After a quick refreshment break of Vicky's homemade flapjack, the four of us carried the party on to Castle Keep South, where we expanded upon our three leads of Kent in the practice session to ring a whole quarter of Kent and Bastow Maximus. Another 51 minutes later, we decided to retire to the pub.
Other quarter peals followed in quick succession, with a number of notable firsts: Steph and Nathan together achieved a first in method in hand for Grandsire Triples, in Castle Keep South. Castle Keep South was also the scene of a quarter of Kent Treble Bob Royal, and later in the afternoon we ventured out of The Castle to ring a quarter of Oxford Treble Bob Major at the Old School House (affectionately known as the 'Blue Bung').
I'm not sure whether this came about as an idea in the pub or not, but Wednesday 25th was the day of the first of the two peals on our trip: Oxford, Cambridge and Kent Minor, at the top of the Old Lighthouse, at daybreak. With panoramic views to take in during the peal, this was probably the most scenic peal of the week. Another peal was rung the next day at Castle Keep South, of Double Norwich, where Nathan expanded upon his performance the previous April (so eloquently written up by David Maynard) to ring the tenors to the method.
In all, in spite of the tower bells being out of action, we scored seven quarters and two peals - and while we have unfinished business on Lundy, we are all proud of our achievements, and happy to have rung together so well.
On Saturday 8th March, two teams from Exeter St David's Church attended the Devon Association of Ringers' Novice Striking Competition, which this year took place at the small rural village of Zeal Monachorum. We entered the teams into both of the competitions, which were ringing rounds and call changes for about six minutes each with one practice minute to begin with.
In the rounds competition, we managed to achieve a one-two positioning out of the nine teams that entered. Team B (Kathryn, Steph, Alice, Teifi, Nathan and Martin) took the 2nd place spot with around 30 faults and Team A (Steph, Rob, Lucy, Evan, Nathan and Grich) took 1st place with about 20 faults. This was fantastic news as Exeter St David's would take home the shield for the second time in the competition's history, having last won the shield in 2012 and then narrowing losing in 2013.
In the call changes competition, the competition was a lot bigger. Out of the nineteen teams in this category, Team A (Grich, Evan, Alice, Teifi, Rob and Martin) took 14th place with around 50 faults whilst Team B (Steph, Kathryn, Lucy, Nathan, Rob and Grich) took a very respectable 4th place with around 30 faults. Overall, we had a very successful outing and we hope to improve on these results next year.
With our annual peal slot coming up quickly and 7 students to choose from, the idea of ringing an all-student peal was mooted. Unfortunately, we did not manage to achieve this goal, since two could not make it, but we did decide to ring something special.
Therefore, on the 23rd November, on the day of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, a group of six ringers sallied forth to ring a peal with as many methods in it as there were incarnations of Doctor Who. Everyone achieved a footnote, with two first pealers - long may it continue! The details are as follows:
Devon Association Novice Competition 10 March 2012
By Rosie Illingworth.
The foolish person that I am, when our ringing master asked me if I'd like to take part in a striking competition on one of my Saturdays, I said yes. The talk in the tower and the pub in the couple of weeks before was that St David's hadn't won anything for years, so all we were attempting was not to come last. I thought we could cope with this, so wasn't too worried.
The fun and games started when I was told that I'd be picked up from Birks Grange. As an Exeter Halls girl, the opposite side of campus isn't really somewhere that I like to go, especially given the gradient of Cardiac Hill. So, clutching my trusty campus map, I set off into the wilds of the wrong side of campus. As you always do when you leave yourself plenty of time to get somewhere, I was there in plenty of time, even managing to negotiate my way down Cardiac Hill without falling over. Mine and Alice's lift turned up (thanks Bungle!), and we ventured out into the Devonian countryside.
The competition was held at the parish church of Rewe. After a fairly traumatic parking experience thanks to a great tank of a car and a very full carpark, we managed to get ourselves sorted and consoled ourselves with a bit of coconut flapjack (ok, several bits). The ECG ringers (all in stash... except Bungle! Disgraceful.) in the rounds section all congregated nervously in the churchyard before the draw, sizing up the competition. Then we all piled into the little church for the draw. We came out 3rd, so the waiting and listening and last minute tips commenced.
After the team from Exminster had completed their rounds, we all lined up in the little ringing chamber after slightly panicked-ly taking off any surplus clothing or jewellery. Apart from the muttered exclamation from Steph Hills upon pulling off the second, it all went fairly smoothly once we'd all settled down, Daisy managing the oddstruck fourth really well. All too soon, the six minutes of rounds was up, and that was our attempt completed. As soon as we were outside the tower, the analysis of our performance and the bells started, with the general decision being that we'd acquitted ourselves pretty well.
The rest of the St David's ringers for the called changes gradually appeared, and after all the teams had finished the rounds, we were all called back into the church for the ringers service. Myself and Daisy were much excited by the fact that the vicar was using her ipad to take the service - yay for hitech vicars! After the service, James Kerslake came into the church to announce the results of the rounds. As he went through the results in the reverse order, the excitement mounted as we realised that our name hadn't been called out. When it got the top 3, we simply looked at each other in astonishment. The best moment was when second place was announced as Exminster - and Daisy got up to collect the certificate simply because she was so sure we couldn't have won, and I had to pull her back down. The look on Jimmy's face as he realised that we'd won was priceless. Yes, that's right - you might want to read it again to let it sink in: Exeter St David's WON the Devon Association Novice Rounds section. So the tower at St David's is now the home of the TH Priddle shield. And we're not giving it back - it's too shiny not to keep it!
After that the order for the Called changes was drawn. Both our teams requested an earlier position, so B was seventh and A was eighth. Everyone crowded round outside the church to admire the shield, and the photo of the winning team was taken again, this time with the spoils. Some of the members went over to the social club to avail themselves of the cream teas on offer. A little while afterwards, the rest of us realised that the shield had disappeared! After a short heart attack, it was discovered sitting in pride of place surrounded by cups of tea (in clear cups and saucers! Who knew Rewe Social Club was so design conscious?!) and happy ringers.
After listening to the previous ringers, and having a minor panic when it sounded as though someone had broken a stay (they'd missed the rope, so not quite so bad!), St David's B went into the tower, and set off on their half peal of sixty on thirds. Completing it in 6mins 15secs, it was the turn of the A team in no time at all. We might have been at a bit of an advantage, seeing as most of us stayed on the same bells that we'd rung in the rounds section. Despite a few missed calls and bells swapping round, we managed to make our way through the changes with pretty good striking throughout.
After that we hotfooted it over to the social club for the ringers' tea... which
had finished. Very disappointing, especially since I was looking forward to a
pasty! Giving that up as a bad job, we all departed, wondering how we'd done in
the called changes section, and happy that we'd done as well as we could.
And if you want to check for yourself the results are on the Devon Assocation website.
Rounds Section competing for the T H Priddle Shield
Quarter Peal Day April 2011
The idea of ringing a quarter peal day came at some point last year, but it took until Trinity Term to actually put the idea into practice. And so on Satuday 7th May 2011, Tom, Steph Rob, Lucy, Martin and John travelled up to Somerset in order to do some quarter-pealing.
The first quarter of the day was at Kingston St. Mary, which were fairly heavy-going. After 240 of Grandsire, we re-convened, opened some windows and rang a successful quarter of Plain Bob Doubles. Unfortunately, it was after this that John was taken ill, so saying our farewells we dropped him off at the station, before heading to Broomfield to ring our next quarter.
Lunch was held at Fyne Court, a National Trust country estate on the Quantocks, which we explored a little, before heading over to Broomfield church. The second quarter of the day was a successful Stedman Doubles without a tenor. This sounded surprisingly good and a steady pace of striking was kept throughout, the changes almost seamlessly following after each other. This was a first in method for Rob and for Lucy: Congratulations!
After this, we headed into Taunton towards the location of our final quarter of Cambridge Minor. Having some time to spare, we headed to the Plough, where some local cider was sampled. The final quarter of the day took place at St. Andrew's, Taunton. Thanks go to Fred Sage being drafted in at the last minute! Again, this was a first in method for Rob and for Lucy, very well done!
And so it was time to head to Martin's parent's house for some tea and cake, where we reflected on the day. All in all, a 100% record: We achieved 3 quarters after setting out to achieve them. And the day was enjoyed by all.
First Peal of Minor at St David's
As our opportunity to ring a peal for 2010 drew nearer to a close, it was with some last-minute begging that we managed to cobble together a peal band for a Saturday afternoon in December. The original plan was to ring Plain Bob Major, or even Grandsire Triples, but due to the lack of willing volunteers, we instead opted for a peal of Plain Bob Minor. As it turned out, there had never been a peal of minor on the bells, which was only realised after the peal had been rung! With the promise of being bought a drink afterwards, the peal was rung in a smashing time of 2 hours 39 minutes. Martin's hands stood testament to the very speed, covered with blood blisters. The 720s were called in various different ways and the striking was on the whole fairly steady. Other worthy footnotes go to Lucy Davis (first peal, well done!) Rob Neal (first peal of minor) and Martin Gentile (first peal as conductor).
Undergraduate Handbell Peal Success!
With an influx of new handbell talent over the last academic year, it was realised that a peal of Major in hand by an undergraduate band was a distinct possibility. So, on Wednesday 2nd June, after the usual lunchtime handbell practice, Martin, Steph, Tom and Jon went over to Rosebarn Lane to attempt a peal of Plain Bob Major. After a 10 minute false start, the peal settled down, and there was plenty of excellent ringing, along with just one or two hiccups, before, after 2 hours 25 minutes, the peal came round. This peal is believed to be the first peal of Major ever rung by an undergraduate band for the Exeter Colleges Guild, on either handbells or towerbells - a fantastic achievement. This achievement was even more fantastic because of the number of footnotes accumulated; the peal was Jon's first handbell peal (hopefully the first of many?!), Martin's first peal on eight in hand, and Steph's first handbell peal on an inside pair. Well done all! After some celebratory chocolate brownies, we took a couple of photos; a serious one, and one in the 'normal' ECG pose!
First Quarter Peal as Conductor
Many congratulations to Steph on calling her first quarter peal - Grandsire Triples at St David's. And also congratulations to Lyn on her baptism and confirmation at St David's; the quarter was rung for the service, which some of us then attended. And very nice it was too.
More handbell ringing!
Well done to Steph on ringing her first on eight in hand, despite the best efforts of a certain ECG ringing master (who should know better) to sabotage it! And the following week, we rang one of Kent! Plans for a peal are now in the pipeline...
A Full Peal!
This year, it was decided that the annual peal at St David's should be an eight bell peal, providing a good opportunity to gather a good chunk of footnotes while we were at it! So, at 9.15am on 5 December, eight of us duly met outside St David's, and the peal was rung very well indeed, with very few mistakes, and an extremely consistent pace (exactly half an hour for each of the six parts in fact). Particular congratulations to Steph, who rang her first peal very well indeed, and to everyone who achieved a footnote of some sort (well, that's all of us then!); Amy, Grich and Maff rang their first peal on eight, while Rob rang his first inside - well done all!
We all celebrated by buying pasties from the Oggy Oggy pasty shop, before some of the band, plus other keen St David's ringers, headed off to St James Park to watch Exeter play Brighton... Bungle, knowing where his true loyalties lie, was supporting Brighton! The footie was followed by a trip to The Bridge, which, due to misleading information on National Rail Enquiries, was then followed by a very long walk home when a small group missed the last train back. All were there at Sunday morning ringing the next day though - an example to us all!
Kathryn's First Quarter
Many congratulations to Kat on ringing her first quarter peal.
Recent quarter peal achievements - Autumn Term 2009
Well done to all who have achieved a 'first' of some sort - particularly Steph
who has only been ringing handbells for 1 month! Hopefully this will the first
of many - perhaps even a peal next?
Amy's First on Eight Inside
Many congratulations to Amy on ringing her first quarter peal on eight on an inside bell... And word on the street is it was in fine style too!
The Yorkshireman rings Yorkshire!
After many a month of learning the method only to find that there were never enough people around him to ring an entire course of Yorkshire, a quarter was organised for Maff to finally ring the method properly. After a bit of a false start (due to other nameless people going wrong who should know better! :-) ), the quarter went fairly smoothly. As Maff commented afterwards, "That's the first time I've managed to ring an "entire course of Yorkshire without the tenor clapper falling out!"
The Brumoi strikes again!
Many congratulations to Grich for ringing his first quarter of Surprise - Cambridge S Minor at St David's. Despite having been ringing Cambridge inside for a couple of years, Grich hadn't got round to ringing a quarter... But after 43 minutes of good ringing, and very few mistakes, that omission was rectified in spectacular fashion. Well done Grich, and thanks to everyone else in the band!
Rob's first inside on tower bells
Despite having rung both Little Bob and Plain Bob Major to quarter peals on handbells, Rob had managed to avoid ringing one inside on tower bells... until Sunday 22nd February that is! After persuading Rob to ring inside, a very good quarter peal of Bob Doubles ("The Method") was rung, with some excellent ringing throughout. Well done Rob!
Undergraduate handbell peal
With the Annual Dinner fast approaching, it seemed like a good time to finally get around to organising the undergraduate handbell peal which had been mooted last term. So, after the handbell practice on 4th February, Martin, Rob and Tom gathered at 14 Danes Road to attempt the peal. Two hours and nine minutes later, it was all over, and the first all-undergraduate handbell peal for the ECG since 1968 had been rung. Congratulations to Rob on ringing his first peal, and to Martin for his first handbell peal! What next???
First Quarter On 8 Bells
Congratulations to Amy who rang her first quarter peal on 8 bells by ringing the treble at St David's to Plain Bob Triples. Well done Amy!
Quarter Peal Firsts In Hand
Lower numbers than usual at the Wednesday handbell practice (and instructions that Martin was to have some intensive trebles practice) inevitably led to a quarter peal being rung, and very good it was too. Congratulations to Martin on his first quarter on handbells. Perhaps a peal next????!!
The following week, with Ian's help, it was decided to move into the scary world of eight bell ringing, so, after a few false starts, a quarter peal of Plain Bob Major was duly rung. There was some very good ringing, with only a few trips. Congratulations to Martin on his first quarter on eight handbells, and to Rob, who rang his first quarter of Major away from the tenors very well.
First peals at St David's
All Saints' Day provided an excellent excuse to get the bells at St David's for a peal, and to get a few 'first peal' footnotes on the way. 5040 Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles duly came round in 2 hours 42 minutes, with some excellent ringing throughout, and not too many trips! Congratulations to all the band, especially Amy and Maff, who have now been initiated into the delight of peal ringing. Here's to many more successful peals in the future!
Some quarter peal firsts...
There have been some recent achievements on the quarter peal front. All the details can be obtained from Campanophile, following the links from our quarter peals page. Martin Gentile conducted his first, and both Robert Dietz and Laura Smith rang their first quarter on 8 by ringer the tenors to Little B Major in hand. Well done to all.
He rings method!
We all knew that Jimi had it in him... and now he has proved it to us. Well done Jimi!!
Matt & Rosie's Engagement Peal
They don't need much of an excuse to ring a peal! So this was more than a good enough reason. Matthew Hilling & Rosie Green had recently announced their engagement, so the London Branch of the ECG got together and rang a peal. And it was a good peal. Thanks very much (Ed)!
ECG Reaches 50!
Although I had realised some time ago that the fiftieth ECG peal could not be far away, it was only in February this year that the precise number of peals rung was established. Following the first peal (Plain Bob Minor on handbells in 1968) there was a flurry of others in the late 60s and early 70s, including the first on tower bells (Plain Bob Major at Broadclyst) the first of Surprise (Yorkshire at North Tawton in 1974) and the first on 10 (Little Bob at Buckfast Abbey in 1975). The late 70s and early 80s saw a hiatus in peal ringing, although the ECG continued to flourish with several quarter peal tours and a canal holiday taking place as well as the normal Exeter based activities. The next landmark peal was the first 12 bell peal, Grandsire Cinques at Exeter Cathedral in 1987 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Guild (no mean achievement on the world's second heaviest 12!).
The 21st Century has seen a return to peal ringing by the ECG, due in part to the renaissance of handbell ringing. 2004 saw the first ECG peal of Treble Bob Major on handbells (Oxford), while in the following year TB Royal, Grandsire Triples and Caters were followed by the first of Surprise (Yorkshire Major). Our adventure into the world of 10 bell ringing was cut short by the very sad death of John Longridge, who had founded the ECG and organised and conducted the majority of the early peals. He had returned from ringing retirement to assist the next generation of handbell ringers through the early stages.
As well as breaking new ground, ECG peals also provided the opportunity for the following people to ring their first peals: Dominic Meredith, Heather Nelson, Pip Rossiter, Alex Rowan, Kathryn Ward (in hand) and James Whittaker. Four of these firsts were achieved in a single peal - Grandsire Doubles by an all-undergraduate band in 2003. A special peal weekend was organised in early 2007 to mark the 40th anniversary of the ECG. The centrepiece of the weekend was a peal of Stedman Cinques at Exeter Cathedral, only the second 12 bell peal and the first of Stedman to be rung by the society. Later in the year the first peals of Spliced were achieved.
Following the enjoyable and confidently executed peal of 4-Spliced S Major in October (peal number 49), it was agreed to add a fifth method for the fiftieth peal. The peal itself started at a steady, controlled pace and blossomed into some (mostly!) very accurate ringing. Despite the distractions of passing aircraft the time seemed to go very quickly and the post-peal discussion about what to ring next was just as enthusiastic as last time! Secret negotiations continue as to the direction of future efforts...
David Maynard (fuller article and statistics now on the peals page...)
All Undergrad Quarter Peal
The Guild of Devonshire Ringers quarter peal week seemed to be an excellent excuse for getting the ball rolling with the first ECG quarters of the academic year. Very quickly, all the plans were in place - two quarters, one on handbells and one at St Davids, both with all-student bands - who were surprisingly willing to come along to ring!
Things started to go wrong on the Monday, when a certain person forgot to show up for the Bob Minor on handbells... In her absence, a quarter of Minimus was rung - 3 methods - 2 extents of Reverse Bob, 2 of Double Bob and 50 of Plain Bob! Well done to Robert, for ringing his first QP in more than one method (and first of minimus, possibly the last!). The Bob Minor was rearranged for Thursday, and was duly scored, with some very good ringing - an excellent effort all round, considering we had not rung together much.
The final quarter of the week was at St Davids on Sunday. Despite earlier confusion about the start time ("we're starting at 7.30, aren't we?"), everyone turned up, and a good quarter of Bob Doubles was rung, with very few method mistakes. Particular congratulations to Martin, for ringing his first QP without going wrong at all!
Hopefully, these three quarters are going to be the first of many this year. Plans are afoot already!
The St Davids QP band, in order. Front row, left to right, Amy Jones (1), Hazel Davies (2), Martin Gentile (3). Back row, from right to left (just to make things confusing!), Tom Hinks (4), James Whittaker (5), Robert Dietz (6)
First peal of Spliced Surprise Major
On Sunday 14 October, almost three years after the ECG's first quarter of surprise major on handbells another landmark first was acheived. Despite lingering colds and the distractions of a neighbour's lawnmower and the sweet smell of baking cookies, a confident peal was successfully rung. Although this was the first time that the four of us had rung together, the ringing quickly settled into an accurate, controlled rhythm. This was our first attempt at a peal of spliced and its successful conclusion is very encouraging. The only question now is: what next?
After the peal we sampled some of the delicious products of the distracting baking smell - some really good peanut and ginger cookies. They really were very good! Thanks Rosie!
As well as being the first peal of Spliced for the ECG, it is also the first handbell peal of Spliced for the whole GDR and for two of the band. It was also Tom's first peal for the ECG - welcome aboard! This was the 49th peal for the ECG so we are planning something good for the next one... watch this space!
40th Anniversary Peal Weekend - February 2007
School of 2006 - First Handbell Quarter Peals - February 2007
In October 2006 three of the present undergraduates started learning to ring methods on handbells, and all rang their first quarter peal on handbells in February 2007. Of the three, only Richard had rung methods on tower bells, with Robert coming from a Devon call-change background and Laura only just starting to learn to ring tower bells.
Under the instruction of Ian Campbell and Matt Hilling we have progressed through the three different positions and then on to putting them together for plain courses of Bob Minor on the trebles. Finally we moved on to bobs and singles. All three rang very well in their quarter peals and are already (only a week later!) ringing touches on 5-6 now. Watch this space for the next influx of quarter peals...!
Exeter, Harrison Building, Exeter University
Devon Association Novice Competition - Saturday 11 March 2006
The day started with an early (11am, not that early really) last minute practice at St David's. Both teams had some very good striking and confidence was boosted for the main event. After going for lunch everyone reconvened at St David's to sort out who was going in which car. James W set off to pick up Jonathan from his brass ensemble concert at the cathedral, while the other three cars set off for the competition venue: Lustleigh on the eastern edge of Dartmoor.
Everyone arrived just after the service had begun (Oh dear, what a shame!) so we all congregated on the steps outside the church. As parking spaces at the village were a bit scarce this took about 20 minutes! Whilst waiting for the service to finish a few of the more intrepid members went to investigate the village orchard, complete with its swings, slides, May Queen throne and some sheep. Immediately after the service the results for the round ringing section were given out and the draw for the call change section was made. As our new Ringing Master had to return to Exeter early the B team opted to go for an early draw with 5 other teams, whilst the A team were happy to take a chance with the main draw. James W drew peal 5 for the B team and Jimi K drew peal 8 for the A team.
After the draw Elizabeth and Susie went to sample the ringers teas and then a walk around the village, and the rest of the A team and half the B team went into the tea shop opposite the church to take on some refreshment and listen to the ringing. The remainder stayed outside to listen to the bells, mainly because the pub was closed as the landlady doesn't like the sound of the bells. The B team's turn to ring soon came and they performed creditably given that it was the first striking competition for some of their band. After another half hour it was time for the A team to ring. Again the ringing was good apart from one wobble.
By the time the results were to be read out most of the ECG had departed, and it was left to Kathryn to collect both certificates. There was a big improvement from last year's results as neither team finished last, the A team placing 11th with 57 faults and the B team ending up 14th with 71Ã‚Â¾ faults out of the 16 teams that entered. Hopefully next year we can improve a little more and break into the top ten.
Quarter Peal achievements
James rang his first quarter on 4 December. The striking was good, and he is even keen to do another one! James started learning to ring at St David's during the Easter term of his first year (2005) and continued at his home tower, St Mark's, Bilton, near Rugby. Well done James.
Exeter Colleges Guild
James W called his first quarter without incident on 13 November, for the annual half-muffled Remembrance Sunday quarter (which David mis-called last year!) No such bungling around this time. Good job James.
Exeter Colleges Guild
First Handbell Peal of Surprise for the Guild
By the end of July 2004 Andrew, David, Matt and Ian had rung a couple of peals of Oxford Treble Bob Major and decided it would be fun to have a go at Yorkshire Surprise. The first few practices consisted of trying to ring a plain course which took a long time to get to grips with! Once we had mastered the plain course on our own bells Matt and David realised they had to do all that learning again if we were to ring a touch. After much more practice we attempted a quarter peal and finally scored one on 28 October. A few more more quarters were rung soon after this, and at about this time we discovered that the 30th anniversary of the first ECG peal of Surprise was only a month away!
Ever on the lookout for a challenge it was decided to go for a peal on the anniversary, which if scored would be the first peal of Surprise on handbells for the ECG. We got into serious practice and rang several long quarters - parts of the 3 part composition we intended to ring. We all recognised this as a long shot, out of the group only Matt had rung a peal of surprise in hand before, and that on the tenors, now he was tasked with ringing 5-6, calling the peal and keeping the rest of the band on the straight and narrow! Although we had been ringing together regularly, none of us had rung more than ten handbell peals at this time.
We met in the Harrison Building on a Tuesday evening in mid December and attempted the peal, we started well, however after just over an hour the ringing broke down and the peal was lost. After this setback we decided to put the project on the back burner for a bit, and in the spring we concentrated on ringing simpler methods on 10 bells, scoring peals of Little Bob and Kent Treble Bob Royal and Grandsire Caters. In June we decided to return to the challenge, and soon got back in training. The next attempt for the peal started well and the first two parts were rung without serious incident, however only courses from the end a serious mistake developed which resulted in the peal being lost after just over 2 hours. Another attempt the following week was abandoned after an hour due to the heat. All the time the method was becoming more familiar and each time the ringing seemed more confident.
The peal was eventually scored in fine style on Tuesday 5 July. The ringing started at a rather brisk pace, but a comment from the conductor got it back in check. Following this the rhythm developed and the ringing was for the most part controlled and accurate. Although there were still minor trips most were immediately self-corrected. Rounds came up cleanly (and in the right place!!!) a little after 8pm. There was a great sense of relief, which lasted until Matt suggested brightly "So when shall we do that again?"
This certainly represents a considerable achievement for the Devon Guild and also for the ECG, as well as a personal success for those who took part. What will they tackle next?
First Handbell Peal of Royal for the Guild
During a cleaning session at St David's last October, we rediscovered the original peal and quarter peal book from the early days of the ECG. It was fascinating to read through the performance details, charting the progress of the band. I was particularly impressed by the first peal of Royal by the Guild - Little Bob on the back ten at Buckfast Abbey in 1975, only eight years after the founding of the Guild, and seven years after the first peal.
It struck me that the peal was almost thirty years ago and it seemed like a good idea to do something to mark the occasion. Ringing at Buckfast is very limited as it is a working community, and ringing on the Abbey bells was out of the question on a weekday evening (the anniversary falling on a Tuesday) However the book had also revealed that previous to our recent efforts over the last couple of years, only Plain Bob Minor and Major had been pealed in hand by the ECG. So it seemed logical to go for the first handbell peal of Royal to mark the anniversary. Little Bob was within our repertoire, but the prospect of a peal seemed slightly daunting. Discussing the idea with the rest of the band it was received with enthusiasm, and we decided to get John Longridge, founder of the Guild and conductor of the original peal out of handbell retirement to complete the band. He was just as keen as the rest of us and so we arranged a practice quarter peal. Meanwhile Matt, who had bravely taken up the challenge of conducting the peal, no mean feat given the scale of composition imposed by a 72 change plain course, had consulted David Hull on the composition to be used. David came up with the goods with his characteristic swiftness, and produced a very clever 14 part composition, ideal for handbell ringing.
We arrived at Buckfast in the early evening, and were given a room in the conference centre which our friendly contact had arranged for us. The room was an ideal size, and the acoustics proved to be excellent. We started ringing at a steady pace, and the ringing soon settled down into a very good brisk rhythm. The second half was especially good, and we were all very pleased with the performance. Afterwards we adjourned to the Abbey Inn for a few pints with the Abbey Warden who had come to congratulate us. The peal was very enjoyable, and we hope to provide some more handbell 'firsts' for the Guild in the coming months...
Kathryn's First Peal
At long last Kathryn-Louise has rung her first peal. And mighty well she did too! This wasn't just any old peal - but a handbell peal. Which is less time than a tower bell peal, so I can understand why she wanted to do it this way round. So when is the first "real" peal Kathryn?
First as Conductor!
Well done Jimi K! To ring your first as conductor without having rung a blow of the method inside, or even a quarter peal away from covering is just plain impressive. Possibly even showing off! What's next on the agenda?
Some more "firsts"
The ECG handbell ringing is progressing in leaps and bounds and going from strength to strength. The first quarter of Surprise Major was duly rung after many hours of practice and a couple of failed attempts! Also, to Rusty, Alex and Dom for ringing their first of Stedman Doubles (and Rhiannon, but she doesn't count!).
First Major for Dom and Pip
Well done to Dom and Pip for ringing thier first quarter of Major. It was also the first towerbell quarter of major for the society for quite a while! The standard of ringing was good, and lets hope we can ring another one soon! Thanks to all our friends who came to help us get a strong band together.
Vicky's First Quarter Peal
Well done to Vicky Wills on ringing her first quarter peal during her first year at Exeter University. Vicky learned to ring at a call-change tower in Torquay, and has picked up method ringing very quickly. Who knows, she might even be persuaded to ring another one soon...
All Undergraduate Peal
Saturday 29 November was the date for the attempt at an all-undergraduate peal. I still haven't found out when the last one was, but there certainly hasn't been one for many years. This was also the occasion for four ECG members to ring their first peal. Well done to Alex, Dominic, James and Pip on this impressive achievement. Concern that we might not have enough drinking time afterwards, and the pressure to get Richard back to the Cathedral for choir practice encouraged a brisk pace. As it was we had plenty of time in the pub (perhaps a bit too much?) Overall the standard of ringing was good and there were few method mistakes. Plans are already underway for an eight bell attempt...
The ECG visit St Petrock's
More Handbell Ringing...
First of Grandsire for Dominic and Alex
Another milestone reached - well done both!
Eight Bell Quarter Peal on Handbells
Another lunch time - another quarter peal on handbells! This time though we managed to get 4 people together at the same time and attempted and rang very well (mostly!) the first quarter in hand on 8 bells for the ECG for a long time.
Eight Bell Quarter at St David's
Well done to Alex, Kathryn and Pip on ringing thier first 8-bell quarter. This was a great achievement, as we didn't have much chance to practice on eight last year. Thanks to our specially brought in guest conductor and also to Andrew and Ian for helping us out. Watch this space for the undergraduates quarter...
Quarter Peal for Kathryn and Alex
At the second attempt, Kathryn managed to ring her first quarter peal, and Alex his first on an inside bell. Congratulations and well done to you both. And thanks to Ian & Wendy for helping out.
Mrs B's 90th Birthday Peal
To celebrate the 90th birthday of St David's ringer Mrs. Hilda Boobier, we rang a peal! To include as many current ECG members as possible we decided to ring doubles with an entirely local band. Unfortunately, Matt Durling had to drop out, and Andrew Digby kindly agreed to ring at short notice. It was nice that Peter Boobier, Mrs B's son, was able to take part in the celebratory peal and score his first peal.
The conductor writes: