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Rowena’s licensing at Bourton-on-the-Water was a splendid occasion. Knowing the date and time well in advance, I made contact with the ringers and asked if a few of us could come and join them to ring before the service. The response was very positive, but they warned us that they were very much a beginner’s band. Six of us travelled up on the coach with everyone else and dashed along to the church, as they had already started. Normally only able to ring six of their eight bells, we were welcomed most warmly, and helped them to ring simple call changes on eight. There were two other ringers there who were competent eight bell ringers, so we were asked to ring something more advanced. As we left to go down for the service, one of the locals said “One day we will be able to ring like that”.

Elizabeth Byrne

For many years we have been ringing or attempting to ring (not all are successful) Quarter Peals, usually for Sunday evening services. Quarter peals take about 45 minutes to complete and we include them in our Tower News for Messenger. Researching ringing publications and personal records indicates that the 1000th Quarter Peal has now been rung at St James’. Not all of these have been rung on the current, 1904, bells, since we have discovered two that were rung on the previous, 1824, bells, one in 1892 and another in 1900. Details of these are included below. Are there any descendants of these ringers still around?

Can we be sure that we have included all the Quarter peals ever rung at St. James’? No, because some records are known to have been lost and others have probably been lost. The number we have are those that we have records for and it is at least 1000. We do know that Quarter Peal ringing was not anything like as prolific as it has become.

The two early quarter peals on the 1824 bells:

Dursley Glos. At St James the Great, Tenor: 12-3-14 in G,
On Monday, 2 May 1892

1260 Grandsire Triples

1 W. Woodward; 2 R. Devenish; 3 H. Howell; 4 A. Burcombe;
5 Rev H. A. Cockey; 6 F. Price (Conductor); 7 H. W. Fussell; 8 A. Morgan

This was the first quarter peal by all except the Master and F. Price

(note the Master was Rev.  H. A. Cockey)

Dursley, Glos. At St James the Great Tenor: 12-3-14 in G, On Wednesday, 21 November 1900

1260 Grandsire Triples

1 E. East; 2 J. Parker; 3 G. Robins; 4 F. Oakhill; 5 F. E. Webb;
6 E. Whittard; 7 H. W. Fussell (conductor); 8 T. W. Grimes  

First quarter peal by 1st, 3rd, 6th and 8th

On 13 October Ian and Corinne Unsworth’s daughter Jennifer married Huw J Cox in the delightful Cotswold village of Lower Slaughter. Six ringers travelled there to ring a Quarter Peal prior to the ceremony. Details below:

Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire, St Mary

Saturday, 13 October 2018 in 40m (5–3–20 in B♭)

1296 Changes Cambridge Surprise Minor

1 Francis M Byrne (Conductor); 2 Andrew Binstead; 3 Anne Pope;
4 Jonathan Adkins; 5 Andrew Ward; 6 Philip F Pope

To celebrate the marriage of Huw James Cox and Jennifer Mary Unsworth married today at this church

Other Quarter Peals

On Sunday, 23 September 2018

1280 Changes Spliced Surprise Major (8 methods)

1 Anne Pope; 2 John Cornock; 3 Elizabeth Byrne; 4 Hilda Shipp (First 8 spliced)

5 Andrew Ward; 6 Frank Byrne; 7 Philip Pope; 8 D. Paul Smith (Conductor)   

Farewell compliment to Paul and Hilda moving to Somerset

1000th quarter peal rung in the tower

On Sunday, 30 September 2018, in 47 minutes

1260 Changes Grandsire Triples

1 Helen Binstead; 2 Anne Pope; 3 Judith Cotterell; 4 Elizabeth Byrne   

5 Andrew Binstead; 6 Philip Pope; 7 Frank Byrne (Conductor); 8 John Taylor    

To celebrate the marriage of Suzannah Cotterell and Benedict Thomas, 22 September 2018.

This is the 999th recorded quarter peal on these bells including 53 rung on the simulator  Frank Byrne

Frank Byrne


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