Cambridge District

of the Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers


Full Association Calendar


Today's addition to our page of things to think about discusses the Plain Changes that Gareth mentioned in his talk on Thursday. It includes the Cambridge Eight and Forty, from the early 17th century, which would be quite a challenge to ring, even now. And it includes Hamiltonian circuits on cubes and truncated octahedra too, as well as a wonderful "cheat sheet" for ringing Double Canterbury Minimus, dating from 1778.

The next talk oranised by the District is to be given by our President, Stephen Burr, on 'Blue Lines'. It will be a Zoom webinar, starting at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 7th April. Stephen will take a look at the humble method diagram - a system that allows thousands of unique methods to be displayed in a simple and understandable way. There will be a look at the anatomy of the method diagram, how different methods are classified (when is a 'Surprise' not a surprise?), what really happens at a bob, and what on Earth is place notation? The talk is open to all, but is particularly aimed at beginner to intermediate-level ringers. If you would like to attend the talk please register at As before, the talk will be over Zoom, but will also be broadcast live on the District YouTube channel (although you'll miss out on any of the interactive elements if you use that route).

Local historian and ringer Dr Gareth Davies gave a fascinating talk on Thursday evening, entitled 'Ringing in Cambridge in the 16th & 17th Centuries', based on his PhD studies. It was live-streamed via Zoom to a large audience and is is now available to watch on the District YouTube channel. Hopefully there may be a talk at a later date, continuing the story into the 18th century. Many thanks to Gareth for all his work putting this together and to Dave Richards for making the technical arrangements.

Do have a look at the message from our President, Stephen Burr, on the new YouTube channel which has been set up for the District to be used for events and content during the shutdown.

Thanks to Alan Winter, here's a quiz for you. Can you identify the District towers which he visited on a recent cycle ride? I should warn you that they don't all have bells hung for full-circle ringing, but they are in the right order, if that gives you any clues... The answers are now available from the page.

Following Monday's Government announcement that all non-essential travel and social contact should be avoided, the Central Council has updated its advice on Covid-19 - here. They say that all ringing should cease for the time being and the District has now cancelled all planned events. The Good Friday ringing at Brinkley has also been cancelled. Towers that have cancelled ringing include Brinkley, Great St Mary's, Little Shelford, Great Shelford, Melbourn, Meldreth, Pampisford, Sawston, St Bene't's, Thriplow, Trumpington and West Wratting.

How about listening to one of the Fun With Bells podcasts instead? The recent one, featuring Gareth Davies discussing his historical study of ringers in Cambridge, sounds particularly interesting.

Congratulations to Nick Toovey of Great Wilbraham on achieving his Level 2 (Foundation Skills) award in the Learning the Ropes scheme.

To ring your first quarter peal is quite a milestone. To ring your first quarter away from cover is also a significant achievement. To do both of these things, one after the other and very competently, is extremely impressive. Congratulations to Andrea Crossman, who demonstrated her skills at Pampisford on Sunday, ringing Grandsire then Plain Bob. If there hadn't been a service after the second quarter, who knows what else she would have rung?! Congratulations, too, to Duncan Macfarlane, who conducted the first quarter, his first of Grandsire as conductor.

February's District Meeting was held at Chesterton on Saturday 8th. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, as the splendid sound of the bells rolled around the churchyard. All needs were catered for, from Surprise Minor via Original to Rounds and Call Changes, thanks to Stephen as Ringing Master.

The historic peal boards lining the walls of the ringing chamber inspired us to try Old Doubles, a variation of Plain Bob Doubles. This is Plain Bob, but using Singles rather than Bobs, as described by Richard Smith in a recent issue of the Ringing World, where he described part of the Blue Pathway.

Thanks to Chesterton for hosting us at short notice and to all of you who came.

John Loveless has sent advance warning of the book launch for his forthcoming biography of the late George Pipe, which promises to be a fascinating read. It will be held at St Mary le Tower church in Ipswich, at 3 pm on Saturday May 30th, so put it in your diary now.

Following on from the news of the proposed new teaching centre at St Clement's in Cambridge, Judith has proposed the excellent suggestion that the treble could be given in memory of Felicity Webster. Felicity was a much-loved ringer in the District and former District Secretary, who sadly died, much too young, in 2016. Fliss was always enthusiastic and encouraging about all aspects of ringing, both practical and social, and I'm sure she would have been keen to support this project herself. Please donate through the St Clements website, but make sure that any donations are clearly annotated as being in memory of Fliss.

Martin Kitson, Chairman of the Association, writes to remind all tower captains need to complete the Ely Diocesan C0, C1 and C2 Safeguarding modules. C0 and C1 can be done on-line, while C2 is delivered in person. Martin emphasises that it's an easy module, with no test at the end, and simple to follow.

Geoff Perryman does a fantastic job, single-handedly coordinating the Practice Night Support scheme, but his band of helpers is dwindling, which means that he can't cater for all the requests that he has from towers for help. So, please get in touch with if you can help, as your assistance is greatly appreciated by the towers. Even if you can only ring plain hunt, you can still make a difference, enabling bands to ring things that they otherwise wouldn't have enough people to so.


First Quarter Peal

Judy Quarrie-Roberts (at first attempt) - Duxford, 15th March
Andrea Crossman - Pampisford, 1st March
Amy Jarrett (at first attempt) - Little Shelford, 2nd February 2020

Quarter Peal footnotes

'Ras and Louisa Egan - First Grandsire - Meldreth, 7th March
Duncan Macfarlane - First Grandsire as conductor - Pampisford, 1st March
Andrea Crossman - First away from cover - Pampisford, 1st March
Robert Turner - First Grandsire - Meldreth, 9th February

Safeguarding - It is important to ensure that written or verbal permission has been given by parents/carers before photographs which include children are submitted for publication to this website.

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Site opened February 2000; last updated 4th April 2020.
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