Guild Newsletter

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Coventry Spires Outing - December 30th 2019

Thanks to everyone who supported the Coventry Spires outing which was held on Monday 30th December. Over 30 friends and family met at Rowington for our short outing. The bells were up when we arrived and we had nearly 1 hour to ring on these unusual bells. Ringing in the nave of a church is always very social, but can be a bit intimidating as it is a very long draft. The local ringers were saying it is even worse just before services as people sit and watch you!!

Then it was off to Hatton. This church is very unusual in that is once had more bells.  There was a ring of 8 here between 1817 and 1885, when the ring was recast by Barwells into a ring of 6. Mike was in charge here and there was some great ringing. Jean, our local contact, arrived to make drinks and biscuits. There was a Christmas Tree festival and it was lovely to see the church so well dressed for Christmas.

The final tower of the day was at Claverdon. A great place to finish. Mark Sayers took charge here and everyone had a good ring in a nice warm ringing chamber!

We met some new young ringers today who we hope will join us for future events. If you are not on the mailing list, for details of dates and events, please contact .

Looking forward now to the Coventry Spires ‘Great Bake Off’.

Happy New Year.


Coventry Diocese Celebrates the Bi-Centenary of the birth of George Eliot (1819-1880)

I expect I am not alone, whiling away the hours waiting at the airport or the railway station, by ‘people watching’! It’s a pastime I inherited from my Mother and have passed to my Grandchildren (with full reminders on Decorum, Dignity and good manners!) but with a strange twist – we invent stories round them.

So I feel quite empathetic with the Author, pen name George Eliot – Nuneaton’s greatest claim to fame (well, if you ignore Larry Grayson!!), who spent her life surreptitiously observing people she knew living around her and, carefully disguised, populating her novels with them.

Mary Anne Evans was born just outside Astley to the north of Nuneaton, on the 22nd November 1819, but after a few months moved with her parents into Chilvers Coton. Here she was Christened and attended a Dame School in nearby Attleborough. Her parents are buried in Coton Churchyard.

So it seemed only fitting to dedicate Coventry District’s Quarter Peal Fortnight to celebrating the Bi-Centenary of her birth. 17 quarters in all were scored - some with direct associations with her life and her novels.

St Nicolas Nuneaton is referred to as ‘Milby’ in her early works and many of Nuneaton’s landmarks are clearly identifiable in her ‘Clerical Lives’, ‘Adam Bede, and ‘Mill on the Floss’.

St James’ Bulkington is believed to be the ‘Raveloe’ referred to in ‘Silas Marner’ and her Uncle and Aunt are buried just outside the South door.

The quarter peal on the actual date of her bicentenary was at All Saints’ Chilvers Coton. The Church and village were called ‘Shepperton’ in ‘Scenes of Cleri-cal Life’ and her first published stories depicted the life in the Parishes of Nuneaton and Chilvers Coton

‘Middlemarch’ is thought to refer to the many developments taking place in nearby Coventry at that time.

George Eliot’s famous ‘Silas Marner’ was probably based on the figure of Teddy Kem, a solitary linen weaver and farmer who was an enigma to all around him. Mary Anne Evans had no doubt heard gossip about him as she grew up and be-came fascinated by his rustic appearance, his solitary habits and his bizarre approach to life. Many years later his farm lands were sold off for development firstly industrial but later the land exchanged hands again and I live in a house built on those very farmlands!

Coventry, West Midlands, Cathedral
Sunday, 10 November 2019 in 51m (33) ~
1260 Stedman Triples
1 Janice E Sheasby
2 Raymon A Sheasby
3 Geoffrey Pratt
4 Peter G Hollings
5 Jonathon R Chester
6 Michael Chester
7 Andrew F Alldrick (C)
8 Doug Kempton R
Rung half muffled prior to evensong in memory of the fallen and to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz on the night of 14th November that reduced this Cathedral to ruins.

Allesley, West Midlands All Saints
Sunday, 10 November 2019 in 43m (12)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Lesley Grove
2 Anne Jackson
3 Amanda Slater
4 Mark Goodman
5 Michael Chester (C)
6 David Jackson
Rung half-muffled on Remembrance Sunday in memory of the fallen.

Leek Wootton, Warwickshire All Saints
Tuesday, 12 November 2019 in 43m (7)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Barbara Hines
2 Annie Hall
3 Clare Gould
4 Janice Sheasby
5 Raymon Sheasby (C)
6 Nathan Gould
First quarter for 1, successful at first attempt.

Keresley, West Midlands St Thomas
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 in 37m (4)
1272 Carlisle Surprise Minor
1 David Harrison
2 Keith Chambers
3 Janice Sheasby
4 Graham Chadband
5 Simon Rogers
6 Raymon Sheasby (C)
1st in M - 4.

Bulkington, Warwickshire St James
Saturday, 16 November 2019 in 40m (12)
1320 Cambridge Surprise Minor
1 Roger Gane
2 Sue Trevor
3 Joy Pluckrose
4 Jean Liggins
5 Geoff Pratt
6 Gerald Trevor (C)

Leek Wootton, Warwickshire All Saints
Tuesday, 19 November 2019 in 46m (7)
1260 Grandsire Doubles
1 Philip J Sealey
2 Joy Pluckrose
3 Clare Gould
4 Nathan Gould
5 Raymon Sheasby (C)
6 Janice Sheasby
First inside to Grandsire for 3 and 4

Wolvey, Warwickshire St John the Baptist
Wednesday, 20 November 2019 in 43m (12)
1260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
1 Janice Sheasby
2 Sue Trevor
3Janet Kirtley
4 Geoff Pratt
5 Raymon A Sheasby
6 Gerald Trevor (C)

Nuneaton, Warwickshire St Nicolas
Wednesday, 20 November 2019 in 44m (14)
1288 Grandsire Triples 
1 Joy Pluckrose
2 Janice Sheasby
3 Raymon Sheasby
4 Geoffrey Pratt
5 Douglas Kempton
6 Michael Chester (C)
7 Andrew Alldrick
8 Gerald Trevor
Rung to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Eliot.

Leek Wootton, Warwickshire All Saints
Friday, 22 November 2019 in 44m (7)
1260 Doubles (2m)
1 Clare Gould
2 Janice Sheasby
3 Richard East
4 Annie Hall
5 Raymon Sheasby (C)
6 Nathan Gould
Rung to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Eliot

Kenilworth, Warwickshire St Nicholas
Friday, 22 November 2019 (14)
1260 St Clement's College Bob Minor
1 Ria Koshi
2 Rosemary Spencer
3Guy Darvill
4Ray Sheasby
5 Peter G Hollings
6 Doug Kempton (C)
Rung to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Eliot

Nuneaton, Warwickshire All Saints, Chilvers Coton Friday,
22 November 2019 in 42m (13)
1250 Cambridge Surprise Major
1 Annie Hall
2 Janice Sheasby
3 Raymon Sheasby
4 Joy Pluckrose
5 Karen French
6 Geoffrey Pratt
7 Gerald Trevor
8 Andrew F Alldrick (C)
Commemorating the bicentenary of the birth on this date of Mary-Ann Evans, better known under her pen name of George Eliot, who was baptised in this church. Chilvers Coton is immortalised as Shepperton in her novels.

Stoneleigh, Warwickshire St Mary the Virgin
Saturday, 23 November 2019 in 43m (10)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Bob Taylor
2 Jackie Taylor
3 Sue Trevor
4 Geoff Pratt
5 Gerald Trevor (C)
6 Joy Pluckrose
1st in method for (2)

Burton Dassett, Warwickshire All Saints
Saturday, 23 November 2019 (13)
1260 Plain Bob Minor
1 Keith Chambers
2 Ria Koshi
3Peter Hollings
4 Guy Darvill
5 Ray Sheasby
6 Doug Kempton (C)
Rung by members of the Coventry District of the Coventry Dioceasan Guild

Bulkington, Warwickshire St James
Saturday, 23 November 2019 in 42m (12)
1264 Plain Bob Major
1 Joy Pluckrose
2 Gerald Trevor
3 Jean Liggins
4 Geoffrey Pratt
5 Ivan Merry
6 Michael Chester
7 Sam Trevor
8 Andrew F Alldrick (C)
Commemorating the bicentenary of the birth yesterday of Mary-Ann Evans, better known under her pen name of George Eliot.
Bulkington is immortalised as Raveloe in her novels.

Wolston, Warwickshire St Margaret
Sunday, 24 November 2019 in 46m (11)
1376 Yorkshire Surprise Major
1 Doug Kempton
2 Andrew F Alldrick
3 Keith Chambers
4 Janice E Sheasby
5 Raymon A Sheasby
6 Lucy Gwynne
7 Thomas W Griffiths (C)
8 Timothy J Wykes
Rung immediately following the service to celebrate the re-ordering of the Church, conducted by the Bishop of Coventry.

Coventry, West Midlands Cathedral
Sunday, 24 November 2019 in 47m (14)
1344 Spliced Surprise Major (3m)
1 Janice Sheasby
2 Joy Pluckrose
3 Michael Chester
4 Raymon Sheasby
5 Geoffrey Pratt
6 Peter Hollings
7 Doug Kempton
8 Andrew Alldrick (C)
First spliced surprise major - 6 Commemorating the bicentenary of the birth on 22 November of Mary-Ann Evans, better known under her pen name of George Eliot.
Rung prior to Choral Evensong

Kenilworth, Warwickshire St Nicholas
Sunday, 24 November 2019 (14)
1260 Plain Bob Doubles
1 Cathy Weir
2 Rosemary Spencer
3 Jane Kempton
4Peter Hollings
5 Guy Darvill (C)
6 David Crawley
For evening service, also in memory of Sydney Cox, one time ringer at this tower.
1st 1/4 for treble, 1st doubles as conductor.


Richard Spray - 50 Years Certificate

sprayRichard Spray was presented with his 50 Years Membership Certificate by Guild President, Andrew Alldrick, at the Half-Yeary Meeting at Allesley on October 18th.

Well done, Richard!

Inter-District Ringing Competition Results
Rang Team Points Place
1 Rugby B 3.5 1st
2 Coventry 1 8 3rd
3 Warwick Crashers 10.5 4th
4 Youth Team 19 5th
5 Rugby A 31.5 7th
6 Coventry 2 25 6th
7 Warwick Bashers 4.5 2nd


October 2019 Edition Available

The latest newsletter is available to view as "Current Edition" and a printable version has been put into "Downloads".

Please note that the deadline for the following edition 31st December 2019 and items submitted after this date may have to be held over until the January 2020 edition.


Draw Club Results: July - September 2019
Date 1st Prize (£25) 2nd Prize (£10) 3rd Prize (£5)
July 62 - Rodney Swallow 124 - Sandra Parker 108 - Janet Kirtley
August 62 - Rodney Swallow 8 - Sally Idle 28 - Sue Roderick
September 21 -Jill Montgomery 34 - Barbara Howes 126 - Martin Mellor


A Bell for Sue

I have decided that a more permanent and fitting memorial to Sue is appropriate, and the intention is to augment the 5 bells at Radway by adding a new treble bell cast in her memory. Sue rang her last Quarter Peal here on the 25th May and rests nearby.

The project at Radway is to augment the bells and install a ringing balcony. The cost to add a bell and hang it is about £15,000 if we take advantage of a reduction for supplying some labour. The Ringing floor has not yet been costed.

The Keltek Trust have already agreed a substantial grant and I am hoping for a similar one from the Coventry DG BRF in order to ensure the project is viable.

However, there will be a shortfall for hanging and casting the bell alone and I am hoping that Sue's ringing and other friends will make up the difference.

If you wish to make a personal donation for this memorial for Sue, one that is in addition to any Coventry DG grant that is given, please send a cheque, made out to "St Peter’s Radway PCC", but sent to me at 12 Glosters Green, Kineton CV35 0LT, and gift aided where possible please!


Gift Aid Form Template

Handbells Wanted

Please help us! Some U3A members are looking to set up a handbell ringing group and are looking for a set which we can either use in situ in the Leamington/Warwick area, or borrow. I have been a Radford Semele Church ringer for over 20 years and some of those setting up the group have experience of ringing handbells.

If we are allowed to take them away, they would be kept in a locked cupboard in St Nicholas Church, Radford Semele, and we would be happy to take out insurance as necessary. If you can help, please email me at or you can call me on 07951517237.

Very many thanks.

Claire Darlington
(Radford Semele Ringer)


Alfred George Frank Spiers MBE 1925-2019

Frank in 2011Frank was born in January 1925 the second child of Alfred and Victoria Spiers who kept the Bull’s Head in Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire. His younger brother, Fred, in due course took over the tenancy from his mother. The tenancy had passed to his mother on the death of his father when Frank was 9 years old. Frank could often be seen behind the bar helping his brother and this became the watering hole of the ringers.

From a very early age Frank was a boy chorister at St Laurence Church just over the road from home. He never moved far from his beloved Church. At the age of about 12 Frank was invited into the tower by the then captain, Arthur Shorey.

After schooling in the Village Frank, at the age of 14, started work at the BSA factory in Redditch later moving to the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge finally working on car bodies as a sheet metal worker. He initially cycled the 12 miles to Redditch before moving to a motor cycle which he subsequently added a side car. In the 1950s this was exchanged for a car. After being demobbed Frank returned to The Austin and remained there until retirement.

At the age of 18, when called up for military service, he decided to join the Grenadier Guards and after training served time in Germany finally returning to Caterham where he was a Drill Instructor until he was demobbed. He was very proud of his time in the Grenadier guards, a member of the local branch of the Grenadier Guards Association and almost always wearing his Guards tie. No surprise our sallies are the colours of the Grenadier Guards! Prior to Military Service, Frank was an amateur boxer something which he was able to continue with whilst serving with the Guards, representing them in various competitions.

In 1953 Frank married Gian, a marriage which was to last until 2002 when Gian died. They had two children, Jill and John. Frank was very proud of his children and their achievements.

In 1995 Frank was awarded the MBE for ‘’services to Bidford on Avon’’. Locally Frank was known as Mr Bidford, a tribute to all the village organisations to which he was involved. He was a Parish Councillor for 45 years, a Church Warden and a member of the Royal British Legion. Perhaps I should add here that Frank enjoyed his football as a youngster playing for the local team and later as a referee travelling to various games in the area. He was also involved in raising funds for the village cricket pavilion. Sport would often be a topic of conversation with fellow ringers. Space does not allow me to list all his activities during his lifetime.

Returning now to Frank’s ringing and looking at Tower records, it appears that Frank’s first quarter peal was in 1955. Ringing at Bidford was rejuvenated in the 1970s when Frank asked Michael Homans how to teach new ringers. This was the start of the new band.

In the 1980s Fred and Joan Munday, Pam Craney, myself and my husband all moved into the village. This was really the moment when Frank was able to progress and enjoy his ringing. In the period to 2006, which was his last quarter peal he rang a minimum of 58 quarter peals, conducted one of Plain Bob Doubles. On Bidford bells Frank would normally be ringing the 7th or the Tenor. Frank was not a peal ringer but did ring 9 peals with Peter Border and Chris Mew conducting them.

Whilst Frank did not take office he was a member for over 50 years of both the W&DCRA and the Coventry Guild of Bellringers, also joining the Fours Shires Guild and would always try and attend meetings. He enjoyed the monthly outings with the FSG and in the early years he would have a day out with Gian sorting out the lunchtime pub. At the May outing Grandsire Doubles was rung as attribute to him, a method which he would ring on these days out and would sometimes call. He would often comment that ringing took him to ‘some lovely parts part of the country’.

In late April 2019 Frank was taken to hospital and subsequently discharged to the care home home in Bidford, where he had been for just over a year, where he died peacefully on 7th May.

The congregation of 240, for his funeral, shows the regard and affection with which Frank was held. There was half muffled ringing prior to the Service with the local band ringing Frank out of Church. Whilst the burial was taking place in the Churchyard next to the Church a quarter peal was rung.

Sandra Parker

Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire St Laurence
Wednesday, 29 May 2019 in 47m (14)
1273 Grandsire Triples
Composed by C Montague Meyer
1 Richard Lewis-Skeath
2 Annie Hall
3 Karen French
4 Roger Hunt
5 Ray Sheasby
6 Mike Chester
7 Simon Rogers (C)
8 Richard Spray
Rung immediately after the funeral service of A G Frank Spiers MBE (1925-2019).
Frank was born in Bidford and it was his home for his whole life. He was fully involved in village life throughout his life including playing and refereeing football, working on the parish council and being fully involved as a parishioner at this church. He learnt to ring in 1939 and was tower captain for may years, only giving up ringing when not well enough to do so. He was awarded the MBE in 1995 for services to Bidford.
Further details of Frank's life can be found at
400th quarter - 3.

The Quarter Peal Band

Richard, Karen, Richard, Mike, Annie, Simon, Roger, Ray.

Using the Website Message Board

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Coventry DG Brokerage Scheme

The Guild is hoping to be able to give a helping hand to ringers and towers in the area by arranging for ringing support for what YOU want to be able to do next.

Do you need some ringers to provide a steady band around a learner in a given method?  Do you just need the odd ringer extra so you can make the next step with your, or your tower's, ringing?  Do you need a conductor for a quarter or a peal?  Do you want to ring a quarter peal or a peal and don't know the next step?

Help is at hand!  Simply download the CDG Brokerage file that you can find from

, in both pdf and Word format, complete it and then send it off.