Ringing World Vol 4, Iss 113, p330,

Saturday 10 May 1913


  The annual meeting of the Sheffield District and Old East Derbyshire Amalgamated Society was held on Saturday week at Ranmoor, Sheffield, and proved very successful. Unfortunately the weather turned out very bad after a beautiful morning, but nevertheless about 80 ringers turned up from Anston, Bolsover, Bolsterstone, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Dore, Dronfield, Ecclesfield, Eckington, Gainsboro’, Killamarsh, North Wingfield, Norton, Nottingham, Ranmoor, Rotherham, Sheffield Parish Church and St. Maries (R.C.), Staveley, Treeton, and Worksop.

   Ranmoor is, perhaps, the most beautiful of the many pleasant suburbs for which Sheffield is justly noted, and its crowning glory is undoubtedly the magnificent Church of St. John the Evangelist, probably one of the most beautiful modern ecclesiastical buildings in the country. Surrounded by many palatial residential houses, and lying over 300 feet above, and about three miles away from the centre of the city, the church has escaped the usual covering of grime with which the majority of the Sheffield Churches are coated, and its many fine architectural points were greatly admired by those present. The original building was erected in the seventies by Mr. John Newton Mappin, of the famous firm of Mappin and Webb. It was, however, with the exception of the tower and spire entirely destroyed by fire one Sunday a few years later, and within a year the present splendid building was erected in its place, and one can quite credit the report (which the writer has not verified) that upwards of  35,000 was spent on its erection. One of its most interesting features is a very fine carved oak chancel screen and Communion table recently placed there to the memory of the late Sir Frederick and Lady Mappin.

  The tower contains a musical ring of eight bells (tenor 15 cwt.), by Barwell, of Birmingham. These were raised about 3.45 p.m., on the occasion of the meeting, and were kept going at intervals till 9 p.m., some good striking being heard. The methods rung included Cambridge, New Cambridge and Superlative Surprise, Double Norwich,  Kent Treble Bob, and Plain Bob Major, Stedman Triples and Oxford Treble Bob Minor. A pleasing innovation was the presence of  a lady change ringer (Miss Evelyn Steel, of Bedford), who performed with much credit in several touches including Cambridge Surprise. In view of recent discussions on the subject, it might be of interest to state that all the louvres in the bell chamber are bricked up, and that three felt-lined shutters are provided, which, when closed, give the bells a subdued and pleasing tone close at hand, and cause no annoyance whatever to those near by.

  A substantial tea was provided in the Schools about 5 p.m., by Mr. Morrison (churchwarden) and the local company, and ample justice was done to it by those present. The tables were very tastefully decorated with flowers, and the kindness of the lady helpers was much appreciated.

  The business meeting was subsequently held, and was presided over by the Rev. T. Torrens, supported by Mr. Morrison (churchwarden), M r G. Halksworth (Doncaster), president, the vice-presidents, treasurer, secretary and auditors. The balance sheet, showing a balance of  12 10s. 8d. in hand on the capital account, was presented and adopted.

  The hon. secretary’s report followed, and showed a pleasing year of progress. It stated that there were 19 affiliated towers, and a membership of 226, made up of honorary members, 3; life members, 16; attached to various affiliated towers, 164; unattached, 43. Compared with last year, this showed an increase of 39 members, including one honorary, 21 attached, and 17 unattached members. Two new sixbell towers in Dronfield and Beighton had joined the society, and one in Treeton had dropped out.

  The monthly meetings had on the whole been well attended, and the standard of ringing had been high. The attendances had averaged about 25, which, while an improvement on some previous years, was with a membership of well over 200 capable of improvement. Three meetings had unfortunately had to be postponed or cancelled. The desirability of attending as many of these meetings as possible was impressed upon the members. In addition to the fact that they provided a pleasant source of social intercourse amongst ringers, these meetings are capable of doing very great good in raising the standard of ringing in the district, both as regards striking and methods rung.

  There was always encouragement for the learner; and, for those more advanced in the Art, there was the opportunity of taking part in methods which, perhaps, a member might not have a chance of practising at his own tower. Everyone would be pleased that the Eckington bells were now being restored, and were nearing completion, and some good meetings there were looked forward to.

  The society's silver cup and framed certificate for the best Sunday ringing attendances for the year ending March 31st, 1913, had been won by the Worksop company with 98.55 per cent., followed by Dore with 96.41 per cent., Ranmoor with 96.01 per cent., and Doncaster with 94.83 per cent. The Worksop company were deserving of much congratulation on their good record, especially as this was their first year as members of the society. The secretary was glad to be able to say that this competition was now being taken up much more seriously by affiliated companies, as it deserves to be, and the entries for the coming twelve months were a great improvement on some previous years, though there was still room for improvement. The secretary was also glad to be able to say that the society was still in a sound financial position, though the income for the present year had again only just covered the expenditure. He was glad to note an improvement in the payment of subscriptions, the majority of member’s having been prompt with them, which was all for the good of the society.

  The peals rung during 1912 numbered 26, and the standard was very high indeed, indeed it was doubtful if it could be surpassed in any part of the country. It would be noted that there were 11 Surprise Major peals, including two of London and one peal of Surprise Minor. Grandsire Triples and Plain Bob did not appear, another sign of the high standard maintained. Mr. B. A. Knights headed the list of conductors with seven peals to his credit, Mr. J. Flint being a good second with six, Mr. Sam Thomas third with five, followed by Messsrs. A. Knights and A. Craven with two apiece, and Messrs. G. Hollis, G. Lewis and W. Wallace with one each. Mr. J. Flint was to be congratulated upon ringing his 300th peal, and Mr. W. Gosling, of Mansfield, upon ringing a peal in his 86th year.

  The Hon. Secretary added that he thought the proposed division of the Yorkshire Association into districts ought to receive the very careful consideration of members of the Sheffield Society, who belonged to that association, as these proposals might very seriously affect their society. He expressed his thanks again to the majority of the committeemen and secretaries, who have promptly and courteously replied to all enquiries on his part. To a small minority he would say, as last year, that a few words on a postcard should not be a great deal of trouble, and would much facilitate his work.

  The Hon. Secretary welcomed the Rev. T. Torrens and Mr. Morrison (one of the churchwardens) to the meeting, because it showed that they took some interest in the ringers. A little kindly interest and encouragement went a long way at times, and ringers were not any less appreciative than, say, the choir. The layman scarcely realised the amount of hard work and perseverance which went to make a good ringer, and gave the ringer very little credit for his efforts as a rule. In conclusion, he added that the society was on the up grade. They were doing a good work in promoting change ringing, with its attendant advantages of orderliness and decent behaviour in belfries, and in so doing, they merited the support and interest of all church authorities who possessed peals of bells, and of all ringers. It was one of the aims of the society to avoid all friction and ill-feeling in connection with the art of change ringing, and he appealed to all members to do all in their power to carry out this object, and to continue to set a good example in their dealings with Church authorities and others. In that case, he believed there was a big future in front of the society, and that they would continue to make good progress in every sense of the word.

  The whole of the officers were unanimously re-elected for the ensuing year, viz.: Mr. G. Halksworth (Doncaster), president; Messrs. J. P. Tarlton (North Wingfield) and A. Knight (Chesterfield), vice-presidents; Mr. David Brearley (Bolsterstone), hon. treasurer; Mr. J. E. L. Cockey (Ranmoor), hon. secretary; Mir. G. Hollis (Chesterfield), assistant hon. secretary; and Messrs. G. W. Bemrose (Bolsover) and W. Peabody (Chesterfield), auditors. The committee were elected as last year, with the exception of Mr. G. Elliott, of Dore, whose place was taken by Mr. G. M. Thorpe.—The cup competition sub-committee were reelected, viz., the president, two vice-presidents, hon. secretary and two trustees (Messrs. C. H. Hattersley and S. Thomas).

  The presentation of the society’s silver cup and framed certificate to the ringers of the Priory Church of St. Cuthbert, Worksop, for the best attendance for Sunday service ringing next took place. The Rev. T. Torrens, in making the presentation, gave an eloquent address to those present. He extended a most hearty welcome to the society to Ranmoor, referring to the sympathy of the Vicar (the Rev. J. Williams) with the ringers, and the sympathy which he knew they all felt for him in his sad illness. Personally, he always greatly appreciated the welcome of the bells as he came to Sunday service. He referred to the splendid ringing of the Ranmoor bells, and to the credit which it reflected on those responsible for it. In filling the Sunday air with sweetness, change ringers were doing great good to the community at large, in reminding all within reach of the service of God. The music of the bells entered many a sick room, uplifting the despondent heart and cheering the weary ones. Change ringing, he thought, was a noble and blessed work, and a public duty. Sweet bells and good ringers generally went together. He believed that change ringing cultivated a taste for music in those who heard it, and that where there are beautiful peals of bells, there one wonld find the love of music more pronounced. In fact, change ringers might in a sense be called the music-masters of England. He once spent five weeks in the Lake district of Italy, and he compared the choir and the ringers to the song of the nightingale and of the blackbird which he once heard there, pouring forth beautiful music to the glory of God. He expressed his pleasure at seeing a lady present, extending a welcome to her, and referred to the refining and ennobling influence which it should have on all present. It gave him great pleasure to present the cup and certificate to the Worksop company, and to congratulate them on their fine record.
Mr. H. Haigh, in receiving the cup and certificate on behalf of the Worksop company, expressed his great pleasure in having won it.  When they decided to join the Sheffield District Society, he said, they did so because they considered it the most up-to-date and progressive society in the district. He was proud of the fact that of their company of twelve, all were communicants and regular service goers, and he referred to the fact that they rang three times every Sunday. He believed that ringers were doing a great work in ringing to the honour and glory of God, and in cases of national rejoicing or sorrow. They realised the importance of Sunday ringing, in ministering to the outside world, and to the old and infirm who could not attend the services, and the importance of always giving their best ringing for these occasions. He concluded by emphasising the necessity of regarding ringers as real Church workers.

  Six new members were elected, including three ladies, viz., Miss Evelyn Steel (Bedford), Miss Jessie Wair (North Wingfield), and Miss W. Hague (Rotherham), and Messrs. A. West (Eckington), W. Barton (North Wingfield), and G. Holmes (Sheffield).

  A hearty vote of sympathy was passed with the Vicar of Ranmoor and his family in connection with his illness.
In replying to a vote of. thanks to the churchwardens, Mr. Morrison congratulated the society on the conduct of its business and upon its performances, and expressed his sympathy with its aims. He believed that at Ranmoor they possessed a church second to none in the county, and he thought he was' not for wrong in saying that their bells and their ringers were also second to none (applause). He was glad to note that they had arranged a meeting at Ranmoor for next February, and lie would be delighted to meet them again and give them all a welcome as he did now.—A hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the local company and to the ladies, and was suitably responded to by Messrs. Frank and Maurice Ward.—A very cordial vote of thanks to the Rev. T Torrens was proposed by the Secretary, and seconded by Mr. S. Thomas, in a humorous speech.—The Rev. T. Torrens suitably replied, and the meeting closed with the Doxology."

  Handbell ringing was indulged in by some of those present after the meeting.

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