DCA Ringing Outing August 2023

On Saturday 5th August 19 DCA members (including two ringers who joined the DCA on the day) met at Hardington Mandeville. This tower has 8 very light bells. As at all the towers on the day we had a mix of ringing from Rounds to surprise ringing. We continued at Shepton Beauchamp which provided some of the newer ringers with their first taste of 12 bell ringing.

The afternoon started at Long Sutton, 6 bell which were more than twice the weight of our first morning tower. Somerton’s 8 bells are in the first of our two hexagonal towers typical of the area. These bells were interesting as the first 5 bells are all very similar weights with the 6, 7 & 8 being 10cwt, 15cwt & 20 cwt respectively. Finally we visited Barton St David’s 6 bells, again in a hexagonal tower, and our first ground floor ring (very welcome after all the stairs!). As well as some great ringing here we enjoyed a marmalade cake curtesy of Janet Robinson.

By 6pm 17 of us met for some welcome Fish & Chips at Palmers in Yeovil to end a fantastic day. Many thanks to Robin for all the planning and organisation

A photo of a hexagonal bell tower. The church is at Barton-St-David.
The hexagonal tower at Barton-St-David


On the 1st April 2023, the DCA held its AGM at Puddletown church. There was general ringing before the meeting, and a small party was held to celebrate 40 years of the DCA, with a beautiful cake to celebrate the occasion!

Many thanks to all those who attended and to those who helped host the AGM.

A golden, bell shaped cake. the number 40 is in the middle of the cake.

Frampton Bell Ringers on BBC Radio Solent Dorset
The bell ringers of Frampton were on BBC Radio Solent Dorset on 21st Feb 2023 raising awareness of the restarting of ringing in the village after 30 years of no local band. We have posted an extract from the BBC web site Framptons-church-bells-ring-out-after-decades-of-silence together with the 2 sections of the Steve Harris show where tower captain Gareth Down (a DCA member) and ringer Catriona Fountain were interviewed Listen Here. The radio interview was just the start with a picture in the Daily Telegraph and a full page in ART’s Tower Talk. They have also started online fundraising in an effort to raise some much needed funds at and This was followed up on 3rd May with Gareth Down again on the radio, this time from the Frampton Bell Tower, talking about the Bell restoration project and Ring for the King. Listen here at and

1st January 2023 marks the start of our 40th (Ruby) Year
Please see an article on the start of the DCA
A copy of the 1983 Peal Record can be found here

Peter Ellis Talk Jan 2022 Details
Please see the poster

Article in Blackmore Vale Oct 2021
Please see this article which was on the Blackmore Vale on 1st Oct

Ringing Survival and Recovery
Our DCA Training Officer attended a meeting on Saturday 6th February with ringers from around the country including Robert Wellen from SDGR on the new Ringing Survival and Recovery Toolkit. This is to help individual ringers, Tower Captains and Guilds with ideas and links on what people have been doing during the Pandemic to retain ringers interest and keep the social side of things going with coffee mornings, Virtual Rings, Abel, zoom District Meetings etc. There is also concern that every tower could possibly loose ringers who do not return after the Pandemic is over. In the meantime lots of areas/towers have been ringing virtually and indeed recruited new ringers to virtual ringing who might like to then take up learning how to control  and ring a bell in the future. There are plans for a progressive curriculum starting in Primary Schools which will encourage a new generation of ringers.

The toolbox has been developed by a partnership between the Central Council and ART. Even physical activity exercises to do in your home and produced by physiotherapists who are ringers! As you will see it combines resources with case studies and opinion pieces relevant to the pandemic. You might have ideas you would like to contribute? If so get in touch with the DCA training officer via our DCA Secretary I invite you to check out and below are the Survival & Recovery Newsletters.
  Jane Pridmore (DCA Training Officer)

Ringing At Christmas 2020 Style
Several towers in Dorset found alternative methods to let bells be heard during COVID restrictions. Click here to see what Lychett Matravers did.

Lychett Matravers Ringing Activities during 2020
The ringers of Lychett Matravers have written a very interesting report for their church on their ringing activities during 2020. The report, which can be read here, includes ideas which could be applied to other churches whilst we are still in COVID restrictions.

Puddletown Ringer describes progress in ringing
The April 2020 edition of Tower Talk (magazine for the Learning The Ropes scheme) includes an article from a Puddletown Ringer. A copy of this article can be viewed here.

Association of Ringing Teacher’s Conference 14th March 2020
The conference this year was held in Hilton Derbyshire and as always brought in a wealth of information and speakers. Ringing at St Paul’s Burton on Friday evening (10, 28-2-9 in D).The Keynote speaker on Saturday was Bonita Norris who spoke about her two year journey to climb Everest as one of the youngest climbers ever to do so at age 22. Although not a ringer her talk was inspirational in tying in small steps to reaching goals and the importance of teamwork, both of which can also be applied to ringing teaching and learning. Other morning speakers included Ginette Pardoe (Starting a band from scratch), Ruth Suggett and Nikki Thomas (Learning the Ropes Festival) Colin Newman (Striking it Right) and Richard Grimmett (Taking striking seriously).
During coffee and lunch breaks there was a chance to look at handbells, a simulator and books and other merchandise from ART and the Whitting Society. Also during lunch we were able to attend ART Assessors meeting run by Paul Lewis and a Teaching Forum led by Pip Penney.
In the afternoon were further speakers including Mark Platter (Maintaining motivation), Steve Farmer and Chris de Cordova (Teaching with Simulators), Alison Everett, Deb Baker and Emily Ashton (The Social Media Toolkit) and Jane Pridmore (Activating Dorset). The latter was all about the general ringing and positivity within Dorset alongside thoughts on why for two years running we have been top of the ART table on training and retaining new ringing teachers within the County. The final talk of the day was very inspirational from Alison Hodge and Tony Crabtree (What would TripAdvisor say about your tower?)
For further information on the talks can be found on the ART website at
Also for anyone self-isolating or at home right now why not check out (This is a free podcast about ringing, for both ringers and non-ringers, which you can listen to when you want to – basically like ‘old fashioned radio’!)

Dorset Leads the Way
Many of you may be aware that in 2018 Dorset had the most new accredited ART Ringing Teachers with 23. We did it again last year and were joint top with 13. Well done to all those ringers who have completed their accreditations as most of these must have taught a new ringer to achieve this.

Double Delight for Ringers – DCA AGM March 2020
On Saturday 7th March there were a succession of double delights for the Dorset County Association of Church Bell Ringers as they held their 37th Annual General Meeting at Charminster. The first delight was being able to ring the lovely set of ten bells for a 90 minutes before their annual service as well as to experience the association’s new Mobile Bell Tower (which had been made over the winter months and which will be on display at local fetes and fairs for non-ringers to have a go on). Ringers of all abilities and ages came together from East and West Dorset as well as the Dorchester area to enjoy an afternoon of ringing in the chamber under the guidance of Robin Mears (the then Assistant Ringing Master), as well as socialising within the hospitable church environment.
The second delight came as the service was conducted by Revd Mark Phillips (Rector of the United Benefice of Charminster and Stinsford) and the sermon from Canon Richard Hancock (Rural Field Officer for Dorset, and Priest in Charge of Sixpenny Handley, Petridge and Gussage St Andrew). During the service Revd Mark Phillips spoke of not being able to ring bells but of the importance they hold in sounding people to church and bringing the community together. He recalled racing between the two churches he sang at as a child on either side of the river on alternate Sundays, and often forgetting on the rota at which he should be singing until the bells sounded up and reminded him! During the service there were prayers for Alan Brown who was a Wool ringer and had been calling people to church for 73 years until he died this month. Canon Richard Hancock in his sermon also asked it to be noted that, although he was not a ringer, he saw the importance of the ringing community within local churches and the fact that there were perhaps on a mission to draw people into the church through ringing (although Richard also appreciated we do not need to be churchgoers to ring the bells). He offered his services and support in collaboration with churches and ringers (particularly those in villages near schools), and spoke of his work to bring children in to ring the bells in churches so that they and their families might enjoy the comradery of this group. He expressed his interest in the new Mobile Bell Tower produced by the Dorset County Association of Bell Ringers as this fell in line with his own ethos to go out as missionaries into the world to share the joys of bells and ringing.
Following the service the ringers of Charminster provided a delicious tea of sandwiches, quiches, scones and cakes with a cup of tea and were pleased that Revd Mark Phillips and Canon Richard Hancock were able to join them for a while before heading off to other pastoral duties. Following tea the annual raffle was held and the Annual General Meeting at which Mr Nick Lawrence was re-elected for Chair, Mr Nigel Pridmore as Secretary and Treasurer, Mr Richard Ellis as Asst Secretary and Treasurer and Mr Robin Mears as Ringing Master with Mr Howard Bowering and Mr Tim Collins as Asst Ringing Masters.
For more information on how the Rural Field Officer can collaborate with your tower contact or if you are interested in the Mobile Bell Tower for a local fete or event then contact  

November 2018
Practice nights have restarted at Hilton on Fridays from 7 p.m. until 8.30 p.m. ALL WELCOME. One of the new ringers Mary explains how the revival of ringing in this tower has come about….

As the centenary of the end of the ‘war to end all wars’ approached, it felt important to remember more than just names. There are 3 commonwealth war graves in the All Saints Churchyard. One is the grave of Frederick Samways who was 19 when he died serving with the Wiltshire Regiment in France on April 12th 1918 when he was reported missing.  He had been taken prisoner, was held at Dülmen Prisoner of War Camp until the end of the war, when he returned to England. I discovered that Frederick was a bell ringer along with another Hilton casualty, William Drake.
William Drake was a garden worker, born in Hilton. He joined the Dorsetshire Regiment at the start of the war and was with them during the disastrous campaign in Gallipoli in 1915, reported missing presumed dead on the 21st August 1915. He was 24. In a letter from his sister Minnie, returned unopened, she tells ‘Willie’ of an open-air service that was held at Milton Abbey were those serving had their names read out. Who knows if there were bell ringers to ring on that day.
It was this research that prompted a group of seven of us to take up bell ringing. Our primary objective at the outset was to make sure that the bells of All Saints rang on the November 11th 2018 in honour of Frederick Samways and William Drake. We have six complete beginners ranging from 16 to a little older (!), as well as two experienced ringers who are taking it up again with the help of local ART Ringing Teachers. Beyond the joy of the sound of the bells ringing regularly we have discovered the social side, with coffee and cakes at every practice. We have visited other towers and made new friends. After ringing on the 11th November a couple of us were enjoying a pub lunch in the nearby village of Martinstown, when someone greeted us, “You’re one of us” recognising the Ringing Remembers Badge we were proudly wearing. I guess we are now.

September 2018
Congratulations this month to ringers Lesley Salvetti, Harry Berry and Robin Mears who all successfully passed their Association of ringing Teachers module one training, and are now officially recognised under the Learning the Ropes scheme to teacher learners how to ring. Assessor Alan Bentley passed them all without hesitation and commended them for their excellent work in recruiting and teaching new ringers in Dorset.

Members of the DCA were present at the Great Dorset Steam Fair to advertise ‘The Art of Bell ringing’ and ‘Ringing Remembers’ to members of the public. Apart from one wet day when the tent was in danger of being blown away and visitors were few and far between, the weather was quite warm.
It had originally been intended to use the Saxilby simulator for live demonstrations but unfortunately at the last moment a suitable location within a marquee could not be found.  The beer tent was offered but after a moment’s thought the offer was politely declined!
People from as far away as Switzerland stopped to talk and one of the most interesting visitors was a ringer from St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney who talked in great detail on how to make as many changes as possible to the sequence and timing when one has only 3 bells to ring!
Finally at the end of the fair, at least 6 potential new ‘recruits’ had shown interest in signing up to be one of the 1400 new ringers for the ‘Ringing Remembers’ campaign.

24th June 2018
The DCA along with the Stallpits Mini Ring had a stall at the Kingston Maurward Agricultural College Summer Open Day. The aim of the mini ring was to recruit ringers as part of the ringing remembers campaign, also to raise awareness of bell ringing. The general public were allowed to have a go on the mini ring with the help of experienced ringers. At the end of the day DCA members rang a Quarter Peal of Plain Bob Doubles.
Many thanks to Tony Crabtree for the use and set up of the mini ring.
Photo is of the Quarter Peal band with other DCA members with the Stallpits Mini Ring at Kingston Maurward. 

June 2018
Continued success and progress for DCA recruitment as Andy Smith and Matthew Bakewell pass their Module 1 teaching course. Well done to them both. Also the start of Kaleidoscope ringing in several towers (using long places, short places and dodging before getting into Plain Hunt and Method Ringing is beginning to become popular in terms of developing skills to produce ringing improvement). On Sunday 24th June from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. DCA ringers are promoting ringing throughout Dorset at Kingston Maurward Open Day on a mini-ring with the chance for people to have a go and sign up to bell ringing.

March 2018
Further congratulations go to Janet Collins and Michael Dillistone who in this month successfully completed and passed their Association of Ringing Teachers Module 1 training. The DCA are now building a substantial group of ringers who are fully trained up to teach learners and would be happy to support any towers within the DCA looking for support with recruiting and teaching beginners. SmART Ringer or Learning the Ropes will give you further information on this training programme. Members of DCA wishing to get involved with this recruitment and training programme can also contact the DCA through

February 2018
Congratulations to  Richard Ellis, Howard Bowering and Jane Pridmore who completed their training and all became qualified ART teachers in February 2018.

2nd – 4th June 2017
Quarter peals of ‘Julie McDonnell’ methods were rung in Dorset in aid of Strike Back Against Blood Cancer as part of the Abbeys and Minster challenge Strike Back Against Blood Cancer is a campaign led by Julie McDonnell a bell ringer and cancer sufferer. So far this has raised over £7Million through bell ringing events worldwide. We are delighted that Julie herself rang with us over the weekend. For further information and if wish to donate please see:-
Dorset Towers that attempted quarter peals on this weekend were :-
2 June 7:30pm Beaminster
3 June 9:00am Yetminster and Milton Abbey
3 June 11:00am Sherborne Abbey and Iwerne Minster
3 June 2:30pm Sturminster Newton and Sturminster Marshall
3 June 4:30pm Lytchett Minster
3 June 5:00pm Charminster
4 June 5:15pm Wimborne Minster
Overall 7 out of the 10 quarter peals were successful on this day. Everyone had a very enjoyable day and lots of money was raised towards SBABC.

The 2017 DCA outing took us to the Dartmouth area of Devon on a very hot sunny day, we rang at towers in and around the Dartmouth area. We all had a good day and look forward to the 2018 outing.
On the 2nd of July 2016 the DCA went on its annual outing. This time we ventured into Somerset. We rang at 6 towers: Burnham on Sea (8), Highbridge (8), Shapwick (6), Ashcott (6), Walton (5), Pylle (6). Then we all sat down to a fish and chip supper. Everybody had an enjoyable day.
On the 4th of July 2015 the DCA went on its annual outing. The location of the outing this year was East Hampshire and Surrey.
We rang at 6 towers: Chawton (6), Alton St.Lawrence (8), Alton All Saints (6), Holybourne (8), Frensham (8) and Bentley (6).
Everybody  thoroughly  enjoyed the day and the sun shone all day. We all look forward to next years outing.

Practice Night 2012
To see one of our practices take a look at this YouTube video: