Category Archives: Peals & Quarters

David Connearn scores first quarter

The band (l to r) Jim, Graham, Andrew S, Andrew B, Roger, David

Hot on the heels of Emma Roberts, David Connearn, also of Greenwich has successfully scored his first quarter peal, at the first attempt, by ringing the tenor to a well struck quarter peal of Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles at St Alfege Greenwich.

David is not far off being ready to ring the treble to a quarter peal and it will now be a race between David and Emma to score the second quarter peal needed to achieve Learning the Ropes Level 3.

It is also encouraging that there are seven more ringers from Greenwich and Isle of Dogs all working through Learning the Ropes, with Bo and Piers Myers of Isle of Dogs reaching Level 1 on the same day at the Middlesex CA and London DG summer school at Kensington, and having only started to learn five days before. This group may soon be joined by several more, so David and Emma will have a lot of competition to see who reaches Level 5 first.

New talent coming through

The Isle of Dogs quarter peal band (l to r) Emma, Roger, Andrew, Graham, Rod, Paul.

We have quite a few ringers working their way up the ladder, and it can be quite difficult arranging quarter peal attempts for them. However, as the first few become more experienced it becomes easier and easier, as you have a larger pool of ringers to draw on.

This weekend we had enough ringers to attempt four quarter peals, two on Saturday morning at Walworth, either side of an Ordination service, and then two simultaneous attempts on Sunday evening at Isle of Dogs at Rotherhithe.

The weekend got off with a hiccup as we lost the first attempt for Bob Doubles less than 100 changes from the end. This would have been Paul Harding’s first inside. After the service we went for Grandsire Triples, but this had to be cut short as the ordination service had over-run by about 45 minutes, and four of the band needed to get away to ring for a wedding at Isle of Dogs. But we did ring a very good touch of 336 changes – a quarter of a quarter!

The wedding at Isle of Dogs was also quite unexpected as the bride only rang us up at 8.30 that morning asking us if we could ring. There had been a mix up over the booking and we had not been asked, however she was really keen to have the bells rung for her big day. And if the bride goes to that trouble at 8.30 am on her wedding day what can you do? Fortunately, by the miracle of the internet and the number of ringers we have to call on, we were able to field a team of seven ringers ready to ring out at 2.00pm. The bride and the vicar were very  pleased indeed!

On Sunday Emma Roberts rang her first quarter by ringing the treble at Isle of Dogs to Bob Doubles very well indeed, and Melanie Powell rang her first quarter of Grandsire Doubles inside at Rotherhithe, at more or less the same time.

All things considered, quite a successful weekend, and we look forward to ringing more quarters more frequently from now on, especially as we had eighteen different ringers take part in the four attempts, and we have a number of other people waiting in the pipeline to progress and join in.  Exciting times.


Luigi scores quarter on treble to reach level 3

By scoring a quarter of Doubles on the Treble for the evening service on 5th March at Christchurch, Isle of Dogs, Luigi Vicenti has completed Level 3 of ART’s ‘Learning the Ropes’ training scheme.

Level 3 takes ringers from call changes, building on kaleidoscope exercises through to ringing the treble and covering to methods. The level is passed when the ringer can do this sufficiently well to score two quarter peals at least one of which must be the treble to Doubles (or on higher numbers). The second can be ringing the tenor behind. Other activities include raising and lowering in peal.

Lugi and Guseppina started learning to ring in early 2013, as a result of the ‘Ring for Fitness’ publicity campaign initiated by the Churches Conservation Trust, in conjunction with the Ringing Foundation and Association of Ringing Teachers (ART). Their closest tower is St Mary Magdalene Woolwich, although the nearest with regular ringing is St Alfege, Greenwich. They have been regular visitors to the Tuesday practices at St James Bermondsey over the past four years.

We look forward to helping them complete the remaining two levels of Learning the Ropes, by which time they will be ringing Plain Bob and Grandsire inside to quarter peal standard. We also look forward to helping our other learners and visitors to achieve more passes over the coming months.

Freda Cannon 1928 – 2017

Freda (bottom right) at the Bermondsey band Christmas party, probably in 1993 – didn’t everyone look young!

A series of eleven quarter peals have been rung to mark the passing of Freda Cannon, former Tower Captain at Greenwich, who was very helpful in establishing the band at Bermondsey in the early years of the Docklands Ringing Centre. Freda was also very active within the Ladies Guild and was National President 1983-1985.

Freda learnt to ring in September 1954 at Greenwich when the church and its peal of ten bells had been restored after damage during World War 2, and a new local band was formed. Freda rang many quarter peals over the years, the last one being of 1,260 Grandsire Triples at Lewisham on 6th June 2004.

In February 1991, when the new ring of six bells at Bermondsey were installed to replace the previously derelict ring of ten, there were close links with the neighbouring bands at Greenwich, Camberwell and Poplar, and Freda was one of a group of experienced ringers that came along every week, twice a week in the initial stages, to teach people to ring. She rang in the first quarter on the new bells at St James after they were augmented from six to eight in November 1991 (1,288 Grandsire Triples) and thanks to her and the others support many of the new local band were soon ringing methods competently and their first quarters within around a year of learning to ring.

Freda continued to come to ring at Bermondsey on Tuesdays until ill health prevented her coming about ten years ago. Her funeral was at St Alfege Greenwich on Tuesday 14th February 2017.

May she rest in peace.

Fred Sanwell RIP

Fred covering on the tenor (right) with then tower captain Martin Crick (now of Richmond) on the 7th.

Fred Sanwell RIP

Fred was a valued member of the band of local people that rang the bells at St Mary’s Rotherhithe, after they were restored in 1996-9.

The old heavy ring of eight at Saint Mary’s went in and out of being ringable several times, with tower sway causing structural problems. During the 1970s a band of ringers affectionately known as the ‘flying circus’ included St Mary’s in their Sunday morning rota, which stretched from Kensington in the West to Deptford in the East. After the 1987 hurricane which left the Isle of Dogs bells unringable, ringing resumed at St Mary’s, although Fred did not ring with us at that time. St Mary’s bells became unringable again, just before the old bells at St James’s Bermondsey were replaced in 1990.

Fred’s profession was a lift engineer, and he had recently retired when St Mary’s were reduced in weight and lowered in the tower to reduce the sway, in 1996-9. Fred was one of a group of local people who came forward at that time to ring and there is a plaque recording his name and the other local ringers who rang for the millennium. Fred himself must have learnt to ring in the 1960’s, although we know very little about the local band then, but as he had rung before he could ring more or less straight away.

Fred was an active member of the church, reinforcing the link with the local community, and was always there for Thursday practices and Sunday morning ringing. Unfortunately, Fred suffered a stroke about 15 years ago, so his second ringing career was cut short, and this was a significant loss for the local band.

His funeral was on 30 January 2017 and a  half muffled quarter peal was rung prior to the service, at his request.