125 Years of LDGCB

Guild clothing is now available with the 125 Year Celebration logo.

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Welcome to the Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers  125th Anniversary Page.

The LDGCB came into being under the driving force of Rev Henry Law James following a meeting of existing Lincolnshire associations in 1899. The meeting was chaired by the then Bishop of Lincoln and took place in the grand surroundings of the Lincoln Cathedral Chapter House.

Meeting in The Chapter House of the Cathedral

…..”the Bishop of Lincoln presided over a  large attendance , and said he understood they wished to form a united society for the ringers of the whole Diocese.

It was a “pleasure to him to meet any church people in Lincolnshire who were – trying to do good for the church -. He believed bellringing was a very powerful instrument for good – if rightly used.”

Church Bells and The Bell News and Ringers Record (fore-runners of The Ringing World) made the formation of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild its front-page news.

At that meeting Rev Henry Law James, vicar of Surfleet, was elected the first Master, a post that he retained until his death in 1932.  Henry Law James was an eminent and influential member of the ringing community nationally. There were a number of other eminent ringers from Lincolnshire at that time – Gabriel Lindoff was poached from Lincoln to Dublin where he taught the Cathedral band and famously produced the new method Erin Triples. Arthur Craven, also from Lincoln, gave Yorkshire Surprise Major to the exercise.

Moving forward, the Guild has seen a number of ringers who have contributed to ringing at a national level. For example, from 1969 to 1975, John Freeman was President of the Central Council of Church Bellringers. There have been over 11,000 peals rung for the Guild making it the 8th most productive association for peals.  Jack Millhouse and Geoff Parker both rang over 1500 peals each for The Guild.

We now approach the beginning of the 125th Anniversary Year – harking back BUT looking forward. The anniversary year starts at the AGM on 27th April 2024.   A Guild Festival Day based in Surfleet will take place at the end of June, and a 125th Anniversary Dinner at the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa on Saturday 26th October and many other activities are planned.

An eminent ringer once said – “the more we socialise the better we ring” – so let us use that as an excuse to socialise throughout the anniversary year and ring better, BUT always reflecting on the sage words of that truly Lincolnshire lad – Roger Bailey – who said

“Remember it’s only bell ringing”

Keith Butter       (Master)

Chris Sharp         (Secretary)

125 ‘Firsts’ in each Branch in the year 27th April 2024 to 26th April 2025!

When this was first suggested our initial reaction was to think it almost impossible to achieve! However, we’re more than willing to be proved wrong and a stretching target is a meaningful target. The following are our ground rules.

  1. Which ringing events can it be applied? Answer….a peal, quarter peal, touch or plain course.
  2. Every ‘first’ for a Guild Member can be counted. Not all ringers taking part need be members of the Guild but only ‘firsts’ applying to Guild Members count and will be attributed to their Branch. For example, in the event a new method is rung in a peal each Guild member of the band will score a first for their Branch.
  3. What can be included as a first? Answer ……Anything that demonstrates that there has been a bit of progress in ringing ability however small. So first plain course of Kent TB Minor counts but first quarter peal on a Friday does not!
  4. In order to keep a running total a volunteer is required to keep scores etc and keep us all updated with progress. Please contact the Guild Secretary.
  5. All performances will need to be uploaded to BellBoard. An event has been created (Lincoln Diocesan Guild — 125th ANNIVERSARY YEAR-125 “FIRSTS”) and each ringing performance that is claiming a first should be submitted and associated with the Anniversary event. In the footnote of the performance, you should make clear for which individual ringer a first is being claimed. That might of course be the whole band for instance when a method is rung for the first time.

Keith Butter (Master)

Chris Sharp (Secretary)