The Festival

West Pennard Primary School


What are the benefits?

     •     a new learning experience and a new skill

     •     playing your part in the life of the village

     •     a little regular healthy exercise

     •     becoming part of a great tradition

     •     mental stimulation

     •     making new friends & joining occasional social events – meals, quizzes, outings, and cake on birthdays

Musical knowledge or experience is not required.

For more information call the number below or simply make your way up the tower on a Tuesday practice evening and see what goes on.

Maureen Tofts - Secretary/Treasurer - 01749 890332

Pilton Bell Ringers practice every Tuesday from 7.30pm - 9pm. On the first Tuesday of every month we practice at Pylle Church.

Visitor ringers are alway welcome.

We regularly ring for Sunday Services and are available for Weddings, please call the Secretary for details 01749 890657.

Bell Ringers

Here at Pilton Parish Church we are a small friendly band of ringers at all stages from beginner to expert, and we would like to welcome you to join us.

January 2017


Julie McDonnell, a bell ringer at Brede in Sussex, who has leukaemia, founded SBABC to raise awareness of blood cancers. Julie received a second stem cell transplant last June, a few days before NHS England suspended the funding for second transplants. Julie was appalled that other leukaemia sufferers in England would be denied this treatment, and shifted the focus of SBABC to raising funds for people who have been denied second stem cell transplants in England.

On 3rd July 2016 bell ringers at Birchington in Kent rang a quarter peal of a new method which they named “Julie McDonnell Doubles”, and dedicated the performance to SBABC. Julie obtained sponsorship of £35,000 if 100 quarter peals of this method could be rung by Christmas Day 2016. Bell ringers throughout Britain and overseas responded to the challenge, and the target has been far exceeded. A number of quarter peals of “Julie McDonnell” methods have been rung locally.

Perhaps the two most notable performances have been quarter peals rung at St Mary-le-Bow in London, and at Liverpool Cathedral, which were sponsored for £35,000 and £50,000 respectively.

Julie has worked tirelessly to obtain more and more sponsorship, and to date over £5.5M has been raised. As we go into 2017, SBABC has accepted a £185K challenge to try and get as many Cathedrals, Minsters and Abbeys to ring a version of “Julie McDonnell”.

Well done bell ringers everywhere, and especially well done Julie!

                                                                                       Ken Brown

June 2017

May 2017 has been the Bath & Wells Diocesan Association of Change Ringers Quarter Peal month, during which time bell ringers were encouraged to ring Quarter Peals with the dual purpose of helping ringers to improve their skills, and also to raise money for the Association’s Bell Fund. Each bell ringer taking part is asked to contribute a pound to the Bell Fund, and this can raise several hundred pounds in the course of the month.

When Croscombe bells were overhauled in 2015, we received a grant of over £2,000 from this Bell Fund.

On Saturday 13th May a band of bell ringers from the Benefice rang a Quarter Peal at Croscombe. The ringers were:

1. Maureen Tofts (Pilton)

3. Helen Brown (Croscombe) 5. Ken Brown (Croscombe)

2. Bill Lloyd (Croscombe) 4. Joe King (Pilton)

6. Neil Tully (Croscombe)

Ken Brown

We offer

          free instruction in easy stages

          a chance to create a joyful noise together

          an opportunity to contribute to local culture

          an informal ‘family’ group with links to the wider fraternity of ringers

July 2017

For centuries church bells have been rung for special occasions, not just in celebration but also as an expression of sympathy and support for those affected by natural and man-made tragedies.

On the evening of Tuesday 23rd May the six bell ringers who attended the weekly practice at St John the Baptist, Pilton rang a quarter peal of Doubles as a tribute to those affected by the bomb attack in Manchester the previous evening. The bells were half-muffled as a mark of respect for those who died.

The ringers were:

1. Jackie Bowditch

2. Maureen Tofts

3. Cathy Lowe

4. Helen Brown (Conductor) 5. Beverley Perry

6. Leslie Perry

Ken Brown

Sept 2017 - Lightning death at Pilton in 1782!

The following intriguing account appeared in a letter in a recent edition of The Ringing World, the weekly journal of bellringers.The published diaries of James Woodforde (1758 – 1802) “The Diaries of a Country Parson” refer to a bell ringer being killed by a lightning strike while actually ringing a bell.

The entry for 18th June 1782 reads:

"We heard at Ansford that there were 3 Men struck down in Pilton Church by the Lightning this morning. One of them killed instantly - but the others like to recover. The Man that was Struck dead was tolling a bell for a Person lately dead, the other two were near him."

Though lightning conductors were proposed by Benjamin Franklin in the late 1750's, it is unlikely that they were widely adopted in rural churches for quite some time after that.

Three of the present ring of 8 bells at Pilton date from before 1782, so maybe it was one of those still extant bells that the unfortunate man was tolling when he died.

With acknowledgement and thanks to David Atkinson of Macclesfield, Cheshire for writing on this subject to The Ringing World.

If anyone has any more information on this I would be most grateful to hear about it, as, I am sure, would David.

Ken Brown 346291

October 2017

Across most of the country the style of ringing known as scientific or method ringing predominates. This style operates by altering the sequence of the bells on every stroke of the rope according to a predetermined pattern. Thus, if the bells were sounding in the order 123456 then the next stroke could have them sounding 214365 and the stroke after 241635 etc. until they came back to 123456. With the addition of extra instructions it is possible to ring for three hours or more without repeating the same sequence.

Devon specialises in call-change ringing. In this style only one pair of bells changes at any one time, and these are literally called out by the conductor. Thus, starting with 123456, the first change might be “4 to 5”, which would give an order of 123546. This style lays great emphasis on accurate striking, and this is encouraged by competition ringing where every little variation in place or position is marked. This is a deceptively simple system and the leading exponents are truly masters of their art.

A group of Devon call-change ringers will be visiting Croscombe on Tuesday 17th October from 3:30 to 4:30pm. If you are around, it may well be worth listening to.

Ken Brown

August 2018

The bells of St Mary the Virgin, Croscombe, were rung half-muffled on Saturday 21st July in remembrance of two Croscombe men, both believed to have been bell ringers, who died on active service in World War One.

Corporal Barnard Henry George Treasure died on 19/07/1918 age 35. He was wounded several times by a shell explosion and taken to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Esquelbecq, where he died of those wounds. He is commemorated at Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, FranceSon of Henry and Annie Hill Treasure, and husband of Hephzibah (née Virtue), whom he married in 1905. Hephzibah died on 11/02/1913 and is buried at Croscombe. Father of Gwendoline Treasure (born 07/12/1906). At the time of the 1911 census, he was working as a journeyman baker for George Virtue, his father-in-law.

Private Walter Henry Collins died 22/07/1918, age 34. The circumstances of his death were particularly tragic: he was standing outside his platoon dugout when a comrade’s rifle went off accidentally and he was shot through the heart. He is commemorated at Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France. Born 20/10/1883 and baptised 25/11/1883 at Croscombe, son of Edward and Elizabeth Collins. Husband of Alice Mabel (née Foxwell), of Thrupe Lane, and father of Mabel and Thomas. Before enlisting he was working as a quarryman at Dulcote quarries.

These local family names will be familiar to long- term Croscombe residents.

I am indebted to Alan Regin MBE for this information.

Ken Brown

December 2018

Following the declaration of war in 1914 many bell ringers enlisted, and some 1400 bell ringers lost their lives. Two were Croscombe men, one was from Dinder, and another three came from Shepton Mallet. Special ringing has taken place over the last four years to honour these men. “Ringing Remembers” was a campaign officially endorsed and sponsored by the Government for recruiting new ringers and promoting ringing at 12:30pm on Sunday 11th November in celebration of the centenary of the Armistice.

The campaign, launched at the beginning of 2018, recruited almost 2800 new bell ringers. Many of these have rung the bells at their own churches on Remembrance Sunday this year. The Ringing Remembers campaign resulted in a great deal of ringing across the world over the weekend, 10/11 November. In accordance with Government guidance the bells of Croscombe church were rung half-muffled before the 10:55am Remembrance Service.

In Pilton, the bells were rung half-muffled before the Remembrance Service and from 12:30pm the bells were rung open (i.e. without muffles) to a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples.

Ken Brown

June 2019

Following the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris which started on the afternoon of Monday 15th April, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and Prime Minister Theresa May asked for bells at churches and cathedrals across the UK to ring out in solidarity when possible on Thursday 18th April (Maundy Thursday).

At Croscombe, the tenor (heaviest) bell was tolled for 7 minutes at 7.00pm on Maundy Thursday. Over 1,200 other churches and cathedrals across the United Kingdom and also in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand responded.

Saturday April 27th saw the annual striking competition of the local branch of the Bath & Wells Diocesan Association of Change Ringers, held at Westbury sub Mendip. The competition is to determine which team is able to ring its bells most accurately. Six teams entered, with Croscombe achieving a creditable third place behind Glastonbury and Wells. Well done, Croscombe!

May is the quarter peal month of the B&WDACR, to raise money for their Bell Fund which supports the repair, renovation and augmentation of rings of bells. Each ringer makes a small donation to the fund. The Croscombe band supported this, ringing a quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles on Saturday 4th May. Ken Brown