The Ancient
Society of
Est. 1637

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Morning ringing in the newly and beautifully decorated ringing chamber at Christ Church.

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The Master takes his seat in the Oxford City Council Chamber exchanging words with the Secretary to his right, while the Treasurer laments the lack of ink in his inkwell.

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Members begin to gather for the meeting.

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Rod Pipe sits at the opposite end of the meeting room.
The first recorded visit by the Society of College Youths to Oxford was in 1733, on which occasion they made the 63 mile trip on foot. For the 2001 Country Meeting, members of the Society arrived in Oxford using more modern means, well, except for one … Chris Kippin. The Master bade him farewell on the evening of Friday 20th July outside St Mary le Bow and he was greeted the following afternoon in Oxford having walked all night. Apparently he would have arrived earlier had he not got lost in Uxbridge (must keep your eye on the treble!).

The weekend began on the day before when members succeeded in ringing peals at the two Oxford towers of St Ebbe and St Thomas the Martyr. At the former, David Kingston was pleased to ring his first peal for the Society for fifty years. Success also followed the day after at Great Tew and Faringdon. On Thursday night members of the touring party were invited to the practice at Christ Church College and were joined on Friday night in the Harcourt Arms by other members.

The meeting was held in the Chamber of Oxford City Council, where the Master looked particularly splendid in the Lord Mayor’s chair, flanked by the Secretary and Treasurer. Robin Hall, Master of the Oxford Society, welcomed the gathering to Oxford. He commented that the notion of "Country Members" brought images of rustic ringers with peculiar styles who only knew which way to go on to the front in Stedman by moving a piece of straw from one side of their mouths to the other (a method he commended to the Master). Nonetheless, he wished everyone well on their tour of the "unique charms" of the city’s bells, most of which are the same ones rung in 1733. The Secretary thanked the OS Master and also David Lane and Clive Holloway for bearing most of the burden of organising the day. He had received only one complaint, that of the Treasurer who lamented the lack of ink in his inkwell!

The Saturday ringing took place at Christ Church, Magdalen, New and Merton Colleges. The upstairs room of The Wheatsheaf proved to be a good venue for lunch.

In the evening, a formal dinner was held at Green College in the room below The Observatory. During the meal, Robin Hall, on behalf of the Oxford Society, presented a plaque to Chris Kippin to congratulate him on his achievement in walking from London. This was met with a standing ovation and calls for a whip round to buy Chris a train ticket home! The College then gave the Society a guided tour of The Observatory and the stunning views of the Dreaming Spires that shape such a famous skyline.

Many thanks go to the Oxford Society and Phil Rogers for organising an excellent Country Meeting, and while Chris Kippin bathes his sore feet, he can look forward to 137 mile walk to Worcester next year!

This is the text of the certificate presented to Chris by the Oxford Society:


Salutes the endeavour of
Robert Christopher Kippin

Who, by walking from London to Oxford
to attend the 2001 Country Meeting of
the Ancient Society of College Youths, recreated the journey undertaken by
members of the Society of College Youths
who visited Oxford in 1733.

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Lunch in the upstairs room at The Wheatsheaf where food was provided. Camp and Pickford (or is it Pickford and Camp?) standing next to the food. Looks like Camp's round!
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Was it the beer, or was it Jim Phillips' theory on
SG Clappers?
... either way it was all too much for Keith Game!

Despite his great trek on foot from London to Oxford,
Chris Kippin is still able to take the tenor
at Merton College.

Photo DrL Some of the ringers on the balcony of Merton College.
You can just about see the floor of the
Chancel in the bottom left hand corner.
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The Dinner at Green Colllege.
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Chris Kippin is congratulated on his achievement in walking from London to Oxford to attend the Country Meeting, just as members did in 1733 with a presentation from Robin Hall and the applause of everyone present.
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Michele Ellender in full flow with David Lane and Phil Rogers.
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At last Chris is able to sit down and rest those weary feet while he chats to his daughter Eleanor, Cecilia Pipe
and John Warboys.
Vicky Halliwell, Mark Humphreys and Dickon Love
after the dinner.
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In Green College Bar after the dinner. This lot ... ... look distinctly less sober than this lot.

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