The Ancient
Society of
Est. 1637

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28th - 30th August, 2004

Report by Eleanor Kippin. Photos by Stephen Penney (click images to enlarge).

"Let's go to the West Midlands for the Bank Holiday!" Not a call you often hear, but loads of 12-bell peals and the promise of plenty of social interaction was enough to get ringers to pack their overnight bags.

The call had come from Stephanie Warboys, who had put together an Ambitious programme involving 15 peal attempts, including peals on eight different twelves and a sixteen. Over 70 ringers answered the call - all College Youths - amply demonstrating the Society's strength in depth and current level of activity.

Saturday saw the first three 12-bell peals rung at St Margaret's Leicester, Moulton and Solihull. Although the official social gathering would wait for the Sunday night, recovering peal bands convened in central Birmingham to get in some drinking practice. A couple of the younger members were taught a few things in that regard by their Master, who valiantly kept teaching into the small hours.

Sunday morning dawned rather too bright and too early for some. Many of the visitors joined the local band at the Bullring, which for some offered a rare opportunity to ring on 16, and to see that a Cambridge University education is not sufficient to enable mastery of jump call changes. Handbell and tower bell peals were rung at the Bullring later in the day, with further peals scored at Aston, and Lockington. Sorrows after a couple of lost peals were quietly drowned.

With experience from the 12 bell final Fullers know that when College Youths ask for a pub to be opened specially it is going to be worth their while. The Old Joint Stock by Birmingham Cathedral duly obliged so we could eat, drink and generally make merry. Although she needn't have worried, Stephanie roped in some of the local ringers to ensure Fullers weren't disappointed with the takings.

100% peal success returned on Monday with peals scored at Melbourne, Stourbridge, All Saints Worcester, Tamworth and Knowle, bringing the total number of successes to 13, with 12 rung for the Ancient Society. Of the 70 or so participants around half had been elected in the last five years, many being current members of University societies. (The ever-youthful Robin Hall was horrified to discover that he was in the old third of the band at Aston.)

All in all, an excellent weekend. Old friendships renewed, new friends discovered, names put to faces, and rings of 12 "ticked" by those who collect these things. The level of organisation required for an event of this magnitude is not to be underestimated. Stephanie Warboys did a marvelous job, and is now rumoured to be in hibernation.

Photo Stephen Penney. Photo Stephen Penney.
John Thurman, Hannah Wilby, Becky Sugden and Sam Austin. Andrew Graham and Jo Ainsworth.
Photo Stephen Penney. Photo Stephen Penney.
Andy Bradford and Katie Town. In the Joint Stock.
Photo Stephen Penney. Photo Stephen Penney.
Photo Stephen Penney. Photo Stephen Penney.
Richard Smith.
Photo Stephen Penney. Photo Stephen Penney.
Philip Earis. Adam Greenley talking to Dinah Reed.
Photo Stephen Penney. Photo Stephen Penney.
Tony Daw talking to Peter Triplow. Val Andrews and Peter Furniss facing.

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