All posts by andrewdrury

Ilkley Gazette article Sept 2017

Over 80 people turned up to learn about bellringing, see how its done and have a go at the Tower Open Day at All Saints Church, Ilkley, last Saturday afternoon. There was a brief introductory talk about how bells are rung, and how ringing ‘methods’ range from the simple to very complex, then visitors were invited up the narrow stone spiral staircase to the Ringing Chamber to see how bells are rung. Most visitors – especially the children – wanted to try their hand, and departed with a certificate to say they’d rung a bell.

Organiser Andrew Drury said “We were very glad that we had a good-sized marquee at the base of the tower, as we had a couple of cloudbursts during the day. and the visitors would have been drenched! As it  was, one of the gargoyles on the tower roof was jetting water straight down over the tower door entrance, so some visitors had to dodge a waterfall to get in!” Sue Green, Tower Captain, said “We were delighted so many people came along.  the visitors seemed to genuinely find it interesting, and we kept getting rounds of applause when we demonstrated how to ring the bells, which was really nice! It was fun helping people have a go, and we are delighted that 5 people have said they’d like to take up ringing as a hobby, and are coming along to Learners’ Practice Night. A strong band needs new recruits, to make sure we can carry on ringing the bells for years ahead.”.

Ilkley has a special place in the world of bellringing, as home of one of its most famous sons. Every bellringing chamber in the world will have at least one copy of a book called “Diagrams”. This is one of the Snowden Series of books authored by Jasper Snowden who was the vicar at All Saints and is buried in the grounds. Other well-known Ilkley ringers include Alan Titchmarsh, who writes occasionally about his ringing experiences.

The Ilkely ringers are planning to repeat the Open Day as part of the 2018 Heritage Open Days programme.

‘East of Leeds’ outing June 2017

We had an ‘East Of Leeds’ outing on Saturday June 3rd:

Timings  Location Venue Bells Weight
9.30 – 10.15 Bramham All Saints 6 12-0-9
10.45 – 11.30 Thorner St Peters 8 10-0-27
11.45 – 12.30 Barwick in Elmet All Saints 6 12-3-8
12.30 – 2.00 Barwick in Elmet Gascoigne Arms None
2.30 – 3.15 Kippax St Mary 6 13-1-10
3.45 – 4.30 Sherburn in Elmet All Saints 8 13-2-8



It was a warm sunny day and the church was wearing a party hat.

A slightly over-ambitious attempt to ring the 3rd to Plain Bob Doubles morphed quickly into Plain Hunt. But we managed London Surprise, Stedman Doubles, Grandsire Doubles and some Norwich Surprise.  An excellent start.


The tower looked extremely neat in the sunshine as we approached it, a feeling reinforced as we watched the volunteers manicuring the edges of the law in the churchyard…..with scissors! It was preparation for their Open Garden Festival.

The ringing circle was rather tight, with room at a premium with 12 ringers in the tower. The bells went well, with a cheerful sound.

Barwick in Elmet      

A Ringing Chamber with two staircases – the original stone spiral plus a new straight wooden stair for the (rare) occasions that the room is used as a children play area. There was also an attractive etched  glazing divider opening out into the church (see below).

We only have just over half an hour.  It’s difficult to remember what we rang – it becomes a blur. There was definitely Bob Minor, undoubtedly there was Bob Doubles, And I seem to recall some Grandsire Doubles.Then, there was a dash to the pub……



Gascoigne Arms

The lunch-stop – generally held to be the most important factor in whether an outing is a success or not. At least, by our group! So, what did we get? Pleasant surroundings, good food, and excellent value for money. The speed of service was reasonable, and they had good beers.  I’d go again! And it wasn’t just me….. there was approval all round.

And we were all  very impressed indeed with the magnificent May Pole located just outside. Newly painted, with bunches of Morris Dancer-type bells attached and tingling in the breeze, it’s the most terrific May Pole  that I’ve ever seen.


A long-ish straight stairs/ladder With a slightly awkward arrival in the Ringing Chamber could impose the difficulty for some of our older ringers, but everyone handled it with ease. Unlike my ability  to handle Kent Minor, calling it round nearly a lead too soon. The Bourne Surprise also sadly fired up, unfortunately. Too relaxed after lunch?!

Sherburn in Elmet

This place was clearly rich for a long time in the past. The church has Norman columns and a high (Early English?) clerestory above the nave. It all looked rather splendid.

The Ringing Chamber had the very useful idea of the door being part-glazed – very helpful when our baby-minding ringers were playing tag, and one wanted to get in.

The bells were  a little hard work, but it seemed as if our band prefers ringing 8, as the ringing here (like Thorner) was better than at all the 6 bell towers. As well as our usual range, we managed Stedman Triples and even  half a course of Yorkshire Surprise Major.

A quick team photo, and of the Newest Ringer, and we’re off……………….

The Team
The Newest Ringer


Conclusion – very enjoyable day out! Thanks to all the Tower Captains who arranged access and looked after us.

Andrew Drury.

Ilkley Gazette article May 2017

Ilkley bellringers lead the way


Ilkley bellringers hosted a practical seminar for ringers from Otley and as far away as Settle on Saturday at All Saints, Ilkley. The session helped ringers to try more complex ringing than is possible in their own towers.

Ilkley Tower Captain Sue Green said “This is the second practical seminar we’re run recently for a piece called Stedman Doubles. We used our computer simulator which allows us to ring the bells in the normal way, but without making any noise outside – so nobody can hear our mistakes! The seminar was a great success made better by excellent tea and cakes!

“Bellringing’s basically like playing in a band – we can only ring a piece if nearly all the members know it well – so practice is crucial, otherwise it goes pear-shaped pretty quickly.” said Andrew Drury of Ben Rhydding.

One of the ringers, Helen Illman, brought along her 5 month old baby, Hannah. “It’s best to start them early.” she said, laughing. “That’s how I was introduced to ringing!”

More information about bellringing at All Saints Ilkley can be found at