News & Events



OBITUARY - At the Guild AGM members heard with regret, of the death of Royston J Fox (Elected 2004) of the Ashford & Great Chart area, who had been a good supporter of the Guild's endeavours and assisted at Burmarsh & the former Cheriton practices for some months. May he rest in peace.

GUILD AGM - Sat 4th February 2012.  Final details below:

to include Election of Officers

Benenden [tbc] (12) 1:15 - 2:45pm

New Romney (8) 3:30 - 4:45pm

Burmarsh (6): 5:15 - 6:00pm (Service Ringing)

6pm Choral Evensong for the Feast of the Presentation (transferred from 2nd Feb) -
Responses: Rose in unison
Psalm 150 (Stanford)
Mag & Nunc: Walmisley in D Minor
Anthem: When to the Temple Mary Went (Eccard, 1598)
Service to be led by the Guild Chaplain & played by the Guild Organist

7pm Supper at the Shepherd & Crook Inn, Shear Way, Burmarsh.
Names for meat tea [Medallions of Pork & veg] (vegetarian option can be arranged - please specify) to the Secretary (at email address) ASAP.

8:30pm AGM followed by Old Time Music Hall & Wartime Songs on gramophone (Billy Williams, Billy Whitlock, Jack Charman, Harry Lauder, Billy Cotton, Gracie Fields etc)


Proposed Special Methods for the day (subject to ability of those in attendance):

At the ring of 6:
London S. Minor
Grandsire Doubles
Stedman Doubles
At the ring of 8:
New Romney Delight Major (line can be supplied)
Kent T.B. Major
Oxford T.B. Major
Duffield Major
Double Norwich C.B. Major
Grandsire Triples
Stedman Triples

At the ring of 12:
Littleport Little S. Maximus

GUESTS/VISITORS VERY WELCOME ALL DAY - all standards of competent handlers catered for from call changes upward.


GUILD AGM - Sat 30th January 2010.  Final details below:

to include Election of Officers and Dedication of new Peal Board.

Mersham (8): 1:30 - 2:30pm
Ashford Parish Church (10): 3:00 - 4:00pm
Burmarsh (6): 4:30 - 5:00pm
Service ringing at New Romney (8) 5:15 - 6:00pm
then Evensong (1662 BCP) anticipating the Feast of the Presentation, 6pm led by Guild President & Chaplain, Rev John Cowling [formerly Rector of St Olave, Hart Street &c] and concluding with dedication of Peal Board. 
Meat Tea at the "Prince of Wales", Fairfield Road, New Romney 7 for 7:30pm with Guest Speaker, and AGM at 8:30pm.
This will be followed by Old Time Music Hall renditions and Phonograph Concert.

Names for meat tea [Roast Beef, Potato, Carrots] (vegetarian option can be arranged - please specify) to the Secretary (at email address) by JANUARY 20TH at the very latest please.  NO NAME, NO SUPPER!

Proposed Special Methods for the day (subject to ability of those in attendance):

At the ring of 6:
London S. Minor
Grandsire Doubles
Stedman Doubles
At the rings of 8:
New Romney Delight Major (line can be supplied)
Kent T.B. Major
Oxford T.B. Major
Duffield Major
Double Norwich C.B. Major
Grandsire Triples
Stedman Triples

At the ring of 10:
Stedman Caters
Forward Royal
Duffied Royal

GUESTS/VISITORS VERY WELCOME ALL DAY - all standards of competent handlers catered for from call changes upward.


August 2009 -


The bells of New Romney were ringing on the late August Bank Holiday Monday 2009: ringing out a brand new peal never performed before.  It was successfully completed in 2 hours and 56 minutes and as the performance satisfies all the rules of the Central Council of Church Bellringers  the performance has been named after the town and is thus called New Romney Delight Major.  

Mr C.J. Cooper - who lives at Ashford Church Yard and is a member of Ashford Parish Church and its bellringing team - arranged the team for this New Romney peal.  Since 2005, he has taught most of the current local team of New Romney bellringers to handle a bell, as New Romney bells had not previously had a proper local team for many years.  There are now about twenty eager local ringers of all ages at New Romney with their own local Captain, Mr David Jackson, and Mr Cooper instructs the ringers in changeringing on Monday practice nights.  Of the Bank Holiday Monday peal, Mr Cooper said: "We are most fortunate that such a competent team of ringers could be assembled.  We had no opportunity to practise this new method before starting for the peal so there were a few brief mistakes in the early part of the peal due to the method being quite like Bristol Surprise, which we all ring regularly; but the final two hours were very settled and excellently rung and the method is extremely musical, evidenced by the recording made of the first hour of the peal.  New Romney can be proud that this new method has been named after the town - most towns have a method named after them"

Romney Marsh & District Guild [Est. c1900]
New Romney
, Kent
At the Parish Church of St Nicholas
Monday, 31 August 2009 in 2h 56min (15-1-13)

5088 New Romney Delight Major

Composed by: SMC32 (Arr. S.J. Beckingham)

Treble    Janet E. Archibald

2    Christopher J. Cooper

3    James W. Belshaw

4    Michael P. Moreton

5    Roderic K. Bickerton

6    Benjamin D. Kipling

7    Stephen J. Beckingham

Tenor    Alan D. Pink (C) 

First peal in a new method for the Guild. First blows in the method by all thus first peal in the method & for the Guild.

Thanks to the 6th Ringer (Master of the Guild) for drawing up the line and for the ringer of the 7th for the Composition as well as to our esteemed Conductor of course.

Especially arranged and rung to celebrate the complete restoration of the Church and tower over the past year at the cost of many hundred thousand pounds; the Church being of special interest as a fine specimen of early architecture.

New Romney D. Major: X58X14.58X58.36X34X18X56X18; LE18

The new method was drawn up by Mr Ben Kipling who is a church-bell tuner at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and responsible for the bell maintenance at St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, and also is now serving his second term as Master of the Romney Marsh & District Guild of Ringers for which Guild the peal was rung, and which the local New Romney ringers are also members of.  The composition used to obtain the entire length of the peal was arranged by Stephen Beckingham from a computer program, and conducted by Alan Pink.


Friday 17th April 2009 was the centenary of the first peal on New Romney bells
following recasting of 4, 7 & Tenor and rehanging on new fittings.  Guild Master
Mr B.D. Kipling called the Centenary Peal which is appended below.  Unfortunately due to indisposition of one of the scheduled band, it had to be reduced to Doubles.

Romney Marsh & District Guild [Est. c1900]

New Romney, Kent

At the Parish Church of St Nicholas

Friday, 17 April 2009 in 2h 39 min (15 cwt)

5040 Grandsire Doubles

being 42 extents: 40 x 120 & 1 x 240 (11 different callings)


 Brian Hunnisett [Blewbury]


 Roderic K. Bickerton [Watford]


 Benjamin D. Kipling (C)[S Martin-in-the Fields] #


 Christopher J. Cooper [Ashford] +


 Halisi Drysdale [Aston Abbotts] $


 David Jackson [New Romney] *

* First touch of in excess of 500 changes and at first attempt and first peal by a New Romney ringer for 55 years and one month exactly
+ First peal in the method on one tower bell only and 70th peal
$ First six-bell peal
# First Doubles & First Grandsire as Conductor

First six-bell peal ever rung in the tower.

After meeting short for a peal of Triples in the method especially arranged to mark the Centenary this day of the first peal on the bells after recasting of the 4, 7 & Tenor and rehanging by Mears & Stainbank. Both this peal and the 1909 peal were conducted by the respective Masters of the RM & DG in their year of office. 4th & Tenor ringer in this peal are respectively Ringing Master & Captain to the local band.

The peal also celebrates and marks the completion of the restoration of the Church and Tower costing several hundred thousand pounds and including all new louvres in the belfry and new leaded lights in the ringing room.


At the Shepherd & Crook Inn, Burmarsh, prior to supper - L to R: Pam, Vicki, Andrew White, Simon J.O Head, John S. White, Mark Chittenden-Pile, Ann Paine, Becky Payne, Ben D. Kipling (Master) Chris J. Cooper (Secretary), Robin J. Hickmott, David Paine, James Trewin.

The AGM of the Romney Marsh & District Guild; Saturday January 24th 2009.

As by custom, the fourth Saturday of January saw a contingent of both local and country members of the Romney Marsh & District Guild converge on the District for the usual enjoyable AGM day. Ringing began at 1:30pm with a Quarter Peal attempt for Grandsire Triples at Mersham, conducted by the Secretary, though this had to be set up early due to a preponderence of errors in the ringing.  At 2:30pm, the band returned to the tower, and swelled by a number of other members as well as a few visitors, the bells were put to good use until 3:30pm, with the usual call-changes, Grandsire & Stedman Triples as well as the special methods of Kent, Forward and Duffield all being rung to a good standard.  The old Ashford band was well represented in the company, as also members of the local team, New Romney, Hothfield, Burmarsh, and further afield: towers in London and a number of our regular supporters from Aston Clinton/Aylesbury area, as well as visitors from Thanet and Sussex border.

The next tower was Hythe, where ringing preceded the service of Choral Evensong. A good course of Bob Major was achieved, and there were several lots of call changes on the ten, especially benefitting the New Romney members and a touch of Kent immediately prior to the service.

The Service of Solemn Choral Evensong was as grand an occasion as ever might be, particularly as, for the first time, it was arranged jointly as a Canterbury Diocese Prayer Book Society service; readily agreed by all to have been a splendid occasion, with the congregation numbering about 40: ringers, PBS Members and some Parishioners, and the full Boys’ and Mens’ Church Choir leading the music, including the Office Hymn for the Feast of the Conversion, Mag & Nunc (Stanford in Bb), and the Epiphany Anthem “From the Rising of the Sun” by Sir F.A. Gore Ouseley, concluding with Procession and censing.

Ringing at Burmarsh immediately preceded the AGM, held at the Shepherd & Crook, behind the Church. Burmarsh are not the easiest six to handle, but due to the unavailability of New Romney because of restoration of the tower, the ringing had to be moved to Burmarsh. Nevertheless, the bells were rung to Kent T.B. and London Surprise, as well as the usual Grandsire Doubles and call-changes.

A splendid supper awaited the party; as usual the qulaity of the food at The Shepherd & Crook was second to none. The majority of the group of 18 members enjoyed Roast Beef, although arrangements had been made for some members who wished for a different main course. During the meal, some Bob Minor was rung on the handbells by: B.D. Kipling 1-2; J.S. White 3-4 & C.J. Cooper 5-6. Following dessert, the meeting opened at approximately 8:55pm. The Secretary apologised that none of the Guild property was present, but that this was due to the current inaccessibility of the belfry at New Romney; and that it was just good fortune that he had removed the minute book from the tower a few weeks previously, or else holding the AGM would have been very difficult! The usual Business was transacted; the Officers being elected as follows: Master: B.D. Kipling, Secretary: C.J. Cooper, Treasurer: D.H. Gower, Committee: Mrs A. Paine, J. Trewin. A large number of ratifications prior to peals and quarters were accepted and four new members elected. Members stood in silence as a token of respect to the late Mr T. Cornelius, a stalwart of the Appledore band for very many years, and the Secretary particularly wished to record the amazing work which Mr Cornelius undertook on the rebuilding of the wheels of 2nd & Tenor at Shadwell, London E. in 2000; his skill being evident in the fact that clearances between bell, wheel & frame were so tight, and yet he had rebuilt the wheels remotely and then assembled them in the tower, with all fitting perfectly.

Finally, the programme for the ensuing year was presented by the Secretary; to include an outing (arranged by the New Romney branch) to Leicester & Norwich area on 4th July.

The formal business concluded further good fun and fellowship were enjoyed until a late hour

Guild Outing to the Thanet Area; August 2008

The Company assembled at Quex Park (Waterloo Tower).  The Master, Mr B.D. Kipling of the Bell Foundry is pictured kneeling, centre front.

The Thanet area was chosen for the 2008 Summer Meeting and Outing of the Romney Marsh & District Guild, arranged also as the New Romney Branch tower outing.  This was the first full outing for the Guild and New Romney Tower since the Second World War, and eight towers were represented in the assembled company. 

A visit to Sarre Windmill was first undertaken at 11am, where most of the outing party convened, and after taking tea, ascended the old mill.  This proved to be a most interesting occasion and a splendid way to begin the day.  Driving on to Birchington, an early arrival was made at Quex Park, and a suitable area found to relax while some enjoyed a picnic lunch, and others began their quest for the local Gadds Ales thanks to the farm shop nearby.  The ringing at Quex Park began at 1:30pm, and we were most grateful for the assistance of several of the ringers from the local area, which ensured that some method ringing could be enterprised upon.  As well as some very acceptable call-changes on twelve (including the Whittington change) in which two New Romney ringers rang their first blows on twelve, a good three leads of Bristol S. Major was rung on the back eight, and a musical touch of 171 Stedman Quators.  After an hour-and-a-half at this interesting tower, at which all the New Romney ringers worked very hard in ringing their first blows on twelve, it was time to depart for the light eight at All Saints Church – having first taken a view from the top of Quex tower and visited the bells. 

All Saints being half the weight of New Romney, very easy-going and relatively fast turning, came as something of a shock to the New Romney band!  Unfortunately the ringing never really settled down, although a good short touch of Grandsire Triples was accomplished. 

The final tower of the day, Eastry - where the bells had only been ‘opened’ twenty-one days before our visit -  being a more similar weight to New Romney, the ringing was much better, and generally pleasing.  Another touch of Grandsire Triples was successfully brought round, and, upon suggestion of the Secretary who had rung on the old five many years before, a 60 of Grandsire Doubles was rung on the old back five.  The Guild Master, Mr B.D. Kipling, had been responsible for tuning the splendid old Catlin Tenor, and the front four of the ring of eight, and it was heartily agreed that he had done a good job and that the bells sounded very well in harmony one with another, and told a very pleasant tale. 

The ringing thus accomplished, a grand supper at The Grove Ferry Inn, awaited.  Ten of the outing party sat down to a delicious supper; some to braised steak, others to a delicious salmon, or roasted vegetables, and then a mouthwatering selection of desserts followed.  After coffee had been taken, the Master arose and thanked all members for their attendance, for the effort they had all put in to carrying the day off so well, and to the Secretary for organising most of the proceedings.  The Secretary, in response, thanked the Master for presiding over the ringing at All Saints and Eastry, for procuring the bells at Eastry for the Guild outing, and further, wished to heartily congratulate him on the splendid tuning job he had carried out on Eastry bells on behalf of the Whitechapel Foundry (applause).  In closing, he thanked all Guild members, and especially the New Romney ringers, for their continuing and enthusiastic support for both ringing generally, and for the good work of the Guild, especially those who had provided transport for the outing.  He also wished to note the invaluable support of Mrs Payne, and Messrs White & Trewin from ‘up country’, with both the ringing on this outing, and support for the Guild generally.  Country members were an invaluable commodity.

The formalities at an end, the Master, Secretary and Miss R. Davey, having noticed two large bells (one Warner, one G&J) hanging up in an adjacent bar area, and having first asked permission of the landlord, invited the company to watch an attempt for a course of Original Singles on these two bells and a rather dull sounding glass lampshade!  This having been achieved, the company slowly broke up, and journeyed back to Romney Marsh & District.

Video clip of part of a Guild Practice at Stone in Oxney in 2008

Focus on..... BURMARSH

JohnCowling.jpg        olburm.jpg     

We in the Guild, and the Parish of Burmarsh are so greatly blessed to have such a good Churchman Rev. John Cowling as (what is termed these days as) Focal Minister to the Parish.  Rev. Cowling had a long and distinguished ministry prior to retirement, and he is continuing his good works with us on the Marsh.  There are precious few decent Clergy left 'in service' these days (so to speak) but Rev. Cowling is one of them.  He shines as a beacon of virtue in the Parish and is well known to the Parishioners for his kindly disposition and appreciation and advancement of all that is good and right in the Church.  For far too long, Burmarsh had suffered tyrants or bleeding heart liberals as Clergy, but now, by the Grace of God the interior is adorned magnificently with the correct and beautiful altar hangings which had for so long lain in disuse, and the worship is as often as possible taken from our incomparable 1662 Book of Common Prayer - that book of Doctrine and Liturgy which marks us out as true Churchmen in the Church of England.  We have Rev. Cowling to thank for such wise advances and we owe him such a debt of gratitude as can never be repaid.  We shall hope for very many happy years to come with him in Burmarsh; how truly blessed this small village church is.

Death of Lord Deedes

We are much saddened to have to report the death of Lord Deedes, at the grand old age of 94.  He was a great man, and his like will never be seen again.  A peal was attempted at Mersham Parish Church on August 26th to his memory, and also as a fond farewell compliment to Rev. Canon Tipping who had been Minister at Mersham for 15 years, and who retired at the end of July.   This peal unfortunately coming to grief, a well struck Quarter Peal of Stedman Triples was, instead, rung.

Farewell to Rev & Mrs Dale of New Romney

It is sad that we are having to bid farewell to so many of our good friends, but our Minister of New Romney, and his wife are leaving us to take up a new group of Parishes in Leicestershire.  They have both been such great supporters of ringing at New Romney and especially this Guild; Rev. Dale serving as President, and Mrs Dale as our Mistress this year.  We shall be sad to see them go, for they have done so much for the advancement of ringing on the Marsh and have been both friends to us and good and faithful servants to the work of the Guild.  Peals are to be attempted to bid them a fond farewell and best wishes for the future; and many members will doubtless keep in close contact with them

Farewell to Rev & Mrs Tipping of Mersham

Rev Canon J.W. Tipping has retired from the Parish of Mersham, and we wish him and Mrs Tipping long years of happy retirement.  We are so sorry to see him go.  A farewell peal was attempted, but this coming to grief through the ringing not being up to the usual standard, a well-struck Quarter Peal of Stedman Triples was rung instead.


The splendid farewell lunch arranged to mark the Ruby Wedding of Rev Canon & Mrs Tipping, in the garden of Mersham Rectory.


Guild goes from strength to strength.

The success of the RM & DG over the past six years cannot be overstated.  Under the successive leadership of Miss Gifford of Burmarsh (Aged only 10 at the time!), Mr Head of Milton Keynes, Mr Hearn of High Wycombe, and now Mrs Dale of New Romney, the membership has increased to over 70.

The first peal for the Guild since 1939 was scored on New Years Day 2004 - Annable's 5040 Bob Major at Mersham conducted by the Secretary, and including one member for whom this was her first peal.  The peal belatedly marked the centenary of the first Guild peal on the bells of New Romney, which took place on October 25th 1903.

Guild members ringing at Benenden; AGM day 2003

Meetings took place most months through 2003: Appledore (AGM), Rolvenden, Benenden, Stone in Oxney (twice), Mersham (twice) Burmarsh, and Hothfield, with a Summer Meeting comprising ringing at Fairfield, followed by a Songs of Praise Service led by Canon J.W. Everett using Hymns from "Hymns A&M Revised", and readings from the Authorised Version of the Bible, and the Evening rounded off with a social at "The Red Lion, Snargate".

 In December 2003 and December 2004 the Leeds Society of Handbell Ringers (comprising Guild members) played tunes on the Leeds handbells at "The Red Lion, Snargate".

 Saturday Meetings did not take place during 2004, owing to other commitments in the earlier part, and the Leeds debacle in the latter part of the year.  However, regular monthly Guild practices continued at Mersham and Burmarsh.

The 2005 scheduled AGM was held at the Parish Church in Ashford, with ringing preceding the Festal Service of Evensong from the BCP, and led by the Master.  It was a pity that attendance was so poor, though this was due in part to the Ringing World receiving the AGM notice too late for publication - thus the AGM was not official, and the vacancy for Master was filled by Mr G. Hayward, the other Officers remaining in their positions.
Practices at Mersham (1st Wednesday) and Burmarsh (2nd Wednesday) have continued through 2005, and Saturday Meetings were also restarted in July -  following the lull of 2004 - with ringing at New Romney and Stone on 23rd July.

Since July 2005, the Guild has also become involved with New Romney - practices are now held there each Thursday.  The Guild Secretary is particularly delighted that New Romney are now being rung by the Guild.  This realises an ambition to teach a local band to ring for Sunday service, which ambition the Secretary has wished for, for 10 years - since his schooldays at New Romney, when he did much work to clean the tower and arranged Quarter Peals of Norwich and of Oxford Treble Bob Minor on the back six, and of Bristol (his first QP of S. Major) and Superlative S. Major (rung following school prizegiving for his year, the Vth form) all in 1995.