The Essex Association of Change Ringers   President: The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Chelmsford

Essex Ringing Course

The Essex Association of Change Ringers
Registered Charity Number 292250


The 33rd Essex Ringing Course

Essex Ringing Course

New Rickstones Academy, Conrad Road, Witham, Essex, CM8 2SD

Thursday 4th April — Saturday 6th April 2024

Founded by Adrian Semken

Course Organiser:- Sarah Knights (07787 506846)

Helpers Administrator:- Yvonne Towler (07804 300411 or 01621 817212)

Towers Administrator: Anne Bray (07759 632672)

Contact Address: Corvette, Bacons Lane, Chappel, CO6 2EB

The host Association is The Essex Association of Change Ringers
Association Master: Andrew Kelso
Association Secretary: Sharon Lacey
Association Treasurer: Andrew Brewster



Or you can download the poster:

Essex Ringing Course Poster 2024




Applications to join the Course should be made online if possible, using this link (also available at www.eacr.org.uk/course).

The link will accept applications from 3 January 2023. Payment is not required at the time of application. Successful students will be sent a link for on-line payment once applications have closed. Prompt payment will be required to avoid the place being re-allocated.

Please note: Applications are not dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis. Places will not be allocated until after the closing date.

In exceptional circumstances, a paper application form can be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Sarah Knights, Corvette, Bacons Lane, Chappel, CO6 2EB. Paper applications should be accompanied by a cheque made payable to “The Essex Association of Change Ringers”. Cheques from successful applicants will be cashed once places have been offered or returned/destroyed for unsuccessful applicants.

Applicants who will be under the age of 18 at the date of the Course must have their application form signed by their parent or guardian. Please ensure that you have read the Course’s Child Protection Policy.

If you are suffering from any medical condition which may affect you during the Course you should indicate this on the application form. In particular, you should bear in mind that most of the practical ringing will be upstairs.


  1. The Adult fee for 3 day courses is £65.00. This includes an Eventbrite booking fee, all lectures, demonstrations, practical session tuition and tower donations.
  2. The Junior fee for all young ringers from an Essex tower aged under 18 on 4 April 2024 or junior members of the Essex Association is £30.
  3. One day courses £25 per day.
  4. Essex Association members may be eligible for grants from the Education Fund; please email to enquire.
  5. A bursary “Semken Scholarship” of the full fee will be offered to one Essex applicant aged under 25 on 4 April 2024. Please complete the appropriate part of the application form. The successful applicant will be selected by the Course tutors. S/he will be required to submit an article on the Course for publication in the Essex Association newsletter.
    This bursary is offered in memory of Adrian Semken, the Course founder. It is intended that this scheme will continue for a number of years.


Entry to the Friday evening social is also included. Those wishing to attend the social, who have not been a student or helper or participated in the Course in any way, are welcome to join the social for a nominal fee of £10.00 paid to the Course Organiser prior to the social. A buffet supper and free soft drinks are included.


Please notify the Course Organiser immediately if you find that you will be unable to attend the Course. If you withdraw from the Course after the application closing date but before 1 March 2024, your fee will be refunded less an administration charge of £5. If you withdraw after 1 March 2024, your fee, less an administration charge of £5, will only be refunded if the place can be taken by an unsuccessful applicant.

Every effort will be made to run the Course but there may be circumstances beyond our control which mean that the Course may be cancelled without liability.


Applications will be acknowledged after the application closing date. Please do not contact the Organiser before the closing date for information on the progress of your application. Decisions cannot be taken until that time.

Applications are grouped according to first preference where possible. If groups cannot be filled, or are oversubscribed, the second choice group will then be used to attempt to allocate a space. However, a group which is under subscribed may have to be cancelled if the resources can be more efficiently used for another group.


The Rickstones Academy is situated 2 miles off the A12, Conrad Road, Witham, Essex, CM8 2SD. National Grid Reference TL 8184616574. On arrival students should report to the Reception Point which will be clearly signed. There is a large car park at the School with access from Rickstones Road. The school (buildings and grounds) operates a complete non-smoking policy which includes e-cigarettes.

The Course is essentially non-residential; any applicants who require accommodation should make their own arrangements with their hosts as soon as they have been advised that they have been successful in gaining a place on the Course.

Students should bring a supply of lined or squared paper, any book containing the method(s) to be studied, and a piece of rope if splicing instruction is required. Sets of handbells may be useful although some sets will be available.

The Association Bookstall will be open periodically during the course; Central Council and some other publications will be available. Tutors will be only too pleased to give advice about books.

Tea and coffee etc. will be available at the school at set times in the morning and afternoon each day and a meal at the Course Social on the Friday evening. All refreshments are included in the fee.

Groups usually take lunch at a local pub close to either the morning or afternoon tower, as this allows useful discussion and advice to continue over the break. These days it is extremely rare for pubs to have any problem with young people being part of the group, and young people should, if possible, budget for a pub lunch each day. If, however, any group member intends to make their own arrangements for lunch, or to bring sandwiches, you must let your group tutor know when you arrive at the school so that they can take this into account in making their arrangements for the group.


Reasonably experienced ringers are required as "helpers" at the practical sessions. No course fees are charged for helpers and they are entitled to attend any of the lectures and other Course functions when they are not required elsewhere. Helpers should be able to ring touches inside reliably to the method groups to which they are assigned (groups F and above) or ring reliably in at least the next higher group for groups A - E.

Helpers should apply online using the following link (also available at www.eacr.org.uk/course). In exceptional circumstances, helpers should contact the Helpers Administrator directly: Yvonne Towler - 07804 300411 or 01621 817212, email:


It is essential that you read the details of the various practical Groups available as detailed below before you complete the Course Application Form.

It is equally essential that you do not over-estimate your ability. Please note that the first practical session is intended partly to ensure that ringers are in a suitable Group - a Group in which they can obtain maximum benefit from the Course without attempting too big a jump in their progress. Please assist us by providing a description of your ringing during the last three months (practices or courses attended and what you have rung).

The emphasis on competence in the notes on the Course is quite deliberate. If you are in a Group for which you are not yet ready you will, as a consequence, not make the progress intended and progress of others in that Group will be hindered. The Course Management reserves the right to ask you to change groups if it is felt appropriate. The aim is for all students to make significant progress and to enjoy their practical sessions.


The Course will be divided into Groups for practical sessions as below, one of which must be chosen on the Application Form. Please see details on separate sheet.


Apart from the main Group lectures there will be other lectures on a variety of subjects which may include some of the following:

Attendance at these is a matter of personal choice. Some sessions will be limited to a number of attendees; lists will be placed on the notice boards to enable you to sign up during the first coffee break.

An outline programme will be circulated electronically to all successful applicants.

Closing Date Friday 16th February 2024



Group 1 Steeple Keeping

This course is for those who are actively involved in bell maintenance. The course covers Health and Safety, Church relationships, including insurance and faculties, the Role of the Steeplekeeper, Anatomy of the bell and belltower and maintenance of various parts of installation.

Group 2 – Teaching the teachers. Learn how to use a simulator effectively

Learn how to get the most out your simulator. This course is designed for tower captains and ringing teachers who wish to get more out of their simulator. You should already have been using one during your practice. The software used will be Abel.

3 DAY Courses

GROUP A - Bell-handling basics. 

This course will suit people taking their first steps in rounds, call changes and kaleidoscope ringing (for example those at Level 1 if they are on the LtR scheme).

This group is suitable for beginner ringers who are not yet confident in ringing a bell on their own. Ringers who have had a few lessons and are in the early stages will benefit from three days consolidated practice in securing bell-handling skills including raising and lowering a single bell. We will also accept applications from complete beginners.

GROUP B – Moving on to rounds & call changes improving foundation skills

This group is for students who can reliably handle a bell on their own but would like to work on their individual ringing skills, improve their bell control, listening and ropesight, for example those at level 2 of the LtR scheme. This group will focus on developing listening, striking and bell handling. A range of individual and group exercises will be used to develop confidence in bell control.

GROUP C – Introduction to Hunting

This group is for those who are ready to take their first steps in change ringing. You may also have mostly completed level 1 & level 2 of the LtR scheme. The group will focus on developing the necessary skills required for change ringing including ropesight and good striking. Exercises will provide practice in plain hunting on different numbers of bells (up to 5). 

GROUP D – Advanced Hunting

A Group for those who really have ropesight and bell control and are ready to ring the treble to a wider range of methods and to minor methods without tenor cover.

GROUP E – Plain Bob Doubles Inside

A Group for those who are competent in ringing skills as outlined in the above groups and wishing to learn Plain Bob Doubles on an "inside" bell.

GROUP F – Plain Bob Minor Inside

A Group for those who are already competent in ringing skills as outlined in the above groups (up to E) who wish to learn Plain Bob Minor "inside". You should be able to ring the treble reliably to touches of Bob Minor before applying for this group.

GROUP G – Grandsire

Starting with Doubles and progressing to Triples with calls. Applicants must be proficient in ringing the treble to Grandsire and be able to ring touches of Bob Doubles “inside” to get the full benefit from this option.

GROUP H – Moving on from Plain Bob

A group for those competent in ringing touches of plain bob doubles and minor, who want to develop their doubles / minor repertoire. Methods covered may include 

•St. Simon’s 
•Reverse Canterbury
•Little Bob
•St Clements
•Single Oxford

GROUP I – Treble Bob Minor

Applicants will learn to ring the treble to a Treble Bob Hunt method and then progress to an “inside” bell. Tuition in both Kent and Oxford Treble Bob will be given, with the intention of moving on to splicing the two together for those making good progress. Applicants must already be able to ring touches of Plain Bob Minor on an inside bell competently.

GROUP J – Elementary Calling Touches

This Group will start with calling Plain Bob and Grandsire Doubles, and progress to Plain Bob and possibly other Minor methods. Students will be actively involved in calling a variety of touches and will be expected to ring whilst others of the Group are calling. No previous experience of calling is required, but you must be able to ring touches of Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Minor “inside” competently. 

Group K – Moving onto Minor Surprise Methods 

Applicants will learn how to move onto ringing surprise methods. You should confidently be able to ring Double Oxford, Kent and St Clements. This group will start by learning to ring Cambridge, moving onto Ipswich and other Surprise methods. 

Group L – Change ringing on Handbells

Learn how to ring change ringing on handbells. This course will start by learning hunting on 6 moving onto bob minor and other minor methods. 

Downloadable documents:

Entry to the Friday evening social is also included. Those wishing to attend the social, who have not been a student or helper or participated in the Course in any way, are welcome to join the social for a nominal fee of £10.00 paid to the Course Organiser prior to the social. A buffet supper and free soft drinks are included.

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