The Hereford Ringing Course

The course was started by Wilf Moreton. He had been involved with some of the very earliest ringing courses, and saw the need for more. With help from Austin Wingate and George Cousins, he set up and ran the early Hereford Courses.

The current organising team is largely made up of members of the Moreton family. Adrian is the chief administrator, assisted by Alison (secretary and webmaster), Ralph and Frances. On the ground in Hereford the chief organiser of towers is Nick Cooper-Tomkins, and Stuart Piper arranges local helpers from Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Adrian Moreton

Adrian learnt to ring aged nine, and first attended the course as a student in 1969. He progressed to being a helper, tutor, administrator, and finally started leading the team after his father Wilf (the course founder) died in 2006. He has a wide range of interests in ringing, ranging from method construction and composition to teaching ringing theory. His home tower is Wakefield Cathedral, where he was tower master for over 30 years, but he also rings regularly at Leeds Minster, where he is part of their National 12-bell band. He particularly likes ringing peals of spliced and of Stedman cinques. When not ringing, he enjoys nothing better than pottering about on his narrowboat – Stedman 11!

Alison Moreton

As elder daughter of Adrian and eldest grandchild of course founder Wilf, Alison started attending the course from the age of 0. She started to learn to ring at the age of 8 and was a student for five years before 'graduating' as a helper aged 14. After many years as course dogsbody she was promoted to course Secretary in 2013. Alison enjoys ringing Stedman, spliced Surprise Major, and Surprise Maximus when she gets a chance, but especially dislikes Grandsire and Double Norwich, and usually refuses to ring peals and quarters (the time is more usefully and enjoyably spent sewing, knitting or weaving in her opinion!).

David Bagley

David’s father Geoff taught him to ring a pair of bells to Plain Bob Minimus when he was about 4 years old. He took up tower bell ringing when he was 11 and first rang unaided on Christmas Day 1977 on the treble at Malvern Link. These days, he rings at Tewkesbury Abbey and other local towers. He also has his own mini ring of 10 hung in a shed in the garden.

He first attended the Hereford Course in 1983 and for many years demonstrated ringing simulators before becoming a group tutor in 2009. He doesn’t have a specific favourite method, but he does like to listen to well struck ringing.

Outside ringing, he is responsible for a peregrine falcon breeding project at Tewkesbury Abbey, and in his spare time, he works as an Electronics Engineer!

Adam Crocker

Being the child of ringing parents and, having spent nearly every Sunday morning since birth in a bell tower, Adam was desperate to learn to ring. At the age of 8 he was deemed ‘big enough’ to learn and his father taught him to handle a bell at Kimpton (Hertfordshire) in the school holidays. Ringing is a fantastic hobby for so many reasons, but he particularly enjoys traveling to new places to ring on different sets of bells. He also has a passion for change-ringing on handbells and lockdown provided a good excuse to start teaching some of his tower-bell ringing friends. When not in a bell tower, Adam enjoys hill walking and running. He is also a keen reader, especially crime fiction. 

Neil Donovan

Neil lives in Beverley, where he rings on the 12 bells at St Mary’s church.

He learnt to ring at Rotherham in 1959. His tutor was Norman Chaddock, a founder member of the CCCBR Education Committee (and early tutor at Hereford). Another influence on his early ringing was Wilfrid F Moreton, also a member of the CCCBR Education Committee and founder of the Hereford Ringing Course.

He is a Vice-President and former President of the Yorkshire Association. Amongst other offices in the Association, he has been involved with ringing education in Yorkshire for 40 years and has organised and tutored on day and residential courses.

Neil has been a group leader and tutor at the Hereford Course since the mid-eighties. He enjoys leading the beginner groups, where he takes great pleasure in helping students to take their first steps in plain hunting and beyond. He is also a Tutor with the Association of Ringing Teachers.

Other interests included railways, canals and ringing trips with friends to towers around the UK and overseas.

James Hardy

Jim learnt to ring in Beckenham, Kent, aged 14, in 1984. After 18 months or so of relatively slow progress, his ringing took off when he began to visit other practices, especially Southwark Cathedral, where he rang regularly for over 20 years. He first attended the Hereford course in 1988 as a Triples and Major student, before returning thereafter as a helper until 2001.

Unwilling to miss the opportunity to ring with friends when the foot and mouth crisis in 2001 forced the cancellation of the Hereford course, he tutored a local “mini course”. Following that he was asked to be a tutor at Hereford, and has done so ever since.

Though not a prolific peal ringer, those he has rung have been proud achievements. He’s rung more than 2000 quarter peals and continues to do so when work etc. allows. An electrician by trade, Jim has spent much of his career installing medical imaging equipment, which also involves mechanical engineering and structural work, skills that happily come in useful for belfry maintenance.

When not ringing or working, Jim enjoys playing electric bass, drinking real ale, and spending time with his three children Kat, Becca and Chris, who are all grown up now, and wife Lizzie.

Andy Ingram

Andy learnt to ring in Southampton in 1979, and has been an active ringer ever since then. During his university years he supported local bands in the Lancaster area, and then rang in south Cumbria for the next 12 years. Andy returned to Hampshire in 1998 and now rings at Milford on Sea. Andy served as both Chairman and Ringing Master of the Christchurch and Southampton District of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild. He enjoys teaching ringing and developing young ringers, and is currently chairman of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild Education Committee, and coordinates youth ringing in the Guild. Andy is a regular member of the Friday night Awbridge quarter peal band. Andy is married with two children, and fortunately the whole family are keen ringers. Andy spends time when not ringing transporting his children to various horse riding and athletics events.

Paul Lewis

Like many ringers of a certain age Paul was a teenage starter - part of a completely novice young band brought together in 1977 by a newly installed rector. This was at Pontesbury in mid-Shropshire, top end of the Hereford Diocesan Guild territory. His home towers are now Edgmond and Newport, in the Shropshire Association territory. Paul had a period of eleven years as the Hereford DG's Education Officer and places ringing teaching and training in his list of ringing priorities. He is a tutor for the Association of Ringing Teachers and a member of ART’s Management Committee. Residential ringing courses have been a mainstay of Paul’s ringing life and he has enjoyed helper and tutor roles at the Keele, Whirlow and Hereford Ringing Courses over many years. Away from ringing Paul is in the final stages of Reader training in the Diocese of Lichfield.

Frances Marshall

Frances' father, Wilf Moreton, started to teach her to handle a bell during Holy Week in 1975. A week later she was on her very first Hereford Course, ringing tunes on handbells with Fred Sharpe. She has attended almost every course since, starting as a student, progressing to a helper in 1982 and has been part of the organising team for the last 30 years, mainly dealing with the domestic side.

Her main interest in ringing is ringing for service and supporting her local band in Loughborough, Leicestershire. She has kept up her love for tune ringing on handbells and for the last 15 years has shared that love with children at the school where she works.

Other than ringing, she enjoy walking, sewing, knitting, crocheting and looking after her grandson, Maximus.

Richard Pearce

Richard learnt to ring at Crayford, Kent, in 1987, at the age of 15. He's been to most Hereford courses since 1990, as a helper or a tutor. Since 2011 he's been the tower captain at Old Woking, Surrey, where he lives with his partner, Ruth. Within ringing, he enjoys challenging himself and helping others challenge themselves. Ringing Surprise on handbells is what he likes most. Outside of ringing, he runs and cycles to keep fit, and enjoys listening to a wide range of music. To pay the bills, he works for a company that does all the technical stuff needed to get television programmes delivered to viewers.

Frank Seabright

Frank learnt to ring in October 1962 at St Mary’s Merton, a sloping ground floor anticlockwise 7 cwt peal of 5 with a long draft, it taught him to pull straight! He was involved with both ringing into Surrey and up into London.

He moved to Ledbury in Herefordshire in 1977, ringing initially with the Ledbury band but moved towers to Bosbury when he moved house in 1980. He has been working throughout his time here with the Hereford Guild both at District and Guild level

He worked with Pip Penny prior to the formation of ART and has been a Tutor from the start and involved in a number of ways. He has made the annual pilgrimage to Hereford Blind College around Easter from his arrival in the Shire and has helped as Tutor and a number of other ways over the years.

Sue Sheridan

As a Lancastrian, who has lived in Cumbria and Yorkshire for the last 35 years, you might not expect to hear that Sue learnt to ring whilst living in North Cornwall nearly 40 years ago. But learning to ring in Cornwall all those years ago has completely shaped her beliefs about ringing. She started with Cornish call changes, and then, because she lived in a change ringing area of Stratton, Poughill, Bridgerule and Launcells, she learnt Grandsire, Stedman and Oxford Bob Triples - the tenor stayed beautifully behind, rounding off the ringing, and her ear still prefers that to this day.

When she moved to Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria, the bells hadn’t been rung for 20 years, but her husband, Mark, was not daunted and he set about teaching a band. A 40 foot unguided draft of 40 feet didn’t make the task easy, but he succeeded. He reverted to teaching Plain Bob rather than Grandsire but they didn’t have anybody who could call a touch. So two of them came to the Hereford Course, Sue to learn to call a touch, and Jo to learn Bob Doubles. Both of them, joined by Mark the following year, have been students or helpers on the Hereford Course ever since.

Moving back to the Huddersfield area nearly 30 years ago meant she had to learn to ring Treble Bob - with the tenor not remaining in her favourite place! For the last 20 years, her home tower has been All Hallows, Kirkburton.

As school teachers, Mark and Sue have always been involved in helping others to learn and that has affected their ringing ‘careers’: they’ve had school bellringing teams in Cornwall and Cumbria, and provided sessions for Duke of Edinburgh skills and Scout badges in Yorkshire. It probably means that their own ringing hasn’t always ‘progressed’ as some people might expect…but Cornish ringing stays with her - it’s not what you ring, but how you ring it…

David Mattingley

David learnt to ring at St Nicholas, Hereford by Roger Tingley shortly before moving to Truro where his ringing continued at Kenwyn. Whilst at university in Bath, David was a regular member of the Bathwick quarter peal band. His ringing progressed further on his return to Truro with the help of regularly attending practices and quarter peals in the far west, namely St Buryan and Penzance. He would also often travel out of the county to ring on quarter peal days, and was starting to be invited into peals, in particular by John Pladdys who gave David his first peal on twelve and first long length.

David moved to Portsmouth in October 2012 and became Ringing Master of the Portsmouth District in February 2013. He is also Vice Captain at Portsmouth Cathedral from 2013 to present. David has also served on the Winchester & Portsmouth D.G. Education Committee, running education courses across the W&P guild.

Some of David's achievements include once ringing for over 13 hours, being part of the most-liked BellBoard performance on the Remembrance centenary, and losing peals at the heaviest six, eight, ten and twelve.

He first attended the Hereford Ringing Course as a student to learn to ring Grandsire Doubles, returning in subsequent years as student and helper, until becoming a tutor in 2012. David most enjoys earning a beer by ringing spliced at any stage. He is supported by his sympathetic wife, Jenny, and two young children.