Welcome to the website for the Chiltern Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers.
The Chiltern Branch covers parts of central Buckinghamshire by the border with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, and is home to many of the famous red kites.
Whilst one of the smaller branches within the guild, we have a wide range of interesting and historic bells details of which can be found by following the "Towers" tab. We are keen to develop ringing within the branch and to help towers with recruitment and training to ensure that the traditional sound of Church bells rings out for many years to come.
2012 marked the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Guild's Chiltern Branch. The following notes taken from Bill Butler's "100 years of the ODG" are of interest:
The Chiltern Branch came into existence following a Branch Secretaries' meeting in 1961,
at which they had been asked to look at branch boundaries.
They recommended a new branch, centered on Aylesbury, taking in remote towers from South Oxon, Central Bucks and East Berks & South Bucks branches.
In his report to the Guild at the autumn 1961 meeting (held in Bletchley), the then Guild Master (Rev C Elliot Wigg) noted that, "Formation of a new branch is a notable landmark in the history of any Guild of ringers. Our guild therefore gives its blessing to the Chiltern Branch as the youngest member of the family, and wishes God-speed to its members and its enthusiastic Secretary Mr. D.G. Wheeler".
Donald Wheeler, who had been secretary of the Central Bucks Branch, became Chiltern's first secretary when the Branch oficially came into existence in January 1962. Sixteen towers were transferred into the Branch and the Branch elected 51 new members (out of 68) in its first year.
There was a contest to decide the location of the inaugural meeting, with Aston Clinton receiving 15 votes to Ellesbourough's 13; it was held in June 1962. H Bonham (Cheddington) was elected Chairman; BC Collins (Stoke Mandeville) and A J White (Aston Clinton) were appointed as Ringing Masters.
The service at the meeting included both the organ and a string quartet, an unusual (unique?) occurence! The then librarian (H I Roper) was quoted as saying that he "would not have missed the meeting for the world"
Many thanks to Roy Woodruff for this research.
The Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers is committed to the safeguarding, care and nurture of the children and people of all ages. The current Safeguarding Policy can be seen here.
Site last updated 29th February 2020 by Alan Masters