THE CENTRAL COUNCIL.
The Second Annual Meeting of the Central was held on Easter Tuesday, at the Colonnade Hotel, Birmingham. The President (A. Percival Heywood, Esq.), occupied the chair, and the following representatives were present:-
The Rev. H. Earle Bulwer (Norwich Diocesan Association), the Rev. T. L. Papillon (Essex Association), the Rev. F. E. Robinson (Oxford Diocesan Guild), the Rev. C. D. P. Davies (Sussex County Association), the Rev. W. W. C. Baker (Bedfordshire Association), the Rev. T. S. Curteis (Kent County Association), the Rev. J. Utten Todd (Bath and Wells), the Rev. G. F. Coleridge (Oxford Diocesan Guild), the Rev. H. A. Cockey (Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association), the Rev. H. J. Elsee (Lancashire Association), Messrs. G. F. Attree (Sussex County Association), G. H. Phillott (Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association), W. Snowdon (Yorkshire Association), Benjamin T. Copley (Yorkshire Association), C. H. Hattersley (Yorkshire Association), F. W. J. Rees (Winchester Diocesan Guild), W. T. Pates (Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association), J. W. Washbrook (Oxford Diocesan Guild), W. L. Catchpole (Norwich Diocesan Association), N. E. Snow (North Lincolnshire), G. B. Lucas (Middlesex Association), S. Reeves (Society for the Archdeaconry of Stafford), H. Bastable (S. Martin’s Guild, Birmingham), G. H. Barnett (Winchester Diocesan Guild), J. Griffin (Midland Counties’ Association), R. S. Story (Durham and Newcastle Association), L. Newton (Durham and Newcastle Association), H. A. Heywood (Chester Diocesan Guild), C. Tyler (Sussex County Association), G. Williams (Winchester Diocesan Guild), W. D. Smith (Ancient Society of College Youths), G. Walker (Birmingham and District Association), G. Newson (Royal Cumberland Society), H. White (Winchester Diocesan Guild), T. J. Bratton (Hereford Diocesan Guild), H. H. Chandler (Sussex County Association), E. E. Richards (Kent County Association), J. W. Taylor, jun. (Midland Counties’ Association), R. Cartwright (S. Peter’s Guild, Wolverhampton), W. H. Howard (Yorkshire Association), J. G. Wall (Hereford Diocesan Guild), A. H. Cocks (Oxford Diocesan Guild), T. Blackbourn (Salisbury Diocesan Guild), F. F. Linley (North Lincolnshire Association), and W. Wakley (honorary member).
The minutes of the meeting of the Council held at the Inns of Court Hotel, London, on March 31st, 1891, were read by the President, and their confirmation was moved by Mr. Newson. Mr. Attree seconded the motion, which was agreed to.
The President, after announcing that communications expressing regret for unavoidable absence had been received from the Rev. Canon Wigram, and Messrs. Dawe (College Youths), J. C. Mitchell (St. Albans), and H. Dains (Cumberland Youths), said that it was customary at gatherings such as the present for the Chairman to open the business with an address. But he did not feel that on this occasion he had any remarks to make by which the Council would materially benefit, and, that being so, he did not intend to take up their time further. He should, however, wish to point out that it was exceedingly desirable that members should recollect that they were sent there by their respective Associations, and that accordingly they should on all questions of importance not abstain from recording their votes, as some had done at the last meeting. He thought that in making the remark he was only echoing the sentiments of those who had elected them as representatives. He also hoped that while, on the one hand, no member would hesitate to express his opinion clearly, on the other they would bear in mind that the time at the disposal of the Council was limited, and be brief accordingly.
The President then announced that one society had retired from connection with the Council, viz.: the Eastern Counties’ Guild, but it was not an important society, and they might take it that there had been no material falling away from the Council, especially as they had an addition in the Wolverhampton society.
Election of Honorary Secretary.
The first business on the agenda was the election of an Honorary Secretary in the place of Mr. F. E. Dawe, from whom a letter was read expressing regret at being compelled, by increasing demands on his time, to resign the office.
The President said that in accordance with the rules nominations had to be sent in for the election of an Honorary Secretary, who would serve for the remaining period of two years. He had received two nominations for the same gentleman, and he was given to understand that several others would also have been sent in had it not been known that two were already in his hands. The first nomination was that of Messrs. Dains and Newson, who proposed the Rev. H. Earle Bulwer, and the second that of Messrs. Wakley and Griffin, of Burton-on-Trent, who proposed the same gentleman. He (the President) had been asked whether an article in “The Bell News,” which dealt with the desirability of appointing a clerical secretary, had in any way been inspired by him. He had had nothing whatever to do with it, though he was exceedingly glad to read it, as it represented the opinion entertained by many of them, and went to show that in other quarters the present nomination was approved.
Mr. Howard moved, Mr. S. Reeves seconded, and it was agreed, that Mr. Dawe’s resignation should be accepted with regret.
Mr. Griffin proposed, and Mr. Copley seconded, the election of the Rev. H. Earle Bulwer to the post of Honorary Secretary, and there being no amendment, the resolution was carried unanimously, and amid applause.
The President, in notifying the election of Mr. Bulwer, expressed his exceedingly great satisfaction in seeing him in the position to which he had just been appointed.
The Honorary Secretary, in returning thanks, said he esteemed it a great honour to act in that capacity, and would do everything he possibly could to further the objects and work of the Council. He must confess that at first when the matter was brought under his notice he had some misgiving as to the wisdom of such an appointment. Since the first formation of the Council he had had a very strong feeling that it would be a very great deal better that some one of the more professional members of the Council should take the office of Secretary and if possible, a representative of one of the London societies. Circumstances had so fallen out, however, that it seemed such gentlemen had not sufficient leisure to give to the work of the secretaryship, and therefore, finding his name so well received in the Exercise for nomination to the office, he had no hesitation in consenting, if selected, to act (hear).
Election of Honorary Members.
The President stated that under their rules it was possible to elect 12 honorary members, and 9 such had been elected at the last meeting. It was now open to them to elect three more, who would hold office for three years, exclusive of the meeting at which they were elected, and who would not therefore go out with the Council.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies proposed, and Mr. Phillott seconded Captain J. E. Acland-Troyte, 16, Augustus-road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.
The Rev. W. W. C. Baker proposed, and the Rev. H. J. Elsee seconded the Rev. A. H. Boughey, of Trinity College, Cambs.
The Rev. F. E. Robinson proposed, and Mr. Rees seconded Mr. W. H. Thompson.
There being only these nominations, the three elections were made unanimously.
Statement of Accounts.
The President stated that last year’s accounts had been submitted to the Standing Committee previous to that meeting. They had gone through them, and had practically acted as auditors, and as auditors had passed them. Therefore he thought it would be sufficient just to give the totals. The subscriptions for the past year, 1891, had amounted to £9 5s., against which they had to set £1 1s. for the hire of the room in which they then met. That left a balance of £8 4s., which he had placed in Messrs. Williams, Deacon, and Co’s. bank in London. This sum, together with the subscriptions for the present year, amounted to £16 19s., and when the unpaid subscriptions were collected, the balance in hand would be about £18.
Mr. Wakley moved the adoption of the balance-sheet, and Mr. Washbrook seconded the motion, which was agreed to.
Amendment of Rule 10.
The President, in moving the amendment of rule 10 by substituting twenty as the quorum of members instead of one-third the whole number of the Council, said he did not wish in any way to press the amendment upon the meeting, but he thought it would be a more convenient way of defining their quorum. It had seemed to him that it was possible to conceive a case in which they might meet, and find after the business that there had been one or two members short of the requisite number. Consequently the business might become invalid. The fact of having a quorum of so many as one-third of the Council might carry with it some little difficulty; whereas if they had a quorum of twenty, the number would usually be guaranteed and in the case of so small a meeting as twenty the members would have sufficient good sense not to deal with matters which might more properly be left to a larger gathering.
Mr. Attree seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously.
The Printing of the Rules.
The Rev. H. A. Cockey moved “That the rules be printed and circulated among all the members.”
The President said that although it was a matter which might well be entertained, still, even with the balance which they had in hand, they should have to be careful not to spend one penny more than was necessary. They might again publish the rules in the pages of “The Bell News.” (Hear, hear).
The Rev. H. A. Cockey thought it would be useful for members to have copies to refer to.
Mr. S. Reeves seconded the motion.
Ultimately, after some discussion, and on a suggestion from the chair, the Rev. H. A. Cockey withdrew his motion, and the following amendment, proposed by the President, and seconded by Mr. Howard, was unanimously agreed to: “That the Standing Committee be requested to take into consideration how the rules may be best brought under the notice of members.”
The Exercise and the Church Congress.
The next business on the agenda was to receive and consider the report of the Committee appointed to obtain adequate recognition of the Exercise at the hands of the Church Congress, and the President, in making the communication, said that they had been in some doubt as to whether they should bring their subject before the Church Congress which was to be held at Folkestone in the present year, or whether they should defer it till that which was to be held in Birmingham in 1893. For many reasons it would appear that Birmingham was the more suitable place to bring forward such a subject, but after discussion it was determined that Folkestone was preferable. The Congress of 1893 would be the first ever held in Birmingham and its position being so central, the subject list would be exceedingly full, and the Congress no doubt would be very largely attended, in which case they thought it probable that their subject might be crowded out. Under those circumstances it was resolved that it would be desirable to try and bring the matter before the Congress at Folkestone, and, failing there, then before the one at Birmingham. He had drafted a circular letter, which was sent round to the members of the Committee, on which they made notes. He went through the notes, and, as far as possible, prepared in accordance with them the letter that was to be sent to the Subjects Committee of the Church Congress, and which was as follows:
To the Chairman of the Subjects Committee, Folkestone Church Congress.
Sir,- At a meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, held in London last Easter, the undersigned were appointed a Committee for the purpose of pressing upon Congress the desirability of accepting for discussion a subject which may be fitly expressed as “The Present Position of Church Bell Ringers.”
In support of our application we would respectfully advance the following facts:-
1.- The marked increase, during the last decade, in the number of bells and of ringers, and the widespread advance in the art of change-ringing, due almost entirely to the efforts of the ringers themselves; and yet that this whole subject receives but very scant attention from Churchmen generally.
2.- The practical failure of the Church to attach to her interests more than a very small proportion of a body of some 40,000 ringers, for the most part men of high respectability; a failure in great measure due to the absence of an understanding and personal interest, on the part of a large majority of the clergy, in the art and aims of the ringer; and also to the neglect of too many church authorities to keep bells and ringing-chambers in an equal state of cleanliness and repair with the rest of the Church.
3.- The increasing and not unreasonable complaints of those who reside near noisy bells; a difficulty which should be met by the adoption of the proper means (now well ascertained) for softening the sound; but not by the discouragement of a pursuit attractive to many young men, and especially available during winter evenings.
We would in conclusion insist upon the urgent need of a sympathetic consideration of the above points by the Clergy and others, with a view to win over the ringers of England to something more than a nominal adhesion to the Church; a need that cannot be more effectively made known than by bringing the subject before the consideration of the Congress. We should be prepared, if required, to indicate readers and speakers fully competent to deal with the subject both in its technical aspect and as an important detail of Parochial organisation.
We are, Sir, your obedient Servants,
A. Percival Heywood,
President Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.
Rector of St. Andrew’s, Hertford, and Hon. Canon of St. Albans.
T. L. Papillon,
Vicar of Writtle, Chelmsford, and Hon. Sec. of the Essex Association of Change-Ringers.
H. Earle Bulwer,
Rector of Stanhoe, Norfolk, and Hon. Sec. of the Norwich Diocesan Association of Change-Ringers.
The letter was handed to Mr. Bulwer, who was a friend of Archdeacon Emery, one of the moving spirits in the affairs of the Church Congress, and he would ask the Honorary Secretary to relate what subsequent steps were taken in regard to the matter.
The Honorary Secretary said that after having consulted on the point with Archdeacon Emery, he wrote to the Secretary of the Church Congress, or rather he sent a copy of the letter already referred to, and eventually received a printed form on which he put the names of 12 or 13 gentlemen, who he thought might possibly acceed to a request from the Subjects Committee to speak on the subject. Having done that, he had been awaking results, but so far he had heard nothing from the Secretaries of the Congress.
Report on Advice, etc., as to Bells and Ringers.
In presenting the report of the Committee appointed to draw up a body of advice, etc., to Church authorities as to bells and ringers, the President said that the work had been very troublesome, lengthy, and elaborate, and the thanks of the Council and Committee were very largely due to the Rev. H. Earle Bulwer for the way in which he had acted as manager of the whole business of the Committee. He had sent round a circular to each member of the Committee, who had affixed his notes, and those circulars having been revised three times, Mr. Bulwer had collated the whole information, and had produced the report which was before them, which was a fair representation of the views of the Committee, so far as they could be brought into accord. Whether the report in the opinion of the meeting fairly represented the ideas they held generally on the subject, they would be now kind enough to say.
The Honorary Secretary moved, the Rev. F. E. Robinson seconded, and it was agreed “That the report should be taken as read.”
The Rev. T. L. Papillon moved “That the draft report of the Committee appointed, etc., be accepted as a whole, subject to the reconsideration by the Committee of special details upon which suggestions may be offered.” The speaker said that he made the motion with much pleasure, because he fully recognised the great pains which had been bestowed on the work, and also because he was sure that all who had had any experience in ascertaining what the clergy and churchwardens and other persons responsible for the care of the bells either knew or cared about the belfry and its fittings, would agree with him that it was highly desirable that some such body of advice as was contained in the report should be freely accessible to them. He had moved the resolution because he thought that if they were then to embark on a lengthy discussion of every detail upon which any of them might think some alteration was necessary, without coming to any general conclusion upon the report, it would be necessary to issue a reprint of the whole, incorporating the various suggestions made, and thereby causing an increase of expense. It seemed to him the most profitable course they could take was to say they accepted the report as a whole, and that they should offer to the Committee, to which it had been referred, various suggestions as to points of details There were various such points upon which he could see some reconsideration was necessary, but it was best they should offer their suggestions in writing.
Mr. Barnett seconded the resolution.
The President explained that if the suggestions might be sent in to the Honorary Secretary in writing, Mr. Bulwer would take into consideration the whole of those views and embody them as far as he could in another circular to go round to the members of the Committee, who would then, by affixing their names or otherwise to such alterations, vote whether these should be incorporated or not with the substance already before them.
The motion was then carried.
Mr. Attree moved, “That advice as the cost of bells, fittings, &c., be taken from some firm of bell-hangers,” contending that thereby they might get an exact quotation of the cost. He understood that the part of the report dealing with the matter was not from the hands of professional bell-hangers, and he considered that if the present statement went forth as advice from the Council it was misleading, and would do more harm than good.
Mr. Williams seconded the motion.
The Rev. G. F. Coleridge said he would like to move that it be referred to five or six firms, and that the Committee should then split the difference. (Laughter.)
The Rev. H. A. Cockey said that that portion of the report would be looked upon by the clergy as authoritative.
The Honorary Secretary said that the estimates were simply approximate. He did not prepare them himself; the task was undertaken by another member, but he believed the figures were from certain firms.
Mr. Snowdon said it was most important not to put into the estimates anything which was not correct. He wrote to everybody known in connection with the matter, but he did not receive a reply from everybody, because in a general way people did not like their prices passed round. Of course they might have made mistakes here and there, but they had gone on the rule, so far as had been possible, of trying to get practical opinions. Still he thought it would be a very good thing if they could still further check the estimates by getting from the firms what they thought the figures should be.
Mr. Newson asked if it would be in order to refer that part of the report back to the Committee for re-consideration of prices.
The President asked Mr. Taylor whether he thought there was such inaccuracy as would necessitate an alteration.
Mr. Taylor replied that he did not think there was any great variation, but there was an immense difference between hanging an ordinary peal of bells in an ordinary country church tower and in doing the same in a lofty cathedral. Some work would cost considerably more, and the prices of bells were constantly varying. He would be only too glad to see any list prepared and sent out by the Council, because thereby contractors might do better than they would in competition.
The President said it was absolutely impossible that the Council could pledge themselves to put out an authoritative statement, and he was sure they would only undertake to give some idea as to what the work might be done for.
Mr. Attree contended that even the approximate prices given were very far from the mark.
The Honorary Secretary pointed out that travelling expenses, &c., were not included in the estimates at all.
Mr. Attree, in expressing his willingness to alter his amendment so as to read “two or three firms” instead of “some firm,” said that it was simply with a view of getting the estimates as correct as possible that he had brought the matter forward at all. He thought they ought to be reconsidered, as he should be very sorry to see anything go forth from the Council which was inaccurate.
The motion, as amended, was carried.
The Rev. H. J. Elsee said there ought to be some notice in the report as to the provision of lavatory or washing accommodation for the ringers, and he also thought the best way of bringing the clergy and church officials into touch with the ringers would be for the former, if possible, to become ringers themselves.
The Rev. H. J. Elsee subsequently embodied these suggestions in two recommendations, but withdrew them on the suggestion of the President that to save time and avoid further discussion on the subject he should incorporate them in a letter to the Secretary.
The Dessemination of the Report.
The Honorary Secretary stated that, in regard to the question as to how the report should be disseminated, the idea that he had had was that the various associations should subscribe for as many copies as they thought they required for the area which they served. If they could get subscriptions from the various associations to the amount of 2,000 copies, he calculated that they could have them at a penny each, which he thought was very cheap. Of course the Council would be very much better pleased if they could get rid of more than that. He did not think that there was any more feasible plan unless the Council made a present of the copies and took the whole charge of the cost of printing and issuing; and that, he thought, the members would not wish to do. The report would be a valuable body of information and would do a great deal of good, and he thought associations generally would be willing to contribute the funds for the small amount required.
The Rev. F. E. Robinson moved- “That the various Associations be asked to take a number of copies in proportion to their numbers and their areas.”
Mr. Griffin seconded the resolution, which was carried.
In reply to Mr. Attree, the Honorary Secretary said that he had made arrangements with Messrs. Reeves, of “The Bell News,” to keep up the type of the report for a certain time, or as long as might be necessary for the Committee to embody the alterations which it thought fit. When the 2000 copies were printed, he should not have any further control over the type, and he did not think he could ask Messrs. Reeves to keep it up over the year. If the suggestions were to be reserved for the next meeting of the Council, the type would have to be set up twice instead of once. It was merely a question of economy.
The President explained that the majority of opinions in Committee would be decisive on any suggestion; it was impossible to wait another year.
Mr. Snow was afraid that the report would only go to the clergymen who had shown an interest in the work.
The Honorary Secretary: You may send it to whom you like.
The President thought the book would go to those clergy who in the opinion of the Associations, wanted a little stirring up.
The Rev. T. L. Papillon moved- “That the Standing Committee be empowered to pay the expenses of the report,” to which he also proposed that an index should be added.
Mr. Barnett seconded the motion.
The Honorary Secretary said he should address a formal letter to the secretaries of the different associations, asking them to let him know as soon as possible how many copies they would require.
The resolution was then carried, and it was agreed, at the request of the Honorary Secretary, that all suggestions for the consideration of the Committee should be sent in before the end of April.
The Validity of a Peal.
The President said that they would remember with regard to number 7 on the agenda that there was not time to decide at the last meeting what was to constitute a valid peal, except upon seven bells, and the other points were referred to the Standing Committee, who had produced the set of definitions which appeared upon the agenda paper. Of course there were gentlemen on the committee who were not altogether in accord with the majority. The position they were in was that they had finished with the seven bells so far as deciding if they might be rang without a covering bell. The Honorary Secretary had a suggestion to make in connection with that, however, and it would be taken into consideration later on.
Mr. Griffin moved- “That paragraph 1 be taken as a definition for 5 bells, viz.: on five bells with or without the addition of a covering bell, not less than 5040 changes rung without interval in true 6-scores, and in not less than three methods.”
Mr. Catchpole seconded.
The Rev. G. F. Coleridge moved the omission of the words- “with or.”
Mr. White seconded.
Mr. Attree asked if it was likely, in case the resolution was carried, that they should have the support of the ringing papers.
The President replied that he could not answer the question. They had no control over the editors.
The amendment was carried.
Mr. Attree proposed as an amendment that they should strike out the number of methods altogether.
The Rev. W. W. Baker seconded.
The Honorary Secretary thought it would be advisable to keep “three methods” in.
Mr. Attree said that if they left it in the terms of the definition they would be compelling beginners to waste a considerable amount of time in learning the three 5-bell methods.
The amendment was lost, and the paragraph, with the omission of the words “with or” was adopted.
On the consideration or paragraph 2, “on six bells not less than 5040 changes, rung without interval in true 720s, of which no two in the same method shall be called alike.” The Honorary Secretary moved its adoption.
Mr. Williams seconded.
Mr. Attree said he had been requested as a delegate from the Sussex County Association to move the omission of all the words after 720s. He did so, however, without any personal feeling on the subject.
Mr. Snowdon seconded the amendment.
The Honorary Secretary said that the question was whether the 720s should all be quite alike. Why should not each of six young men learn a different calling.
The amendment was lost.
The Rev. G. F. Coleridge moved as an amendment- “That the paragraph should read ‘on six bells, not less than 5040 changes, rung without interval in true 720s, of which no two shall be in the same method.’”
Mr. Hattersley seconded the amendment, which was lost.
The second paragraph was then adopted in its original form.
The third paragraph ran “on eight, ten, and twelve bells, not less than 5000 true changes, rung without interval” and Mr. Williams proposed its adoption.
Mr. Story seconded the motion.
The Honorary Secretary moved the addition of the words “in any one method.”
Mr. Griffin seconded the amendment, which was carried, and the paragraph with this addition was adopted.
The fourth paragraph ran “on nine and eleven bells, in each case with the addition of a covering bell, not less than 5000 true changes rung without interval,” and Mr. Copley moved its adoption.
Mr. W. D. Smith seconded the motion.
The Honorary Secretary the moved the following amendment: “To omit the entire clause, and instead thereof, to insert the following:- Peals of Triples, Caters and Cinques, in which respectively seven, nine, and eleven bells are engaged in producing the changes, must consist, in the case of Triples, of not less than 5040, and in the case of Caters and Cinques, of not less than 5000 true changes, rung without interval; but peals on these numbers of bells shall not be as performances accounted legitimate or worthy of record unless they are rung with a tenor bell covering each change.” The Honorary Secretary said that as one of those who voted with the majority on the question of the definition of a peal on seven bells, he was much surprised to find that afterwards the vote was interpreted as evidence of a desire on their part to see peals on seven bells rung without a covering bell, and that by their vote they were favouring such a performance. He could say for himself that he certainly intended nothing of the kind when he voted in the majority. The theoretical definition of the peal was to his mind one thing, and the practical performance of the peal was another. Whatever might have been the intention of the mover of the proposition last year, the form of the proposition itself, which was put before the Council, did not to his mind, touch the practical side of the question. They were not asked whether a performance on seven bells, was, or was not desirable: they were simply asked to say what constituted a peal on that number of bells, viz., seven. It seemed to him there was only one answer, and he gave his answer by voting with the majority that a “peal on seven bells consisted of 5040 changes truly rung in the particular method chosen, with or without a covering-bell.” It seemed to him that they had really required to have a definite, accurate, theoretical definition of what constituted a peal on any number of bells, but when that question had been settled that there still remained the question what kind of performance should be considered worthy of record. He could not deny, so far as he himself was concerned, that 5040 changes truly rung in any one method upon seven bells without a covering bell was a peal in the theoretical sense, but he might ask the further the question whether the performance was a desirable one, or one that ought to be recorded. He should say certainly not. The two questions were to his mind quite distinct. They were asked the first of the questions last year, and they answered it. The second question was not put to the Council, and it seemed to him quite open to them to give an answer without in any way reversing the decision arrived at last year. There was a very good reason for giving an answer to that question, for if they passed the present motion with regard to 9 and 11 bells, as it stood, without marking the distinction between the theoretical definition and a legitimate performance they would be taking up what seemed to be rather an untelligible position, or at any rate a position which would not be exactly understood by everybody without explanation. Mr. Heywood had in the course of conversation mentioned to him that 9 and 11 bells did not stand exactly on the same ground as 7 bells, but he thought they would be quite justified that day in giving an answer to the second question as to the practical definition of a desirable performance on seven bells.
Mr. Attree: Can we rescind anything done last year without notice?
Mr. Taylor seconded the amendment.
The President said that although it was no doubt true that many of them voted in favour of the motion last year on the understanding that the definition was only theoretical, yet it was undeniable that a certain number of the Council did make a great point of carrying the motion, and of having got the sanction of the Council to register performances such as these. Mr. Bulwer divided his speech into two parts, but such a subdivision was not altogether apparent at the last meeting. He thought they should, in carrying his amendment, be distinctly contravening the principle which was affirmed at the last meeting, and, as Chairman, he could not countenance what he considered to be a reversal, in the eyes of a section of the Council, of a motion that was passed at a former meeting, unless after definite previous notice. Thus that part of the amendment which applied to the 7-bell peal he thought could not be entertained by that meeting, and, if desired, must be brought forward by previous notice at another.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies said: It seemed to him that the meaning of the word “peal” was creeping on and on. He had looked upon the art and science of ringing as bound up together. If it met with the approval of the Council he did not think there would be any objection to a note being appended to the resolution on Triples, saying that the Council did not approve the ringing of such peals. In that case he would suggest that the motion relating to 9 and 11 should be passed as it was, and a rider appended to that on 7, which he thought would be in their power.
The Honorary Secretary said that would meet his views exactly, and he would withdraw his amendment.
The Rev. H. A. Cockey said that stress had been laid on the theoretical definition of a peal on 7 bells, and surely it would be a theoretical definition on 9 and 11 bells. In that case it would be lawful to ring 9 or 11 bells without a covering bell.
The President said it was clear that what they were then considering was the performance of a peal, and not the theory. The only excuse for 7-bell peals was the want of the 8th man. A band meeting for Caters or Cinques could always ring Triples or Caters if they met short.
The Honorary Secretary proposed the addition of the words “in any one method” to the paragraph.
Mr. Griffin seconded the amendment, which was carried.
The original paragraph, with the addition, was then put to the meeting and adopted.
The President said with regard to the 7 bell original motion, he would like to ask whether they thought it well to move any rider. It would be more in accordance with propriety to defer this till the next meeting.
Mr. Attree moved “That the Council do not entertain the question of a rider upon the 7 bells clause.”
The Rev. F. E. Robinson seconded the motion, which was carried.
The President moved a verbal amendment to the 7-bell clause, in no way changing the sense, to bring this into accord with the rest of the definitions. This was seconded and carried.
The Rev. T. L. Papillon moved the adoption of the resolutions as altered en bloc, which was carried unanimously.
A Suggested Bibliography.
The next subject on the paper was- “That is expedient to publish a bibliography or catalogue of books relating to bells and ringing, and that a Committee be instructed to confer and report as to how this can best be done.” The President stated that he had received a telegram from Mr. Strange saying that he was unable to attend, and that if there was no proposer for his resolution, he (Mr. Strange) would like it deferred till the next meeting. The President further said that Mr. Ellacombe had published, as they knew, a list of 213 works, relating to bellringing, of which over 90 were English. Of those a great number were archæological, and did not relate to technical change-ringing. It was suggested that it might be a useful supplement if the work were brought up to date, and perhaps some gentleman would like to move Mr. Strange’s motion for him. He thought it would be valuable to have a bibliography of the Exercise up to date. It could easily be done by a Committee with Mr. Ellacombe’s list as a basis.
Mr. Snowdon moved the motion of Mr. Strange, which Mr. Lucas seconded, and the meeting adopted.
Mr. Snowdon suggested that an instruction should be given to the Committee to chronicle the fact that Mr. Ellacombe drew up the catalogue.
The President had no doubt that Mr. Strange would undertake the work if the matter were referred to the Standing Committee, of which he was a member.
Both the proposer and seconder of the motion agreed to have their motion amended by the substitution of the words, “the Standing Committee” for a “Committee,” and the motion as amended was approved.
Classifications of Compositions.
The Rev. H. A. Cockey moved- “That a Committee be appointed to receive and classify all compositions of 5000 changes and upwards, and to issue an annual report, in which all peals composed during the previous 12 months shall be published.” He would like to suggest that the number of the Committee should be five. They might get help from the Editor of “The Bell News,” and he thought it would be well if they could be chosen from different districts of the country. Besides that, they might if possible, bye and bye extend their work by collecting past compositions and bringing them all up to date. He would also suggest that they should have power to add to the number of the Committee if they found it necessary.
Mr. Phillott seconded.
The Honorary Secretary said he hardly thought the suggester of the scheme could have any idea of the amount of labour which would be involved in the matter. He looked upon the proposal with something like dismay (laughter). Besides there was the further question, how were the peals to be made public? Were they going to make a separate publication, or were they going to ask the Editor of “The Bell News” to publish them in detail? It would be absolutely necessary first of all that they should get a complete collection of all peals by all composers up to date before they started upon their labours. (Hear hear.)
Mr. Copley spoke of the difficulty of carrying out such a scheme as that, but at the same time he did think that it was worth considering. He moved, “that the Standing Committee be instructed to consider the matter.”
Mr. Attree said it would be very valuable to have such a collection, and even if they could only get after some years work a collection of what might be called absolutely true peals it would be a great benefit to the Exercise.
Mr. Howard seconded the amendment.
The Rev. H. A. Cockey said that his object in proposing that a Committee should be appointed was his reluctance to burden the Standing Committee with more work than it had already.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies took it that the Standing Committee should draw up a scheme.
The President said that if such a large body as the Standing Committee had this question referred to them it would need frequent meetings for discussion, and if they had to meet oftener it would be very expensive. He thought that if Mr. Cockey would suggest three names of gentlemen who would undertake to propound a scheme and to carry it out that the Council might appoint them a Committee to deal with the matter.
Mr. Copley expressed his willingness to alter “Standing Committee” to “a Committee.”
The Rev. H. A. Cockey nominated the Rev. C. D. P. Davies, and Messrs. J. W. Washbrook and C. H. Hattersley; and Mr. Copley having altered his resolution to read “that a Committee of these three gentlemen be instructed to consider the matter” the amendment was carried.
The Legitimacy of Compositions.
The last motion on the paper was- “That no composition shall be deemed legitimate in which any call other than the one bob proper to the method is made use of, excepting only the one proper single in methods not of the Treble Bob class.” The President said that Mr. Dains was to have been there to have proposed the motion, but perhaps the Honorary Secretary would in his absence be ready to do it for him. Possibly they might think it would be worth while to have the motion brought before them and postponed for further discussion. Thus they might entertain it so far as to let it come upon the minutes. The Honorary Secretary undertook to move the resolution saying that its object was that they should put what pressure they could upon composers so that in future when they were composing peals they should not manufacture special calls to meet special emergencies, but that they should restrict themselves to the common bob and common single proper to the methods with which they were dealing. The second argument was that calls manufactured for an occasion, or those which were alien to the method, were not indispensable from the composer’s point of view. He did not think it was a desirable thing that composition should be made easier, and he thought the difficulty they had to face in composition should be faced manfully, and that they should not try to overcome by escaping it.
Mr. Newson seconded the motion.
The Rev. C. D. Davies, while heartily approving of the motion, said the point he desired to bring forward, was: that in some methods it was not clear what was the proper single. He thought it would be necessary in questions of that sort, to lay down what really was a proper single in the method under consideration. As yet they had no single which was universally recognised for Union Triples.
Mr. Snowdon said they ought to encourage a high aim, and the question was, should they not have a standard of excellence?
The Rev. C. D. Davies moved: “That the question as to deciding what is the proper call or calls in each method, be refered to the Committee of three, which has already been named, to deal with the question of compositions.”
Mr. Catchpole seconded the amendment, which was carried.
Mr. Attree moved: “that the Secretary be instructed to write to the Editors of the ringing newspapers, and forward a copy of the resolutions arrived at by the Council, in reference to the definition of peals, asking them only to publish those peals which are rung in conformity with those resolutions.” Mr. Washbrook seconded the motion, which was agreed to.
The President said he should like to say that Mr. Attree’s analysis was one of the most valuable works done for the Exercise. They had been also very glad to see a new plan for marking the value of peals. Could he not undertake to record performances under the title of one association only in cases where two or more were mentioned?
Mr. Attree said he had thought it best that he should take only the association first named in publication, and mark the peal to them. He would give notice in “The Bell News” to this effect.
The President said it was becoming a very interesting analysis, and one whereby at the end of the year they wished to see who had attained the highest place, and a fair comparison was impossible if any one peal was credited to more than one association.
Mr. Attree gave notice that at the next meeting he would call attention to the very unsatisfactory way in which members were elected to associations previous to starting for a peal, and would move one or more resolutions thereon.
Mr. Attree said he thought the Standing Committee ought to do more work in the future than they had done in the past. They ought to meet oftener.
The President said he quite agreed with what Mr. Attree had said with regard to the Standing Committee, but he should like to remind the Council that they had to bear in mind the question of expense, and that many members of the Council could not afford to attend oftener. He quite thought they might arrange conveniently to meet twice in the year, once in the middle of the year, and once before the annual meeting. They had also elaborated a system by which they could carry out a great deal by post, without putting the members to too much expense. Therefore if they could conduct their work in that way through the post, he thought the Council would agree with him that they were justified in doing so as far as possible (hear). He must remind Mr. Attree that not having attended the Committee meeting this morning he (Mr. Attree) was hardly in a position to criticise the amount of work which had been done, which was considerable (hear).
The President then intimated that with regard to the place of meeting for next year the Standing Committee had been considering the respective claims of Oxford and Reading - Cambridge they had left for some future time. Bristol and Leicester had been suggested, but there was nothing on one side of the former, while the latter, though a good centre, was rather too much in the same district as Birmingham to be suitable for next year.
Mr. Phillott proposed Oxford as the place of meeting.
Mr. Taylor seconded the motion.
Mr. Snowdon proposed Leeds.
Mr. Hattersley seconded.
On the vote being taken as between Oxford and Leeds 27 voted for the former place and 13 for the latter. Oxford was therefore selected, and it was agreed to meet on Easter Tuesday, 1893, as heretofore, and at the usual time.
The President said they were bound by the rules to see that all decisions in regard to matters affecting the Exercise at large were carried by majority of not less than two to one. He had carefully watched the proceedings and was sure that such had been the case, but he thought it would place the matter beyond doubt if in the shape of a motion, he asked them to reaffirm collectively the resolutions that they had passed that day. Any gentleman who did not agree with any of the resolutions could vote against the motion.
The motion was carried unanimously.
The Rev. T. L. Papillon moved a vote of thanks to the President, which was seconded by the Rev. F. E. Robinson, and carried amid applause.
The President, in returning thanks, said he had been much gratified that so many gentlemen had come from so far to attend the meeting of the Council. He hoped that in future days they might expect a still larger attendance as the interest in the proceedings of the Council deepened. He felt satisfied that when they reviewed the work of the meeting they would feel that it had been full of value, and would be productive of real and lasting good to the Exercise. (Applause.)
This concluded the business of the meeting, which had occupied three hours-and-a-half. Among the strangers present were many members of the St. Martin’s Guild.
The members and their friends then lunched together, and the majority afterwards adjourned to S. Martin’s tower, where touches of Stedman Cinques, &c., were rung.
The Members of the Council desire to return their best thanks to the S. Martin’s Guild for the hearty welcome accorded them, and especially to the Honorary Secretary (Mr. W. H. Godden) for the excellent arrangements made for their accommodation and entertainment.
The official minutes, giving the various resolutions in concise form, will appear next week, together with a tabulated list of the attendance of members.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, April 30, 1892, pages 49 to 54