CENTRAL COUNCIL OF CHURCH BELL RINGERS.
The Annual Meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was held at the Clarendon hotel, Oxford, on Tuesday, April 4th, the President, A. Percival Heywood, Esq., J.P., in the chair. The following representatives attended:- Edward F. Strange, Surrey Association; J. William Washbrook, Oxford Guild; H. Dains, Royal Cumberlands; G. Attree, Sussex County Association; Rev. C. D. P. Davies, Sussex County Association; F. W. J. Rees, Winchester Diocesan Guild; C. H. Hattersley, Yorkshire Association; Rev. H. Earle Bulwer, Norwich Diocesan Association; Arthur B. Carpenter, Surrey Association; N. J. Pitstow, Essex Association; Rev. W. W. C. Baker, Bedfordshire Association; Charles Tyler, Sussex Association; H. A. Heywood, Chester Diocesan Guild; William Wakley, Hon. Member; Rev. T. L. Papillon, Essex Association; W. L. Catchpole, Norwich Association; W. D. Smith, Ancient Society of College Youths; H. R. Newton, St. James’ Society, London; G. Williams, Winchester Diocesan Guild; Henry Bastable, St. Martin’s Guild, Birmingham; Samuel Reeves, Society for the Archdeaconry of Stafford; R. S. Story, Durham Diocesan Association; Rev. H. J. Elsee, Lancashire Association; W. Walmsley, Chester Diocesan Guild; E. E. Richards, Kent County Association; G. B. Lucas, Middlesex Association; G. Walker, Birmingham Amalgamated Association; Henry White, Winchester Diocesan Guild; A. H. Cocks, Oxford Diocesan Guild; Rev. F. E. Robinson, Oxford Diocesan Guild; Rev. G. F. Coleridge, Oxford Diocesan Guild; Rev. H. A. Cockey, Gloucester and Bristol Association; Rev. W. S. Willett, Devonshire Guild; Stephen Cooper, Midland Counties’ Association; F. E. Ward, Gloucester and Bristol Association; G. H. Phillott, Gloucester and Bristol Association; Charles Hounslow, Hon. Member; Joseph Griffin, Midland Counties’ Association; John W. Taylor, jun., Midland Counties’ Association; G. Newson, Royal Cumberland Society. The Rev. Canon Erskine Clarke was also present.
The Rev. H. Earle Bulwer (Hon. Sec.), said he had received the following letters from gentlemen who were unable to be present: Dr. Raven, Mr. Snowdon, Captain Acland-Troyte, Mr. Cartwright, and the Rev. J. U. Todd.
After the minutes of the last meeting had been read and confirmed,
The Chairman said it had not been his custom at their Annual Meeting to take up much of their time with remarks from the Chair. He had always thought his position was rather to expedite business than to make speeches on matters with which they were fully as conversant as himself. But as this was the last meeting of the first Council - unless there were an emergency meeting - he thought it was fitting he should for a few moments draw attention to what in his opinion they might consider the success of the movement. During the three years the Council had existed, first as a constructive Committee, and then as a Council proper, there had been a cordiality and unanimity which he thought went far to prove that there was a very large body of ringers throughout the country who had set their hearts upon doing all they could to bring the various sections of ringers into accord with one another. He felt that every member who had attended a meeting of the Council, would not hesitate to say the work had been valuable in many ways (hear, hear). If for no other reason than that they had issued such a report as that which went out from the Council last year on the management of belfries, it would be well worth the Council existing. For in whatever part of the country he had been during the last twelve months, he had heard of this report from almost everybody who had to do with bells, either people who had read it or who wanted to read it, and therefore he thought the Council must congratulate themselves on having done a really good work at all events in this one particular (applause). He would not specify the various other directions in which their discussions had taken effect, but he would just say this, that it seemed to him, now the Council was fairly established on a firm foundation, the experiment had proved to have met a real want, and they might, he thought, look forward to the new election at the end of the present year with hopefulness, and with the satisfaction that a new Council would come to its work with the confidence of the Exercise generally, by reason of the quiet, unassuming, but practical way in which the present Council had carried out its work (applause). They had not been too forward in taking things into their own hands, nor remiss in using straightforward language when it was needed, and he thought on the whole the verdict of the change-ringers of the country would not be other than one of satisfaction at the institution of this Council (applause). He would like in conclusion to point out that there were one or two little difficulties in regard to the carrying on of the work of the Council during the present year, which he would have occasion to draw attention to during the meeting. It would be necessary for the various Committees of the Council to prosecute their work during this year as they had done in the past two years, so that they might not have any lapse during the third year which intervened between the old and the new Councils. He would not like to sit down without drawing their attention to the fact that on his left hand sat one well known to many of them; he meant Canon Erskine Clarke (applause) - who he was sure could not but look on this meeting as one that had come indirectly from action of his own. Many of them would remember the time when the records of bell-ringing and ringers were recorded in Bell’s Life, and he thought it would be in the recollection of some that Canon Clarke was the first to lift the record of the performances of bell-ringers from the sporting newspapers and put them into the columns of Church Bells, an essentially Church paper. He thought that in having the honour of his presence at this the concluding meeting of their first Council, they must consider themselves fortunate in having the support of one who had as much knowledge of what ringers really required as any man in the country (applause).
The Rev. Canon Clarke thanked them very much for the kind reception they had given to his name. He felt grateful in looking back on his somewhat prolonged life that in God’s providence this had been one of the things he had been led - he must candidly confess somewhat by accident - to do for the Church, to have been the means of ringers being looked upon in a very different way from what they were in the times to which Mr. Heywood had referred when he first started Church Bells. He was then associated with men who had attained to much prominence in the Church, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Wakefield, and others, who then occupied what was called a moderate position, and held what was known as the middle platform in the Church. By those good men and others he was led to start a paper to support the views of the middle platform. In thinking of various names they hit on the name of Church Bells, but he was bound to admit they had not the ringing science in their mind when they choose the title. They were looking for what they thought would be a popular name. Amongst those who assisted was Mr. Ellacombe, who undertook to bring this particular side of churchmanship into the paper, and for a great many years - as long as he lived almost - conducted the particular column which had this advantage, that it brought their science and the knowledge of their work and position before the public and persons who otherwise would not have heard of it. He was delighted that out of this imperfect column had grown their own paper, which he trusted would be an ever-increasing organ. The body of ringers had become so great that they might very well have a paper devoted to their own science; still they kept a certain portion of Church Bells for that particular purpose. “The Bell News” had a large survey, and as he candidly told them Church Bells was not in the first place for ringers; that was somewhat the accident of its existence. He heartily hoped their organ would flourish and prosper. From the time - 1871 - when he started Church Bells there had been a wonderful growth in the interest taken in ringing, and he was sure there was ample room for a vigorous sustentation of their own special organ. He was delighted to be present and to meet those who were doing that which he felt to be a thoroughly good work. He wished them every success (applause).
The Honorary Secretary read the statement of accounts. He said they began the year with a balance of £17 8s. 6d. During the past year - and up to the present time - the amount received in subscriptions had been £8 12s. 6d. There was also a profit on the sale of the report on the preservation of bells amounting to £9 7s. 6½. The working expenses had amounted to £1 1s. 5d., and there was now a balance, partly in the bank and partly in hand, of £34 7s. 1½d. (applause). These accounts had been submitted to the standing committee, and passed by them.
The accounts were confirmed.
The Honorary Secretary said there were one or two Societies whose subscriptions had not been paid, and if there were any representatives of those Societies present he would be glad to receive their half-crowns.
The Chairman said with regard to the accounts it appeared they had a considerable balance in hand. They had been exceedingly careful as a young Society in the administration of their funds, not knowing what demands might be made upon them. At any time it might be desirable for the Standing Committee or other committees to be called together, which would mean a considerable outlay. He thought they would agree considerable economy had been practised (hear, hear). It was entirely due to the suggestion of the Honorary Secretary that they had carried out a good deal of the business through the post, and if some other people would adopt the same plan they would economise a vast amount of public time (hear, hear).
The Chairman said the next business was to receive and consider a further report from the Committee appointed to obtain adequate recognition of the Exercise at the hands of the Church Congress. That Committee consisted of the Secretary, the Rev. Canon Wigram, Rev. T. L. Papillon, and himself. About three months ago he was at Birmingham, and there he met the Bishop of Coventry, the Rector of St. Philip’s, Birmingham. He was speaking to him about the forthcoming Church Congress, and he understood from him - but it appeared he was mistaken - that the Bishop was a member of the Subjects Committee. He then asked the Bishop whether he would do his best - as he was greatly interested in change-ringing - to obtain the acceptance of the subject for the ensuing Birmingham Congress. The Bishop said he would do what he could. He consequently sent him a copy of the letter which they sent to the Folkestone Subjects Committee last year. That was re-signed by each member of the Committee. He heard no more of the matter until he wrote to the Bishop about a week ago, reminding him that he (the chairman) would be obliged to present some statement of the work of this Committee to the Council, and he would be obliged if the Bishop would kindly say what had been done in regard to their letter. The Bishop replied as follows:-
St. Philip’s Rectory, Birmingham.
March 27, 1893.
My dear Sir,- I sent in to the Congress Subjects Committee the subject of “Church Bell Ringers,” but I am afraid that it has been excluded for want of room, as it does not appear in the rough draft of subjects proposed by the Committee, though not finally settled. I am afraid, however, that there is no chance of its insertion. It would be a very interesting and useful subject, but out of 250 suggested subjects only twelve to fifteen can be taken in the time allotted to the Congress.
Very truly yours,
H. B. Coventry.
He thought it would be within their recollection that at the last meeting he stated that in his opinion there was little chance of their subject being taken at Birmingham, because it was the first time the Congress had been held there. It was a central place, and consequently would be largely attended, and with a large number or subjects the chances were against them. He thought the wisest course would be to re-appoint the Committee and they would go on again and do their best next year. He thought in the long run, with importunity and perseverance, they would obtain what they required (hear, hear).
The Rev. Canon Clarke suggested that they might have a “side show” of their own. They could take a hall and have a meeting of their own, without waiting for Congress to put it in their programme.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies said they did that one year; he thought it was in 1884.
The Chairman remarked that they were very much obliged to Canon Clarke for his suggestion.
The Committee was then re-appointed, on the motion of the Rev. C. D. P. Davies, seconded by the Rev. G. F. Coleridge.
The Chairman said the next business was to receive and consider the report of the standing committee on the preparation and publication of a Bibliography or Catalogue of works relating to Bells and Ringing. At the last meeting Mr. Strange, who had placed a motion on the paper in regard to this subject, was unable to be present, and in his absence his motion was put to the meeting, and the subject was referred to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee of course handed over the subject to Mr. Strange, and as he was present he would no doubt read the report he had prepared, which he had brought before the Standing Committee just previous to the present meeting.
Mr. Strange then read an interim report, in which he set forth the lines on which he proposed to compile a bibliography of works upon bells - omitting the poetical ones.
On the motion of Mr. Lucas, seconded by the Rev. F. E. Robinson, the report was adopted.
The Chairman said he did not know whether they could appoint Mr. Strange a committee by himself, but he felt sure they would be safe in leaving the matter in his hands and in asking him to report to the next meeting of the Council (applause). He thought the work would be very valuable, and it was probably such as one person could do better than a number of persons. Mr. Strange had the requisite knowledge, and therefore he thought the Council had better leave the matter in his hands, asking him to report before the next meeting.
Mr. Griffin proposed, and Mr. Rees seconded, that Mr. Strange should be appointed for this purpose, and the proposition was unanimously agreed to.
In reply to a question,
Mr. Strange said it was almost impossible to give more than a rough estimate of the price of the book. He did not know how much matter he would be able to get together.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, April 15, 1893, pages 653 to 654
The Chairman said the next business was to receive and consider the report of the Committee appointed: (a) to draw up a scheme for the classification of compositions of 5000 changes and upwards; and (b) to pronounce as to the call or calls to be deemed proper to each method. He thought before calling on Mr. Davies, as the convener of the Committee, to go into this matter, he ought to say that it was owing to his (the Chairman’s) interference, that the classification of bells that was advertised to commence in “The Bell News” and Church Bells was not continued. He had written to Mr. Davies that although it appeared by the resolution that was carried at the last meeting that his Committee was requested to decide on the proper call or calls to be recommended in each method, as he (the Chairman) read the part relating to classification, the Committee was going rather beyond the duty which was allotted to it by the Council, and he thought it would be wiser if they confined themselves to a definite report on legitimate calls, and to suggesting the course that would best be followed in preparing a classification of peals. If in the opinion of the Council he had acted too rigidly in checking the work of the Committee, he begged to express his regret; but as their Chairman, he held that it was his duty to interfere when he considered a Committee were going beyond the absolute letter of that which was entrusted to them by the Council (applause). He must thank Mr. Davies and his Committee for the most kind way in which they accepted his interference.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies said with respect to what the President had just said as to the communication which he sent, he would say they were only too glad to be guided when they were going beyond their powers. He would express his thanks to Mr. Heywood for having pointed it out and say they gladly accepted his advice. With regard to the recommendation as to calls, the report was printed, and in the hands of members of the Council. It ran as follows:-
RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO CALLS.
The various methods naturally group themselves under four heads: (i.) Grandsire, and its derivative Union; (ii.) Plain Bob, and all its derivatives, viz.: those even-bell methods in which the treble pursues a plain hunt; (iii.) the Treble Bob and Surprise methods, in which the treble has a continuous dodging hunt; (iv.) those methods, whether for odd or even-bell ringing, in which the treble works as the other bells.
In groups i., ii. and iv. two kinds of calls, bobs and singles, have always been used; but in group iii., bobs only. The object of a call is to introduce a fresh coursing order, without disturbing the regular work of more bells than is necessary. The least number that can be thus altered without diminishing the number of changing pairs in any of the rows is three. Hence a bob should not, unless forced to do so by the nature of the method, alter the coursing order of more than three bells. Singles which put the bells out of course can nearly always accomplish their object by a simple interchange between the two bells of a pair, and should never interfere with the work of a greater number unless compelled to do so by the exigencies of the method.
There is only one plain method, Grandsire (Kent and Oxford Treble Bob labour under a like disadvantage) which of necessity causes a bob to alter the work of more than three, and a single that of more than two bells. This difficulty is owing to the fact that it is requisite to remove a bell from the hunt, which can be done only by the making of the extra 3rds place, causing the throwing forward of the work of all bells above 3rds. The common Grandsire bob and single are therefore a necessity, and being the recognised calls in this method, should be the only calls employed, so far as is possible. Acting on this principle nothing but the ordinary bob and single should ever be found in compositions on more than seven bells. But in Triples, where to obtain a peal the whole extent must be produced, composition is necessarily limited. On this account it has been customary to relax the ordinary rule, and to introduce special calls.
If this is done your Committee strongly recommend that in any one composition never more than one species of call should be used in addition to the ordinary bob; that is to say, if some call other than the usual Grandsire single be employed, then the Grandsire single should be for the time laid aside. Nor should such call used in lieu of the ordinary single be suffered to occur more often than is absolutely necessary. It will be found that for calls which do not stop the changing of any pairs of bells, e.g. a 5th’s place bob, this necessity will not arise more than once in each part; and in the case of a call, not being a common single, which suspends the flow of continuous triple changes, not more than twice in the whole peal.
If your committee may presume to make any selection of these extraneous calls they would recommend the adoption of a 5ths place bob (a plain lead of Union Triples), when the whole composition is to be produced in uninterrupted triples; and that of Holt’s single (in all cases restricted to the two sets of rows:-
when singles other than the common Grandsire single are required.
From the foregoing remarks may be gathered a general principle on which your Committee would venture to insist with the greatest earnestness in the hope that it may be adopted as an invariable rule in all composition, viz., that in one and the same peal there should never be more than two kinds of calls - the bob common to the method, and one other kind of call if required.
Coming now to Union, the derivative of Grandsire, we find an important difference. This method, though closely resembling its parent method, is, unlike the latter, perfectly conformable to the general rule in the nature of its calls. Having made mention of a “general rule” it seems fitting, even at the risk of appearing to digress, to insert here a brief definition of what is meant by this “general rule.”
A reason was given for endeavouring to limit the action of a bob to three bells, and that of a single to two. In the case of a bob this is accomplished by causing a place to be made two steps distant, either behind or before, that at which a place would be made by the rule of the method. Take one or two instances.
At a plain lead in Plain Bob 2nds place is made. For a bob 4ths is made, i.e. two steps distant from and behind 2nds place. In Double London Court Major the bob is made by causing a bell to lie still in 8ths instead of in 6ths, i.e. two steps distant from and behind 6ths, where the place is made in a plain lead. Double Norwich and Stedman conform equally well to the rule, but in their case the place is made two steps before that at which it would have occurred had there been no bob. All such bobs cause bells that were previously coursing in the order A, B, C, to take either the order B, C, A, or C, A, B, all the other bells remaining undisturbed.
In all methods conforming in the matter of bobs to this general rule, the mode of making the single is most simple. Both the plain lead place and the bob place are made, the bell between them being of course forced to do likewise; so that compared with a plain lead, the work of only two bells is altered, and even one of these does bob work. This is briefly expressed by saying that the coursing order A, B, C becomes one of the three following: A, C, B; C, B, A; B, A, C; in which will be seen that always one of the three bells remains unaffected.
Returning now to Union: A bob is made by simply causing a bell to lie still in 5ths instead of in 3rds, in perfect accordance with the general rule explained above. All reasoning from analogy would lead to the supposition that the single was made by places in both 3rds and 5ths, and of course in 4ths. But unfortunately the Clavis published a peal of Union Triples with fourteen singles in which the bells in 2nds and 3rds lie still at a plain lead; and Shipway copied this peal into his book. There may have been some excuse for this single in those days when the diffusion of knowledge was slow, and the science of ringing comparatively in its infancy. But to perpetuate such a totally useless anomaly in the present seems to your Committee unpardonable; and, as the very peal in question can be re-arranged without even altering a single course-end in a few moments by the merest tyro in composition, it is strongly recommended that the singles in this method should conform to the only natural and scientific rule, being made thus:-
Holt’s peal of Union Triples is, like all his compositions, of such beautiful symmetry and ingenuity as to completely justify the special singles which he employs. Be it, too, carefully noted that here as always he uses two, and two only, in marked contrast to the unrestrained scattering of special calls sometimes found in modern compositions.
For the composition of peals of continuous Triples in this method we beg leave to recommend the use of plain leads of Grandsire Triples, and that such should not exceed one in each part of the peal.
Having now briefly explained their views as to the calls advisable in the methods falling under group i., your Committee feel that the calls in the methods comprised in the other three groups demand but few remarks. In groups ii. and iii., putting aside Minor, with which the present Report does not concern itself, there is no necessity for the adoption of any unusual form of call, as peals, even long ones, on eight bells and upwards can always be composed by means of the ordinary and regular calls of the method. Hence the question of special calls in the Plain Bob and Treble Bob systems and their various derivatives has never practically arisen; indeed the use of such would have been a very gratuitous violation of all law and order. Your Committee will therefore content themselves with the one observation, that in their opinion the position of a special call is no excuse for its occurrence. A peal is a “round block,” and the employment of a special call on starting into changes or on coming round is not a whit better than would have been its employment anywhere in the course of the peal. From this it will be seen that the causing of the bells to “go off” otherwise than by the rule of the method, or by any bells lying still on going off, or the use of a special call to bring the bells home, should all be regarded as instances of unlawful manipulation.
Under the head of group iv. there are but few methods, the chief being of course Stedman, the prince of all. In the pre-Thurstansian peals of Triples special singles were employed, or a multiplicity of ordinary singles. But with the production of Thurstans’ masterpiece, and the capability which it is now shown to possess of being moulded into variations manifold, some more, some less like the original form, the necessity for special singles or for more than two in the peal, has ceased, and their revival is to be deprecated. The bobs and singles in Stedman are perfectly regular and in conformity with the general rule. This remark also applies to the methods of Duffield and Forward. The members of this group possess a great advantage in that they afford the composer more than one alternative in the manner of starting into changes and returning into rounds. For instance, in Stedman, no violence whatever is done to the method if the 1st, 3rd or 5th row of either a slow or a quick six be taken as the starting change; and whereas, if the first row in either six be chosen, it may be in the form of either a plain or bob six, there are no fewer than eight possible modes of commencing the composition. It will thus be seen that the constituents of this group are endowed with great pliancy in this respect, without the slightest infraction of the principle laid down in the concluding sentences of the preceding paragraph. It should however be stated in conclusion that though eight forms of starting are logically allowable, they are by no means recommended. If it is required to commence with a quick six, then to avoid unnecessary up-rooting of old custom it seems fitting that the changes should begin at the fifth row in the quick six, but if it is desired to commence with a slow six, your Committee are of opinion that the bells should start into changes at the beginning of the six, which may be either a plain or bob six.
Charles D. P. Davies.|
C. H. Hattersley.
J. W. Washbrook.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies moved the adoption of the report.
Mr. C. H. Hattersley, in seconding the report, remarked that they were unanimous the calls should be the usual bob and single in each method, and that no other kind of call should be allowed.
Mr. Walker said with regard to the single in Union Triples, he thought the one recommended by the Committee was deviating from the method altogether.
Dr. A. B. Carpenter said it was a very excellent report, but in reading through it he did not see that the Committee had made any arrangement for considering Oxford Bob Triples and such methods as that. He would also like to say that it seemed to him very often useful in Stedman Caters to start with the third change of the six, so as to begin 3, 1, 2. They thus had the advantage of the treble in its natural position.
Mr. Attree asked if it was proposed that the suggestion should be compulsory, or was it suggested that these were the best calls, leaving it open to ringers to have other calls if they wished.
The Chairman replied that the Council were in the same position as the Archbishop of Canterbury; he might direct the clergy to do certain things, but they did not always do them (laughter). The Council gave carefully considered suggestions which they put before ringers as a body. If they chose to adopt them, well and good; if they chose to disregard them the Council could do no more.
Mr. Catchpole enquired whether there was any objection to two bells lying still at the go-off in Stedman Cinques. He himself was in favour of the practice.
Mr. Hattersley: The only thing we can say against it is that it is not the method. We cannot countenance two bells lying still. We must adhere strictly to the method.
Mr. Davies said he would take the points that had been discussed in order. First of all with regard to the single and Union Triples. He really thought that was answered in the words of the report. That single as far as they knew the history of it - and as far as one could judge - was hobbled upon. They found the bob in Union Triples happened to be the same as the Grandsire bob, and therefore the man who composed the peal, whoever he was, without scientifically looking into the question, said to himself that the singles must be the same too. If they looked at the singles, they were not the common Grandsire single at all. He thought that formed as it were a kind of two-fold answer. If they wanted to form a single in Union Triples, they should form it according to the principles on which singles were formed in other methods, and that was a very simple principle to go by. With regard to Oxford Bob Triples, he had omitted to look into the matter, but as to Bob Triples and methods of that sort, he did not know what the feeling of the Council in general was, but he himself never liked to ring even-bell methods on an odd number of bells or the contrary. In reference to bells lying still at the go-off in Stedman Cinques, they wanted, as Mr. Hattersley had said, to make every method adhere to its proper rule, and there was no necessity for two bells to lie still.
Mr. Strange did not think they should ignore the method of Bob Triples.
Mr. Davies said they had not condemned Bob Triples, but simply they were not mentioned. It had been thought the best thing was to leave them out, and not encourage them at all.
Mr. Hattersley said Mr. Davies had expressed his opinion with regard to bells lying still at the going-off in Stedman Cinques.
The Hon. Secretary said he supposed the real effect of the report was that they would give a complete collection of peals, and the Committee or other body who took the work in hand would have regard to the recommendations of this report in order to guide them in their choice as to what peals to include and what to reject, and if they found peals composed which violated the recommendations approved by the Council, they need not include them in the collection. Of course nothing the Council could do could prevent peals being composed in which strange calls were used, or in which the method was departed from, and nothing the Council could do could prevent ringers ringing such peals, but it would be in the power of the Council to prevent such compositions being in the collection issued with their sanction.
Mr. Walker asked if the report was accepted would the Council ignore peals of Union Triples composed with Grandsire singles?
The Hon. Secretary: That would depend on whether the Council adopt the conclusions of the Committee.
The Chairman said he should like with the permission of the Council to hear what Mr. John Carter had to say on this point.
Mr. Carter said he did not like the new suggestion at all. It would not work well in Union Caters and Cinques.
Mr. Davies submitted that the recommendation of the Committee was the only recommendation that would place Union on a real scientific basis.
The Chairman said the report was exceedingly valuable. What they had to bear in mind was that what they wanted to do was to reduce the laws of ringing to order, to put in plain words what were legitimate calls and legitimate treatment of methods, that there might be a standard of reference for future composers. They did not want to lay any unnecessary embargoes on the construction various composers might put on the rules of a method. He thought it would be wise if they left, for instance, the question of the go off in Stedman entirely alone, because Stedman admitted of the method being started at any part of a six without contravening its rules. He advised the Council to endorse this report in so far as it steadfastly laid down strict adherence to the rules of every method of which it treated. He thought it would be wise for the Committee to take again into consideration the question of the Union Single, and also the method of Oxford Bob, for the latter seemed to have been omitted from their consideration, and that would probably make the report complete, and as a completed report he would suggest that it be presented to the next Council.
The Chairman said he thought the feeling of the Council was that they would be better satisfied if no restriction was placed on the go-off in Stedman, provided there was no departure from the strict rule of the method.
The report was referred back to the Committee for revision, and ordered to be presented at the next meeting of the Council.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, April 22, 1893, pages 665 to 666
The Chairman said he would now call on Mr. Davies for the second part of his motion.
Mr. Davies said the Council had the printed recommendations before them, and the part he had now to deal with was written. He thought it better to put it in the form of a paper than a speech.
The lines on which your Committee venture to think that a collection of peals can be best formed is indicated with tolerable clearness by the terms of the notice which appeared a few weeks back in the ringing papers. The object of the present paper is therefore to explain as briefly as possible the reasons which led to the adoption of the particular views virtually implied in the notice. Perhaps the best way to clear the ground will be to state what seem to be the inherent difficulties or disadvantages of what broadly speaking seems the only alternative scheme. And here we at once avail ourselves of the kind permission of the Hon. Sec. of the Council to make what use we please of what he has said. In one of his letters he speaks of “the task of collecting, examining and sorting the hundreds of compositions of all sorts which are floating about.” We have quoted this phrase as hitting off exactly the vision of horrors to be most carefully avoided. From the connection in which this occurs it would be unfair to interpret it as implying that this is what he recommends. But he certainly seems to regard it as a phase through which the work would have to pass; and in a later communication he enlarges on the scheme, with the careful and reiterated proviso that it would take time. Well, time is indefinite, and comparative in its application. It is our firm conviction that no Committee of moderate dimensions could be found to undertake such a task - at all events your present Committee would be sorry to be members of it. It would take more time than any body chosen from an Exercise composed almost wholly of men who have to work otherwise for their living could possibly devote to it. We are now speaking of the task of first collection and bringing up to date. And on these lines the labour of annual revision would prove a load of which any Committee must in two or three years at the most be sick and weary. Again, one of the chief incentives to caution and painstaking in composition is furnished by the publication in the ringing papers of the peals of all the various composers who hesitate to send peals for insertion without some proof of their truth for fear of the discomfort of having to cry peccavi. If a Committee were empowered to receive unpublished contributions, this body could not possibly spend the time or the money in postcards to enter into correspondence, and a false peal would simply go into the waste-paper basket; and the composer would be left without that help to progress in the science that he would have had, had the mistakes and its causes been pointed out; not to mention the fact that heart-burnings might conceivably arise from the imagination that his composition had been set aside for no other reason than to make room for that of a more favoured contributor. Further: one of the great benefits arising from contemporaneous publication of peals week by week, is that thereby the qualities, as well as the truth, of various peals become susceptible of comparison, and progress is made in what may be termed the taste of composition. This great advantage would be lost if composers could not see one another’s work, or could see it only so partially as would in all probability be the case if a Committee were to open its arms to unpublished contributions. These are one or two of the many considerations which might be mentioned as urging your Committee to advise very strongly that no peal should be accepted that has not appeared previously in public print. In the private correspondence that ensued on the publication of the notice it was asked once, if not oftener, whether the peals printed in Reports of Diocesan or County Associations were admissible. This is a point of less importance, but as these Reports are of limited circulation, and as moreover composers who are members of Associations which do not print the figures of their peals would be placed at a disadvantage in this respect, it seems advisable on the whole not to admit compositions published only in such Reports.
Coming next to the question of sorting already published compositions, one instance will shew the possibility of endless labour and probable confusion that would result were the Committee to act without help from the composers themselves. One of our correspondents in referring to a peal of Grandsire Cinques explained that as first published it was false, but that he had subsequently written to shew how it might be rendered true. With the reference to both the peal and the correction before us, the work of rectifying the figures was comparatively easy, but the Council will understand the enormous amount of labour that would be involved if the Committee had to search not only the peal columns but the columns of subsequent correspondence running out sometimes continuously, sometimes, with intermission of a week or two, to several weeks, if not months.
The two or three points that have been thus briefly brought forward are, we think, calculated to shew, if not the impossibility, at any rate the inadvisability of entering on the terrible task of endeavouring to collate wholesale peals true, false, long, short, bad and indifferent, from the four winds of heaven.
Let us turn to the more congenial task of advocating the policy which we do recommend. This, as has been already said, is virtually set forth in the notice lately published. In that notice two points are fairly obvious. First, co-operation is sought from without; second, the beginning contemplated is small, and preference is given to the peals of composers who take the pains of giving references to their compositions, rather than to those who are content to sit still and let everything be done for them. In this way the Exercise in general is invited to take an active part in the progress of the work, in which it becomes correspondingly interested. By making the beginning a small one we should avoid the labour, expense, and disappointment that would ensue if it were afterwards found necessary to alter the plan, or curtail, or perhaps abandon it altogether. If the collection is to be, as I am sure we all hope it will be, a popular and indispensable work, it is surely far safer to let it make itself such. Take for example Whittaker’s Almanack. We do not pretend to know the actual history of that work, but we are surely safe in saying that, in order to commence it, no one man, or committee of men, ever sat down to collect, sort, and test the hundreds of items of information, statistical, parliamentary, military, naval, clerical, astronomical, that were floating about. No: the book was probably issued in a modest form, and found to supply a want. It therefore grew. That is what we suggest in the present instance. We would recommend that the Council should be content to issue at first a book containing say about 100 peals comprising some of the best compositions published before the end of the previous year. It should be of a size to be carried comfortably in the breast-pocket, that is about four or five inches by six or seven. By payment of a small extra sum it should be procurable in an interleaved form, or - with ten or twenty blank pages prefixed or affixed. A work of this sort would form a compendious and handy book of reference. In short it would, we feel sure, be the ringers’ Vade Mecum, and a very acceptable one too.
Then for the few following years - say four - let the Council draw up an Annual Appendix, and in each fifth year let the whole be collated, pruned if necessary, and re-edited as a compact whole. Time and experience, and they only, will shew whether there should be one volume continuously growing more and more bulky, being the omnium gatherum of all that has gone before it, or whether volume should succeed volume each containing only the best of what has appeared since the issue of its predecessor. In one respect our opinion is an emphatic one, viz.: that the book should advance with the advance of the science, and should be not so much dead monument of the past as the living voice of the living mind of the Exercise. Though in the future the volumes which by that time have become old will doubtless find their way to the library shelf, we wish to find the last of the series the indispensable companion of the bob-caller in his home, in his journeyings, and in the tower.
From what has been advanced it will be evident that looking at the wording of the resolution which called your Committee into existence we regard the words “classification of peals” as being a phrase having little or no correspondence with existing facts. That the Council seems to have expected that there would be many in number is evidenced by their having appointed a Committee to report on their classification. But it should be remembered unless the number in contemplation is counted by thousands they really classify themselves. The case finds no parallel whatever in the classification of such things as animals or plants, where, not to speak of the vast number of species, the one merges into the other, and the plan of division into genera becomes a serious question. Peals divide themselves among methods which are perfectly distinct from one another, and among the different numbers of bells for which they are composed. In the dim ages of futurity when the collection has reached to fifty folio volumes, or to the expanse of an encyclopœdia, it may be necessary to start a large office with a retinue of clerks, and the enterprising bob-caller of the tower to which two new trebles have just been added to make a peal of ten will forward a letter addressed somewhat as follows: “To the Controller, Grandsire Cater Department, Tittums Division, section of 5th and 6th only behind the 9th, Central Council Catalogue Office, London.” But to be serious, though this may be an overdrawn picture, it differs only in degree, and not in kind from the picture which the phrase “classification of peals” really and not unnaturally suggests. We are sure if the Council will be content to begin in a tentative fashion with a 3d. or 6d. book consisting of a good nucleus, such a work would justify itself, and would prove acceptable and in time renders itself not only a success every way, but an indispensable item of the furniture of every bob-caller. Here, in Oxford, we are very familiar with the initials C.C.C., but we hope ere long to see ringers familiar with them as the initials of a valuable “Central Council Catalogue.”
The Chairman said he thought they would agree with him that no more practical and more weighty report had it ever been their good fortune to hear (loud applause). He had listened to reports good, bad, and indifferent, but he had never listened to one that gave him so much practical information than the one they had just listened to, and he thought they were sincerely indebted to Mr. Davies for putting his very practical thoughts into such very practical language. He thought it showed a very good reason why they should agree with him in allowing the Committee to adopt the basis on which they had proposed, and in fact had started, to collect peals. He thought if Mr. Davies would propose, and one of the members of the Committee would second its adoption, members would be in a position to express any further opinions they might think well.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies proposed, and Mr. Hattersley seconded, the adoption of the report.
The Chairman asked whether the Council might take it that the Committee would be prepared to undertake that work which they kindly began, and which he, perhaps somewhat discourteously, though conscientiously, checked during the past year. If the Committee would be prepared to continue it this year, he thought the Council would be exceedingly grateful to them, if they would allow themselves to be re-nominated in order to carry it out (hear, hear).
The Committee assenting, the Chairman continued:-
Then it was understood that the Committee consented to be re-appointed. Was there any suggestion that any member of the Council would like to put forward in this matter. It seemed to him there could hardly be two opinions as to the system which was proposed.
The report was unanimously adopted.
The Chairman: Will some gentleman kindly propose that the same committee be re-appointed- the Rev. C. D. P. Davies, Mr. Chas. H. Hattersley, and Mr. J. W. Washbrook.
The Rev. F. E. Robinson proposed, and Dr. Carpenter seconded, the re-appointment of the committee, which was agreed to.
The Chairman said he thought he might on their behalf thank Mr. Davies and his coadjutors for the two very valuable reports they had brought before them (hear, hear). They evidenced an amount of care and thought and hearty earnestness put into the consideration of the subject for which the Council ought to be in the highest degree grateful, and they ought to be proud to have among their members those who had so energetically devoted themselves to the cause (applause).
The Rev. T. L. Papillon said they probably had noticed in the agenda that on the presentation of the report attention would be called to a point which was the subject of a little correspondence which had passed between Mr. Henry Dains, the Hon. Secretary, and himself as to the expression of some feeling in several quarters that the Council might do something to urge upon the various Associations the recording in their reports of the figures of any new peals the performance of which they chronicled. The fact that some did and some did not give the figures of such peals had been noticed by Mr. Davies in the report he had just read. He thought Mr. Davies was right in intimating that they would hardly consider the evidence of the annual reports of individual Associations sufficient for them to act upon in stamping the composition with the authority of the Council. Yet he thought it was equally true that if all the Associations that had regularly published annual reports had been careful to give the figures of all the new peals chronicled by them, the difficulties to which Mr. Davies alluded would not be as great as they are at present. He wished simply to call attention to the fact that in many cases in the first report of a peal they would see at the foot, “This peal, which is now rung for the first time, etc.” In many cases afterwards there were no means of getting the figures of such peal except by writing to the conductor himself. If Associations were all as careful as some were to publish in their reports the figures of these new compositions, reference to the report would be sufficient. He had not ventured to propose any resolution on the subject, because, of course, it was a delicate matter in a body like the Central Council, which, as the President had already pointed out, had the power to suggest but no power to enforce its suggestions to act in. It was an equally delicate matter to do anything that seemed to interfere with the liberty of individual Associations, and the discretion which the officers of those Associations exercised in the preparation of their reports, but he thought that possibly the expression of some opinion as to the desirability of such records of figures of new compositions in the annual reports might strengthen the hands of the officers of individual Associations, who wished to bring before their own members the desirability of in future adopting such a practice.
The Chairman: Do you propose any resolution?
Mr. Papillon said if it was the opinion of those present, or the opinion of the Chairman that it would be desirable that any resolution should be proposed he should be prepared to do so.
The Chairman said it was a matter rather for the Council. It was certainly a very desirable thing, especially when peals in which they took an interest were published, that they should know what the figures were, and it was distinctly right and proper when any peal was questioned that the figures should be forthcoming, in order that the validity of the peal might be decided. Personally, he should be exceedingly sorry to put his name to any peal as conductor in which the figures were not put before the public in some form or another. He would not be satisfied unless his Association printed every peal he conducted, and in regard to any record peal he should not be satisfied without at once sending the figures to “The Bell News” and having them printed there. But he did not know what the feeling of the Council generally was about the matter. It rested with them either to accept a resolution on the subject or not.
Mr. Griffin said while on this subject there was a peal he wished to being before the notice of the Council, namely 7072 Superlative Surprise Major rung on December 3rd last, the figures of which had not been published but which were in his possession. The peal was rung in two methods, three courses in the Burton Variation, and the rest in the Superlative method proper, and he thought this peal could not claim to supplant the extent of 6720 rung at Burton in the method proper. If a resolution was proposed in connection with publication in the future he should be glad to second it.
Mr. Strange: Is this in order?
The Chairman said he thought it was, as Mr. Griffin had called attention to a point which illustrated the subject under discussion, because here was a matter which had given rise to some acerbity of feeling which would have been obviated if the figures had been published. They would not go into the question of the propriety of that peal or otherwise, because it was not their province. Had Mr. Papillon a resolution?
Mr. Papillon said as the President invited him to put a resolution before the Council he would do so in this form; it was purposely left rather vague in terms so as to avoid the appearance of in any way dictating to individual Associations. It was:
“That in recording the performance of peals not previously rung it is desirable to record at the same time the figures of such peals unless they are already accessible in printed form, in which case the reference should be given.”
Mr. Griffin seconded.
Mr. Cockey asked if it should not include some reference as to where the figures were published.
Mr. Attree asked if it would not be rather misunderstood if left in such form. Did it mean publication in “The Bell News.” If the paper printed all the peals, there would be little room left for news. He thought the proposer meant in the Annual reports of the Associations.
Mr. Papillon said he thought it might go first to “The Bell News” if preferred. He did not mention the Annual Reports for fear of seeming to dictate to the Associations.
The Chairman said the point really was that they wanted to know the figures of all interesting performances.
Mr. Papillon said his own personal view in proposing it was to get some expression of opinion that Associations should always insert such figures in their reports.
The Secretary suggested that it should read in this form: “That it is desirable that Societies should record at the same time the figures of such peals.”
Mr. Strange said possibly a peal might be rung by an independent band which would not be recorded in the books of any Society at all.
The Secretary said that they could not control that in anyway.
Mr. W. D. Smith thought even in that case the figures might be published in “The Bell News” when an important peal was rung.
Mr. Williams suggested that they should take a lesson from the Midland Counties’ Association. He had a report, and the figures of their performances could always be referred to.
Mr. Hattersley said as far as the Yorkshire Association was concerned they were very particular on that point, and if the figures had appeared in any of the previous reports, they gave references to them as to where they should be found. If they had not been printed, they would print them, and he thought all Associations ought to do the same.
Mr. S. Reeves suggested that the resolution should read: “That the report of a peal should be accompanied by the figures.”
The Chairman said that perhaps the motion as before the meeting would best express the feeling of the Council.
The resolution was unanimously agreed to.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, April 29, 1893, pages 677 to 679
The Hon. Secretary said that he gave notice at the last meeting that he should move an addition to the definition of a peal on seven bells, with a view to discountenancing such peals being rung without a covering bell. He therefore fulfilled that promise by moving the addition of the following words to the Council’s definition of a peal on seven bells:- “Nevertheless, a performance on seven bells (without the addition of a covering bell) is to be discountenanced and is unworthy of record.” He did not think there was anything in the wording of the addition which at all traversed the previous definition of a peal on seven bells, and it would only put on record the feeling of the Council that peals on seven bells without the addition of a covering bell ought not to be performed, although as a matter of theory such a peal would be a valid peal.
The Rev. F. E. Robinson seconded.
Mr. Attree said he would move an amendment to the proposition, to strike out the words after “discountenanced.” He thought if a peal was rung, whatever the difference of opinion might be, it surely was worthy of record. It might be very strongly felt by a great many of them that peals of that sort ought to be discountenanced; he felt it himself, and he had no doubt the majority in that room did also, but at the same time he thought it was simply putting in a few extra words which would cause a good deal of strong feeling among those gentlemen who thought otherwise. Therefore, he should like to move that these last five words be struck out.
Mr. Story seconded the amendment very heartily.
Mr. Strange said he should like to say that he entirely agreed with the spirit of the resolution as amended by Mr. Attree, but he thought the words were altogether out of place in relation to this definition. He should like to move an amendment, leaving out all reference to the definition of peals, and making it an abstract resolution on its own merits.
Mr. Pitstow thought the idea of the tenor bell covering the peal was for musical effect and that if they studied musical qualities and the listeners’ tastes they would have the tenor covering. He would move that the words “without the addition of a covering bell” he struck out in the original definition.
The Chairman said he must refuse to accept another amendment until the one before them was disposed of. He quite agreed with Mr. Attree in his remarks, and although nobody disliked more than he did the idea of a peal on seven bells only, yet, considering that it was agreed by a majority of two to one at their Council meeting in London two years ago, they would, he thought, be acting unwisely if they adopted any amendment which in any way invalidated the decision to which that meeting came. Therefore he thought if they passed any resolution in reference to the definition it ought to be in the direction of Mr. Attree’s amendment. He was open to a little doubt whether there was any wisdom in passing an amendment to the original definition at all. He thought it was generally allowed that a peal on seven bells was not attractive from a musical point of view. Such an amendment might cause irritation to those who had a strong feeling on the question, for they would remember there was some soreness of feeling exhibited on this subject at their meeting in London. He would put Mr. Attree’s amendment, and if they did not agree either with the amendment or the motion they of course would vote against both.
The Hon. Secretary said he would save a division, if Mr. Robinson consented, by adopting Mr. Attree’s amendment. He was not particular about the last words, except that he thought they were rather an assistance to understanding what the object of the addition was, but if they were likely to cause any ill-feeling he would withdraw in favour of the amendment.
Mr. Robinson acquiesced.
The Chairman said that Mr. Attree’s amendment now became a substantive motion. They would bear in mind it was not so much a question of the justice of the motion as of the desirability of adding anything at all to their definition of peals as previously settled.
Mr. Strange begged to move as an amendment, that the whole of the resolution up to and including the word “nevertheless” be omitted therefrom. The effect of his amendment would simply be to take it away from the rules altogether, and let it stand on its own merits as an abstract resolution. He did not think, as he said when he spoke before, that a statement of fact, such as these definitions were, was a proper thing for that Council to add an expression of opinion to.
Mr. Attree asked if this was not a direct negative to the motion.
Dr. Carpenter said the point was that if the second amendment was accepted it interfered entirely with the spirit in which the first amendment was proposed.
The Chairman said it seemed to him that there was great force in the argument of Mr. Strange, but that it would seem a better course to reject the motion altogether, if Mr. Strange thought it out of place in the position which was proposed to be assigned to it.
Mr. Strange said he would withdraw his amendment and accept the Chairman’s view. At the same time he wished it to be distinctly understood that in voting against the resolution he was not voting against the spirit of it, but against the interpretation.
The Chairman said he would put it to the meeting as to whether it was desirable that the motion should be added to the definition of peals as laid down by the Council at the last meeting.
The motion down to the word “discountenanced” was then put and carried.
The Chairman said he did not know whether they thought it of such importance that they ought to have a record of the voters.
Mr. W. D. Smith thought it was desirable that the names should be taken, in the same way that they were on a similar motion two years ago in London.
The Chairman said that in matters of this kind what was suggested, should, where important, by the rules of the Council be carried by a majority of two to one, and where there was the slightest doubt, or any dissentients, the rule was to take the names and publish them in order that the various Societies might know how their representatives had voted. If they considered this matter a sufficiently important one to make it desirable to take the names they should be taken. It was a question whether it was not almost an abstract matter, a simple expression of opinion, which everybody admitted the justice of (hear, hear).
Mr. S. Reeves said it seemed to him that the addition of these words upset the resolution passed in London altogether. Was that the case?
The Chairman said certainly not. Having read the definition referred to, he said the motion was a rider to this, worded as follows:- That a peal on seven bells without the addition of a covering bell is to be discountenanced. He thought that if any member of the Council was desirous that the names should be taken, it ought to be done.
Mr. W. D. Smith said he desired it, and he would make a proposition to that effect.
The vote was then taken, when there were for the motion- Messrs. Attree, Davies, Bulwer, Carpenter, Pitstow, Baker, Tyler, Wakley, Papillon, Catchpole, Smith, Newton, Story, Elsee, Walmsley, Richards, Walker, Robinson, Coleridge, Cockey, Willett, Cooper, Ward, Phillott, and Newson- 25. Against- Messrs. Strange, Rees, Bastable, Reeves, Lucas, White, Cocks, and Griffin- 8. Neutral- Messrs. Washbrook, Dains, Hattersley, H. A. Heywood, Williams, Hounslow, and Taylor, jun.- 7.
The motion was therefore carried, by a majority of 3 to 1.
The Chairman said he believed Mr. Snowdon was to propose the next motion, but he did not know whether any member would do it for him in his absence. The motion was as follows: “That an addition be made to the definition of a peal on six bells, allowing of fourteen 360s, or any greater number of true Minor methods, no two being the same.”
Mr. Story proposed the motion.
Mr. Williams seconded.
The Chairman said that the motion meant that instead of ringing seven true 720s they might ring fourteen true 360s. Perhaps it would help matters forward if he explained what no doubt was at the bottom of this. As many of them knew, it had been the custom in the north to ring 5000s in a very large number of different Minor methods, and it was in order that those companies, who learn a vast number of methods, might count as legitimate peals performances consisting of fourteen 360s instead of seven 720s, that this resolution was suggested. He was bound to add, if they admitted this, he did not see what limit they were to put to repetition. When they had rung one 720 they could not ring any more true changes; when they had rung seven 720s they had done the very best they could to get the very truest peal possible on six bells. If they rang it in fourteen 360s, they admitted possibly just double as many repeating changes as would have been rung if the peal had consisted of seven 720s. It seemed to him that in consenting to the motion, the Council would be lowering their standard for these particular ringers. He objected to sanction anything which was an unnecessary repetition of changes as against the standard which the Council were endeavouring to set up.
Mr. Story said he hardly thought the motion was going to get justice. He believed it was much more difficult to ring 5000 in fourteen different methods than it was to ring a peal of Grandsire Triples or Treble Bob Major. He was convinced of this from his own experience, and if one band of men were able to ring so many as fourteen or more Minor methods, they were worthy of a great deal of credit, more so than those men who could ring only seven methods. For that reason he thought a peal consisting of fourteen 360s should be admitted, and should have more value given to it. He was very sorry that Mr. Snowdon was not there to speak on the motion, as he would have been a more able person to do so than he was.
Mr. Strange suggested that they should defer the question.
The Chairman said it would be rather unfair to exclude it in Mr. Snowdon’s absence, and he feared he would be disappointed if it was not discussed.
Mr. Papillon thought it would be a pity to defer it, and he thought the Council had better finish the question of the definition of peals, as it had already taken three years.
Mr. Story said he thought it would be only fair to the Yorkshire ringers, under the circumstances, to withdraw the motion.
The Chairman said that Mr. Papillon had suggested that it would be hardly right to let it be withdrawn. Perhaps it would be the more simple course to proceed with it, and if rejected, to let Mr. Snowdon propose it again if he thought well before the new Council. This would be quite in order. Those who were in favour of proceeding with the motion would kindly hold up their hands.
Eighteen were held up in favour of proceeding, and sixteen against.
The Chairman asked if any one had further remarks to make. He thought it was understood that the Council regretted Mr. Snowdon’s absence. He considered there was force in Mr. Papillon’s argument that they had better complete their work, and it would be possible for Mr. Snowdon to bring the matter forward again.
The motion was lost by a large majority.
Mr. Attree said the next motion on the agenda was, “That it is desirable when a band of ringers belonging to more than one Association meet to ring a peal, they shall decide beforehand to which Association such peal shall be credited, and that for the future no peal shall be published under the name of more than one Association.” This matter, in the early days of bell-ringing, was not of such serious consequence as at the present time, and he thought if they looked at it from a common sense point of view, in no other science or sport of any kind would such a thing as at present allowed in bell-ringing Associations be tolerated for one moment. If they took any other society or club of any kind, the members must belong to that one society, and if they took a Cricket or Football Club, the members could only play for that one society at one time. They never heard of the Sussex and Surrey Cricket Clubs playing against the “Kids” and Yorkshire. It was very well for gentlemen to belong to as many Associations as they possibly could, but though he himself belonged to some eight or ten of them, he certainly could not say that because six or eight of them belonged to these six or eight different Associations, a peal ought to go down as six or eight performances. It was only one performance, one peal, and it ought to be credited to the one Association which organised the peal, and be settled before the peal was rung.
Mr. Hattersley seconded the motion, which was agreed to.
Mr. Attree called attention to the prevalent system of electing Association members in the tower, and to the desirability of limiting elections to occasions on which a business meeting of the Association is held. This was a matter, he said, on which he had felt very strongly for some time past, When he first began ringing, he thought almost one of the first peals he started for opened his eyes to the farce, as he might put it, of the mode of elections to Associations. He thought it ought to be a matter above suspicion that all members who took part in an Association peal were legitimate members of that Association. They might not be resident members, so long as they were duly elected at a properly qualified meeting. At the present time, on the occasion he spoke of which occurred in Brighton, in a very large parish church, they were going to start for a peal, and two College Youths were present. It was the custom among them to get as many peals as they could, but at the same time he did not think it was quite the right way. There were two present, and there were six others who had never joined any Association at all, and just before the word “go” was called, it was suggested that they should make a College Youths peal of it. The six were elected by the two as College Youths (laughter), and all went well for about an hour and a half, when a sudden smash came (laughter), and from that time until now he had never been a College Youth. It was to have been a College Youths peal, but it did not “come off,” and they were none of them elected College Youths, in fact they were shortly afterwards properly elected Royal Cumberlands. That sort of thing went on every day, and he was not exaggerating. He could tell them of a worse case in which when a third of a peal had been rung, when one or two who were College Youths or Cumberlands called out to the others, “Will you all be content to be made College Youths or Cumberlands?” They all said “Yes,” and were proposed and seconded while the peal was going on, and that peal was actually published in the peal-books of the society. He thought such a thing as that, now that change-ringing had got to such perfection as it had, ought to be done away with entirely. Of course, they could not say that Associations, should be bound to elect in a proper way; Associations might go on electing in any way they liked, but he thought there ought to be a strong recommendation from that Council that the thing should be fair and square, and that Societies or members wishing to take part in Association peals, should provide that they were duly elected beforehand, and should not wait until they got into the tower. He could not tell at all what the feeling of the Council might be, but he thought the present was one of the loosest ways of electing members, when six could be elected in the way he had described. They could never tell, when the names might be sent up, but that some one might object to them; he had known in his own Association members proposed and objected to, and there was no reason why this should not often occur. When he had been going out to ring peals, he had always taken the trouble, and it was not much, to get elected at a duly recognised meeting, and he thought if gentlemen would not take the trouble to be elected properly, they ought either to ring independent peals, or else forego the pleasure of ringing when they went out for their holidays.
The Chairman said that Mr. Attree had not made a definite motion, but he thought he should be expressing the feeling of the meeting if at that late hour he suggested that they should draw up carefully before their next meeting a resolution on this subject. It was one that might give rise to a considerable amount of discussion. He himself agreed thoroughly with the principle of the motion, and he certainly recognized that very great abuses existed. But he thought that the point as to whether they should give up altogether electing members in the tower was open to much debate (hear, hear), because their might be cases where seven or nine members were present of an Association and one who was not, and it seemed a little hard perhaps, if the one could not be elected in the tower. He thought the matter might be postponed, and in the meantime members might do their best to ascertain what the feelings of their Associations were on the question. It was too important a subject to be brought on so late (hear, hear).
Mr. Attree said he thought the manner in which he had brought the subject forward would be the better way of ventilating it, and at the next meeting, as the Chairman had suggested, if he should be elected a member of the Council he would give notice of a definite resolution.
The Chairman took it that this course would meet the wishes of the Council. There were two small matters of business that he wanted to say a word upon. The publication of the rules was left last year in the hands of the Standing Committee, who decided in order to embark on as little expense as possible, to ask the Editor of “The Bell News” to reprint the rules, and also to strike off 250 slips from the same type. That had been done, the rules had again appeared in “The Bell News,” and the Honorary Secretary was in possession of the 250 copies, and any member who wanted one could have it, but they did not want unnecessarily to give them away. Those who had copies would perhaps be good enough not to ask for more. Then there was another very important matter to which he would ask their close attention, and it was this: strictly speaking, that Council continued to exist until the meeting of the new Council, because the President remained in office until the new President took his seat, and the Honorary Secretary remained in office until the end of that meeting, after which the new Secretary took his seat. Therefore, presumably the whole of the Council remained in office until the new Council were installed by their meeting, notwithstanding that the election of the new members had already taken place, otherwise they would be in a difficulty in case an emergency meeting was required. That being so, they would see that the Committees also continued to exist during the existence of the Council which appointed them, but as the Council which appointed them ceased to exist at the moment of the meeting of the new Council, these Committees were thus unable, strictly speaking, to report to the new Council, because the body which appointed them, having ceased to exist, they also ceased to exist, although they existed up to the very doors of that Council. He would propose at the next meeting an addition to the rules, to the effect that all members of Committees whose work was not completed should be allowed to sit at the first meeting of the new Council, even though they were not still members of the Council, in order that the Council might not lose the benefit of their report. He only gave notice now; the wording would be carefully drawn out, and he should submit it for their consideration at the next meeting, they would see its necessity in order that they might not lose the year’s work of their Committees. He called their attention to it in order that when he brought it forward they might have thought the matter carefully over, and might be able to grasp the exact bearing of it.
The Hon. Secretary said he had sent a copy of the definitions of peals to the Editors of “The Bell News” and Church Bells, with a request that in future they would record only such peals as agreed with these definitions. He did not have any personal reply from either paper, but the Editor of “The Bell News” put in a notice in the succeeding number and printed the letter, and expressed his willingness to comply with the resolution of the Council. He had brought some copies of the rules with him, for those who had not got one.
The Rev. H. A. Cockey asked if it was possible for the Secretary or Officers of the Council to make some application to the different Railway Companies throughout the country to obtain cheaper tickets for ringers. The Kent County Association had got very good terms with the South Eastern and the London, Chatham and Dover, and the Brighton Company also, he believed gave very good terms to the Sussex Association. They had attempted to get them with the Midland, but could only get terms for parties of eight. He would suggest that if it was laid before the Railway Companies by the Central Council they might be more likely to get what they wanted. On the South Eastern a ringer could get a ticket for a fare and a quarter by handing in a certain paper, and it would be a great advantage to those who went about for instruction or practice. The Essex Association got a single fare and a quarter for any number of persons, on the proviso that the station from which they travelled should be mentioned a few days beforehand. The Midland and the Great Western had refused to do more than allow the usual pleasure party tickets to eight people.
The Chairman said this was a very important matter indeed, and he carried on with the Midland Company a correspondence extending over six months, and all the concession that had been obtained was that they would allow fare and a quarter tickets to any number not less than eight. The essential point was to have the tickets issued to any number at any time on production of a certificate of membership.
Mr. Attree said perhaps the Chairman did not keep on with the Midland long enough (laughter).
The Chairman said he only took up the correspondence in its latest stage, when it had already extended over a long time.
The Rev. H. J. Elsee said he had obtained a concession for a party of not less than eight, but they found out it was a business meeting and they recalled the concession, and it was only after some trouble that he got it re-established, but he could not get it for a party of less than eight.
The Chairman said that it was on that question that their tickets were refused to their annual meeting on the ground that it was a business meeting, and he had had much ado to satisfy the Midland Railway Company that the quarterly meetings of their Association could not fairly be termed business meetings. He was perfectly willing, if Mr. Cockey desired it, to begin the war afresh on wider grounds, or perhaps they would like to appoint a committee, for they would obtain recognition only by dint of perseverance.
Mr. Cockey said if a representation came from the Central Council it would act with more weight.
The Chairman suggested that Mr. Cockey should get some gentleman to act with him.
Mr. Griffin and Mr. Story signified their willingness to assist, and they with Mr. Cockey were appointed a committee to see what they could do in obtaining reduced rates from the Railway Companies.
Mr. W. D. Smith proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Chairman for presiding (applause).
The Rev. F. E. Robinson seconded.
The proposition was carried by acclamation.
The Chairman, in reply, said he thanked them very heartily for their kindness in according him a vote of thanks, and he wished to take that opportunity of expressing to them his gratitude for the kindly courtesy with which they had allowed him to preside over their meetings during the past three years, and for the kindness with which they had put up with his failings (“no, no”), and had suffered any opinions he might have put forward to have weight with them. He was a man of very strong opinions - but he assured them he had done his very best as far as he could, to keep his own opinions in the back ground.
The meeting then came to a conclusion.
Subsequently a large number of the members and their friends dined together at the Clarendon hotel, after which a considerable proportion adjourned to the various towers, which had been courteously thrown open by the authorities at the request of the Rev. H. Earle Bulwer, to whose excellent arrangements much of the success of the meeting was due.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, May 6, 1893, pages 689 to 691