THE CENTRAL COUNCIL.
The fifth annual meeting of the Central Council was held on Easter Tuesday at The Wharncliffe hotel, Sheffield. There was a good muster of representatives, the official list of those signing their names being as follows.: Mr. A. Percival Heywood, Midland Counties; Rev. F. E. Robinson, Oxford; N. J. Pitstow, Essex; Rev. E. W. Carpenter, Kent; Rev. W. W. C. Baker, Bedfordshire; J. S. Pritchett, Worcestershire; Stephen Cooper, Midland Counties; Rev. H. Earle Bulwer, Norwich; W. Walmsley, Chester; William Wakley (Hon. Member); Dr. Arthur B. Carpenter, Surrey; Richard T. Holding, Chester; Rowland Cartwright, Stafford; Samuel Reeves, Stafford; Wm. H. Howard, Yorkshire; Rev. Charles D. P. Davies, Sussex; Rev. H. J. Elsee, Lancashire; Thos. Blackbourn, Salisbury; John Eachus, Lancashire; C. H. Hattersley, Yorkshire; James Parker, Sussex; Henry White, Winchester; John W. Whiting, Winchester; G. B. Lucas, Middlesex; J. W. Washbrook, Oxford; Rev. A. H. F. Boughey (Hon. Member); W. Bentham, Liverpool; Wm. Snowdon, Yorkshire; Geo. F. Attree, Sussex; Rev. G. F. Coleridge, Oxford; Rev. H. A. Cockey, Gloucester and Bristol; Chas. Hounslow (Hon. Member); Tom Lockwood, Leeds and District; Rev. C. A. Clements, Lancashire; W. L. Catchpole, Norwich; George Newson, Royal Cumberlands; Arthur Jacob, Royal Cumberlands; F. G. Newman, Essex; Henry Dains, Royal Cumberlands; Rev. J. Holme Pilkington, Norwich; C. F. Winney, College Youths; A. Palmer, Kent; R. E. Grove, Worcestershire.
The minutes of the last meeting having been confirmed,
The President first called attention to the lamented death of Mr. Leonard Proctor, in whose decease the Exercise had sustained a very great loss. He went on to ask them to consider very carefully how far the bill for the disestablishment of the Church in Wales affected the ringers of England. He did not want to read them a lecture on church defence - that would be out of place - but he wished to draw their attention to the very serious interference, to put it first from a selfish point of view, with which the bill threatened the Ringing Exercise. It was perfectly true that the parish churches were given back to the church, but the cathedrals were taken away altogether, and who could say how far the church bell-ringers would be permitted to use those bells in the future. Consider the position in which the churchwardens of the parish churches would find themselves, without any stipend for the clergyman. They would have to raise funds not only sufficient to defray the annual expenses of keeping the church and its surroundings in order, but also to pay the incumbent. He thought they would agree with him that they had not hitherto found that the churchwarden was a gentleman whose generosity in the direction of bells and ringers had been too marked. He therefore put it on a fortiori grounds, if churchwardens had to find something like 150 to 200 per cent. more money than they did at present, how far were they likely to keep up the bells and the appurtenances thereof even in the present mediocre form. Some of them might wonder how the question of the bells in England was affected by the bill for the disestablishment of the Welsh church. It was admitted on all hands in the discussion on the second reading that the Welsh bill was only an instalment of what would eventually happen both in England and Wales. He had now put the selfish point of view before them, that this bill would greatly militate against the future of change-ringing. He would next ask them as officers of the Church of England, whether they did not consider it their duty to resist as far as possible this sheer robbery of the endowments of the church. He did not propose for a moment to enter into any particulars as regards the origin of these endowments: he would only call attention to one point. In the year 1845 an Act was passed permitting Nonconformists to secure their own endowments upon the basis that if any such endowments had existed for twenty-five years, they became absolutely inalienable, yet although there was no dispute about the Church having held those endowments for 300 years, it was proposed to take them away, although twenty-five years possession gave the Nonconformists a permanent claim. He put it to them as Englishmen, whether that was equitable. It seemed to him to be the most un-English proposition that had ever been laid before Parliament; a voice had never been raised against the good work that the Church of England was doing, and why the Nonconformists should take this strong line against church people, it was very difficult to discover. But if the endowments of the Church of England were seized, Nonconformist endowments would not escape. It reminded him of the doctor who was walking in his fields early one morning and saw a man picking mushrooms, and with them poisonous toadstools. The doctor said “My good man, if you eat those you will be poisoned,” to which the man replied “Bless you, I’m not going to eat them; I’m going to sell them.” That was very much what the Nonconformists proposed to do. They were not going to apply this principle of robbery to themselves, but only to the Church. He put it to them if the Church of England was disendowed, was it likely that the Liberationists would stop short of seizing also Nonconformist endowments? It was a principle of history that when a nation began to appropriate private property, it was ready for revolution, and the nation might seize the property of large proprietors such as the church or the great landowners and millionaires, and for a time the majority of the electors might say little against it, but the time would come when the money of those in less fortunate circumstances came to be threatened, and the majority would then be turned against the plunderers. It was quite certain that if they could only offer sufficiently persistent and continuous resistance to such unjust appropriation the tide would turn, and their church endowments would be safe. What was wanted, what the Archbishop of Canterbury was endeavouring to form, were parochial councils in every parish, which would form a definite church party. The Nonconformists were in this respect far better organised than the Church. Depend upon it, if the Church did not stand out in this matter she would inevitably lose her endowments. It was sometimes argued that the Church in Wales was not wanted. The answer was that last year the Registrar-General’s returns gave 12,500 funerals performed by Church of England clergymen, against 1400 by Nonconformist ministers. Did that look as if the Church was unpopular in Wales? It was a downright falsehood to assert such a thing. As for members of Parliament opposed to the Church being in an overwhelming majority in Wales, it was well known that there were certain conditions under which elections did not represent the wishes of the people. If all the various Nonconformist bodies of Wales combined to outnumber the Church and push it to the wall, it did not at all prove that the Church was the least wanted religious body in Wales. To his mind it was a question of fairness. The Church of England was not endowed by the State. No Church of England clergyman received a farthing from the State, except army, navy and prison chaplains, and yet here was a bill for disendowing the Church of the income given by private individuals hundreds of years ago. The present were very critical times for the Church, and if there was a body of men who ought to be strong advocates of the claims of the Church upon the people it was the ringers of England.
THE LAST YEAR’S ACCOUNTS.
The Secretary stated that the year began with a balance of £40 3s. 0½d. in hand. Subscriptions had been received to the amount of £9 7s. 6d., and the sale of the report on calls realised 14s. 8½d., bringing the total to £50 5s. 3d. The expenditure had been- For stationery for three years, 5s., postages 12s. 8½d., printing the first report on calls, £4 6s. 10d., printing 500 copies of the revised report on calls, £2 14s. 6d., contribution towards verbatim report of the last meeting, £1, leaving a balance in hand of £41 6s. 2½d.
The Rev. G. F. Coleridge moved, and the Rev. E. W. Carpenter seconded, the passing of the accounts.
The motion was unanimously agreed to.
SOCIETIES IN ARREAR.
The Secretary reported that there were two societies which had not paid their subscriptions this year, the United Counties’ and the St. James’ Societies. He reminded the Council that representatives of these societies could not take part in the proceedings by voting, unless the subscriptions were paid.
THE LATE MR. LEONARD PROCTOR.
Mr. Snowdon moved: “That this meeting desires to place on record its high appreciation of the services rendered to the Exercise by the late Leonard Proctor, Esq., of Bennington, Hertfordshire, than whom no one has done more to encourage practical ringing in its highest branches.” He remarked that many of those present had had the honour of ringing with the old squire. It was a very great pleasure for him to look back to the time when his dear brother was alive, and picture side by side with him the old squire, who was not taking a bell, but immensely interested in what was occurring.
The Rev. F. E. Robinson seconded the motion. In doing so he pointed out that Bennington is almost the only place in the world where the Surprise Methods can be rung regularly twice every Sunday. Some years ago, when they were commencing to learn the Surprise methods, Bennington was the only place where they were sure of a hearty welcome.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies remarked that a person who was very competent to undertake such a work, had written to him to the effect that he hoped to obtain leave to publish or edit some of the old notes of Mr. Proctor. The Exercise, he was sure, would be very glad to hear there was a chance of this being done. The life of the late Mr. Proctor dated back a great many years, to the time when change-ringing was in very different circumstances to what it is to-day, and any sketch of his life and correspondence would be welcomed by the Exercise.
The motion was carried.
THE PAST WORK OF THE COUNCIL.
The President stated that one of the directions of the last Council was that the decisions of the past three years should be printed for the use of members. This had been done, and he believed the Council had received them.
ELECTION OF HONORARY MEMBERS.
The President said there were three honorary members who retired by rotation this year, Messrs. Thompson, Boughey, and Acland. He would like to put forward for nomination also the name of Mr. Strange. That gentleman had retired from his position as the Secretary to the Surrey Association, and therefore he was no longer a member of the Council. It was known to the members that Mr. Strange was doing a very valuable work for the Council in regard to bibliography, and he thought it would be desirable, in view of the fact that he was not now a member of their body, to place him again on their roll. With regard to Mr. Thompson they would be very sorry not to have him amongst them. He was not a practical ringer, but they all knew how very much he had done for the scientific side of the Exercise. In regard to Mr. Boughey, as an old Cambridge man himself, he would like to welcome him again to the Council. He did not feel competent to speak concerning Captain Acland. He did not think that gentleman had favoured them with his presence, and if he did not care to attend the meetings of the Central Council, it was almost a pity to retain his name upon the list.
The Rev. F. E. Robinson moved, Dr. Carpenter seconded, and it unanimously decided that Messrs. Thompson, Boughey, and Strange be elected honorary members of the Council.
REPORT OF THE CHURCH CONGRESS COMMITTEE.
The President made a reference to the report of the Church Congress Committee. As the Church Congress would this year be held at Norwich, the honorary secretary had kindly undertaken to see to the matter, Norwich being in his neighbourhood.
The Hon. Secretary reported that the usual letter of request was sent by the committee to the Subjects Committee of the Church Congress through the Bishop of Thetford. The Bishop met him very kindly, agreed that the subject was one that ought to be discussed, and gladly agreed to take charge of the Committee’s letter, and to bring it before the Subjects Committee. The week before last he stated, however, that there were so many subjects before the Committee of the Congress, that they were quite overwhelmed. He (the Hon. Secretary), told the Bishop he was sorry to hear this, and mentioned that only a month before he was staying with Archdeacon Emery, the permanent secretary of the Church Congress, who was very much interested in what he (the Hon. Secretary), told him concerning the church-bell ringers, and the position of the Exercise generally, and agreed that it was a proper matter to bring before the Church Congress. Archdeacon Emery expressed regret that successive Congresses had proved to be such unpractical bodies. He (the Hon. Secretary), was very sorry that they had failed for the fourth time in succession, but he supposed the only thing they could do was to keep on pegging away.
The President thought the real pith of the matter was that the clergy did not appreciate what a very valuable body of assistants they would have if they would only give themselves the trouble to win the adhesion of the bell-ringers of the country. The ringers were better disposed towards the clergy than the clergy were towards the ringers. With the exception of that small minority of excellent clergy, the very large proportion of whom they knew intimately, the clergy (and he had a pretty wide experience of the matter), knew little about ringers and cared less. Until the clergy realised the value that the ringers might be to them, even if they got their subjects before the Church Congress, it would be useless, because no one would listen to them. He believed, however, that they would do rightly to keep pegging away, but he did not think it would be the least good until the clergy were sufficiently educated to be able to appreciate them.
The President, in making a reference to the progress of the bibliography, stated that the report on the subject had appeared in “The Bell News.”
The Secretary reported the receipt of a letter from Mr. Strange, who had made a start in the production of the bibliography in the pages of “The Bell News.” The letter was in these terms: “Dear Sir,- You will see by this week’s paper that I am at last able to make a definite beginning with the bibliography. I have a considerable quantity of copy additional, ready for publication, and shall now proceed to issue it as soon as possible. I am unhappily unable to attend the meeting of the Council, but shall be glad if you will draw the attention of the Committee formally to the matter, and convey to them my wish to continue and complete the work in spite of the cessation of my membership.”
The President said that they would ask the Honorary Secretary to write to Mr. Strange, and say how much they were obliged to him for his note on their behalf.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, April 27, 1895 pages 585 to 586
REPORT OF THE HANDBELL COMMITTEE.
The Secretary read the following report, which he had received from Mr. Buckingham:-
“Report of the Committee elected by the Central Council of Change-Ringers as to the necessity of Umpires for handbell peals, and their duties.
“1.- This Committee considers that no peal on handbells is worthy of record unless vouched for by one or more umpires.
“2.- An umpire should be one who understands the method being rung. That is to say he should be able to either ring the said method, or write it out.
“3.- The duties of an umpire should be to watch the progress, as closely as he possibly can, of the peal being rung, from a manuscript previously given him by the conductor for that purpose; he should mark all calls made, but must not communicate in any way with the ringers while the ringing is progressing all right. The manuscript should be full enough for the umpire, so he can properly follow the ringing (some umpires, of course, would not need so full a copy of the peal being rung as others of less experience). All calls made should be ticked. In Stedman, or methods where the treble and every other changing bell goes through the same work, an extra witness to the peal should be obtained if possible. If a change-course occurs the umpire should stop the peal, if the conductor does not do so; If a witness be the first to notice a change-course, he should immediately inform the umpire of same. Umpire and witnesses should sit together and behind the conductor, so as not to attract his attention from the peal he is calling. When a peal is accomplished, the manuscript should be signed by the umpire, and any trips in the ringing should be noted by him. The manuscript should be open for inspection if desired, and should be kept by the Secretary of the Society in which the peal is rung, for that purpose. If a non-Society peal, the manuscript to be retained by the conductor.
“E. P. Debenham.
“C. F. Winney.
“W. H. L. Buckingham.
“Mr. Newson says although umpires are advisable, he does not think they should be absolutely necessary.
“W. H. L. Buckingham.
“Mr. James is not in favour of umpires.
“W. H. L. Buckingham.”
The President remarked that it was rather difficult to know how to discuss the report. The object with which the Committee was appointed was to decide upon what umpires, if any, should be necessary. The report of the Committee was very valuable. It went beyond the matter that was referred to them, and there was no reason why it should not. He was rather doubtful however how far they would be able to discuss at that meeting all the points that had been dealt with by the Committee, interesting though they were, and he would suggest that they confine themselves to the question of the umpires first, and having agreed upon that any further detail that might be necessary might be discussed at another Council meeting.
Mr. Newson said he could not conscientiously sign the committee’s report. In his opinion it went a little bit too far. By all means have umpires where they were available, but he did not think a peal should be condemned because no umpire was present. They might just as well condemn a peal in a tower because there was no one outside to listen to it.
Mr. Snowdon, as President of the Yorkshire Association, said that body never doubted any peals sent in by the members, but it was a very common and a very good custom to have them authenticated. If they thought they had a company amongst them who would patch up a peal, they would be drummed out by public opinion.
Mr. Washbrook supported Mr. Newson to a certain extent. As a rule ringers would not do such a thing as patch up a peal. He had rung perhaps forty or fifty handbell peals, and be thought they had been rung better than any he had ever rung in a tower.
Mr. Attree said the Committee appeared to have given a considerable amount of attention to the matter, and had made an exhaustive report. They would not for a moment suggest that because an eleven playing at cricket were all men of great integrity they should have no umpires. That would be the very last thing that a cricketer would think of.
The Rev. W. W. C. Baker argued that they should be careful not to lay down too strict qualifications for an umpire.
Mr. Winney remarked that Mr. James had the honour to take part in a peal of Double Norwich Major. One of the band told some friends of his that this peal was rung upon handbells, but it was not good enough to publish. The same band tried to ring a peal correctly, but they were not able to do it and fell back upon the original peal. That, he believed, was the reason that the umpire business was put forward by the Committee. One of the band used some very bad expressions about it, which perhaps he had better not repeat.
Mr. Pritchett said it was a matter of surprise that it should be suggested that it should be a rule not to have an umpire. The reasons why an umpire should be present were very obvious, and he cordially approved the report of the Committee. He proposed, in conclusion, that that portion of the report which recommended that there should be an umpire to every peal on the handbells be adopted.
Mr. Catchpole seconded the motion. He believed that handbell ringers as a rule would welcome an umpire.
Mr. Snowdon moved that the words “where practicable” be added to the motion.
Mr. Blackbourn, although it appeared to him to be desirable that there should be an umpire, thought it would be ridiculous to inforce it. He had rung several handbell peals without an umpire, which were as good as ever were rung. A peal rung without an umpire was quite as good as one rung with one.
The President thought the Council desired to treat the question as the seven-bell peal matter was treated, while they wished to record the fact that they considered it most undesirable that handbell peals should be rung without umpires when they could possibly be obtained, they did not feel prepared to condemn a peal rung without umpires. It might meet the wishes of the Council if a resolution were framed to that effect. Expressions of opinion could be made upon the resolution of the Council, and then would be the time to move forward and give attention to the very carefully drawn report of the Committee.
Mr. Attree moved, and Mr. Lockwood seconded an amendment in the terms suggested by the President.
Mr. Palmer contended that truth was the main thing which ought to be aimed at.
Mr. Hounslow said it had always been the rule in his district for ringers to have an umpire.
Mr. Snowdon pointed out that he had moved that the words where practicable should be added to the original motion.
Mr. Pritchett thought the Council should not adopt any half-measure.
The President remarked that the Council took a very definite line with regard to seven-bell peals. They admitted that a seven-bell peal was not a desirable thing, but they did not feel compelled to say it was not a peal. Just in the same way they might indicate that a certain course in regard to handbell peals was desirable, although it might not be made absolutely compulsory.
Mr. Washbrook said they always had an umpire in his district, where they could get one. He supported the amendment of Mr. Attree.
The amendment on being put, was carried by 23 votes to 12.
The subject of technical terms then came up for discussion. The Secretary moved, and Mr. Washbrook seconded, the adoption of the preliminary report of the Technical Terms Committee.
Mr. Snowdon contended that the matter dealt with in the report was most valuable. He did not quite know whether their old friend “in and out” ought to be chopped off at once. It could be condemned, but he thought they must stay their hands. On page 4 the Committee expressed an opinion that it would be desirable to add an appendix to the glossary, consisting of a classified list as complete as it could be made of the names of all known methods of change-ringing. This was a very big order.
The Hon. Secretary: Perhaps we shall not get any further.
Mr. Snowdon: I hope so. Proceeding, he stated that if they simply took names it would not be worth while doing. If they dealt with names they must go into them and try to get to their origin, and they must have some very short descriptions. If three or four lines were devoted to each method they would get a very valuable collection. They were taking a very large order in hand in going into the question of names. In the columns of “The Bell News” they had had some interesting discussion upon odd and even methods. In the report it was suggested “that in-course and out-of-course, as used to express the nature of rows or changes, should be abandoned in favour of even and odd respectively; as used to express the position of the bells, and generally in ringing that they should be replaced by right and wrong respectively.” They already had right and wrong spoken of. He did not think he would like the word right, although he was not raising serious objection to it. He did not like the word minimus for four-bell peals. They knew what maximus meant, but what did minimus mean? If minimus were the least, where did the three-bell peal come in. He had sketched out this amendment: “Having regard to the assistance that the glossary will give to the proper understanding of ringing terms, it appears inexpedient to condemn and alter the terms in and out of course at present in use. That the Committee be instructed to proceed with its work, and print and distribute a limited number of copies to members of the Council. This preliminary glossary, to be printed at the Council’s expense shall contain a classified list of the technical terms on which Committees cannot agree, and upon which the representatives shall individually vote by post, in order to complete the work at the earliest possible date; the classification of methods to follow as a separate work.”
The President said the Council would have to be careful that they did not embark upon Committee work. They should not enter into a discussion of whether “in” and “out” is desirable or not, but leave it to the Committee. They were a new body, comparatively speaking, and if time were allowed them he thought they would arrive at the proper conclusion. It was desirable that every one present should have the opportunity of expressing an opinion upon every point in the report. He suggested that they ask the Committee to proceed with their labours, to be careful to reject no phrases that were likely to be useful, and at the same time to introduce nothing that they did not think really of service. This would have the Council’s best attention if it was put before them in the columns of “The Bell News” some time before the next meeting.
The Hon. Secretary pointed out that the object of putting forward that preliminary report was not to decide the matter in any way, but simply to put it before the members of the Council in order that they might have time to consider it before the next meeting. In his opinion the next step to take would be to make their list of terms with explanations, and have it ready by the next Council meeting. It appeared to him, from the opinions expressed in the paper that had been circulated amongst the Committee, that the report contained all really that they wished to bring before the Council in the way of emendations or alterations of the written language of the Exercise.
The Rev. F. E. Robinson thought it was desirable that what the Committee had done and were going to do should run the gauntlet in “The Bell News.”
Mr. Attree concurred in this expression of opinion.
The President said he was afraid their excellent honorary secretary was a little bit disappointed, owing to their not viewing the matter from his standpoint. They must, however, be content to go slowly. They were not altering the practical ringing terms, but simply those in use in the literary work of the Exercise.
The Hon. Secretary stated that he was not complaining of the delay, and he was willing that the report should be before the members of the Council and discussed in the columns of “The Bell News” for the next twelve months. The Committee wanted to get on with the next stage of their work - the preparation of the Glossary.
The President remarked that it would be more formal if some one would move that the matter be referred back to the Committee for further consideration, and that the suggested changes should be published in “The Bell News.”
The Rev. F. E. Robinson moved, and the Rev. G. F. Coleridge seconded the motion, which was adopted.
The Rev. H. A. Cockey reported that he had nothing definite to tell the Council on the subject of railway fares. All the managers of the principal railway companies, with the exception of the London, Tilbury and Southend, had promised to bring the matter up for consideration at their next meeting of Directors, and he hoped that they would shortly have some favourable announcement to make on the subject.
The President said the railway managers were very much more approachable than the Church Congress, because they were amenable to financial considerations. As soon as they could show the railway managers conclusively that it would bring a largely increased traffic on to the lines, so surely would they grant the concessions required.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, May 4, 1895 pages 597 to 598
PROPOSED BENEVOLENT FUND.
Mr. J. S. Pritchett (Worcestershire Association), brought forward the question of establishing a Benevolent Fund. He apologised for not being able to bring it forward at the meeting after his election to the Council. At the outset he desired to correct a misapprehension. He did not propose anything in the nature of a friendly society. In the case of a friendly society the members subscribed certain sums when in health and strength, in the hope that they would receive assistance when weak and ill. That was not what he proposed. His suggestion would be limited to voluntary contributions to a fund from which donations might be made from time to time to meet emergencies, and raise a few annuities to give to veteran ringers in old age and poverty. Those were two objects for which he urged the fund should be established. The money he suggested should be collected by means of voluntary contributions. The collection of a certain sum should confer a vote or votes, and the system he advocated would be similar to that obtaining in such matters among Freemasons with regard to their benevolent institutions. The Freemasons contributed at all their social gatherings, subscribing individually and collectively through their lodges. The fund in each province was administered by a Committee which provided help in both ways he had mentioned. He would suggest that they should work the benevolent fund in much the same way. At their social meetings a box could be sent round, and the small sums collected sent to the Treasurer of the Benevolent Fund. Each society after subscribing a certain sum would be entitled to a vote in the election of annuitants, the subscription of a fixed amount conferring a life vote and so on. The administration of the fund he proposed should be through a Committee of the Council, which should be asked through proper officers to undertake the collection and administration. The number of annuities of £10 or thereabouts would be of course dependent on the amount of subscriptions received, but they might be increased as time went on, and money came in. The voting qualification could be fixed, and each society contributing could vote through its master or head for the time being, and individual subscribers could purchase votes individually. They would see that there was nothing at all of the nature of a friendly society about his proposal. If an applicant for a grant had himself been a man who had subscribed liberally, that would be a circumstance to be taken into next in the election, and in the same way a member of a society which had subscribed would have a strong qualification for election. He contended that his proposal was practicable. If it had been in existence it would have been able deal with several deserving cases which had come under their notice within recent years. He moved “that a Committee be appointed to consider the propriety of establishing a Benevolent Fund for the benefit of veteran ringers in poor circumstances, and to report as to the best means of carrying such a scheme into effect.” If they passed this resolution, they would not commit themselves to any definite scheme or any scheme at all. They would simply give a Committee - possibly the Standing Committee of the Council - an order to consider the matter, and then if that Committee brought up a definite scheme, they could decide whether or not they would agree to it. He had merely outlined a scheme which existed in his own mind, and he had no desire to pledge the Council to anything definite.
Mr. J. W. Washbrook seconded the resolution.
As no one appeared anxious to speak,
The President said he would like an expression of opinion from the members.
The Rev. H. J. Elsee said the general opinion in his Association was that it was not practicable to form a fund to be of any real use. The amount of the subscriptions would be too small to meet the applications which would be made for relief. It was difficult enough to get funds to carry on the ordinary work of the Association. He thought that the present method of appealing to the ringers of the neighbourhood and their friends, answered the purpose.
The President said it was no use appointing a Committee to decide a question the Council could just as well decide themselves. They should decide whether such a scheme were advisable, and if so decided, then appoint a Committee to deal with the matter.
Mr. Pritchett said he was in a position of some difficulty. He had hoped that the subject would have elicited discussion.
Mr. W. Snowdon objected to the idea that questions could not be referred to Committees for further information. He thought there was cause to at any rate appoint a Committee.
The President said Mr. Pritchett had put the matter in a much more practical form than they had it last year. He gathered, however, that there was a general opinion that no such fund was required, but that local effort of the insertion of an appeal in “The Bell News” were sufficient to meet cases which arose.
The motion was then put, and lost by a large majority.
THE PUBLICATION OF PEALS.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davis brought up the report of the Committee on the publication of peals. There was he said very little to say on the subject of the peal collection. They got a great many together, Mr. Hattersley, Mr. Pitstow, and himself divided the work. The matter had progressed considerably when they discovered that the expense of printing them was considerable, and they did not feel justified in undertaking it. They had altogether sixty-four pages of peals set in type. The Standing Committee had that morning, however, authorised them to get printed those which had been set up in type. The opinion had been expressed that they should have a large collection of peals printed. At Oxford he had said that it could not be done - that the collection must go on from year to year. The sale of the peals had not hitherto justified the Council in publishing them, and there was now an opportunity for those who believed in the publication to encourage the Council by promoting their sale.
Mr. C. H. Hattersley said he was of opinion that the expense was rather too great for the object to be achieved. Many of the peals were not worth the paper they were written upon, and he did not see any good to be served in publishing them in book form.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies: I thought when Mr. Hattersley forwarded his that he had passed them.
Mr. Hattersley: I could not very well pass the peals when I wrote that some were not worth the paper they were written on.
Mr. G. F. Attree asked whether these peals were all tried and had been proved.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies: It is not our business to prove the peals. I made that clear at the last meeting.
The President said a great many of these peals it was felt would prove a great help to conductors, and it was not a valid objection to say that many of them had already been published in “The Bell News.”
ELECTIONS IN THE TOWER.
Mr. G. F. Attree brought forward a resolution on the subject of election of members in the tower. He moved “That owing to the very unsatisfactory manner in which members are now frequently elected, it is desirable that the elections for the future be only made at some recognised annual, general, or district meeting duly called by such Association.” He urged that elections should be carried out in a regular and proper manner. He knew of instances where people had been proposed as members of an Association just before starting for a peal, and as the peal never came off, they never took up their membership. Such a practice obtained in no other Association or club that he knew of except those of ringers. A member was always properly elected before he entered into any of the privileges of membership. The evil was, he said, largely due to the loose way in which members were elected in the belfry. In his own Association in Sussex no peal was booked unless all those who took part were duly elected members.
The Rev. C. D. P. Davies seconded. He said he should however be sorry to think that any peals should be lost to the general record.
Mr. Pritchett thought it would do away with the evil if it were necessary to send the names of those composing the band, and the proposed member, to some authorised member of the society.
The Rev. F. E. Robinson said that in their case every election in the belfry must be ratified by the Committee at the next General Meeting following.
Mr. Roland Cartwright did not see any difficulty if they secured the subscription and enrolled the member properly. A safeguard to elections in the belfry might be arranged by giving timely notice in writing before the peal was started.
Mr. Parker, Mr. Newman, Mr. H. Dains, and Mr. Snowdon joined the discussion, the last-named moving as an amendment to Mr. Attree’s resolution “That it is undesirable to suggest to the members of the various Associations that the Central Council thinks they are unable to manage their own affairs.”
The Rev. G. F. Coleridge seconded.
The President said he thought Mr. Snowdon’s purpose could be as well achieved by a direct negative.
Mr. S. Reeves said that in his society the proposer and seconder were made responsible for the subscription of a man elected.
Mr. Lucas and Mr. Eachus having spoken,
The Rev. H. A. Cockey said he saw no great danger in leaving the question to individual Associations to manage as they thought best.
Mr. Attree having replied,
The President said as time went on the annual record of peals became more and more interesting, a result largely owing to Mr. Attree’s extraordinarily careful labours in that matter. It was therefore essential that all the Associations should be on an approximately equal basis. It was manifestly an unfair thing and in his opinion a mean thing that a man who was proposed as a member and elected before a peal was started for should, if the peal was not rung, never pay his subscription nor have his election ratified. It reflected on those who elected him, and was a disgrace to those who proposed and seconded him.
For the motion nine voted; against twenty-eight. The resolution was therefore lost.
PLACE OF NEXT MEETING.
The president said he was now (4 o’clock), obliged to leave in order to attend a funeral, and he desired to express his sense of the very great energy and interest shown by so large an attendance of the members of the Council. He regretted that he was unable to stay to the dinner, but he wished them a very pleasant gathering, and trusted that next year’s meeting would be equally successful and interesting as the present one. Before leaving, however, it was suggested they should decide the place of meeting for next year. It was practically understood that when they came north this year they should go south next year.
The Standing Committee suggested Brighton.
Mr. Porter moved, and Mr. Hounslow seconded a proposition to meet at Brighton.
Mr. Snowdon and the Rev. H. A. Cockey opposed, and the latter suggesting Bristol.
Mr. Attree supported the proposal for Brighton, and assured the Council that they would be able to get plenty of accommodation.
The proposal was agreed to.
The President then retired, and the Rev. H. Earle Bulwer took the chair.
THE DEFINITION OF MINOR PEALS.
Mr. Snowdon moved an addition to the definition of six-bell peals. “Nevertheless, when a multiplicity of methods of which no two are the same is rung, peals of Doubles and portions of true 720s embracing bobs and also singles when the extent requires them, shall be admissible, provided that the 720 changes be first rung in their entirety.” His Association, he said, thought so strongly on this matter that he was bound in honour to bring it up once more. Mr. Heywood had hit them hard when he pointed out that there might be many changes still unrung, and Mr. James’s contribution on the subject of the possibilities of changes in plain methods was very interesting. Mr. Heywood had pointed out that they might ring a great many plain courses when the company could not ring a peal, and therefore they included the words “true portions of 720s embracing bobs and also singles when the extent requires them.” He contended that the proposal was calculated to do away with the feeling on the part of the public which would be raised if they rung the bells so frequently. Five-bell peals were allowed to ring Stedman Doubles, and why should not six-bell peals be allowed to do so? He really could not see what harm could be done by passing his resolution, which he contended was only justice to six-bell peal men, who desired intellectual treats, and yet had only six bells to ring.
Mr. Lockwood seconded. He said it was a question very keenly felt in Yorkshire and Lancashire. A great many of the village churches had only six bells. It would be a great boon if they were allowed to ring 720 in one method, and then be permitted to ring as many methods as they thought fit to make up the 5000.
Mr. Attree said he had not heard any new view introduced into this subject.
Mr. Snowdon: Stedman is new.
Mr. Attree: But Stedman is only for five.
Mr. Snowdon: Will you bar us ringing Stedman?
Mr. Lockwood: I had no idea of mixing Stedman Doubles amongst the peal methods. I cannot second that.
Mr. Snowdon said he was willing to withdraw the reference to Stedman Doubles.
Mr. Attree: Then the resolution goes off the agenda.
Mr. Lockwood: There appears to be some quibbling. I will second it as it is.
The Rev. H. Earle Bulwer urged that they should take as high a standard as possible from a technical point of view, and not, merely for the sake of giving intellectual treats, lower the standard for legitimate performances. When he saw the resolution in writing he thought Mr. Snowdon had slain himself by admitting peals of Doubles.
The resolution was lost by a large majority.
Mr. W. Snowdon moved ”That some mode of admitting proxy voting under certain circumstances is desirable, and that a sub-committee be formed to report on this question to the next meeting of the Council.” He urged that the expense of sending representatives to the meetings of the Council made a great hole in the subscriptions obtained from members, and if they could send one or two instead of four it would be a great saving, those who went being furnished with proxies.
Mr. Lucas, Dr. Carpenter, the Rev. H. A. Cockey, the Rev. C. D. P. Davies and Mr. Attree all opposed the resolution.
The Rev. H. J. Elsee thought some modification of the principle might be admitted.
Only four voted for the proposition, which was lost.
THE SCHEDULE OF POINTS.
Mr. Attree moved “that the present schedule of points used in ascertaining the respective value of peals rung by the Association be considered, altered if found necessary, and in future issued by the authority of the Council.” He suggested that the Council could appoint a committee, and suggested the names of the President, Mr. H. Dains, Mr. J. W. Washbrook, Mr. E. B. James and Mr. J. Carter as a Committee.
Mr. Pritchett seconded the proposition, and alluded to the very valuable work Mr. Attree had performed for the Exercise in this connection during the past few years.
The Rev. J. H. Pilkington, in commending the work of Mr. Attree, suggested that the position of Associations should be determined by the average value of peals, and not by the number of peals rung. He said that Norwich, instead of standing first, would then stand twentieth. The Association which stood first was St. Martin’s, of Birmingham, with 30.5 points, while Norwich had only 13.41.
Dr. Carpenter said that under this suggestion the Association which rang one peal of London Caters would stand infallibly at the top of the list. .
The Rev. G. F. Coleridge suggested the addition of Mr. Attree’s name and that of Dr. Carpenter to the Committee.
The Chairman, on behalf of the Council, expressed the obligation under which the Exercise stood to Mr. Attree for his valuable work. They could not be too thankful for the work Mr. Attree had accomplished.
The resolution was carried.
Mr. Attree replied, and gave notice that at the next meeting he would move that they meet annually in Whitsun week rather than in Easter week.
A vote of thanks to the President and Secretary concluded the proceedings.
The members afterwards dined together.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, May 11, 1895, pages 609 to 610
THE CENTRAL COUNCIL.
Extract from the Preliminary Report of the Committee on Technical Terms: Reprinted for the consideration of the Exercise at large, pursuant to the decision of the Central Council at Sheffield, April, 1895.
The members of the Committee unanimously agree that it would be idle to attempt any reform in the usual spoken language of the Belfry. They distinctly disclaim, therefore, at the outset all intention of endeavouring to effect any immediate change in this particular. Ringers will continue to use in the Belfry the terms, phrases, and exclamations to which they have been long accustomed, and which they understand, whatever recommendations to the contrary the Committee or the Council might make. For the benefit of the uninitiated the Glossary will provide interpretations of the spoken as well as of the written language of the Exercise; such changes and corrections as are about to be suggested are to be understood, therefore, as bearing upon the scientific use of the terms to which they refer, for the guidance of treatise-writers more especially.
The technical terms used in Campanology may be roughly divided into three classes: (1) Those which adequately express the meaning intended to be conveyed by them; in changing which, therefore, no advantage would be gained. (2) Those in which a multiplicity of meanings attaches to individual terms, often with the result of much confusion and inconvenience. (3) Those which are inexpressive and fail to convey the meaning usually attached to them. The suggestions of the Committee are, of course, confined to the last two classes. With regard to the second class, they beg to recommend limitation of meaning in certain cases, with distinctive use in others, and the adoption of preferable terms to convey the meanings which are in consequence, so to speak, turned adrift. With regard to the third class, they beg to recommend more expressive terms in substitution for those which do not adequately convey the intended meaning. There is yet another class of terms, used in the older treatises, which have been virtually abandoned; these the Committee crave leave to label as obsolete, when there is no question as to the uselessness or practical disuse of them.
1. The terms change, changes, false change, etc., are considered by the Committee as only applicable in practical ringing; and that for the purposes of treatise-exposition, pricking, proving, and the like, their places should be taken by row, rows, false rows, etc.
2. Of the compound terms and phrases in which the word course appears, it is suggested that change-course and shift-course should be replaced by the single word shift. And that in-course and out-of-course, as used to express the nature of rows or changes, should be abandoned in favour of even and odd respectively;- as used to express the position of the bells, as a whole, in ringing, that they should be replaced by right and wrong respectively;- and for denoting the character of a series of rows, unaffected or affected by an ordinary Single, that the words direct and inverted* respectively should be used instead.
3. It is suggested that the word double should be restricted to the description of a method in which the bells do the same work both in front and behind; e.g. Double Court; and that it should cease to be used as a substantive to express two bobs at successive leads, so that in notation the phrase with a double should be replaced by with 2; for the reason that the meaning of the former is obscure, and likely to be mistaken by the inexperienced for an indication similar to with a single.
4. With reference to the notation of the Grandsire System, the Committee are of opinion that such a misleading expression as 9th in 4 should invariably read 9th in with 4; and that (for instance) 9th in, and out at 3 should be replaced by 9th in for 3, with the addition, when necessary, of and out with a single.
5. With regard to the word home (or H), it is recommended that it be disused as indicating a position for a call, and that in this sense Right, or R, be invariably used instead; home, at home, called home, bobbed home, etc., being used solely to indicate the arrival of individual bells, or the bells as a whole, in the position they respectively occupy in rounds.
6. There are certain abuses of the word peal, which the Committee are of opinion should be corrected. Thus, Ring of Bells they suggest as the correct term in place of Peal of Bells, which is erroneous; falling (or ceasing) and raising in peal would be better expressed by falling, ceasing, or raising in order; an expression which will cover “rounds,” or any other distinctive sequence. In treatises, etc., when it is necessary to distinguish between a “performance” and “the thing performed,” it is preferable to use the word composition for the latter, a majority of the Committee holding that the word peal is properly applicable to the “performance of a true composition containing not less than 5,000 changes, or 5,040, if for less than eight bells”; the use of the word with reference to a “touch,” or any less number of changes than 5,000, or as a substitute for the term “method” being erroneous.
7.- The Committee recommend that the term Singles, as applied to the series of changes on four bells, should be dropped; and that the term Minimus be substituted for it; Singles being only applicable to the changes on three bells.
8.- Slow-hunt, a term sometimes used to designate the bell “in the slow,” they think should be abandoned as inexpressive, and slow-bell be used instead.
9.- In like manner, half-lead, which is sometimes used to express the single blow at the lead when a bell is dodging in 1-2, should be replaced by dodging-lead.
10.- Such terms as half-hunt, quarter-hunt, and half-quarter-hunt, are all inexpressive, and should be regarded as obsolete; many other terms, which are incapable of defence, such as cramp-method, fore-stroke, down-stroke, etc., being deserving, in the Committee’s opinion, of similar treatment.
* Mr Davies prefers the term retrograde, or (shortly) retro, to inverted or invert, as conveying more distinctly the idea of motion; and he has accordingly made use of it in this connection in his forthcoming treatise on Stedman.
N.B.- Members of the Exercise are requested to consider the foregoing suggestions carefully, and to discuss the recommendations of the Committee, if they see fit, in the Correspondence Columns of “The Bell News,” before a final decision is taken upon them by the Council.
The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, November 30, 1895, page 316