The Sixth Annual Meeting of the Central Council was held at Brighton on Tuesday, April 7th. The gathering was not a large one. The President, who presided, was supported by the Hon. Secretary and Mr. Attree. The report on railway fares was submitted by the Rev. H. A. Cockey, from which it appeared the Committee had not at present been successful, but it was understood that the matter would be considered at the next meeting of the Clearing House. It was afterwards resolved that a deputation be appointed to attend the meeting at the Clearing House, and urge the granting of the same privileges to ringers as it is understood is granted to golfers and anglers.

It was decided to change the day of meeting to Whit-Tuesday.

The proposal to augment the Committee for the classification of peals, gave rise to a long discussion, and it was finally resolved to add the Hon. Secretary to the Committee, and the Committee were requested to secure the services of gentlemen who would devote their attention to one particular method.

The report on Technical Terms was adopted, and the Committee requested to proceed with the Glossary.

The report of the Committee on peal values was presented and considered.

After some discussion upon increasing the points for long lengths, the report was referred back, and Mr. Attree was requested to revise the same.

The proposed addition to the definition of a “peal” on six bells was lost.

The proposed recommendation for a short service at Quarterly, Association, and Guild meetings was altered to “at all important ringing meetings.”

The proposed uniform regulation of election of members of Associations and Guilds was lost.

The titles of Thurstans’ Compositions of Stedman Triples, and the claim of the variation of Cambridge Surprise Major known as the Burton Variation, but more correctly known as Thackrah’s, to rank as the standard method, were both referred to by the President.

The meeting having concluded, the members present, at the invitation of Mr. Attree, dined at the Hotel Metropole. A full report of the proceedings will appear.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, April 11, 1896, page 541


The Sixth Annual Meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was held at Brighton on Easter Tuesday at the Royal Pavilion. The following were present: A. Percival Heywood, J. W. Taylor, J. Griffin and S. Cooper (Midland Counties Association); Rev. C. D. P. Davies, G. F. Attree, J. Parker (Sussex County Association); Rev. H. A. Cockey (Gloucester and Bristol Association); T. Lockwood (Leeds and District Association); Revs. F. E. Robinson, G. F. Coleridge, and A. H. Cocks (Oxford Diocesan Guild); Revs. E. W. Carpenter and F. J. O. Helmore (Kent County Association); Dr. Carpenter and R. B. Blanchard (Surrey County Association); Rev. H. Earle Bulwer and R. H. Brundle (Norwich Diocesan Association); W. T. Cockerill and W. D. Smith (Ancient Society of College Youths); B. Foskett and A. Jacobs (Royal Cumberland Youths); R. S. Story (Durham and Newcastle Association); S. Reeves (Stafford Archdeaconry Association); F. Newman and W. J. Nevard (Essex Association); R. E. Grove (Worcestershire Association); G. B. Lucas (Middlesex Association); Rev. R. C. M. Harvey, H. White, and G. Williams (Winchester Diocesan Guild); Revs. H. J. Elsee and C. A. Clements (Lancashire Association); R. T. Holding and W. Walmsley (Chester Diocesan Guild); Rev. W. W. Baker (Bedfordshire Association); T. Blackbourn (Salisbury Diocesan Guild); Rev. Maitland Kelly (Devonshire Guild); C. E. D. Boutflower (Bath and Wells Association); J. Pettit and W. Wakley (Hon. Members).

Before the proceedings commenced, Mr. Attree photographed the members present in a group.

The President having taken the chair, called upon the Hon. Secretary (Rev. H. E. Bulwer), to read the minutes of the last meeting, which were passed without comment. The financial statement showed that the year had commenced with a balance of £41 6s. 2½d. Subscriptions for the year had amounted to £8 12s. 6d., and £4 2s. 7d. had been realised by the sale of the Collection of Peals. The publication of the same had cost £9 15s. 0d., and after defraying postages and other small items there was a balance in hand of £42 11s. 7d.

In reply to Mr. Griffin, the Hon. Secretary stated that the subscriptions of the North Lincolnshire Association, St. James Society, London (two years), Stafford Archdeaconry Association, and the Yorkshire Association, with the exception of one member had not been paid. He thought that in the case of the Yorkshire Association it was unintentional. He had received a letter from Mr. Snowdon in which that gentleman stated that the subscriptions could not be paid till the next meeting of the Association, but enclosing his own.

The President, in reply to a further question as to the right of a member to take part in the meeting if the subscription of his Association was still unpaid, said he thought that if one subscription had been paid, one member should be permitted to speak and vote, but the fact that a member had paid his own subscription did not relieve his Association of the duty of paying the other subscriptions. In order however to put themselves in order if there were any present representing an Association for which the subscriptions had not been paid, it would be as well for them to advance the requisite sum.

Mr. Lockwood explained that the inadvertence in the case of the Yorkshire Association arose through there not being a quorum present at the last Committee Meeting. He had no doubt that the subscription would be paid after the next meeting.

The balance-sheet was adopted.

Letters regretting that they were unable to be present were read from the Rev. T. L. Papillon, Mr. H. Dains (London), Mr. Ward (Cheltenham), Rev. A. Boughey (Cambridge), and Mr. Mitchell (St. Albans).


The Rev. H. A. Cockey said the Committee on railway fares had nothing satisfactory to report. Last year the Committee were awaiting a reply from the Clearing House, and they were still doing so. The application for a single fare was met with a point blank refusal, so an application had been made for a single fare and a quarter, which some companies now granted. The Committee had been informed that a meeting was to be held at the Railway Clearing House, when the application would be dealt with, in fact the Committee had the promise that it should be brought forward and duly considered. He knew two or three of the railway authorities who he thought might have some influence with the representative of the Company to which they belonged upon the Clearing House, and it was his intention to communicate with them, asking them to use their influence with the representative to get the application granted. He would advise any of those present who might know any director, or any one of influence, to do the same. He had communicated with the Secretary of the Clearing House as to a deputation attending, and the reply was a deputation from the Central Council would not be required.


The President said he did not think it desirable to fill up all the vacancies among the hon. members, especially as the Council would be re-elected next year, and there should be some places left for the new Council to fill. There was however one gentleman who had been a regular attendant, but who he understood would not be re-elected as a representative. He referred to Mr. Lockwood, who he had no doubt, if proposed, would be heartily welcomed as an hon. member.

On the proposition of Mr. Story, seconded by Mr. Newman, Mr. Lockwood was elected an hon. member.


The Hon. Secretary remarked that this report was presented to the last meeting of the Council, when it was decided to publish it in “The Bell News,” with a view of affording the Exercise a chance to pass their opinion on the same. The report had duly appeared, but no criticisms. The Committee thought that there might be an alteration in the fifth clause on page 6 with respect to the use of the word “home,” the sentence “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” to read “occupy in the plain course.” With this alteration he had now to ask that the report be adopted, so that the Committee might proceed with the Glossary.

Mr. Griffin seconded.

Mr. W. D. Smith said the word “rounds” was a common term. He considered the word rounds more applicable.

Mr. Story thought it was intended simply as an indication of the position that a bell or bells were in.

The President having pointed out that it was not intended the terms should apply to the language of the belfry, but only in writing upon ringing matters of which the terminology was not at the present time in a very satisfactory condition. The report was adopted.


Mr. Attree in moving this report said that the Committee appointed at the last meeting of the Council to consider the value of peals in various methods, begged to report that six out of seven members forming the Committee had given the matter entrusted to them their serious consideration, and ventured to hope that the schedule which had been arrived at, although far from complete, would give greater satisfaction than that at present in use, and would suggest that it should be used and tested during the present year; (2) that the matter be then reconsidered by the Committee, taking into consideration any suggestions made by the members of the Council at this meeting, and (3) that all revisions and additions found necessary should be presented to the meeting of the Council next year. He might mention that Mr. E. Bankes James did not see his way to give an opinion on the matter which he, Mr. James, considered was beyond the power of any one to do satisfactorily. As to the manner in which the schedule had been arrived at, each member of the Committee was requested to put down the number of points he considered should be given to each method. These were then tabulated and sent out to each member of the Committee, and in some cases were altered, after which they were added together, and the result produced was the mean average. For plain methods Triples 7, Major 8, Caters 9, Royal 10, Cinques 10, Maximus 11. For all double methods, Major 16, Royal 18, Maximus 20. For Stedman’s principle, Triples 23, Caters 24, Cinques 28. For Alliance principle, Major 18, Royal 20, Maximus 23. Treble Bob methods- Major 8, Royal 11, Maximus 14. Surprise methods- London 50, Cambridge 40, New Cumberland 33, Superlative 31, Champion 35. On six bells, plain methods, in one method, 3; in two methods, 4; in three methods, 6; in four methods, 6; in five methods, 7; in six methods, 8; in seven methods, 10. In seven double methods 25. Mr. Attree further reported that the President had suggested that all methods without a guiding treble should be allowed for Triples 15, Major 16, Caters 17, Royal 18, Cinques 19, and Maximus 20. Mr. Carter suggested that “Birmingham” be allowed 40; “Burton, Forward, and Loughborough” 35 each, and that such illegitimate methods as Grandsire on even bells, or Plain Bob or Canterbury Pleasure on odd bells, only half the points allowed for those methods on the proper number of bells. Mr. Carter further considered that the same points should be allowed for Triples, Caters, and Cinques. Mr. Washbrook thought that the schedule was not so perfect as it should be, and that more attention should be given to it. Mr. Dains agreed with the report, but considered “Alliance” too high. This was one part which he, Mr. Attree, considered might be revised. It would be seen that Treble Bob methods only had half, and that in the Surprise methods, while Champion got 35, Superlative only secured 31.

The President was sure the Council were much obliged to Mr. Attree, who had given a great amount of time to the matter, in fact, a great deal more than any other ringer in the country, and he had further received assistance from other gentlemen. Now that Mr. Attree was so fortified with the opinions of others, he thought the Council would do well to leave the final arrangements in his hands for publication in “Bell News.” After a year’s trial, the Committee might report upon the fairness of the Schedule to the next Council. If it was then thought that any method was aggrieved or the reverse, the subject could be brought forward.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson proposed, and Dr. Carpenter seconded, the adoption of the report.

In reply to a question as to the points to be allowed for long peals, Mr. Attree said he considered that double the points for a 10,000 should be allowed as for a 5000.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson thought there should be an increasing ratio after 6000.

Mr. Attree remarked that in ringing the first 5000 the band had got into practice.

Mr. Foskett had no hesitation in saying that the second 5000 required more ringing than the first.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson moved, and the Rev. G. F. Coleridge seconded, that there should be an increasing ratio of points for long lengths.

Mr. W. D. Smith considered the weight of metal should also be considered, and the peal rung with a tenor of 32 cwt. or more, should have more points than the peal rung where the tenor was only 14 cwt.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson said some little bells required more ringing than heavy ones.

Mr. Attree thought much depended upon being used to a bell.

Mr. W. D. Smith advocated that if an increasing ratio was adopted for long lengths, some consideration should be given for peals rung on heavy bells. A peal of 12,000 that was rung many years ago was held up as having been rung by a band that were a specimen of ringers which all should follow. Some consideration should surely be shown to those that rang a tenor of 32 cwt., for it was something which proved that a man had something in him beyond the method in his head.

Mr. Attree said such a proposal, if adopted, would place some Associations in a better position than others. In Sussex they had not a bell beyond 25 cwt. It was just as easy to ring some heavy bells as it was to ring a light one. If Mr. Smith would go and try their treble, he would find that it required far more ringing than some heavy bells. If the question was entertained, the question of striking would also have to be considered.

The report was adopted.


Mr. Attree, in moving that the day of meeting of the Council be altered from Easter Tuesday to Whit Tuesday, said since he gave the notice last year, he had heard from a number of members of the Council expressing a hope that the motion would be adopted. He appeared to have considered everybody’s convenience except his own, for their annual meeting was held on Whit Monday, and if the Council meeting was held at a long distance, it was necessary for him to start the previous night, that was, the same evening as their own annual meeting. Looking at Easter Tuesday from any point of view, it was a very inconvenient day to many people. Men of business had, many of them, been out of business since the previous Thursday, and that day they went short of some seven or eight who had gone back to business, because they were compelled to do so. Again, from a Church point of view, Easter week was a busy one, for there were the Easter vestries and other parish meetings which were taking place, and which many, no doubt, that came to the Central Council meeting would like to attend, whereas Whitsun week was generally free.

The Rev. Maitland Kelly, who seconded, said he had no doubt that those travelling a long distance would find Whitsun week more convenient.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker, said in his district most of the Friendly Societies held their annual gatherings in Whitsun week, when some of the clergy were engaged. It might be so in other places.

Mr. Griffin asked if it was necessary that the meeting should be held on a Bank Holiday, could not some other day be suggested?

Mr. W. D. Smith did not think a day after a Bank Holiday altogether suitable. As a representative body of churchmen, as there was a Church House in London, could they not another year meet there, as the meeting would be held in London; if so, he had no doubt that the authorities would be able to find them a place upon any ordinary day.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies thought that the holding of the meeting the day following a Bank Holiday afforded those travelling a long distance time to reach the place of meeting, and very often cheaper rail fares than would otherwise be the case.

The Rev. G. F. Coleridge moved that the Council meet at a time and place to be considered at the previous Council meeting.

This not finding a seconder,

The President said the reason why Easter Tuesday was originally fixed upon, was because at Whitsuntide so many people took their principal holiday, and it was not thought wise to fix the meetings of the Central Council at that time. It would appear now, however, that there was a general wish to alter the date, and if not found to work well, it could be altered back again.

Mr. Attree’s resolution was adopted.


Mr. Foskett, in the unavoidable absence of Mr. Dains, moved, “That it is desirable to augment the members of the Committee for the classification of peals in order that as far as possible each method may be dealt with by a separate member of the Committee; that to insure uniformity of procedure it is desirable that the whole Committee should be under the guidance of a chairman, and that it be an instruction to the enlarged Committee, to furnish to the Council a definition of the points constituting ‘original authorship,’ and of those which determine ‘variation.’” Mr. Foskett said he regretted that Mr. Dains had been compelled to return to business, but he had, however, permission from Mr. Dains to deal with the subject in his own way, or to put Mr. Dains’ views before the Council. He should adopt the latter. Mr. Dains for a long time had considered that the Committee appointed to collect and classify peal compositions was not sufficiently strong and representative for the task involved. The resolution was intended to both strengthen the hands and lighten the labours of the present Committee. His view of the constitution of the Committee was that it should be divided into several groups, and alloted somewhat thus- (1). Plain methods, treble plain hunt, Major, Royal, and Maximus; (2).- Plain methods, treble plain hunt, Triples, Caters, and Cinques; 3.- Stedman Principle; 4.- Treble Bob methods, treble bob hunt, Major, Royal and Maximus; 5.- Major, etc., wherein there is no guiding treble; 6.- Surprise methods, Treble Bob hunt in all variations. He considered it should be an instruction to the Committee that nothing short of the Standard re Schedule, in classification and description attached, that was adopted by the late Jasper Snowdon in his treatise, would be accepted by and worthy of the name of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. The Committee should collect all published compositions from “The Bell News,” Church Bells, and Association Reports, and other publications, by which means the date of the first performance of peals upon a new plan would be obtained, and give a good idea as to the authorship of many a composition now somewhat in doubt. A book thus built up would be invaluable to every ringer, while without those particulars it would be of no value. He considered that the Committee should include the President and Hon. Sec., who should receive, approve, or advise upon the work of the Committee. He would suggest the following names: Rev. J. H. Pilkington, Mr. J. Carter, Mr. Tom Lockwood, Mr. Arthur Knights, Mr. J. A. Trollope, Dr. Carpenter, Mr. J. S. Wild, Mr. G. Newson, and Mr. Gabriel Lindoff, with power to add to their number.

Mr. Williams seconded.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies said as the only member of the old committee present that day he should be speaking only on behalf of himself and giving his own personal views. If the Council did him the honour to re-elect him upon the committee he should welcome any additional members on it, but he was rather, at the same time, inclined to question the wisdom of electing a large committee. He still adhered to what he said at Oxford, and saw no reason to change his mind. If a large committee was formed there would be a large collection of peals which would mean dealing with different composers, and the collection might run to some thousands. Then came the difficulty, the cost of printing. Last year the original estimate was much above what the work was ultimately done for; but after all it was a great item of expense, and it would not do for the Council to go in for any large expenditure of that kind. As to the sale, only some 160 copies had been sold, which realised about £4 2s. 6d., whereas the expense of printing was £9 15s.; so the sale was very small, even when sold at its present rate. If a large collection was printed the cost would be increased, and copies could not be sold under 1s. or even 1s. 6d. Thus the number sold would be smaller still. Again, a large collection would produce a large amount of criticism as to whose the peals were. The old committee consisted of three members, and it was understood that each member was answerable for a particular method, not to insert the whole of the peals sent him, but to select the best peals. Mr. Pitstow selected his own, with what result they all knew. By increasing the collection correspondence upon it would be increased, for there would always be disputes going on. The very best specimens of peals that can be obtained should be the ones to be selected, and these the committee should be content with, publishing them at a cheap rate, say 2d. each, and so in the course of years a good collection could be got together by binding the whole in one volume. Again, if a large collection was taken up it would be necessary to prove them. He trusted that the Council would understand that he would welcome two or three more gentlemen upon the committee, but if made too large there would not be anything for some of them to do. If the resolution had been divided into two parts he should have had pleasure in supporting the second portion relating to authorship, for it would be a help if this part of the resolution could be acted upon. He trusted that it would be understood that he did not wish to throw cold water on the proposal, but that he opposed it because he did not consider it necessary.

Mr. Attree considered that if the work was worth doing it was worth doing well. To carry out a large collection and to make sure that every peal was absolutely true would take a long time, but no peal should be inserted unless it was true. In the book that had been published there were three false peals. Those that were thinking of calling a peal did not like to take one from it, for the chances were that he would take one which was false.

Dr. Carpenter did not know that his name was to be among those suggested should be added to the committee. He did not agree with Mr. Dains, for if a collection of all the peals which appeared in “The Bell News” and Church Bells were to be published it would be a tremendous task and an enormous expense to print, with a very little prospect of the sum coming back. On the whole he thought it would be best to continue the collection on the present lines.

The Rev. H. Earle Bulwer said there appeared to be some misapprehension as to the instruction to the committee. It was not that they were to publish all peals that they came across, but that they should make themselves acquainted with the peals, and reserve for publication the best. A very important part of the duty of the committee was to select the peals which were accepted for publication on behalf of the Council. There was no need to publish the whole collection at once, some peals might be reserved for publication as funds would permit. He was himself very much in favour of something on the lines of Mr. Dains’ resolution, for at present the committee had not given much satisfaction. As to the collection there were a number of peals in it which ought not to have appeared, while a great many which ought to have been inserted had not appeared. He had to offer on behalf of Mr. Trollope to the Council his collection of peals of Bob Triples and Bob Major, from which, provided the Council accepted of the collection, there could be a selection made as was thought fit. The collection had been proved, so that part of the work was already done.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies asked if the resolution could not be divided.

Mr. Foskett said Mr. Dains was very strong upon the first portion as to the enlargement of the Committee.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson thought a digest of peals would be done much quicker by a larger committee.

Mr. Tom Lockwood did not consider that there should be a collection of all peals which had been published, but that they should have the best peals, in the selection of which there need not be, in his opinion, any difficulty.

Mr. J. W. Taylor said there were some ringers that never would be composers. Such men had, if they attempted to call a peal, to depend upon its being correct. He never relied upon the correctness of any peal until some friend told him it was true. The work of preparing a collection he considered should be in the hands of those that would exercise great care. He considered that if some of the more advanced methods were taken in hand and a good collection published, it would be very useful.

The President said he considered that it was almost impossible to carry out the work as originally intended. In any attempt to carry it out the committee could not prove all the peals sent them, and if not proved the peals were not of much use. Any attempt to gather together a collection without proof must be futile. There was only one way in which it could be done. The Council should take advantage of the enthusiasm of individuals who had taken the pains to get together a collection in one method, as had been mentioned by the Hon. Secretary Mr. Trollope had done. This was the only possible way in which the work could be done with the prospect of success. The present committee had been somewhat handicapped and had not got much credit for they had done, either for themselves or the Council. He agreed with the idea of a small committee working under the Hon. Sec. and proceeding with the collection so far as funds would permit, but it would not do for the Council to launch out into a heavy expenditure, although they need not necessarily make a profit, as their funds were collected for the benefit of the ringing world. He thought some of the present works should be brought up to date, and had no doubt that the late Mr. Jasper Snowdon’s works on Treble Bob and Double Norwich could be so treated with the permission of Mr. William Snowdon. Care should be taken that no peals given in the collection were false. He approved of the aim that Mr. Dains had in view, but it would be best attained by a small committee to deal with publication, and as many reliable collectors as they could get, each of whom would give his attention to one method. He would suggest that the Rev. C. D. P. Davies, the Hon. Sec. and Dr. Carpenter form a committee with a request that they would select suitable gentlemen who would undertake to deal with a collection in different methods, each one dealing with one method.

Mr. Attree suggested adding Mr. Dains to the committee, which was agreed to. It was also resolved to adopt the latter portion of the resolution as to the instruction to the Committee.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, April 18, 1896, pages 553 to 555


The next motion on the agenda was as follows: “It shall be sufficient to constitute a peal on six bells, if, the full 720 changes in any one method having been rung, the 5040 changes are completed by half extents, or 360 changes, no two half extents to be rung in the same method.”

The President said he desired, before this resolution was moved, most earnestly to deprecate the way in which the subject had been dealt with by some of those who had contributed correspondence thereon, and the use that had been made of some thoughtless and inapplicable terms. They had been told that six-bell ringing had been rooted out by the action of the Council. Surely no one could substantiate such a sweeping assertion. Again they had been told that the Council were autocratic. The Council consisted of delegates of the various Associations elected by the members thereof to represent their views, and of a few others elected by the Council itself, and since the term “autocrat” applied only to such as arrogated power to themselves, he failed to see the force of the aspersion. As to the selfish narrow-mindedness with which they were also charged; he was satisfied that the verdict of the Exercise would not endorse this indictment. He considered the Council had very frequently and patiently discussed this question. If these charges of short-sighted, selfish, and narrow-minded policy could be substantiated, why did the Associations continue to elect their present representatives? Again, a remark as to “the usual biassed opinion from the chair,” on this subject was hardly fair. On the occasion referred to his friend the Hon. Secretary occupied the chair, but he - the President - would altogether have declined to accept the honour of the chairmanship were he to be debarred from frankly expressing his own opinion. With the exception of the Speaker of the House of Commons, he knew of no chairman who had not a free hand in this matter. He had attended something like 180 meetings during last year, and he could not recall one single meeting at which the chairman had not stated his opinion, if he thought fit to do so, at the proper time. He had however himself, except when he considered a question of principle involved, endeavoured to the best of his ability to keep an open mind in regard to the subjects under discussion, and to express what he believed to be the prevailing wish. One point however had been urged in regard to the question now before them, which was worthy of their attention, viz., that the views of six-bell ringers were not adequately expressed by the large majority of eight, ten, and twelve bell ringers on the Council. It behoved them then to try and place themselves in the position of these six-bell ringers and endeavour as far as possible without sacrificing principle, to meet their views. But it must be further remembered that those who had roused this contention were only a section and probably not even a majority of six-bell ringers.

Mr. Lockwood assured the Council that he had nothing whatever to do with that which had appeared in the press. The resolution which he had to move was one passed by his district, and one in which they had endeavoured to meet every objection raised, and one which he trusted would be fairly discussed, and in which the Council would endeavour to meet them. It had been argued before that if they were permitted to ring less than a 720, there might not be the whole of the changes rung that were in a 720. This they had met by putting in a full 720 first, and completing the 5040 by half-peals or 360s. The question was one which had received considerable discussion and controversy, some of rather a bitter nature. He trusted that the Council would that day settle it. Let them see if they could not come to some terms of a satisfactory nature. He trusted, if any amendment was moved, that an attempt would be made to meet the six-bell ringers. He hoped it would be borne in mind that he did not come to the Council with any threat in his hand, but simply to move the resolution in accordance with the instructions of his district, and to ask the Council to support it. Any attempt to settle the whole question would be welcomed by him, for it was somewhat of a load upon him to have year after year to bring this matter forward, which he trusted he should not have again to repeat.

Mr. Walmsley seconded.

The Rev. E. W. Carpenter said there was one serious difficulty which stood in the way. They had to contend with the word “peal.” There was the bottom of the whole business. Objection was not made to performances, but it was the use of the word “peal” which had been fixed as having a definite meaning that was objected to. He thought that the difficulty might be somewhat met if in the record of ringing there was a classification of all peals, so that those on twelve bells were kept distinct from those on ten bells, and those on eight bells distinct from those on ten, and those on six distinct from those on eight. It appeared to him that it was impossible to compare a performance on six with others. There was so much difficulty in the whole circumstances that he thought it would be well if peals on different number of bells were classified and kept in sections, and not mixed up one with another.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies could not see where arose the difficulty which rested on the word “peal.” It was used to denote a 5040 changes upon seven, or a 5000 or more upon eight, or a higher number of bells, that were rung without a repetition. Upon six bells this was impossible. He should be sorry to see it used in any other sense. He approved of the course the Editor of “The Bell News” had adopted, the word “performance.” He thought this the exact word to use, and looked upon some of the performances as superior to the ringing of some peals. To accomplish some of these performances it required more ability than the ringing of a peal of Triples. He considered that the definition of the word peal should be 5000 or more changes rung without a repetition. This could not be done if there were only 6 bells in the tower, and those who had only 6 bells to ring should not complain because they were unable to ring a peal.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker said in Bedfordshire there had been eleven peals upon six bells, many of which were considered worthy of credit, and he could say that his association felt no hardship in the definition laid down by the Council.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies suggested that two separate peal-books could be kept, one for 6-bell performances only.

Mr. Story said this was exactly what it was desired to avoid.

The proposal was that 5040 should be admitted as a peal. He did not understand why the Council should be so exacting in this matter.

Mr. S. Reeves said the Stafford Archdeaconry Association Secretary kept two books.

Dr. Carpenter thought the Council were mixing up two questions. The question was “should 6-bell performances be authorised as peals or not.” There could be no question as to the ability required in ringing a number of methods upon six bells, but authorising 360s as peals was another thing. If a band could ring 360 in a method, why not ring the whole 720 in the same, and go for a 10,000.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee thought that if there was not a repetition in a peal it should be admitted as a peal, but that such should be kept distinct from other peals. It did not appear to him that there was any slur upon any band if the peals were entered in different books, or if they stood side by side in different classes. He thought that the word should be used in its old sense. Was it not right that the word peal was correct for 720 on six bells, and for 120 changes on five?

Mr. Attree said the Council had discussed this matter upon six previous occasions. It appeared that some of their friends considered that the Council wanted to have it their own way. That was where they made a mistake. The performances on six bells were looked upon as equal to what others did on eight or more bells. What would be said by some of their friends if they rang a peal upon eight bells in four Surprise methods. It would be said that anything so ridiculous ought not to be permitted to rank as a peal. That was exactly the way in which they looked upon these performances on six bells. Mr. Snowdon had reminded him of the battle of Hastings; he did not want to go back so far, but he would tell Mr. Snowdon what was done in the present day in Sussex. When a band gets tired of the ringing on six bells, they go and get the money for two more bells and put them up. What is done in Sussex could be done in Yorkshire. He should vote as he had done on six previous occasions, as he did not see what good was to be done by adopting the resolution.

The Rev. E. W. Carpenter moved that all records of peals be classified, and peals on twelve, ten, eight, or six be kept distinct.

Mr. Foskett could not see what the Council had to say upon this point. Associations had the right to enter peals in whatever way they thought fit.

Mr. Lucas could not see how the proposal to classify peals could be adopted in “The Bell News,” as no doubt the Editor had to put them in as received.

The Rev. E. W. Carpenter’s proposal having been seconded, was submitted to the meeting and lost.

The President, in reply to a member, said that at present the Council’s definition of a peal on six bells was that it should be in true 720s, of which no two in the same method should be called alike. If the resolution was adopted it would have to be placed after the present definition as a modification.

Mr. J. W. Taylor said he had not taken part in a peal on six but should be pleased to do so. The Council had decided what a peal was upon seven or more bells. There could be no doubt whatever that a peal should consist of as few repetitions as possible. This was exactly what the Council had decided by permitting seven 720s in the same method so long as the calling was different.

The Rev. Maitland Kelly considered that what was now asked for must be a more difficult and therefore more creditable task.

Mr. Wakley said for his own part he should like to ring a peal in four Surprise methods but that six-bell ringers would exclaim that this definition of a peal should not be allowed, and that they could understand. The proposal would permit of ringing over again the same changes, and this there was no sense in.

The President said he trusted there was no one present that was prejudiced one way or the other. The Council did not dictate to anyone, but simply defined what they thought should be considered a true peal. It had nothing to do with Editors of ringing journals or Peal Books. There had been much discussion respecting the seven bell peal question. The whole question was of a technical nature, and it had been successfully contended that a seven-bell peal rung without a cover was as true as if rung with the tenor, and that although not a musical performance it must be admitted as a peal. If the Council was to follow the same line of truth against inclination, he could not see how it could go beyond that which it had already fixed as the definition of a peal on six bells, and continue to hold that seven true 720s are the nearest approach to a true peal. There had been a peal rung near Birmingham on eight bells in four methods but it was widely held not to be a true peal at all. If only half extents were to be permitted to be rung to make up a peal, there were methods which would not run to a true 720, and some of these might be introduced. He had no doubt that the Council would be desirous of considering the wishes of six-bell ringers, and if the majority of these were really not satisfied with the existing definition, he would suggest that the Council should meet them by withdrawing the definition altogether, on the ground that, as no true peals could be rung on six bells, and as the Council were only desirous of defining true peals, a definition for peals on five and six bells was impracticable.

The original resolution was submitted with the result that nine voted in its favour and twenty-two against.


Mr. Boutflower moved “That it is desirable that at all quarterly and district meetings of any Association or Guild of Church Bell Ringers, as well as at their annual meetings, arrangements should be made wherever possible for holding a short service in the parish church, at which the incumbent should be asked to addressed the ringers present.” Mr. Boutflower said the resolution was of a different nature to that which had just engaged the attention of the Council, but at the same time it was an important one. There was a tendency even in the present day not to recognise bells as sacred instruments dedicated to the service of God. As this was so he considered that everything that could be done to remove such a tendency should be done. He was aware that services were held, but that only a few ringers were found at them, and he hoped and believed that such a resolution would, if passed, have some weight among ringers in general. He had carefully looked through the reports of Association and Guild meetings that had recently taken place, and he found seven reports in “The Bell News” in which no mention was made of any service forming part of the proceedings. He did not think this was as it should be, but that those who form Diocesan Associations of ringers should, when they meet, include a short service as part of their proceedings. He understood that the Hon. Sec. considered there might be some difficulty in some places in having an address. He was glad to say that at meetings of the two Associations to which he belonged, it had been the custom to have a short service before the meeting, and he did not remember a single instance in which there had been any difficulty in having an address, either by the incumbent or someone else. If there was any difficulty in obtaining the services of some one to give an address, then he thought it would be best to have the service even if without an address. The Gloucester and Bristol Association had decided to have a service specially drawn up for use at Association meetings. He had hoped that he should have been able to have brought a copy with him, but as he had not, he should, when published, be glad to forward a copy to any one desirous of seeing it.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey, who seconded, said he agreed with the remarks made by the mover of the resolution. If they as ringers, members of an Association, called themselves church bell ringers, they should impress upon all that their work was connected with the church. He considered that at all Association meetings, quarterly as well as annual, ringers should unite in some form of worship. There ought not to be any difficulty in securing some one to give an address. It was not upon ringing matters that they wished to be advised, but upon the work of their spiritual lives. If this view was taken there need not be much, if any, difficulty. They sometimes found that there were those not desiring to meet ringers, but if as ringers they showed a desire for a service, and invited those who addressed them to join in the business of the Associations, they would not hesitate to meet them again. Complaints were sometimes heard that the clergy did not come to the assistance of ringers, that the clergy did not help ringers as they might do. They as ringers should make it clear to the clergy that they were anxious for their help. If incumbents were asked to address them at their Association meetings it would draw the attention of the clergyman to the Association, and the clergy would thus be shown that they, as ringers, desired to be recognised as a body of church workers.

The President thought the Council would do well to consider, before passing the resolution if it was not going beyond their powers. It would be somewhat of a novelty in the proceedings to advise the Associations of the country. He thought it would be well to pause before adopting the resolution. It was a question if it was wise to bring it forward. No one disputed the desirability of a service at such meetings, but the difficulty was to get the ringers to attend.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson considered such a resolution passed by a body of laymen would very much strengthen the hands of the clergy, and approved of the resolution.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies while cordially agreeing with the resolution could not but express his approval of the remarks made by the Chairman. He believed there was an improvement going on, and that there were more services held now than formerly was the case. He would suggest and moved as an amendment that the Central Council learns with great satisfaction that there is an increase in the number of services held in connection with ringers’ Association meetings.

The Hon. Secretary said he would support the amendment not because he was not in entire sympathy with the resolution but because he felt strongly that the Council should not attempt to guide an Association as to how it should conduct its affairs. It would be a most unfortunate step for the Council to take. There were some places where Association meetings were held at which it would be impossible to carry out the resolution. There were places in his own Association district in which the ringers could not possibly be present except for a very short time in the afternoon, and during that time they naturally expected to do their share of ringing and take part in the business meeting of the Association. As to the clergy giving an address it would be well to first make sure that they had got ringers to attend the service, otherwise it might be that there would be but empty benches. He thought it would be better if they could secure the attendance of ringers at services when such were held. For the present he thought it would be difficult to express their satisfaction at the improvement going on.

The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore thought that the time had arrived when the Council might give its general knowledge of the ringing world, give its advice to the Associations, and as he did not think that the resolution could be considered as dictating to the Associations, he should give it his support.

The Rev. E. W. Carpenter was in favour of both the amendment and the resolution, and asked if both could be voted upon.

The President said if the amendment was carried the resolution would fall through.

Mr. Boutflower said be did not consider that there was any proof that what the amendment stated was true, but on the contrary it appeared to him that it was not correct, for that reason he could not vote for it. It was not his intention that the resolution should in any way be dictatory to the Associations, for at present the Council had sailed along fairly well. The resolution was that it was desirable where possible. He ventured to think that the Bath and Wells district was as bad for their train services as the Norwich district, for there were but few centres where they could meet. Still if ringers could come to a meeting for three or four hours could they not possibly devote some twenty, fifteen, or even ten minutes to a service in the church. If they could not have an address let them have the service without the address. He should press the resolution rather than let it go altogether.

Mr. Story said in the North there was a service in connection with the annual meetings but he thought it would be too much to have a service at every meeting.

On the suggestion of the President the resolution was altered as follows: “That it is desirable wherever convenient at all important ringing meetings of church bell ringers that arrangements should be made for holding a short service in the church.”

This was accepted by mover and seconder and the resolution in the altered form was adopted.


Mr. Attree moved that a deputation be appointed to wait upon the Railway Clearing House in London, with a view of obtaining cheap travelling privileges such as are now granted to angling clubs, golf clubs, and other societies, and to consider other matters relating thereto. Mr. Attree, in moving the resolution, said, when he gave notice of the resolution, he had forgotten that there was already a Committee that had the subject in hand. His reason for bringing the matter forward was because the agreement that had existed with the London Brighton and South Coast company for cheap fares had, through the Central Council going to the Railway Clearing House, come to an end, and they now had to pay full fares. This they wanted put right, not only for themselves in Sussex, but for ringers throughout the country. It had been suggested that a strong deputation should be sent to represent the whole of the ringing community. If this was done, the deputation should point out to the authorities how unfair it was to permit members of golf clubs to travel at single fares, who were, generally speaking, men of some wealth, and not to grant the same privileges to ringers. Just the same with respect to angling clubs. In those cases a man had only to join one of those clubs, and with his rod he could travel to wherever there was a pond, which there was almost sure to be in every village. If the same privileges could be obtained for ringers as were now granted to either golfers or anglers, there were many places that ringers would be able to go to. He had no doubt that if a strong deputation was sent that the whole thing would go through. He would suggest that the President, Hon. Secretary, and two or three other gentlemen, form the deputation.

The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore said the Kent Association was suffering from the same complaint as the Sussex Association, the South Eastern having withdrawn the privilege. He was sure there were many members of the Kent Association who would be glad if the privilege granted to golfers and others could be granted to ringers.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey said no communication had been made to the Clearing House by the present Committee as to the privileges that been given by the two companies referred to.

Mr. Attree said he understood that the matter was referred to at the meeting at the Clearing House.

The Hon. Secretary suggested that Mr. Attree should be added to the Committee.

The President thought that the work which the present Committee had done should not be disregarded, for the Committee had taken a considerable amount of pains.

Mr. Griffin said when the clearing house was approached the reply was that they had nothing to do with the matter, but that it must go before the associated railways. It was understood that golfers travelled to one particular place, the same with anglers, who went where there was water, and not to any other place. Besides they could only travel on the particular line, and not upon any other.

Mr. Attree said that he himself belonged to an angling society, and although he had not used his ticket, he understood that he could travel to any place on the line where there was a stream.

It was decided to add Mr. Attree’s name to the present committee, who were requested to make arrangements for a deputation to attend at the Clearing House.


The last motion on the agenda was as follows: “That it is desirable when members are elected otherwise than at recognised Association meetings, that some uniform regulation relating thereto should be adopted by all ringing societies. And that the following be suggested by the Council to the Societies: That it shall be admissible for any band of ringers to elect one member in the tower prior to starting for a peal, providing before the attempt is made, either the proposer or seconder shall have received the candidate’s subscription, and notified to the Secretary of the Association his name and address.”

Mr. Attree, in whose name the motion stood, said it was his intention to divide it into two sections, the first section to end at “societies.” It was a somewhat similar motion to that he moved last year, and therefore he need not make any remarks upon it.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies seconded.

Mr. Foskett objected to the motion, because Associations had a right to elect their members in their own way.

Mr. Lucas said each of the Associations had their rules, and should be permitted to keep to them. He knew of two instances in which peals had been disallowed, because three had been elected in the tower in place of two.

The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore considered the motion very dictatorial.

Mr. Story considered the motion a proper one to make.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey thought the question of electing members had better be left to the different Associations.

Mr. Attree, while admitting that there had been some improvement in the mode of electing members of an Association otherwise than at a quarterly or annual meeting, claimed that there was room for further improvement. He considered the time had arrived when some attempt should be made to secure uniformity in such matters, and was of opinion that the only way and the best way of bringing such under the notice of the Associations was through the Central Council.

The motion was submitted, with the result that thirteen voted for the same, and fifteen against. Consequently it was declared lost.


The President said he had placed on the agenda the following- “To discuss the titles by which Thurstans’ compositions of Stedman Triples should severally be described,” which he had been asked to do. There appeared to be some doubt as to what peal was referred to when the “Original” was mentioned. He had had some conversation with the late Mr. Henry Johnson upon the matter, and had also a letter of Mr. John Day’s, which he thought would throw some light upon the question. As there was not time to discuss it that day, if the Council would depute him to look into the matter, he would do so, and report to the next meeting of the Council.

The suggestion was agreed to, and the President afterwards promised to publish the result of his investigations in “The Bell News.”


The President said he had intended to have discussed, if time had permitted, “The claim of the variation of Cambridge Surprise Major known as ‘Burton’ variation, but more correctly as ‘Thackrah’s,’ to rank as the standard method, on the ground that only one peal could be rung in the original method, of which there were three variations, whereas in the altered method any peal of Superlative, other than those having the bells in 5-6 reversed, could be utilised.” He commended the subject to their consideration, and undertook to publish a statement thereon before the next meeting of the Council, in order that the question might thus be discussed with full knowledge of the points at issue.

The proceedings closed with votes of thanks to the President and Hon. Secretary, and to Mr. Attree for his kind invitation to the Council to dine with him.

The members of the Council proceeded to The Hotel Metropole, where they were entertained by Mr. Attree at a most generous and recherche repast, at the conclusion of which the Rev. G. F. Coleridge moved a hearty vote of thanks to their kind host, which was carried with acclamation.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record, April 25, 1896, pages 565 to 568

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