Draft scheme of the Committee appointed to prepare a return of the condition of all rings of 12, 10, and 8 bells, and of historic rings of 6, throughout the country, so that a tabulated statement of existing defects may be drawn up and submitted by the Council to Church authorities and the public.

At the last meeting of the Council a Committee was appointed to deal with the above question, and they now present, for the approval of the forthcoming meeting, a scheme of procedure which they believe will work. As it is essential to obtain the co-operation of the officials of the various Ringing Societies, the Committee think it wiser to submit the scheme to the criticisms of their assembled representatives before putting it in action, so that it may go forth in fully authorised form.

The scheme is as follows:-

The Hon. Secretary of each ringing society will be addressed by letter (Form A) thus:-

To Mr. …………………………
Hon. Sec. of the …………………………

Dear Sir,

I enclose for your kind consideration a sample form (C) relating to information which the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers are anxious to obtain. This form sets forth fully the purposes of the enquiry. Its desirability has been unanimously resolved on by the Council, and as their mouthpiece, I have to request your earnest co-operation, without which this important attempt to obtain for bells and ringers increased consideration at the hands of Church authorities and the public will largely fail of its purpose.

May I ask you at your early convenience to furnish me, on the stamped reply form B enclosed, with the names of each of the 8, 10 and 12 bell towers in your district, and also separately with those of any neighbouring towers not in union with any ringing Society, and from this cause liable to be overlooked. To each tower should be added the name and full postal address of the representative ringer of that tower, to each of whom the Committee will, on receiving your list, forward a copy of form C, to be filled up by him in conjunction with another responsible ringer, and returned direct to me.

The Council will refund to you such expense in stationery and postage as your valued assistance may entail upon you.

Yours faithfully,
Arthur Percival Heywood (President).

The stamped reply form B, above referred to, is as follows:-

To Sir A. P. Heywood, Bart.

Dear Sir,

The list of towers in our district, and of those in our neighbourhood which are unattached, is enclosed, together with the name and address, so far as I can obtain them, of the representative ringer of each. I hope to supply omissions at an early date.

Signed …………………………
Address …………………………
Hon. Sec. of …………………………

(Here follow ruled spaces for required entries.)

On receiving these returns from the Hon. Secretaries of the various Societies the Committee purpose to forward to each representative ringer form C stamped for return. This form is given below. When the Hon. Secretaries return of names of towers are to hand, the Committee purpose to publish the list in “The Bell News,” with the object of obtaining from the Exercise generally information as to any omissions.

The Committee intend to select themselves, subject to amendment by the Council, the six-bell towers which are to be included under the designation “historic.”

Form C (letter and schedule).

To Mr. …………………………
Representative ringer of ………………………… tower …………………………

Dear Sir,

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers are preparing as complete a schedule as possible of the condition of all rings of 8, 10, and 12 bells throughout the country, together with a guide to the times at which they are rung, with a view to issuing, under the Council’s authority two pamphlets; the one to draw the attention of Church authorities and the public to the need that exists of a more liberal expenditure on the upkeep of bells and ringing-chambers; the other to provide for ringers’ use a reliable guide to belfries.

The former would seem to be the only way in which it maybe possible to obtain a more reasonable recognition of the claims on the public of bells and ringers; while the latter is a desirable object for the attainment of which the present opportunity seems convenient.

If the Council succeed in their endeavours, which must wholly depend on the hearty co-operation of all concerned, they hope to extend the enquiry to the smaller rings.

Yours faithfully,
Arthur Percival Heywood (President.)

Report on the Condition of Bells and Ringing Chamber
of St. ………………………… Church …………………………
Situate within the district of the …………………………

It is most earnestly requested that the replies to the annexed queries be filled in by two ringers having personal knowledge of their tower, and that the statements be accurate and free from exaggeration, since any mis-statement would manifestly be fatal to the purpose of the enquiry.

(Alongside the following queries ample space will, on the form, be provided for the replies.)


(1) What is the number of bells in this tower hung to ring?

(2) Who were they cast by?

(3) What is the reputed weight of the tenor?

(4) What is its actual diameter in feet and inches measured across the mouth?

(5) Is the frame of wood or of iron?

(6) Do the bells go well enough to be rung (not chimed) comfortably?

(7) Are any of them ever “clocked” (i.e. chimed by a rope tied to the clapper)?

(8) State, as far as ascertainable the nature and extent of the work last done in the belfry by a bell-hanger, and his name?

(9) Give, opposite the appended figures, all available information as to the age and condition of each bell, particularly stating whether the soundbow where the clapper now strikes is badly worn. (Here will follow numbers 1, 2 etc. opposite which the remarks will be placed).

(10) What recommendation, if any, in regard to repairs has been laid before clergy or churchwardens, or put forth by them?

(11) Have any steps been taken to carry out such recommendation? If not, is the delay due to want of funds or to indifference?

(12) State the present condition of ropes and when last renewed.

(13) Is half-pull change-ringing practised? If so, what methods are rung?

(14) Are the bells rung (not chimed) for service on Sundays? If so, give the hours and duration of ringing.

(15) State week, day, and hour of regular practices, if any.

(16) Any further remarks.

Signature, official position (if any), and address of each of the two ringers vouching for the accuracy of the foregoing report to be appended to form C.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record May 14, 1898, page 664


We are requested to publish the following reports for final consideration before the Annual Meeting:-

Report on Peal Values. Presented by Mr. Attree at the Last Meeting of the Council.

At the last meeting of the Council, held at Brighton on Easter Tuesday, 1896, it was delegated to me to consider various suggestions made by members present concerning the schedules of values of peals upon a varying number of bells, and in all the practised methods. I have carefully weighed the proposals, and beg to report as follows:-

  1. As to length of compositions rung.- I would suggest that the schedule should be based upon peals of 5000 changes; that lengths between 7000 and 10,000 changes should score as two peals, 10,000 and under 12,000 as three peals, and so on in the same ratio.

  2. As to the weight of metal.- I feel convinced that except in a few special cases, the question of whether the tenor weighs 10, 20, or even 30 cwt., adds little or no additional value to a performance. Ringers who are in the habit of ringing heavy bells would find it difficult to strike light ones well, and would obtain less satisfaction therefrom than by obtaining a peal upon the ring of bells with a heavy tenor.

  3. As to the quality of the Composition rung and the correctness of the striking throughout a performance.- These questions, I do not think, can be taken into consideration in fixing the schedule of values, but must be left in the first instance to the good sense of the conductor to choose only musical compositions, and otherwise to the honour of the band that only true and complete performances be allowed to be published as peals. I now propose that for peals of 5000 changes the schedule of values be fixed as under:-


All Plain Methods.-Triples 7, Major 8, Caters 9, Royal 10, Cinques 11, Maximus 12 points.

All Double Methods.- Double Norwich, Oxford, Duffield, etc., Major 16, Royal 18, Maximus, 20 points.

In Stedman’s Principle.- Triples 24, Caters 24, Cinques 28 points.

Alliance.- Major 10, Royal 12, Maximus 14 points.

Treble Bob Methods.- Major 12, Royal 14, Maximus 16 points.

Surprise Methods.- London 50, Cambridge 40, New Cumberland and Oxford Surprise 30, Superlative 25, Champion, Forward, Birmingham and Loughborough 20 points.

Peals on Six Bells.- In one plain method 3, in two plain methods 4, in three plain methods 5, in four plain methods 6, in five plain methods 7, in six plain methods 8, in seven plain methods 9. In seven double methods 15, in seven Treble Bob methods 15. In seven Surprise methods, 25 points.

Report of the Committee Appointed by The Central Council to Formulate a Definition of the Points Constituting “Original Authorship,” and of Those Determining “Variation.” Presented at the Last Meeting of the Council.

The Committee, having carefully considered the subject referred to them, beg to report that the conditions controlling composition vary so greatly according to the method treated that it is impossible to devise a comprehensive set of rules, which shall be equally applicable to all methods alike for settling these points (see above), and yet free from the imperfection of being too lax when applied to some methods, and too stringent in the case of others. Each method requires separate consideration and rules determining the limits of originality in composition, applicable to itself; and though it would no doubt be possible to form groups of methods, to each of which one set of rules might be applicable, the result would be both cumbrous and confusing. The Committee, therefore, think that it will be better to limit themselves, in the first instance, to a general statement of the features distinguishing “Originality,” which are, more or less, applicable to all methods.

  1. The earliest ascertainable true composition on any definite plan in any method, which is not a reproduction, or colourable imitation, of the same composition in another method, is entitled to be termed the “original” composition on that plan.

  2. Subsequent compositions on the same plan, which are not demonstrably reversals or transpositions (as hereinafter described) or colourable imitations of a previous composition in the same method, may be considered as “distinct” compositions on the plan, and allowed the distinction of “originality.”

  3. Reversals, in which the calls in one position are exchanged for those in another, including direct inversions of calling: Transpositions, by which one bell is substituted for another, as “the observation,” or re-arrangements of the same calling: Artificial alterations, such as the employment of alternative calls, the multiplication, or subtraction, or shifting of singles, or the redistribution of “shunting calls,” by which the general result is not affected, but only the form of the composition- if applied to any previous composition possessed of the distinction of “originality,” are to be considered as “Variations.”

In the foregoing statement the Committee use the word “plan” in a comprehensive sense, as embracing not only the division of a composition into a given number of parts, but also the assignment of “qualities” with reference to length, the treatment of “fixed,” or “observation” bells, or any other distinctive feature in construction.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record May 21, 1898, page 676


The Annual Meeting was held at Bristol on Tuesday, May 31st. The meeting was attended by forty-three representatives of the various Associations of the country, and two Honorary Members. It was resolved to ask each Association to obtain signatures to petitions in support of reduced railway fares. Various reports from Committees were received and adopted, and the whole of the items upon the agenda were gone through. A full report will appear.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 4, 1898, page 700


The Eighth Annual Meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was held in the Parish Hall of St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, on Whit Tuesday, May 31st. The representatives present were the Revs. H. C. Courtney (Bath and Wells Diocesan Association), W. W. C. Baker (Bedfordshire Association), Mr. J. Dillon, Mr. W. Walmsley (Chester Diocesan Guild), Mr. W. T. Cockerill (Ancient Society of College Youths), Mr. H. Dains (Royal Cumberland Youths), Rev. Maitland Kelly, Mr. Ferris Shepherd (Devonshire Guild), Mr. R. S. Story (Durham and Newcastle Association), Rev. T. L. Papillon, Mr. N. J. Pitstow (Essex Association), Rev. H. A. Cockey, Rev. E. B. James , Mr. G. H. Phillott (Gloucester and Bristol Association), Mr. F. W. Thornton (Kent County Association), Rev. H. J. Elsee, Mr. R. Ridyard (Lancashire Association), Sir Arthur Percival Heywood, Bart., Mr. W. Wakley, Mr. J. W. Taylor, Mr. J. Griffin (Midland Counties Association), Mr. J. Waghorn, sen. (Middlesex Association), Mr. A. Craven, Mr. G. Chester (North Lincolnshire Association), Rev. H. Earle Bulwer, Mr. J. Motts, Mr. J. A. Trollope (Norwich Diocesan Association) , Rev. F. E. Robinson, Rev. G. F. Coleridge (Oxford Diocesan Guild), Mr. E. P. O’Meara (St. James’ Society), Mr. S. Reeves (Archdeaconry of Stafford Association), Mr. C. Dean (Surrey Association), Rev. C. D. P. Davies, Mr. G. F. Attree, Mr. S. Saker, Mr. G. Williams (Sussex County Association), Rev. R. C. Harvey, Rev. C. E. Matthews, Mr. H. White, Mr. J. W. Whiting (Winchester Diocesan Guild), Mr. J. S. Pritchett, Mr. R. Grove (Worcestershire Association), Mr. W. Snowdon (Yorkshire Association), and Messrs. J. Carter, F. W. J. Rees, F. E. Ward (Hon. Members).

The President having taken the chair, called upon the Hon. Secretary to read the minutes of the last meeting, which were confirmed.

The Hon. Secretary read letters of apology from the Rev. A. H. Boughey, and Mr. C. D. Boutflower, who were unavoidably prevented from attending the meeting.


The President announced that three Hon. Members retired this year, viz., Rev. A. H. Boughey, Mr. W. H. Thompson, and Mr. E. F. Strange. They were eligible for re-appointment, and there would still be one vacancy, which perhaps it would be as well not to fill for another year.

On the motion of Mr. Thornton, seconded by Mr. Attree, the three retiring Hon. Members were re-elected.

The Hon. Secretary presented the statement of accounts, which showed a balance in favour of the Council of £59 13s.

The President said the accounts had been examined and passed by the Standing Committee. The Council would no doubt be gratified to find that the funds in hand were gradually increasing, since it was highly desirable that the Council should have sufficient to draw upon whenever the need arose in connection with the work of their Committees. The accounts were accepted without any formal motion.


The Rev. H. A. Cockey said that the Committee had been keeping their eyes on the matter, with the intention of taking such action as might be advisable in order to obtain a favorable answer from the railway companies. Last year it had been suggested that a petition should be sent by each Association to the directors of the company whose lines the Association used. The Committee were about to take steps to ensure the carrying out of this suggestion, when it so happened that he was able personally to consult a railway manager, from whom he learnt that it was useless to proceed unless they first arrived at a better knowledge and understanding of the objection entertained by the Railway Companies to any further concession. This gentleman had promised to try and find out what the view of the Railway Companies really was, that they might have some thing definite to go upon. Up to the present he had not been able to do this. The Committee, therefore, had nothing definite to lay before the Council. If it was decided that the various Associations should be asked to send in petitions, it was desirable that such petitions should be all drawn on the same lines as the application already sent in by the Committee. In the event of this course being adopted, the Associations should endeavour to obtain as many signatures as possible to their respective petitions, and send them to the Managers of the lines travelled over by their members. So far the Committee had been working in the dark; for they did not know what the objection of the Railway authorities was to granting a uniform and adequate concession.

Mr. Attree said that as a member of the Committee, he was placed in an awkward position with reference to this matter; for he was most strongly urged by the Association he represented to do all he possibly could in it, because before the Council moved in the matter, the members of his Association had been able to obtain tickets at a fare and a quarter on any occasion. This they could not do now, and his Association did not think the Council was doing all it might to obtain more favourable terms for ringers. He agreed that it was desirable that each Association should send a petition to the Managers of the local lines. If this were done instead of memorialising the Clearing House, he believed some good would ultimately come of it. He therefore proposed that the idea of a petition from each Association should be carried out.

Mr. Story seconded this.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey pointed out that a memorial had been already sent to the Managers and taken by them to the Clearing House; and whatever was done by the various Associations would be taken by the Managers to the Clearing House in the same manner.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee asked if it was intended that the petitions should be signed officially on behalf of the Associations, or by the members themselves.

Mr. Attree said the petitions would have far greater weight if signed by as many members as possible.

The Rev. R. C. Harvey thought it would be best to send the petitions to the Chairmen and Boards of Directors, as they would not then be so likely to be put on one side, which was so often the case when such documents were sent to the paid officials.

Mr. Snowdon suggested that if such members of Associations as had friends who were Railway Directors would personally approach them, much good might result; though it was most important to obtain a large number of signatures to a petition.

Mr. Pritchett advocated a monster petition signed by as many ringers of England as possible.

The President said that the Council could not be otherwise than thankful to the Committee for its endeavours, though they had hitherto proved unsuccessful. Probably there were some who did not understand how much work had been done under adverse circumstances. He thought it would be well for the various Associations to bring all the pressure they could to bear upon the different Managers of the different lines. He did not consider that much good would result from one petition or from petitions signed by one or two individuals, but more would be done by Associations obtaining as many signatures as possible in their own localities, and sending their petitions to the Managers of the lines with which they were immediately concerned. Communications should also be addressed to the Chairmen and Directors; it would thus be recognised that the matter was one for careful consideration, and he had no doubt that Mr. Attree would be able to congratulate his own Association on recovering the same advantages as they had enjoyed before the Council meddled with the matter.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey asked which course it was considered would be best - a form of petition drawn up and sent to each Association Secretary, to be adapted to the circumstances of each district, or a form published in “The Bell News.”

The Rev. M. Kelly considered it best to send a form of petition to each secretary, as all secretaries did not take “The Bell News.” (The Hon. Sec.: “They ought to do so.”)

Mr. Attree suggested that the form of petition should be prepared by the Committee and sent to the Association Secretaries. The President said the Committee were competent to deal with the matter in a proper way, and might be empowered to expend any small sum that might be necessary.

On the motion of Mr. Attree, seconded by Mr. Story, it was decided that the committee should draw up and circulate a form of petition, and be empowered to incur such expense as might be necessary for the purpose.


The Hon. Secretary read a letter from Mr. Strange with reference to the continued delay in completing the Bibliography he had undertaken to compile, from which it appeared that other engagements so absorbed the limited amount of spare time at his disposal that he had been unable to do more than continue the collection of titles. If the matter were left in his hands, the work would be completed as he could spare time for it; but if not he would be willing to hand over such materials as he had by him, as he could give no definite guarantee as to the time of completion. The Hon. Secretary said the Standing Committee had considered the matter, and were of opinion that if it were left in Mr. Strange’s hands, it might, judging from his letter, drag on for quite an indefinitely long time without any tangible result, and that it would be better to request Mr. Strange to send in such materials as he had, and if the Council so decided, to publish the collection so far as it went, and afterwards add to it from time to time as fresh materials were obtained.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson moved, and Mr. Williams seconded, that Mr. Strange be asked for the portion he had already completed.

The President said he knew that Mr. Strange had the late Mr. Ellacombe’s list which comprised most of the titles of books already published. He thought it would be well to have the portion of the work that was completed either to publish in “The Bell News” or to be issued in pamphlet form, and then add to it from time to time. The motion was carried.


The Hon. Secretary read the following report of the Peal Collection Committee:-


The Committee entrusted with the task of collecting such compositions of peal length in the various methods, as have not appeared in treatises, beg to report that the work has been progressing, but is not yet in a sufficiently forward state to enable them to present a fairly representative assortment of peals for publication. The Committee have had the assistance of several gentlemen as collectors, for whose services they tender grateful thanks; each of these gentlemen, as far as possible, has given his attention to a single method. The work of collecting necessarily takes some time, and the tardiness of composers in sending in their compositions has been a hindrance to more rapid progress. The collection may be said to be fairly complete, up to the present date, in the following methods: Bob Major, Double Norwich Court Bob Major, Royal and Maximus, Double Oxford Major, Stedman Triples, Grandsire Triples, other methods of Triples, Treble Bob Royal and Maximus, and Duffield. The collectors of compositions in Treble Bob Major, Stedman Caters and Superlative Surprise have as yet made no report. The collection of London Surprise peals is still incomplete. It will no doubt be possible before the end of the present year to prepare a representative instalment of the best compositions, selected from those now in hand; and it will be for the Council then to decide whether the expense of printing it shall be incurred. The sale of the “Appendix 1895” has not been such as to encourage the hope of a large demand, about two-thirds of the number of copies printed being still unsold, and the demand for it has practically ceased. If only a limited sale of about 150 copies is all that can be expected, it would be impossible to print a new Appendix without incurring a certain loss.

Mr. Snowdon said Mr. Lockwood had informed him that he had his Treble Bob Major Collection so arranged that he could prepare the whole at a fortnight’s notice, but that he did not know exactly when it would be required.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies said he had heard a rumour that Mr. Lockwood was only including in his collection compositions of the ordinary length. His own impression was that it was intended to include all good peals of any length, and if there were any doubt about it, he would move that it be an instruction to the Committee to include compositions of all lengths above 5000.

Mr. Craven seconded this, and it was carried.


The Hon. Secretary read the following report of the Committee engaged on the Glossary of Technical Terms:-


The Committee for the preparation of a Glossary of Technical Terms, used in connection with the science and art of Ringing, beg to report that the work they have in hand has made fair progress during the past year. The first draft of the Glossary, embodying between three and four hundred terms, has been completed after careful consideration, and is now ready for final arrangement and revision. The committee, however, are confident that there are several terms in purely local use, of which they have not sufficient knowledge at present to be able to include them in the Glossary. While it is manifestly desirable that this should be done, the collection of such local terms can only be accomplished at the cost of printing and distributing in the proper quarters a list of the terms already dealt with, in order that omissions may be noted and supplied by those to whom the list is sent. The Committee await authority to incur this small expense.

The President said that as a member of the Committee he could bear witness to the immense amount of labour the Hon. Secretary had devoted to this work. It would surprise the Council if they could see the thick pile of foolscap folio manuscript which had been sent round, batch by batch, to the members of the Committee. He had himself spent some hours in the perusal not only of the original manuscript, but also in reading other people’s remarks thereon, and adding some of his own. He could therefore testify to the large amount of work that had been done. The Committee should be empowered to incur the necessary expense required to make the work as complete as possible.

Mr. Rees moved, and Mr. Dains seconded a resolution empowering the Committee accordingly.

Mr. Snowdon had no doubt that the Glossary would be of considerable advantage and use to the young ringer, more so, indeed, than any thing that had been done before. But if published it should not be left for the ringer to apply for it: it would be well if each Association would order a number of copies and dispose of them to its members. This would be a more successful way of securing an adequate sale than leaving it to individuals to send for it by post.

The President said the advice of Mr. Snowdon would be borne in mind by the Committee. There was still a considerable amount of trouble and labour to be bestowed upon the work, which, when completed, he was sure would be very valuable. The resolution was put to the vote and carried.


The Hon. Secretary explained that a short time ago Dr. Carpenter had written to him to say that there appeared to be a defect in the Council’s definition of a true peal, inasmuch that (no doubt unintentionally), it had omitted to specify that all peals should end with “rounds.” The definition was “not less than 5000 true changes,” and it would seem that after 5000 true changes had been rung the ringing might break down, and it would be open to the band to record it as a peal, although the bells had not been brought round. He (the Hon. Sec.) confessed to having been a good deal startled by this alarming surmise, and had conjured up visions of crack bands all over the country ringing these abortive peals under the protection and guarantee of the Council’s definition. He did not really suppose that there was any doubt in any one’s mind as to the real intention of the Council in the matter; but to avoid all misapprehension it was as well to make the definition perfectly clear and complete; he would move, therefore, that at the end of the definitions should be added the words “in all cases starting from and ending with rounds.” The Rev. G. F. Coleridge seconded, and the motion was carried.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 11, 1898, pages 4 to 5


The President said this report, as prepared by Mr. Attree, had already been published and, no doubt, perused. The work had been done with great care, and the thanks of the Council were due to Mr. Attree for the labour and care he had expended on the matter.

Mr. Attree, in moving the adoption of the report, said it was not to be expected that the Committee would be unanimous upon the question of values; but their differences had not been of great importance, or sufficient to justify an alteration of the schedule first devised. There was one point to be considered; viz., what points should be given for new methods. He thought Oxford Surprise should have 30 points; Gloucester and Westminster 25 each. There was a new method by Mr. James for which a value would be required. His own band were going to ring it, and would like to have a name for the method.

The Rev. E. B. James thought the band to ring the first peal should have the privilege of conferring the name.

Mr. Attree said his band would gladly find a name for the method, which he thought came next in value of points to London. With respect to the question of points for Double Norwich Royal and Caters, if the Committee had to deal with the matter, he should recommend that either was equal to Double Norwich Bob Major.

The Rev. G. F. Coleridge seconded the adoption of the report.

Mr. Trollope said he did not think that justice had been done to either Double Norwich Royal or Maximus, for to ring either you must learn it upon the number of bells for which it was designed. With Duffield it was different. That method was first introduced with the intention of furnishing a method that could be rung on ten and twelve bells by any one who had learnt it on eight. It was not so with Double Norwich Royal or Maximus. For Double Norwich Maximus 25 points were to be the value, while Stedman Triples were to have 24. There was only one band in England that could ring Double Norwich Maximus, whereas there were fifty bands that could ring Stedman Triples. He thought the value of points should be equal to those for the simpler Surprise methods.

Mr. Cockerill said while agreeing with Mr. Trollope, he should like to point out that Superlative was to have 25, Cambridge 40, and London 50. He thought there was too big a jump from Superlative to Cambridge, especially as there was only a difference of 10 between Cambridge and London. He thought there should be a greater difference as between Cambridge and London.

Mr. Wakley said if London was to have 50 points, he thought Superlative, Cambridge, and New Cumberland should be almost equal one with another. That was the opinion at Burton, where they considered that Cambridge was as easy to learn and as easy to ring as Superlative; therefore the conclusion arrived at was that if London was to have 50, each of the methods referred to should have 30 each. He would move accordingly.

Mr. Cockerill seconded.

The Rev. E. James asked if the Council was going to settle this question in a kind of haphazard way. Should it not be properly worked out on a mathematical system. He had himself worked out a portion, and had come very near to the points of value as given by Mr. Attree.

Mr. White said he was at once struck with the number of points given for Superlative and Cambridge. He had looked at them, and could not see why Cambridge should have 60 per cent. more than Superlative. He could not see where the difference was between the value of the two methods. If Cambridge was to have 40, then London ought to have 80. He thought that too large a proportion of points were given to Cambridge.

Mr. Pritchett objected to putting Cambridge on an equality with Superlative, and suggested that the former should have 35 points.

Mr. Snowdon agreed with Mr. Attree, who had given great attention to the matter.

Mr. Williams agreed with the remarks made by Mr. Cockerill. He thought the methods were about on an equal, but considered if any difference were made, that New Cumberland should come next to London, and that Cambridge should only have at the most five points above Superlative.

Mr. Attree said he was somewhat surprised at the remarks of the last speaker. It was more difficult to get a band for Cambridge than it was for Superlative. There were bands that were safe for Superlative but not for Cambridge. It was much more easy to get a band to ring Superlative than it was to get a band to ring Cambridge. Bands after ringing Superlative went on to Cambridge, and having rung that went on to London. So far as his own band were concerned, he considered them more safe in Superlative than in Cambridge. He should be pleased to make any alteration desired, and would if necessary again go through the work already done.

The President did not think it would be necessary to upset the whole of the schedule if the proposal was adopted.

Mr. Attree: Not at all.

The amendment was put to the vote and carried.

Mr. Trollope repeated his question as to the value of points for Double Norwich Maximus.

Mr. Attree said such a peal was beyond his depth, for there were no peals of twelve in his county. He had not therefore the opportunity of learning the method.

The President suggested that Mr. Trollope should communicate with the Committee.

Mr. Snowdon said he thought some consideration should be given for the weight of the metal. When a peal was rung upon bells with a tenor of say over 30 cwt., he thought it should have a greater number of points. He would suggest that the Committee should reconsider this part of the question. They had upon the Council the man who had performed the feat of England - he referred to the ringing of St. Paul’s Cathedral tenor in a peal, which was a noble performance. If such a feat as this, or any peal on a really heavy ring of bells was not allotted extra points, it would tend to unfairly discourage these grand performances in which mental and physical endurance were both essentials. Four hours’ hard work on a heavy ring of bells, which equally distressed mind and body, could not be compared with 3 hours on some of the lighter rings of to-day. A peal might occupy four hours on a heavy ring because of the slow “go” of the bells, which will take their time: where slow ringing was required it should be encouraged. His late brother in his history of Treble Bob had laid special emphasis on the grand weight of metal that had been used when the two great London societies were honourably competing with one another; in other words neither society looked about for a light ring on which to try and beat the adversary. He would move that it be an instruction to the Committee to arrange some scheme of points that would take any weight of metal over a 30 cwt. tenor into account.

Mr. O’Meara seconded.

Mr. Attree in reply said the value of points was considered from a mental not physical standpoint. So soon as it was looked upon otherwise, the whole aspect of the question would be altered. He had not the advantage of practising upon a very heavy ring, but would venture to say that if some of those in the habit of ringing heavy bells attempted to ring some of their light rings, they find it much more difficult. One advantage the ringer of a heavy bell had was he had the pleasure of listening to a greater volume of sound each blow that was struck, than the ringer of a light bell, and therefore enjoyed it more.

The motion was carried by a large majority.

Mr. Cockerill said when a peal was published under the name of two or more societies, Mr. Attree only took into account the name of the first. Sometimes when a peal was rung in the country, the name of the county or Diocesan Association stood first. It was to some extent a matter of choice. It was thought however that both societies should receive the points. Both societies booked the peal, and yet in the analysis only one got the points.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker said this question was decided some time back, when it was resolved that only one society - that whose name stood first - should receive the points. It was also decided that only one name should be used in the publication of peals in “The Bell News.”

The Hon. Secretary said a resolution as mentioned by the last speaker was adopted at Oxford in 1893.

Mr. Story said he thought the length of performance should be considered with the difficulty of the method rung, so as to give a long length of Surprise a greater number of points, in proportion, than was given to the same length of Treble Bob.

Mr. Attree said the Committee had done what they were requested to do. If they carried out the views of the last speaker, they would have to undo what they had already done.

The President said he considered the Committee had done their very best to meet the requirements of the Exercise. It would be impossible for them to do everything that would please everybody. It would be open for the Council from time to time to make alterations as required. New methods might come out requiring consideration. There was nothing to prevent them making alterations from year to year, if required, but at present there could not be any doubt that the best had been done that could be to meet the present requirements of the Exercise, reserving the right to the Council to bring forward at any time any fresh point. To attempt too much now might make it more complicated. He was himself surprised at the accuracy which had been achieved.

Mr. Attree said that now Cambridge, Superlative and New Cambridge were to have equal points he would propose that Westminster, Gloucester, Oxford and Norfolk should have the same number of points.

Mr. Williams seconded.

The proposal was adopted.

The President said it would be desirable for the committee to make a note of the expression of opinion by members of the Council, so that they could have something from which to refresh their memory upon the points which had been mentioned.

Mr. Trollope asked if it was necessary to move any resolution as to the points for Double Norwich Maximus.

The President said the Committee could deal with the question, and it would come up for confirmation.

The Rev. E. B. James asked what position as regards points would Cambridge Royal now have, as Cambridge Major had fallen.

Mr. Attree moved, and the Rev. G. F. Coleridge seconded, that Cambridge Royal should have forty points.

The Rev. E. B. James moved that no reduction be made. He considered it worth more points than forty. It was equal to London Surprise. It was the only method that could claim equality with London.

Mr. Ward seconded.

Mr. Attree said in Stedman Caters the addition of the two extra bells made it more easy. He could not see where the difficulty came in.

Mr. Pritchett said he considered that the question should be left in the hands of the Committee, who could look into the matter, and give what number of points they considered right. The amendment was carried by a large majority, and the report of the Committee, with the alterations made at the meeting, were adopted.

Mr. Attree announced that in future the name of Mr. George Baker would appear in connection with his own. Mr. Baker had already greatly assisted him in the preparation of the analysis.


The Rev. C. D. P. Davies, in moving the adoption of the report of the Peal Collection Committee on Original Composition and Variation, which has already appeared in our columns, said the Committee had not attempted to lay down any hard and fast line upon either original composition or variation.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker seconded.

The President thought that the Committee had covered all the ground which it could be expected to cover.

The report was adopted.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 18, 1898, pages 13 to 14


The President in moving the adoption of the above, which has already appeared in these columns, said the object in bringing the matter before the Council was to see if there were any suggestions that would be of assistance. Although many suggestions had already been received by the Committee, not many of them were of much help. No doubt all were made with the best intentions, but the Committee had gone thoroughly into the whole question, and such correspondence as some that had appeared in “The Bell News” did not do much good. The suggestion that an effort should be made to prepare a guide to the belfries of England, such as Mr. Troyte brought out, and to include the names of the methods practised, might, if possible to carry it out, be useful: but to inquire if the steeplekeeper was a good sort of fellow or not, and such like personal matters, would be to set up the backs of the very individuals whom the Council wished to enlist as assistants in securing the necessary information. The Committee were requested to include “historic” rings of six. It was not proposed to ask the secretaries of societies to give these. If the present inquiry was successful, rings of five and six would follow. It was of course open to the Council to suggest any historic peals of six, such as Westminster, which the Committee would include, but he did not think there would be more than two or three other rings of six involved in the present inquiry.

Mr. Trollope asked if the whole of the rings in the Cathedrals would not be included regardless of number.

The President said they did not come in at present.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson suggested the ring of six at St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker said Handel once ordered his carriage to stop in order that he might hear the music of these bells.

The President doubted if this were sufficient to make them historic.

The Rev. E. James suggested St. Benet’s, Cambridge, upon which the first peal of Stedman was rung.

Mr. Thornton suggested the ring at Rochester Cathedral which were in bad order.

The President thought those suggested, with any others the Committee might decide to include, would be sufficient.

The Rev. H. C. Courtney moved the adoption of the draft scheme, which was agreed to.


The President moved that Thurstans’ well-known composition in Stedman Triples be designated as his “four-part,” and his other compositions as his “five-part” and his “one-part” respectively.

The resolution was seconded by the Rev. C. D. P. Davies, and adopted without discussion.


The Rev. H. J. Elsee said the question as to the desirability of Sunday peal-ringing was brought forward at the last meeting of the Council, but there was not sufficient time to discuss it, and be promised to bring it forward at the present meeting. He felt very strongly that a resolution should be passed setting forth the opinion of the Council that, except on special and well defined occasions, peal-ringing should not be encouraged on Sundays. He based his objection to peal-ringing on Sundays from two points of view. First we should remember and help others also to remember that Sunday, although it is man’s holiday, was God’s holy day. It appeared to him that much of the sacred character of Sunday was being lost sight of. Men appear to forget that Sunday is intended as a day for rest and not for recreation, and the mere enjoyment of pleasure. The motives which prompted peal-ringing deserved consideration. What was it that led men to ring peals at any time? Was it the desire to promote the glory of God? or was it not rather the desire to score another peal and so give the society another place in Mr. Attree’s list. A peal was rung for the ringer’s enjoyment and for no other object. He submitted that ringers ought not to ring for enjoyment on Sunday. In Lancashire many churches were built in the midst of large populations, and the ringing of peals in such places destroyed the idea of the day of rest and peace. That was his second point. This might not be so much the case in some of the rural districts of the country, but it was only just to think of the people who lived in the neighbourhood. For bells to be ringing for three hours without a break must be very trying to those who seek rest. Englishmen delighted to regard Sunday as a quiet day and a day of rest, and it was hard to deprive any one of the enjoyment of rest. There might be exceptional cases where the ringing of a peal on Sunday would not be for the enjoyment of the ringer, but in connection with some celebration which took place on a Sunday, or a memorial peal rung in connection with a memorial service. He would move that in the opinion of the Council peal-ringing on Sundays is not advisable except on occasions when a special service in church would be equally appropriate.

Mr. Phillott seconded.

Mr. Attree said he was afraid if the Council passed such a resolution it would be treading upon very delicate ground. He thought the question was one which should be left to the clergy and churchwardens of the various churches and the ringers themselves. He had not himself rung a peal on Sunday, neither did he intend to do so. There were places where peal-ringing would not be heard by half-a-dozen people, and would not therefore do any harm to any one. Speaking as a churchwarden if his own ringers came to him they would know what would be the answer; the ringing would be heard by some 40,000 to 50,000 people, and it would therefore be out of place. He did not however see that there could be any harm done in country places.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson said he had always thought that Sunday peal-ringing should be in connection with a service of the church. He would move that the last part of the resolution should read “except as an introduction to a church service.”

The Rev. H. C. Courtney seconded.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey said voluntaries were played both as an introduction to the service of the Church and at the close; in some churches there were organ recitals, why should they not also have the music of the bells? He had heard it said that the music of the bells was to be preferred to the voluntary at the close of the service, as the bells could be heard by the worshippers going home, whereas the sound of the organ was no longer heard after the worshipper had left the church doors. He did not think it well that the Council should interpose with some hard and fast line in this matter. It was so different in country places to what it was in towns. What could be more beautiful than to hear in a country district the ringing of the bells in the distance? Their sound leads us to think of heavenly things, where therefore could be the objection to hearing the bells ring. He could not see why a band should not be permitted to ring the bells in a peal as well as in a touch. At the same time he agreed that peal-ringing on Sundays in towns where it is an annoyance should not be allowed.

Mr. Rees said he thought it would be a great pity to discourage the ringing of the bells at the greater festivals of the Church.

Mr. Pritchett moved the previous question. He thought the question was one which should be left to the good sense of the ringers, the clergy and churchwardens.

The Rev. T. L. Papillon seconded.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies said there was no doubt that Sunday peal-ringing was sometimes done in places where it ought not to be, and in which it was not in any way connected with the services of the Church. He thought a resolution might strengthen the hands of a clergyman, where peal-ringing on Sundays had been carried on in a way that they themselves might not approve of.

The President having explained that if the previous question was carried, the question would stand postponed, said a discussion such as had taken place did a good deal of good, as it enabled them to know each other’s views, and to modify their own upon the subject.

The previous question having been carried,

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies asked if the question stood postponed to a new Council, or could it be brought forward another year.

The President replied that the question could be reopened next year.


The last item upon the agenda was “How far and under what conditions any departure from the true and clear ringing of every change is permissible in the performance of a peal.”

The President said this was a question of vital importance. There was not a member of the Council present who would dare to move a resolution upon it even if they discussed it. He would ask Mr. Robinson to introduce the subject.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson said he had had many years’ experience of ringing, as long probably as any one with the exception of one gentleman in the room. During his forty years’ experience he had seen great improvements effected. He thought the time had arrived when the Central Council might undertake to say how far a departure from a true peal should be permitted. In Triples a peal ran of course to the full possible extent; but on higher numbers than seven bells there were many more than the 5000 changes. He thought therefore that the case of Triples should be considered first. Suppose two bells were changing course, and the conductor was able to prevent it taking place, then the peal might go on. He remembered a conductor who used to say: “I don’t trouble about the little bells so long as the big ’uns keep smartish” (laughter); while another would say, if there was a hitch, “Now then! have one good fire, then do what I tell you” (laughter); but these sort of things would not do in the present day. He thought the Council might confine its attention at first to Triples, which should be rung upon more rigid lines than many other peals.

Mr. Snowdon said he did not think a more difficult question could be taken in hand. What Mr. Robinson had said as to Triples was perfectly true, but if you permitted an error to creep into one peal why should you not permit it in another? If any slip or error was allowed in one peal it must be permitted in another. Of late years immense strides had been made in every direction, and he thought there were bold men coming forward everywhere, who did not think it a disgrace to admit that they had made a slip in the calling, and stop the peal. The same rule should apply in all peals.

Mr. Trollope said if the Council allowed a little slip, some ringers would take more. It would be a dangerous thing for the Council to allow any slip.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson pointed out that a true peal on any number of bells above seven might be rung, although there had been a slip in the calling. He would admit however, that it would not be the peal started for.

Mr. Attree said the proper way to look at the question was, can we trust one another to do that which is right; have we no confidence in our brother-ringers? He did not think there were many ringers who would publish a peal if it was not true. He did not think that the Council should pass any definite opinion, but leave the question to the honesty of the ringers and the conductor.

Mr. J. W. Taylor said no reference had been made to the question of better striking. There was no doubt that there had been a great improvement in the conducting of peals. This was his own experience in many towers. He had not come across any one who would not call “stand” if the ringing was wrong. He thought the question should be left to the ringers themselves; but that something should be done to secure better striking.

The Rev. E. B. James said it was impossible for two men to put anything right before the mistake had been made. It was a question how far the unhappy conductor should allow a mistake to go. The Council should say how long it was to go on. He thought they should not allow a mistake in a peal of Triples to go more than a lead before it was put right (laughter). The Council ought to come to some conclusion as to how many changes should be allowed to be rung before a mistake was corrected.

The President said when a man was conducting a peal his motives were excellent, so they were when he had got the peal; but when a man got in a fix, with (so to speak) a rope round his neck, there was no telling what he would not do. He had himself rung a great many peals, some in which things had happened, which, if he related them, would make their hair stand on end. It was now getting late in the day, and he did not think there was time to thoroughly discuss the question, and would therefore suggest that the matter should not be further gone into at that meeting; but he would ask them to consider the question carefully with a view to proposing some definite resolution at a future meeting.


The President said the Standing Committee had before them two places from which to select the next place of meeting. It would be but right that they should now go to the Eastern Counties, and he trusted that if they decided to do so, they might have as pleasant a time as they had had at Bristol. The places suggested were Cambridge and Norwich. The railway facilities for reaching Cambridge were much better than those for Norwich; but as the meeting would be during term time there might be a difficulty in getting the use of the bells at Cambridge, in fact it might be impossible to get them at all. Norwich was further away, but it was one of the old centres of ringing in England. The Council had already been to Oxford, therefore it might be as well to go to Cambridge. It appeared that Cambridge and Norwich were, all things considered, about equally balanced. The Standing Committee did not make any selection, but left it to the Council to decide.

Mr. Thornton proposed, and the Rev. C. D. P. Davies seconded, that the next meeting be at Norwich.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson proposed, and the Rev. W. W. C. Baker seconded, that the next meeting be at Cambridge.

The question being put, Norwich was selected by a considerable majority.

The proceedings closed with a vote of thanks to the President and Hon. Secretary, moved by the Rev. F. E. Robinson, and carried with applause.

A social gathering of members and friends took place in the evening at St. Stephen’s Restaurant, Baldwin Street. Selections and Change-Ringing upon handbells by the President, Rev. H. A. Cockey, Mr. J. A. Trollope and others opened the proceedings. The veteran Charles Hounslow gave a whistling solo which was loudly applauded; and songs were contributed by Messrs. T. E. Ellis and F. W. Thornton, who also acted as accompanist. A very hearty vote of thanks was accorded Mr. Cockey for his admirable arrangements, and suitably acknowledged.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 25, 1898, pages 25 to 26

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional