Report of the Peal Collection Committee.

The Committee appointed to form a Collection of Peals beg to report that the object in view has been so far accomplished, that a very large number of compositions in various methods have been gathered together by the untiring and self-denying industry of the appointed collectors, for whose invaluable assistance in collecting, classifying and arranging so great a mass of material, the Committee, the Council, and indeed the whole Exercise cannot be too grateful.

So great a task has necessarily taken a long time to accomplish; and it cannot be said that it is even now completed; as there must still be many compositions in existence which have not reached the hands of the collectors. But enough has been done to enable the Committee to prepare a second Appendix containing a selection of the best and most interesting compositions in each of the methods that have been dealt with. The committee, therefore, await the instructions of the Council as to the preparation and printing of such a selection.

The work accomplished so far by the collectors will be best appreciated by an enumeration of the compositions that have passed through their hands:-

Method.Number of Compositions.
Superlative Surprise134
New Cambridge2
New Cumberland11
Treble BobMaximus81
Double NorwichMaximus9
(and twice as many more in the hands of the Collector)
Double Oxford27
Bob Major(No return, at present, from the Collector; but a large number of compositions known to be in his hands.)
Grandsire Triples28
Other Methods of Triples95

Compositions in Grandsire Cinques and Caters still remain to be taken in hand: and since all the best modern peals of Stedman Triples may be looked for in the forthcoming Treatise on that Method, it is deemed unnecessary to add them to this collection.

It will be recognised that the possession of so large and varied an assortment of compositions will prove a valuable aid to the Council in checking reproduction and disputes about authorship; and it would be well if in future composers would submit their compositions to the Committee for purposes of comparison before publication.

The work of collecting fresh compositions should still go on and it is hoped that the collectors will continue their useful work in the comparatively easy form of booking fresh compositions if true, as they appear, or are sent in by composers.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record May 25, 1901, page 40


The Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was held on Whit-Tuesday, May 28th, at The Midland hotel, Derby, when the following representatives were present: Archdeaconry of Stafford Association- Mr. S. Reeves; Birmingham Amalgamated Society- Messrs. J. Carter and G. Walker; Bedfordshire Association- Rev. W. W. C. Baker; College Youths- Mr. W. T. Cockerill; Cumberland Youths- Messrs. H. Dains and R. A. Daniell; Central Northamptonshire Association- Mr. T. P. Hensher; Chester Diocesan Guild- Messrs. W. Gordon and F. T. Spence; Devonshire Guild- Rev. Maitland Kelly; Durham and Newcastle Association- Mr. R. Story; Essex Association- Messrs. B. Keeble and W. J. Nevard; Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association- Rev. H. A. Cockey and F. G. May; Kent Association- Mr. F. W. Thornton; Lancashire Association- Rev. H. J. Elsee and Mr. R. Ridyard; Lincoln Diocesan Guild- Rev. H. Law James and Mr. G. Chester; Leeds and District Association- Mr. J. W. Holgate; Midland Counties’ Association- Sir A. P. Heywood, Bart., Messrs. S. Cooper, J. Griffin, and W. Wakley; Middlesex Association- Messrs. A. T. King and J. Waghorn; Norwich Diocesan Association- Rev. H. Earle Bulwer, Messrs. C. Mee, W. L. Catchpole and J. Motts; Oxford Diocesan Guild- Revs. F. E. Robinson, G. F. Coleridge, Messrs. F. W. Hopgood and W. E. Yates; Sussex County Association- Rev. C. D. P. Davies and Mr. G. Williams; St. Martin’s Guild, Birmingham- Mr. W. H. Godden; Surrey Association- Dr. A. B. Carpenter; Winchester Diocesan Guild- Rev. C. E. Matthews and Mr. H. White; Worcestershire Association- Messrs. R. E. Grove and J. Smith; Yorkshire Association- Messrs. C. H. Hattersley and W. Snowdon; Hereford Diocesan Guild- Mr. J. E. Groves; Hon. Members- Mr. J. W. Taylor, and Mr. J. S. Pritchett.

Sir Arthur Heywood, Bart., President, presided.


The following hon. members were elected: Rev. A. H. Boughey, and Mr. W. H. Thompson.


The accounts which showed a balance in hand of £66 10s. 8d. had been before the Standing Committee and were approved.

Letters of apology for non-attendance were received from the following: Revs. T. L. Papillon, H. C. Courtney, A. H. Boughey, Messrs. Pitstow, Rees, and Saker.


The Rev. H. Earle Bulwer, Hon. Secretary, presented the report of the Peal Collection Committee which has already appeared in the columns of this paper.

Mr. Pritchett proposed, and Mr. Taylor seconded, that a selection of the same be published.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson proposed, and Mr. Walker seconded, that the Peal Committee be authorised to issue a complete collection of the best and most characteristic peals in each method.

The Rev. H. Law James asked if the original collection that was published was out of print.

The Hon. Secretary replied that he had a number of copies on hand.

The Rev. H. Law James asked if it was intended to include in the new publication any of the peals already published.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson said what he desired was to have a selection of the very best and most characteristic peals.

The President said it might not be within the recollection of all present that the original Appendix was not altogether satisfactory, and was open to criticism. The new one would be on a much better plan, as each method had been entrusted to a separate collector. There had been much care exercised by these gentlemen, and the result would be much more valuable than the original issue. There appeared to him, however, good grounds for adopting Mr. Robinson’s motion which would enable the Committee to include, if thought desirable, some of the best peals in the original issue. In the Snowdon series there was a work on Grandsire, and there was now one in preparation on Stedman. He did not think that anything should be done to run against these publications.

Mr. W. Snowdon trusted that the Council would come to the decision which would be the best for the Exercise. He thought that the new publication would, like his late brother’s works had done, stand upon its own merits. All works had hitherto been published at a loss, but that was a matter for those who published them. The aim was to benefit the Exercise. If any peals from the work on Grandsire were desired in printing this new issue, they could be included.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies endorsed Mr. Snowdon’s remarks.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson did not think that anything in the collection would do harm to the forthcoming work on Stedman. He thought it quite time something was published that would be a credit to the Council. He would add to his motion the words “not necessarily excluding those that have been already published.”

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies asked if the work upon calls could not be re-published, adding the collection as an appendix.

The Hon. Secretary said the report on calls was the original document. There were, he thought, only a few peals of Grandsire Caters and also a few of Union Triples worth reproducing. He had a number of copies upon hand, and thought it a pity to publish anything further which might hang on hand.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies asked if the old stock could not be disposed of at a reduced price.

The Hon. Secretary suggested it might be desirable to give each purchaser a copy of the original document who purchased the new.

Mr. Pritchett said if the Council would publish a representative selection of the peals he had no objection to the motion.

The motion as amended was adopted.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies asked if under the resolution adopted Holt’s ten-part peal would be included?

The Rev. G. F. Coleridge: Yes, and the one-part peal as well.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson: It would be a characteristic peal.

The Hon. Secretary asked what instructions were to be given to Mr. Tom Lockwood, who had devoted a great amount of time to the Treble Bob collection. Was Mr. Lockwood to take out all the characteristic peals in part 2 of Snowdon’s “Treble Bob” and reprint them?

Mr. W. Snowdon said be was willing for anything to be done that would be for the benefit of the Exercise.


The following draft report was submitted by the Committee:

The Committee, after a careful examination of all those Systems which have been most esteemed and practised by the Exercise, is of opinion that, for the purpose of this report, all Systems must be divided into two classes.

Class 1, consists of all those Systems in which all the bells do the same work.

Class 2, consists of all those Systems in which one or two bells (called hunts) do different work from the others (called working bells).

These all obey the following two rules:-

  1. No bell may change places with any bell except one next to it.
  2. No bell may lay more than two consecutive blows in the same place except at a call, where permitted to do so in the Report on calls.

Class 2 also obeys the following rule:-

  1. The Plain Course must consist of as many Plain Leads as there are working bells, so arranged that the working bells are in the same coursing order at all the Lead Heads and Lead Ends in the Course.


  1. The word “System” is used in this report in the same sense as it is employed by Shipway.
  2. A Plain Lead consist of a group of rows so arranged that at the Lead Head and the Lead End the working bells are in the same coursing order, and it reverses true to itself.
  3. That is to be deemed a “Bob” which alters the coursing order of three working bells.
  4. That is to be deemed a “Single” which alters the coursing order of two working bells.

Rev. H. Law James said the work had involved a great deal of trouble and a great deal of correspondence. The Committee had no sooner commenced work than it got into difficulties with respect to the word method; a word which had never been used in a technical sense, and did not apparently come into use before the 19th century. The Committee attempted to define the word, but as this did not appear part of their business it was discarded, and he had made use of the word system in the same sense as Shipway employed it. As shown all systems must be divided into two classes. Both classes obeyed rules 1 and 2, which had been drafted, but class 2 required an extra rule as shown.

Mr. Story asked what the Committee were appointed for.

The President replied that the Committee were appointed at the Norwich meeting to report as to the definition of a legitimate method.

The Rev. H. Law James said that in using the word system instead of method a word has been adopted which covered the whole ground without any classification.

The President suggested that the thanks of the Council be given to the Committee for their labours and that they be requested to publish the result in “The Bell News,” and invite criticism, and so enable the Council to consider the whole question at the next meeting. He thought there should be a fuller understanding of the question before the Council came to a decision.

The Rev. H. Law James said the draft had gone round five times.

The President thought it would be well if a short preface was written and inserted in “The Bell News” so that there should be something to form an opinion on.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson supported the suggestion of the President for publication in “The Bell News,” and pointed out this would enable the Exercise to give an opinion.

Mr. Pritchett said at present the draft report was open to criticism. The word system had been used instead of method. Method was a mode of producing changes. System was used in the wrong sense, besides which there were other objections. He thought the Committee should look through the report again, and in publishing it in “The Bell News” invite criticism before the Council came to a decision.

Mr. Daniell said Shipway not only used the word system, but also method, while in the Clavis there was a method of calling.

Mr. Dains considered the word method should come forward and be used as it had been for many years.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies said the word method was now always used, and he supported Mr. Dains that it should be brought forward, and further considered it a pity to use the word system.

The Hon. Secretary thought that the Council should be consistent, and should adhere in the future to what it had settled in the past. If Mr. James’ theory was adopted, the Council would be deciding one thing at one time and another thing at another time. The Glossary was now ready, and in it an attempt had been made to group all methods and all systems.

The Rev. H. Law James pointed out that, while the classification in the Report on calls was perfectly satisfactory for the purpose of the report, it had not been of use to the Committee for the purpose of this report. No classification could be found which could be used for both purposes. Classification must be with reference to the object in view.

The President agreed with the Hon. Secretary that it was important for the Council to be consistent. There should be no mistakes in that which was issued to the public. He considered it very desirable that the draft report should be referred back to the Committee.

On the proposition of Mr. Pritchett, seconded by the Rev. F. E. Robinson, it was resolved to postpone further consideration of the report to the next meeting, and to request the Committee to publish in the mean time their report in “The Bell News” inviting criticism. A hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the Committee.


The President said it was now two years since a circular was sent out to the Secretaries of the various Guilds and Associations asking for the names of representative ringers to whom circulars could be sent for information, and it was only within the last few weeks that the last Secretary had replied to the request. A very large number of forms had been sent out, and the Committee had to thank many Secretaries and ringers for the assistance they had rendered, yet at the same time it would be seen how difficult, through the delay, it had been to carry the work thus far. There were 1020 rings of eight and upwards so far known about which it was desired to obtain information. Out of the 1020 circulars that had gone out, 745 had up to the present been returned, leaving still 275 to be accounted for. It was, however, considered useless to go on delaying the work any longer. As soon as possible, therefore it was proposed to commence to publish the list of those towers in respect to which information was to hand, in alphabetical order. This should first of all appear in “The Bell News,” and as some of the information had been in hand a long time there would be corrections to be made, and where a tower had been omitted it could be inserted if the information was forthcoming before the completion of the list, so as to have the whole up to date and as perfect as possible. The work had already taken some considerable time to reach its present stage, and would take still further time before being finally completed. He had the assistance necessary to push it forward and this would be done.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee asked if it was intended to give any information respecting rings other than those in a church tower. There was a peal at the Manchester Town Hall, one at a Roman Catholic church, and he believed there were two or three chapels each with a ring. Would there be any opportunity to furnish information as to these? He believed that there were altogether twenty-one bells at the Manchester Town Hall. If any information was given, would it be confined to the bells that could be rung, or include the whole? There was also an instance of two towers to one church; one had a ring of five, the other a ring of eight.

The President said the Council was there as the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. Its primary interest in bells was in respect of those in church towers. He saw no reason, however, why information with respect to such rings as that at the Manchester Town Hall should not be given in an appendix. Information as to the ring at the Imperial Institute had been sent in, but it was not proposed to put this in the body of the work.

Mr. A. T. King asked if rings in Scotland were not to be included.

The President said if this was to be an Imperial enquiry he must retire from the Committee (laughter). He did not think that it was contemplated to take in Scotland, nor did he think their interest lay in any but the bells which were in Church of England towers.

Mr. Story thought the Committee were appointed to inquire with respect to the bells in church towers.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies suggested that the list should include rings in church towers that were in communion with the Church of England.

Mr. Daniell asked what form the report would take when published, and if no other than rings were to be reported upon.

The President replied that there were a few historical rings of six upon which information would be given. Abbreviations would be used in the report; the particulars of each ring must come within one line.

A vote of thanks was accorded to the Committee on the motion of Mr. Catchpole, seconded by the Rev. W. W. C. Baker.

In answer to Mr. Snowdon, the President said no names of those giving information would be published.


The Hon. Secretary, on behalf of the Technical Terms Committee reported that the Glossary was now complete, a few copies having arrived that morning. It was a more extended work than was at first anticipated, when it was thought that it might be sold for 1d. The Standing Committee considered the work well worth 6d. It was intended however, to offer it at 4d. to individual members of the Exercise, but when purchased at the rate of 100 copies by an Association, the book would be sold at 2d. per copy.

Mr. Snowdon trusted that Associations would afford their members an opportunity of becoming owners of the work by ordering copies 100 or more at a time, and if necessary by giving to each member a copy. In his own Association the matter had yet to come before the Committee, but it was hoped to purchase sufficient copies to give one to each member. Under ordinary circumstances a member, through his Association, would be able to secure a copy 2d. cheaper than otherwise if the Associations made a point of taking the matter up. The man who would not take the trouble to purchase the work was the very man who ought to be made to have it.

In reply to a question as to the number to be printed, the Hon. Secretary said there would be 6000 copies.

On the proposition of the Rev. G. F. Coleridge, seconded by Mr. Gordon, a most hearty vote of thanks was accorded the Hon. Secretary for his work in connection with the preparation of the Glossary.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 15, 1901, pages 74 to 76


Upon the re-assembling of the Council for the afternoon session the President said it might be a convenient time to decide where the Council should meet in 1902. The Birmingham meeting was followed by Oxford, the Sheffield meeting by Brighton, and Bristol was followed by Norwich. It had been suggested that now Worcester should be fixed for next year’s meeting. In 1903 the meeting would again be in London, and possibly the Council might, after going to York, go to Canterbury; if so the same geographical plan would be adopted as had proved satisfactory in the past.

On the proposition of the Rev. F. E. Robinson, seconded by Mr. W. T. Cockerill, next year’s meeting was fixed to be held at Worcester.


The Rev. F. E. Robinson moved the following:

This, the rev. gentleman said, was a very delicate question; one which the Council had hitherto abstained from taking in hand. There were many points to be considered, and he was not altogether responsible for the wording of the motion. In theory a peal ought to be rung without a mistake. How many peals would be rung under such conditions? Were they going to lay down a hard and fast line? Was no one but the conductor to say a word? Was the conductor to only call the bobs and singles? If the conductor saw one of the band about to make a mistake, was he to be permitted to keep him right? Or supposing one of the band - not the conductor - saw a brother-ringer about to make an error, was he to be permitted to make an effort to keep the other straight? All these points required consideration. If such things were not to be permitted, they would not have many peals rung, for there were occasions when it was necessary to keep even a good ringer from making mistakes. There was also another point in regard to mistakes which were made on the quiet. These were among the most difficult to detect. When it was discovered that a mistake had been made and had been going on, was the ringing to be immediately stopped, or in other words, must a mistake be immediately put right when made? As he had already said he was not directly responsible for the wording of the resolution in which ten changes had been inserted as the limit within which an error on eight or more bells should be corrected. As to firing, no peal should be recorded when this took place, but he thought some latitude should be allowed. The question was how far was a conductor to be permitted to keep a band right. Take Stedman for instance. If there was a muddle through a bell going in slow instead of quick, but it came out all right, was that to be allowed? Or if the conductor, having called a bob, saw that the bell that should make it was not doing so, was he to be permitted to put the ringer of the bell right? Or taking the dodging in 6-7, if this was started in the wrong order, was he to be permitted to put the bells right? He did not think that a distinct shift in which the bells left their places in the wrong order should be permitted. Neither did he consider that a peal should be recorded if an error occurred, and the bells were not put right within ten changes. If asked at the end of forty years what absolutely faultless peals he had rung, the number would not be many beyond the non-conducted peal of Stedman upon his own bells when every member of the band knew his work and the peal was perfect. A conductor of a peal should be a man who knows his business, and if he does, he can stop a ringer from making a mistake, and he thought such latitude should be permitted. If not, he was sure that a great many peals of the sort now rung would not pass muster. He thought that some consideration should be allowed for a band that for the first time rang a peal, as the bells might not be very well struck or kept at times in proper compass. He thought however it would be best for the Council to first decide how much latitude should be allowed to a conductor; having settled that there would be many more points which would have to be considered, some of which would no doubt occupy their attention in the future.

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

Mr. J. W. Taylor desired to know if it was proposed that no one but the conductor was to speak. A brother ringer, besides the conductor, could often put another right.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson replied that this was one of the points for consideration.

The President said he should like the discussion to start with a clear grasp of this important problem. He should like to see the Council come to a decision which would be practicable. It was very desirable that there should be set up a standard of excellence. It would perhaps be wisest to suggest this standard at first for adoption in the case of peals intended to be record ones. It would be welcomed by every man who had taken part in record peals, and the regulations would gradually filter down to less important performances until it finally became the recognised standard for all peals. As time went on men able to criticise a peal would draw attention to performances not up to the standard for records. Thus it was to be hoped that eventually there would come to be a general standard of excellence recognised for all peal ringing. As regarded record performances he considered there ought to be at least fourteen days’ notice given of the attempt in “The Bell News,” and also notice to the conductor or representative of the band whose record was to be surpassed, or in cases where the previous performance had taken place many years ago the notice should be given to the secretary of the Association or Society to which that band belonged, in order that he might send a representative if desired to criticise the performance. It was also most necessary that the figures of any new composition should be sealed and lodged with some responsible person. It would not be fair to give the figures otherwise than under seal, as in case of a failure, some other band, getting hold of the composition, might go and ring the peal first, thus taking it out of the hands of the original band. This sealing up of the figures and the holding of the same by some responsible person would be but common sense and common fairness to all. With respect to umpires he would not make any suggestions, for it must be remembered, as he had said some time back, that the Exercise had not the men in the present day who could vouch for the accuracy of calling as formerly. He thought that there should be a declaration signed by the whole of the band that a record peal was accurately and properly rung. This would ensure prompt disownment on the part of any members of the band who were not prepared to vouch for the peal. Among other points requiring consideration was that of one ringer changing bells with another. Was this to be allowed? Or take the case of the conductor missing a bob and one of the company calling it, or that of the conductor, who having called a bob and suddenly finds he is in error and calls out “no bob,” was this to be allowed? Or should the conductor call a bob instead of a single or vice versa, and the next change put the bells right. Was this to be allowed? There were many ways among conductors of putting bells right, and this was a matter which ought to be dealt with. There should be laid down a standard of excellence, and the right thing to do in regard to each possible eventuality. Bad striking and firing were points that required consideration. As to firing, that especially required a clear rule to be laid down, for someone might say that only seven bells out of eight struck at the same time, therefore it was not firing. Take the case of a muffled peal. Suppose a muffle comes off. To continue ringing was an imposition on the ears of the public outside, and such a performance should not be called a peal. There was the question whether feeding, in a long peal, should be allowed (laughter). It was essential that all these and other difficulties should be faced, and defined regulations put forth, which in the end could not fail to be appreciated by the Exercise at large.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson said the first point to be considered was what latitude was to be permitted to a conductor; secondly was any one else to be permitted to speak during a peal.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker asked if the Council was going to confine its resolution to record performances only.

The President questioned whether it would be wise at first to go beyond record performances.

Mr. Pritchett said the question for the Council was to lay down some rule to regulate shifts in peal-ringing. He did not agree with the terms of the resolution, nor could he see why whatever resolution the Council adopted should not apply to all peals upon any number of bells. It should therefore be a general resolution, and at the same time simple and easy of application. He would admit that there must be some latitude allowed to a conductor in keeping bells straight. There might be some misunderstanding between two of a band. A conductor who sees this and can immediately put each one right should be allowed to do so, if not, the ringing should come to a stand. The resolution was much too long and much too elaborate. There should not be any distinction laid down specially for Triples. According to the resolution “the striking must be steadied in less than ten changes from the moment the error became apparent” but the error might have taken place some time previously and a number of wrong changes might have been rung. He did not see how the Council could adopt such absolution if it wanted to set up a general standard. He should move as an amendment “That in the performance of any peal any shift that occurs among the bells shall be sufficient to invalidate the performance unless such shift is immediately corrected by the conductor.” He did not approve of any limit of time for correcting a shift, but thought the only course open was to insist upon the words “immediately corrected” otherwise the peal should not be recorded.

Mr. W. T. Cockerill seconded.

The Rev. H. Law James suggested that in recording peals instead of making use of the words “conducted by,” the old method of recording “who called bobs” should be adopted.

Mr. H. Dains pointed out that there were ringers who could call a peal but not conduct it, yet a band who rang such a peal would have rung a true one.

Dr. Carpenter did not see why a peal should be lost if someone else than the conductor put the bells right.

Mr. Pritchett agreed to leave out the words “by the conductor.”

Dr. Carpenter did not think that the Council should give its sanction to such latitude as was given in the resolution. There was no doubt that many of the peals recorded were not absolutely true, hence the greater value of peals which were perfectly true.

The Rev. Maitland Kelly asked what was a conductor if he was not someone who could not only call a peal but keep the bells right if required. Did the word conductor simply mean someone who called the bobs only. He considered a conductor should be one who could keep the bells right as well as call.

Mr. Daniell pointed out that this did not affect the question.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee pointed out that the amendment referred to all peals and not to record performances only. If the opinion of the Council was in favour of adopting it no one would rejoice more than himself, but it did occur to him whether the time was ripe for the adoption of such a regulation. He thought the best the Council could do would be to raise a higher tone among ringers and rely upon them as honourable men to do that which was right. If the Council laid down a high standard there would be a danger of its being evaded. It would be impossible for the Council to send referees to all peals, but this might be done in the case of record performances. Having set up a standard of excellence for record performances he agreed with the President that it should be allowed to filter down to all peals. He thought if the Council adopted such a proposal it would be loyally supported, but to attempt to lay down a standard for all peals he did not think would as yet be acceptable.

Mr. A. T. King thought the question of record performances upon church bells might well be left out, for it was making the ringing of church bells too much of a sport; neither did he agree in ringing for points. If, however, the Council did consider it well to pass a resolution, he was in sympathy with Mr. Pritchett, and considered any resolution adopted should be as simple as possible. He did not, however, see how they were going to fix such a resolution unless it was by some of the band making an affidavit before a magistrate. He was one of those who thought it better to trust people, and did not think there were worse men among ringers than among others, and it looked to him that to adopt such a resolution would be casting a slur upon an honourable body of men. He saw no reason why the Council should legislate for those who ring shaky peals. If the Council was going to establish a system by which peals would be recognised as belonging to either first, second, or third class, it would be doing a great deal of mischief.

Mr. C. H. Hattersley considered that if bells came up wrong at the course-end no attempt should be made to correct them, but that the ringing should come to an end.

The Rev. C. P. Davies said he had only formally seconded the resolution. He thought it would be better as the President had suggested that whatever resolution was adopted should be in connection with record performances only, which would commend itself to the Exercise at large much more than attempting to lay down a resolution for all peals.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker agreed with the last speaker, but at the same time would there not be a danger of bands claiming to do what they liked in other performances than record ones?

The President did not think that this would be the effect.

The Rev H. A. Cockey asked if it would not be best to set up a standard which should be aimed at in all peals. There was one difficulty which occurred to him. There was in some places considerable jealousy among ringers. To lay down as a standard a hard and fast line might cause more jealousy in some places and not be much help in others.

Mr. Pritchett objected to the Council going off the track. The Council had met to consider the resolution as it had been printed; let them keep to that. His amendment was much more simple and easy, and intended to apply to all peals.

The Hon. Secretary said he agreed with the President that whatever resolution was adopted should apply to record performances only, because that was the pressing question of the hour, and he considered that the time had come when the Council should come to some definite settlement of the question, and arrive at a decision which would commend itself to the Exercise at large. He was partly responsible for the wording of the resolution. He was aware that the question must come before the Council, and be if possible dealt with. He thought that the rev. gentleman who moved the resolution, from his long and varied experience of peal ringing and conducting, would be able to deal with the whole question, and therefore had asked him to move it, not thinking that the wording of the resolution would stand, but that by it the whole question could be raised. He had himself had the opportunity of speaking to a conductor whom he asked for an opinion. The conductor said that no shift in peal-ringing should take place, if it did, the ringing should be at once stopped. He thought if the President’s suggestion was adopted, and the resolution passed to apply to record performances, it would be one which in time would be ultimately received for peals in general.

Mr. Pritchett’s amendment with the words “by the conductor” omitted, was then put and carried nem con.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee moved a further amendment as a preamble to that just adopted. “That in the opinion of this Council all peals ought to aim at a standard of absolute accuracy, and in order to assure this in cases of special interest, such as peals intended to establish a record, any shift,” etc., etc.

In moving the above the rev. gentleman said he did not think that it was practicable for the amendment which had been carried, and therefore now became the substantive motion, to apply to all peals yet. He would suggest to the Council that they should be sure that they were doing that which was practicable. As to record performances upon church bells one gentleman had said that he disliked them. Let the Council take care that it was not misunderstood. Let them see that there was such a danger. Some one might say that the Council had met to discuss records. There was a Yorkshire journal that took that view of the discussion last year. Let them show that this was not the principle they had in view, but that they as ringers did what they did in ringing for the glory of God.

Mr. Wakley thought Mr. Pritchett’s amendment should refer to all peals, and opposed the preamble.

The President pointed out that the amendment by Mr. Pritchett might apply to record performances with an indication that the Council considered it should apply to all peals.

Mr. Pritchett said the preamble was vague, and would serve no useful purpose.

The preamble was put to the meeting and lost.

Mr. H. White moved that notice of intended record performances should be given, and that the President and Hon. Secretary of the Council should depute competent ringers to be present. In support of the proposal Mr. White expressed an opinion that this course would be a wise one to adopt, and if previously done would have avoided considerable ill-feeling.

Mr. Williams seconded.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies said this was launching out in a new direction which he did not consider desirable, as it might lead the Council to become unpopular if such a proposal was adopted. He agreed that notice of any attempt to break a record should be given in the ringing journals, and thought such notice should appear at least fourteen days before the attempt.

Mr. Pritchett said if such a resolution was adopted it would be necessary for the Council to draft some rules to define what was a record performance.

The President said he could not undertake any such office as that contemplated in the resolution. He had no authority apart from the Council.

The rider having been withdrawn, Mr. Pritchett’s amendment was put as the substantive motion, and carried nem con.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 22, 1901, pages 87 to 89


The next notice of motion upon the agenda was the following:

The Rev. F. E. Robinson in moving the above said something of the kind was very necessary. Rumours with respect to false peals generally arose through each person to whom something had been told about a peal adding a little, till at last some one publicly condemned it. He considered that three months was a reasonable time within which all objections should be made, otherwise a peal should not be disputed. The rumour respecting the peal of London Surprise arose through some one saying that one of the band had been cautioned not to set his bell. From this it was ultimately stated that one of the band did set his bell. He considered, that unless something came out in the course of three months, any peal should be recorded as a true one.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee seconded.

Dr. Carpenter pointed out the discussion last year was chiefly upon the truthfulness of a peal.

Mr. Daniell asked if it was intended to limit the questioning of the truth of the composition to three months.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies could not see how any limit could be placed upon the question of the composition of a peal. If this was found at any time to have been false, the performance could no longer be recognised as a true peal.

Mr. Daniell agreed with the last speaker.

Mr. King asked why wait three months for any protest to be made. If the performance was worth protesting against, it should be done at once.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker said it might, in some cases, be beyond the period of three months before the real facts respecting a performance came out.

Mr. Dains suggested that the question of a limit of time be abandoned.

The President did not think it desirable to strike out the limit of time except in regard to composition, and suggested the insertion of the word “objection” in lieu of “protest.” Mr. W. Snowdon said it was well-known that a band could keep a secret for some time. If outside objection was made it should be within a reasonable time, so that someone who heard the performance might be forthcoming. This should be within the three months.

The Rev. Law James advocated that the question of time should be entirely struck out.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey suggested that any objection should be made public within the limit of time.

Mr. Pritchett thought the resolution useless unless the Council appointed umpires to receive objections. He also thought that there should be a limit of time, otherwise the Council should not endeavour to lay down any rule.

The President said the Council existed largely for the purpose of laying down rules. It had already adopted rules as to what was and what was not a peal, but it was not constituted to act as a court of enquiry.

Mr. Snowdon contended that when an objection was made it was for the local Association to which the band belonged to adjudicate upon the matter. He did not think that the Council should become a laundry for the washing of dirty linen.

The President suggested that the resolution should read “That in the opinion of this Council any objection to a peal, except in regard to the composition, should be made within three months.”

The Rev. J. A. Elsee thought it would be well to leave the matter here. It might be necessary at some future time to give further direction. At present there did not appear to be any body to which reference could be made for a decision. He thought the discussion had gone as far as it was well it should do that day.

The Rev. H. Law James suggested the local Association for a decision.

The President did not think anything further was required. If the Council adopted the amended resolution it would be discharging what it had been asked to do for the last two years.

The resolution as amended upon the suggestion of the President, was adopted nem con.


The Hon. Secretary in moving that it was desirable to appoint a Committee to draw up a code of rules for (a) an Association, and (b) a company of ringers, said he was bringing the matter forward as one of business. His reason for doing so was because of the want felt for such a code, and because the Council should be in a position to give advice and help, when asked for it by those forming an Association or company, on the strength of its corporate authority, and so not only assist in the formation of new Societies but in improving and strengthening the organization of ringing companies and the management of belfries generally. The desirability of possessing such a code was shown by the fact that he had been applied to more than once as Secretary to the Council, for the Council’s rules for an Association and also for a company, and he had been compelled to confess that the Council had no corporate ideas on the subject. He thought that when the Council was asked to give advice of this kind it should be in a position to do so. The object of the motion was not in any way to interfere with the rules of the existing Societies, nor to suggest any arrangement of details that must necessarily be left to local settlement, but to supply a skeleton or frame-work, so to speak, embodying all essential points of organization which those engaged in forming an Association or Company might clothe as most suitable to local circumstances. All such details as constitution of the executive body, terms of membership, appointment of officers, arrangements for meetings and practices, would be left open and merely indicated in their proper position by headings. With respect to each branch of the motion, he had made a note of four points upon which there was at present much diversity of practice and a certain want of uniformity and agreement. While not presuming to dictate, the Council might usefully suggest a greater uniformity of purpose and practice in some particulars in which at present there is diversity, with the possible effect that in course of time Societies would come more into line in these particulars. The rules of some Associations were excellent in many respects, and could hardly be improved, but there was very little agreement among them upon certain of the following points: (1) aims and objects (2) qualification and admission of members, (3) conditions and regulations for instruction, (4) system of recording peals. As to aims and objects, most of the Association’s agree in including the promotion of the science of change-ringing and belfry reform in one or other of its aspects; but there are other aims upon which there is no general agreement apparent, and the moral and political value of the federation of isolated bands of ringers is hardly touched upon by any. In qualification for membership some Associations differed very much from others. In some the admission of members was regulated by stringent rules, especially in the matter of casual elections in the tower; others allowed greater laxity. In some Associations there was little if any provision for instruction of learners, while in others it was regarded of great importance and careful provision made for it. The manner of recording peals was in some Associations hardly satisfactory: the practice, for instance, of the Association for whose procedure he himself was responsible being abominably loose, the mere fact of a peal having been published in “The Bell News,” being considered sufficient proof of the respectability of the performance; while some Associations took considerable precaution and insisted on some form of voucher. The form of admission of members, the formation and management of a belfry club, control and maintenance of discipline, regulations for keeping up a supply of qualified ringers by the training of recruits, were the four chief points in connection with a code of rules for a company. How many companies of ringers fell to pieces through a split upon the financial rock which often might be avoided by proper management and regulation of the financial affairs of the company. By the existence of a well-organized belfry club the danger of a company breaking up would in many cases be removed. How important was the question of training recruits to keep up a supply of qualified ringers, and how very few companies had any definite rule upon this point upon which to work. There should be greater and more constant efforts made to enlist young boys and lads, and to hold out greater inducements to them to learn, if qualified bands were to be kept up. The elementary school was the place to which those who want to get recruits should go. Get intelligent lads from ten to twelve or from fourteen to fifteen, and you have the very best material to work upon for the production of good ringers. Boys of that age will pick up a knowledge of the Art much sooner than the lad of nineteen or twenty. He had known bands composed of lads of the age mentioned which had rapidly acquired considerable proficiency. These were some of the points in the organization of ringing companies upon which greater uniformity of action was imperatively required for the strengthening of companies, and therefore for the benefit of the Exercise at large.

The Rev. C. D. P. Davies, in seconding the motion, said he had himself received inquiries as to such a code of rules, but had been able to shield himself by referring the writers to the Hon. Secretary.

The motion was agreed to, and the following committee appointed: Rev. F. E. Robinson, Rev. H. E. Bulwer, R. A. Daniell, A. T. King, and R. S. Story.

The meeting closed with a hearty vote of thanks to the President.

In the evening, at the invitation of the President, a considerable number of the Council and their friends assembled at The Midland Hotel, and a couple of hours were passed in friendly talk, handbell ringing, etc.

The following morning a goodly gathering assembled at Duffield Bank, where they took trips on the miniature railway and otherwise enjoyed the beautiful scenery and weather.

In the afternoon the Derby meeting of the Central Council was fitly brought to a conclusion with a peal of Stedman Caters under the able conductorship of the Rev. F. E. Robinson, the band being composed of Sir Arthur Heywood, his guests, and two of his employees.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 29, 1901, pages 98 to 99

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