The Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was held at the Church House, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, on Whit-Tuesday, June 2nd, under the presidency of Sir Arthur Heywood, when the following representatives were present: Ancient Society of College Youths- Messrs. W. T. Cockerill, Arthur Hughes, J. W. Rowbotham and T. H. Taffender; Society of Royal Cumberland Youths- Messrs. Henry Dains, R. A. Daniell and A. Hardy; St. James’s Society London- Mr. W. Weatherstone; Bedfordshire Association- Rev. W. W. C. Baker; Birmingham St, Martin’s Guild- Mr. W. H. Godden; Chester Diocesan Guild- Messrs. Joseph Ashmole and Henry Dew; Devon Guild- Rev. Maitland Kelly; Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Association- Mr. R. S. Story; Ely Diocesan Association- Rev. W. W. C. Crump; Essex Association- Rev. T. L. Papillon, Messrs. B. Keeble, W. J. Nevard and N. J. Pitstow; Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association- Rev. H. A. Cockey and Mr. F. G. May; Hertford County Association- Mr. Herbert Baker; Kent County Association- Messrs. E. Barnett and J. H. Cheesman, Rev. F. J. O. Helmore; Lancashire Association- Rev. H. J. Elsee; Leeds and District Amalgamated Society- Mr. J. W. T. Holgate; Lincolnshire Diocesan Guild- Mr. C. W. P. Clifton, Rev. H. Law James and Mr. R. Richardson; Middlesex Association- Messrs. J. Basden, Arthur T. King and J. Waghorn; Midland Counties Association - Sir A. Heywood, Bart., Messrs. J. Griffin, J. W. Taylor, jun., and W. Wakley; Northamptonshire Central Association- Mr. T. H. Hensher; North Notts Association- Mr. Herbert Haigh; Norwich Diocesan Association- Messrs. C. E. Borrett, W. L. Catchpole, J. Motts and Charles Mee; Oxford Diocesan Guild- Rev. G. F. Coleridge, Mr. F. W. Hopgood, Rev. F. E. Robinson and Mr. W. P. Routh; Salisbury Diocesan Guild- Rev. H. Drake and Mr. A. Smith; Stafford Archdeaconry Society- Messrs. Rowland Cartwright and Samuel Reeves; Surrey Association- Messrs. A. B. Carpenter, M.D., and Charles Dean, jun.; Sussex County Association- Messrs. G. F. Attree, A. B. Bennett, S. Saker and G. Williams; Winchester Diocesan Guild- Rev. C. E. Matthews, Messrs. H. White, J. W. Whiting and C. Willshire; Worcestershire District Association- Messrs. R. E. Grove and John Smith; Yorkshire Association- Mr. W. Snowdon; Hon. Members- Rev. A. H. Boughey, Rev. E. W. Carpenter, Rev. C. D. P. Davies, Messrs. J. Pettit, F. W. J. Rees and J. A. Trollope.


Mr. R. A. Daniell said he understood there was but one nomination for the presidency for the triennial term now commencing, and he had been requested as a member of the Cumberland Youths to propose that Sir Arthur Heywood, a member of the College Youths, who had so ably occupied the position since the formation of the Council, should again be elected as the President. It was a pleasure to him (the speaker) to have the privilege of proposing Sir Arthur, and he was sure the resolution would meet with the warm approval of those present.

Dr. Carpenter having seconded,

Mr. Daniell put the resolution, which was carried with acclamation.

Sir Arthur Heywood, upon taking the chair, thanked Mr. Daniell for the manner in which he had moved the resolution, and the delegates for the reception and adoption of same. It would be an honour to preside over the deliberations of the Council for the ensuing three years, and he could assure them that he would do his best for the welfare of the ringers of England.


The President said the next business was to elect an Hon. Sec. Those who were present last year at Worcester would remember how kindly the Rev. C. D. P. Davies stepped in to fill the grave and uncloseable gap caused by the death of the late esteemed Hon. Sec. Mr. Davies alone had been nominated as Hon. Sec. for the ensuing three years. Unfortunately Mr. Davies had moved his residence and had not therefore been re-elected to represent the Sussex Association. In order to get over the difficulty he would propose Mr. Davies as an hon. member, and if it was adopted - and he was sure it would be then they could proceed to his election as Hon. Sec.

Mr. Bennett having seconded the resolution and the same having been adopted.

The President said there was no other nomination for appointment of Hon. Sec., and he had pleasure in proposing that Mr. Davies be elected.

The Rev. T. L. Papillon, in seconding, said he was sure no better selection to take up the mantle of the late Mr. Bulwer could be found. Mr. Davies would find the Council a going concern and he was sure that with the President by his side Mr. Davies would not go wrong.

The resolution having been adopted with hearty applause.

The Hon. Sec. said he desired to thank those present for the way in which they had received and adopted both resolutions. His election as Hon. Sec. of the Council was a proof to him of the great confidence reposed in him. As Mr. Papillon had remarked, he had found the Council a going concern in every detail. Everything had been left in such excellent order by his predecessor, whose death they all so much lamented, that he could only hope with the help that he knew he should receive from the President, who would keep him right, that he should be able to discharge the duties to their satisfaction. In connection with his duties he was pleased to be in a position to state that the whole of the subscriptions to the Council had been paid.


The Hon. Sec. reported that communications had been received regretting they could not attend from the Rev. J. H. Pilkington, Messrs. R. Ridyard, J. Carter and F. E. Ward.


The Hon. Sec. reported that the hon. members retiring this year were the Rev. J. H. Pilkington, Messrs. J. Carter, F. W. J. Rees, J. Pettit, J. S. Pritchett, J. A. Trollope and F. E. Ward. The President said that the Standing Committee had discussed the question of re-election and it was not seen how the Council could well dispense with the services of any of the above named gentlemen. If the whole were re-elected the number of hon. members would be complete. Hitherto they had always kept a vacancy open in case an emergency election was found necessary, as had been the case that morning in regard to Mr. Davies. The Council was not in a position that day to discuss the matter, but it would probably be desirable next year to propose the increase of hon. members from 12 if necessary to 20. There were even now several gentlemen whose services would be valuable upon the Council. If this was done the Council would not be by any means over-weighted by co-opted members. He would give notice of such a motion for next year.

On the proposition of the Rev. F. E. Robinson, seconded by the Rev. C. D. P. Davies, the whole of the above were re-elected as hon. members.


The Hon. Sec reported that the balance from the previous year was £99 13s. 6d., the subscriptions amounted to £11, and the sum of £4 7s. had been received from the sale of publications, making a total of £115 0s. 6d. The expenditure included printing, £8 13s. 6d.; postages, reporting, &c., £3 2s. 6d.; leaving a balance in the bank as per pass book of £103 5s.

The President having informed the Council that the accounts had been audited by the Standing Committee, the same were passed.


The Hon. Sec. reported upon the sale of publications, from which £4 7s. had been received from Messrs. Bemrose & Son. With the exception of “The Glossary,” of which only three copies were on hand at the publishers, there was sufficient stock of the publications to realise when sold about £13 12s. 6d., which the Council might fairly claim to add to their credit. The Standing Committee had discussed the question of re-printing, and considered this necessary, more especially as an order had come in for 300 copies since the stock had run out.

The Rev. G. F. Coleridge asked if some of the Secretaries of the various Associations had not got copies in hand which they would be willing to transfer to other Secretaries if necessary.

Mr. A. T. King said he had 100 copies, if not more.

Mr. W. T. Cockerill said the College Youths had about 100 copies.

A Member mentioned that the Worcestershire Association had disposed of about 50 out of a second batch of 200 copies.

The President did not think it would be desirable that any Secretary should part with the whole of the copies he had, although he might wish to be relieved of a portion. If some 300 or 400 copies could be got together the Hon. Secretary could send them on to Messrs. Bemrose. It was, however, their best publication and would finally have to be re-printed.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey pointed out that if those having copies in hand could dispose of them to those who were not ringers they would be doing a good thing for the Exercise. He moved that the work be re-printed.

Mr. Bennett seconded.

Mr. A. T. King thought it would be better if Secretaries of Associations could be supplied in smaller numbers at a time, say 30 or 40 copies. It was a little troublesome to have so many at a time.

Mr. R. A. Daniell thought that Secretaries who had copies should retain them rather than return any, as in the course of time all would be disposed of.

Mr. W. Wakley asked the number of the first edition.

The President said there was a doubt as to the actual number. He thought it was 3000.

Mr. W. Snowdon was of opinion that 6000 copies were printed.

Mr. Griffin supported the proposal to reprint.

The President said it would be desirable that there should be some expression whether, if the work was to be re-printed, it should be done - with the exception of any typographical errors - without alteration. The Standing Committee were of opinion that it would be difficult to insert in “The Glossary” at present the settlement of such a question as had arisen between Mr. Baker and Mr. James, but if in the course of a few years the matter were definitely decided, in case of another reprint amendments could be introduced.

The Rev. H. L. James considered that the reprint should be as the work now stood. Not that he was not surprised to find the word “Marvel” in the work when he remembered with what laughter the word was received by the Council when it was mentioned by the late Hon. Secretary.

Mr. Cockey’s resolution was adopted.


The Standing Committee, consisting of the President, Hon. Sec., Revs. F. E. Robinson, G. F. Coleridge and H. A. Cockey, and Messrs. F. W. Rees, W. Snowdon, H. Dains, R. A. Daniel, G. F. Attree, T. Lockwood and C. H. Hattersley, were re-elected.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 13, 1903, pages 136 to 137


The Hon. Secretary reported that this was going on slowly. It was proposed to issue the work in sections. Some sections would embrace a whole Group, but it would be impossible in some cases for the whole of a Group to appear in one section. Grandsire Caters was in hand at the present time, and it was hoped that Group I. would shortly be completed. Mr. Arthur Knights had prepared a large collection of Grandsire Caters and Cinques from which Mr. Dains had made a selection. He would suggest the re-election of the Committee and the work would be proceeded with.

Mr. Cockerill moved, and the Rev. G. F. Coleridge seconded, the re-election of the Committee.

The Rev. H. L. James called attention to the statement made last year that Mr. Trollope had a collection of 2000 peals of Bob Major. He thought it would be sufficient if the actual bobs were printed, leaving out the figures; this would make it come into a much smaller compass.

The President thought this might create a difficulty in case of a misprint or a slip of any kind. No doubt it was a good suggestion with a view of getting it in a smaller compass, but he was afraid there would arise a liability to error if bob marks only were printed. He did not himself see the use of printing a vast number of peals in any particular method. Suppose even a thousand Bob Major compositions were published, who was going to look through so many to see if a peal claiming to be new was to be found in the collection?

Mr. Trollope said there had been a great deal to do in connection with his branch of the work and he knew something about the peals he had in hand, but to go and say straight off if a composition claiming to be new was there or not would be rather a big order.

The resolution to re-appoint the Committee was adopted.


The Rev. H. L. James moved the adoption of the report of the Committee on Legitimate Methods which appeared in these pages on May 23rd. He said the work had involved a great deal of correspondence. The draft which last year was reported lost had been re-drafted afresh some nine or ten times. By this the Committee got to know and to understand one another much better. He hoped that they had got to the bottom of the whole thing, at any rate for the present.

The President asked if it was not desirable that the report should be printed.

The Rev. H. L. James said if the report was printed, the notes, which were rather extensive, should also be printed, as they were valuable to those who wanted to know the real meaning of the report, but he was afraid the great bulk of ringers would not take the trouble to go into the matter sufficiently to master it, even with the help of the notes.

Mr. Trollope, in seconding the adoption of the report, supported the printing of the notes with the report. He had been spoken to by several friends who thought the report might have been drawn in a more intelligible manner, but the Committee could not do so. What the Council wanted was a definition of what was a method - a question which very few people had taken the trouble to look into. The Committee, upon examination, found they had to treat it upon purely mathematical lines. With Mr. James he thought that very few ringers would take the trouble or even make the attempt to go into the question. If they did there would not be many who would get to the bottom of the question. He thought that new composers should qualify themselves by some knowledge of what they were attempting to do.

The President asked if it was necessary to re-elect the Committee.

Mr. Trollope did not see that re-election was necessary. The Committee had covered all existing methods and the report would cover method-building for some years to come.

The Rev. H. L. James agreed that it was not necessary at the present to re-elect the Committee. If, however, the Council adopted the report there might be a number of questions arising out of it. This might be the case as to some of the 6-bell methods in Snowdon’s “Standard Methods.”

Mr. W. Snowdon said be was aware that such a question might arise. Speaking of some of the 6-bell methods which appeared in the work published by his late brother, this he said was regarded more as an educational work. He was aware there were some methods not up to the mark. His brother had taken the methods as he found them practised.

The Rev. H. L. James said he had found that some of the methods referred to were capable of being turned into good methods.

Mr. Daniell considered the Committee had given them a very able report; the technical grounds, however, should not be discussed at that meeting.

The report was adopted.

The President said he fully agreed as to the value of the report. They ought not to lose sight of the fact that ringers as a body were not intended to understand a mathematical report of this kind, which would now exist for skilled reference. There was being gradually formed a solid groundwork of technical literature, upon which the Exercise could base future advances. The report was one which he considered reflected great credit on the Committee which had compiled it.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson proposed and Mr. Snowdon seconded that the report be printed as an appendix to the new edition of The Glossary.

The Rev. H. L. James said he was willing to admit that the report was open to criticism, and that people twenty years hence building upon it might go much further into the whole question. He supported adding the report to The Glossary as an appendix.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey did not consider it fair to those who had already purchased copies of The Glossary to add this as an appendix to the new edition.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson pointed out that additional copies of the report could be printed for circulation at a very small cost among those who had already purchased The Glossary.

The President thought it would be better to let the report be attached to the pamphlet containing the decisions of the Council which it was suggested should be published than to let it appear in the new edition of The Glossary.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey proposed and Mr. F. W. J. Rees seconded an amendment to adopt the President’s suggestion.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee saw no reason why both the resolution and the amendment should not be adopted.

Mr. Bennett advocated the whole of the decisions of the Council in one publication.

The amendment was carried.

Mr. Snowdon proposed and the Rev. F. E. Robinson seconded that the report appear as an appendix to the new edition of The Glossary in addition to appearing in the pamphlet.

Mr. Bennett doubted whether, if this was done, those having copies of The Glossary (1st edition) in hand would be able to dispose of them.

Mr. Daniell had no doubt but that the Exercise that wanted the pamphlet would purchase it with the report as soon as possible. As to The Glossary, he did not consider there should be this appendix to the new edition.

The Rev. T. L. Papillon asked if the amendment to the original resolution having been adopted should not now come as a substantive motion.

The President having pointed out that they were dealing with an amendment to the original amendment, the same was put and lost, and Mr. Cockey’s amendment was then put as a substantive motion and adopted.

The President moved and Mr. Borrett seconded that the thanks of the Council be accorded to the Committee for their valuable report, which was adopted with applause.

In reply to the President, Mr. James said he did not think it necessary to re-elect the Committee unless the question of “Marvel” or “Surprise” was referred to them and Mr. Baker’s name added. (Laughter.)


The President said it appeared that some fault had been found as to the slow progress of the reports which were appearing in “The Bell News.” He was doing the work himself and could not get on more rapidly. He might mention that the particulars of some individual rings occupied him in tabulation fully half-an-hour- chiefly through the careless way in which in some cases the particulars had been furnished. After writing out it might be half a sheet of foolscap he often found some half-concealed foot-note which made it necessary to rewrite the whole. He did not think that it was intended to republish all the report, but it would be desirable to produce an abstract showing where rings needed attention, and towers where there was Sunday ringing, and so on. When the Committee was originally appointed there was an impression that a large number of rings were in a bad condition. He had somewhat modified this view, for unless there were many of the towers from which no return had been received which were defective, there were not so great a number of 8-bell rings in a bad condition as they had been led to believe. The indication was that much improvement had taken place within the last few years, no doubt largely through the influence of the various Diocesan and County Associations. He would take the opportunity of stating that it was impossible for him to reply to the many communications which he received respecting the schedule which was appearing. Some wrote to say that the information which appeared was wrong. What the Committee did was to rely upon information given by two accredited ringers on the spot. He thought that some of those who wrote were relying too much upon works on church bells which were not written exactly in reference to the points on which they as ringers for the most part required information.

The Rev. H. L. James said in some places there were no ringers or any one who understood about bells except as to the ringing of them or perhaps how to break a stay. How was information obtained in such a case?

The President said in some places ringers residing in the neighbourhood had supplied the information.

The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore asked if it was necessary that corrections should be sent by resident ringers, and pointed out that some, like himself, not residing on the spot might be able to send corrections.

The President said he was having all corrections carefully noted, and it would be for the Committee, when the publication of the schedule was completed, to advise what should be done in the matter.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee pointed out that the schedule had now reached the letter K; would it, he wished to know, be any use sending corrections for the letter A?

The President replied in the affirmative, and said the whole of the schedule as it appeared was mounted on sheets with space for corrections for each tower, and all corrections sent in were inserted in order that if reprinted they could be included.

The Committee were re-appointed.


The President said it had been considered desirable in past years that the provincial meetings should be upon a definite scheme of east, west, north and south in successive years. The Council had worked upon those lines, the two last meetings taking place at Derby and Worcester. The Standing Committee had discussed the matter and were of opinion that the next meeting might fitly be at York, and then perhaps the Council might in 1905 go to Canterbury.

The Rev. G. F. Coleridge proposed and Mr. W. Snowdon seconded that the next meeting be held at York.

Mr. Attree, in supporting, hoped that the Council might at some future date find its way still further north and go to Edinburgh, pointing out that reduced railway fares could be obtained by parties of eight or ten.

The resolution was adopted.


The President said he had placed this item on the agenda because he had seen the necessity of having a pamphlet, containing the whole of the decisions that had been arrived at by the Council, in order that their suggested regulations should be readily accessible. In some cases it had been considered desirable to amend certain decisions. These, he considered, should all be printed in their modified form and be clearly set out before the Exercise. He would move that the Hon. Secretary with himself be authorised to take the matter in hand.

Mr. Griffin seconded.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson proposed and Mr. W. Routh seconded that the whole of the proceedings of the Council be printed.

The President said this would not meet his views. His object was to give every ringer a clear and simple tabulation of the Council’s decisions now in force.

Mr. Borrett said he was one of those who had fallen into an error as to a decision of the Council, and he had watched to see how many would jump upon him the following week. No one did, so therefore there were others like him and to whom such a pamphlet would be useful. He supported the resolution.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson said if the resolution was adopted it would give no key to the various steps by which the final form of the decisions had been arrived at and the dates of such steps. The Hon. Secretary said if the President’s resolution was adopted it would contain a connected statement, but the amendment would be a historic statement as to how the decisions were arrived at.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey considered that such a pamphlet would be most useful to the Exercise, especially if it showed all decisions concerning any point at a glance.

Mr. A. T. King was of the opinion that whatever was done it should be so arranged that the whole of a decision could be seen by itself.

The President said the adoption of the amendment would not give what he desired. He (the President) wanted the actual work of the Council that had been done and settled upon to be shown, and not a mere summary of the proceedings of each Council meeting.

The amendment was lost and the resolution adopted.


The Rev. H. A. Cockey said he had been asked to move the item No. 11 upon the agenda. The discussion which had taken place upon the last item pointed to the fact that something of the kind suggested in this No. 11 item would do a deal of good and be useful to the Exercise. Most of the pronouncements already made were more or less hidden in the minute book, whereas if this resolution was adopted the Exercise would have the opportunity of knowing what was right and what was wrong according to the pronouncements of the Council. He considered that a copy of these should be sent to the secretaries of the various Associations asking them to take copies for distribution among their members.

The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore, in seconding, said he did so as one who had benefitted by similar clear printed statements in regard to other matters.

The President said the intention in putting the item upon the agenda was that secretaries of Associations should be approached in respect more particularly to the important decisions arrived at last year, when resolutions were passed as to what constituted a true peal. Did the Council consider that it would be sufficient to forward to the secretaries the pamphlet already authorised, or should the peal pronouncements be sent separately? If the former, he thought the pronouncements at the Worcester meeting were of such importance that the special attention of secretaries should be drawn to them.

Mr. Daniell advocated that the attention of secretaries should be drawn to the whole of the pronouncements of the Council since first constituted.

Mr. King also supported the same view.

It was resolved that the whole of the pronouncements of the Council be forwarded to secretaries, with a letter drawing their attention to the more important ones.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 20, 1903, pages 148 to 149


The Rev. T. L. Papillon, in introducing this question, said that his object was much the same as that which had suggested the next item on the agenda, viz.: to ask whether something could not be done to diffuse more knowledge of ringing matters among the public at large. Every one present who, as Secretary of a diocesan or other Association, had endeavoured to promote the spread of change-ringing must have found his greatest obstacle in the general ignorance which prevailed upon the subject, and not least among the clergy and church authorities. In these days people depended for their knowledge of most subjects upon the newspapers; and if perhaps the leading Church newspapers, such as The Guardian, Record, Church Times, etc., could be induced to take some regular notice of ringing matters, there might in time be less ignorance of the subject among churchpeople. “The Bell News” appealed to ringers only, and was so much Hebrew to outsiders; Church Bells was a ringing paper only in name; and the few articles that had appeared in newspapers and magazines were not easily accessible. Nor again such an article as that on “Campanology” in the new volumes of the “Encyclopædia Britannica.” He had no very definite suggestion to offer, except that possibly a committee might be appointed by the Council to see what steps could be taken in the direction indicated.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker said the suggestion was a valuable one. It had occurred to him to ask whether, as none of the church papers were represented there that day, any notice had been sent them of the meeting. There appeared as much need as ever to spread a knowledge of ringing, for there were still many people who looked upon it as a kind of mania.

Mr. A. T. King supported the resolution. He remarked that he remembered how when copies of a certain paper were sent out having one sent to him with the remark that it must have been sent to the clergyman in mistake.

Mr. F. W. J. Rees said formerly ringers had to depend upon Church Bells, but when “Bell News” arose it aroused the interest of ringers. He remembered several letters appearing in Church Bells as to the insertion of even half a column of what was said to be unintelligible matter which ought to be excluded altogether.

In reply to the President Mr. Papillon said by the term church papers he referred to The Guardian, The Record, Church Bells and Church Times. He would suggest that a committee should be appointed to confer with the authorities connected with church papers to see how far recognition of ringing matters could be obtained.

The Rev. Maitland Kelly pointed out that it would be necessary for some one to be prepared to supply the information.

Mr. H. Dains said Church Bells no doubt had done good work and had had the opportunity of expanding so as to be better patronised by ringers, but had not done so. The question was could they as ringers make it worth the Editor’s while to insert ringing matters when they were told that as a body ringers did not support “Bell News” sufficiently to make it profitable to the Editor. Why not give “Bell News” greater support and make it into a good twopenny paper? He would suggest that some good might be done if some one having the ability would write good articles for some well-known magazine and show the readers of the magazine what change-ringing really was.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey said matters connected with Association meetings, openings and the like, did generally find their way into the local papers. If such reports appeared in The Guardian, Church Times and other church papers it would bring these matters before a class of readers who seldom took any interest in ringing. He believed much good might be done by general articles appearing in the ordinary press, and leaving “Bell News” to deal with technical points.

The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore said there was need of having correct reports and the use of correct terms. Whenever a wedding took place if the bells were rung the reporter always wrote that a merry peal was rung, whatever the ringing might happen to have been.

The Rev. C. E. Matthews suggested the election of a small committee to deal with the matter.

The Rev. H. L. James thought the Committee had better go to work at once and see if they could not get some report inserted in the press of the proceedings that day.

The Rev. T. L. Papillon said he had upon two or three occasions sent short reports of the Council proceedings to the Times, and the same had duly appeared. A suggestion had also been made when the Encyclopædia was appearing that a chapter should be inserted upon change-ringing and this had been done. He did not therefore think that the press was entirely against them.

The President said when the Council was first formed the late Hon. Secretary with himself sent pars. to the principle London dailies, which generally appeared, but somehow they allowed the practice to drop. An excellent article was written by Mr. Bulwer, and appeared in the Windsor Magazine, and he saw no reason why similar articles should not be offered by other writers to other magazines. He remembered that at the Oxford meeting Canon Erskine Clarke was spoken to as the Editor of Church Bells respecting the insertion of more ringing news, but the reply was that they must cater for their readers, and not give them that which they did not appreciate. The Council should remember that the bulk of papers were printed to pay, and if it paid Editors to take up specific matters they would do so, and not otherwise. Under these circumstances he did not think that ringers would get much attention given them. It would be best to leave the matter in the hands of a small committee who would undertake to see what could be done. If such a committee were appointed and commenced by giving some account of the proceedings of the Council they must do so in a generally intelligible form which would interest outsiders. Many of those present knew something of the work which Mr. Papillon had done in this direction. With respect to “The Bell News” it must be remembered that it had been most valuable to the Exercise. The Council’s proceedings had always appeared in its columns. It had also been of great interest to those who achieved peals by having them publicly recorded, and the Exercise at large owed a debt of gratitude to the Editor for his labours on their behalf. All should try to assist him and so help forward the interests of ringing. He would suggest that a resolution should be moved appointing a small committee to take steps to secure by the press in general fuller recognition of the Exercise by the insertion of information respecting the science of change-ringing.

The Rev. T. S. Papillon moved, and Mr. Daniell seconded, a resolution setting forth the suggestion made by the President, which having been adopted, the proposer and seconder with the Rev. Maitland Kelly were appointed as a committee.


Mr. R. A. Daniell, in introducing this subject, said that he was very glad to find that it was only another aspect of the preceding subject, and that Mr. Papillon and himself were both bent on obtaining a similar result. He pointed out that the difficulty of referring any intelligent person to a source of information about change-ringing was, that, apart from technical treatises, knowledge of the subject was only to be found in expensive books like the extra volumes of the “Encyclopædia Britannica” or “Groves’ Dictionary of Music,” or “Proceedings of the Brighton Church Congress,” or detached articles in bygone numbers of Magazines, and, of course, the file of “The Bell News.” He considered that there was a great want of some handbook offered at a reasonable price, say at about 3s. 6d., which would be within the reach of the ordinary enquirer and would act as an introduction to the more lengthy and technical literature upon the subject. He therefore moved for a committee to consider and report to the next meeting of the Council whether such a publication would be financially practicable, and if so as to the best form in which it could be produced.

Mr. A. T. King seconded. He said such a proposal had often been spoken of, but it was generally said that it would be rather a big undertaking. There could be no doubt whatever that such a publication would be most valuable. He considered it would be best for a Committee to take the matter in hand and draw up a scheme of what the book should contain. One could say a great deal as to what it ought not, to contain, but the real question was what should it contain in order to remove that ignorance which still prevailed as to the science of change-ringing.

Mr. W. Snowdon said both Mr. Papillon and Mr. Daniell were on the right track. His own experience was chiefly through what his brother did in what he thought might be termed a popular form. His brother wrote for the Leisure Hour and also for Chambers’ Journal, which was done by request. He believed that a publication on the lines Mr. Daniell had suggested would pay its way in time. The difficulty he saw was to get the public to know of the existence of such a book. There must be something to lead up to it; something in that direction might be done by a review of the book. There might be two such publications, but they would be of little use if the public did not know of them. There must be a demand created; this might be brought about by the assistance of the Press. Above all it must be generally interesting, and then there could be no doubt that it would do an immense work, which ought to be a strong argument in favour of adopting the proposal. If the demand was created then all would be well, but to leave the book upon the shelves in Paternoster Row would be useless. With respect to the appearance of ringing matters in Church Bells he remembered how an organist became so interested through what appeared there that he took up ringing and increased the ring at his parish church from six to eight bells, and finally from eight to ten. This was one example of what good had been done by the publication of ringing matters in Church Bells.

The Rev. H. L. James thought there was room for a series of publications upon church customs and church work, and that if some one could be found to take in hand the publication of a series. Change Ringing could be one of the series.

The Rev. H. Drake, in supporting the resolution, referred to Mr. Ellacombe’s works in the British Museum. If you wanted to refer to these it was necessary to get out the whole, which could not be done without some difficulty. He considered the suggestion made by Mr. James a good one, more especially if the idea could be carried out in a popular form and so catch the eye of the public. There was also a need of something which would set before the Clergy what the bells were for, as so many did not appear to know, in fact there were clergy who regarded them as a nuisance. A publication to be successful with the Clergy should show the advantages of change-ringing, and the advantage of having in a parish a good band of change-ringers, and at the same time give some advice upon the care of bells.

Mr. Bennett thought that if a copy of such a work as had been suggested was sent to each of the Archdeacons of England a great deal of good might be done, as it was part of their duty to see that the bells of a parish church were well cared for.

The President suggested that the Committee which had been appointed on the last resolution should be requested to take this matter in hand and report to the Council next year as to the best way to carry out the proposal. The discussion upon both subjects had shown how important they were. He was sure if the committee applied their energies to supplying information to the Press much good might be done.

Mr. Bennett desired to know if the committee could not at once bring something under the notice of the Archdeacons.

The President said such a proposal would come more fitly another year upon the Committee’s report. It was a part of the Archdeacon’s duty to look after the bells.

The Rev. W. W. C. Baker suggested that a copy of the pamphlet upon the care of bells might do some good if sent to the Archdeacons.

The Revs. H. A. Cockey and Maitland Kelly said this had been done in their respective districts.

Mr. Bennett moved, and the Rev. H. Drake seconded, that the committee should be asked to at once draw up a small pamphlet to be sent to each of the Archdeacons. Such a pamphlet should show the need of enquiry as to the state of the bells.

The Rev. H. L. James thought that in many places the Archdeacons would be told to mind their own business.

Mr. Daniell trusted the committee would not be overburdened.

Mr. Attree thought the subject an important one, in fact one of the most important upon the agenda. He pointed out that the incumbent was not the only person concerned in the question of the ringing of the bells. As a churchwarden he claimed to have a voice in the matter.

The Rev. H. L. James said as an Incumbent he could have the bells of his church rung if he choose for twelve hours, and no one could stop him.

The President thought the idea of such a pamphlet a good one, but that it would be better to wait for the committee’s report next year before taking any further steps.

Mr. Bennett withdrew his resolution, and the matter was referred to the previously-appointed committee.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 27, 1903, pages 160 to 161


The Hon. Sec. said he could not help thinking that it must be surprising to a very large section of the Exercise that not only did many false compositions find their way into “The Bell News,” but that some compositions perhaps little altered by transposition appeared over again, while methods were brought out which were useless. Snowdon’s “Treatises” on Treble Bob and on Grandsire ought to be sufficient to enable composers to know if their compositions in those methods were true or not. Yet compositions were sometimes published which on the face of them proclaimed that either their authors were absolutely ignorant of the elements of proof or that they had not taken the trouble to prove their compositions in any way. He would admit that all were liable to an occasional slip at times, but many of the compositions which were rushed into print were inexcusable. Before a man attempted to compose he ought to take the trouble to learn how to prove. Many of the worthless methods which likewise were rushed into print showed that the authors did not understand that there are correct principles which underlie the foundations of all methods. He trusted now attention had been called to the matter that the whole Exercise would do all it could to discountenance both false compositions and worthless methods as much as possible.

The President said this matter was one which had more than once previously appeared on the agenda, but had not been reached for the want of time. The original intention was to frame a resolution respecting the absurdity of people putting such things in print. It did appear to him somewhat strange that such worthless things should be done in connection with change-ringing. No man would make himself appear such a fool in connection with any other science, if he did, his reputation would be thenceforth destroyed. Why, then, he asked, should it be tolerated in the science of change-ringing. It should be brought home to those who published these worthless methods and false or unoriginal compositions that these were no credit. He was afraid some of them looked to be admired as local gods if they got something into “The Bell News.”

The Rev. H. Drake proposed, and Mr. Williams seconded, that a committee be appointed to work in connection with the Editor of “The Bell News,” to whom all compositions should be submitted before publication.

The Rev. H. L. James doubted if such a resolution would have the desired effect, as those who were so foolish as to rush into print might also be foolish enough not to pay any regard to such a resolution.

Mr. Daniell suggested that the Editor of “The Bell News” should be requested not to insert any new compositions unless accompanied by a certificate from a well-known composer.

Mr. H. Dains did not consider that any such resolution or even that proposed by Mr. Drake would do any good. Besides, they would be somewhat interfering with the liberty of the Editor. He considered the suggestion made by the Hon. Sec. in the terms of the agenda would be sufficient.

The Rev. H. Drake had not the slightest intention of attempting to interfere with the liberty of the Editor of “Bell News,” or any desire to go against his wishes. He withdrew the resolution.

Mr. Daniell framed a resolution on the lines of his suggestion, which having been seconded,

Mr. A. T. King expressed an opinion that it would be sufficient to draw the Editor’s attention to the Hon. Sec’s. suggestion.

Mr. Daniell’s resolution was lost and the suggestion of the Hon. Sec. agreed to.


The Rev. W. W. C. Baker said the Council had done something by the adoption of a model code of rules for Associations and Companies which might well come under this item of the agenda he had been asked to bring forward; but there was one point which the Council had as yet not touched, viz.: the relation of one Association to another. He ventured to suggest that it was one which they would do well to discuss. Associations were recognised as covering certain areas, and therefore there need not be overlapping of one Association into the area of another. A difficulty which however had to be met was the case of a member, for some reason dropping out of the Association which covered the area in which he resided, being permitted to join another Association, and with the assistance of, it might be, outside members of the Association, ringing a peal within the area of the Association to which he had ceased to belong. Another point was how far was it desirable that one Association should advertise and hold a meeting within the area of another Association. He thought that before such a course was adopted that it was only right that the Association desiring to hold such a meeting should communicate with the Secretary of the Association of the district in which it was intended to hold the meeting. With respect to the question of the qualification for election as a member of an Association he did not think it desirable or even possible to apply the same test in all Associations. Some Associations when established found change-ringers in existence; other Associations had had to build up change-ringers, as there were few if any within their area. Such Associations as the latter were desirous of encouraging beginners by making them members at once. Under all circumstances he did not consider it possible to obtain the same qualification for membership by the whole of the Associations. He thought, however, that when they came to the question of non-residents that there should be (if they were not members of the Association which covered the area in which they resided) a uniform qualification. He moved that it be an instruction to the standing committee to consider and report to the next meeting on the whole question.

The Rev. E. W. Carpenter seconded.

Mr. Borrett said it would be desirable to have a pronouncement from the Council as to the booking of the peals. Should they be booked by more than one Association?

Mr. Attree said that, at the request of the Council, the second Association when a peal appeared under two was not counted in the register of points. Previous to the request peals had appeared under not only two, but sometimes three, and even four Associations. At the present time no peal was credited to more than one Association.

The President thought it would be desirable for the Council to carefully consider if it was competent for the Council to ask Associations not to book peals published as rung by more than one Association.

The Rev. H. Drake was desirous of knowing exactly how the question of the booking of peals stood. There had been a number of peals rung in which those taking part were members of the Winchester and also of the Salisbury Association. It had been understood that it was not fair to credit such peals to both Associations, so half were credited to each. As to the question of overlapping, he considered that there should be some authority to which such questions could be referred. Such an authority should be one which could give an impartial decision, the residential qualification was important one; he had himself been a member of three Associations in this way.

The Rev. C. E. Matthews considered the question of overlapping a purely local one. If a Secretary of an Association held a meeting in the area of another Association without consulting the Secretary of that Association it was bad form. As to membership of Associations, he saw no reason why a member of the Exercise should not be a member of fifty Associations if he thought fit.

The President said the Council had never undertaken to settle disputes, neither was it constituted for such a purpose. The point to be dealt with was the uncertain way in which members of Associations were often elected. To propose a member before starting for a peal, when the man proposed does not, if the peal is lost, join the Association, was clearly a proceeding wanting in rectitude; while in some cases it was actually left for the peal to be rung before the man was proposed, which was a distinct fraud.

Mr. Daniell pointed out that each Association had corporate existence, and a right to ring peals and book them.

Mr. Story considered that there should be but one record of a peal, and that a band belonging to two Associations should decide before starting under which Association it should be rung.

Mr. Attree said that the Sussex Association only booked peals that were credited to one Association. He did not see how a band could ring two peals at the same time. If a band started for a peal, and the whole of them were members of two Associations, they yet could only ring it as members of one Association. If they were all members of the Cumberland Youths and started for a Cumberland peal they rang it as such, and no other.

The Rev. H. L. James said still the fact remained that if a band belonging to six Associations rang a peal there had been a peal rang by as many Associations.

Mr. A. T. King considered that previous to a band starting for a peal it should be definitely arranged under what Association it was to be rung, which was not always done.

The Rev. H. Drake considered an Association was entitled to get all the peals it could.

The President said that in 1892 there was an informal instruction to Mr. Attree, and in 1893 it was decided by resolution of the Council that it was undesirable for peals to be published as rung under more than one Association. He would suggest that the standing committee should be requested to look into the question of the possibility of obtaining more uniform procedure in regard to overlapping and the election of members, and to report to the next meeting.

This was agreed to.


Mr. W. Snowdon said while he was not responsible for this item on the agenda, yet he was aware that some resolution was necessary. He remembered some two years ago someone wrote and asked him if he thought that single-handed handbell peals would be allowed. He would admit that the reply had not yet been sent. It was a question which had been coming to the front for some time, and the time had now arrived when the Council ought to take some notice of the question. Those who were in the habit of ringing double-handed would regard it as something terrible to ring single-handed, but it might happen that a six-bell band that wanted to ring eight might have to go some distance for an eight-bell tower. The question which arose therefore was how far would such a band be right if they rang a peal on eight handbells single-handed. A peal was a peal after all, besides single-handed handbell ringing was useful in this way: the man who was a round-ringer should be got into the ranks of an Association and taught the science of change-ringing, for which purpose handbells were very useful. He thought it desirable that they should be friendly toward their weaker brethren. At the same time the question was one which wanted looking at in a broad sense. The point which it was desirable to decide was whether if eight men took the trouble to ring a peal single-handed it ought to be booked, if so what points should it score. He moved that single-handed handbell peals rank as peals.

Mr. A. T. King, who seconded, said it might be very convenient to some bands to ring a single-handed handbell peal. The question was should the same number of points be allowed as for a peal upon tower bells. If so he thought that the number of points for a double-handed handbell peal should be increased, as there could be no question that a double-handed peal was far superior to a single-handed one. He did not think that there should be any refusal to place a single-handed peal upon record.

Mr. Snowdon said he would add to his resolution that only half the number of points be allowed for a single-handed peal as for a peal upon tower bells.

The Rev. H. L. James could not support such a resolution. He pointed out that a slip upon the tower bells where there was the weight of metal to help to keep the proper balance was more easy to overcome than a slip upon handbells.

The President thought the addition would embark them on contentious ground, and their time was short.

Mr. Snowdon withdrew the last portion of the resolution.

Mr. Attree could not see the logic of the proposal.

Mr. Snowdon desired to encourage six-bell bands to ring upon eight bells, but did not say that a band which only had five bells should be encouraged to ring on six. He thought the ringing of a peal of London Surprise single-handed on handbells was a little more difficult than some thought. He considered that an eight-bell band would be justified in ringing ten handbells. He admitted that there was some force in Mr. Attree’s contention.

The President said there had been a request made that the matter should be considered by the Council. He thought the principal question was as to the value of points.

The Rev. H. Drake moved that only double-handed peals be allowed points.

Mr. Daniel considered that the question should stand over for another year. He did not think there was anything in the “Glossary” which would go to show that a single-handed handbell peal was not a peal.

The President put the resolution that a single-handed peal should rank as a peal, when there were some half dozen who voted against it. The President then said this was a resolution which under the rules of the Council made it necessary when there was opposition to take the names of those voting for and against. The Council had already exceeded its time, consequently it was impossible to go further into the matter that day. It would have to stand over till next year.

In replying to a vote of thanks the President congratulated the delegates upon their attendance, and the manner in which one and all had rivetted their attention on the various subjects discussed.

In the evening the President entertained the Council and their friends at a social gathering at the Westminster Palace hotel.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record July 4, 1903, pages 172 to 173

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