Revised and condensed report proposed to be communicated to the Church Press, in accordance with the resolution of the Council.

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, in view of the dilapidated condition of many rings of Church bells, decided some time ago to institute an inquiry with the object of ascertaining, as far as possible, the number of cases of neglect, and also of collecting information in regard to belfries and ringing generally. The results are given below. It should be stated that the enquiry only extended to rings of eight bells and upwards, these being by far the most important. To have included rings of five and six bells would have been too extensive an undertaking, but it may be concluded with a fair probability of accuracy that at least as great a proportion of the smaller rings are in need of attention as has proved to be the case with the larger.

It is by no means certain that there are not some rings of eight which have escaped the attention of the Council, as they have had to rely mainly upon lists of towers furnished by the various County and Diocesan Ringing Associations, whose areas, although fairly covering all the English dioceses, yet do not wholly do so. The omitted towers, however, cannot be more than a small fraction. The Council issued circulars addressed to the representative ringers of 1055 towers. Each circular contained a list of questions with a request that these should be carefully answered, and the accuracy of the answers vouched for by the signatures of two of the leading ringers of the tower.

To the 1055 circulars, 940 replies were received. The information thus obtained is tabulated below.

  1. In 89 per cent. of towers the bells are “pealable” (i.e. can be rung through 5000 changes).

    In 11 per cent. of towers the bells are not “pealable.”

    In 6 per cent. of towers the bells are unringable.

  2. In 22 per cent. of towers “clocking” is allowed. (This consists in pulling the clapper against the bell whereby innumerable bells have been cracked.)

  3. In 4 per cent. of towers one or more bells are reported dangerously worn by clapper, and consequently need quarter-turning.

  4. In 8 per cent. of towers repairs have been urged on the Church authorities. (In only 27 per cent. of the cases where repairs have been urged, has anything been done.)

  5. In 3 per cent. of towers the authorities are reported to look thoroughly after the bells and belfry.

  6. In 3 per cent. of towers workmen who were not professional bell-hangers have been employed on repairs, usually with injurious results.

  7. In 21 per cent. of towers the bells are in iron frames, which are in all ways preferable, particularly in regard to economy of repair.

  8. In 7 per cent. of towers a chiming apparatus is fitted.

  9. In 77 per cent. of towers there is scientific change-ringing.

  10. In 58 per cent. of towers there is Sunday ringing for two services.

    In 10 per cent. of towers there is Sunday ringing for one service only.

    In 13 per cent. of towers there is Sunday ringing occasionally.

    In 19 per cent. of towers there is Sunday ringing never.

  11. In 77 per cent. of towers there is a regular practice night.

In respect of the above particulars it may be remarked on No. 1 that experience unfortunately shews that, of rings returned as fit for peals, not a few can scarcely be properly deemed so. The magnificent and historic ring of twelve at St. Saviour’s, Southwark, is an instance in point; for although it is, or was, just possible to ring the bells, yet the expenditure of a large sum of money is required to put them into anything like proper ringing order. Why the restoration of the belfry did not form part of the scheme which has so generously dealt with the rest of the Cathedral is a mystery.

Undoubtedly there is considerable ignorance on the part of Church authorities of the value of their bells, and of the risks incurred by neglect of proper repairs. Sixteen years ago the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was formed, which now unites all the more important County and Diocesan Ringing Associations, to the number of thirty-six. These latter are represented on the Council by nearly 100 delegates who meet each year to discuss all matters affecting bells and ringers. Under the auspices of the Council various pamphlets have been published on the care of bells, the art of change-ringing, and the management of ringers. Yet the above returns shew that, while matters have greatly improved, there remain many cases where apathy, impecuniosity, and want of technical knowledge, either singly or collectively, are permitting fine rings of bells to fall into decay, and even where some attempt at repair is made, too often it is forgotten that ringers in their Sunday clothes deserve a clean, well-lit, and properly ventilated ringing-chamber, and that the sound exit of the belfry should be so adjusted as to give an even and modulated harmony, in place of the far more frequent ear-piercing din which is the result of the ignoring by nearly all architects of the fact that a bell gives out its note when mouth upwards, and of the desideratum that this note shall be directed towards the sky, and not have a chance of exit at the level of the inverted bell, or below it.

Arthur Heywood, President.

Note.- At the last meeting of the Central Council the Rev. Maitland Kelly enquired whether a list could be furnished to each Association shewing the belfries within its district which had been reported in need of repair. This matter has been carefully considered, but it is found that, owing to the large number of returns which omitted mention of any Association, no reliable lists could be prepared; nor seeing that since the returns were obtained, some bells have been rehung, while others have deteriorated, would such lists now be accurate. The report presented to the Council at their 1906 meeting was, for these last mentioned reasons, unreliable in respect of individual towers. There is little doubt, however, that it represented with fair accuracy the general condition of things, which is materially better than had been expected. The fact is that the revived interest in the art of change-ringing, so marked during the last quarter of a century, has led to the rehabilitation of a vast number of old rings, and to the provision of many new ones; a result in the main traceable to the energy and perseverance of ringers. That in considerably more than half the towers there is ringing for two Sunday services is evidence that the first duty of ringers is being increasingly recognised by them.

A. P. H.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record April 27, 1907, pages 61 to 62

Report of Peal Analysis Committee (Appointed in 1906).

We, the undersigned, being a Committee appointed by the Central Council last year, desire to report that we have dealt with the arrears, and have succeeded in bringing the Peal Analysis up to date, the figures for 1904 and 1905 having been published in “The Bell News” last year, and those for 1906 having been completed and forwarded for publication on the 15th of March last.

The experience gained, and the difficulties encountered, have convinced us that no ordinary debt of gratitude is due to Messrs. Attree and Baker for their labours in past years; and we regret, if in the discussion which ended in the transfer of the work to us, there seemed to be any lack of appreciation of the valuable work done by our predecessors. That work was admirably performed, and our belief in its excellence is shown by our having followed, in almost every respect, their method of tabulating and bringing into prominence the salient features of the information at our disposal.

We desire to place before the Council certain points upon which we ask for guidance.

i.- It would assist the compilers of these statistics, if conductors and others would forward their peals for publication as soon as rung, and, if any are obliged to send a corrected report, to head it as such. We even think that the imposition of a time limit in this respect would be desirable. Belated peals published long after they have been rung, tend to create confusion, and very effectively thwart the compilers in their endeavour to verify month by month the number of peals rung. Some reports of peals are incomplete. They frequently leave out the name of the conductor or composer. Others are guilty of want of clearness as to the Association for which they intend the peal to be reckoned. One other source of confusion is the publication of peals twice over, of which there are no less than four instances in the year 1906.

ii.- The Rules and Decisions of the Central Council seem to require some amendment, when we read that peals having 7,000 to 10,000 changes count as two, and those having 10,000 to 12,000 changes count as three peals and so forth. The word “over” is omitted from the second 10,000, and as the wording stands it is impossible to say whether 10,000 changes constitute two, or three peals.

iii.- The Forward method is dealt with in the Rules under Surprise methods, and 20 points are assigned to it, while no additional points are allowed for peals of Royal or Maximus in this method. Mr. Baker in his analysis for 1903, evidently felt that there was something inconsistent in this assignment of points; for his scale, in 1903, was altered to- Forward Major, 12 points; Royal, 14 points; Maximus, 16 points; which we are inclined to think is much nearer the value; but for lack of authority, we have reverted in our Analysis to the original 20 points. It would be advisable, we think, to refer this matter to the Points Committee for settlement.

iv.- Doubles only count two points in however many points rung. Although there may be little difference between Gog Magog and Dream, yet occasionally five-bell peals are rung in several methods which are distinctly different, and appear to be deserving of some more liberal encouragement. This is a question, however, for the Points Committee.

v.- Yorkshire and Peterborough Surprise are not in the Central Council’s list of Surprise Methods for which points are awarded; but we have allowed 30 points, pending further directions.

vi.- We should be glad if a list of six-bell methods could be supplied, coming under the title of “Broken Leads,” in respect of which Mr. Bolland asked for and obtained from the Points Committee more generous treatment.

vii.- We have a scale for six-bell peals in Plain Methods enabling us to allot distinguishing points where the methods range from one to seven; but no corresponding scale is forthcoming for Treble Bob or Surprise Methods on six bells. One plain method among seven, the others being Treble Bob or Surprise Methods, is, under the present system, reckoned as seven plain methods only; Six Treble Bob methods or six Surprise methods would count no more than six plain Minor methods; nothing less than seven Minor methods receiving the enhanced value of 15 or 36 points respectively. We think that in the interest of six-bell ringers, some modification of the present Rules would be desirable.

(Signed) Charles E. Borrett.
Joseph Griffin.
Arthur T. King.
J. Armiger Trollope.

15th April 1907.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record May 4, 1907, page 74

Report of the Peal Values’ Committee.

The question of the number of points due for double-handed peals rung upon handbells was referred to us at the last Meeting of the Council, and we have concluded that they are of the same value as the same performances on tower bells.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record May 11, 1907, page 86


The Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the Central Council was held at the Chapter House, Exeter Cathedral, on Whit-Monday May 21st, when there was, as shown in our last issue, a good attendance of representatives from the various Associations.


Letters were read apologizing for non-attendance from Canon Papillon, Rev. A. H. Boughey, Rev. C. E. Matthews, Rev. E. W. Carpenter, Mr. J. Carter, Mr. J. S. Pritchett, Mr. C. E. Borrett, and other Norwich Association representatives, and Mr. A. W. Searle (Exeter).

The Hon. Secretary said Mr. Searle was unfortunately prevented through illness. Mr. Searle had assisted in making the arrangements and no doubt had been looking forward to be able to attend the meeting.


The Hon Secretary submitted the statement of accounts, which was as follows: balance from last year £42 3s. 10d., subscriptions from Associations, £11 5s., sale of publications, £2 2s. 4d.; total, £55 11s. 2d. The expenditure had been: expenses of last meeting, £3 17s., printing, 12s., expenses of committee, 15s.; leaving a balance of £50 7s. 2d. Net value of publications in hand, £81 11s. 6d.; making the total assets £131 18s. 1d.

The Hon. Secretary said it would be interesting to members of the Council to learn that another Association - Llandaff - had joined the Council during the year, although at present no representative had been elected. The Standing Committee had audited the accounts and found them correct.

On the proposition of the Rev. F. E. Robinson, seconded by Mr. W. Snowdon, the accounts were passed.

In reply to Dr. Carpenter the Hon. Secretary said the actual increase in the funds of the Council for the year was £8 3s. 4d.


The President said the two retiring hon. members were the Rev. A. H. F. Boughey and Mr. W. H. Thompson. The Standing Committee recommended that these should be re-elected. Members of the Council were well aware of the great interest taken in ringing by the Dean of Trinity, and Mr. Thompson had interested himself in the mathematical side of change-ringing. The Standing Committee were not prepared to recommend any addition to the list of hon. members. It was not desirable to fill up all the vacancies, in the event of it being found desirable to elect any gentlemen, non-members, who were of service to the Exercise. If, on the other hand, any member of the Council had the name of any gentleman he was desirous of proposing as an hon. member, the Standing Committee did not offer any objection.

On the proposition of Mr. Griffin, seconded by the Rev. W. W. C. Baker the two retiring members were re-elected.

On the proposition of the Rev. W. W. C. Baker, seconded by the Rev. F. E. Robinson, Mr. Harold S. T. Richardson, of the Cambridge University Guild, who would shortly be ordained and take up his abode at Darlington, was elected an hon. member.

Mr. B. Prewett, representing the Herts. County District, and Mr. J. Clark, of the Hereford Diocesan Guild, were then introduced to the President, and took their seats as members of the Council, as was also Mr. E. Burgess, of Bath and Wells Diocesan Association, at the commencement of the afternoon session.


The President said last year he ventured to address the Council upon a subject which closely concerned the Church of England, viz., the Education Bill which was then before the House of Commons. As ringers their interests were so inextricably bound up with the interests of the Church of England, that he had no hesitation on the present occasion in again making a few remarks respecting the critical state of things which still supervened in regard to the Church. In fact he did not think he should be justified in not making some reference to what had taken place during the past year. These present at last year’s Council meeting would remember that in speaking of the Education question, he pointed out how vitally it affected the well-being of the Church of England. On that occasion he ventured to express an opinion that the Education Bill was but a beginning of a great campaign against the Church. Had not such an anticipation proved to be well founded? Within the present session of Parliament a resolution had been carried by a large majority in the House of Commons confirming the desirability of the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church of England. This proved that he was not wrong in condemning the Education Bill of last year as an attack on the Church. Now there was an intimation from the Government that next session a Bill for disestablishment and disendowment of the Welsh church would be brought forward. Surely every one would realise that if such a Bill was passed it would be but an instalment of the disestablishment of the Church of England. This year the House of Commons had before it a Bill introduced by Mr. McKenna, under which, should it become law, the Voluntary Schools would have to pay the teachers for such part of the time as they occupied in giving religious instruction. This Religious Instruction Bill might, he considered, be well called, the “Religious Destruction” Bill. The Managers of Voluntary Schools were already charged with the repair of the schools which they themselves had built at their own expense, and now it was proposed to add a charge of one-thirteenth or one-fifteenth of the salaries of the teachers for the time devoted to denominational teaching. It would be seen how grave was the question, more especially in some of the large towns of the North. Take Manchester for example, where 72 per cent. of the children were in the Voluntary Schools. While they as Churchmen were to be called upon under this Bill to pay for the religious instruction of their own children in the faith of the Church, they as members of the Church were not relieved of the necessity of paying for the denominational teaching of which they as Churchmen did not approve. As Churchmen they only asked for fair treatment. He was doubtful if the Bill would pass into law. If it did they would in effect have to pay three times over for religious teaching. At the present time there was great doubt if the Bill would become law. Some of those present had no doubt recently seen a cartoon in Punch in which the Prime Minister is seen leading a large elephant labelled “Session,” upon which are seated a number of children labelled as the numerous bills before Parliament. Notwithstanding that the elephant is overladen, the keeper calls “Step up; lots of room,” to other children who are climbing the ladder; but aside, speaking to the animal, he says “Don’t you worry; most of ’em will drop off presently.” He believed Punch’s view was not far wrong, and there could not be much doubt that Mr. McKenna’s so-called religious instruction bill would be one of the bills to drop. It became them as Churchmen to use their energy on behalf of the Church and other schools. It was a matter which affected them as ringers, who he believed helped to contribute to that great victory which was won last year in the effort to preserve, by Churchmen, the Voluntary Schools belonging to the Church. It was because it was their duty at such stirring times to be up and doing that he had ventured to again address them on the subject, and he trusted all would endeavour to secure their rights as Churchmen with equality of treatment.


Dr. Carpenter said he was sorry to say that the report he had to present was no better than that of last year. It was chiefly due to the fault of the printer that no progress in the work had been made. He had two undated letters in which there was a promise that the work should be pushed on. Last year it was reported that two sheets had been printed, and that two others were in the press. This year it was the same thing; there had been a revise of the last two sheets, and that was all. Speaking on behalf of himself, he could only say that unless some change was made, he should not be able to carry on the work.

The President said the Standing Committee had considered the matter that morning, and he thought it would be the best to leave it in their hands. The patience of the Council was exhausted, and it was necessary to put an end to such an unsatisfactory state of things. The suggestion of the President was adopted.


Mr. R. A. Daniell submitted the draft copy of a descriptive catalogue, the preparation of which had been in the hands of the Church Press Committee. Mr. Daniell said some progress had been made with work which was now nearly complete. There had been some question as to what the catalogue should comprise, but this difficulty had been got over. The work had been chiefly done by Mr. Dains and himself, neither of whom had had any previous experience in this line, and there had been a considerable amount to do. There were two or three references still wanting - these, when complete, could be added. He thought the best course that could be adopted would be to publish the draft in “The Bell News,” with the opinions of the Exercise upon it, and bring the whole up at next year’s Council meeting. There was almost sure to be some difference of opinion as to the descriptions given, and by publishing the draft in “The Bell News” criticisms would be invited. The reason for the work having been done, to a great extent, by Mr. Dains and himself was that, both living in London, they had better opportunities than the rest of the Committee. Mr. Dains’ thorough knowledge had been very valuable. The draft had been approved by the other members of the Committee.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey supported Mr. Daniell’s suggestion as to the publication of the draft copy in “The Bell News.”

The Rev. Maitland Kelly considered the catalogue would be most interesting and valuable.

Mr. Dains asked if it would not be desirable to have the whole complete before publishing the draft.

Mr. Daniell said the remaining portion of the work would not be of such a technical nature and need not, therefore, lead to much criticism.

The President said the result had been arrived at after a very long period. The inquiry was for some years in the hands of a gentleman connected with the South Kensington Museum, but as nothing resulted, it was taken in hand by this Committee. He was sure that all would recognise the importance of such a catalogue.

On the proposition of Mr. Daniell, seconded by the Rev. Maitland Kelly it was resolved that the draft copy be published in “The Bell News.”

On the proposition of Mr. F. Bennett, seconded by Mr. F. Wilford, it was resolved that the draft be also published in The Bellringer.


Mr. Story submitted the report upon Peal Values as already published in these columns on May 11th.

The Rev. H. Law James called attention to the reading of the last sentence, viz., “same performances on tower bells,” remarking he was not aware of double-handed tower bell performances.

The report was amended so as to read “same value as performances in the same method on tower bells.”

Mr. Barnett considered it a pity for so much time to be wasted on the question of points.

Mr. H. White pointed out that those who did not agree with points could abstain from voting.

The Rev. H. Drake said the question to be considered was:- were not double-handed performances of more value than a peal upon the tower bells.

Mr. H. Dains said those not agreeing with the question of points could vote against the motion. He thought a peal on handbells double-handed of more value than one upon tower bells.

Mr. Snowdon said it would be a sorry day for the Exercise when it became the practice to go and ring a peal just for the sake of points. The Council however had a Committee who had been asked to fix the points to be allowed; they had done so, and the Council should work with the Committee. But it was good sterling peals in some of the more difficult methods that the Council should encourage rather than for a company to ring London just for the points. Having appointed the Committee, their report should be accepted.

Mr. Barnett said he was prepared to acknowledge the work that the Committee had done, but he did not see where the question of points came in.

The President said the Committee arranged the value of points for the sake of the Analysis.

On the proposition of Mr. Story, seconded by Mr. Attree, the report as amended was adopted.


The peals in Plain Methods comprise; Bob Royal 6; Bob Major 107; College Single Major 1; Oxford Bob Triples 3; Bob Triples 3; Union Triples 3.

The peals of Doubles were as follows: (a) four methods 2, six methods 1; (b) one method 1; (c) one method 1; (d) one method 6, two methods 1; (e) seven methods 1; (f) one method 4; (g) one method 1; (h) one method 4; (i) one method 2; (j) one method 14; (k) one method 2; (l) one method 2.

The 42 peals by Independent Societies were rung in the following Counties, viz.: Buckinghamshire 1; Derbyshire 1; Essex 1; Gloucestershire 4; Hampshire 2; Lancashire 7; Leicestershire 1; Lincolnshire 1; Middlesex 4; Nottinghamshire 1; Oxfordshire 3; Somersetshire 1; Staffordshire 2; Surrey 2; Sussex 1; Warwickshire 1; Worcestershire 1; Yorkshire 1.

The greatest number of changes in one peal was 16,800 Kent Treble Bob Major rung by the Chester Diocesan Guild. One peal contained 12,000 changes, one peal over 11,000 changes, one peal over 10,000 changes, one peal 8,000 changes, one peal over 7,000 changes, four peals over 6,000 changes, one peal 6,000 changes, under 6,000 changes, 1,302 peals.

The 170 peals of Treble Bob were rung as follows: in the Kent Variation 135; in the Oxford Variation 54; in the London Variation 1.

The 245 peals of Grandsire Triples were: Holt’s Original 50; Holt’s Ten-part and Variations 66; Holt’s Six-Part 5; Parker’s Twelve-Part and Variations 33; Parker’s Six-Part 3; Parker’s Five-Part 1; Parker’s One-Part 1; Taylor’s Bob and Single 24; Carter’s Twelve-Part and Variations 15; Rev. C. D. P. Davies’ peals 8; Hollis’ Five-Part 7; Biddlestone’s Twelve-Part 6; Rev. E. B. James’ peals 5; H. Moore’s peals 4; other peals 17.

The 289 peals of Stedman Triples are accounted for thus: Thurstans’ One-Part 9; Thurstans’ Four-Part and Variations 254; Thurstans’ Five-Part 1 ; Carter’s peals 8; Washbrook’s peals 6; Lindoff’s peals 4; Heywood’s peals 3; Lates’ One-Part 2; Parker’s peals 2.

Conductors of four peals and upwards were: Rev. F. E. Robinson 91; William Pye 53; James Motts 23; William Short 22; Frank Bennett and Clement Glenn 20 ; James E. Davis 18; Alfred H. Pulling 16; John Austin and John H. Cheesman 13; Frederick Borrett 12; Robert Matthews and James Parker 11; Bertram Prewett and Isaac Sidebottom 10; E. G. Buesden, Egbert Borrett, Charles R. Lilley, George N. Price, Edward Reader and Challis F. Winney 9; Edwin Barnett, George Cattermole, Frederick W. Dixon, Joseph Griffin, Benjamin A. Knights, and Samuel Reeves 8; Edmund C. Chasty, James E. Groves, Arthur E. Pegler, John R. Sharman. Sam. Thomas, William Watts, and George Williams 7; John Basden, Charles W. Clarke, George F. Hoad, William Keeble, George R. Pye, William Rose, and James W. Washbrook 6; William H. Barber, Harry Barton, David Elliott, William Fitchford, Frederick A. Holden, William H. Judd, Ernest C. Lambert, Fred G. May, Harold S. T. Richardson, William C. Rumsey, Harry Sear, Fred Salmons, Frederick Tullett, William Willson, and Albert Walker 5; Charles Bailey, William Bason, Robert Brett, Frank G. Burleigh, George D. Coleman, William Crabtree, George Dent, William Freeman, Charles Giles, C. W. Goodenough, Rev. F. J. O. Helmore, Richard T. Holding, senr., George Holifield, William Mallinson, William H. Newell, George R. Newton, Ernest Poppy, Harry Roberts, J. W. Seamer, John Souter, Sidney Wade, Bernard W. Mitchell, and Thomas Wyatt 4. In addition to these, 44 persons conducted 3 peals; 99 conducted 2 peals; and 278 conducted 1 peal; making a total of 500 persons who acted as conductors during the year the names of three of whom were omitted from the peal record as published in “The Bell News,” Two “Silent Peals” of Grandsire Triples were rung, one by the Bath and Wells Diocesan Association, and one by the Devonshire Guild.

Three peals were found to be false after publication, and three peals have been disowned by the Chester Diocesan Guild and, therefore, excluded from this analysis. Four peals were also published twice in “The Bell News.”

The number of peals rung on Church bells was 1263; on hand-bells 50.

The peals on hand-bells were as follows: Kent Treble Bob- Major 1; Grandsire- Triples 13; Doubles 1; Plain Methods- Bob Royal 2; Bob Major 14; Stedman- Cinques 2; Caters 4; Triples 13; Total 50.

The 1313 peals equal in number the total rung in 1902, and are 206 less than 1905, they were distributed as follows: January 110; February 160; March 110; April 115; May 111; June 102; July 57; August 78; September 77; October 119; November 125; December 151.

In reckoning points for peals, those over 7,000 and under 10,000 changes count as two peals; over 10,000 and under 12,000 count as three peals; and so forth, viz., over 12,000 changes is reckoned as four peals; over 14,000 as five peals; and over 16,000 as six peals.

The following table gives the first twenty Societies and their relative positions since 1895.

1Middlesex County Association--251894111121
2Norwich Diocesan Association345956622212
3Kent County Association577833446933
4Yorkshire Association4691181412129344
5Midland Counties Association6386613111310555
6Oxford Diocesan Guild213211234886
7Essex County Association161611101291098667
8Lancashire Association8104577814192298
9Chester Diocesan Guild27192422232120192228209
10Winchester Diocesan Guild8914121510131623181510
11Ancient Society of College Youths75244255541011
12Durham and Newcastle Association9818193118161013101112
13Gloucester and Bristol Association10131271111967111413
14Worcester and Dis. Association1912631015182120231714
15Stoke Archidiaconal Association212429312919253134362515
16Herts. County Association29251913182014812121316
17Sussex County Association1211253737717
18Royal Cumberland Youths151117232422232025192318
19St. Martin’s Guild, Birmingham1421132016871111151219
20London County Association284034373527343228211920

The number of peals rung annually since the publication of “The Bell News” are shown by the following Table.

Grand Total- 21,970.
Charles E. Borrett.
Joseph Griffin.
Arthur T. King.
J. Armiger Trollope.

March 1907.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 1, 1907, pages 122 to 125


The Rev. H. Law James, in submitting the draft of the Classification of Methods, said that Doubles, Minor, and Triples had been completed. These comprised a long list. New Doubles were included in Doubles; the draft had been round to the Committee, and New Doubles had been passed, although he was not sure it should be included, as only one pair of the bells changed at a plain lead, so that it was not strictly Doubles. He should ask the Council to accept the draft copy so far as Doubles, Minor, and Triples, but, as regarded Major, the work would occupy some considerable time, and he was doubtful if it would be completed by next year. There were 159 legitimate Minor methods in the plain principle and Treble Bob principle. In the plain hunt principle there were: Bob methods 11; Imperial methods 11; Court methods 4; total, 26. In the Treble Bob principle there were: Treble Bob methods 24; Delights (with 4th at sections), 28; Delights (with 3rds at sections), 39; Surprise 42; total, 159. In Triples there were 10. He should be pleased to continue the work, and when completed to hand over the MS. to the Council. He moved that the work so far as completed, viz., Doubles, Minor, and Triples, be printed in pamphlet form.

Mr. Cartwright seconded.

Mr. Snowdon said he was against such publication, especially if it gave forty-two Minor Surprise methods, as some would not be worth looking at.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey considered such a publication would sell better than the Collection of Peals, which only concerned conductors, whereas the proposed list would be of interest to the whole of ringers.

Mr. Dains asked if it would not be better to wait for the issue of the whole as a complete work.

The Rev. H. Law James was afraid it would be impossible to complete the other portion even by the next Council meeting.

The Hon. Secretary said ringers who purchased the peal collection did so in small sections.

Mr. H. White thought the sale depended chiefly upon the price.

The Rev. H. A. Cockey proposed, and the Rev. H. Drake seconded, that if possible 1000 copies be printed.

Mr. Attree supported the view expressed by Mr. H. White.

The President thought the question of price and the number to be printed might be left with the Hon. Secretary. He considered it very important that the work should be issued promptly. Thus the Council by printing all the possible methods in tabular form, would be doing something to prevent the production of the rubbishing efforts of untutored persons. Carried.


Mr. King said he was glad to say that the arrears had been brought up to date, and with the exception of last year’s analysis, had been published in “The Bell News.” He would like to say that when the Committee undertook the preparation of the Analysis it was to carry out the work to the best of their ability. This had been done. Those who had taken part in the work found it required great care, accuracy, promptitude, and neatness, all of which his three colleagues had exercised, leaving him to act as their chairman. He thought there should be some further instructions as to six bell peals; and he further thought it most desirable that the Committee should be in touch with the Points Committee, as there were matters in which the assistance of that Committee would be valuable. He should have been pleased to have sent a copy of each year’s Analysis to The Bellringer, but that was for the Council to decide, as also in regard to whether the work should go on, the Committee having completed the task for which it was appointed. “The Bell News” was the official journal of the Council, and therefore had a prior claim to the copy. The Analysis for the last year had been completed and sent in March last to “The Bell News,” and would no doubt shortly appear. If the work was to go on he thought the Analysis might appear at an earlier date. The amount of work that the Analysis entailed showed how much the Council was indebted to Messrs. Attree and Baker for their services in the past.

The Rev. H. Law James said Mr. King had called attention to the question of points for six bell peals. Personally he was not in favour of points at all. He considered the aim should be good sound sterling ringing. At the same time six bell ringers were not fairly treated. If Bob Major was taken as the standard and each other method referred to it in value, each would be placed in its right place, which was the only proper way to do it.

The President asked that the question which had been brought forward by the Committee should be kept to.

Mr. King said it was of absolute importance that the Committee dealing with the Analysis should be in communication with the Points Committee, although the Committees were distinct from each other. If the Committee were to go on with the Analysis the members would like to have the power to refer to the Points Committee for information during the year whenever they thought it necessary to do so.

Dr. Carpenter thought that the Points Committee might inform the Analysis Committee direct of their decision upon any matter referred to them, and the Analysis Committee might act upon it.

The President said it appeared that the Analysis Committee wanted the power to refer to the points Committee if necessary. He failed to see any reason why this should not be done, provided it was reported to the next meeting of the Council.

Mr. Chapman asked what points were given to the Mottram peal?

Mr. King replied that, so far as he could remember, it was considered as five peals, as the schedule of points laid down “Peals having 7000 to 10,000 count as two, and those having 10,000 to 12,000 changes count as three peals,” and so forth. Mr. Chapman said it was understood that a black board and chalk were used. He did not consider that the performance should have been recognised in any way as a record peal, in fact there was a doubt about the whole thing. He personally heard some six-and-a-half hours of the ringing, and therefore ought to know something about it,

Mr. Griffin said that so far as the Analysis Committee were concerned this question did not arise. The Committee were bound to take cognizance of a published peal unless it was disallowed by the Association under whose name it was rung.

Mr. Chapman said that when a Committee was appointed some six or eight months afterwards to ascertain if the peal should be allowed to stand or not, it did not say much for the peal.

Mr. King said the information given to the Analysis Committee was that it was not so long as six or eight months. He made certain inquiries for his own satisfaction, and from what he was told in confidence he did not see what else the Committee could have done. As to calling from MS. it appeared there was some amendment required, as the decision of the Council read: “The use of visible aids to memory in conducting peals is undesirable,” After having all the information obtainable, and looking at every point brought forward, the Committee could only conclude that the peal as they understood it, had been rung.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee said the matter was discussed at a meeting of the Lancashire Association, and it was considered that it was a question for the Council to decide if the performance was worthy of being accepted as a record peal. No one had anything but admiration for those who rang the peal. The question was if it was to be treated as a record peal. Had the performance complied with the decisions of the Council who had laid down certain regulations in which the word “undesirable” appeared?

Mr. Holding read a full report of the proceedings of a Committee which sat to investigate the matter, and which finally came to the conclusion to allow the peal to stand.

The President said he had permitted some latitude, as there was a strong feeling on the subject of this peal. He would remind them that Mr. King and his committee wanted some further information upon certain points. He could not see how they could take anything else but the peals as they appeared in “The Bell News.” With regard to this particular peal, it was a question for the Association to which the band belonged, to decide if it should stand or not. The Association had officers who were men of honour, who must decide the matter; the Council was not a Court of Appeal. It might be that the decisions they had laid down might require some amendment, but that was a matter for a future meeting. It did not appear very clear how long the Committee were appointed for. Hitherto Committees had generally gone on during the term of the Council, and he trusted the Committee would consent to continue.

Mr. King said the Committee would be pleased to do so.

On the proposition of the Rev. F. E, Robinson, seconded by Mr. Snowdon, a hearty vote of thanks was passed to the Committee for the work already done.

It being now 1.10 p.m., the Council adjourned till 3.40.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 8, 1907, pages 134 to 135


Mr. Snowdon in moving to add to the definition of a Surprise method as defined in the Glossary, said it might appear that he ought to have communicated first with the Glossary Committee before attempting to make a correction, but as a Committee it did not now exist. When it existed it comprised the President, the late and the present Hon. Secretaries, together with Messrs. Pitstow, and himself. If any of these considered he might have approached them as to what he was about to do, he must plead the want of time, and he trusted it would not be considered in any way discourteous on his part. Being a member of the Glossary Committee when it existed, and having a not altogether sneaking wish to complete the broken programme of his brother’s books by the issue of the “Surprise Peals,” he thought he was fully entitled to ask for a patient bearing. His brother had laid it down that his work on “Grandsire” was to be followed by a work on “Stedman,” and the “Surprise Methods” were to follow. In the preface to the second edition appeared: “Thanks to Mr. Davies; ‘Stedman’ has been added to the series, and there is a fair prospect yet of the ‘Surprise Methods’ taking their allotted place.” This motion was not intended to restrict any one who might be soaring to greater heights, but simply to retain an old-world ringing term with its true historic meaning attached thereto, in contra-distinction to any modern term. He believed that Mr. James was to be his chief antagonist. He was ready to admire as others were the work that had been done by the rev. gentleman, but what he said was do let us keep in accordance with history. He desired to thank the Methods Committee, especially Mr. Dains, for the assistance that had been given in proving this matter. He remembered when the Glossary was in preparation, the late Mr. Bulwer wrote and asked him to define a Surprise Method. He replied that it would, he thought, generally be found in that there was no bell in the slow, and the work in front was completely broken up by a number of bells between the treble leads. Mr. Bulwer wrote back and said he could make no satisfactory headway with it. It was because he (the speaker) wanted to make good what the Glossary failed in, that he asked them to consider the historic meaning of the term “Surprise Methods.” It might be well to call attention to that portion of the Report on the Classification of Legitimate Methods, which appeared in “The Bell News” of April 28th, 1906, page 39, and there duly set forth all the places to be made, first in ordinary Treble Bob, giving Kent Minor as its example, and afterwards in Cambridge, as a Surprise example. So far so good, as in Cambridge every place was made, including those with the treble fore and aft. This was all he was standing out for in the mere matter of places. Not to make a place is a mode of seeking to escape from a Surprise difficulty, or in other words, it was not playing the game. If Mr. James was going to work upon these lines thus laid down, it would be interesting to know how he could possibly get forty-two Surprise Minor Methods which he had told them he possessed. The first Surprise peal in print was to be found in the fourth edition of Campanalogia by J. D. and C.M., dated 1753. If we read the same it will prove to be in order with what Mr. James tells us in 1906, should be the complete number of places. So far so good, once more. In the same edition of Campanalogia appeared “Primrose,” with a third’s place when the treble is behind, but with sixth’s place when the treble is at lead, such is not a Surprise method, nor is it given as such. It has on account of this lead-end no claim even on the ground of its other places which are otherwise complete and in order. On another page of the same book we have “Royal Bob”; this has 5ths place with the treble behind, and 4ths place with the treble at lead, but it is not termed Surprise, yet its places are complete.

Those who were at work in those days knew what they were about, and others they dubbed it “Bob,” and certainly, as he hoped to show, it was not Surprise. As recently as April 13th, Mr. James in his table of Legitimate Surprise Places, gives an absolute innovation on the historic description of a Surprise method by giving permission when the treble is behind for a treble bell to lie at the lead, which it was contended was not Surprise. A bell at the lead or behind when the treble is at the other end of the row is not a Surprise place, as he (the speaker) held and defined it. Mr. James did not so place it in the Report of 1906; the first printed Surprise Method does not allow it, neither do any of the three great examples, Cambridge, London, and Superlative; if allowed it makes chaos of everything, history included. On page 106 of the book from which he had quoted appeared “Westminster Bob,” which was interesting. It had 3rds place when the treble was behind, and 2nds place when the treble was at the lead. This although orthodox in its lead-end order, and complete in its places, was dubbed “Bob,” and in his opinion correctly. Now these three methods, Primrose, Royal Bob and Westminster Bob were all published in the editions of 1703, 1705, 1733, and 1753, of J. D. and C. M., and only in the last edition were they supplemented by Cambridge, with the figures as we know them to-day. Up to this period there had been no mention of Surprise, the term had not been invented.

Westminster Bob connects us very interestingly with Stedman’s edition of 1677, for there we find in “Colledge Bob the fifth” the same rows (row for row) until we get behind, where 5ths is made instead of 4ths place. Now although this is not Surprise, it had even at that early date all the Surprise places, including places and those with the treble fore and aft. These places apparently Mr. James considers superfluous, and would like to get rid of. In the same edition of “Stedman” we also have Colledge Bob III., and this although not a Surprise, is still more interesting, for behind we have 3ths place made, and also 2nds at the lead; this with all the places gives orthodox lead-ends, but still it is not Surprise. Reading Bob, which also appears in the same “Stedman” edition, is another method with the full complement of its places, and with orthodox lead-ends - as to the order of the bells - but as one might expect at that early date it was not a Surprise. The term “Surprise” came later in history, for in those days they liked more simple work. Now if these early methods were not Surprise - and they were not - what were they? The term he would apply to them is “Stagnation Bob,” or in other words, a Treble Bob method in which every pair of bells is retained as far as possible in the same dodging position throughout the entire lead, accomplished by a disposal of as many places, carefully chosen as possible. True the term “Stagnation Bob” was a term invented by himself, and was intended as an aid to clear the mind of those who think that the making of every possible place entitles a method in the present day to be dubbed “Surprise.” Let them listen to what Stedman had to say of this newly-named family, on page 190 of the 1677 edition we read respecting Reading Bob: “The treble has a dodging course, and when it moves up out of 2nds place the two first bells dodge until it comes there again; and when it moves down out of 5ths the two hind bells dodge until it comes there again, except only while it dodges in the 3rd and 4th places when the two hind bells lie still.” Although nothing is said of the work in 3-4, the 4th and another bell practically hold the situation between them, so “Stagnation” is rife. The next page gives a variation “according to the Cambridge way, by which the bells behind” may dodge without intermission until the treble hindereth them. N.B. - Full “Stagnation” behind, aimed at, and obtained.

History repeats itself. All these early peals with their full number of places were good examples more or less of “Stagnation Bob,” even Primrose, the best of them, held the same bell in the middle (3-4) for a whole lead. Here all was ready for the stroke of a pen of a master mind, “Stagnation” was to give place to “Surprise.” Mr. Dains recently in “The Bell News,” whether knowingly or not, transposed Primrose into Cambridge. This he did with the knowledge he now possesses. Some might put it down to the education of the ringer, who now no longer cares for prolonged dodging. It is however curious that Mr. Dains unconsciously proved this very point by his altering Primrose into Cambridge.

We must however go back to somewhere about 1730, so to find this done previously, for Benjamin Annable, the greatest man of his time, had just turned Primrose into Cambridge. Annable was born about 1680, and was therefore about twelve years old when the first edition of J. D. and C. M. came out in 1702. Annable joined the College Youths in 1724, and was much in evidence in 1733, when the third edition of the same book without any Surprise came out. From Hearne’s diaries we get the following: “Anno 1733, came out in London, a little book in 12’s, being the third edition of Campanalogia on the Art of Ringing. One Annables is now putting out a new edition of the same work which ’tis said will be the best of its kind that ever yet was printed on that subject. He is judged to understand ringing as well as, if not better than, any man in the world.” Annable was elected Master of the College Youths in 1746, rang his last peal in 1754, and, alas, died between 60 and 70 years old in 1756, without having published his book. In his MS. book however are given both Cambridge and London, and as he - the speaker - thought named by Annable “Surprise,” for by a judicious arrangement of the places greater freedom was given to the bells in moving from one position to another, and “Stagnation” was at once entirely ended, even while the full complement of the places was attended to. In 1753, three years before Annable’s death, J. D. and C. M. got hold of Cambridge Surprise Minor, but it would then be common as the “Ramblers” rang it, as they tell us in their verses. Jasper Snowdon gave the years 1733-4 as the date when these “Ramblers” were in existence. To show Annable’s commanding mind, and his influence over his contemporaries, it should be noted that Cambridge Major only appeared in J. D. C. M. edition of 1766, and then it was in the undeveloped form in which Annable’s MS. book gives it with unorthodox order of the bells at lead-ends, which showed how very little was going outside his own circle. Holt of course had his hands full; he was busy in Grandsire Triples.

When the Clavis came in 1788, Superlative Major appeared, and note, so like to Cambridge when it is turned into Minor that Superlative Minor is Cambridge reversed, not that it matters greatly, as they are both too complicated to ring - one from the other - by merely thinking over this relationship. In Minor Surprises the Clavis made itself ridiculous, which has proved a misfortune for us all. No one has followed them however, for taking Shipway, 1816, Hubbard, 1845, Banister, 1874, or Jasper Snowdon, 1881, all these four authorities take the three old standards as their examples and none other. Some one was now writing to “The Bell News” who had just that kind of muddle-headed idea that he wished everyone to avoid. The writer appeared to think that the object of the motion is to restrict up to date composers (as they are termed) in their advancement. No, but “up-to-date” composers must for their new methods coin up-to-date names. In conclusion let him say that it will be a sorry day for the Exercise generally if this generation does not seek to pass down unimpaired in their meaning the old world terms handed down to us by our forefathers. Anything to the contrary will only enhance the trouble of the future historian, and deprive those that follow us of a great amount of interest which is interwoven with the special surroundings and special terms of a past generation.

The Hon. Sec. formally seconded.

Mr. Attree asked if the resolution was intended to apply to Major as well as Minor.

The President referred to the last paragraph, which read - “Major bears co-ordinate relationship to Minor,” therefore it would apply to both Minor and Major.

The Rev. H. Law James said the Council had been dealing with this question for sixteen years, and he ventured to think had at last gone to the root of the whole matter. Now Mr. Snowdon wanted to upset that which had been done. Mr. Snowdon in his definition said: “A Surprise method has a Treble Bob hunt, and demands the following places (a) places with the treble before and behind”; to adopt this “Wells” must be thrown out; but this was not all, for in section (b) Mr. Snowdon says “When she dodges”; this would mean throwing out London, Wells, York, and Durham.

Mr. Snowdon: No, not London.

The Rev. H. Law James: but it says “When she dodges.” In London places are made at the treble’s dodge, so it must go. Section (c) he would accept as correct. When however they came to (d) this would throw out both Superlative and Lincoln, Section (e) Mr. Snowdon said should read “No bell to be detained in the middle for a whole lead.” This again would throw out Durham, one of the very best Minor Surprise methods. Section (c), as he had already said, he accepted. This, if kept to, would cover the whole ground and include all. To adopt these proposals would leave them with Cambridge only, and cut out all the others; whereas leave matters as they were and the whole of the methods now included in the classification list would stand.

Mr. Snowdon thought Mr. James wanted to raise a quibble.

The Rev. H. Law James said it was not so, but simply a matter of fact. Let them take Kent as an illustration. When the treble was dodging in one-two, places were not going on.

Mr. Snowdon said places were made in the first four rows of Kent.

The Rev. H. Law James said: “Not when the treble was dodging in one-two.”

The President asked if Mr. Law James desired to move an amendment to those sections of the proposal with which he did not agree.

The Rev. H. Law James said the whole matter was gone into so fully last year in the report upon Legitimate Methods that there was no necessity to do anything further. If Mr. Snowdon would study that report he would see that it embraced everything.

Mr. H. Dains said he should like to take the opportunity of explaining his action in order that it might not be misunderstood. His action in showing how to make up the number of Surprise methods was based upon the acceptance at last year’s Council meeting of the places and cross sections by the report upon Legitimate Methods. This being so, be looked over the old methods containing the required beauty-spots of qualifying places. These, with a slight alteration to bring up the plain-bob lead ends, he worked up, with the result shewn. Other persons had done the same, putting new names to old figures - as it were - in fact the operation had been going on through the whole history of the Art. He must acknowledge that he felt somewhat flattered by Mr. Snowdon’s complimentary remarks as to his knowledge. No one could do otherwise, especially so with respect to “Old Primrose” and other methods of similar date and standing. His only object was to supply a want, and the only way to do so was to look over the peals found in Annable, and Stedman’s Campanalogia, and other old works. If what he did was not satisfactory he was sorry, as all was done with the best intention. In reference to the list of methods made up by the Rev. H. Law James for the Method Classification Committee, as a member he had looked over this, but would just mention that several of the old methods, with the slight alterations previously mentioned, might be found there. With respect to the point just raised between the Rev. H. Law James and Mr. Snowdon he considered there were four blows in a single dodge, as in two blows bells can only snap; therefore, to make places when the treble dodges, it must be done as at a bob in Kent Treble Bob, in which places are made while the treble is dodging in one-two.

At this point of the discussion a letter was read from Mr. Miller, of the Leytonstone (Essex) company, the chief points of which were that Mr. Snowdon’s motion was too narrow.

The Rev. H. Drake said he was in sympathy with Mr. Snowdon in the great principle which underlaid his motion. Many of the old historical terms had existed as long as ringing had gone on. Were they, as practical men, bound to adhere to these old historical terms? If so, they must throw over all that Mr. James had said. It did not appear to him practicable to adhere to this old word “Surprise.”

Mr. Snowdon said he would again ask Mr. James not to quibble. He appreciated all that the rev. gentleman had done, and no one knew better than Mr. James the ins-and-outs of the whole matter. He contended that, in the first four rows of Kent Treble Bob, places were made in 3-4. So it was in London, while in Primrose there were 3rds and 6ths places. The President expressed an opinion that the subject had been sufficiently debated. He did not think it would be desirable to vote upon the matter at present as experts differed so much upon the subject.

Mr. Snowdon having pressed for his motion to be put, it was lost by a large majority.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 15, 1907, pages 148 to 149, corrections 22 June, page 163


The Rev. H. Drake moved that a Committee be asked to discuss the practicability of a Benevolent Fund for ringers. The rev. gentleman said he might be told that his motion was out of date, the question of a benevolent fund having been discussed last year. He would like however to point out that the motion differed from that brought forward last year. His present motion was for a Committee to consider the practicability or impracticability of having such a fund for the benefit of ringers. It was a matter which he ventured to think might be well worth looking into, and for a Committee to say if it was desirable that should a fund should exist. He did not think it well that it should be said it was impracticable without a Committee having the opportunity of thoroughly going into the whole question. He had upon former occasions heard a great many objections raised against the proposal, but not any which he thought would hold good. Among the objections raised he had heard it said that such a fund was impossible, that it would not work because there would not be a sufficient number of members to make it an independent society. He was himself a member of the Clergy Friendly Society, which started with thirty members, now it had 405, and always had paid its way. He saw no reason why, if a benevolent fund for ringers were started on a business footing, it should not be successful. Possibly, if an attempt was made, some means might be found of attaching it to one of the existing Friendly Societies, such as the National Deposit Friendly Society, which to him appeared well adapted for the purpose. It was said that ringers were all members of some existing friendly societies; that might be so, but he could not help thinking that a benevolent fund would be of great benefit to a large section of the Exercise who would be willing to subscribe to such a fund.

Mr. Tompkins, in seconding, said there was a kind of freemasonry among ringers who generally stuck together, and he had no doubt but that such a fund would prove useful. He hoped the Council might see its way clear to appoint a Committee to thrash the matter out.

Mr. King said he had failed to hear of any new feature brought forward in support of the appointment of a Committee, or that such a Committee would be useful. He knew of few ringers that were not already members of some friendly society, and he thought that membership of such societies was far better than membership in a Ringers’ Benevolent Fund could be. He was afraid that such a fund, if created, would cause some amount of jealousy in parts of the country, as those in one part would be dissatisfied with what those might receive in another part. He failed to see any necessity for such a fund.

Mr. Snowdon said the Yorkshire Association had had the matter under discussion, but did not take it up, not having the machinery to carry such a fund on. He failed to see the necessity for such a fund, but thought that the matter should be left in the hands of the friendly and thrift societies who were doing excellent work for the working classes. If an Association like the Yorkshire could not carry on such a fund he did not think the Council could, and therefore he could not see that anything could be done.

The President pointed out that the matter had already been previously discussed by the Council. It appeared, he said, to have been overlooked by the mover and seconder that a generous Government were going to provide old age pensions.

The motion was lost by a substantial majority.


The Rev. H. J. Elsee, in bringing forward the question “Is too much stress laid upon peal-ringing by ringers of the present day,” said there were many ringers who like to see that the Association of which they were members had brought round a good number of peals during the year, and he should not be surprised if some members of the Council thought he was preaching heresy, and he wondered what the Council would say to him for doing so. He thought there was too much stress put upon peal-ringing in the present day, and that as much, if not more, enjoyment could be obtained by ringing touches as by ringing peals; not only would it be so to the ringers themselves but especially so to the public at large. He remembered a visit once paid by Squire Proctor and his band to a certain tower, and what thorough enjoyment it was to the band to ring touches. How often it was that the list of peals published in “The Bell News” contained many of the same names week after week; and then there was the modern ringing tour during which so many were rung. In the old days the ringing of a peal was a great accomplishment. A man who had rung thirty or forty peals in his life had done a great deal of peal-ringing. Now it appeared to be the ambition of some ringers to ring as many peals as they could. It would no doubt be contended that travelling not only by the railway but by the use of the bicycle was far more easy to-day than it was in times gone by. By placing peal-ringing, or, as some would say, peal scoring, as the highest object of a ringer’s ambition, was it working on the right lines? Of course every young ringer desired to ring his first peal, which is a worthy ambition. Just the same with a company learning a new method. They should not be content till they had rung a peal in it. But was it working on the right lines to go on and on ringing peal after peal in the same method as the modern ambition appeared to be? He would ask: should there not be more done for the glory of God? Was this done by the many peals rung, not so much by companies in their own towers, but by mixed bands whose object appeared to be to ring peals in as many towers as could be obtained? In olden days peals were rare, and much thought of; now all was changed. What was the object in view? Was it for the enjoyment of the inhabitants who lived near a tower, or was it for the enjoyment or glorification of the individual in order that he might ring so many peals? He was not making the remarks in reference to one whom they all respected, and who had rung more peals than any other man, who undoubtedly had no other desire than to use the Art for the glory of God. Another question he would ask was: do we get or give the greatest enjoyment out of the Art by continued peal-ringing. “Almost certainly not” would be the answer; and although all complaints might not be well-founded, yet there were often just complaints from those resident near a tower in which there were frequent peal ringing, which would show that the greatest enjoyment to those who had to live near by was not given. The continuous ringing of bells often became wearisome, while ringing for a time, with intervals, gave pleasure to nearly all. Another point to which he would briefly refer was: Is peal-ringing the object for which the bells were put in the tower? He thought that many would agree with him that peal-ringing was not the real object, but a far higher object, viz., the glory of God. He believed all would agree in congratulating the Devonshire Guild upon the introduction of change-ringing into Devonshire, which had come to stay. He knew there was no method of producing the beautiful music of the bells so effective as that of change-ringing. Might they not however learn a lesson from the old west country ringing. These old ringers loved to go to the tower to ring rounds, simply giving their skill to the time in ringing rounds, and to the time in raising and falling the bells. So delighted with this kind of ringing were most of the old west country ringers that one night’s practice in a week was not sufficient, and many would go a second and even a third night in the same week because of the enjoyment it was to them to handle the bells in such a skilful way. Might not many change-ringers learn something from this, for in the aim at frequent peal ringing some of the beauty of the Art was lost, besides also the loss of some of the best enjoyment and effects of an Art peculiarly an English pastime. There was, he must admit, a spirit of competition in the present day, and it affected ringers as well as those who entered into other arts. Apart from prize ringing, which none of them desired to see restored, it might be difficult to suggest how they were to enter into this competition except by peal ringing. As ringers they were trustees and exponents of a beautiful English Art. Were they, by too frequent peal ringing, so fulfiling their trust as to commend their Art to the public in the best way, or to give to the non-ringing community the greatest pleasure in the music of the bells?

The Hon. Secretary said that he agreed with much that Mr. Elsee had advanced. One could not help feeling that too much was nowadays made of scoring peals in numbers. It should not be forgotten that peal-ringing, admirable as it was, and by all means to be fostered within certain limits, was not the be-all and end-all of change-ringing. In old times when peals were fewer he thought it was unquestionable that much more pleasure was got out of a peal than was often the case in the present day, when peals were so frequent that the pleasure of the recollection of them as individual events was lost in the haze of mere numbers. Then again the ringing of touches was a great pleasure, but that too seemed in danger of being lost, as there was no time left for touches.

Mr. Attree said the question was one which wanted looking at from different points of view. The band who only rang the bells for the services of the church were at a stand still, whereas the band who rang peals made progress and proved to be the best band. If peal-ringing was not done for the services of the Church then possibly it might be said that it was for the ringers’ glorification, and as such he considered it was perfectly justifiable. If the band was one which made progress, it would generally be found that the bells were in good order as the ringers would take an interest in them. The band which simply kept to one method made very little, if any, progress, and took little interest in the bells. If however an attempt was made to master some superior method he saw no reason why there should not be some peal ringing.

Mr. King said if the bells were not rang for Divine Worship then they ought not to be rung at all. If, on the other hand, ringers did their duty by ringing on Sundays for the services of the Church, might they not have some enjoyment from peal ringing during the week? During the last few years a large number of peals had been rung, but last year there was a drop of 200. This might be due to some clergymen not permitting the use of the bells so frequently, and he thought it a matter which in time would right itself. Peal ringing was necessary in order to keep up an interest in the Art and to encourage ringers in doing their duty on Sundays.

The Rev. F. E. Robinson said he desired to thank Mr. Elsee for the remarks which had reference to himself. Peal ringing not only had its moral, mental, and physical advantages, but it was also a test of proficiency in skill and advancement. Peal ringing should be looked at especially for its physical advantages, for there was no better medicine in the world than three hours at the end of a bell rope twice a week, not that the three hours was always reached. In the matter of peal ringing many of the peals that he had taken part in were peals rung in order to help a young ringer, or it might even be a majority of the band, through their first peal in the method. It often brought out talent which would otherwise remain hidden, and no peal was rung without something fresh being found. It taught many to be forbearing, especially when there happened to be a bad striker. As to the complaints that sometimes were made, he did not find that there were many who had a cause for doing so.

Mr. Daniell said he did not consider there were many complaints made as to peal ringing from hospitals, theatres, and other similar buildings, many of which stood in close proximity to churches.

The President said he thought all who had listened to the discussion would have their own views on the matter, and that it would not be desirable to take any definite vote. He agreed with the opener that there was too much stress in the present day laid upon peal ringing. This might be due chiefly to the way in which many so-called peals were rung. Many were undoubtedly so badly struck that those who rang in them ought to be thoroughly ashamed to call the performance a peal. What should be the aim of every ringer was a good peal, and if many who took part in peals would but have that honesty inside the tower that they had when outside listening to other ringers, there would be a great improvement and not so many unworthy peals recorded.


Mr. Daniell reported that during the year he had received half a dozen applications for employment but not one wanting an employee.

On the suggestion of the President a vote of thanks was accorded Mr. Daniell for the valuable experiment he had made.


The Rev. H. A. Cockey, asked whether, if a representative of an association who was elected for a term of three years ceased to be a member of the Association which he represented, he ceased to be a member of the Council?

The Hon. Secretary said the point was not referred to in the rules of the Council. The opinion that he had held was that a member of the Council stood, on the same footing as a member of Parliament, who was elected for a constituency. So long as that Parliament lasted, such member remained a member of the House, and no one else could occupy his seat. In the case of the Llandaff Association which had not elected a representative, an application was made by a gentleman to come and take part in the Council meeting; but he was obliged to inform the applicant that not having been elected as a representative of the Association he could not do so.

The Rev. Maitland Kelly considered that if a representative of an Association left and did not join an Association, he could no longer be a representative to the Council.

Mr. King said there was one very easy way in which any one who had been elected as a delegate to the Council, but was no longer a member of the Association for which he was elected, could be prevented from acting as its delegate, viz., by the Association not paying the subscription for that particular delegate.

The Rev. Maitland Kelly called attention to the second rule of the Council which reads “The Council shall consist of representative members,” and asked how, if a delegate was no longer a member of the Association for which he was elected, he could still be its representative member?

The President thought the rule was clear and that a delegate having ceased to be a member of an Association could no longer be its representative to the Council.


The President said the Standing Committee recommended that, provided satisfactory arrangements could be made, the next year’s meeting be held at Cambridge, but in the event of its being found that arrangements could not be made, the meeting be at Ipswich.

The recommendation was adopted.


On the proposition of the Rev. F. E. Robinson, seconded by the Rev. G. F. Coleridge, a vote of thanks was passed to the Dean and Chapter for the use of the Chapter House. The President in submitting the same to the meeting remarked that notwithstanding the many places the Council had visited, this was the first opportunity it had had of the privilege of meeting in such a noble building.

On the proposition of the Hon. Secretary, seconded by the Rev. C. E. Matthews, a vote of thanks was accorded to the Rev. Maitland Kelly for the very satisfactory arrangements for the present meeting which he had helped to make. On the proposition of the Rev. F. E. Robinson, seconded by Mr. Snowdon, a vote of thanks was accorded to the President.

Upon the invitation of the Rev. Maitland Kelly the members of the Council adjourned to the Cathedral Cafe for tea. A visit was afterwards made to the Cathedral, and in the evening there was a social gathering.

The Bell News and Ringers’ Record June 22, 1907, pages 160 to 161

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