The two peals attributable to Independent Societies were rung in the following counties: Lancashire, 1; Salop, 1.

The 21 peals of Treble Bob were rung as follows: In the Kent Variation Royal 5, Major 16.

The 33 peals of Grandsire Triples may be classified under the following compositions: Holt’s Original, 3; Holt’s ten-part 6; Parker’s twelve-part and variations, 11; Parker’s six-part, 1; Rev. C. D. P. Davies’ ten-part, 3; Carter’s peals, 4; Taylor’s peals, 2; Day’s six-part, 1; Bruerton’s twelve-part, 1; Biddlestone’s peal, 1.

The 19 peals of Stedman Triples were: Thurstans’ one-part, 2; Thurstans’ four-part, 12; Carter’s No. 35, 1; Carter’s Odd Bob, 4.

The 12 peals in Plain Methods comprised the following: Bob Royal, 3; Bob Major, 9.

The seven peals of Doubles may be divided among the following Associations:-

Association1 Method3 Methods
Bath and Wells2-
Worcestershire and Districts11
Independent societies1-

61- Total 7

The number of peals rung on tower bells was 93, and on handbells 37. Owing to the continuance of the war, there has been a further drop in the number of peals rung in 1917, as compared with 217 in 1916; 219 in 1915; 1415 in 1914; and 2,359 in 1913.

The peals rung month by month in 1916 and 1917 are appended for purposes of comparison:-


Jan to June14252


July to Dec.7578

Total for 1916, 217; total for 1917, 130, being a decrease of 87.

The total number of peals, whether on tower bells or handbells, rung year by year since 1881, is as follows:-

Grand Total. 36,584.


The number of peals rung in 1917 is, as might be expected, still less than in 1916, and, indeed, has dropped well below the total of 1881. The Yorkshire Association has rung the greatest number of peals on tower bells, viz., 12; while the St. Martin’s Guild heads the list of handbell peals, also with 12, of which seven were of Stedman Cinques. The Ancient Society of College Youths placed nine peals on handbells to their credit and the Lancashire and Worcestershire Association each rang eight peals on tower bells.

By comparing these figures with those of the 1913 analysis, some small idea will be obtained of the effect of the war upon peal ringing: 94 peals were recorded during 1917 on tower bells, but one of these, a peal of Stedman Caters at Aston rung by the St. Martin’s Guild in honour of the ‘Old Contemptibles’ and the success in Palestine, unfortunately turned out to be false. The remaining 93 peals were rung in 75 different towers. Crayford, Earlsheaton and Lavenham supplied three peals each, 12 other towers two each, and 60 towers contributed one peal each. The 75 towers are situated in 23 counties: Staffordshire (10 peals), Lancashire (9) and Yorkshire (9) each supplied 8 towers towards the total; Gloucestershire (8 peals), Salop (7) and Worcestershire (7), six towers; Warwickshire (7 peals), five towers; Kent (6 peals), four towers; Bucks (3 peals), three towers; Leicestershire, London and Suffolk (4 peals each), Glamorgan, Middlesex, Somerset and Surrey (2 each), two towers; one peal in one tower was rung in the Counties of Cheshire, Essex, Hants, Monmouth, Northants, Sussex, and the Isle of Wight.

Fifty ringers took part in their first peal, including five ladies; four rang a first peal away from the tenor; three their first with a bob bell, and seven their first as conductor. Mr. Mitchell, of Barnwood (Glos.), rang two peals at the age of 82, one on his birthday; and Mr. W. Rock Small achieved two peals in honour of his 78th birthday. A 600th peal (Mr. J. George) and a 500th peal (Mr. E. Barnett. senr.) are recorded. For one peal of Minor at Stanton (Glos.), it is stated at the ringers cycled a total of 143 miles.

Muffled peals (mostly as a tribute to the memory of local heroes who have made the supreme sacrifice) were 32; seven peals were rung to celebrate successes in the war; first on the bells, 2; first since augmentation, 2; first since rehanging, 1; 29 on various special occasions (Church festivals, welcome, farewells, etc.), and for the remaining 20 no reason is stated.

The conductors of four peals and over are as follows: J. E. Groves (handbells 5), 9 peals; S. H. Symonds (H.B. 3), 6; G. F. Swann (H.B. 4), 5; C. R. Lilley, A. Walker (H.B. 4), C. F. Winney (H.B. 4), and E. Wightman (H.B. 4), 4 peals. There were 5 conductors of 3 peals, 11 of 2 peals, and 56 of one peal. One peal was rung without the services of a conductor, a peal of Stedman Triples by the College Youths, on handbells at Clapham. One lady, Miss E. K. Parker, appears amongst the conductors. We have ventured to dispense with the apportionment of points this year.

E. W. CARPENTER, Thriplow, Cambs.
JOSEPH GRIFFIN, 11, Shobnall Street, Burton-on-Trent.
ARTHUR T. KING, 1, Southsea Terrace, Southsea.
GEORGE WILLIAMS, West End, near Southampton.

The Ringing World, April 12th, 1918, pages 117 to 118




The first session of the tenth Council, making the 26th meeting, was held on Tuesday in the Upper House of Convocation at the Church House, Westminster. The meeting was attended by 63 members, representing 29 Associations, viz.-

Ancient Society of College Youths: Messrs. W. T. Cockerill, T. Faulkner, E. Horrex and A. A. Hughes.
Royal Cumberland Youths: Messrs. J. D. Matthews, J. Parker and F. Smith.
Bath and Wells: Mr. J. Maddock.
Bedfordshire: Rev. Canon Baker.
Cambridge University: Mr. E. H. Lewis.
Chester Diocesan: Messrs. H. S. Brocklebank, R. T. Holding.
Dudley Guild: Mr. W. R. Small.
Essex: Messrs. C. J. Butler, G. R. Pye and W. J. Nevard.
Gloucester and Bristol: J. Austin.
Kent: Rev. F. J. O. Helmore, Messrs. E. Barnett, J. H. Cheesman and T. Groombridge.
Ladies’ Guild: Miss E. K. Parker.
Lancashire: Rev. H. J. Elsee, Messrs. J. R. Taylor and W. E. Wilson.
Llandaff: Mr. J. W. Jones.
London County: Messrs. T. H. Taffender and E. A. Young.
Middlesex: Major J. H. B. Hesse, Messrs. A. T. King, W. Pye and J. R. Sharman.
Midland Counties: Messrs. J. Griffin, J. W. Taylor and W. E. White.
Central Northants: Mr. F. Wilford.
North Notts: Mr. H. Haigh.
Norwich Diocesan: Mr. G. P. Burton.
Oxford Guild: Rev. Canon Coleridge, Messrs. J. Evans and F. W. Hopgood.
Peterborough: Mr. R. Narborough.
Salisbury Diocesan: Rev. F. Ll. Edwards and W. Hughes D’Aeth.
Stafford Archdeaconry: Messrs. W. Fisher and H. Knight.
Surrey: Lieut. C. F. Johnston and Mr. C. Dean.
Sussex: Mr. E. H. Lindup.
Warwickshire: Mr. H. Argyle.
Winchester: Mr. H. White
Worcestershire: Messrs. A. E. Parsons, T. J. Salter and W. Short.
Yorkshire: Rev. C. C. Marshall and F. Willey.
Hon. Members: Rev. C. D. P. Davies (hon. secretary), Rev. E. W. Carpenter, Rev. Canon Papillon, Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, Messrs. J. Carter, J. S. Pritchett and H. W. Wilde.

Forty-nine members were absent from various causes.

The first business was the election of a President, in the place of Sir Arthur Heywood, deceased.- The Hon. Secretary took the chair and stated that the only nomination received was the name of the Rev. A. H. Boughey, of Cambridge.

The election of the Rev. A. H. Boughey was proposed by Mr. J. W. Taylor, seconded by Mr. W. Pye and supported by Mr. J. S. Pritchett.

The Rev. Canon Coleridge was also proposed, but declined to stand, and the Rev. A. H. Boughey was unanimously elected. In the absence of the new President, Canon Coleridge was voted to the chair.

On the motion of Mr. W. E. White, seconded by Mr. J. Griffin, the Rev. C. D. P. Davies was re-elected hon. secretary and treasurer.- In acknowledging his reappointment, Mr. Davies informed the Council that this was the last time he would be able to accept office.

The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn was reappointed hon. librarian, on the motion of Mr. J. Griffin, seconded by Mr. A. A. Hughes.

The accounts, showing that the balance in hand three years ago of £54 1s. 3d. had been increased to £70 2s. 1d., in addition to £50 invested in War Loan, were adopted, and it was decided to invest a further £50 in War Stock.

The accounts were adopted, on the motion of the Chairman, seconded by the Rev. F. J. O. Helmore, and on the proposition of Mr. E. H. Lewis, seconded by Mr. R. H. Narborough, a further £50 was ordered to be inverted in War Loan.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee pointed out that the absence of the Liverpool Diocesan Guild from the list of subscribing associations was due to the fact that the Guild had now become a branch of the Lancashire Association, and a reunion of forces that were separated 30 years ago had thus taken place (applause).

Owing to the suspension of the two last meetings of the Council all the hon. members came up for re-election. The following were re-elected:-

Rev. A. H. Boughey, Mr. J. W. Parker, and Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, the election to expire 1919.

Rev. E. W. Carpenter and Mr. H. W. Wilde to expire 1920.

Mr. J. Carter, Mr. R. A. Daniell, the Hon. Secretary, Canon Papillon, Mr. J. S. Pritchett, Mr. J. A. Trollope and Mr. G. Williams to expire 1921.

It was proposed to fill two of the three remaining vacancies, and Mr. J. S. Pritchett proposed that Mr. James George be elected to fill a vacancy to expire in 1920. He said Mr. George was probably better known personally than most men, and he was a most enthusiastic ringer. It was a compliment that they might well pay him.- Mr. Argyle seconded, and the motion was carried.

Miss Gillingham, of Portishead, was elected to fill another place, for two years, on the motion of Mr. Argyle, seconded by Miss Parker.

New members of the Council were presented to and introduced to the Chairman, including the College Youths veteran, Mr. Edwin Horrex.

The Hon. Secretary next read the list of members who had passed away since the last meeting, viz.: Sir Arthur Heywood, Mr. A. Hughes, Mr. H. Dains, Mr. J. W. Whiting, Mr. C. H. Hattersley, Rev. H. A. Cockey, Mr. W. Snowdon, and Mr. W. L. Catchpole.

At the suggestion of the Chairman, the Council confirmed the vote of condolence sent to Lady Heywood by the Standing Committee.

The Chairman also made suitable reference to the services of the other deceased members, and a vote of condolence with the relatives was passed, by the members rising in their places.

Rev. A. H. F. BOUGHEY,
The New President of the Council.
Anchitel Boughey

Apologies of absence were received from Mr. J. W. Parker (hon. member), Rev. W. P. Wright (Cleveland and North Yorkshire), Mr. J. Motts (Norwich Association), Rev. C. J. Sturton (Midland Counties), Rev. C. E. Matthews (Winchester Guild), Mr. C. L. Routledge and Mr. W. Storey (Durham and Newcastle), Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, M.C. (Oxford Guild), Mr. W. H. Godden (St. Martin’s Guild).

The Hon. Secretary read the letter which the Standing Committee sent out to the Bishops with regard to the maintenance of ringing in January, 1917. He stated that replies were received from the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Winchester, Chelmsford, Ely, Gloucester, St. Albans, St. David’s, Salisbury, Chester, Sheffield, and Wakefield.

The existing members of the Standing Committee were re-elected: The Rev. C. D. P. Davies, Canon G. S. Coleridge, Rev. H. Law James, Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, Messrs. W. T. Cockerill, J. Griffin, and R. A. Daniell. The following were elected to fill vacancies: The Rev. A. H. Boughey, Rev. Elsee, Messrs. A. E. Parsons, A. T. King, I.S.O., J. W. Taylor, and E. H. Lewis.

The Rev. H. S. T. Richardson reported for the Peal Collection Committee whose work of printing the collection was held up until more normal times.- Mr. J. W. Parker was added to the committee on which the Rev H. S. T. Richardson, Mr. J. A. Trollope and Mr. H. W. Wilde were re-elected.

Canon Papillon reported for the Literature Committee, whose principal work had been to get out of Mr. Daniell the amount of material which they believed he had collected.- Canon Papillon and Mr. R. A. Daniell were re-elected on the committee, and the Rev. A. T. Beeston was added to the committee.

Mr. E. H. Lewis reported for the Legitimate Methods Committee, whose work is held up for the same reasons as that of the Peal Collection Committee, and the following were re-elected on the committee: The Rev. H. L. James, and Messrs. J. A. Trollope and E. H. Lewis.

The report of the Analysis Committee, which has already been printed in ‘The Ringing World,’ was adopted, and the thanks of the Council accorded to the committee, who were re-elected as follows: Mr. A. T. King, Rev. E. W. Carpenter, Mr. J. Griffin and Mr. G. Williams.

Mr. E. H. Lewis reported for the Towers and Belfries Committee. The work of this committee, he said, was held up for the present. The committee, consisting of Messrs. E. H. Lewis, J. H. B. Hesse and E. A. Young, was re-elected.

It was agreed that each committee be instructed to elect a chairman, who should be responsible for reporting to the Council, and that, if possible, these reports should be printed before the Council meeting.

The Hon. Secretary had put down the following notice: ‘What are the means most likely to conduce to the greatest utility and efficiency of the Council, and if thought desirable, to move a resolution thereon.’ His paper, while admitting that the Council was not faultless, was largely in justification of the Council’s work.

A number of members took part on the discussion which followed, and various suggestions were put forward. Eventually the matter was adjourned for further consideration.

Mr. E. H. Lewis submitted the following: ‘To consult the Council as to the best way in which to help in the restoration of some of the bells lost by Belgium in the war, and to pass any necessary resolutions on the subject.’

In the course of the discussion, opinion favourable to assisting in the replacing of a bell or bells in Belgium by a fund established by the ringers of this country was expressed, but it was suggested that the present time was premature.

A motion to adjourn the matter was, however, defeated, and then a series of motions was passed to the effect that the Council was in favour of an appeal being made to the ringers of Britain and others to help Belgium in the restoration of her lost bells, and commending the matter to the notice of ringers and lovers of bells; that a committee be formed to consult the Associations as to the desirability of bringing forward a definite scheme for the formation of a fund for the purpose; and that the committee consist of the Rev. H. J. Elsee, the Rev. H. S. T. Richardson and Mr. E. H. Lewis with power to add to their number.

A considerable number of speakers took part in a discussion on the following, introduced by the Hon. Secretary: ‘That the Council desires to draw the attention of the Exercise to the increasing abandonment of raising and falling bells in peal, as a result of which a large proportion of ringers do not acquire the necessary skill to enable them to take part in this ancient and musical practice.’

No resolution on the subject was proposed.

The Council having decided, by 28 votes to 16 to meet next year, resolved by 24 to 12 that the meeting be held in London, if the war is still on, but at Gloucester if the war is over.

The proceedings terminated with a vote of thanks to the Chairman for presiding.

In the evening some of the visitors had the opportunity of ringing at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields and St. Saviour’s, Southwark, and subsequently some enjoyed a convivial hour at the headquarters of the Cumberland Youths, while others accepted the invitation of the College Youths to attend their fortnightly gathering at the Coffee Pot.

Next week we shall begin a fuller report of the more important parts of the proceedings.

The Ringing World, May 24th, 1918, pages 165 to 166



As mentioned in the summarised report of the Central Council meeting given in our last issue, the Council had sustained severe losses in members by death since its previous meeting, and a vote of condolence with the relatives of the deceased was passed.

Alderman J. S. Pritchett asked whether the Council could not find some way of perpetuating the memory of the late Sir Arthur Heywood. He suggested that it might be possible to institute a badge, to be worn by the President for the time being, which should bear a suitable inscription, saying that it was instituted in memory of Sir Arthur - a badge similar to those worn by Masters of City Companies, and, he believed by the Master of the Cumberland Youths. It might also be arranged to leave room for the names of Sir Arthur’s successors to be engraved upon it from time to time. He had no wish to rush the matter upon the Council, and merely threw out the suggestion for the consideration of the Standing Committee.

The Chairman said he was sure the Standing Committee would welcome the suggestion, as it welcomed any suggestion. It was very advisable that matters like that should not be sprung upon the general Council but should come first before the Standing Committee so that they might put them into shape and bring them before the Council in proper form for discussion.

Alderman Pritchett thereupon moved that the Standing Committee be requested to consider the possibility of establishing some permanent memorial to the late Sir Arthur Heywood to commemorate his long connection with the Council.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee said he would like to second the motion, as he believed Sir Arthur Heywood’s last appearance among ringers at a public function was at the annual meeting of the Lancashire Association, to which he went specially in connection with the commemoration of his (the speaker’s) 25th year as President of the Association. He noticed then how far from well Sir Arthur looked, and although he afterwards received a postcard from him to say he was better, he (Mr. Elsee) could not help having misgivings whether they would again see him in his place at the meetings of the Central Council.

Mr. J. W. Taylor, who succeeded Sir Arthur as President of the Midland Counties Association, supported the resolution, which was unanimously carried.


As already recorded the various committees, were re-appointed, vacancies caused by the death of members being filled.

Mr. E. H. Lewis suggested that the Council should appoint a chairman for each committee, and make each chairman responsible for placing a proper written report of his committee’s work before the Council. A great deal of the most important work of the Council was done by committees, but the Council seldom received more than a hurried verbal account of what had been done. It would be much more satisfactory if a written report was available, and, if possible, published before the meeting of the Council.

Canon Papillon when reporting on behalf of the Literature Committee, fully agreed with the suggestion that there should be some one person in each committee definitely responsible for seeing that the work was done and done in sufficient time for the proper consideration of the Council. He thought it would also be an advantage if the Council would define a little more clearly what the business of the Literature Committee was. Was it simply to catalogue the titles of books bearing on ringing or was it to have - and this was a very important point - the general supervision of Press references to ringing? The Literature Committee grew originally out of the arrangements for calling more attention in the public Press to ringing matters and one of the results was the publication of a series of articles in the ‘Guardian,’ subsequently reprinted in pamphlet form - which called the attention of the clergy in many parishes to the uses and purposes of bells, of which they were in blissful ignorance. He thought the committee should not only get information with regard to the literature concerning bells, but also obtain notices from time to time in the Press on ringing matters.

When the report of the Legitimate Methods Committee was under consideration, the Hon. Secretary said it would be remembered that at the last meeting, he asked the committee to reconsider certain of its rulings with regard to the legitimacy of methods. He was afterwards criticized for the length of time he occupied in putting his views before the Council. He now apologised for taking up so much time, but he had no idea when speaking that he had been so long. Since then, with the consent of his seconder, he had withdrawn the motion, and, instead of again bringing it before the Council, he had written a pamphlet on the subject, under the title ‘Lead Ends,’ and this could be obtained from him at the price of 1s., just sufficient to cover the cost of production.


Speaking for the Towers and Belfries Committee, Mr. Lewis said their work, was held up for the duration of the war. He had seen, it announced in ‘The Ringing World’ that the committee of the Royal Institute of British Architects, who were conducting an investigation into the matter, had also held up their work, although it was stated that they had sufficient data in hand for a short paper. He did not know whether that paper would appear during the war. Mr. Lewis added that during a short holiday last year he visited one of the towers stated by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings to have been damaged by a rigid bell frame. The society had mentioned six such towers, but he found that this one was the only one that had got a rigid frame. In the others the bells were mounted on girders without cross bracing, and they were the most excellent form of springs. In the case referred to it was a rigid H frame. After the architect had condemned the frame as having done damage to the tower, the top ties were cut, and the local ringers said the bells went as well after the ties had been cut as when they were fixed, and they had less trouble in keeping the frame in order than they had with the subsequent wooden frame. It seemed as if whenever there was trouble with a crack in the tower architects put it down to the bell frame every time, whereas there were a hundred other possible causes, of which no mention was ever made.

The Hon. Secretary said in the tower of the church at Deane (where he has recently become incumbent), there were some cracks that were put down to the bells, but a few weeks ago he had his old friend, Mr. Phillott, a well-known ringer and architect, to see him, and he gave it as his opinion that the bells had nothing to do with the cracks, but that the cause was a small settlement of the tower, which showed, as Mr. Lewis had said, how everything was put down to the bells when it might be due to any one of a hundred other causes. He had discovered that every ten or fifteen years there was an overflow of springs in the neighbourhood, and then there was often a foot of water round the tower, which was quite sufficient to account for the settlement of the building.

After the adoption of the reports of the various committees, Mr. Lewis proposed a motion embodying his suggestion that the Council should elect a chairman for each committee, who should be responsible for the presentation of a written report of the work of the committee, and that, if possible, the report should be circulated among the members of the Council, or published before the Council meeting.

An amendment was submitted instructing the committees to elect their own chairmen, and this was agreed to, Mr. Lewis, observing that he did not much mind how the chairmen were elected as long as the object of their election was secured.


The following had been placed on the agenda; by the Hon. Secretary: ‘What are the means most likely to conduce to the greatest utility and efficiency of the Council, and, if thought desirable, to move a resolution thereon.’ The Hon. Secretary read the following paper on the subject:-

During the past two or three years various criticisms have been levelled at the Council. It does this or that that it ought not to do and it leaves undone this or that that it ought to do. Its debates are not interesting. Its debates are too technical. It debates and acts not. It has never done ringers any good. Its meetings are not worth the expense entailed in travelling to them. If change ringing is the object of attack in any part of the country, the Council should take up the cudgels. The Council should act as a labour bureau for the Exercise. The Council should act as a benevolent fund for the Exercise. The Council should become a legislative body, instead of contenting itself with being as it always has been merely an advisory one. Many other complaints have been urged against the Council but these few will suffice as specimens. I do not say that the Council is faultless. I do not say that it cannot be improved. I do not say that everything that has been said of it by way of criticism is wrong, but I do say that of the plaints I have mentioned most will not stand examination, and that even so far as they are true the fault does not lie with the Council. Some of them are mutually contradictory. It has been said, on the one hand that the Council should have on its roll the ‘best ringers.’ In some ways I quite agree with this, but not without reservation, as I will explain presently. It has also been said that the debates are too scientific, too technical, too abstruse. Now if you insist on having the ‘best ringers’ it follows of necessity that these are precisely the men capable of discussing the technical and so-called abstruse questions. Are you going to elect them and then muzzle them? If so, they will decline election, and you will not get the best ringers. And not only so, but if such subjects are not to be threshed out at the Council, where are they to be brought forward? Ruling them out you degrade the Council at once to a second-rate assembly. It loses respect, and good-bye to it. But this is not the only remark I have to make on this point. I have yet to learn that the Council was instituted to provide interesting debates for its members, or even for visitors. We meet here for business and not for pleasure. The Council is not a concert, nor a penny reading, nor (may I add?) even a sermon. I do not deny that an occasional variation in the way of a debate on a lighter subject is otherwise than pleasant when the stiffer work has been done. It is, of course, also delightful to meet friends, and in this way the Council is most agreeable, but it is first of all a meeting for business and not for pleasure. For enjoyment of it in its latter aspect the conversazione in the evening is the proper occasion, and most enjoyable it has practically always been.

The Ringing World, May 31st, 1918, page 173


Let me notice one more of the objections aimed at the Council. It has been said of it that it has never done ringers any good. When I first heard this remark I confess that I was quite taken aback, as it had never occurred to me that the Council was instituted for the good of ringers. I always thought that it was for the good of ringing - a very different thing. Let us look for a moment a little more closely at the phrase, ‘the good of ringers.’ It is really illuminating, and throws a light on not a little of the dissatisfaction that has been expressed in regard to the Council. The ‘good of ringers.’ This may have more than one meaning. It may mean greater facilities for learning and practising the art. As regards learning the art I hold that the Council has distinctly worked for their good, if in no other way, then at least by its publications - its ‘Glossary’ and its ‘Collection of Peals.’ As regard practising the art, it has published its model sets of rules for a local company and for an Association, thereby tending to smooth the way for friendly relations between the clergy and ringers, and for setting ringing upon a proper and dignified footing among the energies of the church. And where ringing is thus respected and honoured there ensues with out fail a proper regard among church authorities for the preservation of bells and their fittings, and for the cleanliness, comfort, and well-lighting of belfries. This is all for the good of ringers, and in all these ways I strenuously assert that the Council has worked and is working for the good of ringers. But I fear that some who have employed the words ‘the good of ringers’ have had in mind the good of the pockets of ringers. It is some such sense of the words that is at the back of the cry for benevolent and such funds. This brings me to two observations. The first is that with which I began, viz., that in this sense the Council was founded not for ringers, but for ringing. It is for the good of ringers, so far as concerns their ringing, but not beyond that as far as I know. My next observation is a very important one - at least, in my opinion, and I have thought a good deal about it. It is this. Once let the Council embark on the management of a benevolent fund, or allow itself to take over the management of any money, on trust, or for any purpose other than those of its own work as a Council, and - mark my words - you seal its death warrant. Instead of being, as it has hitherto always been, an assembly for the deliberation of questions connected with the science and art of change ringing, and of the best ways and means towards its advancement, and the right and proper appreciation of ringers as church workers, it would become torn into factions or money questions, and would in this way go from bad to worse, and end in disruption. No, if the Council is wise it will refuse to listen to those who would have it undertake money schemes and the custody of money. It is quite another matter for it to express approval or disapproval of such schemes if undertaken by other bodies of ringers instituted or elected for the purpose. It has expressed such opinion in the past and may very well do the like again.

The Ringing World, May 31st, 1918, page 174


We printed last week the first part of the hon. secretary’s paper, on the question of improving the utility of the Central Council, the rest of the paper follows below

I pass next to one or two remarks on the idea that has been advanced that the Council should take legislative powers to itself and enforce its laws on the Exercise. A moment’s serious thought is surely sufficient to show the absurdity, not to say folly, of such a course. No law can be enforced without the power of the Law Courts behind it. To enable the Council to impose obedience on the Exercise it would be requisite for every member of the Exercise to swear fealty to the Council, or to enter into some legal bond to obey it, and all I can say is that if you come and ask me to do either of these - well, I laugh at you. Of course, the whole idea is pure nonsense. Two or three minutes ago, I was noticing a remark that had been made to the effect that if the Council were invested with legislative powers the ‘best ringers’ would then be elected on it, and I said that I agreed with this, but with a certain amount of reservation. I do want to see the best ringers on it. I want more, I want to see the best men. Let me explain. It is true that we are an assembly of ringers, and it is natural and fitting that ringing capabilities should form a very important factor in the choice of members sent here to deliberate. But it is not for actual ringing that we meet. We meet to consider and consult together, and the first essential qualification in our members should be not necessarily that they have rung so many peals even long peals, as that they should understand the subject of ringing, the science of it, the art of it, its bearings in general, the relation of ringers to each other, to the church and church officials and to the world at large. The range of our deliberations is large and wide, and for these things we want large-minded men with as wide experience as may be. We want also men who view things from different points. We want ringers to view things as ringers. We want clergy to view things as clergy. We want public men to view things in yet other ways. There are many capital, excellent men among the ranks of ringers who can write excellent English, who can add up a column of £ s. d. more quickly than I could add the pence, who are better composers and far better conductors than most of us, able, acute, well-educated men whom the Council is proud to reckon on it roll, and without whom it would be difficult if not impossible, to get on. But besides them there are others without whom we should soon go astray - nay, more, without whom I am confident that we should go on the rocks altogether - men, I mean, of wide experience and ripe judgement in human affairs, men who by years of discipline and years of responsibility have earned for themselves a position and weight of counsel which can be got in no other way. It is such as these that we want above all, and for this reason it is that when speaking of those whom we wish to see on the Council, I prefer to say that we want not necessarily the best ringers, but the best men. It is because the Council has always had and still has a large proportion of men of this stamp that it has been saved from more than one pitfall into which some ardent but short-sighted enthusiasts would otherwise have led it. Once or twice I have been able to save the Council’s time, and to save from subsequent disappointment the would-be proposer of some impracticable or inadmissible resolution by pointing out to him the reason why the Council could not entertain it. But that such proposals should have been even suggested shows the need of the judgment and experience of which I have been speaking.


I come now to the consideration of that which is the real problem before us, i.e., how to render the Council still more useful than it has been, and more efficient. At the outset I said that I do not consider it faultless. It would not be human if it were so. The problem divides itself into two main parts (1) the constitution of the Council, and (2) the work of the Council. Of its constitution I have already said most of what I have to say, namely, that we want it to consist of all the very best men that the Exercise contains. Some three or four, or five or six years ago some of our best, most experienced and most useful men failed to be returned by their Associations, and the late President once remarked to me on the fact with evident disappointment and regret. The Council itself to a great extent remedied the defeat by securing most of them as honorary members. Therefore, I say to the Associations, ‘Elect men of the widest experience and ripest judgment. If you elect your second-best, what can you expect but a second-best Council?’ The Council, except as regards its honorary members, does not make itself. It is what the Associations make it. Then as to its work. Again, the same is true. It is the Exercise that is supposed to supply the Council with matter for deliberation. But does it? I can answer with certainty that of the questions that have been brought forward for discussion not more than about one in ten has come to us from a. source external to the Council itself, and a large proportion of our most interesting discussions has come from one unsuspected source. One of the complaints brought against the length of my speech at the last Council was that it had left no time for the consideration of the item on the agenda relating to the increasing abandonment of raising and falling bells in peal, the discussion of which promised to be of no little interest and value, and I dare say that there were some who pictured to themselves the keen disappointment thereby caused to the two members of the Council who had spent time and pains in gathering statistics and preparing the speeches with which they were eagerly looking forward to propose and second some practical and useful resolution on the subject, but were too modest, too long-suffering, and too self-sacrificing to complain. Now, a little bird whispered a great secret to me, and if you are very good I will tell you as a great treat, and in, the strictest confidence, who those poor, defrauded, and ill-treated members were. They were the late President and your humble servant. The plain matter of fact is that the Exercise does not provide the Council with work to do. Perhaps it will not. Perhaps it cannot. Perhaps there is none.


And, now, what is to be done? So far as I can see at this moment there are only three possibilities: (1) The Council continues as it is, or (2) it alters in its composition or meetings or work or in all of these, or (3) it ceases. Taking the first of these, i.e., that it goes on as it is, then it is evident that the Exercise must somehow be galvanised out of its torpor. Try it. The plain matter of fact is that the rank and file of the Exercise are like Gallio - they care for none of these things. Take any six or eight bell tower; go there on a practice night, and how many will you find that can prick by lead ends, or that you could even persuade to listen to you for five minutes if you were to try to teach them how to do it. Trying to stir up the body of the Exercise is like trying to lift a feather-bed with a teaspoon. Indeed, I am more and more coming to the conclusion that the Council, far from being not good enough, has been too good for the Exercise. The Exercise has not provided it with work, and, rather than be idle and fruitless, it has provided itself with work. It has done nobly. It has worked hard. It has conscientiously spent its money in publications for the good of change ringing. Though its publications are sold at what is practically cost price, the Exercise, judging by the slowness of their sale, does not seem to appreciate them; and so completely did the hon. secretary of our Association fail to grasp the nature of the Council and its unpaid labour that he thought the Council grasping when it asked for a list of the publications to be inserted in the Association’s annual report - as if the Council were a money-making concern. Yes, the Council is, if anything, too good for the Exercise. Unless, therefore, the Exercise is prepared to bestir itself, it seems evident that the Council cannot continue as it is. Thus much regarding our first alternative. Omitting the second for a moment, let us take the last - that the Council come to an end. Without the least hesitation, I say that this would be a thousand pities. When I say this I say it quite disinterestedly at least in one respect, i.e., as a clergyman. The one set of people who would not suffer in the least by the extinction of the Council are the clergy. They would still remain, as they have always been, masters of their own towers, and holders of the key. It is entirely on the side of ringers and for the good of change ringing that I plead for the continuance of the Council. During the past year the incumbent of a church in a large country town was threatened with legal proceedings on the part of a very small knot of bell-haters living in the neighbourhood, and wrote to me under the evident impression that the Central Council was a wealthy corporation in the enjoyment of large funds for the defence of ringing - in the Law Courts, if need be, and ready to defend him at law. Of course, he was mistaken. But, nevertheless, though we could not do just as he seemed to expect, it was a comfort to be able to assure him that ringers actually possessed a central consultative body, able and willing to advise, and to give the benefit of its knowledge to those in need of it. And so in many ways the disappearance of the Council would be a real and serious loss to the Exercise. The thought of such a thing cannot be entertained.


We are left, therefore, with the second of our three possible courses of action, i.e., we must seek for some modification either of the Council itself, or of its meetings, or of its work - of any or all three of these. At this moment there are 41 Associations affiliated to us. We might decide to confine the representation of each to one member. This, with the honorary members, would mean that the Council would become a large committee of about fifty members. Or, leaving the Council as it is, we might ordain that its present and future committees should meet every year, the whole Council to meet only once in three years. Or, again, the Council might elect a committee of its members, say, twenty or thirty in number, to meet in each of the two years intervening between the triennial meetings of the whole Council. Or, once more, the Council might meet in every third year, leaving the intervening years blank altogether. Indeed, I am not sure that I am not coming to the conclusion that this last is not the best solution. For, although I have named the possibility of some modification in the work of the Council, I must confess that I do not see in what way its work can or could be altered. As I have said already, the plain truth is either that the Exercise has no suitable work for it to do, or is too supine to set it that work. I purposely say ‘suitable’ work. There have been plenty of attempts to set it work far from suitable, or even possible - work that would have been most unwise, and would soon have wrecked it, and would infallibly still wreck it. The fact remains that in default of work found for it the Council has found work, good work, for itself, and has done that work well. To some its work may have seemed dull and its debates uninteresting, but it has at least had the wisdom to keep within its own limits, and to eschew paths perhaps more showy, but certain to lead to catastrophe.

The Ringing World, June 7th, 1918, pages 181 to 182


In the discussion which ensued, Mr. A. T. King thought the hon. secretary had shown them one way in which matters might be improved, viz., by reading a paper. He thought it would help the Council very much if these papers were always forthcoming from capable persons who would have time to prepare them in order that they might be circulated beforehand among the members of the Council to enable them to make up their minds on any particular question. They had suffered very much in the past from the absence of some such method as this for sometimes people brought forward something very scientific, and somebody else, equally scientific, ventured to contradict what had been said, and without the details before them they were unable to fully appreciate the arguments. But they were not mostly fools, and if they were not all practical ringers they were men in the street able to compare one thing with another, and form a very good impression of what was right and what was wrong. It would shorten their debates if the papers were printed and distributed, and where there were now only a few ready to reply they would find almost everybody able to say something because they would have had time to think over the subject. The paper which had been read was a very admirable one but there was one thing left out. Whatever they did as a Council they could put very little of it into operation, except with the co-operation of the clergy. As long as the clergyman was a ringer he knew the needs of ringers better than anybody else, and was able to sympathise with them. But there were many parsons who were very ‘hot stuff,’ and if they were talked to about what they should have in their belfry they very soon let people know that they would have no interference whatever. Among men of this type there was too much neglect of the ringers, and he had had the greatest difficulty in many places in getting the parson to arrange for someone to attend in the belfry, when the ringers assembled, to open the proceedings with a simple prayer. They would not do it simply because it was suggested to them, and out of the number of little belfry offices which he had printed and distributed throughout the towers of Middlesex, be doubted if they would find half a dozen in their place in the belfry. He thought there was something about this that needed thinking over. They could not do or say anything as a Council that would come into conflict, so to speak, with the clergy, but if they were to be made better men as well as better ringers, they must try to enlist from the clergy more of the guiding hand.

The Rev. C. C. Marshall suggested that one improvement in the Council’s methods which might be introduced was to fix a time-table for their business.


The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards said one of the most entirely useful ways in which the Council could employ itself was precisely that illustrated by the letter written to the Bishops last year. It appeared to him that the very first object of the Council should have was the defence of the rights of the belfry. They lived in times when legislative interference had reached a pitch unknown in this country for a century. Owing to the action taken by the Standing Committee last year, they escaped a threatening position by which their rights might have been arbitrarily curtailed, because it was often easy for a small but noisy section of the community to get their views considered, and there was no knowing at what moment there might not be a further outbreak of hostility to the activities of ringers and for practical expression to that hostility to be shown by forcibly restraining the activities of ringers by legislation. The ground on which the rights of the belfry might be upheld and such encroachment most vehemently resisted was that ringing was an essential part of the rights of the Catholic Church and that no secular authority whatever had any right, without incurring the charge of sacrilege, to attempt to curtail the proper use, under the directions of the Bishops and clergy, of the church bells. Provided that the Council, together with the authorities of the church - who, he trusted, would be more and more drawn into harmony with the Council in this connection - took their stand strongly and immovably upon this ground, he thought they would have little to fear from any attempts at interference from Parliamentary or local authorities. But if once they allowed themselves, to take their stand on any lower ground than that they would have lost their first line of defence. To his mind, the Council could do the greatest good, not only in the interests of the ringing section of the community, but thereby of the church at large, the Established Church of England, which is the ringing church of the world by being always on the alert to use whatever powers it could to uphold the principle of the uses of the bells on the solemn feasts of the church, and in giving voice to the joy and thanksgiving of the nation on proper occasions as one of the immemorial rights of the church itself which was in itself a religious observance, and, as such, any secular attempt to interfere with it was simply to incur a charge of religious persecution and sacrilege. Some steps should be taken to put the Council and the Standing Committee in a strong position to deal with this matter, and to be ready at any moment with the utmost facility of communication and action to take up the cause of the belfries against any attempt that might be made on the part of secular authority to encroach on the rights of the Church to the use of her own bells.

Mr. J. W. Taylor said he did not think they could come to any sort of decision that day; it was too big a matter to vote on at once, and he would like to see the subject adjourned until the next meeting.

Canon Baker supported this suggestion so that the members might have further opportunity of considering the hon. secretary’s paper. He hoped it would be printed and circulated and then brought up again next year.


The Rev. C. C. Marshall said the one thing they wanted to be able to do was to get at the clergy who at present did not take an interest in ringing. He suggested the Council might issue to the clergy, who had bells under their control, a statement of the objects of the Council, so that they might know where to apply for advice, and what kind of advice could be given them. By that means the influence of the Council might spread further than it did.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards suggested that whatever was issued should be communicated also to the heads of theological colleges so that it might reach the clergy before they were ordained.

The Hon. Secretary said the Rev. C. C. Marshall’s suggestion was much to the point, but it would involve a large expense, first in regard to printing and then for postage, and then there would also be the question where were they to get the list of clergy? He thought the only way for this to be done was through the secretaries of affiliated associations, who should undertake to distribute as many copies as they had towers in their districts.

Mr. King asked whether it would not save trouble and expense if those who were responsible for association reports were asked to print it in the reports, and make a present of a copy to the clergy wherever there were bells.

Canon Baker said he once sent a valuable print issued by the Council to every incumbent in his Archdeaconry who had bells under his control, but it had no effect.

Mr. F. Wilford said he had written to 39 clergymen in his Association’s district about a matter connected with ringing, and had only two replies.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee thought the suggestion to approach the clergy would be best carried out through the Associations, as, speaking for his diocese, he knew that more notice was taken of matters that came from the diocesan organisations than from a central body in London. He was not sure that it was the function of the Council. The Council was to be a connecting link between the different associations, and an official body for them all, but be did not think that it was intended that the Council should come into direct relations with all the parish clergy and all the towers. The associations connected with it were to be the intermediaries. Of course, the Council had done most valuable work, especially, perhaps, in its earlier days in printing and circulating information about bells and belfries. He had no doubt that the ‘Report on Bells and Belfries,’ had done not a little to improve their condition, but he thought the Council would be rather losing its true opportunity of service, if it tried to deal directly with all the parishes, and not through the associations who sent members to it.

The Rev. C. C. Marshall said he did not want to rule that method out of his suggestion. He did not mind, so long as the object was reached, how they got there. He quite agreed that the associations should be the means by which the work of the Council should be made known not only to ringers, but to the clergy, who at present did not take much interest in ringing.


The Rev. F. J. Helmore said the secretaries of associations did get into touch with some of the clergy, and they found as a rule that they were favourably disposed towards them, but they all knew there were hundreds of subjects that came before the clergy, and unless they had a leaning towards ringing they could not take a practical interest in the art. He was perfectly ready to bring before them, through his association’s report, some of the work of the Council, and he hoped the clergy would thereby be edified. He had always found, when the existence of the Council was mentioned to bishops or clergy, that they were intensely delighted to hear there was such a body. It was quite wrong to believe clergy were not favourably disposed towards ringers. From his experience he knew many bishops and clergy were well disposed towards them, although they did not take much practical interest in the art.

The Rev. H. S. T. Richardson said when he was in the North, belonging to the Durham and Newcastle Association, they always used to have a report from their representatives on the Council, and he knew of some other associations who did the same, but he thought it would be a very useful thing if all associations looked for a report from their representatives and had it on the agenda at their annual meetings.

The Chairman said in the Oxford Guild he had done that for the last 25 years, and it was always received with great interest.

Mr. Hopgood: I’m afraid that’s due to the way you put it (laughter).

Lieut. C. F. Johnston said it seemed to him that all the arguments tended to one thing, that the associations were not enough in touch with the Central Council. Was there no way by which secretaries of County Associations and Diocesan Guilds could be in direct touch, say, once in three months with the secretary of the Central Council? Until the Council kept in touch with the associations, learned their little troubles, compared notes, and gave their assistance, the Council would always have great difficulties.

Mr. F. Hopgood said there was one thing in the hon. secretary’s paper with which he did not agree, and that was on the question whether they should be a legislative body or an advisory body. As an advisory body they were wasting their time. If they could make a thing compulsory they could make it a success, but when everyone was left to please himself, the result was failure.

The Hon. Secretary: How can you make it compulsory?

Mr. Hopgood: I don’t quite know (laughter). But if we can’t do that, my opinion is that we are absolutely useless.

The Ringing World, June 14th, 1918, pages 189 to 190


In continuing the discussion on the paper read by the Hon. Secretary, Mr. G. P. Burton said the Literature Committee had been generally most barren with regard to the work it had done, was doing, and was likely to do. He felt it was not sufficient for the Council to claim to be an advisory committee simply, or just to suggest to secretaries of associations that they should print some of their deliberations in their annual reports. If those reports were to be of any value they must bear the imprimatur and authority of the Council. Why could they not lay hands on this Literature Committee, drag them out, and make them do some work? (laughter).

Mr. E. Barnett said that whatever was put into the reports should be brought before the clergy in the various parishes by the individual ringers.

The Hon. Secretary said if they relied upon the secretaries of associations they would have to stir them up to a little more activity than they had been able to do in the past, otherwise they would be relying on a rather broken reed.

Mr. J. W. Taylor asked if the Council thought the clergy were going to wade through an association report to find the objects and decisions of the Council? He thought, unless they were ringers the reports would go straight into the waste-paper basket.

Mr. T. Faulkner and Mr. W. E. White having also spoken,

The Chairman said he was sure they would all tender their hearty thanks to the hon. secretary for bringing the matter forward in the admirable paper he had written for their instruction. There was food in that paper for much thought. There were many different points which wanted to be looked at from various sides, and he hoped that all the members would thoroughly study the paper and make their conclusions known to their friends. Above all, he trusted they would see it was the duty of the Associations and Guilds to circulate among every one of their members everything that emanated from that Council. If that were done they would get into better touch than they had been in the past, perhaps, between the Central Council and the different County and Diocesan Associations. He had heard a good deal, he added, about the clergy taking no notice of reports that were sent them. Speaking as a clergyman, he must say he never dreamed of reading all the things that were sent him. He had not got the time to do it, and he could put himself into the boots of the non-ringing parson, and could quite understand what he did. The more the paper was thought over and the more it was discussed, the better decisions they would come to to make the Council more useful than it had been, although he for one did not agree for one instant in saying that the Council had done no good in the past. He did not know where the Exercise would have been without it, and without its head, Sir Arthur Heywood.

The subject was then adjourned until the next meeting.


Mr. E. H. Lewis next introduced the motion standing in his name, with regard to raising a fund in England to assist in the restoration of the bells in Belgium after the war. He did not think it was necessary, he said, to enlarge on the fact that a large number of bells in Belgium had been destroyed, and that others had been removed from the belfries to be melted for war purposes by the Germans. He understood from a Belgian friend that they had not up to that time touched the carillons at Bruges, at Brussels, or at Antwerp, but the carillon at Malines had gone, and so had many of the bells near the fighting line. He brought forward the matter to see whether it was possible for the ringers of England, in gratitude for the way in which their bells had been untouched, to do something towards replacing some of the bells of Belgium. It was rather a large matter to tackle if they were to do anything really effective. His first idea was to suggest that the ringers should provide one good bell to go into one of the churches of Belgium, but after talking the matter over it seemed to him that it might be quite possible for ringers, if they got the sympathetic interest of their friends, to replace far more than one bell - possibly such a carillon as that of Malines. The cost would be pretty large, and he was going to give them a high figure which he would like them to aim at. The weight of the bells at Malines was, he believed, about 34 tons. The price of tin was quite prohibitive, and the same might almost be said of copper; but after the war, when freights became a little easier, and the metals were not required for some of the purposes for which they were now being used, it might be possible to replace such a carillon at from £10,000 to £15,000. What he would suggest was that the top figure should be taken as an estimate, and he would like to consult the Council as to whether it was not possible to take the lead in this matter, and put forward an appeal from the ringers to the general public, more particularly to the church-going public in this country, and see whether some such sum could not be raised. With regard to the effects of the destruction, he had been given by the Belgian Government a set of photographs of some of the ruined churches, and they had lent him the corresponding lantern slides, to make any use he liked of in order to emphasise the appeal. The question arose as to the best method in which such an appeal should be made, but it would, perhaps, first be well for the Council to express an opinion as to whether such an appeal should be made.

Mr. J. W. Taylor said be believed it was a fact that very few, if any, of the carillons of Belgium belonged to the church. They were usually placed in secular buildings. At Malines the carillon was in the Cathedral, but the Cathedral itself belonged to the Corporation. At Alost, the belfry was a secular building; at Ypres the belfry was at the Cloth Hall; and many others were in buildings belonging to the Corporations. Therefore, in giving bells, the ringers would be giving to the various Corporations. The bells used at the Church of Malines were three or four in a separate part of the building altogether.


Mr. G. P. Burton was sorry to have to object to the resolution; he thought it was altogether premature. They did not yet know what the end of the war was going to be. They did not even know whether by some turn of fortune they might not find the Belgians fighting against them. The Allies’ war aims were changing daily and different coalitions might be formed before the war was over. It was premature, therefore, to talk about helping the Belgians. Further they would not be helping the church in Belgium. They would be helping the secular authority. Besides, were not the Germans going to pay? They had been told in season and out of season that the Germans were going to pay, and if so why were the poor ringers to be asked to pay? They had just been told that the Council had no power to deal with matters of this kind; how could they, then, suggest that ringers should put their hands into their pockets, and pay money for Belgium - a country whose good faith they knew nothing about?

The Rev. H. J. Elsee said he hoped they would not wind up on this last note. He did not agree at all with what Mr. Burton had said. With regard to bells being in secular hands, he supposed that if such a project as this was taken up, their idea would not be to express their sympathy with the Church in Belgium, for which they might and did sympathise, but rather with the Belgian people as a whole. Belgium was more associated with the idea of its bells than any country in the world, not even excepting England. Whatever might be said about Belgium, whatever Belgium might do in the future no one doubted this, that by its heroic stand in the early days of the war Belgium went a very long way towards saving England (hear, hear), and in our gratitude for that, and to express our sympathy with what was, he hoped, a very heroic State, this scheme would be a most touching expression of sympathy, not only from English ringers, though he supposed it would be largely engineered and worked by the ringers, but from the bell-loving public of England (hear, hear).

The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore asked if it was not rather premature. They might sympathise with Belgium, but they had their own business in the matter of the war. Afterwards, perhaps, they might do something with regard to Belgian bells, but they would have in each of their associations war memorials for which they must appeal to their members first of all.


Mr. E. H. Lewis said he thought in writing to the ‘Ringing World’ he had made it quite clear that nothing whatever could be done until after the war. His idea in bringing it before the public now was that it would be easier to collect the money at the present time rather than later on. With regard to the Germans paying, they all expected Germany to make reparation, but nothing but the necessities could come first. The Belgians must have bread first, they must then have the means of restoring their industries, and it might be many years before the Germans were able to replace what might be regarded more or less as luxuries. Even if the Germans were to be made to restore the value of the bells he did not see why they should not in this country make the Belgians a gift of one or more bells, or a carillon as a mark of gratitude for the stand they made, and which undoubtedly did save us from a great deal of suffering, if not from something worse. He did not mind whether the gift was made to the Belgian Church or the Belgian State. He did not look upon the bells of Belgium as belonging to either. He regarded them as belonging to the world, just as famous pictures were of international value and belonged to mankind as a whole, and not to the particular nation in whose custody they might happen to be. The bells of Belgium were there a very long time before Belgium was an independent State. It had been said that the idea of the restoration of some of these bells had already been taken up in America, and he thought it would be a pity if we as a country, who loved bells more than anyone else, with the exception of Belgium, fell behind the Americans. He thought he had made it clear he would have nothing to do with the scheme except on condition that every penny should be invested in war bonds, and not touched until the war had finished. They would then be securing a double object, helping on the war and, when the war was over being in a position to make this gift.

Mr. Burton proposed, and Mr. R. Narborough seconded, that the question be adjourned, but this amendment, on being put, was lost.

Mr. Lewis moved, and Mr. E. A. Young seconded that the scheme should be proceeded with.

The Hon. Secretary said they would remember he had been very careful to say that he would consider it a great pity if at any time the Council undertook the management of any funds other than its own, and he felt very strongly on that point. He was entirely in sympathy with Mr. Lewis’s proposal, that England should help Belgium and he hoped they would be able to do something quite material in restoring either some individual bells or a whole carillon when the proper time came. He was also strongly in favour of the Council giving its blessing to the scheme, but he should vote against the Council making itself a treasurer of the funds in any way. If they wanted to do anything of that sort, let them appoint a committee to manage the funds which should not be answerable to the Council, but to the public at large. Whatever they did, his strong advice was, not to render themselves as a Council liable for the management and dispensation of the money. Let them elect a committee, but do not let the fund be in the hands of the Council. He was sure the Exercise would look with respect on any committee that the Council elected.

The motion to proceed was carried by a large majority.

The Ringing World, June 21st, 1918, pages 196 to 197

In the further discussion on the proposal to inaugurate a fund for assisting in the restoration of the bells in Belgium,

Mr. Lewis suggested that the Council should form a small committee with power to co-opt either from inside or outside the Council to determine the best means of making an appeal.

The Rev. C. C. Marshall said, if they gave authority to the committee to appoint from outside, the committee must be answerable to the Council.

The Rev. H. J. Elsee said it was quite clear if this scheme was to be made successful, a large sum would be wanted, and as they were not a wealthy body they could not provide more than a small part of it themselves, but probably every member of the Council in his own district knew of those who were specially interested in bells, and who would be likely to take up the scheme, which depended upon their being able to touch the imagination of those who were lovers of bells. If they could make a successful start, it would go a good way to carrying the scheme to a successful finish.

Mr. A. T. King said as a Council they had every sympathy with the proposal. It was simply a question of how to give effect to it. It was not a simple matter, but he thought by dint of co-operation and zeal a great deal might be done. For instance, after the war they would most of them, in their several belfries be ringing joy-bells, they could then very well ask in some way or other the local people to co-operate with them. To go at once, however, and expect somehow or another to raise £10,000 amongst ringers required such a fairy godmother as he had never read of, and, unhappily, had never met.

The Rev. C. C. Marshall moved: ‘That this Council is in favour of an appeal being made to the ringers of England and others to help Belgium in the restoration of her lost bells, and commends the matter to the notice of ringers and of all bell lovers.’- The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards seconded.

Mr. R. Narborough said in his district (Peterborough) 75 per cent. of the bells would not be fit for ringing when peace came unless they were attended to, and they would have to put their own bells in order before they thought of helping Belgium.

Mr. R. T. Holding said before they did anything further delegates would have to consult their Associations.

The Rev. C. C. Marshall said they had a right to express an opinion but he did not think that at present they could go any further.

The motion was carried nem. dis.

Mr. Lewis proposed: ‘That a committee be formed to consult the Associations as to the desirability of bringing forward a definite scheme for the formation of a fund to replace some of the bells of Belgium.’ He said if this committee were appointed it would have the opportunity of collecting information, bringing the matter before the Associations, and getting it thoroughly thrashed out before next year.

The Hon. Secretary seconded the motion, which was carried, and the following were appointed to the committee with power to add to their number: Mr. E. H. Lewis, Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, Rev. H. J. Elsee.


The following motion was proposed by the hon. secretary: ‘That the Council desires to draw the attention of the Exercise to the increasing abandonment of raising and falling bells in peal, as a result of which a large proportion of ringers do not acquire the necessary skill to enable them to take part in this ancient and musical practice.’ He said it was only too true that there are a great many towers in the country where the ringers did not raise the bells in peal. They either jangled them up and jangled them down afterwards, or in some few instances left the bells up from week’s-end to week’s-end. Nothing, he said, was more musical and nothing was more inspiring than to hear the bells going up in peal, gradually opening out to the increasing sound. He had the privilege for many years of ringing in the Cheltenham towers, where raising and falling was one of the features of the practice, and one of the most beautiful features. It not only had a great musical advantage, but it taught the young ringer control of the bell, which he did not obtain in any other way. It was a great loss that the practice was falling into disuse. It was a custom that should be very heartily and warmly encouraged, and he thought, they as a Council should set their faces against its abandonment. The public liked to hear the bells raised and fallen in peal, and he had no doubt that it was this that had inspired much of the poetry concerning bells.

Mr. F. Willey said in Yorkshire it was very seldom they heard the bells raised in any other way than in peal - it was part of the service. Even in towers where the tenor was 26 cwt. or 28 cwt., or even 35 cwt. the bells were raised in peal for service. Those who did not learn to raise and fall had not learnt to ring, and he hoped the Council would impress upon the minds of ringers that it was part and parcel of the job to be perfect in raising and ceasing.

Mr. H. Haigh said in many churches in the district where he came from (North Notts), the people took the keenest delight in the raising and the falling of the bells in peal. Pulling the bells up singly was often the cause of complaint from outside, but there was nothing more calculated to please the people than to hear the bells rung up and down for service.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards said in the Salisbury diocese a man did not consider himself a ringer until he could ring up and down in peal. The tone of a bell was at its best when the bell was half to three-parts of the way up, and if the bells were never raised in peal the public never heard them to the greatest advantage. It made a very poor finish to service ringing when, just at the time that the bells should be sounding at their best, they were jangled down in twos or threes.

Mr. W. Pye said if they were going to raise and lower the bells in peal at every service, there would be very little time left for change ringing, while lowering, if it was badly done, was horrible.

Mr. F. Wilford, Mr. J. R. Sharman and Mr. A. T. King, having also spoken, the Chairman made reference to his experience in he West of England, where often on a practice night the ringers would see how many times they could raise and fall the bells in an hour, and it was a poor performance if they could not do it 30 times in that space. The perfection of it was a revelation to those who heard it. They all agreed as to the musical value of the practice, and to come to the practical part of the business they should all bring the subject to the notice of their Associations, so that it could be put before the ringers in the various towers.


The Chairman asked the Council to express an opinion as to whether, if the war was still in progress, a meeting of the Council should be held next year.

The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore moved that if the war is still on there be no meeting of the Council, but if the war is over, there should be a meeting.

Mr. C. Dean seconded, and the Rev. H. J. Elsee suggested the addition of the words ‘unless in the opinion of the Standing Committee there is urgent need of a meeting.’

Mr. J. W. Jones moved as an amendment that the meeting be held. He said that they ought to meet as an example to the associations. If they did not meet, they could not expect to get support from the various associations.

The amendment having been seconded, was carried by 28 votes to 16, and it was then decided by 24 votes to 12 that the meeting be held at Gloucester, if the war is over, but in London if the war is not over.

The Chairman, having been accorded a vote of thanks for presiding, said he was delighted to know that the Council had been so extraordinarily well attended in those difficult circumstances.

This terminated the business, the Council having sat till 5.30 p.m.

The Ringing World, June 28th, 1918, page 205

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