THE EVOLUTION OF RINGING.
The following is the report of the Methods Committee to be presented to the meeting of the Central Council at Plymouth:-
We cannot enter upon our report without first expressing in some degree, however inadequate, the loss which we have sustained by the death of Henry Law James. He was not merely one of the original members of our committee; he was in a sense its originator, for it was due to a resolution moved by him more than thirty years ago that it was first appointed, and throughout its history he took a leading part in the many tasks which came before it. He was engaged on the new Collection of Triples Methods at the time of his death, and had he been spared there is no doubt that he would have done further useful service. But in a very real sense we can say the message he had to bring to the Exercise was delivered and the work he had to perform was done. He has left his mark definitely on the Exercise, and as long as our art continues ringers will benefit by his life and work.
CENTRAL COUNCIL ‘RULES AND DECISIONS.’
It is a common assumption in the Exercise that ‘Rules and Decisions’ of the Central Council consist of a number of rigid laws which have been imposed on ringing with restrictive effect on the advice of a committee regarded as expert in this particular branch of study. Thus there is an impression that the rules of ringing are analogous to those of ordinary sports, such as football and cricket and the like. They are regarded as laws laid down by competent authority for sufficient reasons, and therefore ringers are in honour bound to observe them in loyalty to the Central Council and to the Exercise. Inevitably there has grown up as a natural consequence the idea in many people’s minds that some, at least, of these so-called laws are arbitrary and artificial. A notable instance of this mistake is to be found in the furious warfare that raged a few years ago round the definition of a Plain Lead. The definition reads as follows: ‘A Plain Lead is a succession of rows so arranged that when the hunt (or hunts) has completed its work from the lead-head to the lead-end, it is a different relative position among the working bells, but the working bells are in the same coursing order.’ The controversy concerned itself solely with the last clause of this definition.
The real significance of a definition such as this and others like it and their place in the science of change ringing can only be learnt by an intelligent study of history. So far as can be ascertained from the earliest existing book on ringing, viz., Stedman’s ‘Tintinnalogia,’ the Plain Course as we understand it (and therefore the Plain Lead) was unknown in his time. First, he tells us, there ‘were invented (i.e., discovered) the sixes, being the very ground of a six-score.’ Upon these were built up the 24 changes on four bells by adding a treble and causing it to hunt up through the other bells before the first change of the six, and hunt down again after that change had been made. Thus:-
The sixes being obviously true, the 24 changes on four bells must be equally true, and no proof of their truth is required. From this beginning progression on similar lines would be rapid, and the 720 of Grandsire Bob on six bells (pp. 94 ff.) would, and apparently did, develop out of a six-score of what we now call Reverse Grandsire Doubles. And still no proof is needed. Also it will be seen that the other important laws of change ringing, viz., those of symmetry, Plain Bob lead-ends and free movement, are all automatically fulfilled, even if their existence - let alone their importance - was not as yet perceived.
At this point a radical change of outlook arose. The practical ringer in the tower would discover that most of the succeeding groups of 12 changes throughout the 720 were similar to one another, and it would occur to somebody to write down what we now call a Plain Course of Bob Minor. Further, he would notice that the other groups contained what Stedman called bobs and single changes, and by means of combining these together efforts would be made to produce further 720’s, and the way would be open to the development of methods and compositions in the modern sense. Complications soon arose. Truth, for example, was no longer self-evident. Further, as methods were being produced experimentally, there was a natural tendency to ignore the other laws of which we have spoken, and there grew up a common, indeed almost universal though superficial, idea that ‘places are the method.’ As a consequence many people argued that symmetry (to take a single instance) had no necessary part in construction. But meanwhile the practical ringer found that those new methods which had been offered him with irregular lead-ends, lack of symmetry and so on, were not satisfactory. About that time the Central Council was founded and the Methods Committee appointed, whose first members drew up the Council’s original ‘rules and decisions.’ The purpose of these was to standardise the general experience of the Exercise through three centuries, recognising the mathematical science on which change ringing is based and erecting signposts which should lead the ringer by a shorter road than the way of trial and error, which was the only road he could find for himself, from the lower to the higher.
But change ringing is a dynamic and not a static art. It cannot stand still. Thus in the course of time even the most complicated methods, such as Bristol and London Surprise, became commonplace, and greater complexity was demanded. This requirement has been met by the device of splicing, and up to the present the composer has been able to keep abreast of the ringer, in the tower. But the thing to be noticed in this connection is that in the multiple Surprise methods that have been rung in peals of late years there has been an effective breakaway from the Plain Course as it was known 30 years ago. It may be, and indeed is, true that these compositions are made up of bits of courses of methods which are severally in conformity with the definitions, but it is really an abuse of language to speak of Plain Courses when dealing with 5,000’s, of which there are never more than two leads alike in succession, and in which the tenor never gets below sixth’s place at a lead-end.
It is not surprising that questioning and, perhaps, uneasiness has arisen. Have the Central Council Rules and Decisions no value? Has all the work of the Council and its committee in tabulating and systematising been on wrong lines? By no means. The method report set down the more important of the laws to which all change ringing is subject in simple terms, and summarised the experience of the ages.
No man can say what future development has in store. One thing is certain. Genuine progress will be along lines of evolution, not revolution. New ideas will prevail and last only so far as they follow logically on past experience, unless the unbroken history of change ringing is to be completely belied. Between the conception of a hunt as imagined by Stedman and as it is described in a text book of (say) 1900, there appears to the superficial observer but little, if any, connection, but to those willing to seek below the surface from the first step in the ‘invention of the sixes’ to a peal in 12 Surprise methods there has been steady, logical and (we are tempted to add) inevitable advance. Further development is to be anticipated not in the scrapping of formulæ, but in their interpretation and enlargement in the light of fuller learning. And it cannot be too often emphasised that it is a misconception to regard the expert as one whose part it is to tell his fellow-ringers what they must and what they must not do. His real function is the more difficult because less obvious task of examining the natural trend of development of the art of ringing, and seeking to explain the inner meaning of what it is that the practical ringer is doing, and thus it may be sometimes his privilege to point the way for the future as a logical outcome of the past.
(Signed) EVERARD S. POWELL.|
J. ARMIGER TROLLOPE.
The Ringing World, April 29th, 1932, pages 289 and 292
Again we have to report an increase in peal ringing, this year’s figure exceeding the total for 1930 by 68 peals.
The following summary shows comparative figures:-
TOWER BELLS.- There is a considerable decrease in the peals of Maximus, being 7 less of Surprise and 6 less of Treble Bob. Three peals of Plain Bob were rung this year, but none in 1930. Stedman Cinques have increased by 14 and Grandsire decreased by 5. Surprise Royal remain the same; Treble Bob Royal have decreased by 2, and other Royal methods increased by 10. In Caters, Stedman have increased by 14 and Grandsire decreased by 3.
In Major methods there has been an increase of 33 in Surprise, 21 of which are London. Double Norwich have increased by 2, Treble Bob by 10, Plain Bob by 7, and other Plain methods by 6. Triples show a decrease of 36. Stedman have increased by 56 (due to the number of peals rung for the Stedman Tercentenary) . Grandsire have decreased by 90, and other Plain methods by 2. Minor peals are 5 less and Doubles 34 more.
HANDBELLS.- There is a decrease of one in handbell peals. Peals of Maximus, Royal, Caters and Minor have increased, and Major, Triples and Doubles decreased.
NEW METHODS.- Irchester Surprise Major, Camdon Surprise Major, and Double Biddulph Surprise Minor have been rung for the first time.
ASSOCIATIONS.- The Kent County Association have rung the greatest number of peals, viz., 147, followed by the Lancashire Association with 128, the Yorkshire Association with 116, the Oxford Diocesan Guild with 111, and the Midland Counties with 100. Twenty-seven societies show an increase, the most noticeable being the Yorkshire Association with 53, the Hertford County with 24, the Worcester and Districts with 23, and the Oxford Diocesan Guild with 20.ˇNineteen societies show a decrease, the greatest being the Chester Guild with 42 less, and the Stafford Archdeaconry 25.
GENERALLY.- Long lengths rung during the year are as follows:-
11,264 Double Norwich Court Bob Major by the Norwich Diocesan Association.
10,800 Surprise Minor in 15 methods by the Yorkshire Association.
10,025 Stedman Caters by the Guildford Diocesan Guild.
9,600 Double Dublin Surprise Major by the Guildford Diocesan Guild.
6,720 Canterbury Pleasure Major by the Sussex County Association.
Notable performances include Spliced Surprise Major in 12 methods by the Middlesex County Association, Spliced Surprise Royal in three methods by the Middlesex County Association, Spliced Plain and Little Bob Maximus ‘in hand’ by the Hertford County Association. Three handbell peals were rung on the Continent on the occasion of the ringers’ pilgrimage to the Menin Gate. A non-conducted peal or Stedman Triples was rung by the Lancashire Association, one of Cambridge Surprise Major by the Oxford Diocesan Guild, and a handbell peal of Bob Royal by the Yorkshire Association.
The following are the number of peals rung during each month in 1931 and 1930:-
This year’s analysis of the footnotes shows an increase in the number of ringers who have scored their first peal. The number is 612, as against 595 in 1930. The number who have rung their first peals in a new method or method on a different number of bells is 1,303, also an increase. Ringers of their first peal inside number 78, away from the tenor 17, in the method inside 110, Maximus 2, Royal 36, Caters 14, Major 70, Triples 13, Minor 91, Doubles 40, on twelve bells 43, on ten 46, on eight 43, on six 3, on five 10, Surprise 31, in hand 19, in method in hand 48. New conductors number 61, and conductors in a new method 111.
Other footnotes show that 62 peals were the first on the bells, 28 since restoration or augmentation, and 171 the first in the method on the bells. Muffled and half-muffled peals number 83 birthday peals 334, royal birthdays 9, weddings (including golden and silver) 75, church festivals and dedications 33, Armistice Day 21, welcome and farewell peals 39. In addition, 72 peals were rung to commemorateˇthe Stedman Tercentenary.
In conclusion, we give below the number of peals rung in each of representative years since 1881, the total for the whole period being 59,302:-
EDITH K. FLETCHER.
GEORGE R. PYE.
GEORGE W. FLETCHER.
The Ringing World, May 6th, 1932, pages 306 to 307
REPORT OF THE SUB-COMMITTEE APPOINTED TO CONSIDER THE RULES OF THE COUNCIL.
The Sub-Committee has met during the course of the year and has re-drafted the Rules of the Council in accordance with the schedule attached to this Report.
At the present time, however, it only presents the re-draft to the Council as a Report in order that an opportunity may arise during the coming twelve months for it discussion and examination. Should any discrepancies then be pointed out, the draft rule, can be amended and notice will be given to move the new set of Rules at the Council Meeting in 1933. As this Meeting is due to take place in London, where the most representative Council is usually available, it would seem more fitting that the passage of the Rules should be referred to at that time, rather than it should be brought forward at a provincial meeting.
(Signed) E. W. ELWELL,
The Council shall be known as the ‘Central Council of Church Bellringers.’
The Council shall consist:-
(1) Of Representative Members elected by affiliated societies.
(2) Of Honorary Members, not exceeding fifteen in number, elected by the Council.
Any recognised Society, Association or Guild of Church Bellringers (hereinafter referred to under the general term ‘Society’) numbering not less than seventy-five members, shall, upon application, if eligible, be affiliated to the Council, and shall subscribe to an undertaking loyally to abide by the rules and decisions of the Council.
Affiliated Societies shall be entitled to elect representatives in the following proportion:-
A Society the number of whose members is 75 or over, but does not exceed 150, one Representative; exceeds 150 but does not exceed 300, two Representatives; exceeds 300 but does not exceed 450, three Representatives; exceeds 450, four Representatives.
Four Representatives shall be the limit of representation allowed to any one Society.
For the purpose of this rule the basis of the calculation of membership for territorial and diocesan societies shall be the number of annual subscribing honorary and ringing members, and resident life members.
No representative member shall be eligible as an honorary member.
The voting powers of honorary members shall be equal with those of representative members.
(Note.- Here and elsewhere in these Rules the word member shall be taken as meaning ‘member of the Council.’)
The election of representative members shall take place triennially, at least four weeks before the commencement of each triennial session; and the names and addresses of those elected shall forthwith be forwarded to the Secretary of the Council. In the event of a vacancy the new member shall be elected only for the unexpired period of the triennium.
Honorary members shall be elected for three years and, on retiring shall be eligible for re-election, provided that any honorary member who during his term of office may be elected a representative member shall, ipso facto, vacate his honorary membership. The Council may fill a vacancy among the honorary members at any annual meeting of the Council.
All societies returning representative members to the Council shall contribute annually, in January, 5s. on behalf of each representative member to which it is entitled, to meet the expenses of conducting the business of the Council, and no representative member shall be entitled to vote at an annual meeting of the Council until the subscription of the Society he represents be paid.
The Council shall meet once annually, about Whitsuntide, in some convenient centre, as agreed upon at the previous meeting, but the Meeting following the Triennial Election shall always be in London. Any meeting of the Council may be extended to additional sittings on the same or the following day on a motion for adjournment being put and carried. The President shall have power, in case of emergency, to call special meetings of the Council, and he shall at any time summon such a special meeting on receipt of a requisition signed by twelve members.
At the Annual Meeting next after each Triennial Election a President and Honorary Secretary shall be chosen from among the members to serve for three years, the Honorary Secretary acting also as Treasurer. In the event of the President and Honorary Secretary vacating office before the expiration of the three years, the ensuing meeting shall elect a member to fill the vacancy during the remainder of the period. The retiring President and Honorary Secretary shall be eligible for re-election at the expiration of their term of office. The President shall retire from the chair immediately his successor in office is elected, but the Honorary Secretary shall continue in office till the business of the meeting is concluded. All nominations for these offices shall be sent to the Honorary Secretary, signed by two members of the Council, not less than two months previous to the meeting, and such nominations shall appear on the agenda paper. The next business after the election of the President and Honorary Secretary shall be the election of honorary members.
The Council shall triennially appoint at its London Meeting two Auditors who shall audit the Annual Accounts of the Council and report to each Annual Meeting.
The Council shall have power to appoint Committees for any purpose for which it may appear desirable; and also, if the state of the funds permit, to allow the necessary expenses of holding the Committee Meetings. Each Committee also shall appoint a convener and shall report annually at or before the meeting of the Council. Such reports as have not previously been published shall be made in writing, signed by the convener of the Committee and shall be read at the meeting. Copies of all reports shall be in the hands of the Honorary Secretary at least seven days before the meeting.
All resolutions to be proposed shall be sent to the Honorary Secretary in writing, signed by two members of the Council, not less than two calendar months previous to the meeting, and shall be placed by him on the agenda, together with the names of the proposer and seconder of the resolution. But it shall be competent, on a vote of the majority of the meeting, for the Council to discuss a subject not upon the agenda paper, providing such subject does not affect the Rules or Constitution of the Council.
At the meetings of the Council the President shall take the chair, and in the event of his absence the members present shall elect a Chairman for that meeting. The Chairman shall have a casting vote. Twenty members shall form a quorum. Every new member, whether representative or honorary, shall, before taking his seat, be introduced by a member to the President, or, in the absence of the President, to the Chairman of the meeting.
Each member shall have one vote.
Full notice of the date, arrangements, and agenda for each meeting shall be advertised in the ringing papers approximately seven weeks previous to such meeting; but it shall not be incumbent on the Honorary Secretary to send notice to each member. The names of the members present and the business transacted at each meeting shall be entered in the minute book and reported to the ringing papers. Copies of the resolutions passed by the Council shall be forwarded to the affiliated societies as soon as is convenient after the meeting.
At each Annual Meeting the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer shall submit the audited statement of accounts for the previous year for adoption by the meeting.
Alterations in the Rules of the Council shall be made only at the Annual Meetings, and every notice of a proposed alteration shall be sent to the Honorary Secretary, signed by two members of the Council, not less than two months before the Meeting. All alterations in the Rules of the Council shall be passed by a majority of two-thirds of those present and voting.
The Ringing World, May 13th, 1932, pages 318 to 319
TUESDAY’S MEETING AT PLYMOUTH.
The fortieth annual meeting of the Central Council was held at the Guildhall on Tuesday. The president, Mr. E. H. Lewis, occupied the chair, supported by Mr. G. W. Fletcher, hon. secretary and treasurer, and Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, hon. librarian. There were 63 members present, representing 31 associations, and, in addition, 9 honorary members.
The Mayor of Plymouth gave the Council an official welcome to Plymouth, and on behalf of the churches a welcome was extended by the Bishop of Plymouth, both of whom were thanked by the president.
The Hon. Secretary reported the affiliation of the North Staffs Association (one member) and the newly-formed Scottish Association (one member), also the reaffiliation of the Gloucester and Bristol Association (four members), while the Truro Diocesan Guild representation had been increased from one to four members.
On the recommendation of the Standing Committee, Mr. H. W. Wilde and Mr. W. A. Cave were re-elected hon. members, and Mr. A. Walker (Birmingham) was elected an hon. member.
A list of six associations who had not paid the affiliation fees was read, and the President intimated that under the rules the representatives of associations whose fees had not been paid were not entitled to vote at that meeting.
New members having been introduced to the president, reference was made to the death of members and former members who had passed away during the year, viz.: Rev. H. Law James, Messrs. T. T. Gofton, H. Argyle (members), S. Wood and T. J. Salter (former members).
The Hon. Librarian (Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn) reported the largest sale of publications during the year that he had known. Including 272 copies of the Doubles and Minor Methods, the sales amounted to £58 17s. 1d., and there was a balance on the sales account of £42 9s. 5d.
The general account, presented by the hon. secretary and treasurer, showed that the balance in hand had increased from £47 14s. 9d. to £61 11s. 11d. The receipts included £5 from interest on investments, £28 5s. from affiliation fees, £2 7s. 6d. from hon. members, and £42 9s. 5d. from publications. The expenditure, including £10 10s. to the Stedman Tercentenary Fund, amounted to £64 4s. 9d.
The accounts were adopted.
Mr. E. A. Young, one of the trustees, reported on the condition of the Carter ringing machine, and a suggestion was made that a demonstration should be given whenever there was a large gathering of ringers in London.
The Peals Collection Committee, the Rev. H. S. T. Richardson reported, had received a lot of fresh material, mainly of Royal and Maximus, and he was going through it to pick out anything that was new.
The Methods Committee’s report, which has already been published, was received, and later in the day authority was given for the publication of the collection of Triples methods as soon as it is completed.
The Rev. H. S. T. Richardson wrote expressing regret that he had been unable to take any steps in connection with the booklet on variations, and asked, on account of pressure of work, to be allowed to resign from the position of convener of the committee which had been appointed to deal with the matter.
At the suggestion of Mr. G. R. Newton, it was later decided to request the Peals Collection Committee to get together a collection of the best peals in all the usually practised methods, with a view to their eventual publication.
The Peals Analysis Committee’s report (already published) was adopted, and Mr. G. L. Grover was appointed a member in place of Mr. G. W. Fletcher, now hon. secretary of the Council.
Interesting reports were presented by members of the Towers and Belfries Committee dealing with restorations on which they had been called in to advise.
The Stedman Tercentenary Committee’s report, presented by the president, showed that subscriptions amounted to £487 19s. 4d., interest on bank deposit £4 16s. 9d., and sales of souvenirs (after paying costs) £9 5s. 4d. The total receipts were thus £502 1s. 5d. The cost of the scheme had been £533 6s. 11d., so that there was a balance of about £30 to be raised.
On the recommendation of the Standing Committee it was resolved that the Council should advance the sum in order that the remainder of the accounts should be paid. It is hoped that those who have not yet subscribed to the fund will contribute towards the sum required.
The Stedman Committee’s report was adopted, with thanks to members of the committee for their labours.
The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards presented the Literature and Press Committee’s report, which included recommendations as to ringing publications which should be purchased where it was desired to establish a tower library.
The Records Committee’s report was presented by Mr. G. L. Grover, and it was resolved that, as the records had been brought up to date, the work should in future be handed over to the Analysis Committee.
Mr. E. W. Elwell presented, on behalf of the Rules Committee, the proposed new rules of the Council (published in our last issue). He asked that during the coming year members would study them, and if they had any criticism or suggestions to make that they would put them forward in time for the committee to consider them before the meeting of the Council in London next year, when they would be submitted for final adoption.
The President moved, and the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn seconded, the following motion: ‘That this Council strongly deprecates the recording as a peal on a commemorative tablet any performance which does not conform to the accepted standard of a true and complete peal, and calls upon all affiliated societies to support the Council in this matter.’- Mr. E. W. Elwell made an eloquent speech in support of truth in the records of ringing placed in churches, and the motion was carried nem con.
Canon Coleridge, who attributed most of the bad ringing which took place to bad handling of the bells, proposed ‘That in view of the great need for attention to good striking, the Council appoint a small committee to draw up a pamphlet on the proper handling of a bell.’
Mr. J. T. Dyke seconded, and a discussion took place, principally on whether the need was met by existing publications. It was pointed out that what was aimed at was something that could be sold for a few coppers, so that it was cheap enough to put in the hands of every beginner.
The motion was carried, together with a rider by the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn that the pamphlet should include a simple explanation of Grandsire Doubles and Bob Minor.
Canon Coleridge and Mr. Dyke were appointed the committee to draw up the pamphlet and given power to add to their number.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn moved: ‘That in order to further the best interests of the Exercise, and to give all ringing matters the maximum publicity, all affiliated societies be requested to use their best endeavours to increase the circulation of the only ringing paper.’
Mr. F. W. Perrens seconded, and Mr. J. S. Goldsmith made a statement as to the additional circulation that would be needed to enlarge the paper, which was the most pressing need. What was wanted was an additional circulation of at least 3,500 per week.
The discussion showed that members were keenly desirous of extending the circulation of he paper, and the resolution was unanimously passed.
A vote of sympathy with the Rev. R. L. Gundry, Master of the Salisbury Guild, in his recent accident, was passed, and the meeting concluded with votes of thanks to all concerned in the successful arrangements for the Council’s gathering.
After the meeting, members and their friends were entertained to tea by the Devon Guild, and in the evening a social gathering was held.
The Ringing World, May 20th, 1932, page 337
THE CENTRAL COUNCIL AT PLYMOUTH.
AND A VISIT TO TRURO.
There were many attractions in the ‘West Countree’ for members of the Central Council and their friends who visited Plymouth in connection with the annual meeting at Whitsun. Early arrivals were able to join in ringing for service at the various Plymouth churches on Sunday, and the first of the reunions took place at the headquarters, the Royal Hotel, on Sunday evening, when many old friends met again, but all of them, as one put it, ‘a year older.’
On Monday the Devon Guild’s annual meeting at Bideford attracted several of the visitors, and eight others occupied a part of the day in ringing a peal of Stedman Triples at Plympton. The most important feature of Bank Holiday, however, was an official visit to Truro for a peal attempt on the fine bells at the Cathedral and a reception by members of the Truro Diocesan Guild. The excursion meant departure from Plymouth soon after 7 a.m., for those engaged in the peal. They were met at the Cathedral by representatives of the Cathedral company, including Mr. A. S. Roberts and Mr. W. J. Southeard, and were also welcomed by the Rev. W. R. Trewhella, hon. secretary of the Diocesan Guild, and the Sub-Dean (Canon H. W. Sedgwick), the latter expressing good wishes for the success of the peal.
Happily this went according to plan, and the exponents of ‘scientific,’ in a land where perfect ‘stoney’ abounds, did credit to the art and delighted the Cornish change ringers who had come to listen to the ringing. The first peal of Stedman Caters in Cornwall was thus recorded. No fewer than nine of the company were elected members of the Guild before starting the peal, this being made possible by the presence of so many Cornish members. The ten bells at Truro Cathedral were erected by Messrs. Taylor and Co. in 1910, the tenor being a few pounds under 34 cwt. There is a long draught of rope, and the distance from the ringing floor to the ceiling is such that two sets of rope guides are necessary. The bells, however, are in perfect ringing order, and the peal was thoroughly enjoyed by those who took part.
AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO CORNISH CHANGE RINGING.
After the peal the visitors were entertained to luncheon by the Truro Diocesan Guild, Dr. John Symons, of Penzance, presiding, supported by Lieut.-Col. C. F. Jerram (Ringing Master), Mr. E. H. Lewis (president of the Council), Mr. G. W. Fletcher (hon. secretary of the Council), Canon Sedgwick, Rev. W. R. Trewhella, etc.
Dr. Symons welcomed the representatives of the Council to the diocese, and referred humorously to some of his early experiences of ringing, which began over fifty years ago. He called the first peal in Cornwall, and since those days there had been a continuous uphill struggle in the Duchy to promote change ringing. The Guild, however, was slowly making an impression (applause).
Lt:-Col. Jerram proposed the health of ‘The Visitors,’ and said the Truro Guild was very grateful to the visitors for having come there and rung such an excellent peal. Cornwall was a very ‘stoney’ county, not only in the towers but in the difficulties they met with in trying to spread change ringing. It was perhaps natural that the stoney ringers should not approve of them when they tried Stedman or Grandsire, but he would have liked to bring all the ringers of Cornwall to listen to the ringing that day. It was without a hitch, and it had shown those who were struggling in Cornwall with the rudiments what they might hope eventually to attain. He was happy to say they were beginning to see a little daylight for change ringing in the county, but at present they only had five towers where it was regularly practised. He was glad of that visit of members of the Central Council, which would be an encouragement to them to carry on.
The President of the Council, in response, thanked the hosts for their hospitality, and said that scientific ringers had something to learn from the old Devon and Cornish ringers in the striking and in the ringing up and down. He hoped the visit of the Council to the West would encourage change ringing. The President added the thanks of the visitors to the Cathedral authorities.
Mr. J. S. Goldsmith, who was also called upon to respond, said he was warned before coming to Truro that it would be ‘up to them’ to see that they left a good impression behind, and be was pleased to think that the ringing had been appreciated by Truro ringers, and that they had not ‘let down’ the art in the estimation of Cornish listeners. He added the special thanks of the visitors to Mr. Roberts for making the arrangements for the peal.
The Sub-Dean, acknowledging the thanks to the Cathedral authorities, said the ringing had given immense pleasure to all, with one exception, who had heard the bells that morning, and to the practical ringers it had given a great deal of encouragement.
The visitors who had not taken part in the peal had the opportunity of ringing for afternoon service, and many had the privilege of seeing some of the Cathedral treasures, which were shown to them by the Sub-Dean. Afterward there were visits to Kenwyn and St. Kea Churches for ringing.
There was another informal ‘gathering of the clans’ at headquarters at Plymouth on Monday evening, by which time most of those who were to attend the next day’s meeting had arrived.
AN EXPERIMENT JUSTIFIED.
The Council discharged the serious business of the proceedings on Tuesday, the Standing Committee being in session for nearly two hours before the full Council met at 11 a.m. The business, with an interval for lunch, lasted until after half-past five, and both members and friends were then entertained to a sumptuous tea by the Devon Guild. Various rings of bells, including those at the Dockyard, were afterwards open for ringing, and later there was a ‘social’ organised by the Devon Guild, at which there were vocal and instrumental music and handbell ringing, the programme having been arranged by Mr. E. W. Marsh, who, indeed, was chiefly responsible for nearly all the local arrangements and was heartily thanked for all he had done to make the Council’s visit so enjoyable.
Opportunity was also taken to thank the Devon Guild for their hospitality, and the president of the Council for his conduct of the business, the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, who proposed the vote of thanks, remarking on the Council’s good fortune in having such an able chairman as Mr. Lewis had proved himself to be. He also thanked the hon. secretary (Mr. G. W. Fletcher) and his unofficial assistant (Mrs. Fletcher) for the way in which they had prepared for the business of the Council.
The Chairman, in acknowledging the vote, which was carried by acclamation, said it had been a pleasure to preside over the meeting because all had helped to make it a success. He paid a tribute to the work done by Mr. Fletcher, and thanked Mr. Marsh and his friends of the Devon Guild. Going so far west, he said, was rather an experiment, but he thought the numbers had justified the experiment, and would make them look forward before very long to accepting the invitation to Dublin.
The Rev. E. S. Powell replied for the Devon Guild, and Mr. E. W. Elwell expressed thanks to the hon. librarian (Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn) for the work he had done during the year. It had been a record in sales, and that had involved a record in the amount of work to be done.
The evening sped all too quickly, and the ‘social’ ended about 11 p.m., although, it is said, business and other matters were still being discussed elsewhere until the ‘wee sma’ ’ours.’ Some members departed by the midnight train, and many left in the early morning, but others remained during Wednesday to visit Kelly for the dedication of the memorial to the late Rev. Maitland Kelly, and a peal was also rung at Emmanuel Church. A motor-coach party was made up to visit Buckfast Abbey, where special permission had been obtained from the Abbot to ring on this unique peal of bells. The magnificent abbey, which is only just nearing completion and has taken 25 years to build, the whole of the labour in the erection of the structure having been carried out by the monks themselves, was inspected with interest, but some of the visitors did not find ringing by any means easy as they stood on the narrow balcony high up in the central tower, with only a low parapet wall between them and the floor of the abbey 51ft. below. Stedman Caters and Stedman Cinques were rung.
Despite the heavy rain on this, the last day of the visit, the members spent a most enjoyable time and carried away very pleasant memories of their trip to ‘Glorious Devon.’
One member of the Central Council spent twelve hours in motor coaches on Whit Monday travelling across England to Plymouth. It was much cheaper than going by train, and he saw a lot of the country.
Another made an even longer journey during the week-end by motor-cycle, but he did not do it all in one day, as he got an unexpected ‘close up’ with the road at one place, which left him badly shaken and not a little marked. He has, however, such ‘golden’ opinions of Cornwall that, despite the accident, he turned up in Truro on Whit Monday.
Members of the Council scored three peals while on their visit to the West. During the peal at Plympton St. Maurice, the Vicar baptised the infant daughter of a visitor. The music of the bells made an unusual background to the prayers and responses and the occasional crying of little Sheila. The ringers were much obliged to the Vicar for his kind consideration in allowing the peal to be rung under the unusual circumstances.
After the peal at Truro Cathedral, one of the ringers, assuming a look of innocence, inquired of a waiter at a local hotel, what the bells had been ringing for. He was informed that the ringers from all the towers in the country round came to Truro to practise every Whit Monday!
There were several amateur detectives on the look-out for Kate at Plymouth, but if she visited there she succeeded in eluding them all.
There is no truth in the rumour that she was one of the two ladies who took a distinguished member of the Council out to tea.
By the way, we have been asked who was this gentleman; and who was the other member who was escorted back to his hotel by another pair of fair ones? If we knew, we wouldn’t tell.
Who found a nice new cap at Truro, and left in its place one obviously the worse for wear? The rightful owner of the former would be glad to get into communication with the lucky finder. If he does, will it be a ‘row’ or a ‘change’?
The Ringing World, May 27th, 1932, page 352
BIG ‘PUSH’ FOR A LARGER CIRCULATION AND A BETTER PAPER.
The Central Council at the meeting at Plymouth discussed the need for increasing, in the interests of the Exercise, the circulation of ‘The Ringing World.’ The Council recognises the value of the services rendered by this journal to ringing, but it is being carried on without adequate remuneration. At the same time the great activity which is being displayed in the art makes it important that more space should be available. Both deficiencies can only be made up by a larger circulation, and, on the motion which was before the Council, the Editor made an appeal for an increase of at least 3,500 new subscribers. If that were forthcoming a larger and more attractive paper was promised. Such an increase ought not to be beyond the bounds of possibility, and efforts are to be made to realise it. Will all our readers help to make this big ‘push’ a success? This issue is enlarged to 20 pages, and this would be the size of ‘The Ringing World’ every week if the increased circulation is forthcoming.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn had given notice of the following motion: ‘That in order to further the best interests of the Exercise, and to give all ringing matters the maximum publicity, all affiliated societies be requested to use their best endeavours to increase the circulation of the only ringing paper.’ Towards the end of the College Youths’ dinner, the Henry Johnson dinner, and similar gatherings, he said, there usually comes a toast to the Press. By that time, in his experience, a great number of people had gone, and those who were left, having drunk the health of the Press, go home feeling they have done all that they have been asked to do and all that they need do. He wanted to speak to the Council in support of their ringing Press. A ringing paper was not in the same category as a daily paper. Whether they bought a daily paper tomorrow or not, did not matter much to those who sold it, but it did matter infinitely whether or not they supported ‘The Ringing World.’ He asked them what that meeting would have been that day if there had been no ‘Ringing World’? He asked those who were older to carry back their thoughts to the time when they did not have such a paper as ‘The Ringing World,’ when they had a great trouble to get announcements and reports at all. But for 21 years now they had enjoyed ‘The Ringing World.’ Week by week it had been well worth taking and reading. Never once had he read a leading article that was dull. Their support of ‘The Ringing World’ was of vital importance to ringing and to what was called the Exercise at this time. The circulation was not what it ought to be. After he had spoken and the motion had been seconded, the Editor of ‘The Ringing World’ was going to make a statement and sketch the lines on which they could do something to increase the circulation. It was up to them to do it. He had been trying to do what he could in his own Guild. Since he began his branch meetings this spring and summer he had taken round with him half a dozen extra copies, and, having made his speech, had handed the copies over to the secretary to distribute to those towers where they did not take ‘The Ringing World.’ They were glad to see Mr. Goldsmith so well - they remembered that he had a severe illness, and how he carried on then they would never know - but there would come a time when he would have to relinquish his work, and he wanted to see the paper in such a position financially that when his call came to leave them, it would be open to someone else to carry on without having to say he could not afford to do it.
Mr. F. W. Perrens, who seconded, said it was for the Council to do something more than merely express its views. They ought to take some definite action to get increased circulation for the paper.
THE EDITOR’S STATEMENT.
Mr. J. S. Goldsmith (Editor of ‘The Ringing World’) said he naturally welcomed the resolution, but he did so not merely from a commercial aspect but because he believed if it were passed and given effect to, if it were not allowed to remain as just a pious expression of opinion but followed up with definite action, not only ‘The Ringing World’ but the Exercise would benefit. He thought they were all agreed that without a journal devoted to ringing, the Exercise and the Art would in all probability be in a very sorry way. It was the ringing Press of the last sixty years which had gradually welded the Exercise together, and had largely, if not entirely made possible its present development. Ringing papers, however had always had an uphill task, and four of them had gone under in the struggle. ‘The Ringing World’ had lasted for twenty-one years, and, while he did not wish to take any credit for what had been done, he could assure them it had not maintained its existence without the exercise of a good deal of tenacity and determination. Had it been treated as purely a commercial venture ‘The Ringing World’ would long since have gone the way of the rest, but he had had a deeper interest in it than that. He had an inherited and profound love of the art, and it was that more than anything else which had persuaded him to continue with ‘The Ringing World’ when other considerations said, ‘Have done with it.’ The circulation was nothing like what it ought to be to make it a satisfactory commercial proposition. There were many ways in which the paper could be made more attractive and make a wider appeal but it was hampered by limitations of space and the question of cost. The intense activity in the Exercise to-day imposed a demand upon the columns of the paper that it was impossible wholly to satisfy. A great deal of matter was crowded out which deserved to find space, and a great deal more was omitted which, while of interest to those directly concerned, had little for the general ringing public. At present they had to crowd in every possible line, and constantly several pages of matter were squeezed out. To make the appearance of the paper more attractive, and to introduce special features, at least 30, if not 50, per cent. of the present news items, limited as they were, would have to be sacrificed. The only practicable solution was a larger paper, and a larger paper would cost more money to produce. He realised that the present price of threepence might seem a lot of money to those who bought the paper, but what they did not know, perhaps, was that rather more than half of this was swallowed up in the cost of distribution through the trade. The only way to meet the cost of a larger paper was an increased circulation and in view of the demands which there were upon space, a larger and more attractive paper was, to his mind, much more likely to be generally acceptable than a cut in the price, desirable as that might seem on the surface. Mr. Goldsmith went on to give some comparative figures, and said that to increase the size of ‘The Ringing World’ by four pages every week, an increased circulation of 3,500 copies was needed. There were, he said, no definite statistics as to the number of change ringers in this country sufficiently interested to belong to an association or guild, but probably he was not far out when he put the number at 20,000. Was it too much to ask for 7,500 subscribers to the paper? Much as he would value the resolution before the Council, if it were passed, he realised that some further action was necessary if it was to have any real result, and he suggested that a suitably worded appeal for support should be sent out by the associations, in a form agreed by the president of the Council and the mover of the resolution, and he undertook that any definite indication of a substantial increase in circulation should be responded to by an enhanced value in the paper itself.
Various suggestions were put forward by members of the Council for meeting the situation. Mr. G. R. Newton thought the Council should consider assisting to finance the journal.
Mr. J. Cotterell advocated obtaining the paper through the post direct from ‘The Ringing World’ office, and thus saving distribution costs.
Major Hesse urged instructors and conductors of towers to impress on young ringers the importance of supporting the paper.
Another member suggested that each branch of each association should appoint a representative to push the sale of ‘The Ringing World,’ and to save expense of distribution by obtaining all the necessary copies in bulk.
Mr. P. J. Johnson said it was out of the question for the Council to undertake any financial responsibility. He thought it would be wiser to appoint a committee to act in collaboration with Mr. Goldsmith to formulate a scheme for increasing the sales.
Mr. J. W. Jones urged the pushing of the sales at the monthly and quarterly meetings of associations, and Mr. F. Wilford said in the Peterborough Diocese they had been able to get an advertisement in to the ‘Diocesan Review.’
The resolution, on being put to the meeting, was carried unanimously.
The Ringing World, May 27th, 1932, page 355
SPECIAL REPORT OF THE PLYMOUTH MEETING.
UNPAID SUBSCRIPTIONS DEBAR MEMBERS FROM VOTING.
Below we begin a detailed report of the 40th annual meeting of the Central Council, a brief summary of which appeared in our last issue. The business was transacted in the Council Chamber at the Guildhall, Plymouth.
When the Council had assembled, the Mayor of Plymouth took the chair, and was supported on the dais by the Bishop of Plymouth, the president of the Council (Mr. E. H. Lewis), the hon. secretary and treasurer (Mr. G. W. Fletcher), and the hon. librarian (the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn). The affiliated societies were represented as follows:-
Ancient Society of College Youths: Mr. H. R. Newton.
Bath and Wells Diocesan Association: Mr. J. T. Dyke and Mr. J. Hunt.
Cambridge. University Guild: Mr. E. H. Lewis and Mr. E. M. Atkins.
Chester Diocesan Guild: Mr. H. S. Brocklebank.
Devon Guild: Rev. E. S. Powell, Mr. E. W. Marsh and Mr. G. C. Woodley.
Essex Association: Mr. E. J. Butler and Mr. G. R. Pye.
Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association: Mr. J. Austin, Mr. E. Guise and Mr. W. Rose.
Guildford Diocesan Guild: Mr. A. H. Pulling and Mr. G. L. Grover.
Hertford County Association: Mr. W. Ayre.
Kent County Association: Mr. E. Barnett, Mr. T. Groombridge and Mr. F. M. Mitchell.
Ladies’ Guild: Mrs. E. K. Fletcher and Mrs. R. Richardson.
Lancashire Association: Mr. G. R. Newton and Mr. W. H. Shuker.
Lincoln Diocesan Guild: Mr. R. Richardson and Mr. J. Phillips.
Llandaff and Monmouth Diocesan Association: Mr. J. W. Jones.
London County Association: Mr. A. D. Barker and Mr. F. E. Dawe.
Middlesex County Association: Mr. C. T. Coles, Mr. G. W. Fletcher, Mr. W. H. Hollier and Mr. W. Pickworth.
Midland Counties Association: Mr. E. Denison Taylor, Rev. R. P. Farrow and Mr. J. H. Swinfield.
Norwich Diocesan Association: Mr. F. Nolan Golden.
Oxford Diocesan Guild: Rev. Canon G. F. Coleridge, Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn and Mr. J. Evans.
Oxford University Society: Mr. H. Miles.
Peterborough Diocesan Guild: Mr. F. Wilford, Mr. T. Law and Mr. T. Tebbutt.
Salisbury Diocesan Guild: Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, Mr. S. Hillier and Mr. C. H. Jennings.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: Mr. J. Parker.
Suffolk Guild: Rev. H. Drake.
Surrey Association: Mr. C. H. Kippin.
Swansea and Brecon Guild: Mr. A. J. Pitman.
Truro Diocesan Guild: Rev. W. H. R. Trewhella, Lieut.-Col. C. F. Jerram, Mr. H. J. Clark and Mr. W. H. Southeard.
Warwickshire Guild: Mr. F. W. Perrens and Mr. J. H. W. White.
Winchester and Portsmouth Guild: Mr. G. Williams.
Worcester and Districts Association: Mr. H. G. Bird and Mr. J. D. Johnson.
Yorkshire Association: Mr. J. Cotterell, Mr. P. J. Johnson and Mr. S. Palmer.
The following hon. members were present: Messrs. W. A. Cave, E. W. Elwell, J. George, J. S. Goldsmith, J. H. B. Hesse, A. A. Hughes, C. F. Johnston, J. A. Trollope and E. Alex. Young.
Thirty-one societies were thus represented by 63 members, and twenty-one were unrepresented. There are altogether 130 elected and 15 honorary members of the Council.
A WELCOME TO PLYMOUTH.
The Mayor of Plymouth, at the outset of the proceedings, extended to the members a hearty welcome to Plymouth. They came, he said, from all parts of the country, and they would speak with a comprehensive voice. As ringers they had a message, and it was of that message he would like to speak. He would be exceedingly sorry to miss the utterance of the bells which he heard ringing Sabbath by Sabbath. Their message was not entirely for those who did or did not attend church. Their message was for all occasions, and left its impress on all those who were attentive and content to listen. They inspired Tennyson in his wonderful passage in ‘In Memoriam,’ when he wrote ‘Ring out the false, ring in the true.’ Nothing was more necessary in this our day than that there should be some means of ringing out the false and ringing in the true. He did not know that the bells ever inspired him more to serious thought than on the occasion of the passing of some great prince or person of State, when they rang that most majestic of all peals, which represented the passing of a soul from this world, and the muffled sound of the bells came back from the skies after they had rung the main peal. Ringers did not know what chord they were touching in the hearts of those who heard them. When they were doing their skilful work in the towers and giving out their beautiful harmonies, they stimulated their hearers to a deeper response to the higher things of life. He cordially welcomed the Council to Plymouth, and hoped that when they had seen more of the historic town and its surrounding beauties they would carry away happy memories of their visit (applause).
The Bishop of Plymonth gave the Council a hearty welcome on behalf of the Church in Plymouth. The Bishop of Exeter would, he said, be coming in the afternoon to give them a diocesan welcome and his episcopal benediction. He did not know how Devon compared with other counties, but certainly they were very proud of their bells in Devonshire, and proud of the men who rang them. The work of the ringers was of very great importance and value. Some of them were old enough to remember the time when not very much was expected of the bellringers, except to ring the bells. Now, none of them accepted that idea, and they tried to get men to ring who felt that they were called to a real piece of religious work, and that they must do it in a religious spirit. In Devonshire they linked bellringing with the religious life of the Church, and that was the ideal which, he knew, underlay the work of the Council. For that reason they welcomed them in the West. He hoped bellringing in Devonshire would gain by their visit, and that the Council would gain by carrying away a pleasant impression of Plymouth. He wished the Council all success in their visit and in the discussions which would ensue (applause).
The President thanked the Mayor and the Bishop for their kind welcome. The Council, he said, appreciated very much being able to come to that wonderful city, which was the farthest west and the farthest south the Council had ever been. It was rather an experiment to go so far, but as would be seen from the numbers present, the distance had not deterred them. That was no doubt owing to the attractions which they knew would be waiting for them in Plymouth. The Bishop had said he hoped they would gain something from their visit to Devon. He (the president) thought they would. The position in the West Country was rather unique as far as change ringing was concerned. That Council represented what, in the West, was called scientific change ringing, which was different to a great deal of the ringing practised in Devon and Cornwall, but he did feel very strongly that they had something to learn from the local style of round and call change ringing, because ringers in Devon and Cornwall, even though they did not go in for scientific change ringing, did know how to strike their bells and produce that rhythm which was so much appreciated by the public. He felt if they could secure for their change ringing in all cases that excellence of striking which they heard in the West among the round ringers, they would go back with a great deal of benefit. In this connection he would like to mention what Col. Jerram had said at Truro on the previous day, if they wished to act in a missionary sense in those western counties, and further the introduction of the art of change ringing, it was necessary for them as change ringers to be able to do all that the round ringers could do (hear, hear), and unless they could rise and fall the bells in peal with absolute accuracy and ring rounds and, if necessary, call changes with perfect accuracy, they had no great chance of performing much missionary work in those western counties. He thought it was their duty to take an inspiration from the West and go back determined to learn to rise and fall bells perfectly, as was done in the West. That, he thought, was the gain they might take back from their visit. He thanked the Mayor and the Bishop of Plymouth for coming there to welcome the Council and inspiring them to go on with their business and reach those ideals which they had put before them (applause).
The Mayor said it was a great pleasure to come among them, and he hoped they would enjoy their business proceedings as much as he was sure they would enjoy the rest of their visit.
The Mayor and the Bishop then left, and the president took the chair.
The Secretary reported that two new societies had joined the Council, the North Staffs and District Society, who had elected one representative, and the Scottish Association, who had elected one representative. He had also to report the reaffiliation of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association, who had elected four representatives. He understood that was the first time the association had elected four representatives to serve on the Council during the last twenty years (applause). The Secretary added that the Truro Diocesan Guild had sent three more representatives, making four instead of one (applause). The total number of associations now affiliated was 52, but there were still six associations whose affiliation fees were unpaid for this year.
The President called attention to Rule 5 of the Council’s ‘Rules and Decisions,’ which states that ‘no representative member shall be entitled to vote at an annual meeting of the Council until the subscription of the society he represents be paid.’ The President added that the Standing Committee had had this matter under consideration, and their recommendation was that the rules be enforced. Therefore those members representing societies whose subscriptions were unpaid should not be allowed to vote. The rule also implied that they should not be allowed to take part in the meeting. The committee did not wish this year to insist on that, and he proposed therefore that members whose subscriptions were unpaid should be allowed to speak and take part in the discussions, but they were bound to insist on the rules that they be not allowed to vote.
Mr. E. A. Young asked whether, if any unpaid subscriptions were paid forthwith, the representatives present might be allowed to vote.
The President said the difficulty was that it was necessary that the subscriptions should be paid by some fully qualified official of the association concerned. No doubt, if any such officers were present and prepared to pay the subscription forthwith, it could be accepted, but they could not accept such subscription from private members who were not duly authorised.
Mr. Young then tendered the subscription for the three members of the London County Association, of which he is the hon. treasurer.
CHANGE IN HONORARY MEMBERS.
The next business on the agenda was the election of hon. members. Four retired, and the Standing Committee recommended the re-election of Mr. H. W. Wilde and Mr. W. A. Cave, and the election of Mr. Albert Walker, of Birmingham. For special reasons, the President said, the committee recommended that one vacancy be left. It used to be the practice to have one vacancy in reserve in case they wanted to elect any special person as an honorary member, and it was proposed to follow that course on this occasion. On behalf of the Standing Committee, he proposed the three names he had mentioned.- The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn seconded the motion, which was carried.
The following new members were formally introduced to the president: Messrs. J. Austin, E. Guise and W. Rose, Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association; Rev. W. H. R. Trewhella, Messrs. H. J. Clark and W. H. Southeard, Truro Diocesan Guild; Mr. John Phillips, Lincoln Diocesan Guild; Mrs. R. Richardson, Ladies’ Guild; Mr. J. H. White, Warwickshire Guild.
Apologies for absence were received from Mr. W. T. Cockerill, Ancient Society of College Youths; Mr. A. King and Mr. A. E. Sharman, Bedfordshire Association; Rev. C. A. Clements, Chester Diocesan Guild; Mr. T. Metcalfe and Mr. J. C. Pollard, Cleveland and North Yorks Association; Mr. S. J. Hughes, Dudley and District Guild; Mr. J. W. England, East Derbyshire and Notts Association; Mr. T. R. Dennis and Rev. B. H. Tyrwhitt Drake, Ely Diocesan Association; Mr. C. H. Howard and Mr. W. J. Nevard, Essex Association; Mr. E. Bishop, Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association; Mr. A. C. Hazelden, Guildford Diocesan Guild; Rev. Canon H. J. Elsee, Lancashire Association; Mr. W. Willson, Midland Counties Association; Mr. A. L. Coleman, Norwich Diocesan Association; Rev. J. B. Frith, North Staffs and District Association; Mr. F. W. Hopgood, Oxford Diocesan Guild; Mr. W. Collett, Oxford Society; Mr. G. Cross, St. Clement Youths; Mr. J. D. Matthews, Society of Royal Cumberland Youths; Mr. H. Knight, Stafford Archdeaconry Guild; Mr. C. Dean, Surrey Association; Mr. H. Barton, Winchester and Portsmouth Guild; Rev. C. C. Marshall, Yorkshire Association; Alderman J. S. Pritchett, Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, Mr. H. W. Wilde, Mr. S. H. Wood and Mr. J. Griffin, hon. members.
Reference was next made to the loss of members through death. Canon Coleridge said as one of the oldest members of the Council, and one who had attended every meeting of the forty which had been held, it had been his sad lot to see many of his friends of the Council pass away from their midst from year to year. They had had very sad departures from among them during the past year. He was only going to speak of one, because he was a very great figure-head in every way in the Exercise; he referred, of course, to the late Henry Law James. Mr. James was very regular in his attendance at the Council meetings, and he was very energetic indeed on those committees on which he served, and over some of which he presided, and when he came there he brought no uncertain views. He put forward views which to some of them seemed rather far in advance of anything they had dreamt of before, but no doubt Mr. James was perfectly right, for he was more far-seeing than many of them; and had a way with him of enforcing his views. They gave him every credit for everything he did for the Exercise. He could not help going back in thought to the meeting at Chelmsford, where, because he was so ill, he asked to be allowed to sit while addressing the Council, and made a most impassioned address. He was shaking all over - whether it was pain, or sickness, or excitement he (the speaker) did not know - but he did it in a most marvellous way. A very great man in the person of Henry Law James had passed away from the Exercise. They would miss him at every possible turn, especially those of them who had known him for long years and appreciated all that he did for the good of the Exercise. He (Canon Coleridge) had no doubt many members of the Council were in the same position as he was when they heard of Mr. James’ death. Some of them only heard of it on the evening before the funeral, and as the funeral was on Saturday it was manifestly impossible for the clerical members to get to Surfleet and back to their duties on the Sunday. Had it been on any other day he would have gone, and he had no doubt other members of the Council, too. He was, however, thankful that their secretary, who only knew of the funeral on the day before, did exactly what they would have expected him to do. He not only immediately sent a wreath on their behalf, but also wrote a letter of condolence to the nearest relative and, busy man though he is, attended the funeral on behalf of the Council (hear, hear). They lamented the death of Henry Law James, they appreciated the work which he had done for the Council and for ringing in general, and they condoled with the members of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild, who had been proud to call him their Master for many years (hear, hear). Canon Coleridge added that he knew it would be a great help to the secretary of the Council if, when the death of a member of the Council took place, he was at once communicated with. For one thing, it might save in some cases a good deal of feeling when letters were addressed to someone who had passed from their midst. He asked the members to stand and join with him in an expression of sympathy in the great loss which the Council had experienced by the death of the Rev. H. Law James.
The members rose and stood in silence.
The President said the Council had lost two other members during the past year. Mr. Tom Gofton, of the Durham and Newcastle Association, had been a member of the Council since 1921. Those members who had been in the North, and some of them who had gone on ringing tours, would know what a splendid ringer Mr. Gofton was, and what an accurate striker and what excellent work he did in the Durham and Newcastle Association in the encouragement of Surprise ringing, along with other members of his talented family. Although he did not take much part in the discussions at the Council, they would miss him very much. They had also lost Mr. Harry Argyle, who had been a member of the Council since 1912. He also had done valuable work in a quiet way for the Council and for the Exercise. There were two other old members who had died within the last few weeks. Mr. Sam Wood, of Ashton-under-Lyne, was a member of the Council for a good many years. He did not often say much, but what he did say was very much to the point. After what Canon Coleridge had said about the Rev. Law James, he could not help recalling the meeting at Manchester when Mr. James was arguing, in his usual pointed way, that we had extended Stedman in an entirely wrong way; that a quick-six in Stedman Doubles was really a bob, and that what we called Stedman Triples was not Stedman at all, but that what we called Erin was true Stedman, and that the bobs should be made by ringing a quick six. This led to a rather heated discussion, which went on for a long time, and eventually Mr. Sam Wood proposed that Stedman be left as it was ‘in fayther’s time’ (laughter). Mr. Wood did a great work in Lancashire, and was particularly noted for the long peals which were rung at Ashton-under-Lyne and other towers in the neighbourhood. Continuing, the President said he had seen in ‘The Ringing World’ that Mr. Tom Salter, of Worcestershire, who was a member of the Council for some years, had also passed away. Mr. Salter had done much good work for ringing in Worcestershire, and he would like to suggest that their secretary send a letter of condolence to the relatives of those he had mentioned.
This was agreed to by the members standing in silence.
The minutes of the meeting held at Liverpool, having been printed, were taken as read and adopted, but on the suggestion of Mr. G. R. Newton it was decided to add to them an expression of the Council’s thanks to Mr. W. A. Cave for his services during the absence from England of the then hon. secretary (Mr. E. A. Young).
The Ringing World, May 27th, 1932, pages 356 to 357
RECORD SALES OF PUBLICATIONS.
The Hon. Librarian, in his report, said: There has not been much demand upon the contents of the library this last year, but the following works have been presented: A copy of Mr. J. A. Trollope’s research work in connection with the history of the College Youths between 1755 and 1788; this has been typed by Mr. W. G. Wilson and is presented by the author. A copy of the History and Rule Book and the Service Book of the Ancient Society of College Youths, presented by the society. Twelve copies of the book, ‘Bell Towers and Bell Hanging,’ by Sir Arthur Heywood and others, and a copy of the ‘First Five Hundred Peals of the Oxford Guild,’ presented by Mr. E. A. Young. By special request I have sold one of these copies, but I should like the Council to advise me what to do with the remainder.
This has been a wonderful year for the sale of publications; indeed, there has been nothing like it since I have been librarian. For many years, as the Council will recollect, we have not covered the cost of advertising. Last year, however, I did manage to show a balance to the good of £2 8s. 1d., but this year there is a balance of £42 9s. 5d., and that after paying the ordinary advertisement account of £9 2s., plus £3 for the special advertising of the Minor Methods. This, of course, is the result of placing a high-priced book on the market for which there was a great demand. I refer to the ‘Collection of Doubles and Minor Methods,’ and as I have remarked before, one quick-selling book livens up the sales of others. Coming to the other publications, I think the result tends to show that the money spent by the Council in recent years has been well expended. I have not yet received all the returns from the ‘on sale or return’ agents, but so far the result is good, and their sales account for £10 18s. 11d., out of the £58 17s. 1d. realised by the sales generally. The Lincoln Diocesan Guild has responded to the suggestion made last year, and has purchased outright a complete stock of publications. Others have purchased more largely than before, and thus availed themselves of the discount allowance. I saw an opportunity of replenishing the stock of method sheets which was getting low, and bought a certain number of Grandsire and Stedman and Cambridge Surprise Major which the Rev. H. Drake had to dispose of.
The number of publications in stock is as follows: 1,133 Glossary, 40 Rules and Decisions, 226 Peal Collection Section 1, 428 Peal Collection Section 2, 619 Peal Collection Section 3, 165 Major and Cater Methods, 209 Doubles and Minor Methods, Corrigenda Leaflets (several hundreds), 155 Rules for a Local Company, 371 Cards on Care of Bells, 167 On the Preservation of Bells (limp), 5 On the Preservation of Bells (stiff), 135 Law on Church Bells, 335 Methods Sheets, 11 Report on Conference with S.P.A.B.
The Librarian’s statement of accounts showed that £58 17s. 1d. had been received for 930 copies of publications, the principal sales having been 272 copies of the ‘Collection of Doubles and Minor Methods,’ 219 method sheets, and 140 copies of ‘Law Affecting Church Bells.’ Advertising and incidental expenses amounted to £16 7s. 8d., leaving a balance transferred to general fund of £42 9s. 5d.
THE FATE OF OLD BOOKS.
Mr. J. A. Trollope asked if there was any machinery by which an eye could be kept on any old or valuable books relating to ringing which might perhaps eventually be secured for the Council’s library. He had specially in mind what might ultimately become of the books which the Rev. W. Pearson had got. He possessed one or two books which were absolutely unique. No doubt Mr. Pearson had some intention as to how these books were to be disposed of eventually, but it was of great importance that these books should not be dispersed and lost. He wondered if it was possible to find out what was to become of them.
Mr. Young said he had spoken to Mr. Pearson on this matter in a tentative sort of way, and he thought Mr. Pearson had made up his mind that the books should eventually go to the University of Cambridge. It was possible, if that Council expressed an earnest hope that the books might come to their library, that it might have the desired consummation.
The President, replying to the first part of Mr. Trollope’s question, said he did not think there was any machinery for the purpose, but he thought a good deal could be done by talking to individual ringers. He felt quite sure Mr. Pearson would make some arrangements by which his books would not be lost. They might not come to that Council, but they would go somewhere where they would be safe. He thought, also, that quite a lot could be done if members would keep a watch on booksellers’ catalogues of old books. It was sometimes possible to pick up volumes in this way. With regard to what should be done with the few copies remaining of the book on ‘Bell Towers and Bell Hanging,’ the Standing Committee recommended that the librarian be allowed to dispose of some of them, leaving three at least in the library, but that the books be sold only to accredited representatives of affiliated societies. These books were getting scarce, and they would be very costly to reprint at the present time, and it was important that they should get into places where they would be made use of. The committee proposed that the copies be sold at five shillings each.
The report was adopted, and the committee’s suggestions agreed to.
THE BALANCE SHEET.
The accounts of the Council were presented by the hon. secretary and treasurer (Mr. G. W. Fletcher). The balance from the last account was £47 14s. 9d., interest on investments £5, affiliation fees £28 5s., subscriptions from hon. members £2 7s. 6d., sale of publications (less expenses) £42 9s. 5d., total £125 16s. 8d. The expenditure included £35 15s. 2d. on the printing of publications, £10 10s. donation to the Stedman Tercentenary Fund, gifts of books to Messrs. Fardon and Sharman (demonstrators of the Carter ringing machine) £2 6s., other expenses £15 13s. 7d.; balance carried forward £61 11s. 11d. The market value of the investments was £125 5s. 6d.
The accounts had been audited, on behalf of the Standing Committee, by Messrs. A. A. Hughes and W. A. Cave, who moved and seconded their adoption.
Replying to the Rev. E. S. Powell, the Hon. Treasurer said it was not necessary to sell out any stock to pay for the printing of the ‘Doubles and Minor Collection.’- The accounts were adopted.
THE CARTER RINGING MACHINE.
Mr. E. A. Young presented the report of the trustees of the Carter ringing machine as follows: On Saturday, February 20th last, Mr. E. A. Young and Mr. A. A. Hughes (trustees) attended the Victoria and Albert Science Museum, there being present also the two demonstrators, Messrs. Fardon and Sharman, and also an officer of the Museum. They found the machine and its appurtenances as previously reported to the Council. It was set to ring two or three plain courses, which, despite a few failures, it successfully brought round. We are of opinion, however, that the time cannot be far distant when the machine will require overhaul and repair, as it showed signs in different parts of a little wear. On May 2nd last, following an official request, the machine was demonstrated to an officer of H.M.O.W. by Mr. Fardon and Mr. Young. The visitor and his two friends inspected the machine and heard a course of Grandsire Cinques. The treasurer was asked to arrange payment of the demonstrators’ fee for the annual inspection.
Mr. Hughes seconded the adoption of the report.
Mr. C. T. Coles asked if there was any particular time when this machine was demonstrated. He was sure there were members who would like to see the machine. Having paid a recent visit to South Kensington Museum to see the machine he was disappointed in not being able to see it at work. It would be a good idea if a periodical demonstration could be arranged, say, on the occasion of some big ringers’ gathering in London, like the College Youths’ Dinner or some occasion like that.
The President thought they might leave Mr. Coles’ suggestion to the trustees. He thought they would be willing to arrange a demonstration either on the afternoon before the College Youths’ dinner, or every third year in connection with the Central Council meeting. If they advertised the demonstration, he thought a good many ringers would be prepared to avail themselves of the opportunity of seeing it.
Mr. Young said he thought it would be quite a good thing if a demonstration could be arranged in connection with the Council meeting in London.
The report was adopted.
CONSTITUTION OF COMMITTEES.
The Standing Committee’s formal report said the various recommendations of the committee would come up on the respective items as they were reached in the agenda.
Rev. E. S. Powell asked the Standing Committee to deal with the constitution of the committees generally before the new Council met, and to make a report on the matter. He said his reason for doing so was that on various occasions it had seemed as if the constitution of the committees was rather haphazard. Some years ago, for instance, he did a bit of work for the Peals Collection Committee. Afterwards, at a meeting of the Council at which he was not present, he was elected a member of that committee. Since that time he had had no communication or any kind from the committee. He believed the president was a member of the Methods Committee, but he was afraid that since he (Mr. Powell) had been a member of that committee they had had little or no communication with regard to the business of that committee. He thought it would be a good thing if the constitution of the committees could be cleared up. Next year a new Council was to meet and new committees formed. They had a new secretary, and he would be a new broom and very anxious to sweep clean. He thought, therefore, it was a good opportunity for the Standing Committee to look into their own constitution and that of the other committees and see whether they were as representative of the Council as they might possibly be. He proposed, as a recommendation to the Standing Committee, that this be done so that things generally might be tidied up (applause).
Mr. J. Hunt seconded, remarking that it was nearly time some of the committees were looked in to.
Rev. F. Ll. Edwards said it would be a real advantage if the Council would themselves appoint the conveners of the committees and not leave the members to appoint their own. From his own experience he had known a committee to go through a whole year with out receiving any communication from the convener.
The President said he believed he was responsible for the motion some years ago that the committees should themselves elect a convener, and that the convener should present a report to the Council. At that time there was no organisation among the committees at all. If that scheme had not succeeded it was due partly to the conveners, who, having been appointed conveners, had not convened (laughter), and partly to the committees themselves, who, if they found a convener did not convene, should chuck him out and elect another (laughter). The scheme was workable if the committees worked it, but in view of the fact that it had not been working he was sure the Standing Committee would be prepared to look into the whole question, and they would accept the recommendation. With regard to the personal point of the Methods Committee, some years ago, soon after the Major Methods were published, he resigned from the committee because he found he had not time to do any more work for it. At the same time he resigned the convenership of the Towers and Belfries Committee, while remaining a member of the committee, but the letter with his resignation from the Methods Committee seemed to have gone missing.
The Standing Committee’s report was adopted, together with the Rev. E. S. Powell’s recommendation.
FRESH MATERIAL FOR PEALS COLLECTION COMMITTEE.
The brief report of the Peals Collection Committee was received from the Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, who wrote that he had received a lot of fresh material, mainly Royal and Maximus, and was going through it to pick out anything that was new.
The report was adopted on the motion of Mrs. Fletcher.
REV. H. LAW JAMES’ LIFE WORK.
The next report considered by the Council was that of the Methods Committee, which was published in ‘The Ringing World’ on April 29th. Mr. Trollope said the most important thing that had happened during the past year was the loss they had sustained by the death of the Rev. Henry Law James. Canon Coleridge had already expressed what they all felt with regard to his death. He could not speak for the Methods Committee, and in his place, without making some reference to the work he did. He (Mr. Trollope) supposed the work on the Methods Committee was really the chief thing that Mr. James did for the Exercise, apart from his local work in the Lincoln Diocese. It was quite true to say that this work he did through the Methods Committee and for the Exercise, with regard to method construction, was practically finished. He had a certain message to deliver, and he had delivered it. It was not a final message, although perhaps he thought it was, but the position we were now in as an Exercise with regard to method ringing and the understanding of methods, compared with what it was 30 years ago, was due largely to Mr. Law James, and if they were to take the opinion of modern young men, who understood something about it, and compare it with that of the authorities at that time - Bulwer, Heywood and others - they could not help being struck with the enormous advance there had been right through the Exercise in the understanding of those mathematical laws which were the basis of their art. That the Exercise had taken such a large interest in them was due very largely to Mr. Law James.
Continuing, Mr. Trollope said the question of filling up the vacancy was the business of the Council, but the Council had always taken into consideration the wishes of the committee. What they suggested was that, as the committee expired at the end of this year, they should leave the question of filling the vacancy open until the London meeting, and meanwhile look out for a suitable man to take Mr. Law James’ place. With the particular work they had in hand at the moment, he did not think they needed any further assistance this year. There were, added Mr. Trollope, two things the Council entrusted the committee with. One was the getting on with the publication of the book on methods of Triples, and the other the matter that arose out of the Rules and Decisions definitions, which was brought up at Lambeth and was referred to again last year. He asked to be allowed to deal with the first matter and to leave the second, which was dealt with in their report, to Mr. Powell. When he (Mr. Trollope) left Mr. Law James after the Liverpool meeting, it was arranged that Mr. James should get on with the methods and get out a draft. He sent Mr. James all the papers he had, and he heard nothing from him up to the time of his death. He then wrote to Mr. James’ brother to ask how far Mr. Law James had proceeded with the work, and ultimately received the papers from Surfleet, but they were only the papers he had previously sent. He was afraid that Mr. James had been able to do nothing towards the work. He (Mr. Trollope) set to work to prepare the draft on the basis of what he had discussed with Mr. James, and he had nearly finished it. They were prepared to submit a proposal to the Council for the publication of this book. They proposed to take Stedman and Erin as the only two methods worth ringing without a treble hunt, and ten or eleven methods of pure Triples, and then put in about eight other methods which had a treble and six working bells, like New Bob. The explanations would be largely for the benefit of the more elementary people. For these they proposed to give the full course of certain of the methods and a selection of touches and peals. They proposed to give a big selection of touches of Stedman and Grandsire. They thought the book would come out at about fifty or sixty pages, and would thus be considerably cheaper than the book on Doubles and Minor methods. The report of the librarian was so encouraging that he thought they were justified in asking the Council for permission, when the work was finished, to get on with the publishing of it. He thought they might even publish the book so as to make a little profit on it. He felt perfectly sure that, as they were dealing largely with Stedman and Grandsire, it would be quite as useful as any book they had already issued. He moved that the Council authorise the publication of the book on Triples methods.
The Rev. E. S. Powell seconded.
The Ringing World, June 3rd, 1932, pages 373 to 374
THE METHODS COMMITTEE’S REPORT.
The Rev. E. S. Powell, speaking to the report of the Methods Committee, said at the London meeting, and subsequently at Liverpool, the committee were asked to report with regard to the Rules and Decisions governing methods. The question was put in rather an indefinite way, or possibly through his obtuseness he did not understand exactly what was required. At any rate, they had produced a report, which was printed in ‘The Ringing World.’ Since it was published their attention had been privately called to the fact that the definition of a plain lead, in particular, did not exactly cover the case of the Little and Alliance methods. He knew that when the question was first mentioned these methods were referred to, but he must confess he thought they were only referred to as an illustration, but apparently what was really desired was that they should alter the definitions in some form or other to meet the case. The committee had considered the matter since it was brought to their notice, and what they proposed to the Council was not to alter the definitions themselves - those definitions were general statements of the principle of change ringing. If they would look on page 22 and following pages of ‘Rules and Decisions’ they would see there were several ‘notes’ given upon the definitions, and they thought the amendment might be made by an addition to the ‘notes.’ The redefinitions were of a more permanent character than the notes, and the less they altered them the better it would be. On page 24 there was a note which dealt with this very point. It said: ‘Methods are formed from Principles in two ways. This is not to be taken as limiting method builders to the two particular plans here described, but as a statement of fact covering all existing methods,’ which showed that the Methods Committee of those early days had the foresight to see that the methods then in existence were not likely to be the only methods that were ever going to be rung in the Exercise. What the committee were inclined to suggest was that to that last statement in the note there might be added something to meet present developments. The committee suggested the following preliminary form which members could consider and which could be finally adopted or turned down, as the case might be, at the next meeting in London.
An illustration of this statement is to be found in the Little and Alliance methods, which have come into prominence of late years. In appearance their form places them outside the definition of Plain and Bob leads given above, but, properly speaking, they are in logical succession of such methods as Bob Major.
Thus a Little method is one which follows the rule, except in so far as this is qualified by the restriction of the Hunt to fewer places than the number of bells employed.
An Alliance method is one in which the Hunt has a composite path comprising portions of more than one principle.
The committee’s reason for suggesting this procedure, added Mr. Powell, was that a year or two hence someone might bring out a method involving further differences, and that would mean once more altering the definitions, which were, or ought to be, of as permanent a character a possible. Apparent verbal differences between methods could be explained equally well or better by a note such as this. At any rate, the committee asked that it should be considered in this way, with a view to its adoption next year.
Mr. J. S. Goldsmith said, as the mover of the resolution referring the matter to the committee, he thought the suggestion of an additional note to the definitions would probably meet the case, and he supported the committee’s recommendation that the matter should be considered in that form. With regard to the actual report of the committee, he asked the Council not to adopt it, but merely to receive it. While the report contained a good deal with which most of those present would probably agree, and was a very interesting review of the position as seen by the committee, it would, in his opinion, be a mistake for the Council to bind themselves to it as their accepted view, when, perhaps, in two or three years’ time they might have good reason for changing their opinion on some of the statements made. He added that he was glad to see that a member of the committee, who at the Lambeth meeting had said ‘the rule which said that a method should have as many plain leads in the plain course as there were working bells was a rule which was now breaking down in view of spliced ringing, which was producing a different plain course altogether,’ had changed his mind. He, and he was sure other members of the Council as well, welcomed the statement of the committee that ‘it is really an abuse of language to speak of plain courses when dealing with 5,000’s, of which there are never more than two leads alike in succession, and in which the tenor never gets below sixth’s place at a lead end’ (hear, hear).
Mr. J. A. Trollope said the committee were quite prepared to accept the suggestion that the report should be received and not adopted, and that it should not be taken as binding on the Council. The position of the Methods Committee was, and always had been, that it was in advance of the opinion of the Exercise - that was its job. It was the committee’s business to be further forward in all those things than the Council. He was not such a fool as to think that because he had changed his views - and he had changed his views - that everyone was going to change their views. He did not think for one moment that the older people especially were going to be as far forward in their views as the committee, and he was certain that there were very few in the Exercise who would be prepared to make that report their own exactly as it stood. The committee were therefore quite prepared that the report should be received and not adopted as binding the Council in any shape or form to any particular statement there made.
Rev. E. S. Powell said he would go even further and say the committee would regret it if the Council did bind itself in that way. There was a great deal in the point made by Mr. Goldsmith.
Mr. J. Hunt said, with regard to the suggested publication of the book on Triples Methods, he wanted the Council to be careful and watch the publications of these two gentlemen (laughter). When the Council at Hereford authorised the publication of the book of Minor Methods the committee asked for authority to include Double Surprise Minor methods, and they were given that authority. At Chelmsford they asked for authority to include Morris’ and Pitman’s Doubles and Bankes James’ Cambridge Minor, and they were given that authority. He (the speaker) went, fool like (laughter), and bought the book for 3s., and when he got the thing which these gentlemen published he found they had put in ten pages of the same kind of piffle (laughter). The Council was not in a position to accept the Morris or Pitman Doubles or the Bankes James Minor as true; they could not accept it, but they allowed the committee to put them in at the back of the book as an appendix. The rest of the ten pages the committee had no authority whatever to print.
Rev. E. S. Powell said no doubt they had enjoyed Mr. Hunt’s statement, but on a point of order, was it possible to bring up this matter when the Council voted at Chelmsford that these things should be placed in the appendix of the book, with, he thought, a minority of three that they should not be put in?
Mr. C. T. Coles said he felt certain many members of the Council would not let Mr. Hunt’s statement go by without a protest. The Council passed a resolution giving the committee authority to put in certain compositions, and Mr. Hunt said they went beyond their authority and put in a lot of piffle. He objected to the statement that it was piffle, when that Council was almost equally divided as to whether these compositions could be considered true. He believed if the question could be put to the vote that day the majority of the Council would be in favour of these compositions being considered true. The opinion of the Council rapidly changed, but whether they were piffle or not, the committee were given authority to publish them as an appendix. He did not think, therefore, that Mr. Hunt’s remarks should be allowed to go without a protest.
The Rev. H. Drake, referring to the paragraph in the committee’s report relating to peals in multiple methods, said it was not clear what the committee intended. He submitted that to call multiple Surprise methods ‘compositions,’ if not exactly inaccurate, was at any rate an unusual way of expressing it. The compositions further on were referred to as plain courses; in fact, the same thing was referred to in four different ways. He suggested that the paragraph should be re-written, but how it was to be done he was not quite sure, but he thought before they either accepted or adopted the report that paragraph should be re-written by the compilers.
The President: We are not proposing to adopt it, but to receive it.
The Rev. H. Drake: We want to know what it means.
Mr. Trollope: Composition covers everything. Any arrangement of changes put together, other than a plain course. That is what it means.
The Rev. H. Drake: Does it include a method?
Mr. Trollope: Yes, a method is a composition, obviously.
The report was then formally received, and Mr. Trollope asked the Council to authorise the committee to proceed with the printing of the book on Triples methods.
Rev. H. Drake seconded, and hoped it would be done as soon as possible, because, as Mr. Trollope had told them, it would be a help to some bands of beginners.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn suggested that the question of printing this book should be held over until they had discussed a later item on the agenda with regard to printing a book on the proper way to handle a bell.
This suggestion was agreed to.
A COLLECTION OF THE BEST COMPOSITIONS WANTED.
A report received from the convener of the Variations Committee (the Rev. H. S. T. Richardson) regretted that he had been unable to take any steps in the matter. He was afraid the other two members of the committee had been waiting all the time to hear from him. He thought it would be best for the Council to accept his retirement from the committee and to appoint someone else, though he would gladly do anything to help, if he could, without being responsible.
The President said the Standing Committee had had the report under consideration, and proposed, in view of Mr. Richardson’s resignation, to ask the committee to make Mr. H. W. Wilde convener of the committee. He thought Mr. Wilde was the person to whom the work should be entrusted.
Mr. G. R. Newton, out of whose motion last year the appointment of the committee arose, said that what he would like to see was a collection of the very best compositions in all methods that could be got together. He knew the Council had got collections of peals, but these collections did not contain all the best compositions. What they wanted was to find somebody who had got the time, ability and enthusiasm to get together such a collection. Conductors in these days usually went for their figures to the report of some association. He would like to see all the best compositions brought together into one volume. Some associations gave the references to all the compositions rung and where they could be obtained, but others did not do so. He would also like to see some arrangement by which the Exercise should know where the figures of every peal rung could be found. An instance of what the value of such a system as this would be was to be found in his own tower. Recently, when a peal at Sheffield was recalled as the ‘first peal of Stedman Cinques in the North of England,’ he challenged it. He was then told by a Sheffield ringer that Mr. Charles Hattersley had informed him that both the Liverpool peals were false. One was rung in 1828, the other in 1863. They were composed by two different men, and yet people years ago said the peals were false. Had they been so he did not think they would have had the records preserved, but they had no figures to prove it. He thought it would be a good thing to have a collection of the best compositions of all methods, irrespective of whether they were variations of original peals or not.
Mr. J. Parker did not agree that such a collection was necessary. Years ago, he said, the old ringers used to have to collect their own compositions. He had a book with 500 peals of Superlative and London Surprise, and if conductors of to-day would look through some of the old books they would find plenty of compositions to last them a lifetime.
The President said that this was a matter of a slightly different nature to the report before them, and he thought it might be referred to the Peals Collection Committee.
The reception of the Variations Committee’s report was agreed to.
CHANGE IN ANALYSES COMMITTEE.
After the luncheon adjournment, Mrs. Fletcher moved, and Mr. Swinfield seconded, the adoption of the report of the Peals Analyses Committee’s report, which, in a slightly abridged form, appeared in ‘The Ringing World’ of May 6th.
The President said the former names of the committee were Mrs. Fletcher, Mr. C. Dean, Mr. G. R. Pye and Mr. Fletcher. As Mr. Fletcher had been elected secretary of the Council, it was only fair to allow him to retire from the committee, and the Standing Committee recommended that Mr. G. L. Grover’s name be added.
This was agreed to, and the report adopted.
TOWERS AND BELFRIES.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn as convener presented a report on behalf of the Towers and Belfries Committee. The committee had not had occasion to meet, but individually they had matters of interest to report. He would say something about a piece of work which, though, perhaps, not unique, might be said to come under this heading. It was the hanging of bells in three tiers, each tier being independent. The conditions were an octagonal tower eight feet six inches in diameter, very much cut about to allow of two old timber frames which were considerably higher in the tower than they should have been, and were in a very bad condition; the tower could be observed from outside to rock as the bells were rung; the bells, a ring of six, tenor 11 cwt. The frames were now constructed of cast-iron sections mounted on steel girders. The girders were put in in consultation with an architect who had worked in conjunction with one or two bell founders in the last few years. He also advised as to the repairs to the damaged masonry. The girders span the tower each way alternately, and the bells are hung in pairs in this order commencing from the bottom: Four and five, tenor and treble, second and third. All the bells are swinging considerably lower in the tower than formerly. The ropes come down in a perfect circle, and the ‘go’ of the bells is excellent. The second and third are a little hard to hear, but this could be rectified by spouting. The tower is now steady.
Major Hesse said during the year he had been called in at Grayshott, Hants, where he advised that the old bells should be recast and five new bells added. This had been done, and the result was a good peal of eight. He surveyed the tower and satisfied the authorities, with the assistance of Mr. Lewis, that the tower was safe. He was shortly making inspections at Croydon, Shalford and Thursley.
Mr. E. A. Young said he had paid one or two visits to towers where he had been called in as an architect, but he could not say that any of the work this year had been with the Towers and Belfries Committee.
BELL HANGING PROBLEMS.
The President said he had made one or two interesting inspections, the most interesting, perhaps, being Boston Stump. As, possibly, a good many of them knew, there was a peal of eight bells hung in that tower. The point of contact of the frame with the tower was, he believed, 175ft. from the ground. Below that point the tower had four very large windows, and there was a vaulted roof which projected into the ringing chamber. The bells were hung immediately above the ringing chamber, and were very noisy. In addition, there was considerable movement of the tower. The tower was being repaired mainly from funds sent from Boston, in America, and the authorities were very worried as to what to do with the bells. He made an inspection, together with Mr. Law James, in October of last year. They measured the speed of movement of the tower, which, compared with most church towers, was very slow, as one would expect from its height. It took slightly over a second for a complete oscillation, whereas the average varied from about two-fifths to three-fifths of a second. There was therefore, in this case, no risk of the oscillation caused by change ringing getting in tune with the natural oscillation of the tower. So much was to the good. The existing frame was rather interesting in that the bells hung round the walls, one and two along one wall, three and four another, five and six another, and seven and eight another, and each pair of bells was roped on the same side, so that the forces of the individual bells did not add up, but cut each other out, when the bells were rung consecutively. After considering the whole question, he recommended, in order to relieve the tower, that the weight of the tenor should be reduced from 28 cwt. to about 20 cwt. The note of the present bell was not worth its weight, and a modern bell of about a ton would give a better result from a musical point of view. Then in order to make ringing easier he suggested that the floor of the present ringing chamber should be raised four feet, which would enable the ringers, more or less, to see each other. At present they could only see heads and hands above the vault. The present room was very stuffy and dark, and he suggested that the ceiling should be raised 8ft. to give 4ft. more head room. He also suggested that the bells should be raised 12ft. to allow for a 4ft. chamber between the bell frame and the ceiling of the ringing room, so that the sound could be somewhat deadened. It sounded rather paradoxical to suggest raising the bells 12ft. higher in the tower, when in such cases one wished as far as possible to lower them. They could not in this case be lowered, because of the vault, but he found that by reducing the weight of the tenor the actual bending moment on the tower would be reduced. The movement of the tower at the point of attachment of the bell frame, 175ft. from the ground, would be reduced by 22 per cent., in spite of raising the level of the bells, and the movement of the tower at the height of 310ft. would be reduced by 20 per cent. He had not heard definitely whether those suggestions had been adopted, but he understood that the bells were to be recast in to a peal of ten, if not twelve, as he suggested, with a tenor of 20 cwt. Another tower which he had inspected was Brailes, in Warwickshire, where there was a heavy peal of six, with a tenor of about 31 or 32 cwt., hung very high from the ground. The tower was split in many directions; one of the buttresses was free from the tower for about 30ft., with a crack of ¾ of an inch between the buttress and the tower. It was not possible to measure the movement of the tower, but the top of the flagstaff was wagging at least 18 inches, or probably more, when the bells were rung. There were three things that might be done. At the present time the bells swung east and west, which was much the stiffest way of the tower, so that one could not improve matters very much by altering the direction in which they swung. The bells could be slightly tucked up in the headstocks, which would reduce the horizontal forces, and the ropes could be altered. He suggested that the fifth bell should be roped on the other side of the wheel to be on the same side as the tenor. The only other thing was to drop the bells in the tower. That was not very easy, because there was a clock room in the way, but they could be dropped about 15ft, and it would be possible by that means to reduce the movement of the tower at the point where the frame was attached by about 44 per cent., while at the level of the roof the movement would be reduced by 28 per cent. In this tower there was a good deal of movement of the frame as well as the tower, and he worked out one figure which might be of interest as being typical of a good many cases. The horizontal force due to the tenor swinging was slightly over three tons, and if they assumed that the movement of the frame and tower combined was one-quarter of an inch, and it was certainly all that, the energy lost in the first half of the revolution of the bell would be 73 foot-pounds. That, of course, had to be provided by the ringer. In other words, if he could only pull his sallie a foot (he ought to be able to pull it more) he had got to pull 73lbs. harder than he need do if the tower and frame were stiff. That extra work be did might, or might not, be given back to the bell in the second half of its revolution. If not, the ringer would have to provide another 73 foot-pounds. Or it might be given to another bell, for instance the fifth, and therefore the work put in by the tenor man might be fighting against that supplied by the ringer of the fifth. The latter might have to work equally hard to keep his bell up, because the tenor man was knocking it down. He quoted that to show the desirability of having the most rigid possible frame and, if possible, the most rigid tower. The President, in conclusion, referred to a visit he paid to a church in one of the suburbs of Copenhagen, where he inspected the carillon. It was very interesting, he said, to see the Danish idea of bells. These bells had been tuned by turning on the outside of the waist. Many of them had also been sharpened by turning off the lip. The Danes seemed to have a good deal to learn from this country with regard to the making and tuning of bells (applause).
The Ringing World, June 10th, 1932, pages 389 to 390
THE BELLS OF A LONDON CHURCH.
Mr. J. A. Trollope said the Middlesex Association had taken up the case of the bells at St. Andrew’s, Wells Street, London, one of the churches in the West End of London scheduled to be pulled down and moved to the suburbs, under a scheme to build 45 churches in the diocese. In a letter to ‘The Times’ the Bishop of London said that everything in St. Andrew’s Church would be moved into the new church but they felt pretty sure that, although they might move a peal of eight, with tenor of 24 cwt., to one of these new churches, it would be almost impossible to expect them to build a tower sufficiently strong to carry them for ringing. The Middlesex Association, therefore, passed a resolution and sent it to the Bishop of London asking that these bells, if the tower was not sufficiently strong to hold them, should neither be broken up nor dispersed, nor put into a tower which could not hold them, but given to some tower in the diocese, which was sufficiently strong for the bells to hang in for ringing. They had had a reply from the Bishop’s secretary stating that the matter had been put into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the authority dealing with the new church. He (Mr. Trollope) had the opportunity of speaking to the Bishop of Willesden on the subject. The Bishop was greatly interested in the new church, but he knew nothing about the bells and undoubtedly, if they had not taken the matter up, the bells would have been placed somewhere and they would never have heard any more about them because there would certainly not have been a tower built to carry them if hung for ringing. He mentioned this matter to suggest that the secretaries and authorities of different associations should keep their eyes on cases like this and, when necessary, bring them before the proper authorities where a church was scheduled to be pulled down and where the bells could be saved, especially in a case like this where the bells were of considerable historical interest in the evolution of tuning.
Mr. Young suggested that some resolution from that Council might strengthen the action taken by the Middlesex Association. He was glad to hear the Middlesex Association had taken steps to prevent this well-known ring from being scattered.
Mr. Trollope said he would be pleased to propose such a resolution, which, if passed, could be sent to the Bishop of London. Not only would it have a good effect on these particular bells, but would give the London Diocesan authorities some idea that there existed a body such as the Council was (hear, hear).
Mr. C. T. Coles (who is secretary of the Middlesex Association) said he would be pleased to place at the disposal of the secretary of the Council such correspondence as he had had on this matter.
Mr. Trollope’s motion was seconded by Mr. Young and agreed to, it being left to the Towers and Belfries Committee to deal with the subject.
The Rev. R. P. Farrow inquired whether the Council could take any action on the faculty, but the President replied that the difficulty with regard to faculties was to get any status on which to object to them. A faculty concerned only the parish affected, and no official body outside could, he believed, take objection. It must be a parishioner, and it was very difficult from outside to get an objection raised to faculties.
Mr. Trollope said in this case the matter was definitely settled. The objectors had gone to the High Court about it, and all objections had been overruled. The church was closed and being pulled down.
On the motion of the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, seconded by Major J. H. B. Hesse, the reports of the Towers and Belfries Committee were then adopted.
BISHOP OF EXETER’S ADVICE TO CLERGY.
At this point the Bishop of Exeter arrived to give a diocesan welcome to the Council and to address the members.
The President said they were greatly honoured by the visit of the Bishop. It was only right that the Council should be reminded that the Exercise lost a very promising ringer in the Bishop’s son, who was killed during the war. He commenced ringing at Hatfield about four years before his death and proved a very apt pupil. He soon mastered his bell and quickly picked up the four standard methods; he was a very keen ringer and became a member of the Herts Association. Although he had no opportunity for peal ringing, he was always in his place for service ringing on Sundays, so that they felt, apart from the fact that they were meeting in the Diocese of Exeter, they had some connection with the Bishop through his son, and for both reasons they felt very much honoured by his presence there that day (applause).
The Lord Bishop, who was cordially received, assured the Council that they were proud in Devonshire to welcome the Council. They wished in every way that the great cause of bellringing should be advanced by their visit. There were, perhaps, some towers in the county where a little more might be learned about scientific ringing, but if there was not a very advanced knowledge of it there was great keenness for ringing in the county. From time to time they had their meetings, and he could assure them they were very well attended. He had occasionally been privileged to address the ringers of Devon, and when he saw the churches full of men, keen, stolid, earnest ringers, he felt that the cause of bellringing would never lose its popularity in that county (hear, hear). His son, who used to ring at Hatfield, never had the privilege of ringing a peal, although he had looked forward to doing so, but he was killed just before he reached manhood. In memory of his son he (the Bishop) presented two bells to Hatfield, so that the tower now had a peal of ten. Continuing, the Bishop said he hoped the message the Council would give them would be to increase scientific ringing in Devon. Unless men were advancing they would not go to the towers; they must always be learning something (hear, hear), and unless they could keep before them something they could learn, they would after a time get slack and not turn up. When he was at Hatfield he used to make it a practice to go to the tower and say a prayer before the ringing began on Sunday, and that was one of the things he wished the clergy would do universally. He felt sure if it were done it would encourage ringers to be punctual at their ringing; nothing was so disappointing to the rest as when one or two turned up late (hear, hear). If the clergy were there to welcome them, he felt it acted as a gentle stimulant to punctuality. The Bishop concluded by again welcoming the Council and wishing them joy in their visit to the most lovely county in England.
The President thanked his lordship for his welcome to that lovely county, which they all acknowledged was one of the most beautiful in the country. ‘We each have,’ added Mr. Lewis, ‘one other which we like to think is best’ (laughter). What the Bishop had said about attendance, continued the President, went very much to their hearts. He had spoken of things which they had all experienced, and he hoped that the message to the clergy would reach them, and that more ringers would have the happy experience of being welcomed to their towers when they went to ring for the services (applause).
The Bishop then left the meeting.
THE STEDMAN COMMEMORATION SCHEME.
The Council dealt next with the Stedman Tercentenary Commemoration finances. The President said the committee was appointed at Liverpool to take charge of the scheme, which had already been considered, of restoring the bells of St. Benedict’s Church, Cambridge. A number of meetings of the committee had been held in London and one meeting was held in Cambridge, when the scheme was laid before the Vicar and churchwardens, who accepted the Council’s offer to restore the bells. The work done consisted of, first, building a reinforced concrete corbel course round the tower 12ft. below the old supporting beams, and grouting all existing cracks in the tower. Secondly, new oak beams were laid on the corbel course and bolted to it. The old frame was dismantled, the joints readjusted, the frame strengthened and replaced in the tower, but turned through a right angle from its old position, in order that the heavier bells might swing parallel to the stronger walls. The bells were rehung with complete new fittings and on ball bearings, but with old-style elm headstocks. The ropes were let down to the ground floor and rope guides fixed. A new stove pipe was fitted in connection with the heating apparatus and let in to the wall to pass the level of the reconstructed bell frame. Eight windows in the upper story of the tower were filled in with concrete to strengthen the tower and all the remaining openings were wired to keep out birds. The inside of the upper part of the tower was whitewashed, a chiming apparatus fixed to replace the existing clocking apparatus, which was a great danger to the bells. The committee arranged for the work in the tower to be done, with Mr. F. W. Troup as architect, by Mr. W. Sindall, of Cambridge. The contract for the bells was given to Messrs. Taylor and Co. The committee arranged for the opening on December 5th last year, when many of the Council were present. The President added that he need not go into the details of those proceedings; they had been fully described in the Press, but as a committee they felt they owed a great deal to the help that was given to them by the authorities concerned, by the Vicar and churchwardens of St. Benedict’s, the architect, the bell founder and the builder, and also to Corpus Christi College for the great assistance they gave them on the opening day (applause). There was one other question he ought to refer to, and it was this: the cost had come out slightly greater than was expected. That was due mainly to the stove pipe which had been mentioned. The old stove pipe went up the tower through the bell frame and close to some other timber, and out through the roof. It was not properly protected, so that there was great danger of the tower being burnt down, and the committee thought it advisable, in order that the bells and tower should be rendered safe, to instal a new stove pipe. Then there was a further complication. When the frame was turned through a right angle, it was not possible to take the pipe through the frame, as had been formerly done, and, on the recommendation of Mr. Troup, the flue was taken into the thickness of the wall below the bell frame and came out again well above the frame. That work put up the charges for extras from the builders, which had a reflection in the financial statement.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, treasurer of the fund, then presented the financial statement. The receipts included: Subscriptions and donations, £487 19s. 4d.; interest on bank deposit, £4 16s. 9d.; sale of booklet and ash tray souvenirs, less costs of production, £9 5s. 4d.; total £502 1s. 5d.
The Ringing World, June 17th, 1932, pages 405
The payments had been: Messrs. Taylor and Co., amount of contract, £289; Mr. Sindall, builder, amount of contract, £132; Mr. F. W. Troup, architect’s fees, £21 18s. 3d.; Birmingham Art Guild, tablet, £22 3s.; cost of faculty, £5 5s.; printing, postages, and incidentals, £12 7s. 2d.; leaving a balance of £19 8s.
There was, continued the treasurer, actually at that moment in the bank £24 4s., but there was the account owing to builders for extras of £50 13s. 6d., which meant they had to find £26 19s. 6d. more in order to settle the builder’s account. Then there would be his expenses as treasurer, about £2 10s., and the committee’s travelling expenses, of which he had not yet had a note, so that the Council would see that there was about £30 to find.
The Hon. Secretary (Mr. G. W. Fletcher) said the Standing Committee at their meeting that morning recommended that the Council should advance the money necessary to pay the accounts outstanding.
The President then formally moved the adoption of the report and recommendation.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn seconded.
THE CARE OF STEDMAN’S BELLS.
Mr. E. Denison Taylor said at the meeting of the Midland Counties Association at Derby at Easter he felt compelled to make some remarks about the use of Stedman’s bells, and those remarks called forth a letter in ‘The Ringing World.’ He therefore felt he ought to put plainly before the Council what he thought about the whole matter. He maintained that Stedman’s bells in the tower of St. Benedict’s Church were no ordinary ring of bells; indeed, they were a priceless possession, and their first thought should be for the care of the bells, a watchful solicitude to guard against any risk of damage, and he did not consider that every care was being taken if novices were allowed to begin to learn their ringing there, and to bump the stays against the sliders. He did not know that any stays had been broken, but it might easily happen, with the ropes in the hands of beginners. He maintained that ringing at St. Benedict’s should be by experts only, whether it be for Sunday services or for other purposes, and if no experts wished to ring these historic bells, it would be a pity, but it would be much wiser to leave the bells unrung (‘No.’). Well, that was his opinion. He gathered that, in the main, it was novices who were now ringing the bells. Why should they not learn their ringing in another tower? When they had mastered the art, then they could ring for the Sunday service on Stedman’s bells. In response to the call of a few leaders he whole Exercise had come forward nobly and achieved the restoration of the bells. The work had been done with, he must say, almost reverent care, and to think that beginners might bump the stays and twist the cannons off the bells was something he shuddered to think about (applause).
Mr. Walter Ayre proposed a vote of thanks to all those who did the actual work in connection with the preparation and carrying out of the scheme, including Mr. J. S. Goldsmith for what he did in the Press, the president and secretary of the Council, the hon. treasurer, and all the other members of the committee.- Rev. F. Ll. Edwards seconded, and the motion was carried by acclamation.
The President said the committee appreciated that vote of thanks. It was entirely a pleasure to have anything to do with the whole job; it all went so smoothly, and no one enjoyed the afternoon at Cambridge and all that led up to it more than the committee did.
Mr. E. M. Atkins asked if the president could give the Council the committee’s views on what Mr. Taylor had said.
The President: The committee have not considered it.
Major Hesse said there was a very great deal in what Mr. Taylor had said. He thought it was all wrong that youngsters should learn to handle a bell on bells such as these. Let them by all means ring them when they could handle a bell, but let them learn elsewhere. If the cannons were broken they could not replace them, but he would not go so far as to say the bells should not be rung at all.
Mr. Taylor: Never by novices.
Major Hesse: I think I agree there. It would be deplorable if the bells should not be rung, but I do think they should be rung by people who can handle bells.
The President: I am told the members of the young band are handling their bells very well indeed. I would like to ask Mr. Taylor if it would not be possible to put on soft wood stays?
Major Hesse asked how many stays had been broken, and was informed by a member in touch With those who had been training the youngsters at St. Bene’t’s that none had been broken so far.
Mr. Taylor said there was an inclination to put on strong wood stays, and if there was a strong stay the bell might bump and twist the cannons off.
Canon Coleridge asked if was a fact that Cambridge University men, when they broke a stay, had to pay a fine, and hang the stay in their room, like an oar as a trophy of the race (laughter).
The President: My reply to that is, in my time we did not break them (laughter). I have an oar, but not a stay (laughter and applause).
The report was then adopted, as was also the recommendation of the Standing Committee.
The Ringing World, June 17th, 1932, page 407
THE PRESS AND BELLRINGING.
The report of the Literature and Press Committee, read by the Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, was as follows: The past twelve months have produced a number of interesting references to bells and ringing in the public Press, and it is gratifying to note a marked advance in accuracy and correct information. The Devonshire ‘Express and Echo’ last June gave a very good account of the ‘coming-of-age’ of Truro Cathedral bells, and the removal of the ten bells of Yeovil for renovation was the occasion of a long and erudite article in the ‘Western Gazette.’ In the following October the ‘Times,’ which published a brief report of the Central Council’s meeting at Liverpool, gave prominence to an account of the band of ringers at Marnhull, Dorset, who had rung together for 35 years, and displayed photographs of the ringers both in the belfry and outside the church. The October number of a learned periodical, entitled ‘Music and Letters,’ contained a review of Morris’ ‘History of Change Ringing,’ written at the editor’s request by a member of this committee.
When the Stedman Tercentenary celebration took place at Cambridge, the Press rose nobly to the occasion. Preliminary paragraphs had already appeared, notably a well-informed statement in the ‘Guardian’ and the ‘Times,’ and various newspapers duly recorded the events of Saturday, December 5th. The Cambridge journals gave a full account of the proceedings, with a number of illustrations, and Canon Coleridge’s memorable sermon was reported at considerable length. The following week the ‘Daily Express’ published an admirable article on ‘The Art of Ringing,’ illustrated by a picture of bells hung in a frame.
The failure of the Hatfield ringers to welcome the new year with the music of the bells evoked a strong protest in the ‘Hertfordshire Mercury,’ emphasising the general disappointment thus caused, and deploring the omission of an observance established by ancient custom. The concluding sentence gave expression to public sentiment in the words, ‘May the bells long continue to ring out, as each new year is ushered in, full of hope.’
This was followed a few weeks later by an article in the ‘Birmingham Evening Despatch,’ headed ‘Bellringing a Dying Hobby.’ The reference was to some remarks made by a speaker at a ringers’ gathering in Gloucester.
The great gathering of some 3,000 ringers at Croydon in April naturally attracted the attention of the Press at large. Both daily and weekly newspapers published accounts of the proceedings, and took occasion to give interesting information on the subject of bell founding. In one such account was to be found a sample of those imaginative touches, which a few years ago were still a common incident, whenever the lay Press attempted to deal with matters campanological. One journal gave its readers to understand that a well-known member of this Council had transferred his residence to the county of Drake and Frobisher by stating that ‘Mr. James George, despite his 78 years, still rings the 26 cwt. tenor at Paignton.’
Lady ringers have recently appeared in a new light when the daily papers reported that in an eastern county women had tolled the church bells in the early morning to give the alarm on the arrival of agents with intent to distrain on the property of farmers in default with their tithe. The Council’s pamphlet on ‘The Law relating to Church Bells’ does not, so far as we are aware, furnish any legal authority for the revival of the tocsin in this form. In any case, as the Central Council certainly includes titheowners, and may include tithepayers, we refrain from controversy on this interesting point.
The ‘Salisbury Diocesan Gazette’ deserves a good mark for calling attention to new matter contributed by Mr. Walters to ‘Church Bells of Dorset.’
Those two indefatigable writers, E. Morris and J. R. Nichols, have again shown praiseworthy ingenuity in finding opportunities for enlightening the uninitiated. Mr. Nichols has completed a series of 20 articles in ‘The Accessory,’ under the title, ‘A Short History of Bells,’ while one issue of the ‘L.M.S. Railway Magazine’ contained a contribution from his pen entitled, ‘With the Bellringers at Christmas.’ ‘Bells of Christmastide’ appeared in ‘The Line,’ and ‘Bell Founding at Burford’ in ‘Rural Industries.’
A series of articles in ‘The Sign’ last year, under the heading, ‘People who Count in Church Work,’ appropriately concluded in the December number with ‘The Bellringers,’ admirably written by Mr. Morris, and illustrated by most interesting and instructive pictures. This was an especially valuable piece of work, as ‘The Sign’ is used as an inset to very many parish magazines. ‘Dickens and the Bellringers’ has appeared in the magazine, ‘Great Thoughts,’ while a series of articles on bells and ringing by Mr. Morris is at present running in a trade journal named ‘The Arc,’ and another has been completed in the Northants County Magazine. Messrs. Morris and Nichols collaborated in an article on ‘Change Ringing’ in the ‘Sunday Companion,’ and even such a prosaic publication as ‘The Bazaar and Mart’ has ‘featured’ the joint authors in a treatise on those interesting relics, of a bygone age, which is not infrequently recalled to memory in words of advice addressed to congregations of ringers, namely, ‘Ringers’ jugs and pitchers.’ The quarterly magazine, ‘Leicestershire,’ has also published two articles on bells by Dr. Malcolm Dyson.
The committee venture at this point to append a brief moral to their tale. As public attention is being called to bells and ringing in so many and various quarters, it becomes all the more essential that change ringers should endeavour to let the public bear nothing but the best striking, especially on Sundays and occasions of rejoicing.
Mr. Selfridge’s generous offer to pay for the restoration of Bow bells has brought that famous peal into the columns of the Press, and it is to be anticipated that within a short time the newspapers will record the reopening ceremony, and the bells will again be broadcast.
Bellringing has been transmitted over the ether at fairly frequent intervals during the past twelve months, and a very impressive broadcast of Westminster Abbey bells was given at midnight on New Year’s Eve. In this connection the committee suggest that the Council should express to the B.B.C. their appreciation of this broadcast, and should at the same time ask them (a) whenever church bells are to be broadcast to advertise the fact in ‘World Radio’ as well as in ‘Radio Times,’ and (b) to make a special feature of a broadcast of some well-known peal of bells on the festivals of Christmas and Easter and on the King’s birthday.
THE BEGINNINGS OF A BELFRY LIBRARY.
At the last meeting of the Council the committee was asked to prepare a list of books on ringing which might form the nucleus of a Belfry Library, showing particularly how the first £1 might be spent. Their report on this subject, under the heading of ‘Catalogue of Publications for a Belfry Library,’ was as follows:-
Most of the books and leaflets available for the use of ringers are advertised in ‘The Ringing World.’ The committee suggest the following selection as the first instalment of a belfry library:-
|‘Change Ringing’ (C. A. W. Troyte), published by H. S. Elland, 236, High Street, Exeter||3||10|
|‘Grandsire Doubles and Triples’||6½|
|‘Bob Minor and Major’||6½|
|Both by I. Roe and M. Broome. (Byways, Hurst, Berks)|
|The above-named works are of the greatest value for the instruction of beginners.)|
|‘Standard Methods’ (Snowdon). Indispensable to all ringers||2||10|
|Central Council publications:|
|‘Collection of Doubles and Minor Methods’||3||0|
|‘Collection of Plain Major and Cater Methods’||1||9|
|‘Glossary of Technical Terms’||8|
|‘Handbook on the Preservation of Bells’ (stiff covers)||1||0|
|Card of Instructions on the Care and Use of Bells, to hang in belfry||1½|
|‘Surprise Methods’ (Rev. C. D. P. Davies)||2||10|
|‘Method Splicing’ (‘Ringing World’ Office, Woking)||1||3|
The works by Snowdon and Davies may be obtained from Mr. Laura Snowdon, Cartmel, Lancashire.
All Central Council publications from Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, M.C., M.A., Broadlands, Caversham, Reading.
The handbook on ‘Preservation of Bells’ is of the highest value.
‘Grandsire’ (Snowdon, 2s. 10d.), ‘Stedman’ (Davies, 2s. 10d.), and ‘Treble Bob’ (Snowdon, 1s. 10d.), will be found most useful for advanced study. Then should follow the Central Council’s Collection of Peals, sections 1, 2, 3, as required, with Corrigenda leaflet, also Method Sheets, ‘Rules and Decisions of the Council,’ and any other publications issued.
‘The History and Art of Ringing’ (E. Morris) is published by Chapman and Hall at £1 5s., and should be added to the library when funds permit.
‘Bell Towers and Bell Hanging,’ also ‘Duffield,’ by the late Sir A. P. Heywood, Bart., are worth acquiring, if copies can be obtained.
It would also add considerably to the use and interest of the library to include yearly the ‘Ringers’ Directory’ and a bound volume of ‘The Ringing World.’
The report was seconded by Mr. J. S. Goldsmith and carried.
THE PROPOSED NEW RULES.
The report of the committee appointed to consider the rules of the Council, which was published in ‘The Ringing World’ of May 13th, was presented by Mr. E. W. Elwell, who asked the Council to receive the report. They would find, Mr. Elwell said, that in the main report, of which the schedule formed the chief part, the committee were not asking the Council to pass the revised set of rules this year. They intended to bring them forward for adoption next year, but they wanted a year to elapse first, during which time the rules could be considered by members of the Council, who would then be ready with any objections which they wished to raise at the Council meeting in London, but if they liked to put their cards on the table and ventilate any objections or criticisms or suggest any improvements beforehand, through the ringing Press, it would give the committee a chance to reconsider the rules in the light of any criticism received, and, if thought desirable, to amend the draft to come before the Council, thereby saving the time of the Council when it came finally to discuss the whole matter next year. The adoption of a new set of rules might take a considerable amount of time unless, at the beginning, they could arrive at some sort of fundamental basis of agreement.
Mr. Elwell went on to point out that the chief alterations were in the provision that all affiliated societies should subscribe to an undertaking loyally to abide by the rules and decisions of the Council. Privilege always implied responsibility, and he did not think it was asking too much of those who had the privilege of being unified and co-ordinated with the ringing authority of the whole country that they should at least do their part and abide by the decisions of the Council, even if in occasional instances it happened to conflict with local opinion or custom which might have prevailed for some time in a certain neighbourhood.
REPRESENTATION OF SOCIETIES.
The draft went on to amend the rules with regard to representation. It had always been a difficult point, and it had given the committee much trouble and deliberation, because even with the revised rules, the representation of London ringers would be greater than the representation of provincial ringers. In London there was nothing local. In the provinces association and guild were localised; they were either diocesan or territorial; but in London they had four or five bodies covering the same territory which might give London ringers four or five times the representation of provincial ringers. They could not altogether get over that, and in view of the fact that London was the leader in change ringing it was, perhaps, right that any benefit there might be should continue to accrue to London ringers. In settling the basis of representation, therefore, the redraft of the rules dealt with territorial associations only, so that societies like the College Youths, which were not really territorial, but more national in character, were not affected, and the rule did not operate as harshly as it might seem to do. Another rule had been included that reports of committees should be presented in writing and forwarded to the secretary at least seven days before the meeting of the Council. That, the committee considered, was quite a reasonable thing to ask, and, he believed, would lead to the shortening of the business of the Council in dealing with the reports of the committees, because for some years it had taken until long after lunch to get through the formal committee reports before coming to the extra business of the Council, which usually provided discussion on current topics. Another alteration included a proposal to appoint auditors. Hitherto the accounts had been audited by two members of the Standing Committee during the time the Standing Committee was sitting. It was an administrative change which should make for greater clarity in the future. The committee, Mr. Elwell added, had done their best to produce a set of rules which they hoped would be of benefit to the Council and its work; they invited members to offer any criticism or suggestions which they might have to make, and to make them known in time for the committee to consider them and, if necessary, modify the draft rules accordingly. He asked the Council to receive the committee’s report that day and in due time to adopt the resolutions which would be brought before them next year.
Mr. C. T. Coles, in seconding, said, although Mr. Elwell had covered most of the ground involved in the alterations, he thought it would be well to draw attention to the draft of Rule 5, which provided that all societies returning representatives to the Council should contribute annually 5s. on behalf of each representative member to which it was entitled; that was to say that where a society was entitled to, say, four members, but only returned one or two, they would have to pay for four.
The Rev. H. Drake said the reason why they asked that the rules should be revised was so that there might be something given them as a guide as to what was the relation between the affiliated societies and the Council, and how the affiliated societies, if they wished to do so, should make representations to the Council. It was a question that affected them in the Suffolk Guild. He had mentioned this before. Some years ago they were asked to give their opinion about a certain matter. They sent up their reply, and it appeared as an additional item on the agenda, and was then ruled out of order. It seemed rather hard that such a thing should be done. What they wanted was to be able to feel that there was some recognised way by which affiliated bodies should make their representations to the Council if they wished to do so. There were certain proposals before the Council at their last meeting, and he supposed they were before the committee when they considered the rules, but nothing of them now appeared, so he supposed they turned them down. Affiliated societies did not quite know in what position they stood, and he hoped before the final draft was reached this would be made clear.
Mr. Elwell said perfectly constitutional machinery was provided in the draft rules for sending in notices for anything that was to be discussed, but anything in the nature of delegation to the Council was a thing that the Council had never permitted and which the committee would never try to foist on the Council.
The President suggested that any criticisms should be sent to Mr. Elwell in writing for the committee’s consideration, and the report was then accepted.
The Ringing World, June 24th, 1932, pages 421 to 422
Mr. G. L. Grover, the only surviving member of the Records Committee, presented the report of the committee which covered a period of two years. The report was as follows:-
The whole Exercise very much regrets the event which has resulted in my being left as the sole member of the Records Committee. I obtained from Mrs. Beams a copy of the schedule to the report of the Records Committee. Unfortunately, this is only made up to the end of 1926, and the report of this committee, covering the years 1927, 1928 and 1929, has not yet been found. When it is found this year’s report may possibly prove inaccurate in some particulars.
During 1930 and 1931 the first peal in each of the following methods was rung:-
5,024 Camdon Surprise Major at Leiston on October 14th, 1931, for the Suffolk Guild.
5,016 Canterbury Pleasure Maximus at Canterbury on May 24th, 1930, for the Kent County Association.
5,000 Double Little Bob Major at Handsworth on July 1st, 1930, for the Yorkshire Association. (Note.-This may, however, have been the same method as the Erith Little Bob Major mentioned below and rung at Crayford in March, 1930.)
5,056 Double Dublin Surprise Major at Hersham on November 15th, 1930, for the Guildford Diocesan Guild.
5,040 Erith Little Bob Major at Crayford on March 11th, 1930, for the Kent County Association.
5,088 Irchester Surprise Major at Irthlingborough on February 14th, 1931, for the Peterborough Diocesan Guild.
5,280 Pudsey Surprise Maximus at Ipswich on September 13th, 1930, for the Suffolk Guild.
5,088 Reverse Double Dublin Surprise Major at Ewell on December 6th, 1930, for the Guildford Diocesan Guild.
5,024 Surrey Surprise Major at Guildford on November 5th, 1930, for the Guildford Diocesan Guild.
The following peals, which appear to be the longest lengths in their respective methods, were also rung:-
5,064 Double (or Erith) Little Bob Major at North Lopham on February 15th, 1931, for the Norwich Diocesan Association.
9,600 Double Dublin Surprise Major at Guildford on April 6th, 1931, for the Guildford Diocesan Guild.
6,144 Guildford Surprise Major at Guildford on December 31st, 1930, for the Guildford Diocesan Guild.
5,152 Hereward Bob at Conisborough on January 17th, 1931, for the Yorkshire Association.
5,088 Surrey Surprise Major at Leiston on January 24th, 1931, for the Suffolk Guild.
The following peals in Spliced methods should, I think, also be included in this report:-
5,280 Superlative and Cambridge Maximus at Southwark on January 11th, 1931, for the Middlesex County Association.
5,040 Spliced Plain and Little Bob Maximus (in hand) at Leverstock Green on October 15th, 1931, for the Hertford County Association.
5,040 Yorkshire, Pudsey and Cambridge Surprise Royal at St. Magnus’, London, on July 25th, 1931 (the first spliced peal of Royal), for the Middlesex Association.
5,160 Rutland, London, Cambridge, Superlative, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Pudsey, Norfolk and New Gloucester Surprise Major (nine methods) at Willesden on December 1st, 1931.
5,280 London, Rutland, Cambridge, Superlative, Pudsey, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Peterborough, Norfolk, Bristol and New Gloucester Surprise Major (11 methods) at St. Giles’, London on July 24th, 1930, and
5,120 Rutland, London, Bristol, Cambridge, Eastcote, Lincolnshire, New Gloucester, Norfolk, Pudsey, Superlative, Wembley, and Yorkshire Surprise Major (12 methods) at Ealing on July 1st, 1931 (most methods spliced in one peal), all for the Middlesex County Association.
5,016 Gainsborough Little Bob and Bob Major at Burton-on-Stather on December 28th, 1931, for the Lincoln Guild.
5,000 Spliced Double Norwich, Double Oxford, Double Bob, Plain Bob and Little Bob Major at Newcastle on February 12th, 1930, for the Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Association.
5,040 Double, Plain and Little Bob Major (in hand) at Ealing on July 13th, 1930, for the Middlesex County Association.
The following spliced peals of Surprise Minor were also rung:-
5,040 in 21 methods at Lamberhurst on February 6th, 1930, for the Kent County Association.
5,040 in 21 methods at Bourne on December 31st, 1931, for the Lincoln Guild.
5,040 in 23 methods at Leytonstone on March 24th, 1930, for the Essex Association.
5,040 in 26 methods at Lamberhurst on May 15th, 1930, for the Kent County Association.
5,040 Double Biddulph Surprise Minor (the first peal of Double Surprise Minor ever rung) was rung at Killamarsh on November 14th, 1931, for the Yorkshire Association, and for the same association a peal of 10,800 changes, consisting or 15 720’s of Surprise Minor, was rung at Rotherham on January 1st, 1931.
I think, continued the report, the Council should give a ruling as to what spliced peals are to be entered in the schedule to this committee’s report. For instance, out of only four methods which will splice it might be possible to ring 11 spliced peals using two, three or four methods in different combinations, and, having regard to the certain future extension of spliced ringing, if every different combination of methods is to be recorded as the first spliced peal in such and such methods, the papers of this committee will become very voluminous. It will probably, however, be sufficient merely to record the advancing total number of methods spliced in one peal, distinguishing the class of peals and methods.
Mr. Grover added that the work of the committee could well be done and its report incorporated with that of the Peals Analysis Committee, and he suggested that the committee be dissolved.
The President said that was a recommendation made by the Standing Committee. The work of the Records Committee was now practically up to date, and the work of checking the records would be but a small addition to the labours of the Analysis Committee when they had got the information for their own purpose. It was, therefore, entirely suitable that the two committees should be amalgamated. Mr. Grover was the only surviving member of the Records Committee, and he had already been elected on the Peals Analysis Committee. He proposed that the Records Committee be dissolved with many thanks for its services.
Replying to a question, the President said the records were complete, except that those for 1927, 1928 and 1929 could not yet be found.
Mr. Grover said since he wrote his report the rough draft report for the three years mentioned had been found, and when there was time to check it the schedule would be brought up to date.
Mr. Trollope: Will the records be available for reference in the Council’s Library?
The President: Yes.
The Rev. E. S. Powell seconded the report, which was adopted, as was also the president’s motion.
This concluded the reports of the committees, and the Council then dealt with the motions on the agenda, of which there were three.
The President said he desired to move formally, ‘That this Council strongly deprecates the recording as a peal on a commemorative tablet, any performance which does not conform to the accepted standard of a true and complete peal, and calls upon all affiliated societies to support the Council in this matter.’ He said they had hoped Canon Elsee would have been there to speak to this resolution. His (the president’s) name was put down as the proposer more or less as a matter of form, because, owing to a slight misunderstanding, the motion would otherwise have been too late for publication. He was not going to speak at length about it, he thought the motion explained itself. They would notice that it had been very carefully worded and referred to performances which did not conform to ‘the accepted standard.’ In that county there was a board in a church commemorating ‘a peal’ of, he believed, 1,620 ‘call changes,’ but they did not object to that because in that part of the county of Devon that was the accepted standard of a peal. Alongside it, he was happy to say, there was a board commemorating a peal of Cambridge Surprise rung by the Cambridge University Guild.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn said his name was attached to the motion for the same reason as that given by the president, and he formally seconded the resolution.
Mr. E. W. Elwell said the resolution was one which the Council was asked to pass simply out of self-preservation. It was not always nice to interfere in anything which might be causing discussion, and by interference one did not want to cause acrimonious discussion, but it was essential that members of every ordered society should preserve amongst themselves some sort of agreed rules and regulations; if it did not do so it ceased to be an ordered society and became a rabble, with everyone doing exactly what they liked, making what statements they liked, recklessly and regardless of anything they might call a standard of honour or truth. There was, however, one thing which always checked any tendency to break away to such lawlessness, and that was the good opinion of the majority of people concerned, and the force of public opinion was such that it acted as a check on anything which might be disastrous; and it was the force of public opinion which, he thought, would induce the Council to pass the resolution before them by a unanimous vote. They deprecated the putting up of any record to commemorate a performance in which there was a statement which might give rise at some future time to the assumption of some fact in connection with it which was not strictly true, even though it might be known at the time that the statement was not strictly the truth. Their objection was not to the erection of a tablet commemorating a performance, but to commemorating something as a peal which was not a peal according to the accepted standards. Let them, if they liked, record something as a glorious failure, which it might well have been, and which might well deserve recording, but do not let them claim for that glorious failure complete and accurate success - say it was ‘a glorious failure’ (hear, hear).
Continuing, Mr. Elwell drew attention to the stained glass in two of the window in the room in which the Council were gathered, some of the most beautiful which, he said, he had seen for a long time. The windows, he added, commemorated two very great ages in English history - the two greatest, the periods of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, and they showed the local association of Plymouth with those ages - the men who sailed their small cockle shells to discover new worlds, the men who first sailed round the world, who beat the Spanish Armada, and the men of the great Victorian age. And if they looked at both those windows, he said, they would see not only successes but also glorious failures; on one side the glorious failure of Sir Richard Grenville; on the other side the glorious failure of Trevithick, who invented the first steam engine, which did not work. It was left to the genius of Stephenson later to make a success of that in which Trevithick failed, but because the work of those men was a glorious failure they saw them commemorated in those fine windows. Let them, he continued, in regard to their ringing, be honest, and posterity would give them all the credit they deserved. In passing this resolution, the Council would be making a stand for truth and accuracy so that it might be said in the future that what the men of the Fifth Georgian age said was at least true, and that what they claimed was honourable. It was not right to claim by a half statement something which it was not considered to be by ordinary and average opinion of the whole jury of the ringing Exercise (applause).
The President said after Mr. Elwell’s eloquent speech he thought they might put the motion to the vote.
On a show of hands he declared it carried nem con. The President then stated that he had had, although he did not wish to make use of them, letters from Canon Elsee and Alderman Pritchett most heartily agreeing with the resolution and expressing their regret that they were not there to speak of it. The Standing Committee, also most heartily endorsed the resolution, but it was not necessary to mention that before.
The Ringing World, July 1st, 1932, pages 437 to 438
PROPER HANDLING OF ROPES - PAMPHLET TO BE PREPARED.
Canon Coleridge next moved a motion standing in his name, ‘That in view of the great need for attention to good striking, the Council appoint a small committee to draw up a pamphlet on the proper handling of a bell.’ He said whenever he heard bad striking, and had the opportunity of going into the belfry and looking at those who were perpetrating the fearful enormity, he nearly always found it was owing to the fact that they had never learned to handle their ropes properly. The proper handling of ropes was the foundation of good striking, and whenever he saw a man holding his rope in some extraordinary fashion he always told him he would never make a ringer if he held his rope in that kind of way. Canon Coleridge said when he began to ring 60 years ago he came under the instruction of a man, a very excellent fellow who was in those days a judge at the prize-ringing meetings, and, although they could only ring rounds; he learned the supreme importance of accurate striking. He had been grateful to that man ever since. He taught him many other things, which he found, when he went to Oxford, were totally wrong (laughter). For instance, he discovered to his astonishment that it was not the custom for the same man to ring the same bell in the same tower and no other bell; that it was not necessary to let the whole rope slither up through the hand, and that it was not necessary, as he had seen in many a tower, after pulling down at backstroke, to shoot the right hand up and give the rope an extra pull (laughter). Above all else he did learn, he hoped, the proper method of handling a rope which would ensure good striking. He went into belfries and constantly found people absolutely ignorant of the very elements of ringing because they had never learned, or had never been taught, how to handle the rope properly. He had, he said, received letters from ringers of repute on this subject. One of them, who had now practically given up ringing, wrote that he went into a tower and found men who had rung peals of Superlative, Cambridge and London whose striking was awful, the result of never having been taught to handle a rope properly. Others had written to the same effect. They had, continued Canon Coleridge, to go to the foundation of the matter, and he thought the Council should issue a little pamphlet, printed in the simplest of language, describing exactly how a rope should be held. As these were the days of pictures, he thought they should include reproductions of certain attitudes in ringing, showing the proper way and the wrong way, and of a man standing in the proper position, head erect, with his eyes fixed on the other seven, and never looking down on the ground. The pamphlet should explain that accuracy of striking was the be-all and end-all of ringing; no matter what the method might be, it must be accurately struck, and by that he meant struck in such a way as they found in the West of England, where they knew what striking was, if it was only round ringing.
Mr. J. T. Dyke, who seconded the motion, said he was certain there was a very considerable need for a pamphlet such as was suggested. There was no single pursuit that he knew of where such haphazard methods of teaching were adopted. In nearly every pursuit certain abstract principles were taught in the very early stages, but with ringing it was like taking a boy and throwing him into ten feet of water in the hope that he would swim. It was not so much the fault of the pupil; it was very much more the fault of the person who taught. Mr. Dyke instanced the case of two towers in his knowledge, where the captains were extraordinarily keen ringers, who did everything they possibly could, but neither of them could handle his bell, and the result was that there was not a single member of either of those two companies who could handle a bell correctly, and they never even got rounds rung properly. The unfortunate side of it was that once they got into a sloppy way of ringing they could not get out of it. Mr. Dyke caused much amusement by remarking that the only time he had scored a complete failure with a pupil was when he tried to teach his wife to ring. He added that he was pleased to second the motion because be felt it was very necessary indeed.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn said, as librarian, he was constantly being applied to, either by a young band or someone on behalf of a young band of five or six-bell ringers, for some simple book on Grandsire, and he usually referred them to the book by Mrs. Broom and her sister. There was no other, unless they bought ‘Troyte.’ He thought what was wanted was first of all an introductory work, such as Canon Coleridge or Mr. Dyke could write, and then a chapter or so on how to ring and call Grandsire Doubles and Bob Minor, with perhaps one 720 and a few touches, just to give the groundwork. He believed it would help the elementary stage tremendously, and he moved as an amendment that, if the suggested pamphlet was published, there should be an additional chapter or so on how to ring and call Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Minor.
Rev. E. S. Powell seconded, and said there was a small pamphlet published by the Devon Guild, which had been modified from the one originally published by the Bath and Wells Association. He had not the least doubt that if it was of value to the Council they could use it; it was intended purely for the absolute beginner in Grandsire Doubles, although there was a chapter on Stedman as well. It had recently been revised, and, he hoped, improved, as several men who had been teaching all their lives took a hand in watching over it so that it could be easily understood by those into whose hands it was placed.
BACK TO ‘ROPESIGHT.’
Mr. P. J. Johnson said there was already much ringing literature to-day which was not sufficiently read by people who ought to read it. In ‘Ropesight’ they would find that Snowdon went down to the roots of the matter. He dealt with the attainment of good striking and illustrated the way to handle a bell and the way a man should have his hands on the rope. There were, he thought, certain objections to publishing a pamphlet of this sort, and to his mind, it was doubtful whether the raw beginner, for whom it was intended, would get hold of it or know of its existence. When they went into belfries it was painfully obvious how little the many necessary things in ‘Ropesight’ had been read. In the old standard of Yorkshire ringing, among the Yorkshire Treble Bob ringers, who made themselves famous for their striking, they would never go off into changes until they had struck rounds perfectly, and it was an ordinary thing to insist on ringing rounds for ten minutes before going into changes. It was now no uncommon thing, when starting for a peal, to ring about three whole pulls before going off into changes, and the result was indifferent striking. In the old days in Yorkshire the ringing had to be as good in the last lead as it was in the first, otherwise there was no peal. He was afraid, in publishing a pamphlet of the kind proposed, the Council would not serve the purpose in view. He felt ‘Ropesight’ was not sufficiently well known. It was treated as an elementary book, but there were many people who regarded themselves as advanced ringers to-day who could read with considerable profit what was said in that book with regard to handling and striking (applause). He was fully in sympathy with the objects of the proposers of both the resolution and the amendment, but he felt that from the point of view of the beginner there was nothing to come up to the Snowdon text books. Those were the things which should be the standard and should be put forward by ringing associations and by that Council if necessary. If it was imperative to have some publication of this kind he thought it might be more desirable to draw up some schedule and get it published in the county and diocesan associations’ annual reports. They would then get the thing read, because, after all, it was not only the beginner who wanted instructing, it was often the tutor who took these people in hand (hear, hear).
Mr. Elwell, in supporting both the resolution and the amendment, said the objection to ‘Ropesight’ for beginners in country bands was the price. If they could have a pamphlet for about a penny or twopence he believed many church authorities would be prepared to buy them for their ringers.
The Rev. H. Drake said many people would not take the trouble to read books or pamphlets, but they would read cards hung in the belfry, and he would like to substitute the word ‘card’ for ‘pamphlet’ in the resolution. If they had a card which could be hung up in the belfry it would always be there, and they could always show it to the people they were teaching.
Major Hesse strongly supported the issue of a pamphlet. They could not get perfect striking without perfect handling, he said, and it was the duty of the Council to do all they could to increase the efficiency of ringing.
Mr. Woodley said in Troyte’s book they could see from illustrations exactly how a bell should be handled and how to start ringing from the very first stages. He did not see that it was necessary for the Council to spend money on things that they had already got, and they could get nothing better than ‘Troyte’ for this purpose.
The President pointed out that the small edition of ‘Troyte’ was 1s. 6d. and the complete edition 3s. 6d. What the Council wanted to do was to publish something which, as Mr. Elwell said, would cost only a copper or two and something which would be of use to those who called themselves instructors - they were the people they wanted to get at. It had been his experience that the bulk of instructors did not themselves hold their rope properly. With regard to ‘Ropesight,’ that book dealt with Plain Bob only; what Mr. Jenkyn wanted was something which would deal both with Grandsire Doubles and Bob Minor.
Mr. G. R. Newton and Mr. C. T. Coles, supported the motion, the latter pointing out that it might be too costly for some associations to print the matter in their report. It had been suggested that it should be printed on a card and for once he found himself in agreement with Mr. Drake (laughter). He would strongly support that suggestion if it was not going to cost too much.
The amendment proposed by the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn was accepted as a rider to the original proposition, which was carried.
The President said, following an old custom of the Council, by which, when anyone proposed anything, they should be given the job to get on with what they proposed, he suggested a sub-committee be formed to prepare the pamphlet, consisting of Canon Coleridge and Mr. Dyke, with power to add to their number.
Canon Coleridge said Mr. Dyke was an accomplished teacher of youth and would do the job much better than he (the speaker) could. He would be glad to collaborate with Mr. Dyke, but they might leave the leading part to him.
This was agreed to.
A COLLECTION OF TRIPLES METHODS.
The question of the printing of this pamphlet having been settled, the Council returned to the consideration of the Methods Committee’s suggestion that the ‘Collection of Triples Methods’ should be completed and printed.
Mr. J. A. Trollope said this book was, in a way, really as elementary as the pamphlet they had just been talking about, because it dealt with Grandsire and Stedman Triples, in the main, and other simple methods like Oxford Bob and Court Bob. What they wanted to do was to provide a book intended for the person who had just got beyond the stage Canon Coleridge had spoken of. That was why the committee suggested that in certain cases the full course of the method should be printed instead of a lead only, and that they should give a reasonable selection of peals, quarter-peals and touches. The peals which they proposed to print were not those which would, perhaps, appeal most to the ordinary conductor or the person interested in composition, but those peals which the beginner wanted. They would not give Holt’s Original, but they would give Parker’s Twelve-part and its variations and any other peal there might be of that kind; probably Taylor’s Bob and Single, but he did not think they would give Holt’s Ten-part, because that was obsolete. The book was to be a more elementary book than the ‘Collection of Major Methods,’ and the committee wanted to know whether the Council desired them to finish it on these lines and whether they might hand it over to the Standing Committee with instructions to get it printed; or whether, on the other hand, they wanted the committee to finish the book and come back again next year for instructions as to printing. He moved that, when completed, the manuscript should be handed to the Standing Committee for publication.
The Rev. H. Drake seconded, and suggested that the words ‘as soon as possible’ be added to the resolution.
The President: Have you any idea how soon it will be ready?
Mr. Trollope said it was already practically finished, but he was hung up for the selection of quarter-peals. It would not be many months in any case, but he thought it would be better to take their time about it. They would be glad if those who had peals or quarter-peals that would be useful would send them along. He could not say that the committee would necessarily use them, but if anyone had anything which it would be of benefit to include in this book he hoped they would send it on to him.
Rev. E. S. Powell said those who had already sent to him in connection with the Troyte book need not send again, because the committee had those figures.
Mr. Trollope’s proposal as to printing the book was then agreed to.
A NEW MEMBER FOR THE METHODS COMMITTEE.
The President said the Standing Committee, before they heard Mr. Trollope earlier in the day, on the membership of the committee, had discussed the vacancy on the committee caused by the death of Mr. Law James, and they recommended that Mr. Stephen Wood be appointed on this committee. He was one of the younger members who would do good work with the committee, and who was an expert on methods. Mr. Trollope had suggested waiting until the next meeting, when the whole committee came up for election. Personally, he (the President) would like to see someone else on the committee to do some of the checking, because, speaking from his own experience of the work on this committee in the past, he knew checking was needful.
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn seconded the proposal to add Mr. Wood to the committee, and this was agreed to.
The motion, moved by the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, seconded by Mr. F. W. Perrens, requesting affiliated ringing societies to use their best endeavours to increase the circulation of the only ringing paper, was next discussed. This matter was fully reported in our issue of May 27th.
THE NEXT MEETING.
The President drew attention to the fact that the next meeting of the Council must be held in London. In this connection he reminded the Council of Rule 3, which provided that, except in the event of a vacancy, in which case the new member shall be elected only for the unexpired period of the three years, the election of representative members shall take place triennially before the end of the year. He added that the Council had received an invitation from the Middlesex County Association to tea after the London meeting. Their hon. secretary had provisionally accepted the invitation, and he would like the Council’s endorsement of that acceptance.
This was agreed to.
The President said the Council had received an appeal from the Gloucester and Bristol Association for the proposed memorial to the late Rev. C. D. P. Davies. Most of them had probably seen the circular. The Standing Committee had considered it, and suggested that in view of the valuable work Mr. Davies did for the Council, the Council vote a sum of ten guineas to the memorial (applause).
The Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn seconded, and the proposition was at once carried.
At the suggestion of Mr. C. H. Jennings, a vote of sympathy was passed with the Master of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild, who had met with a serious accident, and the hon. secretary was requested to forward it to the Rev. R. H. Gundry with good wishes for his speedy recovery.
The President said before they parted he wished to propose a vote of thanks to the Mayor of Plymouth for the use of the Council Chamber, which had proved a very comfortable place to meet in. They also thanked his Worship for having come there that morning and welcome them to Plymouth, and the Bishop of Exeter and the Bishop of Plymouth for their welcome and words of encouragement. They also had to thank very heartily indeed the Devon Guild for the various arrangements they had made for the comfort of the Council and for their hospitality, and he would particularly mention the work done by Mr. E. W. Marsh. They also desired to thank the Truro Diocesan Guild for the invitation to meet them on the previous day and for entertaining some of the members to lunch; particularly they thanked Mr. A. S. Roberts for what he did in making the arrangements, and the Truro Cathedral band for postponing their annual outing in order to be at home to welcome the visitors. He would also like to thank Dr. Symons, who came from Penzance, and Colonel Jerram, who was also there to welcome them. Further, they also had to thank the various tower keepers who had got the bells ready for them in many towers.
This vote having been accorded by acclamation, the Council rose at 5.30 p.m., and were afterwards the guests of the Devon Guild at tea, while later there was a social gathering at the Royal Hotel.
The Ringing World, July 8th, 1932, pages 453 to 454