There has been a big drop in the number of peals rung in 1933 as compared with 1932. The following summary shows comparative figures:-



TOWER BELLS.- Peals of Maximus have increased by four. There was a drop of three in Surprise methods and an increase of seven in other methods. Cinques have decreased by 12. Royal have decreased by 27; Surprise Royal have decreased by 19; and other methods by eight. Caters have decreased by 30, Stedman by 18, and Grandsire by 11. In Major, Surprise methods have decreased by 17, Double Norwich by 10, Treble Bob by 87, and Plain Bob by 30. Stedman Triples have decreased by 40 and Grandsire by 32. Minor show a decrease of 105 and Doubles 44.

HANDBELLS.- There is a slight increase in handbell peals. Maximus, Cinques, Caters, Triples and Doubles have increased, whilst Royal and Minor have decreased. Major remain the same.

ASSOCIATIONS.- The Kent County Association head the list with 153 peals, an increase of seven over their last year’s total. The Lancashire Association come next with 133, a decrease of nine; the Essex Association 131, an increase of 13; the Oxford Diocesan Guild 120, a decrease of 26; the Midland Counties 111, a decrease of 30. Seven societies show a small increase, and the rest a decrease, the most noticeable being the Yorkshire Association with 40 less.


18,144 (longest length) Bob Major by the Hertford County Association at Bennington on June 5th.


5,120 Daventry Surprise Major by the Suffolk Guild, January 19th.
5,104 Little Albion Treble Bob Maximus by the Suffolk Guild, February 11th.
5,040 Northfleet Little Bob Major by the Kent County Association, March 8th.
5,024 Woodbridge Surprise Major by the Suffolk Guild, April 10th.
5,056 Painswick Surprise Major by the Oxford Guild, May 10th.
5,088 Wigston Surprise Major by the Midland Counties Association, June 24th.
5,152 Hinton Surprise Major by the Worcester and Districts Association, July 15th.
5,152 Bosmere Surprise Major by the Suffolk Guild, September 14th.
5,056 Windsor Surprise Major by the Oxford Guild, October 18th.
5,088 Aldenham Surprise Major by the Hertford County Association, October 21st.
5,088 Waveney Surprise Major by the Suffolk Guild, November 11th.
5,024 Bushey Surprise Major by the Hertford County Association, November 23rd.
5,152 York Surprise Major by the Warwick Guild, December 16th.


5,056 Cambridge Surprise Major by the Hertford County Association, March 22nd.

The only long length rung in addition to the Bob Major was 10,432 Kent Treble Bob Major at Warnham by the Sussex County Association.

The outstanding performances of the year were the record peal of Bob Major at Bennington; the first peal of Cambridge Surprise Major ‘in hand’ by the Hertford County Association; the non-conducted peal of Cambridge Surprise Maximus, and the ‘silent’ peal of Stedman Cinques by the St. Martin’s Guild, Birmingham; and a peal of Minor in 38 methods by the Chester Guild.

The following are the number of peals rung during each month in 1933 and 1932:-



It is pleasing to note an increase in the number of ringers who have scored their first peal. The total is 523, an increase of 43 over last year. The number who have rung their first peals in a new method or method on a different number of bells is 1,162, a decrease of 384. It must be remembered, however, that it is impossible to judge progress or otherwise by these figures, as this total includes every footnote recording a first peal in the method, and in some cases peals in the simplest methods have been rung by ringers of wide experience and ability and are recorded as ‘first peal in the method.’ Again, ringers of Cambridge Surprise Maximus and Royal ring a peal of Cambridge Minor, which is duly recorded as ‘First peal of Minor in the method,’ and is included in the above total.

Ringers of their first peal ‘inside’ number 72, away from the tenor eight, in the method ‘inside’ 71, Maximus 13, Cinques 14, Royal 14, Caters 15, Major 65, Triples 21, Minor 52, Doubles 28, on twelve bells 34, on ten 51, on eight 42, on six 3, Surprise 53, ‘in hand’ 27, in method ‘in hand’ 37. New conductors number 62, a decrease of 28, and conductors in new methods 98, a decrease of 19.

Other footnotes show that 55 peals were the first on the bells, 21 since restoration or augmentation, and 179 the first in the method on the bells. Muffled and half-muffled peals number 74, birthday peals 283, Royal birthdays 23, weddings (including golden and silver) 97, church festivals and dedications 43, anniversaries 64, Armistice Day 34, welcome and farewell 33, Empire Day 6.

In conclusion we give below the number of peals rung in each of representative years since 1881, the total for the whole period being 63,337:-

1917 (war year)130

The Ringing World, April 6th, 1934, page 217



The following report of the Methods Committee will be submitted to the Council:-

During the past year the MS. of the Collection of Triples Methods has been completed and the book (the publication of which has already been authorised by the Council) will shortly be on sale.

In accordance with a promise given at the meeting at Liverpool, the next task will be to prepare a book on Surprise Major Methods. We wish to point out that though it would be comparatively easy to issue a collection of 30 or 40 excellent methods complete with suitable compositions, yet the lines on which we have hitherto worked necessitate a complete survey of the whole ground as a preliminary. In the case of Doubles, Minor, Triples and Plain Major methods, we worked out every possible method before attempting any selection. Such a plan is hardly feasible with the Treble Bob Major methods, owing to their enormous number. But since the aim is to produce a definitive collection, other means must be sought of finding out what are actually the best and most characteristic Surprise methods possible. This will take a lot of work and time, although it may not appear obviously in the result. But if (as we imagine is the case) the Central Council thinks the job worth doing, we are prepared to put it in hand.

While presenting this report, we should like to call the attention of the Council and the Exercise to a question which has always been of considerable interest to ringers and which forced itself somewhat prominently on our notice when we were preparing the book on Triples, and is almost sure to arise in the case of Major methods. We mean the question of the authorship and ownership of methods and peal compositions.

The subject is a large one and we do not intend to deal with it fully. Still less do we intend to try and suggest any final solution of the problem. The question is one which must be settled (if it is settled at all) by the general concensus of the Exercise and not by any rule laid down by authority. We wish merely to give ringers and composers some direction on general principles.

Opinion on authorship of compositions has varied and developed considerably in the course of time. During the 19th century it was generally held that a composition was an independent thing and the composer (once he had satisfied people that he was the first to produce it) was considered to own it and to have exactly the same rights that a writer has in a poem or a musician in a song. In the circumstances, any question of legal copyright did not arise, although there was always a latent possibility of its doing so.

(NOTE.- The question of copyright in peal compositions did actually arise when I wanted to include a number of peals of Treble Bob collected by Jasper Snowdon and published by him in the early ‘Bell News.’ Mr. William Snowdon formally gave permission for them to be used and thus reserved his copyright.- J. A. T.)

So long as composition was done on entirely experimental lines (and all the older composers did work thus), this view of authorship was justified. Men like Holt and Reeves and Thurstans and Johnson could say that they had created something which did not exist before, and they could fairly claim ownership rights in their peals.

The first of the influences which ultimately were to undermine this opinion was the publication in 1878 of Jasper Snowdon’s ‘Treble Bob.’ It was there shown that a peal composition is not an independent thing, but is closely and definitely related to other compositions. It can be reversed, and it can be begun at a different lead or course-end; and the resulting compositions will differ widely in appearance from and yet be essentially the same as the original. Composers accepted this; but for a while it did not affect their ideas of authorship. The composer still owned the peal, only he extended his bounds of ownership to include the variations - bounds which were clearly defined, or at least were assumed to be so.

These opinions are probably still held more or less by the great majority of ringers. But for some years past new ideas of composition have arisen (new for all practical purposes; actually Fabian Stedman treats of ringing as a mathematical science) which have made it impossible for our more advanced composers to accept these old ideas. The pioneer of the new style of composition was perhaps the Rev. C. D. P. Davies, while the man who first fully used it was Mr. W. H. Thompson. The difference between the old and the new is that while the old composers thought they were producing artistic creations analogous to the writing of music, the new considered that they were solving mathematical problems. And it depends entirely on which way a man looks at the question what his views about authorship and ownership will be. When composers and the Exercise are sufficiently educated on the subject (and that will be when a later generation has grown up), then people will recognise that a peal is an expression of mathematical law, and no question of authorship or ownership will arise.

Meanwhile, the old ideas prevail and are producing difficulties quite unknown in former times. The production of methods and peals has been so enormous and the range of mechanical variation has been so widely extended that, so far as most compositions are concerned, it is absolutely impossible to say whether they are original or not; and the suggested remedy - a register of peals - will not help us in the matter. In many methods it is impossible for a man to know with certainty what has already been composed and what variations of extant peals will apply; and it would be unreasonable to expect him to refrain from putting his name to a peal until he had found out. After all, if a man has by fair means and honest work composed a peal, he is entitled to credit, even though somebody previously had, unknown to him, done the same, although he could (but did not) have got it by variation from an older peal. In ringing we always trust the honesty of the ringer. Our committee could have (as, in fact, we did) produced a peal of St. Clement’s Triples by bobbing the same Q sets as Holt’s ten-part. We put Holt’s name to it. But if a man had composed it independently and rung it, it is difficult to say that he would have had no justification for putting his own name to it.

So much for general practice. But for Central Council publications we suggest that a higher standard is necessary. We should recommend that in no instance should any author or composer’s name be put to any method, and that in the case of peal compositions names should be omitted except to old and well-known productions or such modern ones in which the proofs of originality are unmistakable. We suggest that this recommendation shall apply to all future publications by the Central Council. In the case of the Triples book we felt that it would not be fair to adopt it in its logical completeness. Two gentlemen, who were not members of the committee, provided a number of peals for the book, and in every case we have attached their names to these compositions. On the other hand, all peals composed by any of us, whether obtained specially for the purpose of the book or got previously, are being published anonymously. Our proposal is that in later books of the Central Council of a similar character, anonymity should be the rule and not the exception.


The Ringing World, May 18th, 1934, page 314



The Central Council held their 42nd annual meeting at Warwick on Tuesday, the attendance numbering exactly 100 - 88 representative and 12 honorary members. Warwick is a centre of great interest, and many of the members and their friends had spent an enjoyable week-end, visiting such places at Stratford-on-Avon, Kenilworth and Warwick Castles, and ringing at many of the churches in the district.

The business meeting began on Tuesday morning in the Court House, where the members were welcomed by Alderman Malins (Deputy Mayor), on behalf of the Mayor of Warwick, and the Bishop of Coventry. Mr. E. H. Lewis (president) presided over the meeting. The attendance was as follows:-

Ancient Society of College Youths: Mr. A. B. Peck.
Bath and Wells Diocesan Association: Messrs. H. W. Brown, J. T. Dyke and J. Hunt.
Bedfordshire Association: Messrs. A. King and A. E. Sharman.
Cambridge University Guild: Messrs. E. M. Atkins and E. H. Lewis.
Chester Diocesan Guild: Messrs. J. Norbury and T. Wilde.
Devon Guild: Rev. E. S. Powell and Messrs. T. Laver, E. W. Marsh and G. C. Woodley.
Dudley and District Guild: Mr. F. Colclough.
Durham and Newcastle Association: Mr. W. H. Barber.
East Derbyshire and Notts Association: Mr. T. Clarke.
Ely Diocesan Association: Rev. B. H. Tyrwhitt-Drake and Miss K. Willers.
Essex Association: Messrs: E. J. Butler and G. R. Pye.
Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association: Messrs. J. Austin, E. Guise and W. Rose.
Guildford Diocesan Guild: Messrs. G. L. Grover and A. C. Hazelden.
Hereford Diocesan Guild: Messrs. J. Clark and A. W. Davis.
Hertford County Association: Mr. W. Ayre.
Irish Association: Mr. G. Lindoff.
Kent County Association: Messrs. T. Groombridge and F. M. Mitchell.
Ladies’ Guild: Mrs. E. K. Fletcher and Mrs. R. Richardson.
Lancashire Association: Rev. Canon H. J. Elsee and Messrs. G. R. Newton, W. H. Shuker and A. Tomlinson.
Lincoln Diocesan Guild: Messrs. R. Richardson and J. Phillips.
Llandaff and Monmouth Diocesan Association: Messrs. D. G. Clift and J. W. Jones.
London County Association: Messrs. A. D. Barker and F. E. Dawe.
Middlesex County Association: Messrs. C. T. Coles, G. W. Fletcher, W. H. Hollier and W. Pickworth.
Midland Counties Association: Messrs. E. Denison Taylor, E. C. Gobey, J. H. Swinfield and W. E. White.
Norwich Diocesan Association: Mr. A. L. Coleman.
Oxford Diocesan Guild: Rev. Canon G. F. Coleridge and Messrs. W. Evetts, jun., R. T. Hibbert and A. E. Lock.
Oxford Society: Mr. W. Collett.
Oxford University Society: Mr. H. Miles.
Peterborough Diocesan Guild: Messrs. H. Baxter, R. G. Black, T. Tebbutt and F. Wilford.
St. Martin’s Guild: Mr. A. Paddon Smith.
Salisbury Diocesan Guild: Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, Messrs. S. Hillier, C. H. Jennings and F. W. Romaine.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: Mr. J. Parker.
Stafford Archdeaconry Society: Messrs. T. J. Elton and H. Knight.
Suffolk Guild: Rev. H. Drake and Mr. C. Mee.
Surrey Association: Messrs. D. Cooper and C. H. Kippin.
Swansea and Brecon Guild: Mr. Gwyn Lewis.
Truro Diocesan Guild: Rev. W. H. R. Trewhella.
Warwickshire Guild: Messrs. F. W. Perrens and J. H. W. White.
Winchester and Portsmouth Guild: Messrs. G. Williams, H. Barton and G. Pullinger.
Worcester and Districts Association: Messrs. H. G. Bird, R. G. Knowles and J. D. Johnson.
Yorkshire Association: Messrs. J. Cotterell, P. J. Johnson and S. F. Palmer.
Honorary members: Messrs. W. A. Cave, C. Dean, J. S. Goldsmith, Major J. H. B. Hesse, Messrs. A. A. Hughes, C. F. Johnston, Alderman J. S. Pritchett, Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, Messrs. J. A. Trollope, A. Walker, S. H. Wood and E. Alex. Young.

The Hon. Secretary reported that there had been no change in the membership of the Council since the last meeting, and the subscription of the Shropshire Association was the only one unpaid.


The Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, Mr. A. A. Hughes and Mr. S. H. Wood were re-elected hon. members of the Council and on the recommendation of the Standing Committee a vacancy was filled by the election of Mr. E. C. S. Turner, of Ealing, who, later, was appointed a member of the Methods Committee for the purpose of assisting in the work of preparing a ‘Collection of Surprise Major Methods.’

Members who had not previously attended a meeting of the Council were presented to the president, and the following apologies for absence were received: Archdeacon Parry (Lincoln Guild), Canon C. C. Marshall (Yorkshire Association), Messrs. W. T. Cockerill (Ancient Society of College Youths), J. W. Parker (Durham and Newcastle Association), T. Metcalfe and J. C. Pollard (Cleveland and North Yorks Association), W. J. Nevard (Essex Association), F. W. Rogers (Winchester and Portsmouth), J. Griffin (hon. member), F. N. Golden (Norwich Diocesan Guild), G. H. Cross (St. Clement’s Youths), G. Chester (Lincoln Diocesan Guild), T. E. Sone (Kent County Association), C. W. Roberts (hon. member), A. Coppock (Sherwood Youths), C. E. Borrett (Norwich Diocesan Guild), J. H. Cheesman (Kent County Association), T. H. Taffender (London County Association), W. J. Davidson (Durham and Newcastle Association), A. H. Pulling (Guildford Diocesan Guild), E. Bishop (Gloucester and Bristol), C. Matthews (Royal Cumberland Youths), and Rev. J. B. Frith (North Staffs and District).

It was reported that one member (Mr. J. D. Matthews) and two former members (the Rev. A. T. Beeston and Mr. Joseph Waghorn, sen.) had died during the year, and the Council marked their regret by standing in silence.

After the minutes had been disposed of, the Hon. Librarian presented his report, which showed that the year had been one of great activity. The publication of ‘Hints’ provoked a large demand. Nearly 3,000 sales, the report said, must surely be a record for one year, but a vast quantity of books remained in stock and seemed to be wanted at a very slow rate. The sales had realised £35 12s. 10d., and a balance of £24 0s. 10d. had been handed over to the general fund.


The Librarian added that Mrs. Jenkyn (widow of the late hon. librarian) had presented to the Library the Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn’s copies of ‘The Ringing World’ up to 1932, and Mr. Fletcher had kindly given the volume for 1933. A copy of a county bell history had been acquired, and the Standing Committee thought it desirable that other similar histories should be obtained as opportunity offered.

The Standing Committee recommended that the hon. librarian be given power to renew stocks of publications that were in demand, and that a sum of £5 be available in any one year for the purchase of books for the library; also that the officers may at their discretion reduce the price of surplus stocks.

The librarian’s report was adopted and the recommendation of the Standing Committee agreed to.

The hon. treasurer’s statement of accounts showed a balance in hand of £64 11s. 9½d., against £67 12s. 2d. last year, and investments of the present value of £143 14s. 7d. The accounts were adopted, and Messrs. A. A. Hughes and C. T. Coles elected auditors under the new rules until the end of the Council’s term of office.

The trustees of the Carter Ringing Machine (Messrs. E. A. Young and A. A. Hughes) reported that it was in a satisfactory condition, and the Council gladly accepted an offer by Mr. G. F. Woodhouse (of Sedbergh), made through the Rev. Canon Elsee, to exhibit and operate his ringing machine at the next meeting of the Council.

The Standing Committee, in their report stated that the MS. Of the ‘Collection of Triples’ had been received from the Methods Committee, and that they had ordered 750 copies to be printed. They recommended that Mr. E. Denison Taylor should be elected to fill the vacancy on the committee caused by the death of Mr. J. D. Matthews.

Mr. G. Lindoff presented the report of the Peals Committee which proposed the publication of a small collection of peals of Plain Bob, Grandsire, Double Norwich, Stedman, Treble Bob, Superlative, Cambridge, London, Bristol, Yorkshire, Pudsey, Rutland and Lincolnshire, and, on the recommendation of the Standing Committee it was resolved that the articles on ‘Variation’ by Mr. J. A. Trollope published in ‘The Ringing World’ in 1930 and 1931, should be the basis of a pamphlet to be issued on this subject.

The Methods Committee’s report, which has already appeared in ‘The Ringing World,’ came up for consideration, and the committee withdrew the references in it which appeared to commit the Council in future publications to the printing of peal compositions without the names of the composers. With this amendment the report was adopted.

The report of the Peals Analysis Committee, which has also appeared in these columns, was adopted.

The Towers and Belfries Committee report dealt with the dangers of Ellacombe chiming hammers if not properly attended to, and the Council decided to send a letter on the subject to all Archdeacons and secretaries of Diocesan Advisory Committees.- The President made an interesting statement on the effects of lengthening clapper flights; the frictional differences between plain and ball bearings on bells, and the action of some church authorities who on the ground of ‘danger’ to towers, permit ringing only at intervals.

The Literature, Press and Broadcasting Committee presented a lengthy report dealing with the Press and bellringing and upon ringing broadcasts, which was adopted.

The committee business was completed before lunch, and in the afternoon there were animated discussions on the motions of which notice had been given.

Mr. J. A. Trollope proposed ‘That no decision of the Council relating to the ringing of peals shall be binding unless passed by a two-third majority of the meeting.’- Mrs. E. K. Fletcher seconded.

An amendment was accepted altering the last words to ‘two-third majority of the members present.’

Opposition was forthcoming on the ground that what applied to peals should apply to all resolutions of the Council, and also that such a provision was likely to be a bar to progress.

An amendment to apply the motion to all resolutions of the Council was defeated, and, on being put after further discussion, the motion itself was rejected by a considerable majority.


The chief interest in the day’s business centred in a motion relating to the ‘Minor Controversy.’ Mr. J. S. Goldsmith proposed ‘That, notwithstanding any definition to the contrary, peals in any recognised Minor method or methods containing compositions in what is known as the “Bankes James Arrangement” are, in the opinion of this Council, permissible.’

Mr. J. A. Trollope seconded, and a rider was added, at the suggestion of the Standing Committee, defining as the Bankes James Arrangement the compositions of Minor in the Appendix of the ‘Collection of Minor Methods,’ with the exception of those known as the ‘Law James London.’

Mr. W. Ayre, the Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, Mr. G. R. Newton, Mr. S. H. Wood, Mr. J. W. Jones, Mr. C. T. Coles, Mr. R. Richardson and Mr. C. Mee spoke in favour of the motion, and Mr. P. J. Johnson, Mr. J. Hunt, Mr. A. E. Sharman and Mr. T. Clarke against.

On being put it was adopted by a large majority, the President declaring that it was ‘carried by a two-thirds majority.’

A motion proposed by Mr. E. M. Atkins, seconded by Mr. J. Parker, was agreed to, nem con., in the following terms: ‘That this Council views with concern the comparatively small number of ringers ringing their first peal, and suggests that all ringers, mindful of their high calling, should do all in their power to encourage their less proficient brethren.’

The Council accepted the Standing Committee’s recommendation that the next meeting should be held at Shrewsbury.

On the suggestion of Mr. F. E. Dawe, a small committee was appointed to confer with the Editor on the best method of increasing the sale of ‘The Ringing World.’

The President proposed that in view of the forthcoming centenary celebration in Melbourne the greetings of the Council be sent to the ringers of Australia, and Mr. J. S. Goldsmith outlined a scheme, which the Council approved, to send a suitable collection of photographs of notable cathedrals and churches to the ringers at Melbourne and Hobart, Tasmania.

An omnibus vote of thanks to all who had organised the proceedings and helped to make them so enjoyable, particularly to Mr. Frank Perrens, who had been indefatigable in arranging and supervising the social programme, was accorded by acclamation.

A vote of thanks to the president terminated the meeting.

Afterwards the members and their friends were entertained to tea by the Warwickshire Guild, when the president of the Guild and the Mayor of Warwick expressed pleasure at the visit of the Council to Warwick.

Mr. E. H. Lewis replied and thanked the Warwickshire Guild for their hospitality and for the arrangements made for the comfort and pleasure of the visitors. To this Mr. Perrens replied.

Ringing on the fine bells at St. Mary’s Church was followed by a social at the Woolpack Hotel (which had been the headquarters during the visit), and in the course of the evening much interest and entertainment was got from Mr. R. Richardson’s exhibition of his ‘movies,’ in which many well-known ringers figured.

The Ringing World, May 25th, 1934, pages 331 to 332, corrections June 1st, 1934, page 347



The Business Meeting at Warwick.

In our last issue we gave a summary of the proceedings of the Central Council at Warwick on Whitsun Tuesday. To-day we begin the more detailed report of the business meeting, held in the Court House, and which, with an interval for lunch, lasted from 11 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Eighty-eight elected representatives were present from 41 out of 51 affiliated societies, and 12 out of 14 honorary members also attended.

When the Council assembled, Alderman Malins, Deputy Mayor, with whom was Alderman W. T. Collier, expressed regret at the absence of the Mayor of Warwick, who was detained by another engagement. On his behalf and on behalf of the inhabitants of Warwick, Alderman Malins extended a warm welcome to the Council. He hoped when they had finished the conference they would find much in Warwick that would still interest them, and that when they left they would carry away pleasant memories.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry offered the Council a similar welcome on behalf of the Church in the diocese of Coventry, in which they were met. Originally in the diocese of Lichfield, which was one of the oldest and largest dioceses in England, stretching from North Lancashire down to Oxford, with three centres - Coventry, Lichfield and Chester - Warwickshire, only a hundred years ago was placed in the diocese of Worcester, but in 1918 the diocese of Coventry was founded, so like the hymn book the diocese was both ancient and modern, and it was one of the happiest, most united and best dioceses in England (applause). Continuing, the Bishop said he did not know much about bells and the mysterious personalities of bellringers, but he was lent a little book of ‘Rules and Decisions of the Council,’ and he confessed that his brain was going round in circles after glancing through it. In that part of the country they knew something about what hunting meant, and even what coursing meant, and possibly some people knew a little. about ‘doubles’ (laughter) and even surprises, but when those things were transferred to the church tower and became mixed up with leads, peals and Triples, some of them, he confessed, felt they had ‘bats in the belfry’ (laughter). The Bishop went on to say that they had some interesting old bells in their Warwickshire churches, two at least of the 13th century at Hasemere and Oldberrow, and added that, although he knew little about bells, his heart always went up when he heard a good peal rung.


Bellringers, said the Bishop, had the high vocation of linking the parson and church-going folk with the great multitudes of those who did not go to church - the world and the Church met in the oddest way in the church towers. It was true some people complained, and some even cursed and swore, when they heard church bells rung, but there were many whose thoughts were turned to higher things when they heard the sounds of the church bells. He welcomed the ringers to that diocese; he hoped their ministry would long flourish and that there would never be wanting a due supply of those younger men to take their place. He hoped they would enjoy their stay in Warwick, and that their discussions would give them both pleasure and profit (applause).

The President thanked Alderman Malins and the Lord Bishop for their welcome and the civic authorities for placing that beautiful room at their disposal. The art of ringing went far back into history, and they liked to retain old traditions and to meet, if possible, in an old building with historic associations, which seemed to be a fitting setting for their gatherings. They regretted that the Mayor was not able to be with them, but they would not like to feel that if he had been present they would have missed the presence of Alderman Malins. The members of the Council very much appreciated the old town of Warwick. Many of them had already seen a good deal of the town and district, and found it a most enjoyable place; they had also been ringing on some of the historic bells in the district. Mr. Lewis added that they very much appreciated having the Lord Bishop to welcome them, because it was one of their main ideals to emphasise the official position of ringers in the Church, and they very much appreciated it when high authorities of the Church recognised that fact and came to welcome them. The Bishop had referred to the fact that some people were sometimes driven to cursing and swearing when they heard the sound of church bells. That was one of the problems with which the Council had been trying to deal, because they believed that most of that inappropriate language (laughter) was caused when the bells were not properly rung. There were very few of the public - a very small minority - who could not listen to bells with a certain amount of pleasure, provided the bells were rung properly, but ringers themselves could quite understand the objection some people had to bells when they were jangled. That was one of the ideals the Council set before themselves, and would have to do so more in the future. In these days of nerves, when the public could not stand noise, they had to set before them the ideal of having the bells rung in perfect rhythm and what ringers called ‘good striking.’ If they did that they would have accomplished a good deal to remove one of the great causes of annoyance to the public (applause).

At the request of the president, the Bishop then offered prayer, and he and the Deputy Mayor, with Alderman Collier, afterwards withdrew.


The business opened with a report by the hon. secretary on the constitution of the Council. There was, he said, no alteration in the membership of the Council, which was composed of 51 associations, represented by 128 members. The honorary members numbered 14, making a total of 142. The only subscription unpaid was that of the Shropshire Association.

The President said three honorary members retired this year, viz., Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, Mr. A. A. Hughes and Mr. S. H. Wood. There was one vacancy, left by resolution of the Council last year. The Standing Committee recommended that the three retiring honorary members should be re-elected, and they also recommended that Mr. E. C. S. Turner be elected to the vacant place, kept for an emergency.

Mr. F. M. Mitchell proposed, and Mr. W. A. Cave seconded, the adoption of the Standing Committee’s recommendation.

Mr. P. J. Johnson asked for information about Mr. Turner, who was unknown to many of the Council.

The President said Mr. Turner was a member of the Middlesex Association and lived in Middlesex. His election was recommended by the Standing Committee in order that his services might be available on the Methods Committee. That committee would shortly be engaged on the preparation of a ‘Collection of Surprise Major Methods,’ and this was work which Mr. Turner was capable of doing.

The elections were agreed to nem con.

The President next expressed regret that during the past year the Council had lost one member and two old members by death. The member was Mr. J. D. Matthews, Master of the Royal Cumberland Youths, who had been a member of the Council since 1912, and had been present at six meetings. He was, said the President, what one might call one of the ‘silent’ members, but he (the President) did not consider that because a man was silent at a meeting he was not doing good work for the Council in other ways. They were very sorry to hear of Mr. Matthews’ death. The Council was represented at the funeral, and a letter was written by the hon. secretary to the relatives and a wreath was sent on behalf of the Council. They had also lost an old member in the Rev. A. T. Beeston, who represented the Chester Guild from 1911 to 1926, and was an honorary member from 1927 to 1929. During that time he was present at 14 meetings and only missed three. He was on the Analysis Committee, and was secretary of his own Guild from 1907 to 1926 and treasurer from 1908 to 1932. Mr. Beeston was also somewhat of a silent member, as far as speeches were concerned, but he did an extraordinary amount of work for the Exercise and the Council in his own quiet way. He (the president) knew him very well for eight years, while he was residing in Cheshire, and appreciated his friendship very much indeed. He was a delightful man in his quiet way. Before being ordained he had been in business and had a great capacity for figures, and his setting out of methods and his work in compiling the analysis and all his secretarial work was a model of what such things should be. He was so impressed by what Mr. Beeston did that he was partly responsible for getting him kept on the Council. In the old days the Chester Guild sent two members to the Council, and the various branches took it in turn to elect them, so that the Council representatives could never be more than semi-permanent. He (the president) got that changed by getting the Chester Guild to send three members, one of which should be the secretary, which meant that the Council was able to retain Mr. Beeston’s services on the Council. In addition to serving on the Analysis Committee, Mr. Beeston was one of the first members of the Records Committee, on which he did a lot of work in compiling the old records. Unfortunately they did not know of his death until a little time afterwards, so no action was taken at the time, but he thought the Council would like to authorise the secretary to write a letter to the widow. They had also lost Mr. Joseph Waghorn, sen., who was a representative of the Royal Cumberland Youths from 1897 to 1908, and was present at 12 meetings, which was the highest possible. Mr. Waghorn was a very old ringer and one of the oldest members of his society. There again they did not know of his death in time to take official action, and they would, he was sure, like to send a letter to the relatives. The Council regretted the loss of these three gentlemen who had done so much for the Council in the past, and he asked the members to stand in the usual way.

The Council stood in silence for a few moments.


Arising out of the minutes of the last meeting, which, having been circulated, were taken as read and confirmed, with the addition of the name of Mr. F. W. Rogers to the list of new members presented to the president, Mr. E. M. Atkins asked what action was taken on the resolution expressing the hope that the Stedman bells (at St. Bene’t’s, Cambridge) ‘would be rung regularly to the glory of God by a local band of ringers.’

The Hon. Secretary said the matter was referred to the Ely Diocesan Association, as in the event of any restriction being placed on the ringing of the bells by the Church authorities, the matter could be more conveniently dealt with by the local association than by the Council.

The Rev. B. H. Tyrwhitt Drake, who is hon. secretary of the Ely Diocesan Association, said attention was drawn to the resolution at the annual meeting on Easter Monday. The meeting duly considered it and left it lying on the table.

Coming to the business of dealing with the committee’s reports, the President reminded the members that under the new rules all reports of committees had to be sent in fourteen days before the meeting. Some of them had been, and had consequently been circulated to the members. Others which had come in since had been circulated that day. The whole idea was to save the time of the meeting, and secondly, which was more important, that by having them in the hands of the members beforehand they might come forward with, perhaps, more constructive criticism than was possible if they had only just heard the reports read a moment before.


The following report was presented by the hon. librarian:-

‘This has been a year of great activity in the library. Firstly, about 11 cwt. of books had to find a new home; then, secondly, the publication of “Hints” awoke a large demand. Nearly 3,000 sales must surely be a record for one year. A vast quantity of books remain in stock, and seems to be wanted at a very slow rate. Various smaller publications, such as “The Law of Church Bells,” will probably want reprinting during the coming year. The Method Sheets of Grandsire Triples and Stedman Triples became exhausted and had to be reprinted. I would suggest a smaller size of sheet which might be carried conveniently in a ringer’s pocket, costing one penny.

‘The most interesting series of letters were from an officer in the Indian Navy asking for help so that the bells at Colaba might be chimed in proper changes. Sales during 1933-34 included: Glossary 24 (left in stock 968), Rules and Decisions 8 (30), Collection of Peals No.1 9 (199), ditto No.2 7 (404), ditto No.3 2 (601), Plain Major and Caters 8 (135), Doubles and Minor 44 (102), Corrigenda Leaflets 1, Model Rules for a Local Company 28 (92), Report of Conference, S.P.A.B. 3 (245), Card of Instructions 26 (374), On the Preservation of Bells (limp) 7 (97), ditto (stiff) 10 (29), The Law of Church Bells 39 (54), Method Sheets, Stedman and Grandsire Triples, 55 (475), ditto, Cambridge Surprise, 19 (140), ditto, Double Norwich and Cambridge Court, 26 (24), ditto, Bristol, 41 (126), Bell Towers and Hanging 2 (1), Hints for Instructors 2,562 (1,438). The total sales were 2,921, amounting to £35 12s. 10d., with 5,524 copies of publications, valued at £183 4s. 4d., left in stock.’

After deducting expenses and cost of advertising a balance of £24 0s. 10d. was available for the general fund.


In moving the adoption of the report the Hon. Librarian said when he took over the publications they could imagine his consternation when he had 11 cwt. of literature dumped upon him. They had been able to reduce it considerably, but he hoped it would be possible to reduce it still more considerably. He omitted in writing the report to mention that Mrs. Jenkyn had kindly presented to the Council’s library copies of ‘The Ringing World’ up to 1932. They were deeply indebted to her for these copies. Mr. Fletcher had kindly given a copy for last year. They had acquired by purchase a copy of the County Bell History of Lincolnshire, and at the meeting of the Standing Committee on the previous evening they were offered copies of other county histories. He commended to anyone who had spare copies of any of the county volumes on bells that it was very desirable that the Central Council should possess such copies, so that information might be accessible to any who desired to ascertain the history of the bells of any particular tower. If there were any members of the Council who were also members of the Diocesan Advisory Committees they would know how valuable it was to be able to lay hands beforehand on information about the age of bells in order to know whether it was desirable or not to have them recast. Therefore the more county histories the Council could accumulate the better; the more by gift the better still. There was to be a recommendation put before them that they should be empowered to buy, where possible, County histories.

The adoption of the report was seconded by Mr. W. Ayre.

The President said the Standing Committee recommended that the hon. librarian should be given power to renew stocks of books in common demand, and that the sum of £5 be available in any one year for the purchase of books for the library; also that the officers might, at their discretion, reduce the price of surplus stocks. One or two of their publications were getting rather low, and the librarian would like to have their authority to reprint them as considered necessary. There were certain large stocks of old publications, and they would also like the Council’s authority to open a ‘bargain basement’ (laughter).

Mr. E. W. Marsh said £5 would not go very far in the purchase of county histories.

The President: We must limit the amount; our funds are not inexhaustible.

The recommendations of the Standing Committee were agreed to and the librarian’s report was adopted.


The Hon. Secretary and Treasurer presented the statement of the Council’s accounts. The receipts were made up as follows: Balance, Whitsun, 1933, £67 12s. 2d.; subscriptions, arrears 1932-33, £1, 1933-34, £31 10s., hon. members, £2 2s. 6d.; interest, £5; sale of publications, £24 0s. 10d.; total, £131 5s. 6d. Expenses: Publications, £23 15s.; Library, purchase of ‘Church Bells of Lincolnshire,’ 16s. 9d.; memorials voted at last meeting. Sir A. P. Heywood £10 10s., Rev. H. Law James £5 5s., Mr. Edwin Barnett £3 3s., Mr. Henry W. Wilde £3 3s., carriage, packing and insurance of library and publications £6 10s. 9d., advertising £1 18s. 6d. ; stationery and printing, £6 8s.; other items, £5 3s. 8½d.; balance, £64 11s. 9½d. The Council’s investments consist of £71 3½ per cent. Conversion Stock and £63 0s. 9d. Consolidated Stock. The Treasurer stated that the income was short this year of the subscriptions of the Shropshire Association and the St. Clement Youths. The St. Clement Youths’ subscription was paid on May 19th, but the Shropshire Association subscription was not paid.

Mr. A. A. Hughes, one of the auditors, proposed the adoption of the accounts, and congratulated the secretary upon the clear way in which they were set out, which made the audit an easy matter (applause).

Mr. J. H. Swinfield seconded, and the accounts were adopted.

The President said under the new rules the Council had, at each triennial meeting, to appoint two auditors, but as they had not come to their first London meeting under the new rules they had got to appoint auditors for the remaining period. The Standing Committee recommended that Messrs. A. A. Hughes and C. T. Coles be elected auditors to serve until the next London meeting.

The recommendation was agreed to.


Mr. E. A. Young presented the report of the trustees of the Carter Ringing Machine, now in the Science Museum, South Kensington. It was demonstrated on April 28th, and found to be in working order. Mr. Young said he was quite satisfied with the way the machine worked. It worked quite as well as in the previous year, and rang a plain course of Grandsire Cinques. A few weeks later a visit was paid by employees of the Instrument Makers Company. They were men highly acquainted with mechanical and electrical mechanism, and made some shrewd comments with regard to the machine. He (Mr. Young) was very satisfied with the way in which the machine was being looked after, and he congratulated the Council on the fact that the machine had been placed in the safe custody of the Museum.

Mr. A. A. Hughes, Mr. Young’s co-trustee, seconded the report, which was adopted, and the demonstrator’s fee ordered to be paid.

Canon Elsee mentioned that there was another ringing machine already in working order, and now being put into an improved form. It was a machine invented by Mr. G. F. Woodhouse, of Sedbergh, Yorks. Some members of the Council, he believed, had seen it. Mr. Woodhouse was an ex-schoolmaster, who, with more leisure, was devoting himself to working in science. He had been for many years a keen ringer, and had invented this ringing machine, which had already rung 104 methods of Doubles, Minor, Triples and Major. If the Council would care to see it, Mr. Woodhouse would be ready to attend at the next Council meeting and bring the machine with him and give a demonstration (applause). He (Canon Elsee) believed that Mr. Woodhouse’s machine was somewhat simpler in construction than the Carter machine, but the best proof would be if the members saw it for themselves. He was sure it would give the members much pleasure and interest.

The Rev. B. H. Tyrwhitt Drake said the machine not only rang the methods but printed a diagram at the same time.

The President moved that the Council accept Mr. Woodhouse’s kind offer to exhibit the machine at the next meeting. He added that he did not know why Mr. Woodhouse had not been a member of the Council. He was a most capable man.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards: He has never been free at Whitsuntide.

The. president’s motion was agreed to, and the members inspected with interest a photograph of the machine and diagrams which it had produced, which were passed round by Canon Elsee.


It was reported that the Standing Committee, at their meetings on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, had considered the agenda and various recommendations had been or would be placed before the Council. The ‘Collection of Triples Methods’ had been received from the Methods Committee; and 750 copies had been ordered to be printed. With regard to the vacancy on the Standing Committee, caused by the death of Mr. J. D. Matthews, the committee recommended that Mr. E. Denison Taylor be asked to fill the vacancy.

The President moved the adoption of the report, which was agreed to, and Mr. Taylor, in expressing thanks for his election to the committee, said he would do all in his power to help the Central Council in its work.

The Ringing World, June 1st, 1934, pages 346 to 347


The adoption of the report of the Peal Collection Committee was moved by Mr. Gabriel Lindoff. It stated that, at a meeting of the committee held in London on September 25th, 1933, It was decided to collect peals in the following methods: Plain Bob, Grandsire, Double Norwich, Stedman, Treble Bob, Superlative, Cambridge, London, Bristol, Yorkshire, Pudsey, Rutland and Lincolnshire, a draft of about ten of each to be submitted to the Central Council for publication. With regard to ‘Variation’ it was decided that Mr. Trollope’s articles upon that subject (which appeared in ‘The Ringing World’ in 1930 (pages 830-831) and 1931 (pages 10, 26, 42, 74, 90, 123, 138, 166 and 182) should be audited by Mr. Lewis and submitted to the Council. It was hoped to have the next draft of the Peals Collection ready to lay before the Council at the next meeting.

The President said the Standing Committee recommended that the articles on variation by Mr. Trollope be considered by the committee, and that they collaborate with Mr. Trollope as to the suitability of publishing them as a pamphlet, either in their present form or as may be decided by the committee.

Mr. J. S. Goldsmith asked the committee to take into consideration the inclusion of a few peals of Spliced Surprise Major in the collection which it was proposed to publish, as this form of ringing was growing in popularity.

Mr. Lindoff agreed to do this.

The President moved that the committee be given power to print the pamphlet, and this and the report were agreed to.


The Council next considered the report of the Methods Committee, which was published in ‘The Ringing World’ on May 18th. In moving its adoption Mr. J. A. Trollope said the ‘Collection of Triples Methods’ would shortly be on sale. It had been drawn up with the special idea of catering for the less advanced ringers and, because the scope was less than in other methods, the committee had been able to put in one or two features which would be an improvement from the point of view of less experienced bands. In the methods of pure Triples they had printed the course in full, because they thought the average ringer, who wanted to learn a method, could do so easier if he was provided with the whole course than by working it out himself from a single lead. They had included a selection of touches and quarter-peals as well as peals, and he asked secretaries of associations and other responsible people to do what they could to get the books into the hands of the people for whom it was intended, because there must be quite a large number of bands who were not capable and not likely to be capable of ringing Surprise methods, but who ought to be able to ring methods like Double Court Triples or Double Oxford, but who now confined themselves largely to Grandsire. This was one of the directions in which they could cater for that class of people who had a tendency to think they were neglected by more advanced ringers.


Another point that arose in connection with the report, continued Mr. Trollope, was the question of the authorship of compositions and methods. It was not intended to aim at anything in the way of finality. The committee’s suggestion that, in future, compositions given in the collections of methods should appear anonymously was only put forward as a basis of discussion so that people might understand the situation arising now and in the future. There were, however, two sentences in the committee’s report which seemed to some extent to attempt to fetter the action of the Council in the future. They were not put in for that purpose, but since they did, to some extent, bear that construction, the committee would like to delete the sentences. The sentences were, ‘We suggest that this recommendation’ (regarding anonymity) ‘shall apply to all future publications by the Central Council,’ and ‘Our proposal is that in later books of the Central Council of a similar character, anonymity should be the rule and not the exception.’ The committee would like to delete those two sentences, but in doing so he called attention to the earlier sentence in which the committee stated, ‘We should recommend that in no instance should any author or composer’s name be put to any methods, and that in the case of peal compositions names should be omitted except to old and well-known productions or such modern ones in which the proofs of originality are unmistakable.’ That, said Mr. Trollope, was what had actually been the custom of the Exercise from the beginning. It rather shifted the onus of proof of authorship. In olden times they assumed a man was the composer unless they proved otherwise. Now, they thought it better that they should have proof of originality and not assume it. He thought, however, that the old ideas were bound to come back sooner or later. Certain classes of peal composition would take the same place that quarter-peals now had. Of the ordinary touches that were rung no one could say who was the composer. There were a number of peals getting into the same category, but the committee had not the slightest intention of doing anything in any way to rob a man of his credit or to suggest that if a man produced things, like the compositions of Mr. Pitman, for instance, he was not entitled to full credit for it.

Mr. S. H. Wood seconded, and the report, with the sentences deleted, was adopted,


Mr. A. D. Barker asked for an assurance that the new book on Triples would contain no irregular methods, as in the Minor, and that there would be no mistakes in it which the Council would afterwards have to withdraw.

Mr. Trollope said there were no irregular methods in the book, but, as far as mistakes were concerned, he could give no undertaking. He had never yet come across a man who could give an assurance that a mistake would not happen.

The Rev. E. S. Powell said the best defence of the accuracy of the book which he could make was that it was being printed within a few months of completion. In the case of the book on Double and Minor, owing to unfortunate happenings, still in the memory of the Council, it was not published until something like four or five years after completion. The result was that when they came to the correction of the proofs members of the Methods Committee had absolutely forgotten about the subject, and he was personally responsible for getting several methods stuck in at the last minute which had been rejected years before. In the hurry at the finish they allowed them to slip in again. The other members of the committee were responsible, in that they accepted his word that the methods were all right. The same trouble was not likely to occur again. If they had made mistakes of that kind this time they would deserve a greater ‘strafing’ than they received last time.

The Rev. H. Drake said he thought the lines on which the committee wanted to proceed were the wrong ones. He thought it was quite wrong that there should be anonymity with regard to peals or compositions. They ought to go rather in the opposite direction and make somebody responsible for every peal; if the compositions were anonymous no one would be responsible. What Mr. Trollope said was quite right with regard to originality, but they should have some way in which responsibility for a peal composition could be nailed down. He was sorry that there would be peals inserted in the book of Triples methods that were anonymous, but at any rate there they had the responsibility of the committee. In other cases, however, peals would be published and no one would know anything about them or who was responsible for them. He thought it could be got over if it was said that a peal was ‘arranged’ by so-and-so. That would not mean that he was necessarily the original composer. Someone else might have arranged it before him, but he was responsible on that particular occasion when it was rung. He thought it was quite wrong that they should sanction peals or compositions going forward without a name or someone being responsible for them.


Mr. S. H. Wood said one very simple way to get over the difficulty would be for conductors to record in their reports that the peal rung was ‘number so and so’ in the Central Council’s Collection. That definitely told them what peal was rung, whereas if they simply said a peal was composed by, say, Mr. Trollope, it did not tell them what the figures were that were rung. It placed responsibility on him for a true peal, but if they put a peal number that was in the Collection they knew exactly what peal was rung, and those who compiled the book were responsible for the truth of the figures.

The Rev. E. S. Powell said he thought the general idea at the back of the minds of the Methods Committee could be expressed in this way: The time was coming, it was not yet and probably would not come for another ten or fifteen years, but it was coming when, instead of the proper designation of a peal being ‘composed and so and so,’ or, as had also been suggested, ‘arranged by so and so,’ they would meet the case by saying ‘attested by so and so.’ Incidentally it put the conductor in a stronger position than he was now. They were familiar with instances in the past where eminent composers had quarrelled whether certain figures had been obtained by one or the other, but there could have been no quarrel if the composition had been ‘attested’ and not ‘composed.’ The figures would be more valuable if ‘attested’ by two composers instead of ‘composed ’ by them. The committee had not the least desire to detract from the credit due to a composer for any originality, yet in view of the fact that the scope for originality was getting smaller every year, in future the onus should rather lay on the composer to prove that there was something original in his figures than that the onus should be on the critic. Some means should be adopted by which figures rung could be guaranteed, so far as it was possible to guarantee anything human, before a conductor asked a band to ring them with him, and he suggested that attestation was the best method of doing this.

Mr. S. H. Wood then proposed that Mr. E. S. C. Turner, of Ealing, be added to the Methods Committee. Those who knew Mr. Turner, he said, knew of his great ability as a composer, ringer and conductor, and he was particularly good at the kind of work which the Methods Committee had to do. Their next job was to be the Surprise Major methods, and Mr. Turner would be of great value in that work.

Mr. C. T. Coles seconded, and the motion was carried.

The Ringing World, June 8th, 1934, pages 362


Mrs. Fletcher moved the adoption of the Peals Analysis Committee’s report with one slight amendment to the statistics.- Mr. G. R. Pye seconded and it was agreed to.

The analysis and the report were published in ‘The Ringing World’ on April 6th.

Mr. C. T. Coles said at least one peal of Cambridge Royal included in the analysis had turned out to be false. It was rung by the Worcestershire Association, and he drew attention to it as a warning to conductors not to alter the figures of peal compositions. In this case it was a composition which had been rung a great many times. It was composed by Mr. William Pye, but in the case in question the last four courses were altered and three bobs Home shifted from one block to another to add to the music of the peal, but as it turned out it made the peal false. It was not only unfortunate for the men who rang the peal, but it was unfair to the man whose name was given to it as composer. It was a thing that might be avoided by people ringing compositions as they were originally given and not altering them because they think that they can be altered with advantage.

A representative of the Worcestershire Association said the peal had been withdrawn.


The President moved the adoption of the Towers and Belfries Committee’s report. He said the committee had met the previous evening and considered the question of Ellacombe chiming hammers. They decided to compose a letter, which they would send to all Archdeacons, warning them of the dangers of Ellacombe hammers if they were not properly used and attended to. Possibly some of such letters would go into the waste paper basket, but if they could get through to only a few Archdeacons it would be worth while sending out. If it did nothing else it would let the Archdeacons know the Council existed and were willing to help them if they were willing to be helped (hear, hear). The question of ball bearings for bells had also arisen during the year. There were those who said they liked the old style of bearing best, because they liked a little bit of friction towards the end of the stroke, which gave a slight drag and made the bell easier to handle. Theoretically that would not stand. He worked out the amount of friction of a well-cared for bearing of the old-fashioned type, and came to the conclusion that the amount of energy lost in friction was so small that there was far less difference between a ball bearing and a well-cared for old-fashioned bearing than between a well-cared for and an ill-cared for old-fashioned bearing. There was practically no difference between the well-cared for old-fashioned bearing and the ball bearing, but if the old-fashioned bearing was neglected the amount of friction was increased enormously until the bell became almost unringable. They never knew how bells would go in a fixed bearing in a timber frame, because it depended largely on the weather and the amount of twist in the upper members of the frame. Therefore, ball bearings or at least self-aligning bearings seemed more suitable than the old bearings in such cases.

On the question of welding, said the President, he did not think the committee were prepared yet to give an opinion on the value of this process. They were watching the subject very carefully.


Proceeding, the President said it had come to their knowledge in quite a number of cases that church authorities were prepared to allow bells to be rung on a few occasions or for a short time and not on a larger number of occasions or for a long time. They were right in saying that if they wished to, but they were not right in giving as the reason that it was not safe to do otherwise. He thought they should make it quite clear, and the committee agreed with him in this, that as far as the safety of the tower was concerned, if it was safe to ring for ten minutes it was safe to ring a quarter-peal, and if it was safe to ring a quarter-peal it was safe to ring a peal; if it was safe to ring 12 times a year it was safe to ring 13 times a year (hear, hear). With certain kinds of machinery it was possible to calculate the life of the machine; they might do it in the case of bells. They might say that the remaining life of the bearings of a particular bell was only 24 hours and that at the end of that period of use they would have to be repaired. They might conceive that if certain church authorities did not want to spend any money for two years and knew they only had 24 hours’ life left in the bearings they would limit the ringing to one hour once a month for the two years. But they could not do that with regard to a tower. He did not think any architect or engineer would be prepared to say, because a crack in a tower was gradually expanding, that that tower had 24 more hours of life, and that if the bells were rung for an hour once a month it would come down at the end of two years. If they could do it he was sure the ringers would not wish to ring at all (laughter). He thought they might put it on record that it was absolutely absurd for authorities, when they wished to curtail ringing or to limit the time, to make the excuse that it was not safe for the tower to ring the bells more often or longer. If they gave any other reason the ringers would accept it, if it was a sensible reason, because they knew the authorities had the ultimate say whether they wished the bells rung or not, but they only made themselves foolish when they gave foolish reasons for withholding permission to ring (hear, hear).

Major Hesse seconded the adoption of the report.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards suggested that, in addition to sending the proposed letter to the Archdeacons, they should also send a copy to the secretary of each Diocesan Advisory Board, who would consider it his duty to lay it before the Board, and it would have the effect of still further whetting the memory of the Archdeacons.


Mr. E. A. Young said the Rev. E. Bankes James recently referred in ‘The Ringing World’ to the fact that at one time the flights of clappers were made much longer than was the common practice to-day and suggested that the reason might have been an endeavour on the part of the old bell founders to improve the tone of the bells, or some other abstruse idea. As far as he (Mr. Young) could recollect, no one stepped into the breach and ventured to discuss it. As they had among them that day several experts in that particular branch of the art, it would be interesting to know whether there was any point in the suggestion.

Major Hesse referred to the interesting fact that the bells of St. Andrew’s, Wells Street, London, were soon to be restored to their place in the re-erected tower in the suburbs. Major Hesse referred to the inspections which he had made during the year, including Woking, where he was particularly interested in the memorial bell provided by his own Guild in memory of Admiral Walker, who was a ringer at that church, and Sherborne Abbey, where a big job had been carried out entirely satisfactorily as far as he was concerned. With regard to the question of clapper flights, he answered Mr. James’ letter in ‘The Ringing World.’ His own idea was that the old founders used to put long flights to the clappers in order to make the bells clapper up right side and make the bell speak as loudly as possible. If it was a good bell, a big clapper was a detriment; if it was a bad bell a large clapper would not make it a good bell.

Mr. J. Hunt said he had made inspections in seven towers in his own diocese. In one case there were three bells. They had pushed heavy pieces of wood under the bells to keep them from moving and tied the ropes to the clappers. As a result the second bell had been cracked.

The President said he did not want to butt in on the province of the bell founders, but from the theoretical point of view a clapper with a long flight and of the same weight as one with a shorter flight would tend to give the bell a more definite blow. The reason was that the speed of the revolution of the bell and the speed of revolution of the clapper depended upon the distance of the centre of gravity from the gudgeons. Both the bell and the clapper acted as a pendulum, and the longer a pendulum the slower it went. If they transferred part of the weight from the ball of the clapper to the flight they increased the distance of the centre of gravity from the point of suspension and reduced its natural speed of revolution. During the first part of its revolution the bell was pushing the clapper and transferred some of its energy to the clapper. At a certain point it has given the clapper so much of its energy that the clapper really started to move faster than the bell and towards the end of the swing caught the bell and gave it a blow. If they transferred some of the weight from the ball to the flight, during the first part of the swing the bell was pushing the clapper more than it would if the centre of gravity of the clapper were nearer the gudgeons and therefore transferred more energy, and although the clapper was of the same weight as one with a shorter flight, it would give a blow of greater energy at the end of the swing. That was the theoretical side of it; as to the actual practice, the bell founders themselves were much more able to give them the facts than he could.

The committee’s report was adopted.

(To be continued.)


Four of the bright(?) young people were looking for ‘the Ope,’ instead of ‘the Oak,’ at Leamington of all places, too.

Following the advice of the Mayor of Warwick, 14 well-known persons were seen drinking water at midnight on Whit Tuesday (President, please note).

One of the teetotallers fell down the stairs at Stratford-upon-Avon. Although his funny-bone was badly bruised, it is hoped that his contributions to ‘The Ringing World’ will not suffer.

Enormous numbers of cyclists were to be seen around Warwick, most of them were at the service at Meridon. One ‘bright young thing,’ after doing nearly 100 miles, is getting alarmed at his loss of weight, in case he ‘can’t pull the tenor off.’

Bachelors should be careful when staying in Warwick. The ghost of Fulke Greville, the celebrated bachelor of Warwick ‘who did as he liked,’ apparently resented the visit of a well-known ringing bachelor, and recorded his displeasure by arranging an ‘omnibus’ bed, complete with bells, wife, child and apple pie. A brother representative has since adopted ‘the infant,’ presumably to train it as a ringer.

A well-known ‘J.P.’ also had a shock when he went to his room. The ‘movie-man’ missed a great picture when he saw the ‘boots, boots, boots, boots, marching up and down again.’

Incidentally whilst the pictures were ‘on’ one not unknown lady was told to go and hold her husband’s hand!

Did Miss Plymouth see the ‘film star’ she was looking for, or did she leave too early?

The Ringing World, June 8th, 1934, page 363


(Continued from page 363.)


In their report, presented by the Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, the Literature, Press and Broadcasting Committee said:-

Seldom, if ever, before have bells and bellringing occupied so prominent a place in the Press as during the past twelve months. The great literary event of this period has been the appearance of Miss Dorothy Sayers’ most original novel, ‘The Nine Tailors,’ wherein the story turns on a nine-hour peal, and a clever cypher is made out of a course of Kent Treble Bob. The solution of the mysterious death of a man, whose body had been found in the bellchamber - that he was killed by the noise of the bells - might indeed be regarded rather as a two-edged weapon, but there is no doubt that the book has had the effect of calling public attention to the scientific aspect of change ringing. Most significant of all is the fact that the ‘Daily Express’ thought it worth while to publish the novel as a serial story with copious illustrations of the belfry. Of the drawings it may be observed that one of the actual ringing was rather of the old Christmas card type, but those of the bells and their fittings presented a vivid and accurate picture.

The broadcast of the bells of Bethlehem to the world last Christmas Eve naturally claimed a place of honour in the printed page, and in many instances photographs of the Church of the Nativity were reproduced, showing one or more of the bells.

Bow Bells have become more famous than ever. The restoration and reopening of this historic peal commanded the general attention of journalists both it Britain and America, while the interesting experiment recently introduced by the B.B.C. of using a gramophone record of the old bells, as an interval signal, formed the subject of many a newspaper paragraph. A lively correspondence on this innovation in the ‘Times’ and other newspapers has afforded one more proof of the fact that it is no use trying to please everybody!


The temporary silence of Big Ben has brought that world-famous bell into the news of the day. This again has given rise to an animated discussion in the ‘Times’ and other journals on the question whether Big Ben should be recast - and robbed of his individuality. There is adequate reason to believe that his friendly old jumble of tones will continue as heretofore to appeal to the sentiments of listeners throughout the King’s Dominions. The substitution of St. Paul’s clock chimes for those of Westminster has elicited a number of well-informed paragraphs on the bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The transfer of three bells from a disused village church to the tower of St. Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, the recasting of Wolsey’s great bell at Sherborne Abbey and the repair of ancient bells in two Suffolk churches by welding have featured prominently in the Press. In this last connection the fact that an article written by the Rev. H. Drake for a Suffolk weekly, the ‘Woodbridge Reporter,’ was reproduced in full in the ‘Western Gazette,’ published at Yeovil, suggests that editors regard campanology as ‘good copy.’ The memorable scene enacted at Sherborne, when boys of Sherborne School, under the direction of Major Hesse, pulled the recast tenor from the station to the Abbey, engaged the close attention of Press photographers, and claimed pride of place in the pictorial pages. Indeed, that popular journal, the ‘Daily Mirror,’ assigned to it the whole of its front page. The appearance of this picture gave occasion to a humorous incident, which gained currency in the local Press. A lady wrote to the headmaster stating that she had in her house a bust of Cardinal Wolsey, and offering to present it to the school in memory of the part taken by the boys in connection with Wolsey’s Bell. The matter was referred to the Vicar and the bust was duly sent. It proved to be that of John Wesley! (laughter). In several of the instances enumerated the editors of the papers concerned have improved the occasion to publish leading articles on bells and bellringing in general, while the correspondence columns, especially of the ‘Times,’ have furnished striking evidence of widespread interest in these subjects, letters on which have ranged over an extensive field of bell lore.


Recent records in peal ringing set up both by veterans and by youthful performers have found their due place in the news columns. The exploits of Edwin Barnett and Phyllis Tillett have obtained considerable publicity in East Anglian papers, and well-informed comments have appeared in print. The ‘Daily Herald’ has frequent references to the ringer’s art, evidently from the pen of one with technical knowledge. One Mr. Peppercorn was recently represented as saying, ‘Bellringing isn’t as simple as you’d think … Treble Bob Major sounds like an army man, and Grandsire Triples might be the oldest inhabitant.’ The ‘Daily Express’ last month published a striking account of a visit to the belfry of Bow Church, with a vivid description of the ringing and interesting personal notes on well-known members of the Exercise. Erudite contributions from the pen of Mr. R. Richardson have been appearing in a Midland magazine. A pleasing incident has been reported of Sir G. Lowndes, of Indian fame, revisiting the Dorset home of his childhood on purpose to hear the bells ring in the new year.

One case of objection to church bells obtained general notice. An injunction was sought to restrain the Vicar of St. Alban’s, Golders Green, from causing annoyance by a chime of bells. Three members of the Central Council attended the Court during most of the hearing. Counsel for plaintiff gave a very thorough and interesting exposition of the provisions of Canon Law with respect to church bells. Mr. Justice Luxmoore showed himself well instructed in the proper uses of bells and with commendable firmness upheld the statutory right and duty of the clergy to maintain such uses. The case was settled by agreement. The impression left was that a more satisfactory settlement might have been obtained and much time and money saved if the Vicar had in the first instance sought the advice of the Central Council.

A letter was sent to the B.B.C. thanking them for the broadcasts of ringing at Christmas and the New Year, and at the same time calling their attention to a most unfortunate use of a record of muffled bells illustrating Dickens’ Christmas Carol. The secretary of the Council received an appreciative and courteous reply.

The report concluded with quotations from a magnificent article which appeared in the ‘Times’ on March 23rd, in the course of which it said: ‘There are sweet bells in France, in Italy, in Belgium; but the English country is their true home. And it will never do for England to listen to the fretful fuss of those who would silence her church bells, whether over her fields or over the noisy towns in which they are the only music.’


An additional report by Mr. Albert Walker, on the broadcasting side of the committee’s work, was read as follows:-

During the year since Whitsuntide, 1933, there have been several broadcasts of bells in conjunction with the Sunday evening services from various churches and cathedrals. The most notable were the broadcast of Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral bells for the passing of the old year and ringing in the new year, and more recently the broadcast from Beverley Minster, Yorks, when the Bourdon bell, ‘Great John,’ in the south-west tower, was rung in conjunction with the noble peal of ten bells in the north-west tower of the Minster, with splendid effect.

It is to be regretted that there is a falling off in bell broadcasts previous to broadcast services from churches in the Midland Counties. Taking Birmingham as all example, St. Martin’s Church, the Cathedral and St. Chad’s R.C. Cathedral, whose bells have been generally broadcast, have been omitted, although Sunday evening services have on several occasions been broadcast since February 17th last, the date of the last broadcast from Birmingham Cathedral.

We have been in communication with the B.B.C. Midland Director, who assures us that these omissions are temporary and that they hope to include the bells again at an early date. The Rector of Birmingham, Canon T. Guy Rogers, who is a member of the Broadcast Services Advisory Committee of the B.B.C., has promised his support to have the bells included in future broadcasts.

Mr. W. A. Cave seconded the adoption of the report.

Mr. G. R. Newton referred to the absence of bells before many of the broadcast church services, and particularly to the absence of bells prior to the broadcast of a service from Ripon Cathedral, which was relayed to a large number of churches in the north. They had the organ before the service, said Mr. Newton, but he thought there were other times during the service when the organist got his chance to let the people hear the lovely organ music which was so much appreciated. It was a great disappointment that they could not hear the fine ring of bells at Ripon before that service. That service ought to have been preceded by the bells, and he suggested that the attention of the B.B.C. should be drawn to the omission.


Mr. C. T. Coles said he too wrote, in conjunction with Mr. Richardson, to the B.B.C. as to the misuse of a muffled bells record in the Christmas play. The B.B.C. replied, thanking them for pointing out the mistake, and remarking that ‘unfortunately no Christmas bells had been recorded as yet.’ Obviously, said Mr. Coles, there were plenty of records, and he sent the B.B.C. a list of the records which he knew existed. Mr. Coles also referred to the broadcast of a sketch in which a trick was supposed to be played, and a man, who was supposed to be secreted in a church, rang all the bells, the record being that of Grandsire Triples. That again was obviously silly. On writing to the B.B.C., Mr. Coles said he got a reply some time later saying that the matter was receiving attention in the proper quarter. Mr. Coles suggested that the Council might do something to stop the use of inappropriate broadcast records. There was, he said, another case, when there was a broadcast of a Russian opera of the period 1598-1605. In that they had the bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral rung to Stedman Cinques (laughter). Apparently change ringing was much older than many of them thought and came from Moscow (laughter). The matter, of course, had its serious side, and he suggested that when members of the Council heard things of that sort on the wireless they should communicate with the secretary of the Council. With regard to the interlude of Bow Bells, although he for one appreciated bells, he thought the use of one particular record became rather monotonous, and he suggested that the Council should call attention to the fact that there might be a variation of the records used, there were plenty of them, including St. Paul’s and St. Margaret’s. With all respect to those who made the excellent record of Bow Bells, he thought they would admit that to have a variation from call change ringing would be appreciated.

The President said the most satisfactory part of Mr. Coles’ statement was that letters to the B.B.C. did sometimes have some effect, and they had better go on writing (hear, hear).

The report was adopted, and the President added that when the correspondence in the ‘Times’ began about Great Tom and Great Paul a certain Capt. Cockrayne wrote pointing out that the statement of the B.B.C. that they were going to broadcast Great Tom must be wrong and that it was Great Paul and not Great Tom they were going to use, because bells were given the name of the Cathedral to which they belonged. When he (the president) saw that letter he wrote to the ‘Times’ pointing out that the B.B.C. were right, because it was Great Tom, which came from Westminster, upon which the clock struck. He got a courteous reply from the ‘Times,’ who said they would have published his letter if they had not already got set up in type a letter from Mr. Griggs, R.A., to the same effect. He (the president) took the opportunity of signing his letter officially and he was hoping that for once they might have got into the ‘Times.’ They nearly did it, but not quite (laughter).

This brought the Council to the end of the committee’s reports, and an adjournment was then made for luncheon.


When the Council resumed in the afternoon, the members came to the discussion of motions, the first being, ‘That no decision of the Council relating to the ringing of peals shall be binding unless passed by a two-thirds majority of the meeting.’ It was formally moved by Mr. J. A. Trollope and seconded by Mrs. E. K. Fletcher, and then an amendment suggested by the Standing Committee was accepted, altering the last words, ‘of the meeting,’ to ‘of the members present.’

Mr. W. E. White asked why the stipulation should apply to the ringing of peals only and not to the other business of the Council?

The President said the old rule was that all decisions of the Council on matters other than those of private business should be passed by two-thirds majority, but that was done away with under the new rules passed last year. It was felt that on this particular question of the recognition of peals, no decision should be taken, either by a snap vote or a small majority.

Mr. P. J. Johnson asked if it was suggested that some particular part of the business of the Council was to be subjected to a given majority, but not the other business? The new rules were only carried last year; were they going to start turning them upside down already? Any majority that was required to carry any other business of the Council ought to be used for the same purpose for defining peals or anything connected with the Council (hear, hear).

The Rev. H. Drake said the president had pointed out that the two-thirds majority proviso was done away with when they passed the new rules. It was a point that was never brought up for discussion, and it had never been agreed to after discussion that they should do away with a two-thirds majority on matters relating to peals.

The President stated that the reason for the Standing Committee’s recommendation was that the meeting was constituted by those who signed the roll, and it might be awkward to insist on a two thirds majority of the ‘meeting,’ because very often some members had to leave after lunch and before the business of the Council was completed.


Mr. Trollope then spoke to the motion as amended. He said when the Council was first constituted it was one of the rules that no resolution which affected the outside Exercise should be operative unless it were passed by two-thirds majority. He had been a member of the Council for 38 years, and he only remembered that rule being invoked once before last year, and that was at Worcester in 1902, so that to all intents and purposes it had become a dead letter until last year, and then it was brought into operation over the six-bell peal question. When the revision of rules was made last year the proviso was omitted. He had no means of knowing why, but he imagined that it was felt by those who were re-drafting the rules that it had not functioned. But he proposed now to ask the Council to revive it for one particular purpose only, and that was for the actual ringing of peals, the object being that they should not be at the mercy of a snap division, and that when the Council and the Exercise were sharply divided on any point the minority would be protected; in other words, that a large minority should not be at the mercy of a small majority, especially when the minority contained most of those people who were really interested in the question at issue. What the Council was now asked to agree to was that nothing went out as the authoritative ruling of the Council which had not behind it a large majority of the Council, so that they could say it was the considered opinion of the Council. It had been pointed out to him that the resolution might have the opposite effect to that intended, and he had been asked how they were to have any progress at all if they had to wait until they had a two-thirds majority? He held that this resolution, if carried, would be beneficial, provided they only looked upon their rules for peal ringing in the right way. A lot of people spoke of the rules as if they were restrictive rules, that they must do this or that they must not do the other. That, in his opinion, was not the object of the rules of the Council as far as peal ringing was concerned. Their object was to set up a standard below which they hoped and expected ringers would not fall. To some extent they had to say that they must not do certain things, but they must take the attitude that no rule could ever forbid anything being rung which was not in the mind of the Council at the time the rule was laid down. If any improvement should come up which was not known when the rule was laid down, that rule should not be construed as forbidding it, neither should it be construed as allowing it. These improvements were things which did not occur very often, perhaps once or twice in a generation. Supposing ten years ago a band made up their mind to ring a peal of Spliced Surprise and wanted to be loyal to the decisions of the Council. If they turned to the rules they would have found that a peal had to be rung in one method only. What should they do? Should they say that the rule as it stood forbade spliced ringing, and that they must get the rule altered before they rang the peal? Had they taken that attitude they would never have rung a spliced peal; long before the rule was altered all the enthusiasm would have evaporated, and the band, perhaps, broken up. But they said, in effect, when this rule was drawn up nobody dreamed about ringing this Spliced Surprise, therefore they considered the rule did not affect it one way or the other. When the peal had been rung and it came before the Council this suggested two-thirds majority, if carried, would operate. It would prevent anything being rushed on the Exercise if it was not desirable, and would give time for any improvement to prove whether it was right or wrong. Sometimes it took a long while, sometimes years, to get a considered opinion of the Exercise, and this rule would serve to keep a question open while they were deciding whether a thing was desirable or not. The object of the resolution was to protect minorities, but if he thought it would be used to stop improvement he would be inclined to vote against it himself.


Mr. W. E. White asked why the motion should apply to peal ringing only? He saw no reason for that.

The President pointed out that under Rule 15 all alterations in the rules of the Council had to be passed by a two-thirds vote.

Mr. White moved that the resolution before the Council should apply to all motions put before the Council.

Mr. P. J. Johnson seconded.

Mr. Coles said if this amendment were passed they would, in his opinion, be going backward. He did not think they should require a two-thirds majority for merely pious expressions of opinion, such as for instance, was contained in motion No. 14 on the agenda, and if that amendment were passed it certainly would apply to No. 14.

The President said the new rules passed last year were in the Press for nearly a year; people were asked for criticisms and to send in amendments. Ample opportunity was given for discussion, and if people did not take that opportunity it was their own fault.

The Rev. H. Drake said he did not mean that in what he had previously said. What he meant was that they did not actually discuss it.

The President: Presumably you did not discuss it because you didn’t want to.

Mr. J. Hunt advised the Council to vote against Mr. Trollope’s resolution. Had Mr. Trollope come there with the backing of an association, he (Mr. Hunt) would have considered supporting the motion, but he came there as an individual member. This two-thirds majority under the new rules was quashed, and they were now asked to reinstate it. His advice to them was to vote against the motion, and when they had anything to vote on let them vote on it and pass it like men.

Alderman Pritchett hoped the Council would not pass the resolution. His chief objection to it was that they might never be able to get enough people of one mind to carry a resolution by a two-thirds majority. A minor objection was they had just made new rules on the theory that they were competent to pass by a majority anything they thought fit. They ought not to depart from or make exceptions to it. The Council consisted of experienced ringers for the most part, capable of making up their minds and making them up in a sensible direction. They were naturally cautious, and it was not likely they would pass by a small majority an important resolution. Those who had fears of a considerable minority being overridden might rely on it that there was sufficient good sense among the members of the Council to prevent anything of that kind happening.

The Rev. E. S. Powell said he felt it incumbent to speak on behalf of the resolution, and particularly in regard to what they had heard from Mr. Pritchett. They had been told by the president, and surely that was an answer to Alderman Pritchett, that they already had in the rules that any alteration to the rules had got to have a two-thirds majority. Surely matters relating to peal ringing, things like Spliced Surprise and peals of Minor, were essential matters of some importance and equal in that respect to the rules of the Council. If that were so, and if it were wrong that there should be a two-thirds majority on matters dealing with peals, then they were wrong to insist on a two-thirds majority in the alteration of rules. He asked the Council to consider that before they voted against the resolution.

The amendment that all motions before the Council should require a two-thirds majority was then put to the meeting and defeated by a large majority, and Mr. Trollope’s motion was next put and also defeated.

The Ringing World, June 15th, 1934, pages 378 to 379


The next motion on the agenda was that relating to peals of Minor. It was as follows: ‘That, notwithstanding any definition to the contrary, peals in any recognised Minor method or methods containing compositions in what is known as the “Bankes James Arrangement” are in the opinion of this Council, permissible.’

The President said in order to avoid useless discussion he had better explain that the motion was put down in order that the Council might consider whether compositions known as the Bankes James Arrangement should be permitted in peals of Minor. He did not want the discussion to wander off into the question of the difference between rows and changes; nor did he want the discussion to wander off into whether these 720’s were true or not. They were not ‘true and complete,’ but, according to what might be called the new standards they were true without being complete. They were not individually complete, although they might possibly look upon the whole 2,160 as being complete.

The motion was first formally moved by Mr. J. S. Goldsmith and seconded by Mr. J. A. Trollope in order that a rider, defining the Bankes James Arrangement, might be moved at the suggestion of the Standing Committee.

The rider was proposed by the Rev. B. H. Tyrwhitt Drake as follows: ‘That the Bankes James Arrangement be as defined in the Central Council’s publication, “The Collection of Doubles and Minor Methods,” on pages 120 to 132, with the exception of the compositions on page 127, numbered 149, 150 and 151, which are known as the Law James Arrangement of London.’

Mr. J. Hunt said these compositions had never been passed by the Council, and he challenged the Council to say that they had ever been passed. He emphatically protested against the rider including all the compositions that had been referred to.

The President: They have been printed by authority of the Council.

The Rev. B. H. Tyrwhitt Drake: I am not speaking of the truth or otherwise of these things. I am simply proposing this rider so that the Council may have a definition in front of them as to what is meant by the Bankes James Arrangement.

Mr. Hunt said they had this all over at Chelmsford, and when the book was published they found that the Methods Committee had considerably exceeded their instructions from the Council. He made his protest at Plymouth and he made it again that day.

The Rev. B. H. Tyrwhitt Drake said what they were doing was purely to define what the Bankes James Arrangement was, and they defined it as certain figures published in that book. Whether they were rightly or wrongly published did not concern them at that moment.

Mr. C. T. Coles seconded the rider, which was accepted by the proposer and seconder of the motion.

Mr. P. J. Johnson said in the motion it said ‘notwithstanding any definition to the contrary,’ and he asked what were the definitions to the contrary?

The President: Perhaps Mr. Goldsmith will deal with that in proposing the motion.


Mr. Goldsmith said the suggestion of the president that they should not enter into a discussion as to whether the 720’s in this form of composition were true or not rather cut the ground from under his feet, because he was going to submit to the Council that these 720’s were individually true, although they were not in conventional form. He would not ask the Council to accept anything as a peal which he did not believe to be true. Therefore, while he would do his best, as far as he could, to keep outside the bar set up by the president, he must deal with the truth of the 720’s, as it was the whole basis of his case. Turning to the question raised by Mr. Johnson, Mr. Goldsmith said of the ‘definitions to the contrary’ the first was to be found in the Council’s handbook, that ‘on all numbers of bells a true peal shall in all cases start from and end with rounds.’ The other was to be found in the resolution passed at Hereford, in 1928 ‘That peals of Minor consist of at least seven true and complete 720’s rung without interval and without rounds or any other row being included or rung more than once in any 720.’ The manner in which the Bankes James Arrangement differed from these definitions was that it commenced not from but with rounds and, although individually true, the 720’s were not complete. When the Hereford resolution was drawn up, he said, those who were responsible for it believed that it covered the Bankes James Arrangement, as it was purposely designed to do. It was accepted at that meeting practically without dissent, but since then there had been other developments, with the result that doubt had been cast upon the truth of the peal. It was true, continued Mr. Goldsmith, that the Bankes James Arrangement did not conform to the conventional standard of 720’s. Its truth, however, did not depend upon convention but upon mathematical fact. In the construction of a Minor method with one hunt the first row of the method was rounds. That was a mathematical fact and no amount of argument or convention could alter it. They could argue, if they liked, that the sun went round the earth, but it didn’t and no argument would alter it. In the same way the argument that the initial rounds had nothing to do with the method did not alter the fact that it was an essential part of the first lead of the method, and that the end of the lead was the row at the handstroke lead of the treble. The Council itself had affirmed this fact, and laid it down in their definitions years ago. In ‘Rules and Decisions’ it was laid down that ‘The division between the leads is, in methods with one hunt, between the first and second blows of the whole pull of the hunt,’ therefore the initial rounds must be part of the first lead. Again, the Council, in defining a regular method, had stated, ‘Each lead shall reverse true to itself and together with the hunting and place-making that connect it with the next lead, shall contain the whole working of the method,’ proving that the place-making at the treble lead was a connecting link and not part of the lead itself. Moreover, without any equivocation, it put the backstroke lead of the treble into the next lead of the method. On six bells there were only 720 rows. In a six-bell method the first of those rows was rounds. In the Bankes James Arrangement, beginning with rounds, there were all the 720 possible rows, no more and no less, in the first 720, and in each and every succeeding 720 there were all the possible rows, although they did not all begin with rounds. Further, every 720 of Treble Bob was divided into 30 leads, the division between which was between the first and second rows of the whole pull of the hunt. Each 720 of the Bankes James peal contained everyone of these 30 leads. No peal of Treble Bob Minor could contain more; this one contained nothing less. The other point of importance to justify the Bankes James Arrangement was whether each 720 must begin with rounds. He contended that it need not. A 720 could be just as true if it began with 142356 or 134256 as if it began with 123456. It did not affect the truth of the 720 or the ringing of the method which of these three rows they started with in the Bankes James Arrangement, but they did begin and end the peal with rounds, as they did every other peal, because it was the most natural and convenient starting and finishing point. In the body of the peal rounds had no special significance. In any peal of Minor it had to occur six times as well as at the beginning and end, and as long as it occurred only once in each 720 it was of no more value or importance than any other row. These were the grounds on which he asked the Council to accept the Bankes James Arrangement as a true peal.


If they refused to accept it, Mr. Goldsmith continued, they must face the logical consequences of their action. If they defeated the motion because the peal did not conform to long-established convention, they would tie ringers down to the limits of 20 years ago and say they refused to make allowance for expanding thought and practice, even within the limits of truth; they would be going back upon their own resolution passed at Hereford, which must be entirely scrapped; they would be going back upon their own considered pronouncements as to the construction of regular methods, and they would be saying that certain mathematical facts were wrong. Moreover, if they turned down this motion they must in future refuse to recognise any peals of this kind - anything which did not consist of seven 720’s each beginning with rounds - and they must exclude them from the peals analysis. Whatever might be said to the contrary, these peals had, in the past, been tacitly recognised by the Council, and if they were now to say they were not to be permissible in the future, they must shoulder the responsibility and exclude them from the analysis. If they didn’t, they would be the laughing stock of the Exercise. If, however, they passed the resolution, as he hoped they would, then they would acknowledge that the old conventions in Minor could no longer be retained as hard and fast rules, and, in doing that, it was better that the Council should apply safeguards and only admit as peals those performances which, after due consideration, they held to be both in accordance with progressive practice and the requirements of truth. They could not throw the responsibility upon the affiliated societies to decide for themselves. In that way they would have chaos. They could not put back the clock, but they could exert a restraining influence on those who would like to ride roughshod over everything and set their own standards. Mr. Goldsmith concluded by saying that in this matter he had no axe to grind. He had never rung Mr. Bankes James’ peal, neither had the Guild of which he had the honour of being the hon. secretary. He asked the Council to accept the motion and to say that it was permissible to ring this arrangement on its merits (applause).


Mr. J. A. Trollope, in seconding the motion, said no two people had been more in active and verbal opposition than Mr. Goldsmith and himself, so when they saw the lion and the lamb lying down together the Council might feel that they had before them the minimum to which they could be asked to agree. Mr. Goldsmith had given them his reasons for asking them to accept the Bankes James style of composition as peals. His own reasons were different, although they amounted to the same thing in the long run. He took his stand on the general principles or the art and science of change ringing and also the good of the Exercise. He uttered a warning to the Council at the last meeting in London about the extreme danger they ran if they took the attitude of rigidly expecting people to obey their rules and if they did anything which had a tendency to discourage experiments and improvements and the natural development of ringing which was solely for the health of the art. It was better that those with no experience of six-bell ringing should tolerate a form of ringing of which they knew very little rather than run the risk of doing something which would discourage the natural development of ringing which had been taking place since it started 300 years ago. That was one reason; the other had been touched upon by Mr. Goldsmith, but in a different way to what he would do it. He took his stand entirely on the ground of the truth of the peal. The science and art of change ringing were based on certain broad principles, which were so strong that they had controlled the whole thing and made it what it was. They must be loyal to those principles and as far as peal ringing was concerned one main essential was that the peal should be true and that it should be complete. If it were not true and not complete then it ought to be condemned. That, he thought, they were all agreed upon. But here came the difficulty which most of them were in. What was true in actual peal ringing was a thing which they could recognise by instinct, but which was extraordinarily difficult to define accurately. They might give a ready answer, but when they put it into practice there would be serious discrepancies. Truth in peal ringing was not exactly the same thing as the non-repetition of rows. For instance, they would not recognise 5,000 changes which had any repetition as a true peal; on the other hand, they did almost every time they rang a peal recognise times when the bells actually struck in the same order twice. He wanted to impress on the Council that there was a general principle which the instinct, rather than the reason, of the Exercise had recognised as a true peal. Did these compositions come within the scope of that; were they legitimate developments? Having considered other people’s opinions and looked at it from a purely impartial point of view, he was convinced they were a legitimate development of the spirit and ideals which produced change ringing. They were, in fact, true and complete peals. They sometimes heard talk about the ‘old standards.’ The Exercise had never; as far as he knew, been very long in one mind as to what actually was a six-bell peal. The first record they had was a peal of fourteen 360’s. What the methods were they did not know. It showed, however, that the idea that a six-bell peal must consist of seven extents was not one of the things that had come down to them through the ages. Only quite recently there had slipped into their definition of a six-bell peal an alteration that they might extend the length by a touch of less than 720. That would not have been tolerated at one time. There was a time when they were expected to ring seven methods and not all the peal in one method. There was another time when they could ring a peal in 360’s, which not allowed now. His point was that if they admitted the Bankes James Arrangement they were not doing something that was entirely revolutionary; they were only carrying on one step that evolution in the idea of what a six-bell peal was. They had to face the fact that repetition of changes must occur in a peal of Minor. They had got an extent of 720 changes only to deal with, and if they wanted to ring a 5,040 they must repeat them. How they repeated them was a question which the Council could decide. It would be perfectly logical to say that each constituent extent must be true and complete, but there was no reason why they should adopt that rule more than any other. It was not a thing which had come down from heaven; there were other things which they could hold as being true peals, and he suggested, speaking from experience, that they could treat peals on the Bankes James Arrangement as being true and complete peals. On that ground and that ground alone, he volunteered to second the motion (applause).

The President said he hoped members would make up their minds to give full weight to any remarks made by practical six-bell ringers, rather than depend too much on what was said by eight, ten and twelve bell ringers.

Mr. Walter Ayre, in supporting the motion, said if these peals were to be ruled out as false now, they must be ruled out as true peals in the past. They could not be true in the past and false now. If they were to be ruled out he would have to rule out the whole of his peals of Cambridge Minor, for if this composition were false he had not rung a peal of Cambridge Minor yet. But as long as the composition was held to be true he should continue to ring it. With regard to the president’s request, he would point out that there were eight-bell men there who were also six-bell ringers. They could be both.

The President said he did not think that any decision arrived at that day would affect the peals that had already been rung. If they decided not to accept the Bankes James Arrangement as a true peal in future, anything that had been rung in the past would stand as a true peal.

Mr. P. J. Johnson said the fact that no one had any specific purpose behind this particular proposal was no reason why members of the Council should allow their reason to be swayed in favour of something they did not believe in. They were asked to define the basis on which they were going to arrange their peals of Minor in future. Those who did not remain last year to hear the discussion on this subject had something on their conscience (hear, hear). Then, they had arguments rained on them and reiterated again and again, and now they had the same arguments once more reiterated, and he hoped the Council would now make up their minds as to what it was they did want. The mover of the motion had touched upon what he (Mr. Johnson) thought was a very concrete and salient difficulty upon which the Council had to decide. He had told them that, in his view, and as mover of the resolution, they must attach some weight to it, that they started with rounds and that therefore rounds was the initial change (‘No.’). That was what Mr. Goldsmith said (‘No.’).

Mr. Goldsmith, interposing, said he had never stated that rounds was the first ‘change.’ What he had said was that rounds was the first ‘row’ of the method which was a very different thing.

Mr. Johnson said at any rate it was indicated that the initial rounds was part of the first lead, and Mr. Goldsmith had also read to them what the Council’s definition of a lead was. He had also pointed out that the first necessity and essential of any method was that they must have bells hunting. They did not begin that hunt, said Mr. Johnson, until they began to ring the method (hear, hear). No one could logically contradict that. They did not ring Cambridge until they went off into changes, and if the initial rounds was not Cambridge they were not ringing the method they set out to ring if they had to count it as part of the peal. If they were going to admit peals of this kind they were going to open the flood gates to all kinds of tinkering (hear, hear, and ‘No, no.’), and they would have it going on in the name of ‘progress.’ This would not be the first thing they had seen and turned down. He knew for a fact that at a county association meeting a member of that Council was asked if they were going to include the consideration of Doubles with the Minor, and he replied, ‘Let us get this through first and we will have the other after.’ That, said Mr. Johnson, was the sort of thing they were going to get. He concluded by reasserting that they did not begin to ring Cambridge until they broke away from rounds, and rounds was no part of what they set out to ring as a method. They did not begin to ring the method until they set the bells hunting, and if they didn’t start they rang no method. He hoped the Council would reject the motion.

The Rev. H. S. T. Richardson said there was a risk that the Council might be persuaded into doing something to make it look, in the future, exceedingly foolish. They must all agree that a method or peal must be composed before it could be rung. That was very obvious, and every composer knew that he must start with his lead heads. Rounds was a lead head in a peal; every composer knew that perfectly well. The lead of a method for the purposes of composition began with rounds and, in Bob Major, went on to 13254768, the first blow of the treble’s lead. That constituted the lead of a method, and the Council would be very unwise to be swayed by arguments of members who were not composers and did not know these things, without considering these fundamental matters. They might look very foolish in years to come. He cordially supported the motion.

Mr. G. R. Newton said the question was one which wanted disposing of that day, and they were in a position to dispose of it. It was a plain and simple matter they had to decide: Were they going to accept the Bankes James composition? He had no hesitation in asking the Council to accept it. He was not going into the merits or demerits of the composition. In his opinion it held a high place. He had called it several times and, provided the Council did not reject it that day, he hoped to call it again. He was a six-bell ringer, although he did a little on the higher numbers sometimes (laughter). He loved ringing Minor, and this composition was an excellent composition. It was voted an ingenious arrangement when it was first introduced in 1923. In his opinion it was a true composition, based on its particular plan and, in saying that, he believed he stood in good company. He hoped they would accept the composition and let it stand as a peal, never mind whether anything else crept in or not. This one would not let them down.

Mr. J. Hunt, in opposing the resolution, said the mover of it told them one thing in ‘The Ringing World’ and came there that day and told them another story altogether (‘Oh!’). Mr. Goldsmith published in ‘The Ringing World’ the figures of the Bankes James Minor, which consisted of six 720’s so-called, beginning with rounds and finishing with rounds. Their peals usually started at handstroke and ended at backstroke, although he rang in a long handbell peal of Stedman Caters which started at backstroke (‘Oh!’). It came home at handstroke and was composed by Mr. Gabriel Lindoff. Mr. Goldsmith had told them that there was no repetition in the 720’s. He did not know if members of the Council had pricked out the whole of them. The figures were printed very artfully (laughter) and were very deceiving. In the first block, from rounds to rounds, there were 1,321 rows, counting rounds at the start, in the next there were 336, in the next 504, in the next 1,320 and in the next 384. In the last 720 rounds came up twice. The Council would be wise to reject the peal altogether. The Council years ago, when some six-bell ringers were enterprising enough to ring fourteen 360’s, barred that type of peal, yet in the Bankes James Arrangement they had rounds coming up with only 336 rows between. If they opened the door to this they would get some more of the same kind of stuff, ‘and,’ concluded Mr. Hunt, ‘with these remarks I warn you.’

Mr. A. E. Sharman said they had heard a lot about progress, but he wondered if the mover of the resolution considered that this was progress? ‘I don’t,’ said Mr. Sharman, ‘and I don’t know any six-bell ringer who does.’ If a ringer had got to the stage where he could ring Surprise Minor he did not want to ring 5,000 of Cambridge. He came from a county where they had some of the leading Minor ringers of the country, and they would not ring it. They preferred to learn other Surprise methods. By accepting this they were opening the door to other things.

The Ringing World, June 22nd, 1934, pages 393 to 394


Mr. S. H. Wood, continuing the debate on the motion regarding peals on the Bankes James plan, said he had intended to support the motion, but after hearing some of the speeches he began to have doubts. According to Mr. Hunt the mover of the resolution was very artful and said one thing in his paper and something else at the Council meeting (laughter). He also understood from Mr. Hunt that they ought not to listen to Mr. Trollope because he was only an honorary member and did not represent an association (laughter), but he (Mr. Wood) hoped they would not take any notice of that. Look at the people who had spoken against the motion! Mr. Hunt said he did not mind whether he started a peal at handstroke or backstroke; if so, why worry about a little thing like the Cambridge Minor (laughter). Mr. Wood said he could not answer Mr. Johnson, because the president had asked them not to talk about rounds being the first or the last row, but as regards opening the ‘flood gates,’ there had been proposals put forward that a peal should be considered true as long as every change occurred only seven times. Such a proposal as that did not figure in the motion that day, and it showed they were not trying to open the flood gates, but to stick to the Bankes James Arrangement. They need not take it for granted that the Council would pass anything that was proposed. If somebody proposed to let in something that was not acceptable he was sure Mr. Johnson would try and step into the breach and stop the flood. With regard to the Bankes James Arrangement, they might not want to ring it themselves. He did not know that he wanted to ring it, but he did not want to say that nobody else might. In ten years’ time the people who voted against the motion that day would be a little bit sorry - the laugh would be on the other side. Mr. Sharman, continued Mr. Wood, had talked about progress and said he did not consider the Bankes James Arrangement was progress. He (Mr. Wood) could assure him that it was. Mr. Sharman had also said that other Minor ringers did not want to ring the Bankes James Minor. In ‘The Ringing World’ some weeks ago Mr. Joyce said he had heard from 60 or 70 Minor ringers in all parts of the country who did want to ring it. Mr. Wood asked the Council to support the motion.

Mr. J. W. Jones supported the motion for the reason that his friend Mr. A. J. Pitman assured him that it was perfectly true. They were not being asked to vote for anything that was false but to vote for a composition that was perfectly true.

Mr. T. Clarke said, although the Bankes James Arrangement as a whole might be a true peal, it would not stand the tests they could apply to other peals. If, for instance, they took a piece out of Thurstans’ peal they would find it was true, but they could not take a 720 out of the Bankes James Arrangement and say it was true. They had rounds occurring at irregular intervals.

The Rev. H. S. T. Richardson said that point had been raised before. There was a danger of attaching too much importance to the row 123456. It had no more importance than any other. If they took the row 654321, for instance, what was true of rounds was true of that, or of any other row that they liked to take. If they fixed rounds to come at every 720 changes, then every other row that there was would occur at varying intervals, some of them much closer than 336 changes apart, unless they rang the same 720 over and over again. When they talked of change ringing they must not attach undue importance to one particular row; all rows were of equal importance (applause).

Mr. Clarke said he did not quite agree with the last speaker. His reason for objecting to this composition was that the Council’s definition was that a 720 must start from and end with rounds.

Mr. W. A. Cave asked if it was a fact that the difference between an ordinary peal of seven 720’s of Minor and the Bankes James Arrangement was that the one contained 123456 seven times but in the Bankes James Arrangement they had rounds eight times, because they had to have it once at the start and once at the finish? If so the peal was false, although it might be theoretically true in 720’s.


Mr. C. T. Coles said it was fitting that they should be discussing that resolution in Warwickshire, because it was at Grendon in that county in 1923 that the composition was first rung. He reminded them of that fact mainly because it was eleven years since this peal was first before the Exercise, and every year there had been one or more performances of it published in the Analysis, yet there was no one there that day who had ever voted against the adoption of the table because it included peals on the Bankes James plan. The Rev. H. S. T. Richardson had suggested that the Council might make itself look exceedingly foolish in the future if it did not adopt that motion. He made the same remark last year, and he could not help saying that if they objected to the motion they would make themselves look exceedingly foolish that day by having omitted to move the reference back to the Analysis Committee of their report, which contained performances of that peal. He would remind the Council that it was the Council’s own fault at Hereford that the peal became exceedingly popular, for it there passed a definition of a peal of Minor - and incidentally also of Doubles - which purported to bring this peal in. If it didn’t, it was the fault of the framers of the resolution, but the fact remained that that resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority. Then in the following year at Chelmsford it was said that the peal was hopelessly false, and the Council had suffered for it ever since. Mr. Cave, continued Mr. Coles, had referred to the occurrence of rounds at the beginning and end. If they rang a peal of Stedman Triples they had rounds at the beginning and the end. Which one they counted was a matter some of them ‘stuck’ on, but it made no difference to the peal. The truth of the peal was in the peal itself and not necessarily in the 720’s. There was too much importance attached to having rounds 720 changes apart. People who talked about the truth of a peal of Minor did not mind ringing a certain change in the last lead of one 720 and in the first lead of the next. They called that true. If they were wrong in saying that rounds need not be 720 changes apart then they must of necessity ring every other row at intervals of exactly 720 changes and go back to ringing every 720 in a peal in the same method and calling the same composition, which all of them would agree would be a retrograde step. He would remind Mr. Hunt that a peal of Stedman Triples must contain 5,041 rows, with rounds at the beginning and the end, and however much he liked to try he could not dodge the fact that there were 5,041 rows in that peal. If they applied the same rule to the Bankes James Arrangement they must admit that the peal was true.


The Rev. H. Drake suggested that in deciding this matter only those who were six-bell ringers should vote (‘Oh!’).

Several Members: What is a six-bell ringer?

The Rev. H. Drake: One who rings on six bells and is not a regular ringer on eight or more bells. We should then see whether the six-bell ringers, who are chiefly concerned, are in favour of it or not.

Mr. Rupert Richardson said he supported the resolution and was certain he was speaking for practically every six-bell ringer in Lincolnshire (applause). At present he was not a six-bell ringer, but he had rung over a hundred peals of Minor. He was one of those to whom Mr. James introduced spliced Minor ringing, and they had some very fine Minor ringers in Lincolnshire.

Mr. C. Mee, speaking for the six-bell ringers of Suffolk, said they were in favour of admitting the Bankes James peal.

Mr. Goldsmith briefly replied to some of the points raised in the discussion. He said that whether they started at handstroke or backstroke made no difference to the truth of a peal; neither did it affect the truth of a 720 whether they began it with rounds or any other row. There were no more rows of rounds in the Bankes James Arrangement than in any other peal of Minor. In every peal on six bells they had eight rows of rounds, but only seven of them counted; and it was exactly the same in the Bankes James Cambridge. It had been said that they could not take a true touch out of this peal as they could out of Thurstans’ peal of Stedman. The two things were different. There was no repetition from beginning to end of a peal of Triples, but in a peal of Minor there must of necessity be repetitions of each row. With regard to the constitution of a lead, which involved the inclusion of the initial rounds as the first row, that applied to all Minor methods and not merely to Cambridge, and was not an argument introduced to make this particular peal true. It was true of all even-bell methods with only one hunt. He asked the Council to accept the motion on the ground that the peal was true.

A vote was then taken, and the President declared the motion carried, adding that there was more than a two-thirds majority.


The remaining motion on the agenda was moved by Mr. E. M. Atkins in the following terms: ‘That this Council views with concern the comparatively small number of ringers ringing their first peal, and suggests that all ringers, mindful of their high calling, should do all in their power to encourage their less proficient brethren.’ He said the impression was growing that things were not too satisfactory in the ringing world as a whole; that, in fact, they were not going uphill, but downhill. The number of towers one heard of where there was no band of ringers ringing for Sunday, and places one came across where one band supplied the ringing for two or three towers, were numerous. He had also noticed that there was often very little encouragement at meetings for those who could only ring rounds or were endeavouring to learn to hunt the treble. That came to a head this year when he realised that a certain well-known Diocesan Guild, with between 700 and 800 members, had only succeeded in getting three people through their first peal last year. When this happened there was something wrong, and he felt it was up to somebody to bring the matter before the Council. That was why he put the first part of the motion on the agenda with reference to people ringing their first peal. If they referred to the analysis things did not look quite so bad last year as the year before. They would find that last year 523 ringers rang their first peal, against 430 the year before, an increase of 93, but, on the other hand, if they went back another year they would find there were 612 who rang their first peal in 1931, so that in 1933 there was a decrease of 89 compared with two years ago. If they went back ten years they would find the number was 687, which showed a decrease of 164. Unfortunately they had no means of estimating the number of change ringers, but in the ‘Church of England Year Book’ it was stated that there were 46,321 bell ringers, which meant that about one per cent. rang their first peal in the course of the year. He had analysed a number of Guild reports and had come to the conclusion that the number of ringers attached to guilds and associations was now about 25,000, and that meant that only about two in each hundred were being got through their first peal every year. That meant that if they were to progress in numbers a ringer had be have about fifty years of ringing life after ringing his first peal. They knew that ringing was a healthy exercise, but it meant that a ringer, if he rang his first peal at 20, had to live until he was 70 if they were to keep their numbers up - and that did not allow for wastage. He could not say how it was, but they seemed to be losing ground. If they took the analysis of peals for last year they would find it contained a total drop of 369 in the year, but the drop in the simpler methods was 338, which was 90 per cent. of their whole. It looked rather as if the experienced ringers were not doing their part in getting the less efficient people through the simpler methods.


With regard to the second part of his motion, Mr. Atkins said he put in the reference to their high calling, because he felt their work was one of the higher callings in the Church; he felt it was almost next to the priesthood itself, from the fact that it was a tremendous privilege to them to proclaim the Gospel Sunday by Sunday. It was a great thing to take a share in the first part of the chief services every Sunday, not simply from the point of view of calling people to church, but as an offering which nobody else could make. It was for their Guild officials to see that the bells were rung regularly and efficiently. Were they doing all in their power to help beginners? Mr. Atkins asked. He quoted from points of view which beginners had given him. Most of them complained that not sufficient opportunity was given them at meetings, and one wrote that ‘the atmosphere puts one off.’ After beginners had been given a short spell of rounds the more advanced ringers seemed to be saying to themselves, ‘Thank goodness that’s over, now we shall be able to do something!’ Mr. Atkins added that the Council and ringers generally ought really to try and do something in this matter; they must try and cultivate a brotherly spirit and give youngsters every opportunity. He urged the more general use of the Council’s ‘Handbook for Instructors and Beginners.’ It ought to be studied, he said, by everybody concerned with the teaching of beginners. He wished very much that they had statistics which would enable them to say definitely whether they were progressing or not and, if he might, he would like to propose some amended resolution that the secretary be empowered to collect statistics from the affiliated associations. It was, he concluded, most important that they should aim at getting all the bells rung on Sundays regularly. At present only a small proportion were rung. He might be pessimistic, and he hoped he might be proved wrong, but he hoped that some day they might be able to say with even more justice that this was truly the ‘Ringing Isle.’

Mr. J. Parker, who seconded, remarked that he would not say much, as Mr. Atkins had said enough for three or four (laughter).

Mr. Groombridge said they could not put any more on their association secretaries than they already put on them.


Mr. R. T. Hibbert said he did not think there was any need for Mr. Atkins to get pessimistic. If youngsters got where there was no good ringing they quickly tired of it, but if they went to a tower where there was good ringing they very soon got on. They did not then lose them unless they started ‘taking on one of the opposite sex’ (laughter). He had three or four in his band who were going to ring quite as well as ever he had, ‘if I don’t drive them away,’ he added, ‘and I will if they don’t ring and strike’ (applause).

Mr. George Williams said Mr. Atkins had asked, ‘What are we going to do about it?’ If he would come to the south he would see what they were doing about it there. They had a meeting every month and two or three practices besides, and they rang twice on Sundays, and it would do Mr. Atkins good to see it. They rang methods for all the young ones, from Grandsire and Bob Doubles, and even rounds, from January 1st to December 31st, and every now and then they had a chance to put in something above the ordinary. In his Guild they always seemed to be teaching young ringers at the district meetings; that was their first object, together with ringing for Sunday services, if it was only ringing rounds.

Mr. P. J. Johnson said in Yorkshire, not merely in ringing but in other things as well, there was an increasing difficulty in getting people to undertake work that had to be done regularly and also meant sacrifice of their own convenience. Another difficulty in the big towns was that owing to the increasing facilities of motor transit there was a tendency for the people to migrate miles out, and the churches in the cities were left with very few people round them, and it meant something of an effort for a young man, even if he had the courage of his convictions, to be prepared to go some miles for his ringing. He himself had half an hour’s walk to ring, and if they imagined they were going to get that from the younger generation he was inclined to think they were expecting something they would not get.

Mr. J. W. Jones said at Newport he found no difficulty in obtaining ringers. He believed in many cases ringers looked in the wrong places for beginners. He had looked after the bells of his church for 32 years, and in all that time they had never missed ringing twice on a Sunday, unless illness happened close to the church. All the band were either sidesmen or in the choir or connected with the Church Council. He got his young ringers from among the choirboys. When their voices cracked he did not let them slip away from the church but got them into the belfry, and he could get six new ringers on the next Monday evening if he desired, to do so. One of the troubles experienced in many places was, he believed, that many men who understood ringing would not give their time to teaching. What they wanted was Cambridge or London, but they would not teach a boy to ring. His advice was, ‘Start them young and start with choirboys and others connected with their own church’ (applause).

Mr. S. F. Palmer said if beginners were encouraged the great majority of them would make ringers, but there were a certain number of men who had not the patience to teach young ringers. As Ringing Master of a Yorkshire society he made it his duty to see that every member who attended a meeting got a ring; also that every youngster got a ring. A certain portion of the ringing was always devoted to rounds for the beginners. He also saw that all the rest got their due proportion of the advanced methods or whatever they liked to ask for. If all Ringing Masters followed the same plan he did not think there would be much need for Mr. Atkins’ proposition.


Mr. A. Walker said he was not one of the pessimists. The way in which youngsters got on depended on the teachers, and results rested largely upon them. In Birmingham there had not been many peals rung lately, but he could give an optimistic report as to what they were doing. They were having to start their practices half an hour earlier than they used to in order to give all the ringers their opportunity to ring, and on most Tuesday evenings the ringing comprised anything from Grandsire Triples to Stedman on 8, 10 and 12, and Cambridge, London and Bristol. It was the teacher who had got to do the pushing; if he did not encourage the youngsters they would slip away. They must also get the youngsters to move about to other towers. They would then get experience and enthusiasm with it (hear, hear). If existing ringers would not be satisfied with merely ringing themselves, but would bring others into their band and teach them, there was nothing to be pessimistic about for the future (hear, hear).

Mr. C. T. Coles said as secretary of the association in whose area Mr. Atkins lived, he did not think there was anything to be pessimistic about. The difficulties in big places like London, which embraced miles and miles of suburbs in every direction, were growing, and it was more difficult to do the Sunday ringing and more and more difficult to find time for practice than it used to be; and in these areas it was difficult to find youngsters to take up ringing. It made the work of the associations in such areas much harder, but the fact remained that, in spite of the difficulties, they were slowly improving. There were places where matters had gone backward, but in their districts as a whole they could show progress. There could not be much to be pessimistic about when they had such performances as the young people’s peal at Crayford. One of the young ladies who rang in that peal and was only 17 had rung a peal in four Spliced Surprise methods. There was every opportunity for young ringers to learn if they wanted to learn, and had the ability. In the area to which Mr. Atkins referred there were four or five associations functioning with meetings almost every week. If in London there was the possibility of ringing closing down here and there, that was counterbalanced by the increased facilities for travel which enabled the young ringers to get further afield. It might be that in these days of facilities for pleasure the youngsters found that learning to ring was hard work, and some dropped away before they really got into it; but in his opinion the districts of his association showed a great improvement compared with 25 years ago.

Mr. J. Parker said one of the greatest mistakes was to get young ringers through their first peal of ‘Spliced.’ They suffered from it in his association in Middlesex more than anybody. There were ringers who saw a promising young ringer, and said, ‘We will put him through a peal of spliced.’ The others got jealous and stopped away. What they wanted was to encourage the Sunday ringing; that was the way to get young ringers.

The motion was then put and carried nem con.

Mr. Atkins asked if he could put a supplementary resolution that the secretary of the Council should be empowered to obtain statistics as to the number of ringers in the country?

The President said he thought they could leave this matter to the secretary, who had had it in mind for a long time. The only difficulty was devising a suitable method and finding time to do it.

The matter then dropped.

The Ringing World, June 29th, 1934, pages 409 to 410


The President said the Standing Committee had considered the place for the next meeting of the Council and recommended Shrewsbury. The cycle on which they had gone in the past, apart from the London meetings, was north and south, Midlands, east and west. They were, therefore, due to go to another place in the Midlands, if they kept to the routine. They might think that Shropshire had not taken much notice of the Council this year, as no one was present to represent the association, and that they did not therefore deserve to have them; on the other hand they might go there and tell them what they thought about it (laughter). Shrewsbury was a very delightful place, and there were plenty of bells there.

The proposal was agreed to.


Mr. F. E. Dawe, with the consent of the Council, introduced the following motion: ‘That in view of the meagre response made in answer to the resolution passed at Plymouth two years ago, a small committee of the Council be appointed to collaborate with the Editor of “The Ringing World” with a view to increasing the circulation of this paper among members of the Exercise.’ Mr. Dawe said the increased circulation since two years ago was not only meagre it was totally inadequate. There were many towers where there were a dozen or so ringers who took only three or four copies of the paper between them, and there were a great many cases where only one copy went into a tower. He suggested that a small committee be appointed, presumably to meet in London, to discuss the matter with the Editor and see what could be done. He had taken in all the ringing papers for the last 56 years. One after the other they had fallen by the way, simply because they had not been properly supported by the majority of the ringers. Ringers generally were nice fellows, but there were three things they were singularly gifted in: apathy, procrastination and indifference (laughter). They could never be got to do things. Fifty years ago he was one of the best ambassadors of the old ‘Bell News,’ and pushed the paper all he could. But he found time after time that one copy was taken for a tower and was passed around. The same thing applied in these days to ‘The Ringing World.’ He had wondered whether they might not raise a fund to pay for a supply of copies of the paper to be sent weekly to different secretaries of associations for distribution among towers where the paper was not already circulating, so as to induce the ringers eventually to support the paper. He would be prepared to contribute £5 a year for a year or two to such a fund, and he thought there were others in the Exercise who would also be prepared to contribute towards such an object. If there was anything they could do to stir up enthusiasm they ought to do it, and he proposed the appointment of this small committee to go into the subject.

Mr. Cave seconded.

Mr. Hunt said it was a difficult job to get ringers to take the paper, but something could be done by personal effort. There were 15 ringers in the band he belonged to, but there was not one of them who took the paper until he got them to do so; but even now two-thirds of the band did not look at the paper; they had not got time.

Mr. G. Pullinger said there was one plan that was quite easy, and that was for every member to take two copies. He had taken two for several years, and his spare copy he gave to someone whom he thought might become interested. He let them have it for two or three weeks, and in many cases it ‘came off ’ and the individual became a new subscriber to the paper. If 500 people took two copies for a year and utilised the spare one in that way it would doubtless make a difference.

The President: That is a detail which could come before the committee if it is appointed.

The motion was put. and carried, and the officers of the Council and Mr. Dawe were appointed as the committee.


The President said there was a scheme afoot for a band of ringers to go to Australia. It was not quite certain yet whether they would be able to go, but whether they could or not there were to be centenary celebrations in Melbourne in the autumn, and ringing would be going on there. It would be very nice, therefore, if the Council sent their greetings to the ringers of Australia, and if a band went out from England they could personally take the message from the Council (applause).

Mr. J. S. Goldsmith said that recently he had received a letter from the secretary of the Holy Trinity Society, Hobart, Tasmania, who had said that the society would be very pleased to receive photographs of English church towers to add to their collection if anyone would like to send them. It had occurred to him therefore that it would be very appropriate and a very nice gesture if, in connection with this proposed visit, a gift of a collection of photographs of the cathedrals and notable churches containing rings of bells could be taken out, not only to Hobart but also to the society at the Cathedral at Melbourne, which was to be the central point of the tour. He suggested that all the associations in the country should provide pictures of the most important towers in their area and that they should be mounted in presentation albums. He had ascertained that many such pictures could be obtained from one source, and that the cost of each, including the album and mounting, would be about 2s. per copy. Each picture would have to be provided in duplicate. He was prepared to organise these albums, but to give the gifts a national character he asked the Council to support the scheme:

On being put to the meeting this was at once agreed to, and the resolution of greeting carried.


The President said the question of contributions to memorials had been before the Standing Committee. The Oxford Diocesan Guild had a scheme in hand for a memorial to the late Rev. C. W. O. Jenkyn, who was the hon. librarian of the Council. It was to consist of a tablet in the cloisters of Christ Church Cathedral, and any further money was to be given to the trustees of Queen Anne’s School, Caversham, where Mr. Jenkyn was chaplain, for an extension of the chapel, which was to be enlarged as a memorial to Mr. Jenkyn. The Standing Committee recommended the Council to subscribe a sum of ten guineas to that memorial. They had also had an appeal with regard to the memorial to the late Canon Baker. When the proposal first came before them the Council were not in favour of it because they did not approve the form of the memorial, but that had been changed, and it was now one of which they could approve. The Standing Committee therefore recommended that three guineas should be given to the fund.

These proposals were agreed to.


The President offered the congratulations of the Council to Archdeacon Parry, one of the representatives of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild, who, he said, was the first member of the Council to be elevated to the rank of Archdeacon (applause).


Mr. A. D. Barker said in the past the Council had ruled out certain Minor methods which, they said, ought not to be rung in peals because of the irregular lead-ends in the plain course. One of these methods was Woodbine. It had been rung in peals this year and he had no doubt it was rung in peals last year. What was to be the attitude of the Council to these irregular methods?

The President said it was up to the associations to deal with it. They agreed to abide by the rules of the Council. If a peal was published it was taken out by the Analysis Committee and included in the peals accepted by that Council.

Mr. J. A. Trollope said as far as he knew the Council had never condemned any method at all. There was a standard of what a method should be, but the Council had never taken the attitude that nobody should ring a method that did not come up to that standard. If some people like to ring a method which did not come up to that standard that was their own responsibility; it was no business of the Council.


The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards said at that time the B.B.C. were broadcasting the chimes of St. Paul’s Cathedral clock instead of Westminster. In the same tower with the clock at St. Paul’s was the biggest bell in England. That bell was rung up every week-day at one o’clock by four men, and he thought the B.B.C. were missing a great opportunity by not broadcasting that bell to the world. It would be heard over the wireless with far finer effect than it was ever heard in St. Paul’s Churchyard. He thought every member of the Council as a member of the public should write a brief note to the B.B.C. asking them to broadcast the great bell as well as the clock of St. Paul’s.


The President proposed a vote of thanks to the Mayor and Corporation of Warwick for the use of the Court House which had been a very nice place to meet in. He also thanked Alderman Dr. Malins, Deputy Mayor, who received them, and the Bishop of Coventry for his presence and welcome. They also had to thank the incumbents of the various churches for placing their bells at the disposal of the members of the Council, the Warwickshire Guild for their kind invitation to tea. They also had to thank very heartily indeed Mr. F. W. Perrens for making such excellent arrangements. The President also thanked Mr. Adams, of St. Mary’s, for his assistance, and all tower and steeplekeepers who had had the bells ready for them.

The motion having been carried, Mr. Perrens briefly replied, and the meeting terminated with a vote of thanks to the president proposed by Canon G. F. Coleridge, who said they could not be too grateful to Mr. Lewis for the admirable way in which he had conducted the business that day. They highly appreciated his services, not only in the chair, but throughout the year, for the great deal of work he did unseen for the good of the Council (applause).


Members of the Council and their friends were entertained to high tea at the headquarters, the Woolpack Hotel. The chair was taken by the president of the Warwickshire Guild, who heartily welcomed the Council into the territory of the Guild. It was, he said, a matter of very real satisfaction to those who had made the arrangements to see such a representative gathering from all parts of the country. The clergy appreciated tremendously the work done by the whole of the ringers. They did a great service to the Church and the clergy were grateful for it. The presence of the Council at Warwick was a cause for real satisfaction to the Warwickshire Guild, and he thanked all those who had worked so hard to make preparations for the gathering (applause).

The Mayor of Warwick apologised for not having been present to welcome the Council in the morning, but he took that opportunity of welcoming them to the historic town. He thought that was the first visit the Council had paid to Warwick, and he hoped, now that their business was concluded, they would make themselves acquainted with the many places of beauty and interest in the town and neighbourhood. He hoped they would make up their minds to come again, and asked them not to think, because it was quiet, that there was nothing they could do. Warwick had the best in England to offer them (applause).

The President (Mr. E. H. Lewis) thanked the Mayor for the welcome he had just given them, and through the president of the Warwickshire Guild be also thanked those who had made the arrangements for the Council’s visit. Mr. Perrens had borne a good deal of the brunt of the work, and Mrs. Perrens and the Guild committee had done much to assist him. He offered their hearty thanks to all of them (applause). Many of the Council had had the opportunity of seeing some of the beautiful things in Warwick and the neighbourhood. ‘Some members,’ added Mr. Lewis in regard to a remark made by the Mayor anent the water supply of Warwick, ‘may have tasted the water, but it is not the custom of ringers to drink very much water (laughter). I have not tasted the Warwick water yet’ (laughter).

Mr. F. W. Perrens, replying to the appreciation expressed, said they of the Warwickshire Guild had been only too pleased to do what they had to make the visit successful, and he hoped they had to a certain extent succeeded. They were only a small Guild of a little over a hundred ringing members and not a very wealthy one, but what their hospitality lacked in substance they made up for in the spirit (applause). During the last few days he had been rather in the limelight, but he did not want them to think he had done all the work. Their hon. secretary (Mrs. Beamish), Mr. Adams, Mr. White, Mr. Burt and others had given every assistance, and had done a large amount of work. They hoped the members of the Council had enjoyed their visit; the committee had been very pleased to do what they could to help them (applause).

In the evening ringing took place at St. Mary’s Church, and a social gathering followed at the Woolpack, in the course of which Mr. Rupert Richardson showed films of particular interest to ringers.

The Ringing World, July 6th, 1934, pages 425 to 426

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