The following report of the Analysis and Records Committee upon the peals rung in 1937 will be submitted to the Central Council at their meeting on Whitsun Tuesday:-

The year 1937 has shown all increase in the number of peals rung, as compared with 1936. This is no doubt accounted for by the large number of peals rung for the Coronation.

The following summary shows comparative figures:-




Peals of Maximus have increased by 7. There is a decrease of 3 in the Surprise methods, an increase of 6 in Kent Treble Bob. Cinques have increased by 18, Stedman by 13 and Grandsire by 4.

Royal have increased by 18, Surprise by 9, Treble Bob by 13 and plain methods have decreased by 4. Peals of Caters show a very considerable decrease, Stedman being 17 less and Grandsire 8. Major methods show an increase of 71. Surprise methods have increased by 48, London by 7, Cambridge by 27, Superlative by 9, Bristol by 9, Yorkshire by 2, new Surprise methods by 4. Spliced Surprise have decreased by 2 and sundry Surprise methods by 8. Kent Treble Bob have increased by 22, Oxford by 2, other methods by 3. Double Norwich have decreased by 3 and there are six new plain methods. Sundry plain methods have decreased by 11. Plain Bob have decreased by 3.

Triples have increased by 7. Stedman show an increase of 15, Grandsire a decrease of 1, and other Triples methods a decrease of 7.

There is a still further increase in peals of Minor, viz., 52. In one method peals have decreased by 21; in two methods there is an increase of 5; in three methods an increase of 16; in four methods an increase of 7; in five methods an increase of 6; in six methods an increase of 5; in seven methods an increase of 46; in methods over seven a decrease of 12.

In Doubles there is an increase of 19. In one method there is an increase of 9; in two methods an increase of 15; in three methods a decrease of 9; and in methods over three an increase of 4.


Peals in hand have again decreased this year by 14. There has been one peal each of Maximus and Cinques; Royal have increased by 2; Caters have decreased by 3; and Major by 12. Triples have increased by 6. Minor have decreased by 5 and there were no peals of Doubles.


The Kent County Association, with an increase of 14 over last year’s total, still head the list. Next come the Midland Counties and the Norwich Diocesan Association with 108 each, the former showing an increase of 25 and the latter an increase of 40. The Suffolk Guild follow with 106, an increase of 18, the Chester Guild 101, an increase of 24, and the Lancashire Association 101, a decrease of 11. No other association reached 100 peals. Twenty-four associations show an increase and 25 a decrease.


5,024 Edmonton Bob Major, by the Middlesex County Association, September 4th.


5,024 Devon Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, January 8th.
5,184 Coddenham Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, January 22nd.
5,152 Lutterworth Surprise Major, by the Oxford Diocesan Guild, February 3rd.
5,024 Knebworth Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, February 6th.
5,088 Lessness Surprise Major, by the Kent County Association, February 22nd.
5,024 Droitwich Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, February 22nd.
5,040 Spliced Double Norwich, Double Oxford, Plain Bob and Little Bob Major, by the Chester Diocesan Guild, April 10th.
5,184 Otley Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, April 12th.
5,024 Spliced Wigston, Leicestershire, Loughborough, Crayford, Huntingdon, Bognor and Buckingham Surprise Major, by the Midland Counties Association, May 12th.
5,120 Watford Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, May 12th.
5,040 Rochester Surprise Royal, by the Suffolk Guild, May 15th.
5,056 Langley Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, May 29th.
5,184 Wymondham Bob Major, by the Lincoln Diocesan Guild, June 6th.
5,056 Painswick College Bob Major, by the Kent County Association, July 16th.
5,184 Spliced Bob Major and Kent Treble Bob Major, by the Oxford Diocesan Guild, July 24th.
5,088 Minsmere Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, July 28th.
5,056 Wheatley Surprise Major, by the Kent County Association, August 14th.
5,184 Pulford Bob Major, by the Kent County Association, September 24th.
5,120 Eastbury Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, November 20th.
5,216 Norwich Court Bob Major, by the Norwich Diocesan Association, November 20th.
5,084 Spliced Plain and Little Bob Maximus, by the Worcestershire and Districts Association, December 4th.
5,024 Monewdon Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, December 17th.


5,088 Spliced London, Cambridge, Superlative, Bristol and Ealing Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, February 12th.
5,088 Spliced London, Bristol, Cambridge, Superlative, Ealing and Rutland Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, November 12th.
5 040 Spliced St. Clement’s and Crayford College Bob Major, by the Lincoln Diocesan Guild, November 20th.


The outstanding performances of the year were the two peals on handbells by the Hertford County Association in five and six Surprise methods, and the peals of Minor in 73 methods by the Chester Guild, and in 80 methods by the Lincoln Guild.

The following are the number of peals rung during each month in 1937 and 1936:-



It is gratifying to see an increase in the number of ringers who have scored their first peals. The number is 555, as against 517 in 1936. On eight bells and over, 71 rang the treble, 107 inside and 41 the tenor; on five and six bells 115 rang the treble, 172 inside and 47 the tenor. The number who rang their first peal in a different method or method on a different number of bells is 1,240, a decrease of 194. Ringers of their first peal inside number 70; away from the tenor 11; Maximus 32; Cinques 13; Royal 41; Caters 10; Major 72; Triples 43; Minor 54; Doubles 43; on twelve bells 39; ten 35; eight 49; six 1; Surprise 38; in hand 8; in method in hand 15. New conductors number 72, an increase of 15; conductors in new methods number 136. New conductors on handbells number 4.

Other footnotes show that 52 were the first on the bells, 134 the first in the method on the bells, and 47 the first since restoration or augmentation.

On the occasion of the Coronation of H.M. King George VI. and Queen Elizabeth, the number of peals rung was 259, which constitutes a record, as on no previous occasion have so many peals been rung for one event. For Royal birthdays seven peals were rung; birthdays 134; weddings (including silver and golden) 80; church festivals and dedications 34; anniversaries 29; welcome and farewell 47.

We give below the number of peals rung in each of representative years since 1881, the total for the whole period being 70,608:-

1917 (war year)130
(Signed) G. L. GROVER.

The Ringing World, May 6th, 1938, pages 298 to 299



The Surprise Methods Book.

There was an exceedingly good attendance at the 46th annual meeting of the Central Council at Leeds on Tuesday. A great welcome had been prepared by the Yorkshire Association, and visitors, in addition to enjoying the ringing on many peals of bells, had an extensive coach tour on Monday, which took them to Fountains Abbey, Ripon Cathedral, with lunch in the city, Middleham, and Richmond, where tea was partaken of.

The meeting on Tuesday was held in the Civil Court of Leeds Town Hall, and the members were welcomed by the Deputy Lord Mayor (Councillor Mrs. L. Hammond) and by Canon C. C. Marshall, president of the Yorkshire Association, on behalf of the Vicar of Leeds.

The following members signed the roll:-

Ancient Society of College Youths- Mr. A. B. Peck.
Barnsley and District Guild- Mr. C. D. Potter.
Bath and Wells Diocesan Association- Mr. J. T. Dyke, Mr. J. Hunt.
Bedfordshire Association- Mr. A. King, Mr. A. E. Sharman.
Chester Diocesan Guild- Mr. A. Crawley, Mr. J. W. Milner, Mr. H. Parker.
Cleveland and North Yorkshire Association- Mr. J. C. Pollard.
Devon Guild- Mr. T. Laver.
Dudley and District Guild- Mr. F. Colclough.
Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Association- Mr. W. H. Barber, Mr. W. J. Davidson.
East Derbyshire and Notts Association- Mr. T. Clarke.
Ely Diocesan Association- Mr. C. W. Cook, Mr. F. Warrington, Miss K. Willers.
Essex Association- Mr. G. R. Pye.
Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association- Mr. J. Austin, Mr. E. Guise, Mr. W. B. Kynaston.
Guildford Diocesan Guild- Mr. A. Harman, Mr. A. C. Hazelden, Mr. A. H. Pulling.
Hereford Diocesan Guild- Mr. J. P. Hyett.
Hertford County Association- Mr. W. Ayre.
Irish Association- Mr. G. Lindoff.
Kent County Association- Mr. T. Groombridge, Mr. F. M. Mitchell, Mr. T. E. Sone.
Ladies’ Guild- Mrs. E. K. Fletcher, Mrs. R. Richardson, Miss E. Steel.
Lancashire Association- Mr. G. R. Newton, Mr. W. H. Shuker, Mr. L. J. Williams, Mr. T. B. Worsley.
Lincoln Diocesan Guild- Mr. J. Bray, Mr. R. Richardson.
Llandaff and Monmouth Diocesan Association- Mr. J. W. Jones.
London County Association- Mr. F. E. Dawe.
Middlesex County Association- Mr. C. T. Coles, Mr. G. W. Fletcher, Mr. F. W. Goodfellow, Mr. W. G. Wilson.
Midland Counties Association- Mr. A. J. Harris, Mr. W. H. J. Hooton, Mr. J. H. Swinfield, Mr. E. Denison Taylor.
Norwich Diocesan Association- Mr. A. L. Coleman.
North Staffordshire Association- Mr. A. Thompson.
Oxford Diocesan Guild- Mr. A. D. Barker, the Rev. Canon G. F. Coleridge, Mr. A. E. Lock, Mr. R. A. Post.
Oxford Society- Mr. W. G. Collett.
Oxford University Society- The Rev. C. E. Wigg.
Peterborough Diocesan Guild- The Rev. E. S. Powell.
Romney Marsh and District Guild- Mr. P. Page.
St. Martin’s Guild- Mr. A. Paddon Smith.
Salisbury Diocesan Guild- The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, Mr. S. H. Hillier, Mr. C. H. Jennings, Mr. F. W. Romaine.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths- Mr. J. Parker.
Stafford Archdeaconry Society- Mr. B. Horton, Mr. H. Knight.
Suffolk Guild- The Rev. H. Drake, Mr. C. Mee.
Surrey Association- Mr. W. Claydon, Mr. D. Cooper, Mr. C. H. Kippin.
Sussex County Association- Mr. F. H. Dallaway.
Warwickshire Guild- Mr. D. H. Argyle, Mr. F. W. Perrens.
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild- Mr. G. Pullinger, Mr. F. W. Rogers, Mr. G. Williams.
Yorkshire Association- Mr. J. Hardcastle, Mr. P. J. Johnson, the Rev. Canon C. C. Marshall, Mr. S. F. Palmer.
Honorary members- Mr. W. A. Cave, Mr. C. Dean, Mr. J. S. Goldsmith, Mr. C. F. Johnston, Mr. E. H. Lewis, Mr. J. A. Trollope, Mr. E. C. S. Turner, Mr. S. H. Wood, Mr. E. Alex. Young.

Apologies for absence were received from Mr. E. M. Atkins (Cambridge University Guild), the Rev. E. V. Cox (Devon Guild), Mr. J. W. Parker (Durham and Newcastle), Mr. E. J. Butler, Mr. E. P. Duffield, Mr. L. W. Wiffen (Essex), Mr. G. L. Grover (Guildford), Mr. A. Lawrence, Mr. C. W. Woolley (Hertford County), Mr. J. H. Cheesman (Kent County), Mr. G. Chester, Ven. Archdeacon Parry (Lincoln Diocesan Guild), Mr. C. H. Perry (Llandaff and Monmouth), Mr. T. H. Taffender (London County), Mr. C. E. Borrett, Mr. F. Nolan Golden (Norwich Diocesan Association), Mr. K. Thacker (North Staffordshire), Mr. R. G. Black, Mr. T. Tebbutt (Peterborough Diocesan Guild), Mr. W. Saunders (Shropshire), Mr. G. H. Cross, Mr. G. W. Steere, Mr. G. Gilbert (Society of Royal Cumberland Youths), Mr. C. J. Sedgeley, Mr. Stedman H. Symonds (Suffolk Guild), Mr. S. E. Armstrong, Mr. H. R. Butcher (Sussex County), Mr. Gwyn I. Lewis (Swansea and Brecon), Mr. H. Barton (Winchester and Portsmouth Guild), Mr. J. D. Johnson (Worcestershire), Major J. H. B. Hesse, Mr. A. A. Hughes, Mr. A. Walker, Mr. C. W. Roberts, Alderman J. S. Pritchett (honorary members).


The hon. secretary reported that there are now 51 societies, guilds and associations affiliated to the Council, an increase of one from last year. The new guild is the East Grinstead and District Guild, founded in June, 1927, with a present membership of 111. The usual undertaking to abide by the rules and decisions of the Council has been signed, and the affiliation fee paid, put no representative will be elected until next year. An additional representative has been elected by the Ladies’ Guild, bringing this guild’s representation up to three. Miss Steel, president of the Guild, is the new member.

Three societies have lost representatives by death, and of these two have elected members for the remainder of the triennial session, the Middlesex Association, Mr. F. W. Goodfellow, and the Sussex Association, Mr. F. H. Dallaway.

In the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Association, Mr. T. Metcalfe, a member since 1913, has resigned, and Mr. J. C. Pollard has been elected in his stead. Mr. Pollard was a member of the Council for four years, 1932-1935.

The present representation is 23 associations entitled to four members 92, elected 90 members; 6 associations entitled to three members 18, elected 18 members; 8 associations entitled to two members 16, elected 14 members; 14 associations entitled to one member 14, elected 12 members; total 51, number of members to which entitled 140, elected 134.

The vacancies are one each in the following societies: Ancient Society of College Youths, Cambridge University, East Grinstead, North Notts, North Wales and Worcestershire.

There are 15 honorary members. All subscriptions had been paid except the following: North Wales Association, Truro Diocesan Guild.

Mr. W. A. Cave (Bristol) and Mr. A. Walker (Birmingham) were re-elected hon. members, and Mr. Gilbert E. Debenham (St. Albans) was elected to one of the vacancies.

Reference was made to the loss by death of the Rev. H. S. T. Richardson, Mr. W. H. Hollier, Mr. F. Smith, Mr. F. W. Thornton and Mr. W. T. Cockerill, who had all served on the Council, also to the deaths of Mr. J. J. Parker and of Mrs. J. S. Goldsmith, and the members stood in silence as a mark of respect.

Arising out of the minutes of the last meeting it was decided, with regret, to delete from the Analysis a peal of Minor rung for the Yorkshire Association in which a plain course was rung between the first and second 720’s.

It was reported that the preparation of a pamphlet on double-handed handbell ringing had been begun by Mr. Chris. Woolley.

The report of the hon. librarian showed that sales of publications were down, partly owing to ‘Minor Methods’ being out of print, and the book on Major and Cater Methods being exhausted. It was hoped the former and the pamphlet relating to the law affecting church bells would be available shortly. The librarian recommended that the stock of ‘Hints to Instructors and Beginners’ should be replenished. The whole stock of Glossaries had been given away, about twelve associations having taken advantage of the Council’s offer.

The sales during the year totalled £10 10s. 1d., and the various stocks on hand were valued at £138 15s. 7d. The balance of receipts over expenditure was £3 4s.

It was decided to sell off the remaining copies of ‘Collections of Peals’ at a uniform price of 9d. each, with a copy of the Corrigenda. It was also decided to revise the ‘Model Rules for a Local Company’ and issue a new edition, and also to revise the booklet on the ‘Preservation of Bells.’

The general accounts of the Council showed that the balance in hand had been increased by £25 5s. to £130 16s. 7d.

The Carter Ringing Machine (in the Science Museum) had been taken out and tried over, and the trustees, in their report, recommended carrying out the suggestion of Mr. Sharman (one of the demonstrators) that the contact pins of the electric circuits, controlling the sounding of the bells, should be reset with stouter wire and readjusted. Mr. Sharman offered to do the work free if paid expenses.

The Peal Collection Committee reported that the compositions were now going through the final scrutiny as to truth and there would be nothing to delay handing them in at the next meeting.


The Methods Committee reported that the third edition of Doubles and Minor methods would be on sale shortly. They also reminded the Council that the manuscript of the book on Surprise Major methods was ready for publication as soon as financial considerations permit.

The report was adopted on the motion of Mr. J. A. Trollope, seconded by Mr. S. H. Wood.

The Standing Committee asked for the views of the Council upon proceeding with the publication of the Surprise Methods, the cost of which would be at least 4s. or 5s. per copy when printed.

Mr. Walter Ayre took exception to the insertion of names to methods of which peals have not already been rung, and was supported in this by Mr. J. T. Dyke and Mr. F. W. Perrens.

The heavy financial responsibility involved, which it was urged would ‘sequestrate’ the Council’s funds, was the ground of opposition to present publication by Mr. P. J. Johnson and others, although it was generally agreed that the book was an excellent one which should be available to ringers.

Eventually, on the motion of Mr. J. S. Goldsmith, seconded by Mr. G. R. Newton, a resolution was carried with two dissentients that ‘with a view to publishing the book on Surprise Major Methods at an early date, this Council recommend that all affiliated societies be invited to take up one half of the issue.’

On the question of printing the names of the methods in the book, Mr. Trollope referred to the confusion which occurred when the Minor methods were printed because the names were omitted, and said that no objection had been raised to the printing of the names in the Collection of Major Methods. He urged the Council to retain the principle of printing the names.

The matter cropped up again later in the day, when it was pointed out that the book could not be published for at least a year and that the question of the names could, therefore, be discussed at the next meeting.

The report of the Peals Analysis Committee, which has already appeared in ‘The Ringing World,’ was adopted, with a slight correction.

It was resolved that application should be made for permission to submit to His Majesty the King a list of the 259 peals rung in celebration of the Coronation.


The report of the Towers and Belfries Committee mentioned that since the last Council meeting members of the committee had been consulted in 27 cases and had given advice, in most cases after inspection of the towers concerned. In 22 of the towers the question was one of the rehanging or the provision of additional bells. In the other five towers advice was given in the matter of sound modification.

An effort was being made to obtain information as to competent ringers, with a knowledge of bells, on Diocesan Advisory Committees. So far, said the report, replies had been received from 24 dioceses out of 47. In 16 of these there is a member who either has a good knowledge of bells or is sufficiently interested to see that expert advice is obtained. In the other eight the position is said to be unsatisfactory. The committee desire further information with a view to taking some action in the matter.

The report was adopted on the motion of the president, who, as usual, elaborated the committee’s report with some interesting details of some of the cases which had come under his notice.

The Literature, Press and Broadcasting Committee’s report reviewed the publicity, through various outstanding events, given by the Press of the country to bell ringing, and specially mentioned the publication of Mr. J. A. Trollope’s work, ‘The College Youths.’

On the broadcasting side, the report mentioned that during the past nine months a very fair standard of broadcasting before services had been maintained, although there was still need for much improvement. The president of the Council had had the opportunity of personal conferences with officials of the B.B.C., which should be productive of good results.

The statement prepared by the Rev. H. Drake (published in ‘The Ringing World’ on May 27th) on the subject of using mechanical devices in church towers, to broadcast bells, and which expressed the opinion that as records of change ringing ‘do not fulfil any of the conditions of personal ringing, they ought not to be used to commence a service of divine worship,’ came before the Council as an addenda to the Literature, Press and Broadcasting Committee’s report.

After discussion, the mover withdrew the motion, it being agreed that the matter should be considered by the Standing Committee, who were given power to act.

The Peal Boards Committee had to deplore the death of their convener (Mr. W. H. Hollier). This had delayed the progress of the work, but at present copies of some two hundred peal boards, dated not later than 1825, had been received.

The report was adopted, as was also that of the Biographies Committee, who reported progress with the work, and asked members to return the forms without delay.

The officers of the Council presented a further interim report on the circulation of ‘The Ringing World.’ It comprised principally extracts from suggestions received from members. Several of the suggestions, said the report, might be useful in the future, but for immediate needs they invited serious consideration of a letter which suggested approaching the clergy, through the Archdeacons, to solicit the influence of every incumbent, who has bells and ringers, in putting the matter to his ringers, in the belief that a vast benefit would be created to the ringing Exercise as a body of active churchworkers by the increased circulation of ‘The Ringing World.’

There was considerable discussion, and the suggestion made in the report was adopted.

Another report by the officers of the Council was on the muffling of bells. It included the report presented at the last meeting of the Council and extracts from a number of letters from ringers in different parts of the country describing local customs.

It was decided that the report should be redrafted to incorporate certain other points, and, after approval by the Standing Committee, will be sent to the Church authorities.


On the motion of Mr. J. S. Goldsmith, seconded by Mr. W. G. Wilson, the following motion was agreed to: ‘This Council, desiring that peals of Doubles and Minor shall be put upon a similar basis, resolves that peals of Doubles as already defined may be lengthened at the end by one true touch of less than 120 changes.’

It was decided to send the congratulations of the Council to Mr. Charles Slingsby, of Aldington, Kent, on celebrating his 101st birthday, and a gift amounting to £2, subscribed by the members, was sent to him.

A communication was received from the Midland Counties Association suggesting that the Agenda of the Council should be published a month beforehand to enable associations to consider the contents at their annual meetings.

It was pointed out that this was already covered by the rules, and it was agreed that no action was necessary.

The hon. secretary reported that 92 members had signed the roll; 20 associations were fully represented by 47 members, 22 were partly represented by 36 members, and nine were unrepresented. Nine honorary members were also present.

The meeting terminated with an omnibus vote of thanks to all who had contributed to the arrangements of the meeting, also to the president and the hon. secretary and Mrs. Fletcher for their great services.

After the meeting the members and their friends were entertained to tea by the Yorkshire Association.

The Ringing World, June 10th, 1938, pages 378 to 379



Publications to be Revised.

When the third session of the sixteenth Council (the forty-sixth meeting) opened at Leeds on Whitsun Tuesday, there was an attendance of 92 members, and the chair was taken by the president (Mr. E. H. Lewis).

The Deputy Mayor of Leeds (Councillor Mrs. L. Hammond) welcomed the members to the city on behalf of her father, the Lord Mayor. She confessed that she knew very little about church bell ringing, except by hearing them. Sometimes they were very beautiful, but sometimes she thought they were rather a nuisance when she wanted a little rest and they started ringing (laughter). But she could say in all sincerity that, when one was in the country or in the garden and heard the bells ringing in the distance, there was no more musical sound anywhere (applause). Mrs. Hammond went on to say that in the Registrars’ Room at Leeds Parish Church were four volumes bearing the title ‘The Ringers’ Book,’ covering a period from 1746 to 1883. These volumes were in reality minute books of the records of the ringers. The first entry was in 1746, when they ‘received 13s. 4d. for ringing for a day of thanksgiving for the suppression of the late Rebellion.’ From the commencement of the book the wages or gratuities of the ringers were entered for each quarter, but they ceased in 1853, ‘the reason the ringers’ salary is not inserted as usual is in consequence of it being so irregular and small we are ashamed for future generations to see it’ (laughter).

‘Most of you are ringers from the love of the work,’ continued the Deputy Mayor. ‘I hope after your deliberations you will not have to make entries in your ringing book of such a character’ (laughter). In 1854, proceeded Mrs. Hammond, another complaint was entered that the salary of the ringers used to be £60 a year, but since the rebuilding of the church they had had to depend on subscriptions from pew holders and others interested, and the sum since 1843 was only £36, which seemed gradually falling until in 1854 it was only £23, ‘with every chance of it getting less.’ Mrs. Hammond added that if any of those present had the opportunity of examining the book they would find it very interesting. She concluded by renewing the welcome to Leeds and expressing the hope that the Council would have a successful conference.

The President thanked the Deputy Lord Mayor for her kind and charming welcome. The Council, he said, had been a long time coming to Yorkshire, but now they had got there they felt they had got a real, good Yorkshire welcome (applause). On the preceding day they had been treated to one of the finest outings the Council members had ever had. They would like to thank the civic authorities for allowing them the use of that room for their meeting. Mr. Lewis went on to say they knew that Yorkshire was a sort of breeding ground for bishops, and if they looked up the list of bishops in Crockford, and examined their antecedents, they would find that nearly all of them were either curates or vicars of Leeds. In the same way, Yorkshire was famous for its ringers. Many of the famous ringers of old, outside London, came from Yorkshire, among them Thackrah, Snowdon and the Hattersleys, while their old friend Mr. W. T. Cockerill was also a Yorkshireman. They felt that Yorkshire was a real, live centre of bellringing. The members of the Council had had the opportunity of seeing its lovely scenery, and they would go away with very pleasant memories of their long delayed visit (applause).

Canon C. C. Marshall (president of the Yorkshire Association) expressed the sincere apologies of the Vicar of Leeds that he was unable to be present to welcome the Council on behalf of the Church in Leeds. He gave a provisional promise some time ago to be present, but now he found he had to be away from the city. The Vicar had asked him to assure the Council of his hearty welcome. He was very proud of the bells in Leeds Parish Church and of those who rang them. He realised to the full the very great work which bellringers and the Central Council were doing for the Church, and in Leeds they felt that they had in the ringers a most devoted and loyal band of workers. The Vicar asked him to give the Council a hearty welcome to Leeds and his very best wishes for the success of the conference (applause).

The President expressed thanks for the kind message conveyed by Canon Marshall and said how much the Council appreciated meeting in Leeds and having the opportunity of ringing on the various peals of bells that had been placed at their disposal. They were sorry the Vicar had not been able to be present, but they appreciated his message very much (applause).

After the report of the hon. secretary (Mr. G. W. Fletcher) as to the constitution of the Council (printed in our last issue), the following new members were presented to the president: Mr. J. C. Pollard (Cleveland and North Yorkshire Association), Mr. F. W. Goodfellow (Middlesex County Association), Miss E. Steel (Ladies’ Guild), Mr. F. H. Dallaway (Sussex County Association), Mr. C. D. Potter (Barnsley and District Society) and Mr. J. P. Hyett (Hereford Diocesan Guild).


The retiring honorary members, Messrs. W. A. Cave and A. Walker, were re-elected, on the motion of Mr. A. Paddon Smith, seconded by Mr. J. Hunt.

The Standing Committee recommended the election of Mr. Gilbert E. Debenham, of St. Albans, as an honorary member. The President said that owing to Alderman Pritchett’s age he was unable to do that work for the Council on the legal side that they would sometimes like him to do, and it would be very valuable if they could have another lawyer on that Council, because legal questions sometimes cropped up, such as questions of alleged nuisance, insurance and so on. Mr. Debenham had been a solicitor since 1930. He was a son of the late Mr. E. P. Debenham, a member of the Council from 1894 to 1902; and was treasurer of the Hertford County Association.- Mr. Debenham’s election was unanimously agreed to, on the proposition of Mr. P. J. Johnson, seconded by Mr. T. Groombridge.

The President said Alderman Pritchett had written suggesting that, as he was 83 years of age, he should retire from the Council, but as they still had some vacancies among the hon. members, the Standing Committee suggested the resignation be not accepted, at least for the present (applause). Alderman Pritchett would come up for re-election in the normal course next year.


Five members or past members had died during the year, and, in accordance with custom, the names were reported to the Council.

Canon G. F. Coleridge said one of the deceased members and one of the most distinguished was the Rev. H. S. T. Richardson. He was referring to him because the president, being his brother-in-law, could not very well do so. Mr. Richardson was a member of the Council for 30 years, and in his early days at Cambridge made history with other distinguished men, who had made their mark upon ringing. Mr. Richardson had done a very great work indeed for the Council. As convener of the Peals Committee, he undertook the task of proving over a thousand peals of Treble Bob. That was a pretty big handful for any man to take on, but Mr. Richardson did it, and ringers who wished to ring the peals in that collection could be sure that they were absolutely sound. The work required great concentration and effort, and a considerable amount of time. In his later days, when he was Vicar of a busy parish in Hereford, Mr. Richardson carried on the work with the same ability, and the result was in the hands of the Council. He (Canon Coleridge) looked at the book on the previous day and it was marvellous. They had to thank Mr. Richardson and the other members of the committee for the scrupulous care and the assiduity with which they carried out the work. Mr. Richardson had long been a leading light in the Council and no one mourned his death more than he (the speaker) did.

The President referred to the other past members. Mr. W. H. Hollier had been a member of the Council from 1924 to 1937 and had attended 14 meetings. He was convener of the Peal Boards Committee, and it was a branch of work on which he spent a great deal of time and an enormous amount of trouble in the effort to collect these old records. He (the president) did not think the members, apart from those intimately connected with Mr. Hollier, realised the time and trouble he took in the matter. They would very much miss him as one of their members.

Mr. Frank Smith, of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youth, was a member of the Council from 1915 to 1935 and attended seven of the meetings. He was a very useful member in a quiet way.

Mr. F. W. Thornton was a member from 1891 to 1893 and from 1897 to 1900. He was a member of the Society of Trinity Youths and of the Kent County Association, and attended five meetings.

Another whom they had lost was one known to them all, their dear old friend, Mr. W. T. Cockerill, who represented the Ancient Society of College Youths on the Council for 44 years, from 1893 to 1937, and attended 23 of the meetings; in fact, he was a member of the Council almost as long as he was secretary of the Ancient Society. He (the president) had spoken on more than one occasion of Mr. Cockerill’s sterling qualities, and he thought they were known to all of them. All he need say on that occasion was how much they missed him. At the same time he could not help feeling how happy his ending was. He was 78 years of age; he rang the seventh at St. Paul’s Cathedral on the Sunday before his death and was in unusually good form in calling the customary three courses of Stedman Cinques. He was taken ill on the way home and only lasted two or three days afterwards. They could feel glad that he passed away, as he must have wished, in a happy time of his life and in harness right up to the end.

There were two other names, said the President, that he would like to mention, although they were not members of the Council. During the year they had lost Mr. Joseph J. Parker, who was so well known to the Exercise. He doubted if there was any ringer in that room who had not, at some time or other, rung Parker’s Twelve-part peal of Grandsire Triples and other of his compositions. He thought it would be nice to mention the fact when they felt the loss of so eminent a ringer and composer. Also, recently there had passed away one who was known to many members of the Council; he referred to the release of Mrs. Goldsmith.

The members of the Council stood in silence for a few moments as a mark of respect.


The minutes of the last meeting of the Council were then presented and passed.

The Standing Committee, said the President, asked for instructions with regard to a peal of Minor rung in Yorkshire that was questioned by the Analysis Committee in their report for 1936. As the result of the committee’s inquiries it appeared that, in a peal in seven methods, a plain course was inserted between the first and second 720’s. This was against the decisions of the Council, and the Standing Committee felt with regret that it should be deleted from the records.

The hon. secretary proposed that the Standing Committee’s recommendation be confirmed.- Mr. F. W. Perrens seconded and the motion was carried.

The President said the letter explaining the occurrence admitted quite frankly that the course was put in because one of the band was a bit uncertain of the method, and this was a little bit of practice put in in the middle of the peal (laughter).

Another point arising out of the minutes was with regard to the preparation of a book on handbell ringing. The hon. secretary said this was being drafted by Mr. Chris. Woolley, who was also seeking the advice of other prominent handbell ringers.


The hon. librarian (Mr. W. H. J. Hooton) presented the following report: Sales of publications are down, partly owing to the absence from the list of the book on Minor Methods and the exhaustion of the book of Major and Cater Methods. For the former I have had many inquiries, and it is hoped that this publication and the pamphlet relating to the law affecting church bells will be available shortly. The stock of ‘Hints’ is low and should be replenished. The Bristol sheets have gone sufficiently well to justify the printing of 500 to be sold at 2d. each. The whole stock of Glossaries has been given away, and about 12 associations have taken advantage of the Council’s offer.

Books have been borrowed from the library for the purpose of a lecture on bells and for the extraction of peal records. The thanks of the Council are due to Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Fletcher for the gifts of volumes of ‘The Ringing World’ for 1935 and 1936; also to Mrs. H. S. T. Richardson for duplicate copies of the peals of Treble Bob and for volumes of ‘The Ringing World.’

In accordance with the Council’s instructions the library and publications have been insured against fire with the General Assurance Corporation for a sum of £250. The annual premium is to be 8s. 9d., the first premium 9s. 3d.

The number of books sold during the year was 397 and of method sheets 106. This brought in £13 2s. 1d. Expenditure had been £9 18s. 1d.; leaving a balance on the year of £3 4s. The number of books in hand was 2,680 and of method sheets 1,199, of a total value of £138 15s. 7d. Of the books in hand 1,042 are sections 1, 2 and 3 of the ‘Collection of peals,’ valued at £72 4s. 8d.

On the motion of Mr. Hooton, seconded by Mr. W. A. Cave, the report was adopted.

The President said the Standing Committee had considered the question of the stock of the ‘Peals Collection,’ and under the powers already given to them had decided that the price of all these books should be reduced to a uniform one of 9d. each, and that the Corrigenda leaflets be inserted as a matter of course and included in the price.

A suggestion being made that the Corrigenda leaflets might be gummed into the books, Mr. W. A. Cave said the safest way was for those who had a copy to make the corrections on the pages of the book straightaway, otherwise they were absolutely useless.

The President reported, as a matter of interest to the Council, that the ‘Model Rules’ were out of stock. There had been a certain amount of demand. The Standing Committee had come to the conclusion that the present rules were quite unsuitable for modern conditions and had appointed a committee of their own members, consisting of the Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, Mr. Stephen Wood and the hon. librarian, to revise the rules and subsequently print them. With regard to the booklet on the preservation of bells, which was also practically out of stock, the committee had decided it should be reprinted, after revision by the Towers and Belfries Committee, and that would be proceeded with as soon as possible.

Replying to Mr. F. W. Rogers, the Hon. Secretary said the Standing Committee already had power to reprint ‘Hints to Conductors and Beginners,’ and stock would be replenished when necessary.

The statement of accounts showed the balance at Whitsun, 1937, was £105 11s. 7d. Receipts included 1936-37 affiliation fees arrears, £3 10s.; 1937-38, £33 5s.; subscriptions from hon. members, £2; interest on stock, £5; balance on sale of publications, £3 4s.; total £152 10s. 7d.

The expenses were: Printing method sheets, £1 16s.; sums voted at last meeting - Carter ringing machine fees, 10s. 6d.; Anti-Noise League donation, £1 1s.; purchase of Davis ‘silencers,’ £2 5s.; insurance of library and publications, 9s. 3d.; advertising, printing, stationery and postage, £11 9s. 3d.; wreaths, £3 3s.; gratuities, £1; leaving a balance of £130 16s. 7d. The investments in Conversion and Consolidated Stock have a market value of £142 1s.

The accounts were adopted on the motion of Mr. C. T. Coles (auditor), seconded by Mr. E. A. Young.


Mr. Young presented the following report of the Trustees of the Carter ringing machine and proposed its adoption and the payment of the fees: The machine was taken out and tried over on April 23rd last by the two demonstrators, Messrs. Sharman and Driver. I was unable to be present myself, but by co-trustee, Mr. A. A. Hughes, was present, and it would appear that all three gentlemen were satisfied with the demonstration. Mr. Sharman suggests that the contact pins of the electric circuits controlling the sounding of the bells be reset, as they require adjusting and would be more reliable if reset with stouter wire. Mr. Sharman offers to do this work free if paid expenses, but it would mean the taking of the lower part of the machine to his home at Lewisham, and it would be away a month. The trustees recommend that consent be given. There are two fees of half a guinea to pay, and the petty expenses amount to 1s.

Mr. Young said Mr. Driver had mastered the machine and had set it to certain methods without the aid of the MS. book compiled by Mr. Carter, so that Mr. Carter’s mantle seemed to have fallen upon a worthy successor. It was remarkable how Mr. Driver, although not a ringer, had mastered not only composition, but also the way in which change ringing was demonstrated on this machine.- Mr. F. W. Rogers seconded.

Mr. P. J. Johnson said there was some anxiety among members near him as to the petty expenses - they worked out at 4d. each (laughter).

The report was adopted, as was also the Standing Committee’s recommendation that the expenses be paid and that permission be given for the removal of part of the machine for resetting.

A formal report by the Standing Committee that they had considered the agenda, and that various recommendations had been or would be laid before the Council, was adopted on the motion of the president.

The Ringing World, June 17th, 1938, pages 394 to 395

Mr. G. Lindoff, for the Peal Collection Committee, reported that he had now received all the compositions back from the members of the committee, but not soon enough to enable them to be presented at that meeting. They were now being got into order, and the final scrutiny as to truth, etc., would occupy some time. There was nothing to delay handing them in at the next meeting.

The report was adopted on the motion of Mr. Lindoff, seconded by Mr. G. R. Newton.


Associations to be asked for Financial Help.

Mr. J. A. Trollope proposed and Mr. S. H. Wood seconded the following report of the Methods Committee: We beg to report that the proofs of the third edition of the Collection of Doubles and Minor Methods have been passed during the past year, and the book should be on sale shortly. We also remind the Council that the manuscript of the book on Surprise Major Methods is ready for publication as soon as financial considerations permit.

The report was adopted.

The President said the Standing Committee would like to obtain the views of the Council as to the possible demand for the Surprise method book. The position was this: The Standing Committee was authorised to print it if they considered that the time was right as regards finances. In order to give them some guidance they would like the views of the Council as to the probable demand. The book was fairly extensive and could not be printed at a cost which would enable it to be published at less than 4s. or 5s.; the amount depended on the number that could be printed, and that, in turn, depended on the demand.


Mr. W. Ayre said he had seen the manuscript and there was one thing that turned him against the book. He had spoken to the band with whom he rang new Surprise methods, and the first thing they said was they would not ring the methods in the book if they were already named. If they rang a new method they liked to give it the name they chose. He felt sure the printing of names to the methods would affect the sale.

Mr. J. T. Dyke said he was inclined to agree with Mr. Ayre. It had been his ambition to ring a method and name it, but if those in the book were already named, he would have to go outside to get his method and perhaps get an inferior one in order to gratify his ambition.

Mr. F. W. Perrens said as far as Midland ringers were concerned the same views applied. It was a big book and the expense of publishing it would be great. He doubted very much if there would be a great sale for it. He asked if it would be possible to split it up. Half of the book, or more, was letterpress connected with the history of Surprise ringing and other matters. He also wondered whether, instead of giving the methods in the form of leads, in the established way, it would not be better to give fewer methods, choosing the better ones, and giving them in diagram form only. In any event, 240 methods would make an expensive volume, and he thought the opinion of ringers would be that a fewer number would be sufficient for the time being.


Mr. P. J. Johnson said if they went to the expense of printing this book it would lead to a sort of ‘sequestration’ of a considerable part of their funds. They had already decided they should reprint other and more elementary books, and while he had every sympathy with the Surprise ringers - he sometimes even did a little himself - he felt they should consider carefully which was going to be of most use. Surprise ringing was distinctly the job of the specialist in change ringing; the vast majority of ringers were not Surprise ringers. The Council ought to consider the matter from that angle and whether the money could not be more usefully employed. Then there was the question of how they should publish the methods, whether by diagram or the figures. Speaking from his own experience, he thought those who were interested looked to see what combination of music was in the method and how the bells run up, and unless they got some indication of that from the printed figures, the majority of ringers would not be sufficiently interested to take the diagram and work it out. If they were to publish the diagrams and the figures they would add enormously to the cost of production. He was of opinion that the Council should take no further action in regard to the publication of the book for the present.

Mr. F. E. Dawe said this seemed to turn on a matter of expense. He could not help thinking that if it was such a difficult matter to get out of the average ringer the amount of 3d. per week to support a ringing paper, which they could not do without, they could not expect to get a sufficient number to give four or five shillings for a book that would be used by only just a few.

Mr. F. W. Rogers said he thought it would be a good thing for future ringers if the book could be published. He suggested that the methods might be grouped in such a way that a diagram and figures for three or four methods could be got on one page. He asked if the committee had any idea of the number that would be required to publish the book at 4s. or 5s.

The Hon. Secretary said it was estimated that 500 copies would cost about £80 or £90.


Mr. S. H. Wood said that at the Shrewsbury meeting in 1935 the Methods Committee were instructed to prepare a book on the Surprise methods. They were not asked to make a collection of diagrams - they were asked to write a book on Surprise Major methods. It had been a big job. It required great care and a lot of time. He had spent a great many hours upon it, but for every one he had spent, Mr. Trollope had spent a hundred, and the question was whether that work was to be wasted. If the Council did not wish it to be published, why did they ask the Methods Committee to write the book? It had been suggested that the book should be split so as to reduce the price. That was a matter for the Council to decide, but he would like to say, on behalf of the committee, that they had produced the best book they could and a balanced book. They would not like to see the book split up if it could be avoided. It had been written and consider as a whole and their feeling was certainly that it was the letterpress portion that, to a large extent, sold a book. There was one group of ringers who wanted figures or diagrams of methods, and another group who wanted the reading matter contained in the letterpress, in order to find something interesting about the methods. The committee felt that it was the letterpress portion that would sell the book.

Mr. A. D. Barker said if they were going to discuss the question of names they were going to reopen a question which had caused a lot of wasted time in the past when they had the Minor methods before them. With regard to the cost of publication, he suggested the Council should pay for space in ‘The Ringing World’ every week and publish a method every week.


Mr. J. S. Goldsmith said he had had the opportunity of examining the manuscript of the book and had no hesitation in saying it was a very valuable production. The cost of printing, however, would be very heavy and would lock up a considerable amount of the Council’s limited funds for a long time. To publish the book at an economic price would probably mean that it would take 20 years to run through an edition, and he did not think, in view of its other commitments, that the Council could afford to lock up its funds to this extent. He suggested that the affiliated associations should be asked to put up half the cost of the book, on some proportional basis, such as membership or representation on the Council. There were 51 affiliated associations, and it would mean an average of only £1 each, in return for each which they would receive an equivalent value in copies of the book. In this way they might ensure publishing the book at an early date without entirely crippling the Council’s funds, and he did not think the associations would object to providing this small amount.

Mr. Johnson supported the idea of doing something on the lines suggested by Mr. Goldsmith, or of ascertaining from the associations the number of copies they would be likely to take. That would be some sort of guarantee, but unless they had it he still felt they stood in great danger of sequestrating a large portion of their funds.

Mr. Wood also supported Mr. Goldsmith’s suggestion. The average would only be £1 for an association, in return for which they would get, say, five copies of the book. He thought Mr. Johnson was unduly pessimistic. He could hardly imagine any association that did not contain five members sufficiently interested in Surprise Major ringing to buy a copy of the book.

Mr. G. R. Newton thought Mr. Goldsmith’s plan was an admirable one. He felt sure he could commit his association to such a plan and say that Lancashire would be prepared to contribute £1, even if they did not get five copies of the book. It seemed to him a great pity if the labours of the committee, who had worked so hard on the Council’s behalf, should be wasted, or at any rate not appreciated to the full, because they would not be appreciated unless the book were published. If the book were held over, its chances of publication would be lessened. He wholeheartedly agreed with Mr. Goldsmith’s suggestion.

Mr. Johnson said for the comfort of Mr. Stephen Wood the Yorkshire Association, he thought he could say, would spend £5 (applause).

The Rev. H. Drake said on behalf of the Suffolk Guild, which was, perhaps, the worst off of any, he was prepared to undertake to support the scheme, but he thought, if the cost was 4s. and the published price 5s., the associations should have the benefit of the difference.

Mr. W. Wilson said Mr. Goldsmith’s scheme was about the best constructive idea they had had on the publication of the book. He could give a very good reason why they should publish the book, even if they lost a little financially, for he was sure the Exercise as a whole would benefit sufficiently by the publication of a book like that to make up for any loss. He recalled the record of a peal of Triples at Rolvenden, Kent, rung in 1820, the average age of the band, except the tenorman, being only 19 years, the footnote stating that all were residents of the parish, ‘who acquired their information on change ringing within twelve months solely by reading a book on that art.’ Had such a book as the Surprise methods been available to ringers in those days, there would not have been nearly as many new methods waiting to be named now; they would all have been rung.


Mr. J. A. Trollope, speaking first on the question of inserting the names of the methods in the book, said the Council already had considerable experience in this matter. They had had the experience in connection with the six-bell methods, and as far as the committee was concerned, and as far as the Council, he hoped, was concerned, they did not want to repeat that experiment. The old Methods Committee first adopted the plan of issuing methods without names, with the idea that they were to be named by those who rang them. The result was, it took 20 years or more before half or three-quarters of the names were settled, and during the whole of that time there was confusion. One result was that almost as soon as the book was published it became of no use whatever, except to a small proportion of people who wanted to ring a new method. Mr. Dyke said he had an ambition to ring a new method and name it, and there was a chance that the method he wanted to ring might be in this Surprise book and be already named so that he would not be able to ring that method and gratify his ambition. He did not suppose, however, that Mr. Dyke cared twopence about it (laughter). If they issued this book without the names, in a year or so the book would be of no good whatever to the people who had got it, because, when people rang a method and named it, there would be nothing to connect what they rang with what was in the book. When the Plain Major Methods book was issued they named every one of the methods and said nothing to anybody. From that time to the present quite a number of them had been rung, but there had not been a single complaint about, them having been already named by the committee; now they were asked to believe that if they followed the same course with regard to the Surprise methods people were coming to break their front windows (laughter). The book would be valueless without the names and the grievance was not a genuine one. Some people thought they had a grievance but they hadn’t.

When they talked about the sale of the book, continued Mr. Trollope, experience showed that it was not the people who were chiefly interested in and who wanted to ring the highest Surprise methods who were likely to be the only buyers, neither was it the people who were the big ringers who could ring Stedman Cinques on their heads and nothing but Stedman Cinques. It was the young people who wanted about to know something about ringing who bought books and it was those they wanted to get hold of. They could judge a book on Surprise ringing not by the number of people who were going to make up a Surprise band and ring peals, but by the number of people who wanted to get general knowledge from it which would help them in their ringing career. If they gave people what they wanted, the book would create its own demand, but they should remember it was not, except from the financial side, necessary to sell the whole edition straight out. It was far better to have a book that would last for 20 years. It would not be out of date in 20 years, and a steady sale over that period was likely to have better results than selling out the whole edition in a few months.


With regard to the suggestion that they should use diagrams, he had made enquiries and the cost was prohibitive and they could rule that out entirely. The book which the committee had prepared was far in advance of any of the other publications of the kind which had been issued by the Council, simply because the others were books consisting entirely of figures, but with a book of this kind, with something else besides figures, they would interest people who did not ring Surprise methods. Mr. Trollope added that he appreciated Mr. Goldsmith’s suggestion because he knew he felt that the financial responsibility on the Council was otherwise rather too great.

Replying to Mr. E. A. Young, who said it might be an advantage if the Council were told what the book contained, Mr. Trollope said there were chapters on proof and course ends, a number of methods, which ran to about 150, with the actual leads and instructions for getting about fifty or sixty more; there were the false course ends, a selection of compositions and, in addition, a complete history of the methods.

Mr. S. H. Wood (a member of the Methods Committee) said they had heard a lot about names; it was just possible some people did not quite understand what was involved. There were about 150 methods shown in the proposed book, and if the Council should decide to publish it the question arose about the naming of those that had not yet been rung. Up to the present, out of the 150, approximately 100 had been rung and the names were known. The point was whether the Methods Committee were going to make their own names for the rest and expect ringers to abide by those names, or whether they should fall in with the old tradition and let the band who first rang a method give it the name of their own choice. He disagreed with Mr. Trollope on this subject and always had done. He felt that the book should be published without the names of the methods which had not yet been rung.

Mr. Goldsmith then formally proposed the following motion: ‘That, with a view to publishing the book on Surprise Major Methods at an early date, this Council recommend that all affiliated societies be invited to take up one half of the issue.’

This was seconded by Mr. G. R. Newton and carried with two dissentients.

Mr. Perrens asked if the Council were going to decide with regard to the names. If the associations agreed to the publication on the terms suggested, the Standing Committee would be getting on with the job immediately.

Mr. Trollope said that what was in the book was the responsibility of the authors, in the same way that authors were responsible for any other book. He asked the Council not to interfere on this point and certainly not to decide anything of the kind until they realised what was involved. If they were going to give an instruction to the committee to issue the book without the names, it would not be worth 4s., or even 2s. 6d. for that matter, in a very few years. He did not say that because he wanted the honour of naming the methods - it was very nice to name one or two, but to name a whole lot was a nuisance - but they had had this matter over before and they knew from the Minor Methods that to publish a book without the names was an utter failure.

Replying to a question by Mr. Perrens, Mr. Trollope said, of course, before the book was published, the names would be revised so that all the methods that had been rung would be given the names chosen by the bands who rang them. It was only the unrung ones that would be named by the committee.


Later in the day the President referred again to the position with regard to the publication of the book. He read extracts from the minutes of previous meetings of the Council, showing that the actual publication of the book had been deferred by the Standing Committee with a view to ascertaining what demand there was likely to be for the book. He pointed out that the Council had now decided to approach the associations to invite them to take up one half of the issue, and said this application would be made to the societies, and if the necessary funds were forthcoming, the book, in its present state, would go forward for printing.

Mr. W. G. Wilson said printing would hardly be possible for another twelve months, because they would have to wait for the annual meetings of the associations to give their consent.

Mr. S. H. Wood said he had made it clear that morning that he had never been in agreement with the other members of the committee that the book should be published with names given to methods that had not been rung. He had suggested that as the book was being written for and published by the Council, the Council should be given the chance to decide whether or not those names should be published. As a member of the committee he was in an awkward position, and he could not allow his name to go on that book if it included something of which he did not approve. If the Council decided by a majority that it wanted these names put in and instructed the Methods Committee to put them in, then he would be very willing to co-operate in choosing the most suitable names, but he did not feel he could take the responsibility of putting the names in off his own bat.

Mr. F. Warrington proposed that the unrung methods be numbered in the book so that those who rang them for the first time could name them.

Mr. C. H. Kippin seconded.

Mr. Trollope asked the Council not to decide the question at that time in about two minutes, but to study the question, remembering what happened in regard to the six-bell methods.

Mr. A. P. Smith raised a point of order. He said they were going back to an item which had already been dealt with.

The President said he did not think they should have a long discussion, but the instructions to the officers of the Council were not clear.

Mr. Wood said he had understood for the last two years that this book was to be handed round to members of the Standing Committee and any others who were interested, before anything else was done, in order to obtain their views, and that was the reason he had not brought this rather unfortunate matter up before that morning. That morning for the first time they had heard the views of the Council.


Mr. Trollope protested against this question being sprung on the Council at the last minute; he considered it was out of order. The book could not in any case be printed before the next meeting, and he suggested that the question of naming or not naming the methods should be left until next year. In the meantime, he asked those people who talked about a grievance to look at the thing from the point of view of the Exercise generally, rather than from that of one or two people who had the idea that they would like to name a method. This book, if printed, should be a standard book for 50 years; all this question of names happened only once. He thought very few people cared what name was given to a new method which they rang as long as the name was a good one.

The President said, in view of the fact that in any case the book could not be printed before next year, he would ask the Council to defer a decision on the question of the names. In the meantime the officers of the Council would get into touch with the associations, with regard to the financial guarantee, so that they would be ready next year.

Mr. J. Hunt said they had all this discussion years ago in connection with the Minor methods, and they decided to leave the naming to the Methods Committee. He thought they should leave the naming of the methods in this book to the committee.

The President said from the rate at which new Surprise methods were being rung it was possible that all the methods in the book would be named by bands who rang them before next year. For the sake of Mr. Dyke and others who would like to name a method, he would like to say he believed there were something like forty-seven thousand other Surprise methods not in the book from which they could select one or two to call after their own name.

The discussion then dropped.

The Ringing World, June 24th, 1938, pages 410 to 411

The report of the Peals Analysis and Records Committee, which appeared in ‘The Ringing World’ on May 6th, was presented by Mrs. Fletcher, who corrected one slight mistake, in which the Lancashire Association was stated to have rung 101 peals, whereas it was the Lincoln Diocesan Guild that reached this number.


The report was adopted, and the President then called attention to the fact that 259 peals were rung in celebration of the Coronation of their Majesties, the King and Queen. He suggested that the officers of the Council approach the Home Secretary, either direct or through Lord Shaftesbury (who is an honorary member of the Council), and find out whether the King would accept a list of those 259 peals, which list would, presumably, ultimately find its way into the library at Windsor Castle. He did not mean that the details of the peals should be given, but just a list of the places and what was rung.

Mr. S. F. Palmer seconded and the proposition was at once carried.

Replying to a question, the President said the list was not merely of peals rung on Coronation Day, but of all the peals rung for the Coronation.


Warning Against Neglect.


The Towers and Belfries Committee’s report was presented by the president. It stated: Since the last Council meeting the members of the committee have been consulted in 27 cases, and have given advice, in most cases after inspection of the towers concerned. In 22 of these towers the question was one of rehanging or the provision of additional bells. In the other five towers advice was given in the matter of sound modification. Where the committee’s advice has been followed, the reduction of sound in the neighbourhood of the church has given great satisfaction.

During the year the ‘silencer’ belonging to the Council have been lent for experiment to one tower, with the result that a set is being purchased for that tower. The introduction of ‘silencers’ at several churches has been brought to the notice of the committee. One warning is needed with regard to the use of the ‘silencers.’ If before their use the volume of sound in the ringing room is not excessive, it will be found difficult to hear the bells when the ‘silencers’ are in use. To get over this difficulty a hinged trap door should be made in the ceiling which can be easily opened when ‘silencers’ are in use, and closed at other times. If this provision be not made there will be a risk of bad striking.

The attention of the committee has been drawn to the desirability of handrails being provided for belfry staircases, and when the ‘Preservation of bells’ pamphlet is next reprinted this point can be dealt with.

Some information is available as to the members of Diocesan Advisory Committees. So far, replies have been received from 24 dioceses out of 47. In 16 of these there is a member who either has good knowledge of bells or is sufficiently interested to see that expert advice is obtained. In the other eight the position is said to be unsatisfactory. The committee would be glad to have further information with a view to taking some action in the matter.

The President, in presenting the report, said he had received a letter from Major Hesse giving the list of towers he had visited. Referring to the question of unprotected steel girders, the President said that an architect friend of his had been down, for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, to a church in Surrey, where the bells were rehung in the early part of this century in an iron frame on mild steel girders. It had remained unpainted and it was now possible to push a finger through the web of the girders. That had come about in a matter of 31 or 32 years. The girders had completely perished. The architects had something on their side when they objected to steel frames unless they were painted. In this case the steel was to be replaced by cast iron girders. The cast iron frame was all right; it was the mild steel that had gone. Unless they could be sure that it was going to be painted or covered with concrete there was a danger, and those who recommended oak had something in their favour, for oak was fool-proof, except for the beetle. Concrete casing for girders in small towers restricted the space and added to the difficulty of getting the ropes down in a good circle.

Mr. Lewis went on to refer to a tower which he visited where the death-watch beetle had got into the frame very badly. The architect applied a liquid for discouraging the beetle, and he applied it in a certain way. As a result the bell frame had drunk more than 60 gallons of the liquid (laughter). Small holes had been bored into the timber, and the foreman went round filling them up, through funnels, eight times a day. There were traces that the liquid had got to the ends of the frame and they were having quite good hunting and had bagged quite a number of beetles (laughter).


Proceeding, the President said ‘The Times’ newspaper, on Coronation Day, gave a little paragraph about the Imperial Institute and the ringing that was going to take place there, and the correspondent said that the tower swayed a foot out of the perpendicular when the bells were rung (laughter). That meant that it would move 2ft., one each way. He had looked to see if the Office of Works took up the matter, but they did not appear to do so. He had looked up some measurements he made some years ago at towers where the movement was quite noticeable. In one case the movement was only one-twentieth of an inch out of the vertical each way. That was quite noticeable to the ringers. In another one - he thought it was Northaw, before the bells were rehung in 1914 - the light bracket used to sway, the handbells on the wall started to ring and the rafters and wall-plate could be heard rubbing together. The movement was measured and found to be two millimetres out of perpendicular. As there were 25 millimetres to the inch, the movement was about one-fifth of an inch, and that was very noticeable indeed. The reference to the Imperial Institute tower was just the sort of thing they got in newspapers, even newspapers like ‘The Times.’

With regard to the information about the diocesan authorities, said Mr. Lewis, Winchester, Bristol, Chester, Ely, Exeter, Leicester, Portsmouth, Rochester, Chichester and Lincoln had a ringer on the Diocesan Advisory Board; in the case of Lichfield, Norwich, Oxford, Truro, Worcester and Blackburn there were members who knew quite it bit about bells, although not actually ringers themselves. In the case of certain other dioceses he had no information, and asked the Council to let him have information if possible later in the day.

The Rev. E. S. Powell said he was on the Peterborough Diocesan Board.

The President said there was no one on the Salisbury Board, but Mr. H. B. Walters was consulted. Nothing was known about Southwark; Ripon would in most cases consult someone; in St. Albans no one was called in; in Southwell there was a vacancy; Sheffield had no representative at present. Mr. Lewis added that the committee would try and take some steps to get someone appointed to each committee or have arrangements made so that someone with a knowledge of bells should be consulted when a question arose concerning bells.


On the question of the desirability of having a handrail round the belfry staircase, the President said the matter had been raised in a letter from Mr. J. Jaggar, who said the point had been worrying him a good deal. He (the president) had heard of several cases of people being damaged through slipping on the stairs and Mr. Paddon Smith had told him of the case of a man being killed through falling down the staircase at the Bull Ring, Birmingham, about two years ago; so it was an important point.

Mr. E. A. Young, in moving the adoption of the report, said this question of dangerous staircases had been in his mind for some years. Some stairs were very narrow, perhaps only 2ft. wide, and very steep in order to get the head room. Therefore, the treads at the outside were sometimes only two or three inches wide. Some old towers had a rope running down the newel, and he thought the Council should advocate this on narrow stairs where there was no room for a handrail. For a descent there was nothing so reassuring as a rope running through the hand at head level, ready to take the pull if one slipped.

Mr. F. E. Dawe, in seconding, said with advancing age, he had come to know the necessity of a rope on narrow stairs.

Mr. A. Paddon Smith said a rope did not take the place of a proper iron handrail where there was room for it. Holding a rope brought a man to the narrow edge of the steps. It was better to have hold of a rail on the outside; then, if his feet slipped, he was automatically brought to the wide side of the steps. Wherever there was room they should have a handrail; where there was not room, perhaps a rope round the newel was the next best thing.

Mr. Young said a handrail on a narrow stairway was liable to catch on the hip or waist in going up or down.

The President said one member of the Council the other day was unable to get up the stairway into a tower, although there was no handrail. The stairs were too narrow (laughter).

Mr. Young: He could only get up sideways, I suppose.

The President: No, he could not even get up sideways (laughter).

Mr. Smith said when the great Samuel Lawrence went on one occasion to ring at Dudley he could not get into the tower. They, therefore, hoisted him up by a derrick and got him in through the window; so Mr. Richardson’s experience was not new (laughter).

The President said the committee would see that the Council’s recommendation was included in the revised handbook on the preservation of Bells.

The report was then adopted.


The report of the Literature, Press and Broadcasting Committee was as follows: Two events of the past twelve months have brought bells and ringers into quite exceptional prominence in the public press. One is the College Youths’ tercentenary, the other the controversy over ‘canned bells.’

The tercentenary received an outstanding degree of publicity; daily and weekly journals published full accounts of the celebration both before and after the event, as well as on the actual day, with copious illustrations, featuring in some cases well-known members of the Ancient Society. The memorial tribute to Sir Henry Tulse was recorded at length. An incident in connection with a broadcast given by the Master of the College Youths was magnified by an imaginative journalist into a ‘Row at the B.B.C.,’ involving Miss Dorothy Sayers. The natural effect was to give enhanced publicity to the occasion and to draw attention to the broadcast by association with the name of the famous novelist.

It may here be mentioned as a link with contemporary literature that on a subsequent date Miss Sayers visited the belfry of St. Paul’s Cathedral and attended the College Youths’ meeting at the Coffee Pot, where she was presented with a gift in recognition of the widespread interest in change ringing aroused by her renowned work of fiction, ‘The Nine Tailors.’

The occasional use of gramophone records in towers instead of actual bells has been noted in the Press from time to time, but the subject leapt into sudden prominence when the installation of a record in a steeple at Weymouth led to a long discussion at a meeting of the Dorchester Branch of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild, and a resolution deprecating the use of such mechanical devices was passed and forwarded to the Bishop. Journalists evidently found ‘good copy’ in the protest of ringers against this menace to their national art: even in America the matter was taken up in the public Press.


A leader in the ‘Daily Mirror’ under the heading ‘Ding Dong Bell!’ had the right ring about it; ‘In an unsentimental age we sometimes hear protesting voices against church bells. The tinny and one-noted bell may annoy the ears, but any person who objects to a beautifully rung peal should consult a doctor about it. We sympathise with the … ringers in their revolt against “canned music” and loud-speakers in churches. Keep the old bells ringing! Let us be rung to church as our forefathers were.’

‘Discs in the Belfry’ was the heading of a whole column in a recent issue of the ‘Church Times.’ The following extract, from the pen of the gifted writer signing himself ‘Urbanus,’ may well provide food for reflection: ‘There is a great deal to be said in favour of the discs. Foremost, I fancy, is the woeful fact that many bells are silent, or, at best, ill-rung. I have heard many a country parson bewail his inability to get a team of ringers together … Nor is it enough that the bells should ring out in the evening. They should call the people to morning worship. But, alas! ringers, when found at all, frequently have no leisure or inclination for morning church, let alone for pulling their weight in the bell-chamber. Still,’ he continues, ‘I should fight against the intrusion of the gramophone into a tower where true bells hang.’

Among general references to bellringing in the London Press we find records of long service in the belfry, notably to the band of ringers at Marnhull, Dorset, who had completed 40 years of united service to the church, before the passing of Mr. A. Drew at the age of 76 created the first breach in their number, and to the ringers of Fillongley, who during the last 50 years have rung together at three Royal Jubilees and three Coronations. Amongst individual records have appeared those of Mr. Brundle, of Ipswich, Mr. Hewlett, of Puddletown, and the late Mr. W. T. Cockerill, while the Kentish newspapers gave due prominence to the one hundredth birthday celebration of Mr. C. Slingsby. By way of contrast, the Northfleet ringers have figured in the Press as the youngest band, with an average age of 13 years.

Whether by chance or by design, two articles of outstanding merit appeared in two Birmingham Papers on the same date; one in the ‘Post’ headed ‘The Ringing Isle - England’s Pleasantest Epithet’: the other in the ‘Mail’ on ‘The Art and Practice of Change Ringing.’ ‘The Listener’ has included an interesting article on bells by Garry Hogg. In a paragraph entitled ‘Skyward Music,’ a London journal has called attention to the improvement effected by blocking up the louvres and throwing the sound upwards. Among many local reports of dedications of bells, those of augmentation at Poole and recasting at Bournemouth, both in the Coronation year, would appeal to a wide public. A full account of the peal rung to celebrate Alderman Pritchett’s golden wedding appeared in the Birmingham Press, with a photograph of the ringers.

The publication of Mr. J. A. Trollope’s work, ‘The College Youths,’ in the society’s tercentenary year, was a literary event of great interest to the Exercise at large. The author’s diligent research into obscure sources of information has brought to light many facts of historical value, while his gift of imagination and vivid style bring past ages to new life in the pages of this fascinating book, which incidentally received enthusiastic commendation from the Dean of St. Paul’s at the College Youths’ dinner. A new edition at a more popular price of Nicholl’s ‘Bells Through the Ages’ and Morris’ ‘History and Art of Change Ringing,’ both reviewed at length in the ‘Church Times,’ is indicative of increasing interest in the subject.


The outstanding event of 1937 was Mr. E. H. Lewis’ broadcast on the tercentenary of the College Youths, with both tower bell and handbell illustrations of change ringing. Transmission and reception were perfect. Other broadcasts of bells have been almost entirely introductory to religious services. Last summer two or three of these performances were far from creditable, but during the past nine months or so a very fair standard has on the average been maintained, though there is still need for much improvement. A Somerset village won well-merited praise for a really good broadcast of Stedman Doubles. On the other hand, a Dorset village with six fine-toned bells let the Exercise down by an incompetent attempt at chiming. One village band, realising that an elementary attempt at change ringing was not coming up to the mark for broadcasting, had the good sense to revert to rounds, which in their way produced a thoroughly musical effect. The monthly touch of Caters from St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields continues to be rung and the reception very good, as also that from Croydon on Sunday mornings. Since the removal of Bishop Woods to Lichfield, the bells of Lichfield Cathedral have likewise been broadcast. On Coronation Day, 1937 1938, very brief records were transmitted of the ringing at Westminster Abbey and the Imperial Institute. The announcer was misinformed in his statement that the bells of the Institute are rung ‘only’ on royal anniversaries.

The president of the Council has had the opportunity of personal conferences with officials of the B.B.C. which should be productive of good results.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, who moved the reception of the report, said the Exercise had had a very good Press during the year, not only in the sense that bellringing had been brought into considerable prominence, but also, the art of change ringing had received very favourable notice. Writers had shown intelligence and interest in the art of ringing. With regard to the reference to Mr. Charles Slingsby, who had now reached his 101st birthday, it had been suggested that the Council might send him a message of congratulation. He moved that the report be adopted and a congratulatory message sent to this grand old man of Kent.

Mr. A. P. Smith seconded and suggested that with the letter of congratulation they should also enclose a pound note. He was sure that was a kind of message that the old man would not regret receiving (applause). Mr. Smith added with regard to the two articles which appeared in Birmingham papers, that the two papers were both owned by a well-known Birmingham churchman, Sir Charles Hyde. Not only had he allowed a column in each of his very expensive papers to be devoted to the cause of bells and bellringing, but was generous enough to give £1,000 towards the cost of recasting and rehanging the bells of Birmingham Cathedral, so that the work might he done in time for the Coronation (applause).

A collection for Mr. Slingsby resulted in a sum of £2 being received.

The Ringing World, July 1st, 1938, pages 426 to 427, correction July 15th, 1938, page 463


The Rev. H. Drake had given notice of resolutions, arising out of the report of the Literature, Press and Broadcasting Committee. At the suggestion of the Standing Committee, he accepted some verbal amendments and accordingly moved that ‘the Council adopt the following statement on the subject of gramophone records of bells and issue it in a suitable form to every Diocesan Bishop, Archdeacon and Chancellor’:-

  1. The ringing of church bells before divine service has never been considered a mere mechanical device, similar or in addition to a clock. It is an act of worship by a certain number of churchworkers, solemnly preparatory to further worship, and proportionate in value to the skill and care employed. It may be compared to the voluntary on the organ, and more than the latter requires thorough practice, at least once a week.

  2. Records of change ringing are useful for instruction, or for broadcasting. But as they do not fulfil any of the conditions of personal ringing, they ought not to be used to commence a service of divine worship. Furthermore, they publish to the world a pretence that eight men or more are in that church, making an act of worship. Also they lend themselves to the production of effects, which to those who know something of ringing (and they are many) sound absurdly impossible. To prevent a church making itself ridiculous, records should only be manipulated by a person with a knowledge of change ringing, but if a man is really skilful enough to know what is possible, he will be wanting to ring a real bell elsewhere.

  3. These objections do not apply to records of carillon music. Moreover, a musician sufficiently experienced to handle such records satisfactorily can often be found. Therefore, when permission is given for instruments using records to be installed, it should be stipulated that records of change ringing should never be heard from a church.

Mr. C. Mee seconded.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards proposed the omission of paragraph 3. He said he thought it would be a great mistake to put into the heads of Chancellors or Bishops or anyone else the very thought of installing carillon music in towers (hear, hear).


The Rev. H. Drake said he thought they should draw the attention of the authorities of the Church to the position of ringing as an art which was part of the worship of the Church. Ringing of bells was considered by most clergy to be just some mechanical thing like the striking of a clock at the beginning of the service, but ringers and clergy who were ringers did not consider it in that way at all. They felt that they took an integral part in the service of the church when they rang before the service. Most people considered the organ voluntary as an integral part of the service, and ringers thought the same of ringing the bells before the service began. When they heard anyone preach to ringers, nine times out of ten they heard something about ringing the bells and going away from the service. He had thought this matter over very considerably and he could not agree with that position. When he was a boy the organist used to play for the first service, and, when that was over, close the organ and go. If there was a service after morning prayer, no one expected him to stop. If he did he would go and sit in another part of the church and be a member of the congregation. They all expected ringers to come to church, but not necessarily for the service for which they rang. It should not be a compulsory thing, whether it was convenient or not.

With regard to the third paragraph, Mr. Drake said they were told they were a Council concerned only with change ringing, and, therefore ought not to interfere with carillon ringing or give any advice to the authorities of the Church about carillons. He was not a member of the Council at the beginning, so he had nothing to do with choosing the name of the Council. But they were not in name a Central Council of Change Ringers, but a Central Council of Church Bellringers. He had always thought they ought not to be called bellringers but change ringers, but as long as that was not in their name they could not exclude carillons from consideration. They were the only authority on carillon ringing; they might not know very much about it but who else did? He thought they should tell the authorities of the Church about carillon music, but he was in a difficulty because since that resolution was sent in, in fact on the previous day, he was at the opening and blessing of the new Shrine in Walsingham. Many thousands of people came to the service. When they started from the old Parish Church they heard the bells ringing in the old way. When they came to the Shrine a carillon of bells was being rung and they heard the contrast. His colleague did not agree with him about the carillon business - neither did he agree with the architect and builder in regard to the tall slender campanile - but to him (the speaker) it was a thing of beauty. There being that beauty in it, they, as ringers, although they did not take any part in carillon music themselves, ought to allow carillons to be in the churches and look forward to the time when there would be a large tower with bells hung for ringing and a small slender tower with a carillon in the same church.

The President said they were a Central Council of Church Bellringers and that entirely barred out carillons, which were played or chimed, and not rung. He thought that difference was fundamental. He was not in the least against carillon music; it was very fine in its place, but he did not think the Council had anything to do with it.

Mr. T. Clark thought the Council would do better by trying to get existing bells put in order where it was necessary. If they could do that it would provide the bellfounders with enough work for years to come. The Council could not force the ecclesiastical authorities to take their views and they could assert no authority. Where there were towers which were not fit to carry or capable of carrying bells they could not get a parson to say, because he could not have real bells, he should have none of these other things.

Mr. S. H. Wood said in as far as Mr. Drake’s proposal applied to churches where there was a choice between bells and a gramophone, he was entirely in agreement with him, but in other cases where there was no question of having a peal of bells and never would be, the Council would be going much too far to pass that resolution. If they did so, saying in effect that if they could not have bells, they would not have bell effects produced by gramophone records of good change ringing, it would be a mistake. There were four of these gramophones in Bristol and he had to admit that he was partly instrumental in getting one of them installed and he had no regrets about it. They were not in churches which had peals of bells. Neither of the churches had towers or any hope of having towers, and he thought it was all to the good that the inhabitants of this district should hear good Grandsire Caters before the services.

Mr. Trollope said he objected to the wording of the sentence that the ringing of church bells before divine service had never been considered a mere mechanical device. That was not true. Ringing for service was entirely a modern thing. Fifty or sixty years ago people, like Ellacombe and Wigram and the editor of ‘Church Bells,’ were using all their influence to stop what they considered the undesirable innovation of ringing before service. In the middle ages, before the Reformation, there was ringing before High Mass. After about 1540, until almost in the lifetime of some of those present, ringing, as they knew it, had, strictly speaking, nothing whatever to do with the services of the Church. It was used partly for social purposes and partly for parochial and national occasions. Prior to services only a single bell or two were used, to tell people exactly what service was to be held and when it was to be held. He thought they should consider their modern ringing before service in the same light as the organ voluntary. That was to be encouraged, but they should not go before the Church authorities and say that was what had always been done.


Canon Marshall said it seemed to him that these resolutions were far too intricate and involved to be of use, and the speeches seemed to bear that out. He felt inclined to move that the matter be referred back to the Standing Committee for further and more careful consideration. He did not feel inclined to vote for the resolutions as they were, although he was in full sympathy with what he believed was behind them.

Mr. J. Hunt seconded Canon Marshall’s suggestion.

Mr. J. C. Pollard said the Council in passing these resolutions would be telling the Church authorities what to do, and most of them knew that Church authorities would resent interference. Mr. Pollard instanced a case in his own district where there was a church with a small tower and no room for a peal of bells and the parish had only a tiny population. The Vicar wanted bells. They were up against the position whether they should advise the vicar to have no bells or a carillon. He (Mr. Pollard) advised a carillon; it had been put in and was a wonderful success.

It was suggested that the Standing Committee be given power to act, and the Rev. H. Drake thereupon withdrew his motion on the understanding that the matter was not delayed until the next meeting.


In their report, the Peal Boards Committee said: A great deal has been said and written about the loss sustained by the Exercise by the death on December 29th 1937, of William Henry Hollier, and in this report we therefore mention only the work which Mr. Hollier did for our committee. He was our convener, but he was more than that. It was he who, at Shrewsbury in 1935, proposed that a record should be made of all peal records contained on tablets and boards in the church towers of the country prior to 1825 and that a committee be appointed to undertake the work.

The suggestion met with the full approval of the Council, and Mr. Hollier was placed in charge of the committee which was appointed. During the two and a half years since that date he spent much time and money in starting the collection of records. His health did not allow him to obtain details of peal boards personally, as he would have liked, but he took infinite trouble writing to members of the Exercise for details from their own towers.

We feel that we owe a duty to his memory to see that the work he initiated is continued until it is as complete as it is possible to make it.

An interval of some months elapsed before we were able to obtain all the committee papers that were in Mr. Hollier’s possession, and this has somewhat delayed the progress of the work of copying and filing the records. We hope to be able to deal more fully in our report next year with the actual work done by the committee and with steps for completing that work as soon as possible. At present, however, copies of some 200 peal boards have been received and about half of them have been typewritten and filed.

We ask all members of the Exercise in general and of this Council in particular to assist us by sending us full details of all peal boards they know of which are dated not later than 1825.

Mr. W. G. Wilson, who moved the adoption of the report, said how deeply the committee regretted that Mr. Hollier was not there to perform the task. They missed him very much. They referred in the report to their loss and the desire that the work which Mr. Hollier started should be completed satisfactorily. But they could only do that if every member of the Exercise would help them, and in this it was up to every member of the Council to examine the remaining records and send copies to the committee.

The Rev. C. E. Wigg, who seconded, said it had been discovered that some of the records sent in had not been strictly accurate and did not contain all the particulars. He stressed that the committee wanted the precise wording on the boards. Another object of the committee was to have a record of the actual condition of each board, so that, if necessary, they could take steps to have them preserved.

The report was adopted.


Mr. J. S. Goldsmith moved the adoption of the following report of the Biographies Committee: The compilation of the biographies of past members is proceeding, but there are still many forms, sent out two years ago, that have not been returned. Forms have been circulated to the present members of the Council and are being slowly returned. The object of these forms is to obtain first-hand information for future use, when a representative ceases to be a member of the Council. The committee hope it will be easier to get this material before members leave the Council than it has proved to obtain particulars concerning past members. They, therefore, request that all members will complete the forms sent to them and return them without delay to the committee. It is particularly desired that photographs will be sent with the information. These, as far as they have been received, make an exceedingly interesting feature of the biographical collection.

Mr. Goldsmith emphasised the desire of the committee for photographs as well as the biographical details, and mentioned that one member, being without any photograph of himself, had sent his fingerprints, while another had sent a self -portrait, the outstanding features of which were a bald head, a large pipe and an empty tankard (laughter).

Mr. W. A. Cave seconded the report, which was adopted.


The question of what steps could be taken to increase the circulation of ‘The Ringing World’ had been before the Council on several occasions and the officers of the Council presented another interim report. This consisted of extracts from some 17 letters which had been received from members in response to a request for suggestions. In submitting the report, the President said the bulk of the letters went over old ground, which had been thoroughly discussed before. A number of them seemed to assume that ‘The Ringing World’ was in extremis. That, however, was not the case. One point that had been made in some of the earlier letters was that some people had been considering what would happen if, for any reason, Mr. Goldsmith found it necessary to give up ‘The Ringing World,’ and the suggestion had been made that the Central Council should take it over. He thought the members should know that if the Council were to take it over, it would be necessary to appoint an editor and to pay him, and that would probably cost not less than £150 a year. That was just by the way, to let the Council know what sort of proposition they might be up against. As far as the officers of the Council were concerned they really did not consider that there was very much that was helpful in the letters, but there was a possibility in one of them by which something useful might be done; that was a suggestion that ringers might be approached through the Church authorities, and the officers would like to have the Council’s views upon it.

The suggestion made in this letter was to endeavour to reach every incumbent who has bells and ringers through a letter to each Archdeacon worded somewhat in the following manner: ‘You will probably know that church bellringers to-day are a more active body of churchworkers than ever before. The Central Council, to which all diocesan guilds are affiliated, is very anxious indeed that interest in the art should be further increased. This is being achieved to a great extent by the circulation of a weekly publication called “The Ringing World,” the Editor of which is a widely known ringer, but unfortunately the circulation is not large enough to keep the paper running in the way it is desired. A much larger circulation is urgently needed and the members of the Council are much concerned as to how to effect the desired result. The matter has been under discussion at the last two meetings, but without any satisfactory solution.

‘We should like to solicit the influence of every incumbent who has bells and ringers, but this would be too big a task for us, and we are, therefore, wondering whether we should be asking too much in asking each Archdeacon to help the cause by commending it to every incumbent in his Archdeaconry when opportunity occurs. If every incumbent would interest himself, by putting the matter of “The Ringing World” to his ringers, it would be the greatest possible help, and we feel that a vast benefit would be created to the ringing Exercise, as a body of active churchworkers, by the increased circulation of “The Ringing World.”

Several of the suggestions in the other letters, added the officers in their report, may be useful in the future, but for immediate needs they invite serious consideration to those shown in this letter, and would be glad to have the Council’s views as to whether action on the lines indicated should be taken.

Mr. P. J. Johnson seconded the adoption of the report, and a lengthy discussion followed.

Mr. A. D. Barker said Mr. Goldsmith was with them to-day, but he might not be with them to-morrow (laughter). All this talk got them nowhere; the Council ought to do something. They were going to appeal to the associations to take up the Surprise Methods book, what about doing the same thing for ‘The Ringing World,’ which was much more important to them?

Mr. J. A. Trollope said they ought to realise there was a line they ought to draw. They ought to realise that ‘The Ringing World,’ which was of great importance to them, was, after all, the property of an individual. He did not think they ought to have a commission to inquire into the status and running of ‘The Ringing World’ unless they first found out whether Mr. Goldsmith wanted anything done.

They ought to encourage the circulation of ‘The Ringing World,’ but they ought to do it as buyers of the paper and not as owners of the paper, which they were not and probably never would be.


The Hon. Secretary said the object before the Council was to work up the circulation, so that if Mr. Goldsmith had to give up, the paper would be a sufficiently good commercial proposition for someone to take over and continue it. The present circulation was a poor reward for the work that was put into ‘The Ringing World,’ when they remembered that there were 22,000 ringers affiliated through associations to the Council. He did not think there was any member of the Council who would honestly say the Council should take the paper over with its present circulation; it would be an enormous financial burden.

Mr. C. D. Potter said they could not expect all ringers to take the paper. Many of them in his part of the country could not even afford to pay their subscription to their associations.

Mr. J. Hunt said Mr. Goldsmith ought to be fully recompensed for the work he did, and few ringers probably realised how much work he put into it. ‘The Ringing World’ did not provide a fair return for that work. If the paper did not pay, the price should be raised. No doubt if this were done the circulation would drop; but better that than having no paper at all.

The Hon. Secretary said they were getting away from the subject in talking of finance and subsidies. The points in last year’s interim report should be borne in mind: ‘The Ringing World’ is a privately owned venture and the Council has no control over it; the Editor is anxious for the continuance of the paper; at the present circulation it is improbable that anyone coming after would undertake the financial responsibility; the Editor regrets he is compelled to charge 3d. per copy, but is prepared to give the Exercise the first benefit which arises from an increased circulation, either by increasing the size of the paper or reducing the cost. The position, as far as he (the hon. secretary) saw it was that if they could increase the circulation sufficiently they would get either a larger paper or the price would be put down to 2d.; thus by getting a larger circulation they would be helping themselves, but either course was out of the question at the present time. Mr. Goldsmith was not grumbling at what he got out of it, what was required was an effort that would secure the future of the paper after he had given up.


Mr. A. H. Pulling doubted if they could tell Mr. Goldsmith anything that he did not already know about increasing the circulation, seeing that he had been in the business all his life. He wondered what some of the other people in that Council would think if a lot of amateurs attempted to teach them their business. Mr. Pulling thought the circulation was more or less as high as they could expect it to reach. The majority of ringers were just Sunday service ringers, and the doings of others outside their own tower made little appeal to them. They were not sufficiently interested to want to read about it. They had no interest in the scientific side of ringing. Peal ringing was purely a hobby and peal ringers took ‘The Ringing World’ for the sake of their hobby.

Mr. Harris said he was not in favour of subsidies from associations, some would perhaps willingly agree, but others had not the funds. He suggested that something might be done by taking up shares, if later on it was necessary to provide financial help. Mr. Harris urged those who bought the paper not to hand it round to others, but let them buy it themselves. They would be in a sorry position in the Exercise without ‘The Ringing World’ and every man should buy his own copy. In his own twelve-bell tower they took 18 copies. He did not claim that as a record, but it was an example for all, ‘and, by gum,’ concluded Mr. Harris, ‘some of them want some examples’ (laughter).

Mr. S. F. Palmer said it was their duty to get ‘The Ringing World’ into the hands of every ringer, and his suggestion, this year as last, was that the Council should take it up with the affiliated associations and guilds and ask them to circularise their towers and ascertain what guarantee would be given for increased sale if the price of the paper was reduced. Ringers admitted that the paper was helpful to the Exercise, but there were a great many of the poorer ringers who would not pay 3d. per week. He thought an appeal on the lines he suggested would do good.


Mr. L. J. Williams said in Lancashire people had a different outlook. They had done their best to improve the circulation of the paper in that county, but he was afraid there was so little interest among many of the members that even if they gave them the paper they would not trouble to read it. He had brought the matter up at meetings and discussed it; and there were the two old suggestions of increasing the size and reducing the price. People wanted their cake and their penny too. The associations would be the losers if the paper was not carried on; it was a great help to them and they should finance it. What they should do was to create a new interest and get enthusiastic young ringers and get them to take it. The old ringers were too apathetic.


Mr. P. J. Johnson did not think either raising or reducing the price would have much effect on the circulation, while as for the suggestion that associations should finance the paper, did they think associations were the Bank of England? As to reaching ringers through tower secretaries, he said secretaries were only too painfully aware of the difficulty of getting their own subscriptions. The suggestion in the letter before the Council had not yet been tried, and it might be tried. They certainly would not lose anything, and it might be the means of stirring up some interest. He felt the deepest sympathy with Mr. Goldsmith in these discussions. He must feel every year in the position of having an operation performed on him (laughter).

Mr. S. H. Wood said it had been rather assumed that if the price of the paper were reduced to 2d. there would be an enormous increase in the circulation. He did not believe there would be any significant increase, neither did he believe if the price were increased to 4d. there would be any big drop. There were only a certain number of people sufficiently interested to buy the paper. At the same time that was no reason why they should not take every step in their power to increase the circulation as far as they could. He proposed that the suggestion contained in the letter be put into effect.

Mr. T. Clark seconded.

Mr. J. W. Jones said in his area he had pressed the importance of increasing the sale of ‘The Ringing World’ at every meeting held during the last year and had appealed to members to give it their support. The result, he was sorry to say, was that they were very much in the same position and the sale had increased very little. He agreed with what Mr. Pulling said that it was only those who were absolutely interested in ringing who took the paper. He knew the secretary of an association represented there that day who had the sauce to send up peals for publication and did not even buy a copy of the paper himself (‘Shame’).

The report was adopted, and the motion, proposed by Mr. Wood, was carried.

The President said when those of the members who were secretaries went to a branch meeting they might ask those who took ‘The Ringing World’ to put up their hands. They would find it was rather illuminating.

The Ringing World, July 8th, 1938, pages 444 to 446


The question of the muffling of bells has been three times before the Council, and the matter came up this year on a report from the officers. This stated that at the last meeting of the Council a report was submitted by the president, the adoption of which was recommended by the Standing Committee. It was agreed to request all secretaries of affiliated societies to furnish particulars of local customs, and details of these if thought suitable to be included in the final report, the completed report to be considered by the Standing Committee and, after approval, to be circulated to all members, and finally to be submitted to the ecclesiastical authorities.

The completed report has not been circulated to members owing to the difficulty in obtaining particulars of local customs, and in those cases where they have been received, the lack of time available for consideration has rendered it impossible to carry out the wishes of the Council.

The officers of the Council now present the original report as passed at the last meeting, together with extracts from the various letters received, and trust that the Council will indicate which of these are worthy of inclusion.

The original report stated: ‘The practice of muffled ringing for Royalty or indeed for any person is comparatively recent. As far as we can trace, ringing with bells half-muffled or fully muffled was first practised by ringers as a mark of respect to deceased ringers, and was later introduced for persons other than ringers.

Various customs have grown up in different parts of the country, and we think it undesirable that these customs should be changed. Where there is no fixed custom we should recommend the following practice:-

  1. That as a mark of respect bells should be rung half-muffled (open at handstroke).

  2. That bells should not be rung muffled for a service on a Sunday or feast day unless the service is a funeral or of the nature of a memorial service.

  3. That if a death of Royalty occurs, or a death in a parish where a meeting has been arranged, either the bells should not be rung or be rung muffled in a few touches with carefully chosen bands. We deprecate the holding of an ordinary practice meeting with the bells muffled.

  4. That all muffled ringing should be in as slow time as possible.

  5. That certain local customs are worthy of more general adoption. For example, the Cambridge custom of setting up one bell at a time gradually reducing the number and then tolling the age on the tenor, is very effective.’

The report was accompanied by extracts from letters from numerous sources giving particulars of local customs.

In one letter referring to London it was stated ‘the general practice in London is “half-muffling,” and I think it gives the best result. It is the practice at St. Paul’s and at Westminster Abbey, and I think those two instances could very well be a good lead.’

In presenting the report, the President said the Standing Committee had considered it, and of those local customs which were recorded, he thought mention might be made of that at Westminster Abbey and at St. Paul’s Cathedral more particularly. It was suggested that the completion of the report should be left to the officers, who would put in one or two more examples of local customs which they thought worthy of more general practice, and then, subject to final approval by the Standing Committee, they should send the report round to the Church authorities as was originally suggested.

This course was agreed to.


The following motion was proposed by Mr. J. S. Goldsmith: ‘This Council, desiring that peals of Doubles and Minor shall be put upon a similar basis, resolves that peals of Doubles as already defined may be lengthened at the end by one true touch of less than 120 changes.’ He said that when, last year, the Council changed the definition of a peal of Doubles they were accused of being consistent only in their inconsistency. By an amendment that was passed they struck out from the new definition a paragraph which allowed an odd length of Doubles to be added to 42 or more complete six-scores. By so doing they certainly did something further to earn the criticism of being inconsistent, for a similar permission already existed in regard to the extension of a peal of Minor. The deletion of the paragraph from last year’s motion also emphasised another thing; it showed the danger of altering considered definitions by unconsidered amendments without giving the Council time or opportunity of calculating the exact effect. Mr. Goldsmith reviewed briefly the various steps which the Council had taken in its efforts to define peals of Doubles and Minor. They made one early attempt to define a peal of Minor, but eventually had to revoke it. It was not until 1912 that a definition of a peal of Minor was finally put into the ‘Rules and Decisions.’ That definition included permission to add a true touch at the end of seven or more complete 720’s. In 1928, at Hereford, the definition of a peal of Minor was revised, and, for the first time, a definition was laid down for a peal of Doubles. The permissive touch at the end of a peal of Minor provided in the earlier definition was retained and was also included in the definition of a peal of Doubles. Last year this permission was cut out of the Doubles definition. A lot was said that that time, in persuading the Council to amend the previous Doubles definition about putting Doubles ringers. on the same footing as Minor ringers, and yet the first thing they did was to rob Doubles ringers of one of the things they shared with Minor ringers. It was not often that odd lengths were rung either in peals of Minor or Doubles, but there was nothing to stop a band from doing it if they wished, and the Council might, therefore, just as well legalise it. At all events Doubles and Minor should undoubtedly be on the same footing, and it was for this reason and to save the Council from a further charge of inconsistency that he proposed the motion.

Mr. W. G. Wilson, who seconded the resolution, was the proposer of the motion, which last year altered the Council’s definition of a peal of Doubles. He said that when, on that occasion, he accepted the amendment, striking out the permission to add a true touch at the end, he qualified his acceptance of it by saying he thought there was nothing fundamentally wrong about the odd touch, but he did accept the amendment, when perhaps he ought not to have done so. He accepted it because he did not want to do anything to prejudice his main motion and to make it necessary to bring the subject up year after year. He did not think it mattered two hoots whether they permitted these additions or not, but they must have it the same in both the Minor and Doubles. They could not permit it in one and disallow it in the other.

The Rev. H. Drake said he did not think any reason had ever been put forward for making this extraordinary addition to a peal of Minor or Doubles. If they were going to make any alteration, let them take it out altogether; they already had enough repetitions in a peal on five bells.

The motion was carried by a large majority.

In reply to a question, the President said if 42 six-scores had been rung and the ringers broke down in the additional touch, they would not be allowed to claim that they had rung a peal.


The President said the Standing Committee required instructions about the grant made last year to the Canon Elsee Memorial. A year ago the Council voted three guineas to a memorial scheme which was to provide some additional bells at St. George’s Church, Bolton. That scheme had now been abandoned, and it was proposed to erect a stained glass window. The Standing Committee wanted authority, if the donation was to be made to the new scheme. The appeal came to them signed by the Rev. Arthur Scott, president of the Lancashire Association.

Mr. T. Groombridge proposed that the three guineas be given to the revised scheme.

Mr. T. Clark seconded and the motion was agreed to.

Mr. J. Hunt said a friend of his had asked him to inquire if it were possible for the Council to publish a book on conducting.

The President: We will bear it in mind.

Mr. P. J. Johnson: May I suggest that they read Snowdon’s ‘Ropesight’?

Mr. A. D. Barker said the late Mr. J. Parker had left many books and papers relating to ringing. If the Council would like to have them he believed they could be obtained.

The President said he was sure the Council would agree they would be a valuable addition to the library. There must be a great deal of original research in them. An appeal was being made for the repair of Farnham Royal bells as a memorial to Mr. Parker.

The Hon. Secretary said a letter had been received from the Midland Counties Association suggesting that the Council’s notice and agenda should be published and circulated at least a month before the meeting to enable associations to discuss the various matters and instruct their representatives. Mr. Fletcher pointed out that for the last six years the agenda had been sent out six or seven weeks before Whitsun. The Standing Committee, therefore, suggested that no action should be taken on the letter.- The Council endorsed this view.


The President said they had received a letter from Glasgow calling attention to the fact that the ringers of St. Mary’s Cathedral had been ringing handbells outside the Episcopal Church every Saturday before evensong, and asking whether something more could be done by way of demonstrating change ringing at the exhibition. The Standing Committee decided that they could do nothing further, but it was interesting to know what was being done. He suggested they might write and thank the St. Mary’s Society for what they were doing.- This was agreed to.

The Secretary reported that 92 members had signed the roll at that meeting. Twenty societies were fully represented by 47 members. 22 partly represented by 36 members, nine were unrepresented, and nine honorary members were present.


The President proposed an omnibus vote of thanks to all concerned in the arrangements for the meeting; in the first place to the Mayor and Corporation of the city of Leeds for their kindness in allowing the Council the use of the room for the meeting; to the Deputy Lord Mayor (Councillor Mrs. Hammond) for coming to welcome them; to the Vicar of Leeds for his words of welcome; and to the Yorkshire Association for their wonderful hospitality (applause). It seemed to him, said the President, that they had been a long time coming to Yorkshire, but it had given the association a long time to save up (laughter). He would like to thank particularly Mr. Percy Johnson and his committee for all the arrangements they had made. The Council would agree they could not have done better (applause). They also thanked Dr. Moody, the organist of Ripon Cathedral, for the time he gave them on the previous day in conducting them round Fountains Abbey. They also thanked Mr. G. F. Woodhouse for bringing his ringing machine for their inspection and spending so much time in demonstrating it. Then they had to thank the Church authorities for the use of the various bells on which they had been ringing and the towerkeepers for having these bells in good order. Finally they had to thank Mr. Sherwood, who organised the coach trip, for the efficient way that was done.- The motion was carried by acclamation.

Canon G. F. Coleridge moved a vote of thanks to the president. Although that was the closing meeting of that session, he hoped they would find him in the chair again next year (applause). He thanked the president for the interest he took in the Council, and also Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher and the librarian for all the work they put in on behalf of the Council (applause).

This concluded the business and the Council then rose.


Afterwards the members and their friends were entertained to a meat tea at the Constitutional Club. A large party sat down and enjoyed a substantial meal.

Canon Marshall, in a happy speech, said they were proud to have the Council in Leeds. It was the first time the Central Council had honoured them with its presence in the city, and he hoped it would not be very many years before they came again. They had endeavoured to make the members enjoy themselves during their stay and had shown them some of the beauties of that great county (applause). One of the great difficulties in the Yorkshire Association was that they had to cover the whole of that huge county, of which the Council had seen just a wee bit on their tour the previous day. Perhaps the members of the Council would now sometimes sympathise with the officers of the association when they thought of what they had to do. They hoped the Council would take away happy memories of Yorkshire, of the broad acres and of the queer folk (laughter and applause).

Mr. P. J. Johnson added a word of welcome. They had saved up for some years to give the Council this welcome, said, Mr. Johnson, amid laughter. He specially thanked Mr. Sherwood for his help, saying he did not know what he would have done without him. Neither did he know what Mrs. Sherwood had done without him (laughter). It was only their wives who knew how much time ringers spent away from home - the ringers themselves didn’t (laughter). Mr. Sherwood had travelled over the county many times to fix up the outing which they had had on the previous day, and he had taken immense trouble. The committee felt more than gratified that the Council had enjoyed themselves. Leeds was the finest city in the finest county in England, and he hoped it would not be long before the Council came there again (applause).

The President said they were very grateful for all that had been done for them. They had had a marvellous time, and he thought the best way he could sum it up was in the words of one member, who wanted to propose that the meeting of the Council be held at Leeds permanently (laughter). He thanked the Yorkshire Association and the committee very sincerely for all they had done to make the meeting such a success.

After ringing at various churches in the evening, a social was held at headquarters (the Griffin Hotel), and the hours passed rapidly in friendly intercourse, music and handbell ringing. Further votes of thanks were passed in warm-hearted speeches, and the health of a number of people was drunk with musical honours. It was in the ‘wee sma’ ’oors’ that the company finally broke up after one of the most successful and enjoyable meetings in the history of the Council.

During two days, Mr. G. F. Woodhouse had his wonderful ringing machine on view, and each evening demonstrated it to wondering and admiring groups of ringers. Its ingenuity staggered them, especially when, while one method was being rung, the machine was set to ring another and touches in ‘spliced’ methods were performed.

The Ringing World, July 15th, 1938, pages 462 to 463

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional