EXETER Guildhall, which is one of the oldest civic halls in the country, made a fitting setting for the 50th annual meeting of the Central Council on Whit Tuesday. The welcome accorded the record number of members came from Church and State, greetings being delivered by the Mayor and the Lord Bishop of Exeter.

EXETER GUILDHALL, where the Council met.
Exeter Guildhall

Formal introductions to the president (Mr. E. H. Lewis) were made by Preb. C. C. Cox (president of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers). On the aldermanic dais with Mr. Lewis were Mr. George W. Fletcher (hon. secretary of the Council); Mrs. Fletcher and Mr. W. H. J. Hooton (hon. librarian).

The Mayor, in his welcome to the Council, said they were all, no doubt, aware that the Guild of Devonshire Ringers, which was formed in 1874, was a very strong branch of the ringing world. He had been interested in reading of the development of ringing during the past 75 years and few people outside the ringers realised that it was really a great art.

‘We were blessed in Exeter that during the enemy raids that three of their best peals of bells were saved, but one very fine peal, that of St. Sidwell’s, was lost … I feel the Church has done a great work by calling people to God by the ringing of bells as the Salvation Army has also done a great work by calling people to God by their bands.’


The Bishop of Exeter, in his welcome, said the conference came to a city which bore the marks of great sacrifice and to a city which contained in its Cathedral what he believed was claimed to be the largest ringing combination in the world. They also came to a diocese which had the largest number of bells and therefore the largest number of bell-ringers, and, added the Bishop, amid the laughter of the conference - ‘the best bells and the best bellringers.’

It was an old custom that whenever the Bishop visited a parish the bells rung him in with a welcome, and he had no doubt that with equal joy they rang him out (laughter). He remembered in the anxious days of 1939 suggesting that a bell should be rung daily in each parish and that everybody who heard that bell should offer up a short prayer: ‘Open, O Lord, the minds of all men forthwith to the Spirit of Jesus Christ that we may again find the way of peace.’ That prayer would not have reached so many people if it had not been for the ringing of the bells.

‘I would like to express gratitude to the bellringers - those loyal servants of the Church - and I am glad to think that the bad old customs (which he believed were exaggerated) of men coming to ring at the church and then adjourning to the public-house and not answering the call to worship - that those days were gone.


‘I notice in regard to bellringers that once a bellringer always a bellringer and that you can produce records of men who have rung for 60 or 70 years - old veterans of the belfry. It does suggest to me something that will need care - that if you have six or eight veterans how are we to train the younger generation?

‘I have also noticed that women have invaded the belfry. It is a grand exercise and I think it is good for the figure (laughter). We have one ring of bells rung by the girls from an adjoining school. I ask you to be careful to see that the younger generation get a chance to become skilled craftsmen in their art, which, I am informed, is mathematical.’ The Bishop added that his education had been on the arts side and he always understood mathematics required low cunning (laughter and applause).

The President, in thanking the Mayor and Bishop for their welcome, said he must say he felt a little shy in their Council Chamber because of the fact that Devon and Cornwall until comparatively recent times knew nothing about their peculiar art of change ringing, but the local style of ringing led to the most splendid striking, and if only throughout the country they could marry that excellent Devonshire and Cornish striking with their own more beautiful method of ringing, the result would be very gratifying indeed. He felt rather shy in coming into Devonshire that in their efforts to ring changes they had paid too much attention to the method and not quite enough attention to the accuracy of striking which was so much valued by the Devonshire ringers.

In a word of thanks to the Bishop and the Church authorities, Mr. Lewis said they had a great wealth of bells and Exeter and district was a perfect ringers’ paradise. He felt that one of the strokes of genius of Mr. Churchill was that after the battle of Alamein he gave them permission to ring the bells. That act took a great hold on the country and since then there had been a general interest in ringing, and it had resulted in a very great increase in the number of young people anxious to ring. One of their oldest ringers, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, did as much as anybody to teach the younger generation. The President then presented copies of ‘College Youths’ to the Mayor and the Bishop, in which the early development of change ringing was told in detail.


The Secretary reported that there was very little change in the constitution of the Council except that the North Notts had merged with the Southwell Diocesan Guild and the St. David’s Diocesan Guild had affiliated and was entitled to one member. There were 23 associations entitled to four members, 4 to three members, 10 to two and 15 to one, making a total of 52 associations with 139 representatives. With their 17 honorary members the grand total was 156. He also reported that all subscriptions had been paid.


Ancient Society of College Youths: Mr. A. B. Peck.
Bath and Wells Diocesan: Mr. S. G. Coles, Mr. J. T. Dyke, Mr. H. J. Sanger, Miss N. Williams.
Bedfordshire Association: Mr. H. Harding, Mr. A. C. Sinfield.
Cambridge University: Mr. E. M. Atkins, Rev. B. F. Sheppard.
Chester Diocesan: Mr. J. Cooke, Mr. J. W. Clarke.
Coventry Diocesan: Mrs. D. M. Beamish, Mr. F. W. Perrens.
Devon Guild: Mr. A. L. Bennett, Mr. F. C. Smale, Mr. W. C. Wakley, Mr. G. C. Woodley.
Dudley and District: Mr. F. Colclough.
Durham and Newcastle: Mr. W. H. Barber.
Ely Diocesan: Mr. C. W. Cook.
Essex Association: Mr. F. B. Lufkin, Mr. H. J. Mansfield, Miss H. G. Snowden.
Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan: Rev. N. E. Hope, Mr. W. B. Kynaston, Mr. F. Waite.
Guildford Diocesan: Mr. G. L. Grover, Mr. A. Harman, Mr. A. C. Hazelden, Mr. A. H. Pulling.
Hereford Diocesan: Mr. W. F. Moreton, Mr. W. T. Poston, Mr. G. J. Lewis.
Hertford County: Mr. W. Ayre.
Irish Association: Mr. F. E. Dukes.
Kent County: Mr. E. A. Barnett, Mr. T. E. Sone, Mr. G. H. Spice.
Ladies’ Guild: Mrs. E. K. Fletcher, Mrs. R. Richardson.
Lancashire Association: Mr. P. Crook, Mr. G. R. Newton, Mr. W. H. Shuker, Mr. A. Tomlinson.
Leicester Diocesan: Mr. A. Ballard, Mr. J. P. Fidler, Mr. H. J. Poole.
Lincoln Diocesan: Mr. S. E. Bennett, Mr. J. Bray, Mr. G. E. Feirn, Mr. J. A. Freeman.
Llandaff and Monmouth Diocesan: Mr. J. W. Jones, Mr. E. Stitch.
London County Association: Mr. H. W. Rogers, Mr. T. H. Taffender, Mr. T. W. Taffender.
Middlesex County: Mr. J. E. L. Cockey, Mr. G. W. Fletcher, Mr. T. J. Lock.
Midland Counties Guild: Mr. J. W. Cotton.
Norwich Diocesan: Mr. W. C. Duffield, Mr. F. N. Golden, Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow.
Oxford Diocesan: Mr. A. D. Barker, Mr. A. E. Lock, Mr. R. A. Post.
Oxford Society: Mr. W. F. Judge.
Oxford University Society: Mr. J. E. Spice.
Peterborough Diocesan: Mr. G. W. Jeffs, Mr. W. Rose, Mr. G. S. Valentine.
St. David’s Diocesan: Mr. J. Arthur Hoare.
St. Martin’s Guild: Mr. A. Paddon Smith.
Salisbury: Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, Mr. G. Harding, Mr. W. C. West.
Shropshire Association: Mr. G. L. Hewitt.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths: Mr. G. H. Cross, Mr. G. W. Steere.
Stafford Archdeaconry: Mr. H. Knight, Mr. C. Wallater.
Suffolk Guild: Rev. H. Drake, Mr. C. W. Pipe.
Surrey Association: Mr. F. E. Collins, Mr. D. Cooper.
Sussex County: Mr. R. G. Blackman, Mr. F. H. Dallaway, Mr. F. I. Hairs, Mr. O. Sippetts.
Swansea and Brecon Diocesan: Mr. A. Hoare.
Truro Diocesan: Mr. A. S. Roberts.
Universities’ Association: Miss M. Cross.
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan: Rev. K. W. H. Felstead, Mr. G. Pullinger, Mr. F. W. Rogers, Mr. G. Williams.
Worcestershire and Districts Association: Mr. B. C. Ashford, Mr. S. T. Holt, Mr. J. D. Johnson.
Yorkshire Association: Mr. P. J. Johnson, Mr. L. W. G. Morris, Mr. S. F. Palmer.
Honorary members.- Miss L. K. Bowling, Messrs. C. Dean, W. H. J. Hooton, A. A. Hughes, C. H. Kippin, E. H. Lewis, F. Sharpe, .J. F. Smallwood, E. C. S. Turner, A. Walker, E. Alex. Young.


Apologies were received from Messrs. C. F. Johnson, T. Groombridge, sen., G. E. Debenham, J. A. Trollope (hon. members), H. G. Cashmere and C. W. Woolley (Hertford County), T. Groombridge, jun., and H. Denman (Southwell Diocesan). C. J. Sedgley (Suffolk), J. Parker and G. Gilbert (Royal Cumberland Youths), G. E. Oliver (Hereford), Canon C. C. Marshall (Yorkshire), W. J. Davidson (Durham and Newcastle), Canon G. F. Coleridge (Oxford Diocesan), F. M. Mitchell (Kent County), M. J. T. Godwin (Salisbury Diocesan Guild), W. G. Wilson (Middlesex), A. Relfe (East Grinstead), F. Warrington (Ely Diocesan), Rev. C. Elliott Wigg (Oxford University), M. Rowley (Leicester Diocesan Guild), R. S. F. Murphy (Irish Association), Miss E. Steel (Ladies’ Guild), Mrs. O. L. Rogers (London County Association).

The President said members should know that Canon Coleridge had started to come to Exeter and stopped to see his sister. He was taken ill and had to retire to bed. He expressed his great regret as this would have been his 50th attendance.


The President was introduced to the following new members: Messrs. C. H. Kippin, H. J. Mansfield, Wilfrid F. Moreton, G. J. Lewis, Rev. N. E. Hope, W. T. Poston F. E. Dukes, J. Arthur Hoare, S. E. Bennett.


The President said the Standing Committee decided to recommend that on this their 50th meeting they should send a telegram to Princess Elizabeth congratulating her on her 21st birthday and to Queen Mary on attaining her 80th birthday. The Council approved of this course. The telegrams were:-

‘The Central Council of Church Bellringers assembled in the Guildhall, Exeter, on the occasion of their 50th annual meeting, beg to offer H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth loyal congratulations on the attainment of her 21st birthday with their best wishes for many years of health and happiness.’

‘The Central Council of Church Bellringers assembled in the Guildhall, Exeter, on the occasion of their 50th annual meeting, beg to offer Her Majesty Queen Mary their loyal congratulations on the attainment of heir 80th birthday with their best wishes for her continued health and happiness.’

The Council also sent telegrams to Canon Coleridge, Canon Marshall and Mr. J. A. Trollope with their best wishes for an early improvement in their health.


The President announced that there were three vacancies for honorary members. The Standing Committee considered this matter and recommended the election of Mr. W. Osborne and the other two vacancies be left open.

Mr. H. S. Sanger moved the election of Mr. W. Osborne, stating that he had done very good work in their diocese.

Mr. S. G. Coles seconded and the resolution was carried.


The President reported the loss by death of the following members: D. H. Argyle, Warwickshire Guild, 1936-38; Edwin Shepherd, Devon Guild, 1932; A. E. Coles, Bath and Wells, 1906-1926; H. S. Brocklebank, Chester Diocesan Guild, 1918-1920, 1930-32; Major J. H. B. Hesse, Middlesex County Association 1912-20, hon. member, 1921-1946; John Evans, Oxford Diocesan Guild, 1912-1932; Rupert Richardson, Lincoln Diocesan Guild, 1903-1947; Rev. E. Bankes James, Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association, 1894-1907.

The members stood in silence as a tribute to their memory.


Mr. F. I. Hairs moved and Mr. E. C. S. Turner seconded that the minutes as published in ‘The Ringing World’ on May 9th he taken as read.- Agreed.


The Librarian (Mr. W. H. J. Hooton) presented his report, which showed that sales during 1946-7 numbered 873 and totalled £29 17s. 7d. During the year the stock of the Doubles and Minor Methods book had been exhausted. The sheets of Stedman and Grandsire had also gone and 500 of these had been reprinted. There had been a steady demand for the Triples book and again some enquiries for the book of Major and Cater Methods.

The report expressed gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher for their help in housing the library and in dealing with sales of publications during part of the year.

Gifts to the library included ‘The Ringing World,’ vols. 32-40, Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher; ‘Berkshire Bells,’ Part 9, ‘Radnorshire Bells,’ Parts 1-4, Mr. F. Sharpe; set of reports, Yorkshire Association, Canon C. C. Marshall; books and papers of the late T. B. Worsley, sent by Mr. P. Crook.

A limited number of reprints of articles in ‘The Ringing World’ on the subject of composition of Stedman Triples would be available before long. Requests have been received for advice about an article on bells for Chambers’ ‘Encyclopædia’ and about the compilation of a biography of bell literature.

The report was adopted on the proposition of Mr. W. H. J. Hooton, seconded by Mr. W. Ayre.


The accounts of the Central Council showed that income during the year was: Affiliation fees, £34 5s.; hon. members’ subscriptions, £2 10s.; sale of publications balance £26 10s. 1d., which, with £303 9s. 11d. carried forward, made a total of £366 15s. The year concluded with a balance of £324 9s. 1d., of which the main items were: Library and publications, £10 5s. 4d.; wreaths, £8 12s. 6d.; stationery and printing, £6 5s. 6d.

The Hon. Secretary said the subscriptions of the Barnsley and District Association and the Truro Diocesan Guild were received too late for inclusion in the accounts. The balance of £324 would be wanted with the reprinting programme which was coming along. Mr. Fletcher moved and Mr. Hairs seconded the adoption of the accounts.- Agreed.


Mr. Alex. Young presented a report on the Carter Ringing Machine, which was now housed at the Science Museum. The demonstrator, Mr. Sharman, was satisfied that the machine was now working. He was able to make it do some 12-bell work - some Grandsire Cinques.

The machine had been deposited there since 1925 and was invented by a master craftsman, John Carter. It was placed there at his wish to be on public loan with the Council as its trustees. Mr. A. A. Hughes and himself were the trustees and he asked the Council to accept his resignation as a trustee. He was also anxious to find another demonstrator to serve with Mr. Sharman. He moved that the fees due to Mr. Sharman be paid and that Dr. Follet (the principal) be reimbursed for expenditure involved in repairs.

Mr. A. A. Hughes seconded and the report was adopted.


The committee reported the co-option of Mr. E. A. Barnett. It was hoped that the collection of Triples and Major compositions in hand would be ready for presentation to the Council in 1948.

Mr. G. R. Newton moved and Mr. E. A. Barnett seconded the adoption of the report, which was carried.


This amended report stated: During the past year we have contented ourselves with answering the many enquiries we continue to receive concerning methods, compositions, etc. The one enquiry to which we did not reply was received without the address of the enquirer.

Mr. E. C. S. Turner, in moving the adoption, said the report was discussed at some length at the meeting of the Standing Committee. He noted in the report of the librarian that the stock of Doubles and Minor methods had been sold out. There had always been a steady sale for these, and as he was not aware of any new discoveries he suggested that it be reprinted. The Plain Major Methods book would require complete revision. The Council would note that Mr. Trollope was seriously ill. He saw Mr. Trollope last Friday and he was very sorry not to be present as he was elected a member 50 years ago.

Mr. A. Walker seconded and the report was adopted.


The Peals Analysis Committee appointed by the Council have to report that 1,796 peals (including 240 on handbells) were rung during the year ended December 31st, 1946.

There have been excluded the following:-

(a) Superlative Major rung at Bocking on May 11th, since withdrawn by the conductor.

(b) Minor in seven methods at Norton on September 28th, the conductor of which did not take a physical part in the ringing.

(c) Minor in three methods rung at Sefton on November 24th with a covering tenor.

(d) Kent Treble Bob Major at Basingstoke on October 11th, also with a covering tenor.

The three performances (b), (c) and (d) obviously do not conform to the usual ringing practice of the Exercise, and the committee feel that as no objections have been raised to the suggestions intimated in ‘The Ringing World’ leading article of February 7th last, the Exercise generally is in agreement, and the committee recommend such peals shall continue to be excluded from the analysis now and in the future.

Mr. C. Dean moved the adoption of the report and Mr. W. Ayre seconded.

Mr. C. H: Kippin said he was proposing an amendment that seven and nine bell peals be added to the report. He thought they would agree that if they recognised one they would recognise both. ‘I do not wish to popularise seven-bell ringing or nine-bell ringing; I am merely pleading for justice for both these peals. I think up to the present neither peal has had justice.

‘First of all, the seven-bell peal would have been accepted without any question if the nine-bell peal had not been rung. As for the nine-bell peal, it was sent in and published in the Belfry Gossip and caused some surprise. Then it was passed from one committee to another. In the meantime I had sent a complaint and instructions were then issued that the peal should be published in its original form. I still feel that the peal was prejudiced from the start.

‘I know a lot of people will say it is only a stunt (hear, hear). Well, a good many peals were rung as stunts. I remember a handbell peal rung in bed - and there is the conductor here. I remember when the nine-bell peal was rung the conductor of that handbell peal was filled with righteous indignation at that peal.

‘What we are concerned with is do these peals comply with the rules or not, and my own personal feeling is that they do. When the report appeared in “The Ringing World” that these two peals were going to be omitted from the Peal Analysis report, a friend came to me and said, “The Council are getting busy. I conducted a peal of Bob Minor at Falfield in Gloucestershire in 1923 with two covers, and they accepted that one all right.”

‘In my opinion, the Peal Analysis Committee have acted wrongly if they should regard these two peals as cuckoo’s eggs in the nest. They should recommend to the Council that they do not like them, but they had no alternative but to accept them and to recommend the Council to take action in getting the rules amended. I do not think it is fair that the Peal Analysis Committee should have acted as they did. What they have done is to try and make black white.

‘During the debate I should like to hear the answers of these two questions: First of all, I should like to know the chairman’s unbiased opinion as to whether these peals comply with the rules or not. I should also like to know if one cover infringes the rules, what about a peal with two covers? Does a peal with a wide backstroke infringe the rule “without interval”? How can a peal be rejected this year and accepted in the past? Can the Council preserve its dignity by its inconsistency? I submit it is a case of impartiality and justice against prejudice and popular sentiment. I therefore propose that these two peals be added to the record.’

Mr. G. H. Cross seconded the amendment.


Mr. A. D. Barker: Can we have the Council’s definition of what constitutes a peal?

The President: ‘On nine and eleven bells - that there be not less than 5,000 true changes rung without interval in each case with the addition of a covering bell.

‘On seven bells - that the number of changes be not less than 5,040, rung with or without a covering bell, and without interval, being the extent of changes in the method or methods chosen: nevertheless, a performance on seven bells without the addition of a covering bell is to be discountenanced.’

The Rev. K. W. H. Felstead said it seemed to him that there were no rules. The rules are silent on this point, not because they dissent, but because the condition had not been contemplated. The proper course was for the Council to accept the peal, but decide to rule out any others in the future.

If they were to argue on matters on which the rules were silent the peal on 14 bells should be ruled out, but he gathered that the peal in question had been accepted. He would also point out that they seemed to be getting mixed up between two important items in connection with peal ringing. The first concerned 5,000 different changes and the second the music connected with the bells.

‘I submit that the most important thing is the ringing of the 5,000 odd changes, and then there comes the question of the music of those changes. If 5,000 odd different changes have been rung that is a peal. Naturally we want to get the most musical peal and in normal circumstance we should not like a peal of Treble Bob Major with the tenor covering as we would like Stedman Triples with the tenor covering.

‘Lastly we do hear that Grandsire is Plain Bob with a bell in the hunt. Look at it from another way. Plain Bob with two bells in the hunt. Logically if we allow covering to that number of Grandsire, why not allow that to Plain Bob, which is the same number. I wish to support the amendment.’


Mr. A. H. Pulling: May I remind Mr. Kippin that the conductor of the handbell peal in bed has unfortunately passed away. Another thing, that stunt in bed was a peal of Major. If you go for a peal of Major you go for the music of Major. I happened to hear of this peal before it came off and I said to one of the ringers: ‘You can go and ring what you like, but the Council holds the right to say through the Analysis Committee if they will have it as a peal or not.’

Some years ago a gentleman said they could not make rules: they could make definitions. Once you have rung a peal and you come out of the tower it is only your satisfaction that counts. If you go for a peal of Major with the tenor behind you have not had the enjoyment of Major. What did the tenor man do in that peal? Did he have the enjoyment of Major? Could the tenor say, I rang a peal of Treble Bob Major with the tenor behind? I think it would be more to the dignity of the Council that we ignore it. He moved that the Council pass on to the next business.

Mr. P. J. Johnson said the reason the definition of seven bells was allowed to stand was because of the fact that prior to the making of that rule there had been a peal of Triples without a covering bell, and it was because of that that the Council amended the rule ‘that a performance on seven bells without the addition of a covering bell is to be discountenanced.’ Are we going to permit anybody to come along and present the same horror on different bells and acknowledge this abortion of our art?

I want to say have heard some curious points put forward during this discussion. One is that if you ring 5,000 changes that constitutes a peal. I am going to point out that the tradition of the Exercise and the reason for the rules is to get as musical a combination on the bells as possible. It was for that object that the rules were put in.

In a condemnation of nine-bell peals Mr. Johnson reminded the Council it was not merely a question of what the ringers could stand, but what the public could stand, and they should never forget that fact. He maintained that if they accepted these peals they would turn the Council into ridicule. He seconded Mr. Pulling’s amendment to pass on to the next meeting.

The Rev. Ll. Edwards: Is this in order? The President: Yes.

The amendment to pass on to the next business was then put to the meeting and carried by a very large majority.

A member: I certainly think it is a guillotine!


Tower bells.- Dec 14th, 1946, 5,040 changes Belgrave Surprise Royal, Essex Association; Dec. 21st, 5,184 Norfolk Imperial Bob Major, Norwich Diocesan Association; Dec. 28th, 5,152 Glasgow Surprise Major, Kent County Association.

Handbells.- Aug. 3rd, 5,056 Hereward Bob Major, Oxford University Society; Aug. 10th, 5,056 New London Court Bob Major, ditto; Nov. 2nd, 5,040 St. Clement’s College Bob Triples, Lincoln Diocesan Guild; Nov. 15th, 5,024 Yorkshire Surprise Major, Hertford County Association.


Tower bells.- June 4th, 5,168 St. Laurence Little Bob Major, Norwich Diocesan Association; Aug. 24th, 12,663 Stedman Cinques, Oxford Diocesan Guild; Dec. 11th, 5,184 Winchester Bob Major, Universities’ Association.

Mrs. Fletcher, in moving the adoption of the report, asked members ringing new methods or progressive lengths to send particulars to her. On no occasion did she receive notice.

Mr. Ernest Turner added a complaint on behalf of the Methods Committee that they had not seen the figures.

The report was adopted.


The President said that since the last Council meeting the committee had suffered a great loss in the death of Major Hesse, who did a great deal of useful work for the committee. His sound engineering experience, coupled with his great love of bells, was of outstanding value to the Exercise. In the control of sound his patient work at Haslemere was an outstanding example of what can be done to improve conditions both inside and outside the tower.

During the year the remaining members of the committee had dealt with or were dealing with 16 enquiries. It would be an advantage if the committee could be strengthened, particularly if a suitable member could be found in the north.

Work had started on the revision of the ‘Preservation of bells, etc.,’ and it was hoped to be able to publish a new edition before the next Council meeting.

As to the enquiries, the President said first of all he was asked to lay a ghost as part of the duties of the Towers and Belfries Committee. It appeared that in a tower in Hertfordshire there were noises in the belfry when the bells were rung and the ringers were frightened. He was asked to go and investigate. While the bells were ringing he went and investigated and found that the clock weight swung to within a quarter-inch of an iron ladder. He imagined that what caused the ghost was the pendulum striking against the ladder.

He had been asked what were the horizontal and vertical forces in ringing a bell. He had checked Sir Arthur Heywood’s figures and found that the maximum horizontal force was equal to the weight of bell metal and the maximum vertical force was 2½ times the weight of bell metal.

There was a case he was called into 21 and 22 years ago, the oscillation on the bells of Christ Church, Macclesfield, and he recommended that the height of the bells be reduced front 80ft. to 50ft. He was pleased to note that this had been done and was satisfactory.

Last year it was reported that the bells of Liverpool Cathedral were ready for hanging if only a roof could be placed on the Cathedral. Shortly after the Council passed their resolution permission was received to proceed with the roof, but it was now found that they could not get the material. The Dean was unable to suggest any date.

Mr. F. Sharpe reported that he had dealt with six cases. In seconding the report, he said he thought the Council would be interested in one particular case he had to deal with. It was a case of extremely bad bell hanging and bad design. The ring of bells was heavy with a tenor weighing 28 cwt. The bells were hung in a very tall spire - the highest in Oxfordshire at Bloxham. Some 25 years ago the architect condemned them for ringing. It was obvious that it was a case of bad design that was the cause of oscillation on the tower. Upon investigation he found that the oscillation ceased when the trebles were rung at backstroke and the others at handstroke. The bell frame was an extremely bad one; there was no foundation for the frame and no means of taking the horizontal forces along the wails. The four largest bells were hung from north to south instead of east to west.

The President said that in 1911 he started and finished in 1914 his calculations on the horizontal and vertical forces which had become the standard theory on the subject. There was only one copy in existence and he had tried during the last six months, without success, to get it reprinted. It was suggested that a duplicate he taken photographically. The Standing Committee recommended that Mr. W. Osborne be added to the Towers and Belfries Committee. Mr. A. Young suggested that the Council reissue a very useful book - ‘Bell Towers and Bellhanging,’ by Sir Arthur Heywood.

The report was adopted, it being decided to take a photographic copy of Mr. Lewis’ book.

The Ringing World, June 6th, 1947, pages 265 to 267


THE second half of the agenda was of wide interest. The Revision of Rules debate was not such an uphill battle for the Rev. K. W. H. Felstead. In ‘Other business,’ a variety of topics was raised, including synthetic bells and commemorating fallen ringers.


Many and frequent references to bells and bellringing in the Press at large during the past twelve months indicate that editors have reason to regard the subject as one of general interest, and it is satisfactory to note that articles and occasional paragraphs of this nature show a marked improvement in accuracy and afford proof of commendable care taken to acquire correct information.

On the lighter side two or three national newspapers made midnight ringing on New Year’s Eve the subject of humorous cartoons, while a local publication, after reporting a peal rung at Wrexham, indulged in unconscious humour by stating that ‘the same band set up a record in London by ringing a peal that lasted 18 hours.’

‘The Ringing World,’ after having been ably piloted through a most critical period under the erudite and resourceful editorship of Mr. J. A. Trollope, has during the past year been edited with marked success by Mr. T. W. White.

On the subject of broadcasting we are glad to be able to present a definitely gratifying report. Through the good offices of the Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow, the criticisms and suggestions made in our report last year were communicated to the Rev. M. W. Willson, Religious Broadcasting Assistant, from whom a letter was subsequently received with a copy of a memorandum submitted by him to the Director of Religious Broadcasting. This memorandum embodied, though with some considerable modification, the points suggested by the committee. It is perhaps to be regretted that Dr. Welch shortly afterwards vacated the post of director, but in any case the recommendations made have to quite an appreciable extent been put into practice. The principle was accepted that bells broadcast before a service should be heard for a short time without any interruption, and only after that faded into the background to give place to any introductory statements, and that change ringers should have opportunity to bring the bells into rounds before such fading out. In some instances this has been done with complete success: a notable example was that of the ten bells at Watford on a Sunday morning.

It is satisfactory to note that in most of the broadcasts heard, whether method ringing or otherwise, the striking has been good, though there have been a small number of indifferent performances. Some broadcasts were supremely good.

Apart from religious services, both church bells and handbells have been heard in various connections, and here again a high standard has been consistently maintained. With assistance from members of this Council an admirable talk was broadcast to schools on ‘Ringing the Changes.’

A perfect example of a broadcast designed to interest the general public was given from Cambridge. It included information about Great St. Mary’s bells, the Cambridge Youths, method ringing and the Curfew, with corresponding illustrations. A recent broadcast from Loughborough gave a lucid explanation of the making, tuning and ringing of bells. The bells of Loughborough Parish Church and the famous carillon were heard to full advantage.

In view of the fact that most broadcasts of ringing take place without being specifically announced in ‘The Radio Times,’ the committee request on behalf of the Exercise that those arranging to broadcast make a point of notifying the fact, with details of date and time, through ‘The Ringing World.’

The Rev. F. Llewellyn Edwards, in moving the adoption of the report, said in the Transatlantic quiz the English question master asked his American counterpart: ‘What would a man be doing if he was hanging on to “Sally” and calling “Bob”?’ Naturally, the American was stumped!

Mr. A. Walker seconded the adoption of the report.

Mr. W. Ayre said he had a tentative enquiry in regard to televising. He was going to continue his enquiries and then pass them on to the Central Council.

Mr. Atkins said he had also been asked about televising. The difficulty was to find a suitable tower within 15 miles of Alexandra Palace. Handbells had been televised.

The President: I took part in the first television of handbells.

Mr. F. Dukes spoke of the good relations concerning broadcasting that had been established in Northern Ireland. The time signal was of bells rung by ringers instead of chiming of the bells of Armagh Cathedral. No less than five occasions were the bells broadcast, and on one occasion the secretary of the Northern Branch attended to give a talk on change ringing and gave illustrations on the bells.

The report was adopted.


Mr. W. Ayre said unfortunately Mr. Wilson, the convener of the committee, had been sentenced to six months in bed. A few more records had come in and they hoped to have them copied out in the proper way.

Mr. P. Crook said he had been asked to give some assistance from the Northern District. These would be completed before long.

The President: How far have the committee got records of peal boards destroyed by enemy action?

Mr. W. Ayre: If we had a list of the boards destroyed we could check on that. I have had one of interest: On January 31st, 1911, a peal of Small Bob Minor, consisting of 12 changes.

Mr. Kippin: How does that comply with the rules? (laughter).


The work during the past year has consisted mainly in obtaining biographies of present members of the council. One hundred and twenty letters and forms were despatched, and so far 53 have been filled in and returned. We are grateful to these members, and hope that the remaining forms will be received shortly.

In some cases photographs of members have been sent to us on loan, and we ask the Council to give us permission to reproduce these, and others that we may receive on the same condition, in order that they may be returned speedily. We ask for this permission in these cases only, for the cost at the present time is rather prohibitive, being 6s. per photograph. It is estimated that at the present time there are some 30 to be copied.

Mr. A. C. Hazelden, in moving the adoption, thanked Mr. Dyke and Mr. Golden for their help.

Mr. Hair seconded and the report was adopted.


Mr. G. W. Fletcher presented the accounts of ‘The Ringing World’ for the year ending September 30th, 1946. The revenue for the year was £1,918 11s. 7d. and there was a profit of £158 9s. 7d. against £293 9s. 6d. in the previous year. He regretted that it had not been possible to complete the audit of the accounts. There was one serious question, that of income tax, which he would go into. He asked permission for the accounts in future to be brought up to December 31st in each year, which would simplify the apportionment.

He did not think there was much else to say. They had topped the 4,000 circulation mark for, he believed, the first time in the history of the paper. The introduction of 16-page issues depended on the release of paper. They could still take additional subscribers.

Mr. Barber proposed and Mr. Kippin seconded that the financial year as regards ‘The Ringing World’ end on December 31st.

On the proposition of Mr. F. Perrens, seconded by Mr. Hair, it was decided to circularise the accounts to all associations.

Mr. Fletcher said they had all heard that Mr. Trollope was seriously ill. He did feel that the services that he rendered throughout the war years should be recognised. It was discussed by the Standing Committee and they recommended that they grant to Mr. Trollope £1 per week for the coming year and the position be reviewed at the next annual conference. They knew that they did make a considerable profit during the war years and that was largely due to Mr. Trollope.

The Rev. F. Llewellyn Edwards: It was a wonderful work that he did when there were no meetings.

Mr. J. Jones, Mr. Harold Poole and the Rev. H. Drake supported the motion, which was carried.


One notice of motion was before the Council, viz.:-

‘That the rules of the Central Council be revised, especially those governing the ringing of peals.’

The Rev. K. W. H. Felstead said he hoped that if this motion did not meet with the wishes of the majority it would not be guillotined like the amendment. It would appear from the morning’s discussion that there was every reason for a revision of the rules of the Central Council. If the rules had been revised there would have been no controversy that morning. A clever person could get round a rule, as the Editor of ‘The Ringing World’ said, but these peals that had been disallowed were not rung with that idea at all. They were rung because of certain circumstances which the Central Council rules did not face and these circumstances should be faced. The second point was that the rules should be logical. One point mentioned that morning was that a covering bell for seven may or may not be necessary, but is necessary for nine and eleven and not for five bells. As far as he could see, this was quite illogical. The third point was that the rules should be brought up to date to cater for new circumstances. The reason there was this talk of nine bells was because in that particular tower there were nine bells,

Mr. Frank Smallwood: On a point of order, is it in order to bring it up when we have already made a decision.

The President ruled that the mover was in order.

Continuing, the Rev. Felstead said the rules of the Central Council had grown up piecemeal. There was another point mentioned by Mr. Butler, of Liverpool, in asking whether local conditions could not be taken into account. He did not think that their rules should he hard and fast and thus prevent people getting on. Take the nine bells at Basingstoke; there was a chance of ringing Caters and it was the only chance for miles around.

Mr. G. Pullinger seconded on behalf of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild. Apart from peals, he said, there were other matters requiring attention as were mentioned at Norwich. It was possible for an officer to be elected by the Council to an important office and for his own association not to elect him to the Council.

Mr. Harold Poole pointed out the irregularity of the Basingstoke peals, as the bells were not a ring of nine, but two rings of eight. They had two rings at Leicester, he said; and although a peal of 13 bells had been suggested, he had not fallen for it. It might he argued that the first peal at Basingstoke was due to ignorance, but on the second occasion the views of the Council were known. His opinion was that with the exception of peals on five bells, only peals on an even number of bells should be permitted.

Mr. P. J. Johnson remarked that it was an elementary fact that the reason they could ring peals on five bells without a cover was because ringers were ringing the extent of that number of bells, but to suggest that one could extend that principle to the higher numbers would jeopardise the principles of ringing. He suggested that the words ‘especially those governing peals’ be deleted from the rules. If the committee was going to spring a surprise they would not have it.

The Rev. Felstead said his one idea was to get the rules logical so they knew where they stood.

Mr. Pullinger added that he had no time for the ringing of stunt peals, and when it was brought forward there was no intention of bringing the matter in again at a later date. So far as he was concerned he did not wish to lower the standard of peal ringing.

The President: If this is carried it does not go beyond the stage of a committee making suggestions.

Mr. Johnson: We have a Standing Committee and I am going to suggest that the Standing Committee be asked to set up a subcommittee for the purpose of revising the rules. You have a Standing Committee which is the consultative governing body of this Council, and I feel that they are the people to deal with this matter in order to present their views to the Council. To establish a further committee would be creating a precedent.

The Rev. H. Drake supported Mr. Johnson’s point of view, and the Rev. Felstead said he was prepared to accept it.

The motion thus amended was carried.

Mr. F. Dukes: May I suggest that the draft rules be submitted to each member of the Council for comment and brought back to the Standing Committee before the next Council meeting?

Mr. Pullinger: Would it not be easier if it was done through ‘The Ringing World.’

The Hon. Secretary: There seems to be some doubt as to what we are talking about. The thing that required revision was the decisions of the Council; the rules were a domestic matter.


The Hon. Secretary said they wanted to give all members of the Council and secretaries of associations some handbook which contained everything in the Council’s records. He had a rough draft showing sections and asked the Council for permission to print such a handbook. The first section would deal with the title of the Council when it was founded, past and present officers and leave room for additional officers. The second would give the objects of the Council, what they intended to do and what they had done and what the Council was formed for; the third would be the domestic rules as circulated; the fourth a list of all voluntary societies and addresses of secretaries; the fifth a complete list of honorary members past and present; the sixth a list of the contents of the library and the rules governing the borrowing of books; the seventh, decisions of the Council since it was formed classified to cover all the different branches of ringing. The whole thing would be bound in such a way that they could insert supplements.

Mr. J. P. Fidler proposed that authority be given for such a publication.- Agreed.


The Council decided to hold the next meeting in London.

The Secretary asked members to consider whether the 1949 meeting should not be held at Dublin and be ready to vote on the matter at the next Council meeting.


Mr. E. Alex. Young said at the end of the first world war they compiled a beautiful book which was deposited in the library of St. Paul’s Cathedral containing the names of 1,200 to 1,400 ringers who fell in the war. He thought a similar list should be compiled of those who fell in the last war.

It was agreed that the Standing Committee appoint a committee of two to prepare such a list.


Mr. E. C. S. Turner called attention to the C. T. Coles memorial, which aimed at providing a bell in one of the rebuilt churches. Mr. Coles’ activities, he said, were not confined to the Middlesex Association; he was a member of the Council for 25 years and he invited the members of the Council to contribute.

Mr. A. B. Peck supported the appeal.

The Hon. Secretary said the Standing Committee discussed the matter last night and recommended that the sum of three guineas be voted to the fund.- Agreed.

The Rev. A. G. G. Thurlow said he had been asked to give a lantern lecture at the Royal Archæological Institute on October 15th on Norwich bells and bell frames. He would be grateful for photographs of Norwich bell frames, ringers and peal boards.


The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards asked whenever bells were broadcast would the ringing master send word to ‘The Ringing World’ mentioning the time and programme.


Mr. H. Poole called attention to the Leicester Guild ringing festival, dinner and dance on October 25th.

Mr. G. Pullinger announced the Bournemouth festival for April 24th.

Mr. G. W. Steere said there were still a few tickets left for the Cumberland dinner on July 12th.


Mr. F. Waite asked if anything could be done about synthetic bells.

The Secretary: The matter was discussed at the Standing Committee and attention was drawn to the circular issued in 1938-9 to church authorities.

The Rev. A. S. Roberts said Cornish clergy were being sent a catalogue of carillionic bells from an American firm.

Mr. J. W. Clarke: There is one thing we ought to remember - the Chancellor of the Diocese has to give the final decision before a faculty for such things is granted. The application for a faculty goes before the Advisory Committee and it seems to me that in the interest of ringing we should be represented on the Advisory Committees. I am from Chester and I am chairman of their Advisory Committee. The cost of synthetic bells is about £150. Ringers should be on their watch against these installations.

Mr. J. W. Jones said he knew of a tower designed by an architect to carry a proper ring of bells. Bluff had been brought to bear on the authorities and they had installed bells for chiming only.


Mr. Richard Post called attention to the very great evil which the Bishop of Exeter referred to of ringers ringing for a service and not attending it. He was not accusing anyone because everyone knew where he stood individually. If they as members of the Council were going to stop this evil they would have to see that they were all members of the Church.


The Secretary said last year he was able to report the attendance at Norwich of 100 members. That day they had a record attendance of 113. There were 23 associations wholly represented, 22 partially represented and seven not represented. There were 52 associations and these sent 102 representatives and had 37 absentees; 11 honorary members attended with six absentees.


Mr. H. J. Poole registered a protest against resolutions ‘passing on to the next business.’ Last year and again this year, he said, where there had been discussion somebody had recommended that we take the line of least resistance. He felt it was a most slipshod manner and a means of dodging the issue.

The Secretary: When a resolution of that kind is placed before the meeting it is voted on and members can defeat the resolution if they want to.


The President moved from the chair the following votes of thanks: To the Mayor for his welcome; to the Lord Bishop for coming to give us his welcome; to the Dean and Chapter for the use of the Cathedral bells; to the incumbents of the various churches where we have rung; to the Guild of Devonshire Ringers for their hospitality and the arrangements they made for our comfort, particularly mentioning Mr. F. C. Smale and Mr. B. W. Biffin; to Mr. and Mrs. Stokes for their delightful hospitality; to all towerkeepers; to Archdeacon Thompson for taking the members round the Cathedral. (As they went round the Archdeacon pointed out the great damage done to the Cathedral. He suggested that they send the Archdeacon five guineas towards the cost of repairs. Agreed.)

Mr. W. H. Barber proposed a vote of thanks to the president and to Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher for the great work they had done. The resolution was carried with applause.

Mr. F. C. Smale, on behalf of the Guild of Devonshire Ringers, thanked the conference for their visit. ‘I have been looking forward to this day for a whole year,’ he concluded.

Members of the conference were afterwards entertained to tea by the Guild of Devonshire Ringers.

The Ringing World, June 13th, 1947, pages 279 to 280

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