Methods Committee work-in-progress

At the 2001 meeting in Liverpool the Council debated a motion (F) to amend Decision (E) A.1 to recognise methods in which none of the working bells does all the work of the method, although not as a distinct method type. The motion was referred to the Methods Committee who are appointed by Council to consider and advise them on all questions arising from the interpretation of the Decisions relating to methods, calls, and peal ringing.

The Methods Committee discussed this and related matters at their meeting in Winchester on Sunday 7 October and agreed to propose three motions at the next Council meeting in Norwich. We presented our draft proposals to the meeting of the Administrative Committee a fortnight later and published them on our website the following week. We have received many constructive comments which have helped us improve the proposals through subsequent revisions. In this respect we are particularly grateful to Adam Beer, Mark Davies, Mike Henshaw, Roddy Horton, Graham John, Rod Pipe, Philip Saddleton and John Warboys.

New method type

The first motion would amend the Decisions to cover the definition and nomenclature of a new type of method with hunt bells in which the working bells do not all do the same work. The decisions currently cover three types of method:

and the proposals add the missing type:

The term "short course" which has been suggested would be inappropriate for the new type of method since the methods could equally well have more leads than traditional methods.

Differential hunters would be classified in the same way as hunters and their titles would incorporate the term "Differential" between the name and the Class(es) in the same way that the titles of differentials incorporate this term to distinguish them from principles.

The Decision on Method Extension (Decision (G) A.) would apply to differential hunters in the same way that it applies to hunters. The proposal will clarify the decision on nomenclature so that only methods in the same type and class, uniquely related as in the Decision on Method Extension, would be required to have the same name. It would be for the band who first rang a differential hunter to decide on its name and they could, of course, choose the same name as previously used for a hunter to which they considered it related. It would not be reasonable to require it to have the same name as a hunter to which it happened to be related and in the general case there are many possible extension constructions from any given particular hunter. This is comparable to the cases where Delight hunters which are related, as in the Decision on Method Extension, to Surprise hunters or differentials which are related to principles.

Incidentally Little methods are presently a special case of extension since only one construction (static) is presently recognised. This special case does not provide a good basis for generalisation since, in the general case, there are many different differential hunters constructionally related to any particular hunter.


There is a problem, either of perception or of substance, that affiliated societies, who abide by the rules and decisions of Council, may not include in their own records, peals not included in the Peals Analysis. In actual fact, Decision (D) E. does not say that Council decides whether or not to recognise non-conforming peals but merely that Council decides whether or not to include them in the Analysis. Our second motion will propose, as recommended in our report to Council last year, removing this source of dispute by amending this Decision.

It is perfectly reasonable that Council should have Decisions covering what is accepted as a method or peal and also reasonable that these change over time. It is to be expected that some bands may wish to ring methods or peals not covered by the Decisions and they should feel free to do so. Whether a particular peal conforms or not is a matter of historical record and it is reasonable that the Peals Analysis should note this. If a particular sort of non-compliant peal or method becomes popular then it makes sense to change the Decisions to codify the development.

This will require consequential changes to the Decision on Record Length Peals and the Decision on naming so that they no longer explicitly or implicitly cross-reference (D) E. on Recognition.


Lastly, there is a direction of the Council which does not appear in the Decisions but only in The Ringing World Diary as a Note to the Central Council Requirements for Record Peals saying, inter alia, that the Editor of The Ringing World shall refer all peals of 10,000 or more changes to the Records Committee before publication.

Our third motion is to rescind this direction and incorporate the substance as necessary in the Decision on Record Length Peals.


We do not expect our proposals to satisfy everyone and that is probably inevitable since they are accommodating a broad range of opinion. It may also be worth emphasising that we had no request from Council to recognise peals containing arbitrary blocks of changes instead of methods or to recognise false methods. However our proposed amendment to (E) D. would allow non-compliant peals to be included in the Peals Analysis without discussion. It is not too late to comment on our proposals and we will be pleased to receive any further feedback, by email or letter.

Chairman, CC Methods Committee
72 Buriton Road, Winchester, S022 6JE

The Ringing World, February 22, 2002, page 185