The following report of the Analysis and Records Committee upon peals rung in 1938 will be submitted to the Central Council at their meeting on Whitsun Tuesday:-

The year 1938 shows an increase in the number of peals rung as compared with 1937.

The following summary shows comparative figures:-




Peals of Maximus have increased by 8, this being shown in Surprise methods. Cinques have decreased by 9, Stedman by 3 and Grandsire by 6.

Royal have decreased by 3; Surprise have decreased by 12, Treble Bob by 4, and plain methods have increased by 13. Caters have increased by 15, Stedman by 4 and Grandsire by 1.

Major methods show an increase of 52. Surprise methods have increased 37; Spliced by 10; London by 11; Superlative by 11; Yorkshire by 7; new Surprise methods by 5; sundry Surprise methods by 10. Cambridge have decreased by 8 and Bristol by 9. Kent Treble Bob have decreased by 27; Oxford have increased by 1 and other Treble Bob methods by 1. Double Norwich have increased by 14; Plain Bob by 34 and other plain methods have decreased by 6.

Triples remain practically the same. There is one peal less of Stedman, one more of Grandsire and two more of other methods.

Minor have increased this year by 26, after having shown a decrease for some time. In one method peals have increased by 21; in two methods by 1; in five methods by 4; in six by 5; in methods over eight by 13. Peals in three methods have decreased by 5; in four methods by 4 and in seven methods by 9.

In Doubles there is an increase of 12. In one method peals have increased by 5; in three methods by 2; in four methods by 4 and in six methods and over by 1.


There is a very gratifying increase in peals this year. Thirty more have been rung. There are two more peals of Stedman Cinques, one more of Royal, one less of Caters, eleven more of Major, two less of Triples, twelve more of Minor and seven more of Doubles.


The Kent County Association, with an increase of 9, still head the list with 151 peals. The Midland Counties come next with 137, an increase of 29 over their last year’s total. The Chester Guild follow with 125, an increase of 24; the Essex with 124, an increase of 33; the Suffolk with 115, an increase of 9; the Yorkshire with 107, an increase of 23; the Norwich with 101, a decrease of 7. No other association reached 100 peals. Twenty-four associations show an increase and 20 a decrease.


5,024 Ickleton Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, February 5th.
5,024 Clacton Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, February 16th.
5,088 Spliced London, Bristol, Cambridge, Superlative, Ealing and Rutland Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, March 31st.
5,056 Spliced Bristol, Cambridge, Ealing, London, Rutland, Superlative, Watford, Wembley and Yorkshire Surprise Major, by the Middlesex County Association, April 5th.
5,120 Spliced London, Cambridge, Superlative, Bristol and Watford Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, April 5th.
5,024 Lavenham Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, April 22nd.
5,056 Stratford Surprise Major, by the Warwickshire Guild, April 28th.
5,280 Apsley Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, April 30th.
5,184 Kendal Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, May 21st.
5,056 Hitchin Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, May 24th.
5,024 Cranbourne Surprise Major, by the Middlesex County Association, June 16th.
5,024 Southall Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, June 18th.
5,056 Ashbourne College Bob Major, by the Middlesex County Association, July 6th.
5,024 Sedbergh Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, August 27th.
5,056 Raunds Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, September 15th.
5,024 Woodston Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, October 8th.
5,088 Gippeswyck Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, October 17th.
5,024 Delrow Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, October 22nd.
5,040 Painswick Surprise Royal, by the Guildford Diocesan Guild, October 29th.
5,040 Isleworth Bob Royal, by the Middlesex County Association, November 12th.
5,056 Verulam Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, November 5th.
5,024 Tilehurst Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, November 12th.
5,152 Loughborough Surprise Major, by the Suffolk Guild, December 5th.
5,088 Newbury Surprise Major, by the Hertford County Association, December 15th.
5,088 Spliced Plain, Double, Hereward and Double Oxford Bob Major, by the Norwich Diocesan Association, December 11th.


5,040 Spliced Original, Reverse, Double, Gainsborough Little and Plain Bob Major, by the Lincoln Guild, April 6th.

Three of the peals of Spliced Surprise Major, being the first peals in their respective combination of methods, are noted above under New Methods. Apart from these, the only Spliced Surprise Major peals rung in other than the four methods London, Cambridge, Bristol and Superlative were as follows: Lincoln Guild and Worcester and Districts Association each one in the following six methods: London, Cambridge, Bristol, Superlative, Rutland and Pudsey. The last-named association also records two peals in five methods, namely: London, Bristol, Cambridge, Superlative and Lincolnshire. Winchester and Portsmouth Guild, one in two methods, namely: Cambridge and Superlative.


Noteworthy performances of the year were a peal of Minor in 84 methods by the Chester Diocesan Guild, and two peals of Minor on handbells - l in 14 methods and 1 in 19 methods by the Lincoln Diocesan Guild.

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



The number of ringers who have scored their first peal is 552 - three less than in 1937. On eight bells and over, 67 rang the treble, 109 inside and 34 the tenor; on 5 and 6 bells 121 rang the treble, 156 inside and 58 the tenor. The number who rang their first peal in a different method or method on a different number of bells is 1,324, an increase of 84. Ringers of their first peal inside number 62; away from the tenor 13; Maximus 31; Cinques 8; Royal 41; Caters 9; Major 78; Triples 36; Minor 102; Doubles 64; on twelve bells 46; ten 46; eight 72; six 10; five 7; Surprise 24; in hand 18; in method in hand 19. New conductors number 67, a decrease of 5; conductors in new methods number 127.

Other footnotes show that 57 were the first on the bells; 195 the first in the method on the bells and 20 the first since restoration or augmentation. Five peals were rung for royal birthdays; 31 for church festivals and dedications; 69 for weddings (including silver and golden); welcome and farewell 61; muffled and half-muffled 63; Empire Day 3; thanksgiving for peace 8; Armistice Day 8.

We give below the number of peals rung in each of representative years since 1881, the total for the whole period being 72,643:-

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

The Ringing World, April 7th, 1939, pages 218 to 219



Record Attendance.

The forty-seventh annual meeting of the Central Council was held in London on Tuesday. It was the first session of the seventeenth Council, and the proceedings brought together a record attendance.

Members assembled from all parts of the country during the holiday, and among the arrangements made for their entertainment were a garden party at Brasted, Kent, the home of the president (Mr. E. H. Lewis), on Sunday afternoon, ringing at many of the city churches both on Sunday and Monday, not least among the attractions being the opportunity to ring at both Westminster Abbey and the Imperial Institute on Monday, when, in the evening, there was an informal social at the Bedford Head Hotel.

The Council were occupied with their business meeting at Middlesex Guildhall, where they had the use of the fine oak panelled Council Chamber, from 11 a.m. until 4.45 p.m., with a break for lunch, and in the evening, after further ringing, a largely attended social at the London Tavern was enjoyed by members and friends, including a considerable number of London ringers.

The programme was contributed to by Mrs. A. A. Hughes, whose handbell solos were again a source of great delight; Mr. Johnson, who sang several songs, and the Bushey ‘wizards’ (as they were described by the president), who rang two touches of Spliced Surprise Major on handbells. The first was faultless, but the enthusiastic audience were even more impressed with the second, in which two slight trips occurred and were corrected. It was a marvellous exhibition of skill, amid the tension of such surroundings.

The meeting of the Council was held in the Council Chamber of Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster, and there was a record attendance of 117 members, the associations being represented as follows:-

Ancient Society of College Youths.- Mr. E. G. Fenn, Mr. A. B. Peck.
Bath and Wells Diocesan Association.- Mr. J. T. Dyke, Mr. J. Hunt, Miss N. Williams.
Bedfordshire Association.- Mr. A. King, Mr. A. E. Sharman.
Cambridge University Guild.- Mr. E. M. Atkins, Rev. B. F. Sheppard.
Chester Diocesan Guild.- Mr. J. Cooke, Mr. J. Swindley.
Devon Guild.- Mr. T. Laver, Mr. F. C. Smale.
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.
East Grinstead and District Guild.- Mr. A. Relfe.
Ely Diocesan Association.- Mr. C. W. Cook, Mr. F. Warrington.
Essex Association.- Mr. E. J. Butler, Mr. G. R. Pye, Mr. H. Edwards.
Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association.- Mr. J. Austin, Mr. E. Guise, Mr. W. B. Kynaston.
Guildford Diocesan Guild.- Mr. G. L. Grover, Mr. A. C. Hazelden, Mr. A. Harman, Mr. A. H. Pulling.
Hertford County Association.- Mr. W. Ayre, Mr. H. G. Cashmore, Mr. H. E. C. Goodenough.
Irish Association.- Mr. G. Lindoff.
Kent County Association.- Mr. F. J. Cullum, Mr. F. M. Mitchell, Mr. T. E. Sone, Mr. G. H. Spice.
Ladies’ Guild.- Mrs. G. W. Fletcher, Mrs. R. Richardson, Miss E. Steel.
Lancashire Association.- Mr. P. Crook, Mr. G. R. Newton, Mr. W. H. Shuker, Mr. T. B. Worsley.
Lincoln Diocesan Guild.- Mr. J. Bray, Mr. R. Richardson.
Llandaff and Monmouth Diocesan Association.- Mr. J. W. Jones, Mr. E. Stitch.
London County Association.- Mr. T. H. Taffender, Mr. T. W. Taffender.
Middlesex County Association.-Mr. J. E. L. Cockey, Mr. C. T. Coles, Mr. G. W. Fletcher, Mr. W. G. Wilson.
Midland Counties Association.- Mr. A. J. Harris, Mr. J. H. Swinfield, Mr. P. L. Taylor, Mr. W. E. White.
Norwich Diocesan Association.- Mr. A. L. Coleman, Mr. F. Nolan Golden, Mr. L. W. Houghton.
North Staffordshire Association.- Mr. A. Thompson.
Oxford Diocesan Guild.- Mr. A. D. Barker, Rev. Canon G. F. Coleridge, Mr. A. E. Lock, Mr. R. A. Post.
Oxford Society.- Mr. W. Collett.
Oxford University Society.- Rev. C. E. Wigg.
Peterborough Diocesan Guild.-Mr. H. Chambers, Rev. E. S. Powell.
Romney Marsh and District Guild.- Mr. P. Page.
St. Martin’s Guild.- Mr. A. Paddon Smith.
Salisbury Diocesan Guild.- Rev. F. Ll. Edwards, Mr. S. H. Hillier, Mr. C. Jennings, Mr. F. W. Romaine.
Society of Royal Cumberland Youths.- Mr. G. H. Cross, Mr. G. Gilbert, Mr. G. W. Steere.
Stafford Archdeaconry Society.- Mr. B. Horton, Mr. H. Knight.
Suffolk Guild.- Rev. H. Drake, Mr. C. Mee, Mr. C. J. Sedgeley.
Surrey Association.- Mr. W. Claydon, Mr. D. D. Cooper, Mr. C. H. Kippin.
Sussex County Association.- Mr. F. H. Dallaway, Mr. A. W. Groves, Mr. F. I. Hairs, Mr. O. Sippetts.
Swansea and Brecon Diocesan Guild.- Mr. D. H. Bennett.
Warwickshire Guild.- Mrs. D. E. Beamish, Mr. F. W. Perrens.
Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild.- Mr. G. Pullinger, Mr. F. W. Rogers, Mr. G. Williams.
Worcester and Districts Association.- Mr. S. T. Holt, Mr. J. D. Johnson, Mr. C. H. Woodberry.
Yorkshire Association.- Mr. P. J. Johnson, Mr. L. W. G. Morris, Mr. S. F. Palmer.
Honorary members.- Mr. W. A. Cave, Mr. C. Dean, Mr. G. E. Debenham, Mr. J. S. Goldsmith, Major J. H. B. Hesse, Mr. A. A. Hughes, Mr. E. H. Lewis, Mr. J. A. Trollope, Mr. E. C. S. Turner, Mr. A. Walker, Mr. S. H. Wood, Mr. T. Groombridge, Mr. W. H. J. Hooton.

Mr. E. H. Lewis (president) occupied the chair and the Council received a welcome from Canon Jocelyn Perkins, of Westminster Abbey.

At the outset of the business the hon. secretary (Mr. G. W. Fletcher) reported that, as far as he had received particulars, the new Council was made up of 49 societies, entitled to 139 representatives. The number elected had been 132, and there were 16 honorary members, making a total of 148.

Among the apologies was one from Mr. James Parker, who was absent through illness. Mr. Parker was first elected to the Council in 1894, and it was resolved to send him a letter expressing sympathy and the hope for his speedy recovery.

Mr. E. H. Lewis was re-elected president, Mr. G. W. Fletcher hon. secretary and treasurer, and Messrs. C. T. Coles and A. A. Hughes hon. auditors.

The hon. members re-elected were the Rt. Hon. the Earl of Shaftesbury, Ald. J. S. Pritchett, Major J. H. B. Hesse, Messrs. C. Dean, J. S. Goldsmith, C. F. Johnston, J. A. Trollope and E. Alex. Young.

Mr. W. H. J. Hooton, Mr. T. Groombridge, Mr. J. F. Smallwood and Mr. F. Sharpe were added, and Mr. Hooton was then re-elected hon. librarian.

The president reported that during the year three past members of the Council had died, Mr. W. T. Pates, the Rev. F. J. O. Helmore and Mr. A. B. Bennett. The members of the Council stood for a few moments in silence as a mark of respect.


Among the gifts acknowledged in the hon. librarian’s report are a large number of Association Reports of some 30 societies, which cover a period from 1881 to the present day. Though not complete, said the report, these will form a valuable basis for a collection should the Council ever consider making one. The new ‘Minor and Doubles Methods’ book was in great demand and accounted for £20 of the receipts.

The total sales were £28 3s., and the balance on this account, after payment of advertising and postage, was £14 12s. 4d.

The Council referred to the Standing Committee consideration of the question of reprinting the ‘Glossary of Technical Terms.’


The committee (the Rev. F. Ll. Edwards and Messrs. S. H. Wood and W. H. J. Hooton), appointed to revise the model rules for a company, reported that they had made a thorough revision largely with a view to simplicity and brevity. Two complete sets of rules had been compiled, one recommended as the ideal, where local conditions permitted of its adoption, the other suitable for more general use, especially in county parishes.

There was a long discussion on the draft of the rules, which were amended in some details and ordered to be printed.


The statement of accounts showed a balance in hand at Whitsun, 1938, of £130 16s. 7d., and receipts as follows: Affiliation fees, 1937-38 (arrears) £1 15s., 1938-39 £32 10s.; hon. members’ subscriptions, £1 10s.; interest on £71 3½ per cent. Conversion Stock £2 9s. 8d., on £63 4 per cent. Consols £2 10s. 4d.; subscription to ‘Surprise’ book, £4 2s. 6d.; balance on sale of publications, £14 12s. 4d.- Total £190 6s. 5d.

The expenses were: Publications, new edition of ‘Minor and Doubles’ £55 15s., Cambridge Surprise method sheets £1 16s.; amounts voted at last meeting, Canon Elsee Memorial £3 3s., fees, Carter Ringing Machine, £1 2s.; insurance of library and publications, 17s. 6d.; repairs to library books, 15s.; expenses of removal of library, 10s.; advertisements, £1 10s. ; stationery and printing, £5 18s. 8d.; postages. etc., £2 7s. 7d.; gratuities, £1; leaving a balance at Whitsun of £115 11s. 8d. The market value of the investments was £133 2s. 6d.

The accounts were adopted.


The report of Mr. A. A. Hughes, Trustee of the Carter Ringing Machine, stated that it had not been possible to demonstrate the machine this year, as Mr. Sharman, the demonstrator, was now engaged in making a new dial and studs.


The Peal Collection Committee presented the collection of compositions in various methods which they have made, and the Council approved of giving powers to the officers to print the collection if the cost was not excessive.

The committee was reappointed with the following members: Mr. G. Lindoff (convenor), the Rev. E. S. Powell, Messrs. G. R. Newton, G. R. Pye and T. B. Worsley.


The report of the Methods Committee, signed by Messrs. J. A. Trollope and E. C. S. Turner, was chiefly devoted to the forthcoming Surprise Major book. In order to bring the book up to the minute of publication, conductors and secretaries of associations were asked to forward the figures and particulars of any new Surprise method rung immediately after performance. They also asked any persons who have methods which they hope to ring and name in the future to send in the figures. If the methods are included in the book, the names selected by those people will be used, unless they are obviously unsuitable, and the committee undertake to treat as confidential and to destroy all papers sent in relating to methods not included in the book. The report set out the reasons for giving names to the methods included in the book before its publication. They were: The wish to avoid confusion that arose over printing unnamed Minor methods, the fact that the naming of the Plain Major methods was a complete success and brought no adverse criticism; an unnamed collection would cease, after a short time, to have any value; it would be bad business and unfair to purchasers to publish it in a form that would speedily make it out of date; there were many thousands of methods and any band which wished to ring and name new methods would still have practically unlimited opportunities to indulge their fancy.

‘Generally speaking,’ concluded the report, ‘the success of the book and the interests of the Exercise demand that the methods should be named, and our considered opinion is that unless the methods are named it will be useless to proceed further with the book.’

In a ‘minority’ report, Mr. S. H. Wood expressed agreement with the desirability of attaching names to the methods, in order that the book should be complete and a standard work of reference for many years to come. He did not, however wish to associate himself with certain other arguments and statements in the majority report, as he was not in agreement with their substance nor with the implications which they contain.

The report of the committee was adopted, and the hon. secretary stated that the result of the scheme for financing publication of the book had been very satisfactory. An issue of 750 was provided for and the associations had undertaken to guarantee to take up 462 copies.

It was decided that claims to names for methods should be made within one month.

The committee, consisting of Messrs. J. A. Trollope (convener), E. C. S. Turner and S. H. Wood, were reappointed.


The report of the Peals Analysis and Records Committee (which has already appeared in our columns) was adopted and the committee reappointed as follows: Mrs. E. K. Fletcher (convener), Messrs. C. Dean, G. L. Grover, G. R. Pye and W. Ayre.

The Towers and Belfries Committee reported that they had given advice in 14 cases during the year.

The president gave an interesting review of some of the cases dealt with by the committee during the year and the report was adopted.

The re-election of the committee was agreed to as follows: Messrs. E. H. Lewis (convener), Major J. H. B. Hesse, Messrs. E. A. Young and J. Hunt.

The report of the Literature, Press and Broadcasting Committee reviewed some of the chief events which had brought bells into prominence in the newspapers and also to the broadcast of bells, some of which, said the report, had been entirely good, a few definitely bad, others at best, indifferent. It also referred to the protests made to the B.B.C. about the curtailment of the period of ringing before services, which, said the report, had produced one or two amazing statements in reply, but the result had been a considerable abatement of the nuisance.

The report was adopted and the committee reappointed: Rev. F. Ll. Edwards (convener), Messrs. J. S. Goldsmith, A. Paddon Smith and A. Walker.


The committee which is collecting particulars of old peal boards, recording performances up to 1825, reported that they estimated the total was unlikely to exceed 500. They had received details of 177 boards recording 208 performances in 83 towers. There were still 15 counties from which no details had been received. The committee suggested they should be allowed to appoint representatives (not necessarily members of the Council) to be associated with their work so far as particular areas are concerned.

It was stated that since the report was drafted further information had been received, bringing the total up to 294 performances in 114 towers.

The committee’s suggestion for seeking assistance was adopted, and the committee, consisting of Mr. W. G. Wilson (convener), the Rev. C. E. Wigg and Mr. W. Ayre, were re-elected.

The Biographies Committee reported that their work was proceeding, but, owing to the fact that details of many past members were not obtainable through the form sent out, it was necessary to search the files of the ringing papers for information. They recommended the appointment of Mr. A. C. Hazelden (librarian of the Guildford Guild) to this committee to assist in this work.

The report was adopted and the other members of committee re-elected, viz., Mr. J. S. Goldsmith (convener), Mrs. E. K. Fletcher and Mr. W. A. Cave.

The twelve elective members of the Standing Committee were appointed as follows: Ven. Archdeacon Parry, Ald. J. S. Pritchett, Major J. H. B. Hesse, Messrs. W. A. Cave, J. T. Dyke, C. F. Johnston, R. Richardson, A. Paddon Smith, A. Walker and S. H. Wood, with E. C. S. Turner and G. E. Debenham to fill vacancies, and authority was given to them to act.

A report was received from the officers upon the circulation of ‘The Ringing World.’

A final report by the officers on the muffling of bells was presented to the Council for information, and it will now be forwarded to the Church authorities in accordance with the previous decision of the Council.

The Council is to hold the next meeting at Cardiff. It will be the first meeting of the Council held in Wales.


The Standing Committee reported that they had considered the question of mechanical ringing and they had come to the following conclusions:-

(1) While there may be exceptional cases in which the use of gramophone records of church bells is justified, any general adoption of such a practice is emphatically to be deprecated, not only on the grounds that a substitute for the real thing is unworthy of the Church of God, but also because it eliminates the living service of hand, and heart, and mind, which is of the very essence of bellringing and is of true spiritual value as contributory to an act of worship.

(2) The installation of such a mechanical device should be severely prohibited in any tower containing or capable of containing a peal of bells, except as a temporary expedient, as, for example, when tower or bells are under repair.

(3) In the case of building new churches it is obvious that the erection of a tower and bells must often be left to a future generation, or even omitted altogether, but it is a vital point of principle that no sanction should ever be given to the building or designing of a tower inadequate to its legitimate purpose, with a view to the installation of a gramophone record instead of real bells. The one practical object served by a church tower is to make provision for bells and to erect a tower to hold a gramophone record cannot be regarded otherwise than an architectural fraud, entirely unworthy of a building designed for sacred purposes.

This was approved by the Council and ordered to be sent to all Diocesan Advisory Committees.


A report was made on the silence of Chesterfield bells, and it was resolved to write to the Archdeacon of Chesterfield expressing the hope that the proposal that he should meet representatives of Chesterfield ringers would result in the resumption of ringing.

Mr. A. D. Barker raised the question of the validity of peals rung on bells fitted with silencers which caused the clapper to strike only on one side of the bell.

The matter was referred to the Standing Committee.

The secretary reported that 117 members were present at the meeting, which was a record. There were 104 members representing 43 associations and 13 honorary members present. Only six associations were entirely unrepresented.

The customary votes of thanks concluded the business.


On Sunday afternoon several of the members of the Central Council enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis at their home at Brasted. Although it is an hour’s journey from London by slow train, it lies in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, now at its very best. The visitors enjoyed themselves very much, though, so far as is known, they did not solve the great mystery which belongs to that part of Kent.

You never knew there was a mystery? Surely you don’t say that. Well, I must tell you about it. In the year eleven hundred and something, there or thereabouts, Saint Thomas of Canterbury was having a bit of a row with the King, Henry II., and one of the King’s men, Randolph de Broc, or some such name, just for fun and to show his views of the matter, cut off the tail of the saint’s sumpter mule. (You don’t know what a sumpter mule was, and I am not sure that I can tell you, but that is neither here nor there.) This thing annoyed the saint, who was rather short tempered, so he up and cursed de Broc and all the men round about as far as he could reach, since when all the men of that part of Kent have been born with tails. That much is certain, but what no one has been able to discover (this is the mystery) is what they do with their tails when they have grown up, because to hush up the matter they all wear trousers. That is the reason.

During the afternoon at Brasted there was some handbell ringing; Bob Major on an ordinary set of bells, and Grandsire Triples on a set of cup bells, the sort that the ringers of the 18th century used. Such a set Benjamin Annable and his party took with them to France, 200 years ago, when they rang Grandsire Cinques on the sands at Calais.

In the evening before service there was ringing at Brasted, during which the Vicar came into the belfry and welcomed the visitors. Some of the ringing was spliced, but that was done for the most part by the local band. the visitors not being able to do anything more advanced than Cambridge. Afterwards some went on to the neighbouring tower of Sundridge and then back to town.

The Ringing World, June 2nd, 1939, pages 354 to 355



Association Representation.

When the meeting of the Central Council opened on Whitsun Tuesday, at the Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster, with a record attendance, the chair was taken by the president, Mr. E. H. Lewis, who announced that they had with them the Rev. Canon Jocelyn Perkins, of Westminster Abbey, to welcome them on behalf of the Church.

Canon Perkins said he ought to begin with a kind of apology, for the right person to welcome the Council was not a humble individual like himself, but that great potentate of the Church, the Very Rev. the Dean of Westminster. He was a greater potentate than any mere Bishop (laughter), and he (Canon Perkins) was sorry the Dean was busy with other people, otherwise he would have liked very much indeed to welcome the Council, but he had to be at St. Margaret’s to preach to the Americans at their annual service in London. Canon Perkins, proceeding, said he could not claim to be a ringer. He had often intended to put himself in the hands of one of his ringing friends for instruction, but in the end he had come to the conclusion not to add one more to the accomplishments at which he was not proficient (laughter). He spoke of his earliest recollections of church bells and went on to say that when, in the 1880’s, he was an enthusiastic choirboy at St. Paul’s, Bedford, there was a carillon in the tower which had the barbarous custom of playing tunes every three hours, and the lives of the inhabitants of Bedford were made wretched day and night by hearing the bells playing such tunes as ‘Barbara Allen’ and ‘There’s no luck about the house’ (laughter). Then the carillon got out of order and about the year 1892 his young brother had the impudence to write to the local paper about it. He said it was a disgrace to the town, and that letter, from a small boy, led to the bells at St. Paul’s being recast and brought up to date (applause). Canon Perkins went on to pay his tribute to his friends the ringers at the Abbey. When in 1919 the Abbey bells were rehung and improved and the octave completed - it ought to have been done years before - their beloved Dean Ryle, he said, was good enough to make him superintendent of the belfry. That meant that he was responsible for the morals of Mr. Hughes, Mr. Oxborrow, Mr. Macdonald and others (laughter). What success he had had in that direction remained to be seen (laughter), but he had had a great deal of pleasure out of his association with the ringers. They had come to be some of his dearest friends (applause), and for absolute efficiency he was perfectly convinced there was no set of ringers in the country to excel them (applause). They never broke stays or anything of that sort (laughter). Canon Perkins concluded by wishing the members a successful and enjoyable meeting, and said when 1942 came round and they again met in London he hoped the members of the Council would be found in the belfry of Westminster discoursing their sweet music. He prayed God’s blessing on their deliberations, for no one was more convinced than he was of the tremendous value of church bells and ringing to the cause which they as churchmen had at heart - the spreading of Christ’s gospel throughout the world (applause).

The President, in thanking Canon Perkins for his welcome, said he would like to make an apology to him and anyone else concerned at the Abbey, because he understood that on the previous day the tenor stay was broken. If they got permission to ring there again in three years’ time they would make it quite clear that the ringing was only for members of the Central Council and that they did not wish to have any ‘gate crashers,’ because it was a ‘gate crasher’ who caused the calamity to the tenor stay.


After the departure of Canon Perkins, the President said that was a new Council and there were many new faces among the members. He assured them the Council were very pleased to see them, and he hoped they would be able to do useful work for the Council.

The Hon. Secretary, in his report as to membership and representation, said it was with regret he had to report the failure of certain associations to forward the names and addresses of their representatives as provided for in the rules. The rules provided that these representatives should be elected at least four weeks before the commencement of each triennial session, and the names and addresses of those elected should forthwith be forwarded to the secretary. He had made two applications for the information, but so far had not received any replies in the following cases: Chester Diocesan Guild had forwarded £1 subscription, but no information as to membership and representatives, although through the kindness of a past member he had the names and addresses of two of the representatives. From the Hereford Diocesan Guild he had received £1 subscription, but no information as to representatives. No subscription and no information had been received from North Notts Association and North Wales Association, so these had been deleted from the list of associations affiliated. The Scottish Association had forwarded 5s. subscription, but no information as to representative. With regard to the Barnsley and District Association and Dudley and District Guild, these two associations had supplied figures showing that they were entitled to elect a further representative. The collection of the balance of subscriptions would be dealt with. Suffolk Guild had elected four representatives and had paid for them, but from the particulars of membership it would seem that they were only entitled to three representatives. The particulars showed the startling reduction in annual subscribing members of nearly 200, and he thought there must be some mistake. So far as was known, the Council was now made up of 49 societies entitled to 139 representatives; number of representatives elected 132. The honorary members numbered 16. Many familiar names did not appear on the new Council’s roll. Among these were Mr. C. F. Winney, College Youths; Mr. H. W. Brown, Bath and Wells; Miss K. Willers, Ely; Mr. J. H. Cheesman and Mr. T. Groombridge, Kent; Mr. F. E. Dawe, London County; Mr. E. Denison Taylor, Midland Counties; Mr. C. E. Borrett, Norwich; and Mr. R. G. Black, Peterborough.

The list of members present was given in our last issue. A number of apologies for absence were received, among them one from Mr. James Parker, who was ill.

Mr. G. W. Steere said Mr. Parker had been a member for a great many years, having been first elected in 1894 for the Sussex Association. In 1897 he was elected as a representative of the Royal Cumberland Youths and again in 1906, since when he had been continuously a member and had made 30 attendances. He was only precluded by illness from being present that day. He moved that the regret of the Council be sent to Mr. Parker with good wishes for his speedy recovery.- This was at once agreed to.

Twenty-two new members were presented to the president.


The election of officers for the next triennial period then took place. Mr. A. Paddon Smith proposed the re-election of Mr. E. H. Lewis as president. He could not, he said, conceive any man better fitted to hold the position than Mr. Lewis. He had extensive engineering experience, and his vast knowledge of the strains and stresses on towers caused by the swinging of bells had been of incalculable value to the Exercise and to Church authorities who had called upon him to advise on these matters. The Council were everlastingly indebted to him for his courtesy, urbanity and tact, and for the skilful manner in which in the conduct of the business of the Council he brought them back on to the lines - for sometimes they did get off the lines - without stilling discussion, and thus got them through their proceedings in a reasonable time (applause).

Canon Coleridge seconded the motion, which was carried with applause.

The President thanked the members for their renewed confidence. He said he felt sometimes that he did not do all he ought to do for the Council, particularly between meetings, and that had been specially the case during the last twelve months, during which things had not been very easy in the business world, and he had not had very much time for ringing matters, particularly outside his own tower. He would be pleased to do what he could for another term and hoped the Council would bear with the shortcomings which he knew he had and the many omissions of which he felt guilty during the intervals between meetings. Mr. Smith had put the matter so nicely and the Council had voted so unanimously in favour that he felt he could do nothing else than accept. He had had a warning to go rather more slowly, and it was only by the special dispensation of the doctor that he was there that day.

The President then went on to propose the re-election of Mr. G. W. Fletcher as hon. secretary and treasurer of the Council, a position he had held so successfully for the last three complete sessions of the Council. Mr. Fletcher got through an enormous amount of work - how he did it he (Mr. Lewis) could not conceive. There must be a great shortage of candles in the house at Enfield, for Mr. Fletcher was burning them at both ends (laughter and applause).

The motion was carried by acclamation, and, in acknowledging his election, Mr. Fletcher said he hoped in the next three years the associations would render it unnecessary for him to start the meeting with a grumble, as he had started that one, and others in the past. His report was the first item on the agenda and it made a rather bad start. He hoped in the next three years they would have a more happy note to start on (hear, hear).

The President said there was one possible explanation of how Mr. Fletcher got through so much work, and that was the fact that he had such an excellent assistant in his wife (applause).

On the motion of Mr. A. Walker, seconded by Mr. J. T. Dyke, the following honorary members were re-elected and Mr. W. H. J. Hooton added to the list: The Rt. Hon. the Earl of Shaftesbury, Alderman J. S. Pritchett, Major J. H. B. Hesse, Messrs. C. Dean, J. S. Goldsmith, C. F. Johnston, J. A. Trollope and E. Alex. Young.

Mr. A. A. Hughes proposed the addition of Mr. T. Groombridge, sen., who had, he said, been a member of the Council for a great many years and had done good work, not only for the Council, but also in his own county of Kent.

Mr. T. B. Worsley proposed the name of Mr. J. Frank Smallwood, of Bath, and the Rev. C. Elliot Wigg proposed Mr. F. Sharpe, of Oxfordshire. All these were duly elected and one vacancy was left for emergencies.

The name of Mr. E. Denison Taylor, of Loughborough, who had retired from the representation of the Midland Counties Association, was also mentioned, but it was pointed out that Mr. Taylor, owing to advancing years, was retiring at his own request from participation in the Council.

Mr. W. H. J. Hooton was then re-elected hon. librarian, and, in accepting office again, said he would like a little more assistance from secretaries of associations and others who still had books on sale or return, of which he had no account. He would like to see more people who would take the Council’s books on these terms, because he was convinced the best way to sell them was to take them to meetings and offer them.

The auditors, Messrs. C. T. Coles and A. A. Hughes, were re-elected on the motion of Mr. W. A. Cave, seconded by Mr. G. R. Newton.


The President said, as far as they knew, three old members of the Council had been lost by death. Mr. W. T. Pates, of Cheltenham, was an honorary member from 1891 to 1894 and attended one meeting. There were not many present that day who would remember Mr. Pates as a member of the Council. The Rev. F. J. O. Helmore of the Kent County Association, was, up to ten years ago, a member of the Council from 1894. During that 35 years he attended 22 meetings and took a great interest in the work of the Council. As they knew, he was largely responsible for the present successful position of the Kent County Association, of which he was hon. secretary for a great number of years. Mr. A. B. Bennett represented the Sussex Association from 1903 to 1905, and during that time attended all the meetings.

The Council marked their sympathy by standing in silence for a few moments.

The minutes of the meeting held last year at Leeds were adopted as printed.


The report of the hon. librarian was as follows: The thanks of the Council are due to Mr. W. H. Fussell for a gift of a large number of association reports of some 30 societies which cover a period from 1881 to the present day. Though not complete, these will form a valuable basis for a collection should the Council ever consider making one. In this event binding would be advisable. Two books, an 1885 copy of ‘Church Bells’ by Mears and Stainbank, and ‘Church Bells and Ringing,’ by W. T. Maunsell, M.A., 1861, formerly the property of Mr. Joseph Willshire, of Reading, have been given by Mr. C. E. Pearce, churchwarden of St. Andrew’s, Rugby. A collection of letters between W. H. Thompson and others, and Dr. Seccombe has been presented by Mr. J. Kenyon, of Great Yarmouth. Thanks should be given again to Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Fletcher for a gift of volumes of ‘The Ringing World’ for 1937 and 1938.

One or two library books have been lent for research purposes. With the consent of the president and secretary, orders have been given for the repair of several of the early books. Some of these are in extremely bad condition, and will not exist in 10 years’ time unless properly repaired. The book in worst condition, a copy of ‘Campanalogia Improved,’ is being re-bound by Messrs. Gray, of Cambridge, who are expert in this kind of work. All parts of the book, including inscribed end papers and binding, where possible, will be preserved, and the cost of this particular work will be 7s. 6d. Messrs. Over, of Rugby, can cope with some of the simpler cases of re-backing and re-sewing.

Five hundred Cambridge Sheets have been printed; ‘Hints to Instructors’ is being reprinted, and ‘Model Rules’ and ‘Law Affecting Church Bells’ should be available before long. The ‘Minor and Doubles Methods’ book is in great demand, and accounts for £20 of the receipts.

The librarian’s accounts showed the sale of 505 publications amounting to £26 9s. 2d., and £1 13s. 10d. received from books sold by agents. The balance carried to the general account was £14 12s. 4d. The stock in hand was valued at £154 6s. 1d.

Mr. Hooton said some of the books had already been satisfactorily repaired. They were presentation copies for the most part, which had been much used by old ringers; they could not be called collectors’ copies, but it was advisable to have them repaired if they were to last at all.

The report was adopted and the librarian’s action confirmed. It was also agreed that, as recommended by the Standing Committee, the librarian be given general powers for the maintenance of the books in the library.


The Rev. H. Drake asked what was being done with regard to the ‘Glossary.’ They had got rid of all the copies of the old book and now there was no ‘Glossary’ belonging to the Council. He thought there should be one, and he would like to know what was being done. He proposed they should discuss whether they should complete a new ‘Glossary’ or not. He certainly thought it ought to be a much smaller thing than the last, but he thought one was needed. There had recently been discussions in ‘The Ringing World’ about technical terms, and they ought to know what were the recognised technical terms which should be used. They ought to publish a small ‘Glossary,’ which should be sufficient to last for a certain number of years and be revised periodically.

Mr. P. J. Johnson seconded. In the old ‘Glossary,’ he said, there was very much that was absolutely unnecessary, but there was very much that was valuable. They could not very well discuss it in a Council of that size. It did not necessarily follow that in a multitude of councillors they got a multitude of intelligence (laughter), but the matter could be considered by the proper committee with a view to issuing a smaller edition.

Mr. J. A. Trollope said, as one who had had some experience in these things, his opinion was that, however good their intentions no ‘Glossary’ fulfilled the object for which it was drawn up. The genesis of the first ‘Glossary’ was a statement by Sir Arthur Heywood that, as a writer, he found extraordinary difficulty in making his views known to his readers, because he could never be quite certain that the meaning he attached to a word was the meaning the reader attached to it. Sir Arthur Heywood contended that it was the business of anybody who wrote to make sure he used his words in such a way that people understood. But people seemed to think, said Mr. Trollope, that dictionary definition could be given to ringing terms. That was not, in practice, possible. Words had different shades of meaning and it was the business of anyone who wrote to convey the meaning he intended. If they had a ‘Glossary’ definition they would not necessarily have exactly the meaning a writer intended. A number of technical terms in ringing were ordinary English words, which had been adopted and had grown up through their associations with ringing to mean what they wished them to mean. The ordinary word ‘bob,’ for instance, caused no confusion when used in the tower, but directly they sat down to put a glossary definition on it they found they could not do it so that a person would understand. He believed therefore, that any ‘Glossary,’ however well intentioned would be a failure in practice.

A suggestion that the matter be referred to the Standing Committee was adopted, it being understood that they would report upon it next year.

Mr. J. Hunt: And that will be the end of the ‘Glossary,’ Mr. Drake (laughter).

The Ringing World, June 9th, 1939, pages 370 to 371


Discussion on ‘Communicant’ Qualification.

The committee in their report said they had made a thorough revision of the Model Rules, largely with a view to simplicity and brevity. The principle previously adopted of issuing a twofold version had been carried a stage further by compiling two complete sets of rules; one recommended as the ideal, where local conditions permit of its adoption, the other suitable for more general use, especially in country parishes. Care had been taken to provide in general terms for the regular use of church bells on proper occasions, while allowing ample elasticity in points of detail. The committee trusted that the result of their labours would prove to be of practical service.

The two sets of rules were appended to the report, and, in moving their adoption, the Rev. F. Ll. Edwards said all the members of the committee had had practical experience in drawing up rules required for a tower, and there were in existence the original rules drawn up by the Council. Personally, he made a careful digest of the rules he had drawn up himself and those drawn up by Mr. Stephen Wood, and what they had now incorporated appeared to be the most valuable and the most practicable of them. The old rules drawn up by the Council were somewhat prolix and cumbrous, and something a little briefer and simpler seemed to be required. Anyone who wished for assistance from the Council in drawing up a set of rules could receive a copy of each of the separate sets which had been prepared and make their choice between the two, as to which would suit their own conditions the better.

Mr. S. H. Wood seconded the adoption of the report, and the Council then proceeded to discuss the rules in detail.

In various places in the rules the word ‘Vicar’ appeared, with a side note indicating that where applicable the word ‘Rector’ should be substituted.

It was suggested that the word ‘Rector’ should be inserted and ‘Vicar’ put into the side note, and it was also suggested that in each case the word ‘incumbent’ should be substituted.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards said logically the word ‘Rector’ should appear, but he inserted ‘Vicar’ because he thought that in the majority of parishes, where there were bells, the incumbent was a Vicar. In opposing the use of the word ‘incumbent,’ he said he thought that, in country parishes, 90 per cent. of the people had not the slightest idea what an ‘incumbent’ was.

Mr. C. H. Kippin said he thought Mr. Edwards had a poor opinion of the intelligence of country ringers.

Mr. W. H. Shuker pointed out that in the case of Roman Catholic churches they were ‘rectors’ and at Unitarian churches - there were bells at some Unitarian churches in Lancashire - they were ‘ministers.’

Eventually it was decided to use the word ‘Rector’ in the rules and ‘Vicar’ in the marginal note.


Rule 4 in the ‘model’ set read as follows:-

‘No person shall be eligible for membership or probationary membership of the society unless he (or she) is a communicant member of the Church, or, in the case of younger members, intends shortly to be confirmed.

‘Any person so qualified may be admitted as a probationer, and may be elected a full member of the society at such time as he (or she) shall have become a competent change ringer.’

Mr. J. A. Trollope moved the omission of this rule. To impose a sacramental test of this sort was, he thought, definitely a bad thing. It was not a question whether ringers should be communicants or not, but whether that Council should go to rectors and say that they should make a rule that bellringers must be communicants. It had been done several times, but he was certain nobody could point to any case where the rule had been any good whatever. It was perfectly true that they, as ringers, were connected with the Church and that they were churchworkers; that idea was increasing and should increase, but they would not improve it by making any such rule that ringers must be communicants. If the Rector took enough interest in the matter to have a band of ringers who were communicants, it was his duty to see that there were enough recruits brought into the tower who were already communicants, but if he was going to say to anyone who came to a tower to learn change ringing that he could only come if he attended Mass so many times in a year, then he (Mr. Trollope) thought it was definitely wrong from the point of view of ringing and from the point of view of the Church.

Mr. Hunt seconded and Mr. G. R. Newton supported Mr. Trollope’s views.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards suggested that the words ‘duly qualified’ member of the Church might be substituted, leaving it to the authorities of the individual churches to decide what ‘duly qualified’ was.

Mr. J. D. Johnson said in the Worcestershire Association they used the term ‘practising’ member of the Church. It was put in to solve a similar difficulty and done entirely with the knowledge and permission of the Rector.

Mr. G. L. Grover thought it would be much simpler to say that no person shall become a ringer unless approved by the rector, vicar, incumbent or priest-in-charge.


Mr. W. Ayre suggested the substitution of Rule 4, of the alternative rules (B), which read as follows: ‘Every ringer shall be a loyal member of the Church and, as such, faithful in his discharge of the duty of public worship, and shall at all times comport himself in the belfry with the reverence due to the House of God.’

Mr. F. M. Mitchell said, at the church where he began ringing, one bell was given by Nonconformists; were they going to debar Nonconformists from helping to ring the bells? If they got one or two Nonconformists to take up ringing it was a matter for the incumbent to see that they became members of the Church of England. He was a Nonconformist when he took up ringing and was ringing for twelve months before he was confirmed into the Church of England. Had the proposed rule been in force in his tower he would not now have been a member of the Church and would have been lost to the Exercise; and there were four of them in the same case as he was. It was his Vicar’s proudest moment when he baptised four men into the Church through ringing.

Mr. Dyke said what they were trying to do was not to make ringers religious, but to make ringers of their religious men and women.

Mr. C. T. Coles said the inclusion of the rule proposed by the committee would, he felt, encourage parsons of a certain mind to adopt it. He formally proposed that Rule 4 in set B be used in both sets of rules.- Mr. Cross seconded.

Mr. Trollope and Mr. Hunt accepted this proposal, which, on being put to the meeting, was carried with one dissentient.

The Rev. E. S. Powell said he did not think the Council had actually decided whether they wanted the rule at all. He thought the previous rule (3) met the whole case. This said, ‘The Rector of the Parish shall be ex-officio President, and the election of members, use of the bells and all other matters concerning the Society shall be subject to his approval.’ He himself had two Nonconformist ringers who started ringing in his village and who, he hoped, might eventually join the Church.

The President said they could not go back on the vote they had just taken.

Rule 6 provided (inter alia) for the appointment of the steeplekeeper by the Vicar. Mr. Hunt objected to this matter being in the hands of the incumbent, because so many of them knew nothing about the duties of a steeplekeeper or whether a man was qualified to discharge the duties or not.

Major J. H. B. Hesse said the ringers should appoint the steeplekeeper.

The omission of the words ‘by the Vicar’ was agreed to.

Mr. Hunt also raised objection to Rule 7, which gave a list of the occasions on which bells should be rung, and added ‘on such occasions of public rejoicing or religious observance as may be appointed.’ He said this would impose a good deal upon ringers beyond their ordinary duties, for occasions for which they would not be entitled to any remuneration.

After further discussion the Rev. H. Drake pointed out that these model rules were framed so that anyone wishing to form a company could take from them what they liked, and the reason for this rule was to remind people that ringing could be done upon these occasions. They were not compelled to do so if they did not want to.

Eventually the rule was adopted, with the omission of the words ‘14th December,’ which was given as the date of the King’s birthday.


Rule 13, as drafted, read as follows: ‘No payment shall be made for any ringing at … church except on special occasions, such as weddings, funerals and civic celebrations. The normal charge for such special ringing shall be … out of which any member who sustains a financial loss by attending shall be entitled to compensation, and the remainder shall be paid to the funds of the society.’

Mr. P. J. Johnson said there would be a difficulty in putting the latter part of this rule into force. Whatever ringers got for ringing he did not regard as a payment; it was simply an acknowledgment of their attendance. What they should do in the rules was simply to put the suggestion to the authorities that they should pay the men. He did not think they should discuss the question of a man’s financial loss by ringing on such occasions. He proposed the omission of the last clause.

Mr. A. Harris seconded.

Mr. S. H. Wood said he felt strongly that the money paid for ringing on these special occasions should go into the funds of the society and not be divided so much per head among the ringers. He had known many occasions, and those present must have known many others, when there had been ten or twelve bells and only eight ringers, so that the eight got, say, 7s. 6d. each, when if there had been twelve, they would have got only 5s. 7½d. (laughter). That was a thing he had known happen and he was dead against it, and the rule was drawn up to meet that objection.

Mr. Hughes suggested they could meet Mr. Wood’s objection by making the payment so much per rope.

Mr. Johnson said these matters rested with the companies concerned, and it would be most unfortunate if the Council involved themselves in hair-splittings in these codes of rules.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards said the rules were intended for a belfry where the ringers undertook to ring purely voluntarily for the glory of God, the advancement of the art and the service of the Church. He thought the rule was applicable under those circumstances.

It was decided to delete the words at the end of the rule ‘out of which any member who sustains financial loss by attending shall be entitled to compensation, and the remainder shall be paid into the funds of the society.’


In a note at the end of the rules it was stated, ‘It is an ancient and laudable custom to ring on Saturdays and the eves of feast days at any suitable hour after twelve noon. It is appropriate to ring on Good Friday with the bells muffled; no open ringing should take place from Monday before Easter till after midday on Easter Eve. Church festivals and other special occasions may properly be marked by ringing before 8 a.m. and at the close of divine service.’

The Rev. H. Drake urged that they should delete the reference to muffled ringing on Good Friday. This was supported by Mr. A. C. Hazelden.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards said he regarded ringing muffled on Good Friday as very valuable. It impressed the public with the sacred character of the day. There was never a time when Good Friday was so desecrated and given over to amusement as in these days, but muffled ringing helped to maintain the sacred atmosphere of the day.

Mr. Harris asked what was the practice at places like St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey.

Mr. Hughes: There is no ringing at all.

Mr. W. E. White said at his church it was the custom to ring muffled on Good Friday, and they thought it was the right and proper thing to do.

Mr. Grover said if they left it in, it might be taken as an expression of opinion that muffled ringing should take place.

Mr. E. M. Atkins asked if the Council was competent to express an opinion on this point. It was, he said, really a matter for the incumbent to determine. He thought it would be dangerous for the Council to send out a recommendation of that sort.

After several members had stated what the practice was in their own towers, a vote was taken and it was decided to omit the reference to Good Friday.

The ‘model’ rules, as amended, were then adopted, as were the alternative rules, with the corresponding alterations where applicable.


The general accounts of the Council, details of which were given in ‘The Ringing World’ on June 2nd, were adopted on the motion of the hon. secretary, seconded by Mr. A. A. Hughes. The secretary thanked Mr. Mitchell for supplying the Council with duplicating paper at a very much lower cost than it could be obtained otherwise. He also requested secretaries of associations to send in their subscriptions earlier in the year. Some of them left it to the last minute, which made it very difficult to get the accounts completed.


The report of the Carter Ringing Machine was made by Mr. A. A. Hughes (his co-trustee, Mr. E. A. Young, being absent from the country). This stated: ‘Unfortunately, we have been unable to demonstrate the machine this year, but we hope a trial will be possible in the course of the next few weeks. It will be remembered that last year the Council gave sanction to Mr. Sharman (the demonstrator) for the removal of the stud dial and arm for repair or renewal. I understand he is making a completely new dial and studs. Mr. Sharman is engaged on Government work and has been at high pressure for months past, in consequence of which he has been unable to complete the new part in time for the Whit week-end demonstration. A further report will be submitted through the columns of “The Ringing World” after the trial has been made.’

Mr. Taffender asked whether, when the next demonstration of the machine was arranged, any ringers who wished could attend it? He thought it was desirable it should be advertised in ‘The Ringing World.’

Mr. Hughes said the reason there could be no demonstration during the visit of the Council to London on this occasion was that the machine was under repair and Mr. Sharman had been too busy on Government work to complete it. It was hoped that it would now be finished in ‘a few weeks’ time and that a demonstration would then be possible.

Mr. W. E. White asked why it had become necessary to repair a standing machine.

The Hon. Secretary said this was the first time he had ever known repairs to become necessary, and what was being done now was the making of adjustments to keep it in going order.

Mr. White: Why does it get out of adjustment if it is not touched?

Major Hesse: How many times a year is the machine used?

Mr. Hughes said the machine was tested every year, before the Council meeting, so that the trustees could report, and he supposed it ran for about half an hour on each occasion. The present repair was long overdue. The timing dial and the studs had had a great deal of work before the Council took over the machine and the studs wanted renewing. While that was being done the adjustments would be made to improve the timing.

The President said if the members made a request, the trustees would be willing to arrange a demonstration at some convenient time.

The report was adopted.

A formal report was presented by the Standing Committee and adopted. It was stated that their various recommendations would come up under the respective items of business as they were reached on the agenda.


The President said the Peals Collection Committee presented no formal report but had handed in the collection of compositions which they had been requested to compile. The Standing Committee recommended that powers be given to the officers to have this collection printed if the cost was not excessive.

Replying to a question, the President said the collection included compositions of Bob Major, Grandsire Triples, Stedman Triples, Double Norwich, Treble Bob Major, Bristol Surprise, Superlative Surprise, Rutland Surprise, Yorkshire Surprise, Cambridge Surprise, New Cambridge Surprise and London Surprise Major and Spliced Surprise Major.

The Standing Committee’s recommendation was adopted.

On the question of the reappointment of the committee, Mr. Ayre proposed that Mr. H. G. Cashmore be added to it.

Mr. Trollope asked if it was fair at that point to add anyone to the committee, as he could not assume any responsibility for the new book.

The President said that while the committee was asked to do this particular job, and had now made the collection of compositions, it did not mean that there was no more work to be done. The Treble Bob Collection had never been completed; there were still some hundreds of peals to prove.

The following members were reappointed to the committee: Mr. G. Lindoff (convener), the Rev. E. S. Powell, Messrs. G. R. Newton, G. R. Pye and T. B. Worsley, and Mr. Cashmore’s name was added.

The Ringing World, June 16th, 1939, pages 385 to 386


The book on Surprise Major Methods led to two reports being presented to the Council. The Methods Committee majority report (signed by Messrs. J. A. Trollope and E. C. S. Turner) was as follows:-

During the last year the third edition of ‘Collection of Doubles and Minor Methods’ has been issued. It should be pointed out that this is not merely a reprint of the second edition. It is a new book with a considerable amount of new matter in it, and so should be purchased even by those who already possess the second edition.

The question of the publication of the new book on Surprise Major Methods will come before the Council. In connection, with that we ask that conductors and secretaries of associations should forward to us the figures and particulars of any new Surprise Major methods as soon after performance as possible in order that the book may be corrected up to the minute before printing. As the book is fully indexed and cross-indexed this will mean the exercise of some amount of care and trouble, and we hope ringers will assist us in the matter.

We also ask any persons who have methods which they hope to ring and name in the future to send in the figures. If the methods are among those included in the book we will see that they have the names selected by those people, unless they are obviously unsuitable. If they are not in the book we will see that the selected names are not used for any methods in the book.

By obviously unsuitable names we mean those which are already applied to some Surprise method, those which contravene the general custom of the Exercise or some decision of the Council, names which are ridiculous, and the like.

There is, we believe, a reluctance among some ringers to part with their figures in the fear that if they do so they may be forestalled in the ringing. To meet this feeling we will promise that any information sent to us will be treated as confidential and that all papers sent will be destroyed as soon as they are compared with the manuscript of the new book, without being shown to any outsiders or any copies made.

At the Council meeting at Leeds in 1938 it was suggested that those methods in the book in which peals have not yet been rung should be numbered only and printed without names. To this we are unalterably opposed and for the following reasons:-

  1. We tried the plan of issuing an unnamed collection when we first published ‘Minor Methods,’ and it proved a complete failure. Older members of the Council will not need to be reminded of the confusion which resulted. Ultimately the Council had to decide that the methods still unnamed should receive names without waiting until they had been rung.

  2. We issued the ‘Major Methods’ named and the plan was a complete success. No single word of adverse criticism of our action has ever reached us from anyone.

  3. We have learned from experience that an unnamed collection ceases after a short time to have any value. If the Surprise Major methods are published unnamed, in a few years’ time the book will be out of date and of little value. The book has been prepared to be the standard work on the subject for many years to come, and we do not wish that the very large amount of work and care that has been expended on it should be thrown away so soon. Besides we consider that it would be bad business and unfair to purchasers to publish it in a form that we have every reason to believe will make it speedily out of date.

  4. There is no force or point whatever in the argument that if the methods are named the exclusive rights of the bands who ring the first peals will be infringed. For one thing, the Exercise has never recognized any such exclusive rights, and such a thing would be contrary to the interests of ringers generally. For another thing, there are many thousands of methods not included in this collection, and any band which wishes to ring and name new methods will still have practically unlimited opportunities to indulge their fancy.

It should be recognised that names are only a convenient means of identification. It is quite as necessary for ringers to be able readily to identify a method before a peal of it is rung as afterwards, and in some cases more so. It has been suggested that numbering the methods will supply the necessary means of identification, but all experience shows that it is not so. Numbers are only useful when, as in the case of convicts, it is desirable to conceal the real identity.

Generally speaking, the success of the book and the interests of the Exercise demand that the methods should be named, and our considered opinion is that unless the methods are named if will be useless to proceed further with the book.


The third member of the committee, Mr. Stephen H. Wood, did not sign the above, but presented the following minority report:-

I am in agreement with the majority of the above report; in particular, after further considering the question of the naming methods which was raised last year at the Leeds meeting, and discussing it with the other members of the committee, I share their opinion that all the methods published in the Surprise Major Collection should be named. My main reason for reaching this conclusion is the desirability of making the book complete and a standard work of reference for many years to come, as set out in reason 3 of the majority report; and I would further emphasise that in view of the initial cost of printing the book it is imperative that sales should be maintained over a long period of years.

I do not, however, wish to associate myself with certain of the other arguments and statements included in the majority report, as I am not in agreement with their substance nor with the implications which they contain.

Mr. J. A. Trollope, in proposing the adoption of the report, prefaced his remarks by stating that that was the fortieth anniversary of his appointment to the Methods Committee. There were only two other members of the present Council who were members at that time, but there was another gentleman present that day, Mr. Joseph Griffin, who 40 years ago was already a ‘veteran.’ When the committee was appointed it was given the job to decide what methods should be rung and then to publish selections. He did not think anybody then recognised that, after 40 years, its work would still be incomplete, but he did not think anyone could say that the time had been wasted. If they did nothing else they published the Six-bell book, and that book had revolutionised Minor ringing and had a great influence on ringing in the six-bell towers. The last edition of that book had just been published. Everything that was new in that book was the work of Mr. Ernest Turner and he was entitled to the credit for it. He (Mr. Trollope) only rearranged the old matter in it.

Mr. S. H. Wood, who seconded the adoption of the report, said he had very little to add to the remarks that appeared over his signature. He disagreed with some of the reasons given by his colleagues in their report and in the manner of presenting them to the Council, but he was entirely in agreement with them on the main conclusion that the methods to be printed in the Surprise Major book should be named.


The President said he was asked specially to direct attention to the third paragraph of the report that ringers who have methods which they hoped to ring and name in the future should send in the figures and the names.

Replying to questions, Mr. Trollope said it was up to anybody who had any method that really had a name to it to submit that name, and if there was no reason why the name should not be given to the method, if it appeared in the book, the name would go in. But it was necessary that that option should only last for a limited period, say a month, because once the book was in the Press they could not go on altering it. In the book were 150 methods given in full; of that 150 about 60 had been rung and had a name. Of other methods that had been rung but not included most ran in certain groups and those groups were already well represented in the book. Other groups which had not been rung were already there and under a name. There would be no hardship as some people anticipated.

Replying to Mr. Groombridge, who raised the question of priority in claims to methods, Mr. Trollope said they had a complete chronological list of all the methods that had been rung.

The Rev. H. Drake said there seemed to be a sort of idea that every band that rang the first peal in a method had a right to name it, simply because they had rung it first. He would like to have some evidence of that. It had been a rule only since the Minor methods were brought up. He (Mr. Drake) was at the meeting when Mr. Law James brought the matter up and was most emphatic about it being a new thing. Instead of the person who composed the method giving the name to it, they published the methods without names in order, as a new departure, that whoever rang a method first should have the chance to name it. But that only applied to the methods published in the Minor Methods books; it did not apply anywhere else. That the persons who rang a new eight-bell method should name it was a matter of convenience, and there was no reason why they should not do so, but he did not think they ought to feel they had the right to do so under all circumstances.

Replying to a question, Mr. Trollope said if a band had rung a quarter-peal of a method or were practising for a peal and had a suitable name for the method, the committee were perfectly prepared to give it that name, if the method were in the book and if the name were received in time. It did not matter about them ringing a peal of it before they gave it a name.

The President said the name must be received within a month.

Mr. Cullum contended that the band that rang the first peal in a method should have the privilege of naming it. He did not see why the Methods Committee should dictate to the ringers what they should call it.

Mr. Hunt reminded the members of the position they got into over the six-bell methods. If they had exercised their authority and put the names, in that book, they would have saved a great deal of trouble. ‘I bought one of those books,’ said Mr. Hunt, ‘and where was I? A method was rung and it was reported in “The Ringing World.” The next week someone else wrote in and said some other name had already been given to the method. My book got muddled up with names and I put it on the fire (laughter). You may laugh, but don’t act so foolishly to-day. Let the Methods Committee name the methods and finish their work.’

Mr. S. H. Wood said for once, and perhaps for the first time, he found himself in entire agreement with Mr. Hunt (laughter). It was exactly the reason Mr. Hunt had given that led him (the speaker) to the conclusion that, the methods should be named by the committee, where they had not already been given names. The committee - he thought he could speak for them all - had no particular desire to choose the names themselves; their point was they thought it was in the interests of the Council and the Exercise that, when the book was published, the methods must be given names.

Mr. Hunt: I have in my time given Mr. Wood some good advice and I congratulate myself that I have at last been able to teach him something (laughter).

Mr. Walter Ayre formally moved that the names be printed in the book when published, and this, on being put, was carried with only one dissentient.


The hon. secretary then reported upon the result of the invitation extended to the various affiliated societies to take up one half of the first issue of the book. The cost per copy of the book would be approximately, for 500 copies 3s. 6d., 750 2s. 6d., 1,000 2s. Basing the cost on 750 copies and to arrive at a selling price, 6d. per copy was added, to be divided equally between the Council and the associations; thus the cost to the associations would be 2s. 9d. and they would sell at 3s. Twenty-eight associations had undertaken to purchase their quota, which was three copies per representative on the Council. That accounted for 237 copies. Nine societies had offered to take more than their quota: Yorkshire (quota 12) had offered to take 36, Norwich (9) 30, Sussex (12) 30, Midland Counties (12) 24, Oxford (12) 24, St. Martin’s Guild (3) 6, Warwick (6) 12, Lincoln (12) 18, Middlesex (12) 14, accounting for another 194 copies. Three societies would take less than their quota, accounting for 19, making a guarantee of 450 copies in all. Two societies were waiting for meetings before replying; Cambridge University Guild were in sympathy, but their resident members were not sufficiently advanced enough to be able to use the books, while the non-resident members would probably obtain their copies through other associations. Two societies, the East Grinstead and the Bedfordshire, had decided not to co-operate.

The Rev. E. S. Powell said that at the meeting on the previous day the Peterborough Guild had decided to take their quota of twelve copies.

The hon. secretary read a letter from Mr. J. W. Parker, apologising for his absence from the meeting, and, referring to the Collection of the Surprise methods, said some years ago he went into the question of extending the Surprise Minor methods and found that only two of them, apart from those already practised, would extend. These were Hexham and Surfleet, and he thought the collection would not be complete if these were not included.

The reappointment of the committee, Messrs. J. A. Trollope (convener), E. C. S. Turner and S. H. Wood, was agreed to amid applause, on the motion of Mr. W. A. Cave, seconded by Mr. J. Hunt, the latter referring to the vast amount of time which they must have devoted to the preparation of this book.


In presenting the report of the Peals Analysis and Records Committee, printed in ‘The Ringing World’ on April 7th, Mrs. Fletcher said a peal of Grandsire Triples, included under ‘other societies’ should have been credited to the East Grinstead Guild. When the tables were prepared the committee did not know that the East Grinstead Guild had become affiliated to the Council.

The President, referring to the analysis generally, pointed out that the committee could not give correct information if the correct information was not sent in. The Editor of ‘The Ringing World’ had complained of a great number of peal reports being sent to him, more than there used to be, with incomplete information. It was essential that conductors should see that the information they sent for publication was complete.

Mr. T. Groombridge proposed a vote of thanks to the committee for the work they did and that they be re-elected. This was seconded by Mr. F. W. Perrens and carried. The committee consists of Mrs. G. W. Fletcher (convener), Messrs. W. Ayre, C. Dean, G. L. Grover and G. R. Pye.


The Towers and Belfries Committee reported that the members of the committee had given advice in 14 cases during the year. These covered rehanging, addition of bells to existing rings, safety of a tower, sound modification and the hanging of an old bell for chiming with a special arrangement of the clapper. Advice was also given in connection with a proposed reinforced concrete tower. The Davis silencers have been loaned during the year with satisfactory results.

In moving the adoption of the report, the President said Mr. Hunt gave advice on a five-bell tower and a six-bell tower and on a case of increasing the bells from six to eight. Major Hesse had given advice in six cases, on questions of rehanging and the addition of bells. He (Mr. Lewis) had dealt with five or six cases, and had had correspondence on one or two more. Last year he mentioned the case of the sound control at Harrow Weald. That had been carried out and was said to be very satisfactory. It was proposed to have a demonstration there before long and he was hoping to get a member of the Anti-Noise Committee to go with him to hear the demonstration, so that he might judge of the effects in different parts of the neighbourhood round the church. ‘If,’ said Mr. Lewis, ‘we can get that committee over to our side it will be a great thing for the future.’

The President said there was one interesting case which he would like to mention, although it was not a case of ringing. It was a question of chiming, which was brought to their notice by the Rev. H. Drake. There was an ancient bell which was to be hung dead for chiming, not by the use of an Ellacombe hammer, but by pulling the clapper against the bell by a rope attached to a lever half-way down the clapper. Mr. Drake wanted advice as to whether it would be a good thing. He (Mr. Lewis) went into the whole question rather carefully, and the result would probably interest the Council. First, in the old form of clocking, he found that a pull equal to one-third of the weight of the clapper would hold the clapper definitely against the bell. In plain language it was very easy to hold the clapper dead against the bell. In the Ellacombe arrangement it took a pull on the rope approximately equal to the weight of the clapper to hold the hammer against the bell, but if the hammer were so adjusted as to be close to the bell, then only a slight pull was needed to hold it against the bell. Unless, therefore, the hammers were adjusted with fair amount of slack, they were just as dangerous to the bell as the old form of clocking, theoretically. But in the case of the lever projecting from the clapper about half way down the shank, with a rope attached and carried down over the pulley wheel, provided the lever attached to the clapper was of the right length, it was absolutely impossible to hold the clapper against the bell and the bell was quite as safe as if it were chimed on the swing.


Mr. Lewis went on to say that although they had lost by death their old friend Mr. Powys, the secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, he was glad to say that he had been consulted in one case by the new secretary. Mr. Lewis also referred to a new type of silencer which is being developed in the Oxford district. Mr. Wigg, he believed, had got one which members could inspect in the hall outside the Council chamber. He (Mr. Lewis) had not had the opportunity of testing it, but from what he had heard he believed these silencers were quite satisfactory. Proceeding, Mr. Lewis recalled a case which he mentioned last year of an unpainted iron frame on steel girders which had got into a very bad condition. He handed round photographs of this, showing that after 30 years the steel girders were largely eaten away with rust. Their condition he said, went a long way to justify those architects who insisted on the installation of wooden frames, which would do without painting, whereas steel frames required constant attention. An architect came to him not long ago, said Mr. Lewis and asked him whether he approved of a suggestion for a tower entirely constructed of reinforced concrete. His advice was that, providing it was designed by a firm of reinforced concrete engineers and they were given the forces which the tower had to resist, the thing should be entirely satisfactory. It was a perfectly common practice to put moving machinery fairly high up in reinforced concrete buildings and it was perfectly sound.

Mr. Hunt said a bell ought not to be hung dead for chiming. If it was hung so that it could move there would be no fear of cracking it.

Major Hesse also supported the view that a bell to be chimed should be hung on gudgeons.

The Rev. H. Drake said that that was the very point arising in this matter. With the rope attached to a lever on the clapper it was argued on one side that it did not matter whether the bell hung dead or not; others said that it did.

Replying to a question, the President said there were now one or two more diocesan advisory committees on which ringers were represented. They had not had definite reports from some of the associations and they would be glad to get such reports.

In the course of discussion on the rusting of metal in bell frames instances were quoted where cast iron had stood for years and had shown no sign of perishing.

The committee’s report was adopted and the committee reappointed, viz.: Mr. E. H. Lewis (convener), Major J. H. B. Hesse, Mr. J. Hunt and Mr. E. Alex. Young.

The Ringing World, June 23rd, 1939, pages 401 to 402


The report of the Literature, Press and Broadcasting Committee was as follows: Those who were present at the meeting of the Council in 1938 will remember that on the presentation of this committee’s report it was agreed to send a message of congratulation with a gift to Mr. Charles Slingsby, on the attainment of his 101st birthday. The Press has since recorded his death, and all concerned will be glad that the opportunity was thus taken of paying a tribute to the oldest member of the Exercise in the last year of his life.

One event reported in the Press during 1938 is of supreme interest: The royal visit to St. Paul’s Church, Walden, when the King and Queen watched the ringers at work in the belfry, and, conducted by a ringer, ascended to the bell chamber and saw the new bell being rung. It would be interesting to know whether this was actually the first time that such a thing had ever been done by a reigning Sovereign. The former Queen Elizabeth, of blessed memory, is reputed to have been partial to the music of bells, but there is good reason to believe that the fashion in court dress favoured by that right royal lady would have proved a decisive impediment to the ascent of the tower steps.

Bellringing: is apparently regarded as ‘good copy’ by journalists and news editors of the present day. References to the subject, often with illustrations, have frequently appeared in the popular Press. These are largely of personal interest: Notices of veteran and, more often, of young ringers, while lady ringers never fail to attract attention. Miss Bowyer’s wonderful record in peal ringing made front page news under the apt title of ‘A Pealing Belle’ - and we are here reminded of the full accounts given in Yorkshire journals of the Central Council meeting at Leeds, when a much respected lady member was ‘starred’ for a performance having only an indirect connection with change ringing. Family combinations in ringing also find their way into the news. Two instances of this character are of special interest - one family named White and another Brown each capable of raising a complete band, in one case a band of eight, to ring at the wedding of another member of the family. In a daily paper last June the main part of a page was devoted to an admirably written article on ‘The Ancient Mystery of Bellringing.’

In most cases statements made on the subject have been accurate and well informed. Naturally, errors are found here and there. For example, one of the fair sex was recently described as ‘one of the few women bellringers in the country ’ - a statement fairly eclipsed by a reference to a girl as ‘believed to be the only girl ringer!’ ‘Bow Bells may have to close down’ was a recent scare headline to an article on the lack of support accorded to Bow Church. It was an easily comprehensible mistake that led a Northern newspaper to speak of the method ‘Double Knowledge.’

Sad to say, one source of copy for the public Press is the substitution of gramophone records for real bells. One regrettable instance is at Thetford, where the church possesses eight bells. On this point we may quote with approval a paragraph from the ‘Salisbury Diocesan Gazette’: ‘Fearing the harm that these synthetic bells might possibly do to church bells and their ringing, if such a “switch on” system became general, the committee recommended … that possibly some form of qualified faculty might be granted in the Weymouth case without prejudice to any subsequent case … and that in future the committee should not advise a faculty if a bell or peal were already available in the church.’


Broadcasts of bells have been quite frequent. Some have been entirely good, a few definitely bad, others at best indifferent. The average has been fair, but there is decided room for improvement. At the same time there has been noticeable a strange silence of bells in several cases of services broadcast from churches with good peals, such as Leicester, Nottingham, Aston and others. Change ringing of the first order continues to be heard from Croydon on Sunday mornings, while Lichfield Cathedral has shown welcome improvement, which we hope will be maintained and enhanced.

A renewed outbreak has occurred of interference with the short period of ringing on Sunday evenings - this time in the form of historical notes on the churches concerned. In this way what would have been two of the most perfect broadcasts of the year, from St. Olave’s and Portsea, were cut down to the last few changes. Strong letters of protest to the B.B.C. produced one or two amazing statements in reply, but the result has been a considerable abatement of the nuisance. It may be added that the historical notes are in themselves admirable, but the obvious time to introduce them is during that awkward pause between 7.50 p.m. and 7.55, which is apt to set one speculating whether there is any defect - one of those ‘technical hitches’ - either in transmission or reception.

In one respect a commendable improvement may be recorded with satisfaction; on Easter Day there were broadcasts of bells both in the morning and evening.

In proposing the adoption of the report, the Rev. F. Ll. Edwards called attention to the increasing notice which the Press was now giving to bellringing and the doings of bellringers and said that for the most part the newspapers were getting quite respectably accurate on the subject. On the subject of broadcasting he said it was obvious the committee could not go much into detail on the various broadcasts of bells that took place; that could only be done if there were one or more members of the committee in a position to listen to every broadcast throughout the year and take notes at the time. He had heard a few examples of beautiful ringing, but the two towers named in the report were mentioned because they had a regular Sunday broadcast.

Mr. A. Paddon Smith seconded, and it was suggested that when the ‘Model Rules’ were printed a note might be added recommending that wherever a broadcast of the bells was to take place the leader of the tower should be responsible for raising a competent band for the occasion.

The report was adopted, and the committee, consisting of the Rev. F. Ll. Edwards (convener) and Messrs. A. Paddon Smith, A. Walker and J. S. Goldsmith, was reappointed.


The Peal Boards Committee reported as follows: In our last annual report we stated that we hoped to submit to the Council this year a comprehensive report on our work. Unlike some of the other committees of the Council, our task is one which it should be possible to complete within a limited period. The length of the period, however, depends upon the co-operation we receive from members of the Exercise.

It is difficult to form any estimate of the number of peal boards which now exist recording performances up to and including 1825, but we think that the total number is unlikely to exceed 500. We are advised that there are none in Ireland; it is improbable that there are any in Scotland and we have no knowledge of any in Wales.

So far we have received details of 177 boards, recording 208 performances in 83 towers. Of these, details of 132 boards recording 144 performances in 62 towers have been indexed, and typed copies have been placed in alphabetical and date order files. The remaining details have been indexed and it is hoped to copy them shortly. In addition we have been fortunate in obtaining access to a detailed collection of peal boards in the London area and we anticipate being able to add these to our collection during the coming year. Apart from this, however, we have received very few details in the past twelve months, and we have considered whether we shall modify our methods in the hope of expediting our work.

It is obviously impossible for us to visit each tower in the country and we have relied upon appeals to members of the Exercise to forward us details from towers in their own localities. Members of this Council, representing as they do the whole of the country, could have set a good example in this connection and, indeed, it might have been expected that a large proportion of the material could have been collected by now with their help. But we have in many cases only received details from one or two towers in a county, while there are 15 counties from which we have received no details at all, though we would not be justified in assuming that there are no old boards in those counties.

It would be desirable that in each county there should be somebody with a direct interest in the work of the committee, who would obtain details from the towers in his own area. We do not suggest that such persons should be ordinary members of the committee as that would mean that they would have to be members of the Council. Neither do we suggest the appointment by the Council of co-opted members of the committee, as that would make the committee too large. We feel, however, that there are many members of the Exercise not necessarily members of this Council, who would be glad to be associated with the work of the Council, and we submit a recommendation that we should be authorised to appoint representatives to be associated with our work so far as particular areas are concerned. We shall be glad if any member of the Council or of the Exercise who is willing to act as a district representative for us will let us know without waiting to be asked. As the work would be confined to the representative’s own locality it should not prove onerous. We will report annually the names of the people we appoint.

It has been suggested that many people do not send us details of particular boards as they think we probably have them already. We shall be glad to inform anybody whether we already have details or not, but we would point out that if details are received from two separate sources they form a very useful check as to accuracy and will be acknowledged gratefully.

We thank all those who have helped us and we repeat our wish for assistance to enable us to complete our work as soon as possible. Any member of the Council prepared to represent the committee in his locality should let us know; if you know of any old peal boards, please tell us what is on them and their condition.

The committee made the following recommendation: ‘That the Peal Boards Committee be authorised to appoint district representatives to be associated with the committee in order to obtain details of old peal boards in particular localities.’

Mr. W. G. Wilson, who proposed the adoption of the report, said since it was prepared details had been received concerning the old boards in 30 further towers and covering 80 performances. It would seem, therefore, that they were getting somewhere near half-way in the collection. Referring to the recommendation of the committee to appoint assistants to enable them to complete the work, Mr. Wilson said this did not mean that the committee was not grateful to those who had already helped them so far; the committee hoped they would continue to help, but it seemed there was need for further assistance if the task was to be completed. They did not intend to limit their choice of representatives to people who were well known in the Exercise. Anyone who was willing and able to help, they would be only too glad to appoint as agents in a locality. Moreover, he thought such appointments might well promote interest in the Council and its work among younger ringers, who were possible future members of the Council. The appointment of these helpers would not make the work of the committee any lighter, because for the time being there would be extra work to do, in appointing representatives and corresponding with them. The committee hoped the scheme would help their work and enable them to present their final report a few years earlier than would otherwise be the case; but if it was not a success they would be no worse off.

The Rev. C. E. Wigg seconded and the report and recommendation were adopted. The committee was then reappointed as follows: Mr. W. G. Wilson (convener), the Rev. C. E. Wigg and Mr. W. Ayre.


In their report the Biographies Committee said the work was proceeding. Considerable labour was involved in sub-editing and preparing the material before the final draft could be typed, and this could not hurriedly be completed. There were still a considerable number of forms outstanding, and the committee would be glad to receive them as soon as possible. Especially they hoped to receive photographs from those members and ex-members who had not yet supplied them, for the photographs would be not the least interesting part of the biographical collection.

It now seemed obvious that details concerning many of the early members of the Council would not be received through the forms issued and a search of back volumes of the ringing papers would be necessary to help make the work of the committee complete. The committee were pleased to say that Mr. A. C. Hazelden, Guildford Diocesan Guild’s librarian and a member of the Council, was prepared to undertake some of this research work, and they suggested, therefore, that he be added to the committee.

On the motion of Mr. J. S. Goldsmith. seconded by Mr. F. I. Hairs, the report and recommendation were adopted. The committee, consisting of Mr. J. S. Goldsmith (convener), Mrs. Fletcher and Mr. W. A. Cave, were reappointed with the addition of Mr. A. C. Hazelden.


The appointment of the Standing Committee then took place. On the motion of Mr. T. Groombridge, seconded by Mr. J. Hunt, retiring members were re-elected as follows: Ven. Archdeacon H. T. Parry, Alderman J. S. Pritchett, Major J. H. B. Hesse, Messrs. W. A. Cave, J. T. Dyke, C. F. Johnston, R. Richardson, A. Paddon Smith, A. Walker and S. H. Wood.

Vacancies were filled by the election of Mr. E. C. S. Turner and Mr. Gilbert Debenham.

In addition to the above the following are ex-officio members of the committee: The president, hon. librarian, hon. secretary, hon. auditors, conveners of committees and past officers (if still members of the Council).

The President proposed a very hearty vote of thanks to the members of the committees for the work they had done during the last three years. He did not know whether they had heard the definition of gratitude, that it was an ‘anticipation of favours to come’ (laughter). While they thanked the committees for the valuable work they had done, the Council hoped they would go on doing this good work (applause).

The motion was carried by acclamation.


On the question of the circulation of ‘The Ringing World,’ which had been before the Central Council in previous years, and in connection with which action had been referred to the officers, the Hon. Secretary said they had already had lengthy discussions and they felt that all there was to be said had already been said and anything further could only be a repetition. The officers did not present a report this year, because they felt that everything that could be discussed had been discussed and generally the views of all members were known. If, as they believed, the Council were anxious to see the future of ‘The Ringing World’ safeguarded by an increase of circulation, then action must take the place of words and for that reason the officers asked that the matter be left in their hands with full powers to act, it being understood that the Standing Committee would be consulted as necessary.

Mr. A. Walker seconded the proposal, which was carried.


On the question of the muffling of bells, which had also been referred to the officers, the President said he had hoped during the year to receive some information about interesting old customs, but he had heard nothing from members, so he suggested they should wait no longer, but go ahead with their final report, which would be sent to the proper authorities.

This course was agreed to.


It was announced that the Standing Committee recommended that the next meeting should be held at Cardiff, the President pointing out that, in accordance with custom, it was the turn of west and east in the present triennial period.

Mr. Trollope proposed and Mr. Cave seconded Cardiff.

Mr. A. King proposed Dublin. On being put to the vote, Cardiff was agreed to by a big majority.

Mr. J. W. Jones, hon. secretary of the Llandaff and Monmouth Diocesan Association, in whose area Cardiff is situated, said they would do their best to make the visit of the Council a success, but they could not hope to do what their friends in Yorkshire did last year. He had been a member of the Council for a great many years, and he felt that in return for what had been done for him and his fellow representatives from South Wales, they should try and do something for the Council when it visited Cardiff. Everything they could do to make the visit a success the Council could rely upon them doing (applause).

The Ringing World, June 30th, 1939, pages 417 to 418


The President said at the last meeting they had a motion by the Rev. H. Drake on the question of mechanical ringing, which was referred to the Standing Committee to consider. The committee had considered the position and had come to some conclusions.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards presented the report, which the Standing Committee suggested should be adopted and sent to all the Diocesan Advisory Committees of the United Kingdom. It was as follows:-

(1) While there may be exceptional cases in which the use of gramophone records of church bells is justified, any general adoption of such a practice is emphatically to be deprecated, not only on the grounds that a substitute for the real thing is unworthy of the Church of God, but also because it eliminates the living service of hand, and heart, and mind, which is of the very essence of bellringing and is of true spiritual value as contributory to an act of worship.

(2) The installation of such a mechanical device should be severely prohibited in any tower containing or capable of containing a peal of bells except as a temporary expedient, as, for example, when tower or bells are under repair.

(3) In the case of building new churches it is obvious that the erection of a tower and bells must often be left to a future generation, or even omitted altogether, but it is a vital point of principle that no sanction should ever be given to the building or designing of a tower inadequate to its legitimate purpose, with a view to the installation of a gramophone record instead of real bells. The one practical object served by a church tower is to make provision for bells and to erect a tower to hold a gramophone record cannot be regarded otherwise than an architectural fraud, entirely unworthy of a building designed for sacred purposes.

The report was approved, as also was the suggestion that it be sent to all Diocesan Advisory Committees.


The President said the question of Chesterfield bells came before the Council three or four years ago. The tower was then said to be unsafe for ringing and the famous peal of ten bells was silent. The Towers and Belfries Committee was approached and they corresponded with the Vicar, but did not get very far, because it was difficult for them to butt in. In the second place he (the president) did not succeed in getting from the Vicar the name of the architect. He believed he was a London architect and he had hoped to meet him and have a talk with him. Now the committee understood the position was that the bells were still silent, although the tower was said to have been repaired and quite all right for ringing the bells. The matter had rather come to a head because, according to a report which appeared in the ‘Sheffield Telegraph’ about two months ago, the Archdeacon had threatened, if he could not get ringers, to think of installing some form of ‘canned’ bells and gramophone records. The President asked if there was any further information on the matter.

Mr. J. Harris said he was afraid no further information was available, but he did not think the Archdeacon was quite right when he said he could not get any ringers. There were ringers to be got, but when a tower had been closed for years they could not expect to get things done in a day or two. Had the Archdeacon given any ringers the opportunity to go to the tower? He thought it was the duty of the Council to try and find out what was holding things up. Within recent days the Chesterfield District of the Midland Counties Association had been revived and there was also the Peak Society, so there was no lack of enthusiasm in that part of Derbyshire. Perhaps one of the reasons why Chesterfield fell into neglect was that they had no member on the Diocesan Advisory Board. He would like to see a member appointed to every Board in the country. It was because of the absence of such a representative in the Derby Diocese that he asked the Council to do something in connection with Chesterfield.

Mr. W. E. White (Midland Counties) said he had had a letter from the president of their association on this matter, and he thought they need have no fear about there being any substitute for Chesterfield bells.

Mr. S. F. Palmer said at the annual meeting of the Midland Counties Association he met one of the old Chesterfield ringers and went into the matter fully with him. That ringer had been in communication with the Archdeacon and had offered to provide ten ringers - he had got the promise of the services of ten ex-ringers - and he asked for an interview with the Archdeacon. The Archdeacon replied by letter that he would grant him an interview in a few weeks’ time, as he was then very busy. That was in the early part of the year. Up to the week before the Council meeting the ringer in question had heard nothing further. He was afraid the Archdeacon was very indifferent with regard to the bells, and had no interest in ringing.

Mr. T. Clarke (East Derbyshire and Notts) said, knowing the bells were now ringable, he wrote to the Archdeacon suggesting that he might be allowed to take some ringers there for a combined practice, but the Archdeacon had not even replied to his letter.

The President thought in view of what had been said it did not seem that the Council could take any useful action. It was a question of someone getting round or behind the Archdeacon.

The Rev. F. Ll. Edwards thought the secretary might write to the Archdeacon and say that the Council was very glad to hear that the Archdeacon had promised to interview one of the ex-ringers on the subject of restarting Chesterfield bells, with a view to raising a band, and trusting they would soon hear of the successful result of that interview.

Mr. W. G. Wilson seconded the suggestion, which was adopted.


The President said that last year it was proposed to get out a book on handbell ringing, and they asked Mr. Chris. Woolley to see what he could do about it. Mr. Woolley had prepared a draft and had sent it out to one or two people for criticism. He (the president) had gone through it pretty carefully and thought it was excellent. The only addition he would suggest was something on Stedman.

The Hon. Secretary said he thought perhaps the reason why they found so little about Stedman in the draft was that, when he had seen Chris Woolley ringing Stedman on handbells, he sat on the edge of a chair and his knees knocked together (laughter). Mr. Woolley had prepared the book and had submitted it to a number of prominent handbell ringers for their criticism, and it seemed a pity if they were to have to wait another year and bring it again before the Council for approval before they could print it. He suggested that it would be better if, after it had been passed round for criticism and adjustment, it should be put into the hands of the Standing Committee to deal with and print it as soon as possible.

This course was agreed to.


Mr. A. D. Barker said in the past the Council, he believed, had expressed a definite opinion with regard to peals when the bells had not been struck. After a peal, in which Seage’s apparatus had been used on the bells, he believed the Council declined to recognise it. There was now among the public a lot of antagonism with regard to noise, and bells were being rung with the use of various forms of sound reducing apparatus. There was one peal rung last year in which an apparatus was used, as a result of which the clapper struck only on one side of the bell throughout the peal. He would like to know what was the attitude of the Council to a peal rung like that?

Mr. Pulling said he understood, when the silencer in question was used, they got a double blow of the clapper when the bell turned in one direction, and one blow when it turned the opposite way. That, in fact, in a whole pull the clapper struck the bell three times instead of twice.

The Rev. C. E. Wigg said, as one who took part in the peal which Mr. Barker had mentioned, he could say, with regard to the clapper striking a double note, that was not so, unless it was due to the unskilful handling of the bell, resulting in it bumping against the stay. That might shake the clapper so that they got, the appearance of two blows, but if the bell was rung properly there was not the slightest risk of the sound bow being struck more than once. The apparatus was a simple one. A loop of rope or leather or wire was put round the flight of the clapper and the ball was pulled up to any desired distance from the sound bow, according to the volume of sound required. The other end was then made fast to some convenient nut on the stock. The clapper struck the bell exactly at the same time as if the clapper had been swinging free.

Mr. Gilbert asked if they lashed the clapper to the side of the bell so that it did not strike the other side at all, could they call that a peal? They could hear the bells when standing under them, but they could not hear them 50 yards away.

Mr. Collett said the amount of sound depended entirely on the length of the strap that was used. It was a matter of adjustment.

Mr. P. J. Johnson: Do you mean that you have a peal in which the clapper strikes only on one side of the bell?

The Rev. C. E. Wigg: Yes.

Mr. Johnson: I should strongly oppose recognising that.

Mr. A. E. Lock said he had had experience of these silencers, and they could be adjusted so that the bells were loud or quiet as required. If they had indifferent ringers they got what appeared to be a double blow of the clapper, but this did not occur if they had good ringers who knew how to handle a bell.

The President said he found it difficult to accept the statement that the clapper controlled by this apparatus sounded at exactly the same moment as if it were free. He could understand it might in rounds, but he found it difficult to believe that it did so in changes.

Mr. Lock: I assure you it does.

The President: I should like proof of it.

The Rev. C. E. Wigg suggested that the Council should defer any judgment on the question of peals rung with this apparatus attached to the bells, until they had had the opportunity of testing it, and perhaps at the next meeting at Cardiff he could bring a set of the silencers and arrange to have them fitted to a peal of bells, so that members of the Council could have the opportunity of testing the device for themselves. He could assure the president that the bell did strike at the identical moment as if the clapper were free.

The President said the only real test before they could form a judgment would be for the same ringers to ring a touch of reasonable length with and without the silencers.

The Rev C. E. Wigg said that had actually been done at Sherborne Abbey. He rang the tenor both times and he found the bell a little easier to strike with the silencers on.

Mr. Barker said his point was whether a peal rung with this apparatus on the bells could be recognised by the Council.

The Ringing World, July 7th, 1939, page 435

The President suggested that Mr. Barker should bring up a resolution at the next meeting, when the matter could be discussed after the members had, perhaps, had an opportunity of getting some experience of the silencers.


The Secretary, in a report upon the attendance at the meeting, said they had had a record Council that day. There had been 117 members present, 104 being representatives of affiliated societies and 13 honorary members. Twenty-four associations were fully represented with 60 members, 19 were partly represented with 44 members, and only six associations were unrepresented.

The President then moved a vote of thanks to all who had helped to make the arrangements for the meeting. He thanked the Middlesex County Council for the use of the Council Chamber of Westminster Guildhall, which, he thought, was the finest room, at any rate in regard to sound, in which they had met since he had been president.

He also thanked those who had made it possible to use a room at the Coffee Pot on the previous evening for the accommodation of the Standing Committee, and he expressed grateful thanks to the Church authorities, the ringers and the steeplekeepers at the various churches, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, where they had been allowed to ring. He thanked, too, the Office of Works for permission to ring at the Imperial Institute. He also included in the vote of thanks an expression of gratitude to the London societies - the College Youths, the Royal Cumberlands, the Essex, Kent, London County, Middlesex and Surrey Associations - for their hospitality, and especially the committee who had carried out the arrangements on their behalf. The President went on to express his gratitude to the hon. secretary for the work he had done. This year particularly he (the president) had rather left the hon. secretary in the lurch except for the last three weeks, and he very much appreciated all that Mr. Fletcher and his assistant (Mrs. Fletcher) had done.

The votes of thanks were carried with acclamation.

Canon Coleridge then proposed a vote of thanks to the president for the manner in which he had conducted the meeting, and, the president having replied, the meeting terminated.

The Ringing World, July 7th, 1939, page 434

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