Horfield Tower Bell Ringers
Horfield Parish Church, Bristol.
Ringing

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PAGE CONTENTS

What is Rung at Horfield?
 
Learning to Ring with a Band of Ringers
    
           Ringing Rounds
Ringing Rounds and Call Changes
Introduction to Method Ringing
Ringing Plain Hunt
Ringing Plain Bob
   
Ringing Reference
   
Extents and Peals
Method Name Suffixes

Notation Codes
Named Call Changes with Sound Clips

   -   

On 5 Bells
Tower Data Analysis

-

England, Wales and RoW - By Country

-

Rest of the World - By Country
- England - By Number of bells
- England - By Keynote (Pitch of Tenor)
- England - By County
  

  

What is Rung at Horfield?

The following are rung from time to time at Horfield. At the time of writing (March 2008) the current focus is on Union Bob.

 
Rounds
Call Changes
Erin
Grandsire
Plain Bob Doubles
Plain Hunt Doubles
Reverse Canterbury
St. Simons
Stedman
Union Bob
 

  

Learning to Ring with a Band of Ringers

This section is intended for those who have learned to handle a single bell, and are ready to progress to ringing with a team - known as a band - of ringers. If you cannot yet handle a single bell,  please refer to the Beginners page on this site.

 
Ringing Rounds
 

Ringing rounds is the simplest form of ringing with the band. Also important in that (by custom) all ringing starts and finishes with rounds. 

Although Horfield has only five bells, the examples in this section assume a ring of six in the key of C: that is, with the highest pitched bell (A) being the treble, and the lowest pitched bell (C) being the tenor. However, for the purposes of ringing, the actual pitch is irrelevant - what is important is the relative pitch. For this reason, bells are always referred to by number, the treble always being bell No. 1, and the tenor being the highest number in the sequence - in this case, No. 6.

Starting with the handstroke, the bells are rung in numerical order (1-2-3-4-5-6 in the example) -  one ringer per bell:

 

Handstroke

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The sequence then begins again, from bell No. 1 - this time, on the backstroke. When ringing rounds correctly, there should be a slight pause (equivalent to one bell) before the handstroke sequence:
 

Handstroke

Backstroke

Handstroke

Backstroke

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Ringing Rounds and Call Changes
 

This is the next stage of learning after you have learned to ring rounds with reasonable proficiency. The ringing session starts with rounds, moves into call changes, then finishes with rounds

A change is when the striking order of two adjacent bells is reversed. For example, interchanging bell No. 5 with bell No. 6:

 
Click speaker  to hear sound
A session starts with ringing rounds, as detailed above. The tower captain (or other experienced ringer) acts as the conductor, who calls the changes of his or her choice. The changes must be called when the lead bell is at handstroke, with the called change being made at the next handstroke. When the conductor has finished calling changes, he or she will give the call: "Rounds!" The ringers go back to ringing rounds until the conductor gives the call: "Stand!". The ringers all stand their bells at the next handstroke, and the session finishes.

Note that there are two methods of calling used: calling up and calling down. In the Bristol area, changes are always called up. A bell is always called to ring after (or over) another bell, and never called to ring before another.

For example: 4 to 5. This means that the person ringing bell No. 4 rings after bell No. 5 has rung, (and consequently. that bell No. 5 now follows after bell No. 3).

  

Rounds

Called: 4 to 5

Handstroke

Backstroke

Handstroke

Backstroke

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There are some sequences (changes) that are especially pleasing to the ear - these have been given names, for example:
 
Handstroke

Backstroke

Queens 1 3 5 2 4 6 1 3 5 2 4 6 Click speaker  to hear sound
Whittingtons 5 3 1 2 4 6 5 3 1 2 4 6 Click speaker  to hear sound
Tittums 1 4 2 5 3 6 1 4 2 5 3 6 Click speaker  to hear sound
 
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Introduction to Method Ringing
 

Once you have mastered call changes, you should be ready to move on to method ringing.

In change ringing, only one pair of adjacent bells change places at any given time. So  a technique called method ringing was developed which allows two or more pairs to change. A predetermined order of changes that starts and finishes with rounds, does not repeat any changes in between and involves at least one pair of bells changing at every stroke is called a method. A method consists of a pattern of changes that can be memorised by ringers. Every method has a name, by which it is referred. The conductor does not call individual changes, just the name of the method.

 
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Ringing Plain Hunt
 

Each method is founded on a principle. Plain Hunt is considered to be the easiest principle, so it is a good one on which to begin.

In Plain Hunt,  each bell does the same pattern, but starts in a different place. The example below is on five bells, (as at Horfield). After ringing rounds, the pattern starts on the call of the conductor, in this case: "Go Plain Hunt". 

 

The Plain Hunt Principle

Striking Order

Start Position of Bell in Pattern

Stroke

1

2 3 4 5

1

Handstroke
2 1 4 3 5   Backstroke
2 4 1 5 3

3

Handstroke
4 2 5 1 3   Backstroke
4 5 2 3 1

5

Handstroke
5 4 3 2 1   Backstroke
5 3 4 1 2

4

Handstroke
3 5 1 4 2   Backstroke
3 1 5 2 4

2

Handstroke
1 3 2 5 4   Backstroke
 

Click speaker 

to hear Plain Hunt
 
The pattern then repeats until it is called back to rounds with a call from the conductor at 13254: "That's All."

Note that the odd bells run out, and the even bells run in. The pattern is lead twice, runs out to 5th's, lies behind for two blows (handstroke and backstroke), and then runs in to lead for two blows. If you look at the diagram, you will see that bell No. 1 runs out to bell No. 5's place, then stays there for another stroke before making its way back to lead (1st's place). The other bells make the same pattern, but starting from a different place. 

Note that changes in this principle (and in other principles and methods) occur at handstroke and at  backstroke, which makes it quite difficult to learn.

 
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Ringing Plain Bob
 

Once you can ring Plain Hunt (a principle) reliably, you'll be ready to start ringing methods - usually starting with Plain Bob. This is largely similar to Plain Hunt but involves dodging (changing direction for one stroke) when the treble leads.

In Plain Bob the treble bell (No. 1) does Plain Hunt, but the other bells do variations on this principle:

   

The Plain Bob Method

Striking Order

Start Position of Bell in Pattern

Stroke

1

2 3 4 5

2

Handstroke
2 1 4 3 5   Backstroke
2 4 1 5 3   Handstroke
4 2 5 1 3   Backstroke
4 5 2 3 1   Handstroke
5 4 3 2 1   Backstroke
5 3 4 1 2   Handstroke
3 5 1 4 2   Backstroke
3 1 5 2 4   Handstroke
1 3 2 5 4

 

Backstroke
1 3 5 2 4

4

Handstroke
3 1 2 5 4   Backstroke
3 2 1 4 5   Handstroke
2 3 4 1 5   Backstroke
2 4 3 5 1   Handstroke
4 2 5 3 1   Backstroke
4 5 2 1 3   Handstroke
5 4 1 2 3   Backstroke
5 1 4 3 2   Handstroke
1 5 3 4 2   Backstroke
1 5 4 3 2

5

Handstroke
5 1 3 4 2   Backstroke
5 3 1 2 4   Handstroke
3 5 2 1 4   Backstroke
3 2 5 4 1   Handstroke
2 3 4 5 1   Backstroke
2 4 3 1 5   Handstroke
4 2 1 3 5   Backstroke
4 1 2 5 3   Handstroke
1 4 5 2 3   Backstroke
1 4 2 5 3

3

Handstroke
4 1 5 2 3   Backstroke
4 5 1 3 2   Handstroke
5 4 3 1 2   Backstroke
5 3 4 2 1   Handstroke
3 5 2 4 1   Backstroke
3 2 5 1 4   Handstroke
2 3 1 5 4   Backstroke
2 1 3 4 5   Handstroke
1 2 4 3 5   Backstroke
 

Click speaker 

to hear Plain Bob
 
The cycle of work is:
1 Make seconds
2 Dodge 3-4 down
3 Make long 5ths
4 Dodge 3-4 up
  
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Ringing Reference

 
Extents and Peals
 
Some mathematics! The number of possible permutations of changes on a given ring of bells is known as its extent. The extent is calculated using n! (n factorial), where n is the number of bells in the ring. For example, if there were only three bells in the ring, the following permutations would be possible:
1 2 3
1 3 2
2 1 3
2 3 1
3 1 2
3 2 1

 

In the above example, the number of possible permutations can be calculated manually as follows:

3! or 1 x 2 x 3 = 6

If there were four bells, the calculation would be:

4! or 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 = 24

... and so on.

Below is a table giving the extent for all rings between 3 and 16 bells inclusive.

 

No. of Bells

Extent

   
3 6
4 24
5 120
6 720
7 5,040
8 40,320
9 362,880
10 3,628,800
11 39,916,800
12 479,001,600
13 6.227,020,800
14 87,178,291,200
15 1307,674,368,000
16 20,922,789,888,000
 
A Peal was originally defined an extent on seven bells (5040 changes), as it was thought that to ring an extent on eight bells or more in one session would be impossible. (Notwithstanding the latter, and extent on eight bells (40,320 unrepeated changes) was achieved by ringers in the bell tower of the Loughborough bell foundry in 1963).

On this definition, it would not be possible to achieve a peal at a tower with less than seven bells. So a peal is now defined as a sequence of at least 5040 unrepeated changes on seven or fewer bells (or at least 5000 changes on eight or more bells).

Similarly, a quarter-peal (or quarter) is defined as a sequence of at least 1260 unrepeated changes on seven or fewer bells (or at least 1250 changes on eight or more bells).

 
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Method Name Suffixes
 

A suffix is added to a method name, to indicate the number of bells on which it has been rung:

 

No. of Bells

Name

3 Singles
4 Minimus
5 Doubles
6 Minor
7 Triples
8 Major
9 Caters
10 Royal
11 Cinques
12 Maximus
 

Notes to the Table

Singles - rarely rung.
Doubles  - sometimes with a sixth bell covering.
Triples  - sometimes with an eighth bell covering.
Caters - sometimes with a tenth bell covering.  
Cinques  - sometimes with a twelfth bell covering.
 
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Notation Codes
 
Bell No. Notation Code
1 1
2 2
3 3
4 4
5 5
6 6
7 7
8 8
9 9
10 0
11 e
12 t
13 a
14 b
15 c
16 d
 
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Named Call Changes with Sound Clips
 
On 5 Bells
 
Jokers
 
Kings
 
Queens
 
Roll-ups
 
Tittums
 
Weasels
 
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Tower Data Analysis

 

 The data interpreted in the Tower Data Analysis section below was extracted on 24th March 2008 from Dove's Guide (to which acknowledgement is duly made).

The data excludes towers with less than three bells, but includes non-Anglican and secular towers, and towers where the bells are unringable.

 
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England, Wales and RoW - By Country

 

At the time of writing, there are 7083 towers worldwide that are hung for full-circle church bell ringing - 94% of them being in England: 
 
Country

Towers

%

England 6661 94
Wales 222 3
Rest of the World 200 3

Total

7083 100
 
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Rest of the World - By Country
 
Here is an analysis of the towers in the rest of the world:
 
Country

Towers

%

Australia 54 27.0
USA 43 21.5
Eire 21 10.5
Scotland 20 10.0
Northern Ireland 16 8.0
Channel Islands 10 5.0
Canada 9 4.5
New Zealand 9 4.5
South Africa 8 4.0
Isle of Man 2 1.0
Windward Islands 2 1.0
Zimbabwe 2 1.0
India 1 0.5
Kenya 1 0.5
Pakistan 1 0.5
Spain 1 0.5

Total

200 100
 
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England - By Number of bells

 

Six is the most commonly-occurring number of bells found in English towers. There are no towers with seven, eleven, thirteen or fifteen bells. There is only one of each of nine, fourteen and sixteen-bell towers.
 

No of Bells

Towers

%

3 949 14.24
4 307 4.61
5 613 9.20
6 2758 41.40
8 1689 25.35
9 1 0.02
10 235 3.53
12 107 1.61
14 1 0.02
16 1 0.02

Total

6661

100.00
 
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England - By Keynote (Pitch of Tenor)

 

All twelve notes of the chromatic scale are represented as the keynote of rings of bells in English towers. However, G is the most common, with 1091 towers (out of 6404 towers where data is known) having a tenor with that strike note.
 
Tenor Towers

%

A 676 10.56
A# / Bb 459 7.17
B 273 4.26
C 180 2.81
C# / Db 142 2.22
D 274 4.28
D# Eb 335 5.23
E 510 7.96
F 771 12.04
F# / Gb 899 14.04
G 1091 17.03
G# / Ab 794 12.4
Total 6404 100.00
(no data) 257

-

Towers 6661

-

 
From the bar chart it will be seen that the popularity of choice of pitch for the tenor is not random, but falls away fairly evenly either side of G

Why should this be? If you know the answer ...

 
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to email the webmaster!
 
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England - By County

 

Here is a bar-chart showing English bell towers, ranked by county. Devon has the most, with 419, followed closely my Somerset (385) and Lincolnshire (352).

 

 
The total for all counties is 6658. However, there are also three "portable towers" which brings the grand total to 6661.
 
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*** Contributions on ringing-related topics are invited for this page! ***


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