[Bell Historians] Dove inexactitudes

George Dawson George at d...
Thu Sep 19 16:15:34 BST 2002

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Ashbourne Derbyshire is 13.1.21 as weighed by Taylors on 21.1.1896.=20
----- Original Message -----=20
From: JohnBaldwin=20
To: Bellhistorians at Yahoogroups. Com=20
Cc: Ron Johnston ; Tim Pett=20
Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2002 3:28 PM
Subject: [Bell Historians] Dove inexactitudes

Recently, we have been concerned that there are certain circumstances whe=
re "local wish" over what is shown for an entry in Dove (on-line, and there=
fore in the next printed edition) has actually made that entry become "less=

A case in point is Abingdon S Helen, where the previously "exact" weight =
of 20-1-6 (as per Berks, p4, the weight when canons were still present, and=
as appeared in Dove, editions 1 to 3) became shown in editions 4 to 9 as t=
he "approximate" value of 19=BDcwt consequent upon their removal. However,=
Tim Pett earlier this year asked for the previous exact figure to be re-in=
stated on the grounds that 19=BDcwt was nothing more than a "guesstimate" a=
nd it could equally well be 20cwt, 19=BEcwt, or even 19=BCcwt, the bell not=
having been reweighed (nor the removed metal weighed) at the time of alter=
ation - to anyone's present knowledge.=20=20

[I felt I could not (at that stage anyway) refuse the request even though=
in my view it "decreases" the accuracy of Dove unnecessarily simply becaus=
e that is the one weight it cannot be!. It MAY have been the result of a to=
o rigid interpretation (by Tim) of our deference to "local wish" about what=
appears in an entry - and on which petard, I felt myself to be well and tr=
uly hoisted!

The deference to "local preference" however had been meant primarily in t=
wo other instances, namely=20

(1) whether the placename (ie, that which is used for positioning) should=
be that of a major conurbation (with the suburb as a "secondary name") or =
that of the suburb itself (eg, should Whitchurch appear as such, or should =
it appear as "Cardiff,.... Whitchurch") or, indeed any other name (such as =
St Samson becoming Golant, but Dyfrryn not becoming Bryncoch) - something =
about which we had invited submission, see RW2000, p683; and=20

(2) whether a ring should be shown as "unringable" when strictly that may=
not be the case but requests for ringing were to be discouraged for entire=
ly local, good, and hopefully temporary reason. I do NOT wish, at this jun=
cture to be sidetracked by either of those particular issues, please!

To clarify better what we meant about "local preference", the section on =
Accuracy has now been modified (and repositioned) in the on-line descriptio=
n webpage which I suggest you re-visit if you haven't happened to read it i=
n the last day or so.]

One way of lessening the inaccuracy, and even possibly thereby "flushing =
out" some real definitive knowledge, is to show such entries as the followi=
ng example:

Abingdon, Oxon, S Helen, 10, <20-1-6 in Eflat. -Tue SU497967

with the following addition to description page at the place where tenor =
weight is described:

"The < symbol is used as a prefix to an exact weight where it is known th=
at subsequent work (eg, the removal of the canons) has reduced the weight o=
f the tenor. This is felt to be preferable to showing an approximate weight=
(which may simply be an estimate)."=20

In my opinion (and that of others I have sounded out) this presentation (=
which I willingly acknowledge had been suggested to us several years ago no=
w) recognises that the tenor weight must be less than 20-1-6 (assuming that=
that figure was right in the first place) but also that 20-1-6 is "the bes=
t that we currently have at our disposal". In the interests of providing t=
he most accurate possible information within Dove, we are now thinking of m=
aking this slight presentational change in what I guess will probably be no=
more than 25 cases out of just over 6000 entries.

We would like to hear (either "on list" or privately, via Dovemaster at cccb=
r.org.uk) any opinions that there may be (please, please restrict it to thi=
s one issue) both on that method of presentation, in the short term within =
the on-line version and in the longer term within the next printed edition,=
and on the associated explanation. Ron and I will then make a decision. =

It would further help if you know personally (and without fear of contrad=
iction) - and will let us know full details - of other cases where previous=
ly accurate tenor weights, whether or not now shown approximately, would be=
nefit from a modified presentation as indicated above. In this way, even sh=
ould we decide to make no immediate change in presentation, such details wi=
ll be recorded within the database for future reference.

In advance, thank you for any comments you feel inclined to make.

John Baldwin
(029) 2055 4457

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