[Bell Historians] Dove inexactitudes

LOVE, Dickon DrLove at s...
Thu Sep 19 17:19:36 BST 2002

Re John Baldwin's invitation to comment on whether to publish inaccurate
weights rather than approximate weights:

This is a question I have heard raised before, both as editor of Church
Bells of Kent, and of the Kent CACR Handbook.

I ask: why would a local band like a former, and therefore inaccurate weight
to appear rather than a more realistic one (even if it is approximate)? The
conclusion is that they probably want their tenor to appear as big as
possible, which all seems rather contrary to the point of having the record
at all.

There are a couple of towers in Kent which have had their canons hacked off
and were never reweighed (one of them is the 12 at Quex Park). There has
been no problem with the approximate weight used. If anyone wants to know
the history of the weights of a particular bell, that information is readily
available elsewhere. My main complaint has been from a certain "Esquire
Ringing Master" who wanted his tower to be listed as 20 cwt rather than
17-1-0 on the basis that that is what used to appear in Handbooks a hundred
years ago!!! So where does one draw the line?

The weights in Dove are relied upon by a large number of ringers, including
conductors who submit peals to the RW. Sometimes the weights can be used en
masse for some statistical research. Putting in <20-1-6 is therefore more
misleading and devalues the record, and putting it down as such merely in
order to make it look as if the bell is over a ton (which I must admit is
how this argument looks) is hardly very scientific.

I would strongly petition that:

Abingdon, Oxon, S Helen, 10, 19½cwt in Eflat. -Tue SU497967

is more accurate and therefore more useful in fulfilling the requirement to
put a weight in the listings in the first place. As custodians of Dove's
Guide, I believe it is John and Ron's responsibility to uphold this.

Dove's Guide does not exist to give a historical record of a particular
tenor weight ... that should be left to those publications dedicated to such
things. Otherwise a whole can of worms could be opened.


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