[Bell Historians] standards of research

David Bryant david at b...
Wed Nov 5 23:22:45 GMT 2003

> Help them, not patronise them. They may the members of any proposed
> bell history society. I, for one, would be strongly against alienating
> those who members on this list may propose to lead. We all started
> somewhere. I started from a purely historical point of view, and would
> not claim to know a Doncastor canon/head/bugger cares what if it hit mew
> in the face (though I'm sure it would hurt me if I did). I am, however,
> passionately interested in the history of bells and bellringing.
> Are these two viewpoints incompatible?

I'm always prepared to help if asked - I recently wrote some pieces on bells
in Taunton for the Taunton Civic Trust's forthcoming website.

The problem of drivel on church websites isn't confined to bells, it's
common to all historical aspects of churches, and equally applies to many
church guide books. It is a problem which has long been known to exist - see
the standard texts on church archaeology (e.g. Rodwell, Blair and Pyrah).
One of the problems with bells is that there are no guidelines on recording
(with the exception of CJP's bellframes book), and different types of
fittings, etc, can only be recognised by experience.

As to whether the viewpoints are incompatible, I suppose it depends on the
context (i.e. what the research aim is). Certainly, anyone recording details
of a bell installation needs to know how to identify a Doncaster Head, or

How about we stop nit-picking and try doing something more positive?


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