[Bell Historians] Stayless trebles

Andrew Aspland aaspland at y...
Thu May 13 10:38:09 BST 2004

Since deal and pine stays have come up in this discussion can I be allowed
to have a bit of a moan. In this moan please include all those devices
which people seem to have invented by which a peg of dowel breaks instead of
a stay.

None of these is a problem on a (very) light peal of bells where the
breaking of a stay is unlikely to cause injury. However I have seen several
examples of none ash stays fitted on heavier bells with potentially
dangerous consequences. The problem with none ash stays (particularly the
breaking dowel type) is that you get absolutely no warning that a stay is
going to break. With ash there is often a long period of "sponginess"
before breakage, often with the bell becoming deeper set - hopefully the
steeple keeper will have observed this and replace the stay before it
breaks. Also there is an inherent "spring" in ash (not much in the cheap
kiln dessicated stuff) which takes a few knocks and allows the stay to
bounce. The old curved stays must have had plenty of spring.

I have seen two completely suprising stay breaks on a heavy eight - one
resulting in injury - where the stays had been replaced with mahogony (or
similar). No warning just a straight break with little bumping of the stay.
Another tower in Yorkshire has breaking dowels and their 3cwt trebles can
give a nasty rope burn to the unwary - and have done!

A tower the other side of the pennines had a court case because a visiting
ringer had been injured due to the breaking of a mahogany stay.

With careful teaching there is no reason to break stays. If the bells are
not too deep set and the stays of quality ash they will take the odd bump
from a novice or a missed sally from an experienced ringer! If a bell is
very deep set or they stay spongy then I keep my learners off that bell.

Moan finished - thank you for reading.

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