[Bell Historians] New poll for bellhistorians

David Bryant david at b...
Wed Sep 1 12:08:24 BST 2004

> And it is not helped when, as soon as somebody who claims 
> expert status is told, perfectly politely, that the 
> information he has provided is valuable but the compilers 
> would prefer to have it confirmed in the accepted way, 
> then he immediately conducts a 'straw poll' to try 
> and undermine that system - which it won't because the 
> only polls that matter are taken scientifically: this one 
> isn't .

Petty comments like this do no good either. I was not intending to 
explain the specific circumstances leading to this poll, but let me 
now do so:

1) I have several times attempted to get the tenor weight given for 
Taunton St James altered from 19-3-14 to 17½ cwt, as 19-3-14 is 
clearly wrong. The bell (by Thomas Pennington of Exeter 1626) is 
short-waisted, no canons, and only has a diameter of 47", in E. It 
cannot possibly weigh 19-3-14. John Baldwin has consistently refused 
to change it unless I get the opinion of the local ringers. This is a 
general policy, and I cannot understand it. Why should the opinions 
of local ringers, who in most cases will not be familiar with aspects 
such as weight estimation, be given such credence?

2) A very well known and prominent bell historian has recently told 
me that he no longer bothers sending corrections to Dove, as on one 
occasion the compilers saw fit to put what the local ringers wanted 
in preference to the information supplied by the bell historian, 
which was fully backed up by evidence.

Bell historians are the largest group with the technical expertise to 
be able to contribute to Dove. If the compilers repeatedly ignore 
their submissions in favour of uninformed local opinion, then throw a 
tantrum when the policy is questioned, then I'm sure increasing 
numbers of us won't bother to help, and 'Dove' will increasingly 
become a work of fiction rather than one of fact.

So, what do others think the above bell weighs, then?


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