[Bell Historians] New poll for bellhistorians

Chris Povey cmpovey at 3...
Wed Sep 1 22:22:44 BST 2004

David Bryant wrote:-
> When the current printed edition of Dove was in preparation, I was
> asked how I thought such rings should be described. I said that I
> thought the current (i.e. that used in all earlier editions) was
> fine - ring of 12 with flat 6th and extra treble, Yes, technically an
> extra treble does make a ring of 13, but it is only there to
> accompany the flat 6th to make a light ten; there are no rings with
> an extra treble but not a flat 6th. I think that the 'flat 6th and
> extra treble' terminology reflects the usage of the bells.

Yes, I objected to the description '13 plus flat 7th, for precisely the same
reasons. I do not like it at all. Ron Dove's description is exactly right.
He may not have been technically correct, but he was sensibly correct.

However, to be fair to Dove, there is some movement in this direction in one
of the notes:-
"We show the maximum number of ringing bells in the tower tuned to a
diatonic scale although rings shown as 13 are normally a diatonic 12
together with a "sharp" or "extra" treble and are "numbered" as if a 12. In
other cases, "accidentals" are indicated by their position relative to the
treble." Perhaps we are getting there, slowly...

> 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?

Ron himself set a precedent in this direction. Please see the 6th Edition of
Dove, page 185: Rings of Eight Bells; in which he says, ..'while careful
measurements and comparisons with the weights of similar bells which have
been throught the Bellfounders hands suggest that 25.5cwt rather than 28cwt
would be a more realistic estimate at Pershore Abbey.' I do not remember any
objections by locals for this downgrading of the tenor there (perhaps they
secretly agreed) - and it remains 25.5cwt in the present on-line Dove.

Conversely, however, I remember Ron getting hauled over the coals in RW many
years ago about reducing the weight of a ancient tenor down in the West
Country somewhere. The local Tower Captain said to his knowledge it had
never been out of the tower to be weighed since it was put in, so how could
Mr Dove know different. Ron had to agree and apologised, and the tenor
weight reverted back.

Chris Povey

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