[Bell Historians] Royal, or other names

edward martin edward.w.martin at tnqs0fYdQI_EXMM4vPF5eku_ajPoNYDDc2mNcwxC7P8pBl9L0zkaeVVZDdo0i2mcOlhMlEFNrwCdp_xSBxpJuLA.yahoo.invalid
Sat Aug 19 04:14:51 BST 2006

On 8/18/06, Richard Smith <richard at DdIu9juySWw1aPWJ6ybe1B85iagZ4HTV_B2s1uz63RtYPeM-PGpKjpnl2HX1pvJh411vt3Hq7DGRM_w4F6cG.yahoo.invalid> wrote:
> Bickerton, Roderic K (SELEX) (UK) wrote:
> > I have often wondered about these names on all numbers why doubles when
> > 5 is an odd number?
> Originally, a doubles method was one in which two bells
> swapped between adjacent rows (other than at singles or,
> sometimes, 'extremes' -- the latter often just being the
> lead end change, e.g. the 125 in Plain Bob Doubles).
> Similarly, a triples method is one in which three bells swap
> between adjacent rows.  At this time, the terms 'minor',
> 'major', etc., didn't really exist and Plain Bob Minor (then
> known as Grandsire Bob) would have been refered to as
> 'doubles and triples' due to its alternating sequence of
> double and triple changes.
> More recently (by which I mean during the 18th century),
> doubles came to mean any five bell method, and the terms
> 'minor', 'major', etc., came into being.  But I'm unsure
> exactly where these came from and why, for example, 'minor'
> refers to six bell ringing rather than (say) four bell
> ringing.  And 'royal' is a complete mystery to me.
> Richard

Initially in the 17th century there was no 'Plain Bob' per se. Our Bob
Minimus was then known as 'The twenty four Doubles and Singles on four
bells'. Our Bob Doubles was 'Old Doubles' almost the same as our Bob
Doubles except that instead of the bob having places in 4-5 at the
trebles lead, they had places in 2-3.  On 6 bells what they had were
two distinct callings of what we would now recognize as being
basically Plain Bob Minor. The one was indeed called 'Triples and
Doubles but the 720 involved the use of several different singles made
at the end of each 60 changes, whereas what we now refer to as the
standard 720 was then known as 'Grandsire Bob'. Again, forms of what
we now recognize to be Bob Triples (varying according to the calls
used) were then simply known as 'Plain Triples'

In a section on eight bell methods, on p173 Stedman introduces "Bob
Major' followed on p175 by five eight bell methods under the
collective title 'College Bob-Major'

In this respect, things do not seem to have changed too much by the
time of the 1702 book, we still have 'Old Doubles' but, in dealing
with six bell methods we have 'Grandsire Bob, commonly called Plain
Bob. Again there is no use of the word 'Minor'.

On eight bell methods we have Stedman's 'Bob Major,Quadruples and
Tripples' as well as 'Imperial Bob' but on p 175 we are introduced to
the 8 bell method 'London Bob Royal'!

Almost 90 years later. Introducing changes on 6 bells the authors tell
us "is commonly called Plain Bob, some give it the title of Grandsire
Bob, but the most critical part of the exercise will have it called
Single Bob Minor." I am not so familiar with the Clavis but I think
that this is the one and only time that changes on six bells include
the word 'Minor' in the title.. Eight bells continues with the use of
Major but when we come to changes on 10, we read:
"All ten bell peals whatsoever are distinguished by the general
appellation of Ten In, but that which is generally first attempted by
young practicioners, and which also claims our first attention, is
commonly called Plain ten in, but more properly Bob Major Royal, by
reason, as we suppose, of its great affinity to bob major on eight
bells" This is followed by 'Grandsire ten in ' and 'Court Bob ten in'
but then on p227, with ' Oxford Treble Bob Royal' and later on with
'Oxford Treble Bob Maximus'

Within a generation, William Shipway published his vast work in which
the nomenclature used is as we use it today (except for Minimus which
he calls singles) Thus it seems to me that the terminology evolved
initially from Stedman's Bob Major (why he called it that who knows?)
and as ringing on the higher numbers was possible we got Bob Major
Royal and eventually Royal all by itself. Certainly simpler to call
"Go Bob Royal than to call "Go Plain Cinques & Quadruples"



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