[Bell Historians] Royal

edward martin edward.w.martin at NUWe-7OYMUna0iipipmAu9HZg3NoU99bRQIBmnNmaHuntQpKsQIbTiJMsPH2omyJR2nssr1GkJ7JuonqSpLrqXc.yahoo.invalid
Wed Aug 23 14:08:40 BST 2006

On 8/23/06, Richard Offen <richard at Tq18D8C-EoyIrXBCC7nczSv598fWuvv3CNwsn4LNz37dwH2Gcs5sM6CxcPrAy_s06wYacgGcFQ.yahoo.invalid> wrote:

> Do we actually know when the changes for Queen's and Whittingtons
> started to be known by those names?

No. at least I don't.
Stedman talks of "concords of fifths and of thirds (I suppose = queens
& tittums) but I have never come across the use of these names for set
changes. My theory is that  they were known and used & passed down by
word of mouth, but not included in books which were intended for what
we now call 'scientific' ringing, not call change ringing.

Again, quoting at you from my putative book:

"There has been speculation as to the origin of the title 'College
Youths', some trying to connect it with Westminster College or some
other scholastic establishment.  I had considerable correspondence
with the late Bill Cook over the traditional connection with
Whittington's College. He had written that there could be no possible
connection since this College had been disbanded some 90 years before
the College Youths were founded. I thought that this was going a
little too far and would not rule out such a connection. To this day,
there are set changes, which are given names. On six bells, the
Queen's Change is 135246 and Whittington's is 531246. The story being
that Queen Elizabeth heard the bells ringing in thirds and from that
date this particular change has been known as the Queen's change.
Similarly the highly romanticised 'rags to riches' tale of a boy and
his cat going to London to seek his fortune tells of the boy hearing
the church bells 531246 "turn again Whittington", 531246 "Lord Mayor
of London".

I have never read of any scholastic history of how these two changes
were actually named. Throughout her reign the anniversary of the date
of her accession, Nov.17th, was the occasion of much ringing of bells.
In all probability this would have been in rounds or set changes if
not in primitive change ringing, and the popular row 135246 could
easily have been named during this period. Elizabeth I died in 1603.
Also, it may not be irrelevant to note that Stow, who mentions
Whittington's tomb in St. Michael's Paternoster, does not refer to the
legend, and would assuredly have noticed it, if it had been well
established when he wrote. The first known reference to the story
comes in 1605 with the licensing of a play, now lost, with the title'
The History of Richard Whittington, of his lowe byrth, his great
fortune." As the realm approached the days of civil war, it may be
that both Whittington and Queen Elizabeth were romanticised by those
who hankered after the good old days."

In addition, although it's not to hand, I believe that  there is
record of bells being rung on her birthday,for quite a while AFTER her

> As to the derivation of 'Royal, does the OED definition help?
> "Of a qulity or size suitable for a king or queen."

Well that certainly fits in with my theory
(not so much that they rang 10 for royalty as that even today in
expressing a degree of magnitude we might use the word 'Royal meaning



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