[r-t] RE: Stedman Minor (Shipway's Campanologia) and Method naming

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Tue Jun 14 13:20:38 UTC 2005

Samuel M. Austin wrote:

> Just looked at Shipway Minor on http://methods.ringing.org (which is very
> useful)
> Its interesting that he's taken Stedman and extended the slow work up to
> 4ths place. Stedman minor is slightly different as he shifts the 4-5 dodges
> into 5-6 and every time a bell passes through 4ths place, they always do
> three blows.

This doesn't sound like the same Stedman Minor that Edward
Martin quotes (p.n. -4-3.4-4-4-4.3-4-4).  Are you sure
you've got this right?

I've had a little play with the version of the method that
Edward Martin gave, but I wasn't immediatley able to produce
an extent using eight-end calls.  (It may be possible -- I
didn't spend much time on it.)

On a related note, does anyone know how old the idea of
fitting the Stedman frontwork into a plain minor method is?
Double Dunkirk is the best example of such a method.  (I
find it very hard to believe this was not rung in a peal
until 2003.  Even if this is true, though, the method is
significantly older.)

> The St Martin's Guild rang a 720 of Stedman Minor about 150 years ago I
> think. Will research in the Guild library.

I'd be interested to see that composition if you manage to
find it.

> One more thing
> Don Morrison wrote a couple of weeks ago in the RW an article on quarter
> peal ringers.
> The jist of it was that quarter peal ringers should be allowed to name a
> method at any stage and not just minor and below. I'm surprised that no-one
> has passed any comment on it. What do you all think?

I agreed with almost everything he said.  There are far more
quarter peal ringers out there that peal ringers, and it
would be nice if the Central Council could better reflect

Equally, as I think Don said, many quarter peal ringers
would probably not welcome as intrusive a set of decisions
as are currently inflicted on peal ringers.

> My opinions are:
> 1. That a quarter peal is a good benchmark to be able to name a method but I
> think that any band ringing a just a course of a method should also be able
> to name it.

I'm happy with quarters being used to name methods -- on six
bells this is usually allowed at the moment.  (I say usually
because some treble dodging methods are sufficiently false
that 720s are not possible, though 1440s are.  Ringing a
1440 of such a method is not enough to name it.  This is
just plain silly.)

> 2. Spliced - In a touch of spliced, at least a course of the new method has
> to be rung within the touch before naming it or else a quarter peal
> involving the new method to name it.

Would this also apply to peals of spliced?  I'm happy for it
to, so long as there's no requirement to only ring named
methods in peals.  (Personally, I'm in favour of severing
the link between peals and methods, and that would certainly
allow unnamed methods in peals.)

When you say "a course of the new method has to be rung",
what exactly do you mean?  Take a methods from some standard
peal of 23 spliced.  In most cases, the seven leads of the
method do not together form a course (the opening lead for a
peal with regular part ends is a notable exception).  Is
this enough to name the method?  Take a method like
Stonebow.  This must have been rung in a number of peals
(it's from one of David Hull's 23 spliced compositions), but
I doubt anyone has ever rung a whole course of it.

Perhaps if you required the composition to be all-the-work
(for working bells) in that method, this would be nearer
what you want?  But even this isn't ideal.  For example, I
expect that there are some commonly-rung peal compositions
of Grandsire Caters that are not all the work.  If one of
these were rung to a new plain caters method, should this be
enough to ring it?  I certainly think so.

Maybe the best compromise is to simply say ringers *may*
name a method if they ring enough of it to be representative
of the whole method, and leave the exact meaning of this

> When the ringers of the 17th Century were practicing Grandsire and Plain
> Bob, they didn't ring a peal of it before naming them did they?

There's an important difference, however.  In the 17th
century (less by the 18th), simply producing a true touch
was a poorly-understood challenge.  So, at that time, I
imagine many pieces of ringing were given names by their
composers.  (I doubt there's any hard and fast evidence to
support -- or otherwise -- this.  But if you spend days or
weeks working on a piece of ringing, you're more likely to
assign a name to it than if you spend 30 second trying to
locate your copy of BYROC.)  These days, anyone can knock
together an extent of an unrung treble dodging minor method:
the challenge is to find a band with the inclination to ring
a peal/quarter of it.  So these days, it seems right that
the band who ring a relatively long length (e.g. a peal or a
quarter) of a method get to name it.

> Also with triples and below, one has to ring an extent to name the method
> but with major and above, a peal is considered a suitable benchmark for
> ringers. More ringers ring quarter peals than peals (Morrison, D ) which is
> another reason why ringers who don't ring peals should have the right to
> name methods of triples and above.
> I'm not trying to knock the work of the methods committee here, in fact I
> appreciate and use frequently the provisional method names page so at least
> they aren't disregarding non peal ringers completely.

One area where I think there is a significant difference
between what the Methods Committee do and what the decisions
say is doubles variations.  (E)A.3(c) states "each variation
... may be given its own name".  Irrespective of whether you
agree with this, this is what the decisions say, and that
presumably means it is the Methods Committee's job to keep
track of these names.  It strikes me that this needs to be
made consistent:  if doubles variations are to given
official names, then it should be the job of one of the CC
committees to keep track of them; and if not, the decisions
need to be changed to reflect this.


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