[r-t] Anything Goes vs Peals Mean Something

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Sat Aug 9 14:32:42 UTC 2008

Mark Davies wrote:

> For most of the history of changeringing (two or three hundred years I'd
> guess), peal was synonymous with extent.

Really?  I don't think the meaning of peal has ever been 
that simply defined.

In the 1671 edition of Tintinnalogia, Duckworth describes 
many things that are not extents as peals.  For example, 
"Twenty All Over" (p 15) is simply 20 changes of doubles 
with no instructions given for generating an extent.  And 
much later on he says "the greatest Peal that ever was Rang 
on 8 Bells, is 1680" (p 132).  Clearly in 1671, 'Peal' was 
not synonymous with extent, although extents were described 
as peals.

In the 1766 edition of Campanalogia Improved, Doleman, 
"C.M." and Monk still refer to extents as peals.  However, 
they also describe what would now be described as the plain 
course of Grandsire Doubles (they do not give it a name) as 
a peal (p 24).  We also see longer, but still 
sub-5000-change, touches on higher numbers described as 
peals: for example, a 1,232 of Plain Bob Major (p 174) and a 
504 of Grandsire Triples (p 124).

Jump forward another hundred years to 1852 with Thackrah's 
The Art of Change Ringing.  By then, it seems that 'peal' is 
no longer used to mean less than an extent on lower numbers: 
a 60 of Grandsire Doubles is described as "one-half the 
peal" (p 20).  Indeed, on five, six and seven bells, 'peal' 
now does seem synonymous with 'extent'. But on eight (or 
more) bells, we find several extents described as peals, in 
addition to various other 5000+-change touches.


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