[r-t] What is a 'regular' method

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Sun Feb 5 12:06:17 UTC 2012

Graham John wrote:

> The term 'regular method' is used frequently in ringing 
> publications, but it is not defined in the CC decisions.

Historically, the CC have used 'regular method' to mean one 
conforming to the decisions.  For example, in 1964 there was 
a (seemingly unsuccessful) motion

   That this Council shall no longer recognise as regular any
   even-bell method on six or eight bells which has four
   places made between successive rows on more than one
   occasion in the half-lead.

Or in 1952 the MC report said:

   Our opinion has been asked about certain methods which do
   not conform with the Central Council rules, and we have
   emphasised that, under the present decisions, they must be
   regarded as irregular, which presumably means that peals
   rung in those methods cannot be recognised.

That all points towards "regular" having been synonymous 
with "non-compliant", "unrecognised", "illegal", 
"illegitimate" and the various other terms the CC has used 
to describe methods it happens not to like.

But it would now seem that the CC has regressed to the point 
of not believing non-compliant methods are methods at all -- 
see, for example, the frequent description of "Five Rings 
Triples" as "not a method".  If so, presumably it cannot be 
an irregular method an we must assume that in the eyes of 
the CC the term "regular" has either become vacuous or has 
changed its meaning.

Personally, I have always used the term "regular" to 
describe the property of having Plain Bob lead heads (with 
some, possibly zero, number of hunt bells), and I get the 
impression that this is what most other people do too.  So I 
would say that Double Stromboli Bob Minor (with five blows 
in one place) or Fryerning Surprise Minor (with a single 
change) are al regular methods.

However, as you suggest, there is still scope for 
disagreement with the definition.  Can Slow Course methods 
be regular, or only 'proper' twin hunt methods?  Is Great 
Grandsire Minor (the bob course of Plain Bob Minor) a 
regular method, with its three hunt bells?  Can a 
non-palindromic method be regular?  I can see arguments why 
perhaps it should be considered one, though I personally do 
consider them to be regular.  What about a single-hunt 
method with an 14 lead end change (which must also be 

> A simple definition might be any method having a 
> designated leadhead code letter. But is this correct?

I'm not sure I'd define 'regular' in terms of lead-head 
codes.  That seems backwards to me.  I would define a 
regular lead head as one of the lead heads of the method 
with place notation x.MN (on an even stage) or N.M (on an 
odd stage), where N is the number of bells and M is the 
number of hunt bells (which may be zero) plus one.


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