[r-t] Early peals of Cambridge Maximus

Philip Earis Earisp at rsc.org
Wed Jan 23 16:26:53 UTC 2013

I was interested to see a recent peal of Cambridge Maximus rung at Redcliffe, marking the 100th anniversary of the first peal of it on the bells (this was also only the 6th ever peal in the method) - http://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=273006

What I found especially notable was the original composition that was rung - a 10 course block by H Law James.  Instead of being the tired and uninspired arrangement (keeping the 6th home, for example) I'd have naively assumed, it actually has really a rather fresh and neat feel to it (especially after the opening three courses) with plenty of little-bell courses: 

5280 Cambridge Surprise Maximus
Composed by H Law James
M  W  H    23456
   -       52436
2     -    56234
   -       35264
-     -    42563
   -       64523
-     -    35426
   -  3    23456
G&B composition 915, First Rung 18/1/1913, Redcliffe.
Originally attributed to W Pye (G&B composition record), however recorded in the peal records and on the tower peal board as H Law James.

It almost feels contemporary. So where did things all go wrong? What caused people to bash out (and ring) surprise max compositional monstrosities with gruelling "combination courses ends", etc? How come 50,60,70,80+ years on people ended up ringing things like (to pick one of a plethora of typical mediocrities) this? 

5042 Cambridge Surprise Maximus
23456   M   W   H
34256           2
26543   -   -   2
43265   2   -   3
62534   -   -  
(32456) -   s      


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