[r-t] Unclassified

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Mon Jun 6 00:21:25 UTC 2016

Leaving aside the point ably made by John Harrison that methods and
performances are completely different things:

On Sat, Jun 4, 2016 at 2:01 AM, Robin Woolley <robin at robinw.org.uk> wrote:
> Remember, the CC was always happy to 'recognise' un-covered triples
> if there was a good reason to.

Where on earth has this, as near as I can tell unfounded, assertion come
from? It is only since the 1986* Council meeting in Reigate that uncovered
odd bell peals at stages above doubles have been countenanced by the
Council. Just the previous year, 1985 in Brighton, the Council explicitly
declined to accept a peal of Grandsire Sextuples because it was rung
uncovered†. And, conversely, since 1986 they have been automatically
accepted. At no time that I can see was there a willingness to accept them
"if there was a good reason to" -- they were uniformly rejected until the
rules were changed, after which they have been uniformly accepted. If you
are aware of some instances I've not found I'd be most interested to be
educated about them.

It is worth noting that this disinclination of the Council to accept peals
that violated its own rules has undoubtedly led to the belief that you need
to get the rules changed to have something accepted. Which is unsurprising,
since that's exactly what has almost always happened.

> I seem to remember a NAG peal in Boston was one. Perhaps Don can
> enlighten us?

Yes, I believe I've rung three peals of uncovered triples, all for the
NAGCR, two at Boston and one at Pittsburgh. And have lost a fourth, also at
Boston. I no longer recall the details, but I believe in all cases one or
more of the band had traveled a significant distance, we met short, and
thought it preferable to go for uncovered triples rather than someone
sitting out and ringing minor. In all cases the band claimed to have
enjoyed the unusual peals, though it usually took a few courses to get used
to the unfamiliar rhythm. But all were well after 1986 (the first
successful one was in 1996), and I believe would not have been attempted if
the rules had forbidden it, on two grounds:

1) There were probably members of the bands who would have been
uncomfortable flaunting the rules. And whatever words are used, rules,
decisions, accepted, rejected, compliant, non-compliant, recognised, not
recognised, etc., many ringers still think in terms of those that meet the
rules and those that don't. And, while many happily ignore the Council‡,
 many others do seem to care. They like to feel that their efforts are
respected and valued, and when the Council says "that's not to our taste",
using whatever words it chooses, they feel their efforts are not respected.

2) There would undoubtedly have been much consternation in the NAGCR
itself. Whatever the magic words used by the Council were, and whatever
members of the Council may have told them about meeting those words not
being or not being a "requirement" for a peal, there are some influential
members of the NAG who would have hit the roof about a peal "not meeting
the rules", and, since the NAGCR's constitution says "The Guild shall abide
by the rules of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers" demanding that
the Guild disavow the peal. The bad blood that such an argument would have
generated, whichever way the final decision came down, would have trumped
whatever benefit there was in ringing the peals.


On Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 9:01 AM, Ted Steele <bells at tedsteele.plus.com> wrote:
> Perhaps classify these as Freestyle.

I believe this would be a poor choice of word. "Freestyle" connotes "not
meeting any of the other classifications, with no expectation that it ever
will". It is more like a classification itself, and anything dumped into
that category will have a tendency to stay there. That is, it connotes
"never classifiable", where what is far more useful is "not currently

* While not directly relevant to the uncovered triples issue, I am boggled
that in 1981, when MEBs of minor were already established, the Council
explicitly refused to countenance MEBs of triples. I have been able to find
no reference to a reason for such an inconsistent choice, it appears to be
mere caprice. Go figure. This bizarrity was finally rectified in 1986, too.

† This is yet another, shameful case of the Council deliberately falsifying
its own records and re-writing history. The Council claims the first peal
of Grandsire Sextuples on tower bells was not rung until 1997, despite
there having been such a peal over a decade earlier.

‡ I'm guessing it is not in the Council's self-interest to work to increase
the proportion of ringers who believe it to be irrelevant.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"Gods are always keen to see their rules obeyed."
    -- Homer, _The Odyssey_, tr Robert Fagles
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