New Decisions

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Below are my proposed changes to the current Central Council Decisions on Methods and Peals. There has been some discussion in August 2008 on the Ringing Theory mailing list. These changes would be quite far-reaching - Graham John has pointed out some implications (to which I have also responded) on this page.

Philip Earis - August 2008.

(D) Methods

A. Preamble

The sole purpose of these Decisions on methods is to accurately and consistently classify what can be rung. Where new peals complying with the conditions above are rung, it is the duty of the Methods Committee to ensure that the details are recorded, and these Decisions altered where necessary to provide a consistent framework for so doing.

B. Definitions

A row is a permutation on the number of bells being rung. Each bell rings once and only once in each row.

A method is defined by the places made between successive rows of its plain course, which shall be a round block, divisible into at least two equal parts.

DFM: I may be missing something, but it appears this means Dixonoids are not considered methods. Is this deliberate, and wise?


A lead is the shortest section of the plain course which, when repeated, generates the plain course.

Bells which are in the same position at the beginning of each lead are known as hunt bells, unless they remain in the same position throughout the lead. Bells which are not in the same position at the beginning of each lead are known as working bells.

A call is a means of altering the places made between two consecutive rows in a method. It is not part of the definition of the method.

DFM: By restricting a call to being but one change, we get back to the situation where, for example, Grandsire singles are really two calls. This institutionalizes a bit of foolishness where the official recording of something is completely different than what Joe Average Ringer thinks he's doing. This is bad policy in methods (compare how some link methods are currently treated), and just as bad policy for calls, no?


The stage describes the total number of bells ringing. The stage names for different numbers of bells are:- 4 Minimus, 5 Doubles, 6 Minor, 7 Triples, 8 Major, 9 Caters, 10 Royal, 11 Cinques, 12 Maximus, 13 Sextuples, 14 Fourteen, 15 Septuples, 16 Sixteen, etc.

C. Classification of methods

(a) A well-formed path is one in which the hunt bell has the same path if it is rung backwards and is symmetrical about two places made half a lead apart.
(b) In Plain methods the hunt bell has a well-formed path and strikes two blows in each position of the path within the lead.
(c) In Treble Dodging methods the hunt bell has a well-formed path, strikes more than two but the same number of blows in each position of the path within the lead and makes only two places within the lead.
(d) In Treble Place methods, the hunt bell has a well-formed path, strikes the same number of blows in each position of the path within the lead and makes more than two places within the lead.
(e) In Alliance methods, the hunt bell has a well-formed path, but does not strike the same number of blows in each position of the path.
(f) In Hybrid methods, the hunt bell does not have a well-formed path.
(g) A Principle is a method with no hunt bell.

Further to the above, a number of historical conventions exist about further secondary classifications of the primary method types:

  • Place methods are Plain methods in which the path of each bell consists only of hunting and place-making.
  • Bob methods are all other Plain methods.
  • Treble Bob methods are Treble Dodging methods in which the hunt bell dodges in only one position, or that have no internal places made at any cross section.
  • Surprise methods are Treble Dodging methods in which at least one internal place is made at every cross section.
  • Delight methods are all other Treble Dodging methods.

D. Classification of methods with two or more hunt bells

Each hunt bell is either a principal hunt or a secondary hunt. The properties (a) to (e) are considered in turn and the paths of the hunt bells are examined until a hunt bell is found whose path has that property.

(a) Plain hunting;
(b) Treble Dodging;
(c) Treble Place;
(d) Alliance;
(e) Hybrid Methods with two or more hunt bells are classified using the definitions and classifications for methods with one hunt bell but with reference to all the principal hunts.

E. Nomenclature

(a) The title of a method shall consist of name, class(es) (except for principles), and stage. An up-to-date collection of rung methods shall be kept and published by the Methods Committee of the Central Council, and made freely available. The collection should be available ordered by primary method class.
(b) A method may not be given a name if the title (excluding the Stage) would be the same as a method in a different class on that same stage.
DFM: If someone rang a peal of Plain Bob Variable Cover Caters, I believe the way this is written they would not be allowed to call it a peal of Plain Bob. Instead this section would require them to select a new name for a "new" major method. This seems wrong.


Philip: "Eh? This seems wrong on two counts. Firstly the concept of "variable cover" disappears under my Decisions. The variable cover bit would just be achieved with calls. Secondly, the naming is flexible, as detailed in the extension paragraph F"


The band that first rings a peal complying with the Decisions on Peal Ringing of a new method (or includes a new method in a multi-method peal) shall name the method according to the conventions above, and publish it in The Ringing World. The Council has the authority to change the name if it considers a pressing reason makes this necessary.

F. Method Extension

It is acknowledged that no consistent set of rules about extending a method onto a higher stage can work in all cases. When naming a new method, a band is encouraged to only use the name of an existing method in the same class on a lower stage when it will be generally agreed that there are sufficient similarities in the methods to justify this. The Council retains the authority to change a name in the published method collections where this is not the case.

(E) Peal Ringing

A. Conditions required for all peals

A peal shall consist of either

  • At least 5000 different rows
  • Or at least 5000 rows consisting of a round block containing an integer number of extents on that stage, plus a true part-extent.

A peal shall be rung without interval

No unfair assistance shall be given to any ringers by any person not ringing in the peal.

The use of physical aids to memory in conducting and ringing is not permitted.

Any shift or error in ringing shall be corrected immediately.

Compositions in more than one method shall be called 'spliced'. Peal reports shall state the number and names of all methods separately, and the number of rows rung in each method.

B. Record length peals

The Record Length Peal in a method or group of methods on a given number of bells shall be the longest length complying with the Decisions on Peal Ringing. Tower bell and handbell records shall be kept separately. Record Length Peals of 10000 or more rows must comply with the additional conditions below:

(a) Not less than 14 days' notice shall be given in The Ringing World, stating the place, date and hour at which the attempt is to be made, and stating the method, number of bells and number of changes proposed to be rung. A copy of the notice shall be sent to the Peal Records Committee.
(b) The ringing is to be heard and the figures of the composition to be checked throughout the peal by a competent umpire or umpires.
(c) If a record length is rung the peal report and the figures of the composition, if not previously published, shall be sent immediately to the Chairman of the Peal Records Committee. :
(d) For handbell peals, arrangements shall be made for interested persons to be able to hear the attempt.

C. Objections

Any objection which may be taken to a peal shall be raised to the conductor in the first instance. If this does not resolve the matter, objections should be raised in writing to the The Ringing World. Objections that may be received should be considered by the Central Council on a case-by-case basis, and judged against reasonable expectations for what a peal is.

See Also