Notable Achievements

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This section lists some of the notable achievements in the world of ringing.

Please add any sensible and suitable details by editing this page - register and log in if necessary. Infamous or "not so notable achievements", including Lost Peals, can be found here. Because peal details are officially recorded and are readily available, statistics for peals are much easier to find that other statistics, so many of the achievements below relate to peals. However, additions of other notable achievements are very welcome if you know the details, and if you have photos of the individuals or bands, even better.

Prolific Peal Ringers

Colin M Turner became the first person to ring 5000 peals on 24 Jun 2007 in just 31 years. This amounts to 25,338,418 changes, and this is just for the successful ones. There are many other records encompassed in this. The peals were rung with 1,152 people at 3,074 towers, and Colin has rung over 200 peals a year since 1991, the most being 303 (recorded in the Guinness Book of Records). He has rung over 2,000 different methods, including the Surprise alphabet on 6, 8, 10 & 12 at least twice at each stage.

Andrew Craddock's Pealbase includes details of all ringers who have rung 1000 or more peals.

Fast Learners

Peter Davey rang a handbell peal of Plain Bob Minor at the age of 17 on Thursday, 28 August 2008 less than 5 days after being taught to ring [1]

Victoria J M Wilby rang her first peal on 09 Apr 1998 6 months after her first lesson and then rang a quarter of Stedman Cinques at the Pier Head on the first anniversary of her first ringing lesson.

Jennifer A Murch rang her first peal on 30 June 2007, 24 weeks after learning to ring. Whilst a student at Hull University she rang her 49th peal on Monday, 1 December 2008, being Yorkshire S Maximus inside [2]

Progression of Later Learners

Older people CAN learn to ring and excel!!! This section is for examples of people who started to learn as adults and have made some reasonable progress and/or contribution.

Harry Stewart learnt to ring at Melbourne, Derbys at the age of 79 and rang rounds for the first time on his 80th birthday for Sunday service. He progressed to rounds and call changes on twelve and plain hunting on seven. Whilst visiting family he joined in practices and outings in Kent, and even rang at Canterbury Cathedral. He had to give up as Parkinson's disease became too much for him and sadly he died on 30 March 2008.

Bill Titmarsh learnt to ring at Clenchwarton, Norfolk at the age of around 73. Whilst not progressing beyond rounds and call changes he displayed remarkable commitment and fortitude. Despite suffering from arthritic and rheumatic conditions which meant that he could hardly hold a coffee mug, as well as a host of other health problems, including a poor heart, new heart valves, bypasses, and God knows what else (literally) he attended every Sunday until he could no longer physically stand. He died in April 2003 and a peal was rung in celebration of his life [3]

Helen Beaumont started ringing reluctantly at the age of 51 in 2003 as chaperone to her daughter (who has since given up). Since then, with the assistance of many friends and all the ringing she can get, she has rung several quarters from Plain Bob Doubles to Grandsire Caters and Plain Bob Royal inside. A first peal attempt is not far away.

Karl S Ryder took up ringing at the age of 40 in 2003. His first peal was trebling to Yorkshire S Major on 19 Mar 2006 at West Bridgford, Nottingham. He is Tower Captain of that active tower and a regular ringer at Nottingham St Mary where he has rung several quarters of Surprise Royal inside and trebled to Surprise Maximus eg Pudsey. On the 08/08/08 he took part in quarters of each of the Standard 8 S Major, ringing inside to all except Bristol.

Tony Lees* first started to ring in Autumn 1992 in Thrumpton, Notts (a 6cwt 6 in a very small village) at the age of 45. He rang his first quarter covering in Barton, Notts (11cwt) in April 1994, and first peal trebling to mixed minor in October 1996. After being encouraged on scoring his 3rd peal, Cambridge S Major in May 2004 he got serious about attempting to progress as far as possible. As at November 2008 he has rung a total of 20 peals including Spliced S Minor (16m), Yorkshire S Royal and Grandsire Caters inside, and 160 quarter peals (two of which he has conducted) including 8 spliced S Major atw, Glasgow Major, most of the standard 8 Surprise Royal, Grandsire Cinques and Little Bob Maximus (see Campanophile for most recent performances). A first attempt at a qtr of Yorkshire S Max inside collapsed just into the 2nd course.

*(I have taken the liberty to add my details to demonstrate that with persistence, endeavour, the grace and patience of many others, the help of some in general and one in particular, that someone with no special talents can make some headway beyond the proverbial "plain bob doubles". There are no doubt many who started at a later age who have made really remarkable progress and it would be good to see their details here as an encouragement to both other ringers and their tutors. I fully support the approach explained by | Heather Peachey and the use of | Simulators Tony Lees.)

Young Peal Ringers

A number of youngsters have rung peals prior to their teens. The following are some examples:

Victoria K Johnstone rang her first peal aged 11, 9 months after her first lesson in order to beat her elder brother on Sunday February 26, 2006 at Oakington, Cambridgeshire.

Jemma L Mills on Sunday, 7 January 2007 rang her first peal on the 'Pot Bells' at Shelford, Nottingham at the age of 9 [4], becoming possibly the youngest girl to ring a peal this century. The band consisted of 3 generations of the Mills family. She followed this performance with a peal of Major on Sunday, 1 June 2008 at Clifton, Nottingham [5].

Thomas A F Keech rang his first peal on Sunday, 30 November 2008 at Campton, Beds whilst still aged 10 [6]. He is the youngest Bedfordshire ringer to ring a peal since Jeremy Piron (Grandsire Triples at Maulden in July 1969), who was a month younger. At the age of 7 he rang on the 16 at the Swan Bells, Perth WA and he may be the youngest person to ring in Australia.

Edward R Mack, aged 12, on Saturday, 30 June 2007 rang his first peal at his first attempt, being Yorkshire S Royal on the 4th at St Peters, St Albans [7].

Older Peal Ringers

On 14 September 1973, George E Symonds (b.1875 d.1974) rang a peal of Kent Treble Bob Royal at Grundisburgh, Suffolk, aged 98 years 1 month.

Pealbase includes details of nine other people who have rung peals at the age of 90 or more.

Firsts as Conductor

John R Leary is the only person to have conducted all his first peals at every stage from Doubles to Maximus. He started in the 1960's and completed the achievement with a peal Doubles at All Cannings, Salisbury on 17 Apr 1995. More about him can be read at [8]

Jennifer E Butler conducted Roddy Horton's split-tenors one-part composition of Bristol, Belfast, London and Glasgow at the age of 17, being her first as conductor and 10th towerbell peal (8 Jan 2005 Thornhill).

Feats of Learning and Method Complexity

The pinnacle of method learning and complexity for advanced ringers on eight bells are all-the-work peals of 23 methods, the maximum in a normal length peal. Most usually these methods are learnt by ringing a series of peals which gradually build up to 23 methods. The first of these compositions was produced by Norman Smith, and rung 31 December 1966. It has since been rung almost 500 times by over 850 ringers. Stephen D Chandler subsequently produced a similar composition of 23 much more difficult methods.

Learning more than 23 methods takes the challenge to a much higher level, as it becomes very easy to confuse one method with another, and forget some methods as new ones are learnt. Taking this learning exercise to 100 methods requires considerable experience, mental agility, and an exceedingly good memory, not withstanding the challenge of keeping this up continuously for 10 hours. On Friday, 28 October 2005 a peal of 22400 Spliced Surprise Major, 100 methods, all the work was rung by an ASCY band at the Loughborough Bell Foundry in 10h 48 (6) with. 699 changes of method. Composed by: Paul Needham 1 Stephanie J Warboys 2 Philip J Earis 3 John N Hughes-D'Aeth 4 Robin O Hall 5 Andrew J Graham 6 Simon J L Linford (C) 7 David J Pipe 8 David C Brown Longest peal of Spliced Surprise. Most Spliced Surprise Major methods all the work [9]

Rigel Surprise Maximus is one of the most challenging Maximus methods rung, with an apparently random blue line. On handbells, the ringers have to contend with their two bells making point blows in the middle of the rows rarely synchronised with one another. On 14 January 2006, a peal of 12672 Rigel Surprise Maximus was rung on handbells [10].

Scientific is a principle, where there is no hunt bell to act as a guide, and is probably the hardest Triples method. On 12 November 2008 the first peal (5040) of Scientific Triples in hand was scored by St. Martin's Guild for the Diocese of Birmingham 1-2 William T Bosworth 3-4 Charles A S Webb 5-6 Mark R Eccleston 7-8 Alan S Burbidge (c) [11]

Minor methods present their own challenge as many methods can be rung in a short time. A feat of composition, conducting and ringing was achieved on Friday 24 Oct 1969 when a Peal of 5040 Spliced Treble Bob Minor, comprising 210 Treble dodging methods with a change of method every lead, was rung. At the time it was the most methods rung to a peal. The feat was repeated on Sunday 24 Oct 2004 2h45 [12]. Click for a background to the history of these peals.

Higher Numbers First Peals

Ringers whose first peals were on 12 or more bells.

Date Name Tower Method Notes
18 May 1986 Eleanor J Kippin Bristol, St Stephen Stedman Cinques  
6 Sep 1987 Michael P A Wilby London, St Sepulchre Stedman Cinques  
24 Sep 1987 Deborah L Blake Bedford, St Paul Stedman Cinques  
30 Jan 1993 Alison M Brookbanks Towcester Cambridge S Maximus  
31 Dec 1994 Luke M Atwell Towcester Little Bob Maximus  
31 Dec 1994 Joanna L Woolley Towcester Little Bob Maximus Rang inside
21 Jul 1995 Hannah L Wilby Towcester Bristol S Maximus Age 11
2 Aug 1997 Brett C Masters Towcester Cambridge S Maximus Rang inside
21 Feb 1998 Caroline Newman Bristol, St Mary Redcliffe Spliced S Maximus (5m) Rang inside
9 Jan 1999 Jennifer E Henson Towcester Bristol S Maximus  
5 Jun 1999 Joanne L Henson Towcester Yorkshire S Maximus  
4 Aug 2000 R Clive Henson Towcester Yorkshire S Maximus Rang inside
21 Oct 2001 D Paul Mason Leicester, St Margaret Yorkshire S Fourteen Rang tenor
9 Nov 2002 Tessa K Beadman Guildford, Cathedral Spliced S Maximus (5m) Rang inside


Longest Peals

On Sunday, 6 May 2007 in 24h09 (9 in B), 72000 Treble Dodging Minor (100m) 1-2 Philip J Earis 3-4 Andrew J W Tibbetts (C)5-6 David J Pipe. The longest peal yet rung [13].

A full of extent of major was first rung at Leeds in Kent by 14 ringers under James Barham on April 7 and 8, 1761

The only full extent so far rung on 8 tower bells by one band of ringers was at Loughborough Bell Foundry on Saturday 27 July 1963, in 17 hours and 58 minutes. 40320 Plain Bob Major Composed by: C Kenneth Lewis, Conducted by: Robert B Smith 1 Brian J Woodruffe 2 John M Jelley 3 Neil Bennett 4 Frederick Shallcross 5 John C Eisel 6 John Robinson 7 Brian Harris 8 Robert B Smith This is the greatest number of changes ever to be rung to a tower bell peal. 8 umpires monitored the performance.

Setting record lengths has long been a challenge to ringers and the progression of long length peals over the years for various methods and stages is summarised by the Peal Records Committee.

Heavy Bell Ringers

Peter Border on Saturday, 13 August 1966 [14]and Andrew B Mills on Saturday, 8 December 2007 [15] are the only ringers to single handedly turn in the 82cwt Liverpool tenor to peals, both ringing Cambridge S Maximus. Subsequently Liverpool Cathedral has taken the accolade of having had rung the heaviest and longest 10 bell peal on Tuesday, 28 August 2007 [16] and then heaviest 8 bell peal on Saturday, 15 November 2008 [17]

Andrew B Mills also rang in the 4 peals of S Maximus in one day in London as part of an ASCY band on 11 June 2005 finishing with ringing the tenor to Cambridge S Maximus at Cornhill (42cwt).

Double-handed Towerbell Ringing

On 18 Jan 1990 6 ringers rang a peal of 5016 Plain Bob Maximus at Lockington, Leics (14-1-1) in 3hrs 2min (Arr RBS). 1-2 Peter LR Hayward 3-4 Paul Jopp 5-6 Robert B Smith 7-8 Frank C Price 9-10 Alan Cattell 11-12 Andrew B Mills (ref Front Page RW 16/3/90). A year later the ringer of the tenors rang 4-5 at Limerick (23 Apr 1991 Grandsire Triples) but the most challenging performance is probably ringing 2-3 to Norman Smith's 23 spliced for the Southwell Diocesan Guild at Kinsbury, Warwickshire on 9th July 1991 (5152 in 3hr 6m 17cwt). 1 Andrew D Higson 2-3 Andrew B Mills 4 Frances Dodds 5 David J Pipe 6 David G Hull 7 David G Adams 8 Paul Needham. Conducted by David G Hull. Most Spliced methods yet rung double-handed.


On 29 Mar 2002* a band of 6 ringers rang the first double handed peal of Bristol Surprise Maximus on the Piltdown House Campanile in 3 hours and 7 minutes (RW ref 4747.0388) 1-2 Andrew J Mitchell 3-4 Stephen J Mills 5-6 Michael P A Wilby 7-8 David J Pipe 9-10 Andrew B Mills 11-12 Anthony M Daw TENOR 22lb 7oz in Eflat *The website shows the date as Friday April 29th 2002 [18]

Emulating Ringers of the Past

Richard B Grimmett on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 conducted a peal of Stedman Triples wearing a blindfold throughout, emulating W H Barber's achievement at Gateshead on February 21st, 1908. [19]

Handbell Peals

Sixteen Bells, Eight Methods

The greatest number of S methods to a peal on sixteen bells was rung in MELBOURNE, Derbys on Mon Jun 9 1997 3h49 (18). 5056 Spliced Surprise Sixteen (8m: 768 Newgate; 704 York; 640 Ealing, Parkhurst, Sawley, Wembley; 576 Feering; 448 Leatherhead: 78 com.) Composed by David J Marshall. 1-2 Rupert A Clarke 3-4 Robert B Smith (C) 5-6 John M Jelley 7-8 Simon C Melen 9-10 Paul Jopp 11-12 Roland H Cook 13-14 David J Marshall 15-16 Christopher M Wulkau [20]

Four in hand

On Mon Nov 4 1991 in 3h (12)in Sawley, Derbys a peal of 5040 Yorkshire Surprise Royal (Arr RBS) was rung with the following 4 ringers: 1-2 Paul Jopp 3-4 Robert B Smith (cond) 5-6 John Jelley 7-8-9-0 Simon C Melen (ref "four in hand" Page 1100,1156 RW 1991). At the time it was believed to be the first peal (other than Minimus) in which one ringer has rung four in-hand though there is a possibility that it has been achieved in Stedman Doubles with one other ringer.

Tapping Peals

A.T. Morris in 1921 tapped out a peal of 5600 London S Major on handbells (ref article by Joe Roast in the RW in 1976)

It is believed that the following have also tapped out peals (further details welcomed)

Elijah Roberts (ref: Edward Martin)

Harry Withers in Birmingham tapped several peals out. It is also understood that he did about 3 hours of Kent Treble Bob 20 but ran out of time. This would have neen circa 1910 (ref: Richard Grimmett).


On a Piano

John Harrold could play Bob Major on the piano when he was a young lad in the 1970s (Martin Kirk).

Harry Withers also played a plain course of Scientific Triples, possibly on a piano) which was the first time that it had been heard! (ref: Edward Martin).

Roger Baldwin could play Bristol Major on the piano and still hold a conversation whilst he was at Nottingham University in the 1970's recalls Pat Halls.

Laurie Wey used to played Cambridge Max on the piano according to what Tony Nunn has heard.

Walking to Ring a Peal

Possibly not so unusual at the time ringers of the Society of Sherwood Youths on Tue May 23 1820 walked from Nottingham to Chesterfield, approx 28 miles, to ring a peal for the "opening of the bells".