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" 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.

Most Prolific Peal Ringer

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.

Fastest Learner

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]

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.)

Youngest Peal Ringer

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 Alban's [7].

Oldest Peal Ringer

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.

First 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]

Most Complex First Peal

Caroline Newman on 21 February, 1998, rang inside to a peal of 5 Spliced S Maximus at St Mary Redcliffe for her first peal.

Longest Peal

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 [12].

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.

Heavy Bell Ringers

Peter Border on Saturday, 13 August 1966 and Andrew B Mills on Saturday, 8 December 2007 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 [13] and then heaviest 8 bell peal on Saturday, 15 November 2008 [14]

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). Andrew B Mills rang 11-12. The same ringer rang 2-3 to Norman Smith's 23 spliced at Kinsbury, Warwickshire on 9th July 1991

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 [15]

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. [16]

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)

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".