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Title: First Steps in Bell Ringing - Being an Introduction to the Healthful and Pleasant Exercise of Bell Ringing in Rounds and Changes upon Church Bells
Author: Goslin, Samuel B.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Being an Introduction to the Healthful and Pleasant Exercise of
Bell Ringing, in Rounds and Changes, Upon Church Bells.



Author of the “A B C of Musical Hand Bell Ringing,” “The Musical
Hand Bell Ringer’s Instructor,” etc., etc.


   “Let me in outline sketch them all,
   Perchance uncouthly.”

         LONGFELLOW’S “_Wayside Inn_.”

Second Edition.

Copyright. Entered at Stationers’ Hall.

John Warner & Sons, The Crescent Foundry, Cripplegate, E.C.,
and M’Corquodale & Co., Cardington Street,
Hampstead Road, N.W.




    “List! the merry bells are ringing,
    And the choristers are singing.”


When such works as those written by the Rev. Mr. Ellacombe, and when
every local bell history, or encyclopædia of any note, give full
information both as to the early use, construction, and form of bells,
it is needless to add another word upon such topics in such a production
as this; and when, as is the case at the present time, so many good
books are to be so easily obtained, on Change Ringing and Bells, with
examples of the various methods or interchanging of positions, by fixed
rules or courses, they would at first sight and thought appear to be
subjects, which have been literally exhausted, and in which no room
remains for further attempts at description in letter-press. However,
such is not the fact, for the young beginner now, especially if no
experienced guide can be secured, to give advice in person, is in the
position of a schoolboy who is called upon to work out a calculation in
decimals, before he clearly understands the rule or the method of
pointing, unless he has the good fortune to find and secure a copy of
“Wigram’s Change Ringing Disentangled,” or, “Troyte’s Change Ringing to
Six Bell Work,” which with some amount of study, he may in time get on
and become proficient.

The want of something more, as the first steps to ringing, has been felt
and acknowledged by many persons at many times; and to supply this want
is all that is now attempted--not in any way to disparage the well-known
works of others more skilled in the art of ringing, but to lead upwards
and onwards to those works by short and easy words and lessons, is the
wish of the Author in the following pages.




The appreciation and successful issue of the first edition of this work
is duly acknowledged by the Author, as well as the many expressions of
approval from persons at home and in foreign parts. It is a source of
satisfaction and gratification to know that the attempt has produced a
large amount of interest, and has also been the means of producing some
ringers in several of our Colonies, as well as working up a desire for
and supply of other productions, such as the second edition of
“Banister’s Change Ringing,” Wigram’s new, better, and enlarged “Change
Ringing Disentangled,” and “Snowdon’s Rope Sight,” which are worthy of a
place in every bell student’s and every ringer’s library.

The continued demand for the “First Steps” has prompted this second
edition, which is somewhat altered and extended, the desire of the
Author being to make all things as plain and as easy as possible.




    “Sweet bells ring for ever,
    ’Tis your old familiar strain
    That awakes the past again.”




England is frequently said to be known as the Ringing Isle, from the
fact that wherever the stranger or foreigner turns, or stays, in this
land, he is sure to meet with the well tuned bells, and well timed
changes, pealing forth from our venerable church towers and steeples;
whilst on the Continent of Europe, and in other parts of the world, the
ear is accustomed only to the hodgepodge, jangle or clatter of several
bells, either in or out of tune, no matter which, all striking as fast
as possible, in utter disorder, seemingly in a race for the greatest
number of blows per minute, for each or any one in particular. But
whilst in England the townsman, citizen, or villager is accustomed to
the order, and the sweet music from the steeple bells, it is strange to
find that so few really care to understand by what means, method, or
performance such results are produced. Happily, however, much has been
done within the last fifty years to emulate enquiry, and foster interest
in such matters by many gentlemen, who have spent a large share of their
spare time to effect this purpose, both by essays, books, lectures,
advice, and practice--foremost amongst them all being the venerable Rev.
H. T. Ellacombe, of Clyst St. George, Devon, who from quite a young man
has entered deeply and fully into all matters of interest relative to
Church Bells and Ringing, and who now supervises that bell-ringing page
in the interesting weekly paper called _Church Bells_, where from time
to time much is given which is interesting to all who may wish to become
ringers in practice or performance, with good and reliable information
as the groundwork upon which they desire to ultimately place their
edifice of knowledge of the subject in question.

[Illustration: (_Illustration of a Ring of Eight Bells and Ringers in
the act of starting to set the Bells from rest._)]

But not only is there a general lack of knowledge upon ringing church
bells on the part of the majority, even in this bell ringing isle--it
can well be added that, as to change ringing, the really scientific,
very useful, and interesting part of ringing is “dog Latin” or “double
Dutch” to ninety-nine persons out of every hundred, or even more, the
general impression being that it is all very easy, and only to
pull--that anyone can do all that is to be done in a very short time;
whereas it is in every particular an interesting study, proficiency
gained by practice, thought, care, and application alone--a science as
true, as useful, and as healthy to mind and body, as is possible to be
found, practised, or studied.

To ring, and to ring changes, on either church or musical hand bells,
are three very different subjects. In order to ring changes, however, it
is absolutely necessary to have a good knowledge of ringing, or the
means adopted to make the bells sound in their proper time and place,
whether it be in the church tower, on the large swinging bells with
ropes, or in the parlour or drawing-room, upon the musical bells, held
in the hand or hands. But not to deal with too many subjects together,
and to avoid confusion, it is well to start with




At all times when it may be desired to produce a good performer upon any
musical instrument, it is well that he should understand the instrument
itself; for just as the driver who understands his steam engine
thoroughly in its parts and details, is the man who can work it best, so
is it with the ringer with his bell in the steeple or tower. It is not
at all difficult to picture the scene, surroundings, and thoughts of an
intended ringer, upon his first visit to the bell-tower, or ringing
chamber, unless it be as has been the experience of many, as well as
that of the writer, to learn to pull the rope and catch the sally when a
boy at school on the large school-bell, or that at the parish church.
And even then, if not in the midst of an octave of ropes, the dancing of
the rope upon which he had to start or practice was, at first sight,
perplexing; graceful, however, if handled well, but yet a mystery.

[Illustration: (_Illustration of a Ring of Eight Bells as they would
appear in the Frame or Cage in the Belfry._)]

Presuming that the reader desires to become a ringer, to understand his
instrument, and for this purpose has ascended the tower--has passed the
ringing room with a glance, and has made up his mind to know the why and
wherefore of the bells and fittings, so that if anything goes wrong in
the practice or performance he may be able to set it right if possible
or remedy any defect--he will go at once to the bell cage, and learn (as
was the writer’s first lesson) the names of the parts and fittings of
the bell, where such an arrangement will be seen as is shown by the
following illustration, to which is added the names of each part.
Everyone may know what a church bell is like in form, and the purpose
for which it is founded; but not so can it be said of its various parts
and appurtenances. In order to help the reader in this direction, the
following sketch will answer for reference. With the shadow it is easy
to realize or imagine the fact, and to conceive that we are facing the
bells in the tower, where each is fitted, as the sketch shows,
separately, and by the numbers and references the names of the parts can
be easily learnt.

[Illustration: (_Illustration of a Bell with detached frame or sections
for reference to parts._)]

In giving a description of the bell and its fittings, for all ordinary
purposes, it is not necessary to go into details as to the best
proportion or shape, for that is so well understood by founders of any
note or excellence, and as it is all so well treated in other writings,
here it would be superfluous. The following, however, will always be
found useful for reference:--

  No. 1 represents that part called the Head of the bell, which is
  varied in form under various circumstances, sometimes being what is
  known by the name of button or mushroom head, at others by canon head,
  or as is shown. The most frequently used are the crown head or with

  No. 2. The shoulder.

  No. 3. The waist.

  No. 4. The sound bow.

  No. 5. The lip.

  No. 6. The clapper.

  No. 7. The stock (_a wood beam to which the bell is hung_).

  No. 8. The gudgeons or axles (_of wrought iron turned, upon which the
  bell swings_).

  No. 9. The bearings (_of gun metal, in which gudgeons work_).

  No. 10. The wheel (_of wood, which acts as a lever to set the bell in

  No. 11. The shrouding (_the guard of the wheel to keep the rope in its
  place on the sole_).

  No. 12. The slider (_a piece of wood working on a centre to support
  the stay_).

  No. 13. The stay (_a piece of wood attached to the stock to support
  bell when set_).

  No. 14. The rope.

  No. 15. The pulley or rope guide.

  No. 16. The wheel stay (_an iron rod or rods fastened between the
  stock and wheel, to support or steady the wheel, not shown_).

  No. 17. The sally (_not shown, but a soft tufting near the bottom end
  of the rope. See cut of Bells at Hand Stroke, page 15_).

The particular name of each part will also be found to be described very
fully in “Banister’s Change Ringing,” and in the Rev. H. T. Ellacombe’s
“Practical Remarks on Belfries and Ringers,” which should be perused on
this subject.

Now having learnt this lesson, the next would be that which was taught
by the older bell boys to the writer at school, viz., to grease the
bearings; to take up or let out the rope, as occasion might require, for
a taller or shorter person, taking notice of how it is, or should be
fastened to the wheel, and passed through the pulley; then look to the
slider and stay, to see if sound and in order, so to leave all tight and
trim and ready for ringing, and then, as one of the tutors in the art
was in the ringing room ringing, the scholar was so placed in the belfry
as to see, and have it explained to him by another companion, how that
the _slider_ and _stay_ were needed to _set_ the bell at the _hand_ or
_back strokes_; how the rope danced, and needed catching below at the
sally, to prevent the breakage of either the slider or stay, if not so
caught. By this at once understanding, by optical demonstration and
friendly counsel, the object and use of all that pertains to the bell,
as well as the reason for setting it up.

With this fairly in the mind, it will be well at once to turn the
attention to ringing, which, perhaps, will explain in part as we
proceed, the use of the former remarks as to the application of the
parts or fittings sufficiently, for cases where a tutor cannot be found
in person.



    “Hark the bonny Christchurch bells:
    One, two, three, four, five, six. They sound
    So mighty great,
    So wondrous sweet,
    So merrily.”


It may be perplexing when consulting a variety of books, to determine
what are the best plans for a beginner to adopt. And it may or should be
known that bell ringing is a dangerous practice for a novice, should he
commence it by himself without instruction, thought, or care. In such a
case, he runs the risk of being hung by the neck, as was the case not
long since, when, at a certain place in Essex, a man pulled the tenor of
a ring of bells, _left set_ for a company of ringers, without knowledge,
the result being that he was confused, caught by the rope round the
neck, pulled up and thrown with great force to the floor, but where
fortunately there happened to be some thick cocoa-nut matting, which
broke the fall and so saved him.

Now, although it may be dangerous to begin or to practise by oneself,
yet a little help, such as we should seek in learning to skate or to
swim, or in any other exercise or art, from an expert, will overcome and
_set aside all danger_, as well as the mind at perfect rest on such
thoughts. Therefore, as a precaution, wherever it is practicable and
possible, the advice should be taken to obtain the assistance and
counsel of a ringer at starting; and having secured the good offices and
help of the teacher, the first lesson will be, as a matter of course,
to see and take notice of the way in which he _sets_ the bell, by
repeated pulls, and catches at the sally or tufting of the rope,
marking particularly, as is shown in the illustrations of the ringers in
the ringing room, or that immediately following, the best plan to hold
the rope, viz., with the rope near to its bottom or end, in the left
hand permanently, and the right hand at liberty, to catch the sally or
ease the bell on its slider and stay, and to pull at the hand or back
strokes in their turn.[1]

  [1] See also Banister (on Change Ringing) on this point.

[Illustration: (_Illustration of a Ring of Eight Bells and Ringers, with
Bells set at Hand Stroke ready to start either for Round or Peal

  NOTE.--_Being Set_ means standing mouth upwards.

[Illustration: (_Illustration of a Bell at rest and best plan to hold
the rope._)]

Whilst watching, it will be noticed that after starting to pull the bell
from the position of _rest_, as is shown in the sketch, to get the
“_bell up_,” or “_set the bell_,” as it is termed, that the rope will
begin in a very short time to dance, which is caused by the bell, and
the wheel reversing sides, for the rope on the wheel, in swinging; and
then it will be seen how that, as the bell approaches nearer the _set
point_ or balance, there is much to be gained by catching the sally or
tufting, giving a slight pull as the rope reverses, until the point be
reached, when the balance or _set_ is obtained, and the bell is held or
caught and eased to the _hand stroke_, in the position as is shown by
the following sketch (fig. 1), where the stay rests against the slider
on the one side, in which case it will be seen that the rope comes much
in the position as when at rest, and is pulled off the _set_ by the
sally; then, when pulled, it will be noticed that the bell will swing to
the reverse side, and _set_ at the position called the _back stroke_,
being eased to its proper place or point by the hands, in the position
as is shown by the sketch (fig. 2), where the stay rests against the
slider on the reverse side, in which case it will be seen that the rope
is all round the wheel, and the end only is in the hands, and is so
pulled off its _set_ to the _hand stroke_.

  NOTE.--_The sally must be caught in the hands before the stay reaches
  the slider at hand stroke, and eased to its position, and the rope
  held in check as the bell goes to back stroke, or the slider or stay
  may be broken and the bell turn a somersault._

[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

  NOTE.--_In some cases the rope is not held in the one hand, as shewn
  in the wood-cut, but is pulled off at hand stroke, and caught when
  approaching at back stroke, and_ vice versa.

It will thus be seen how the rope is held, and pulled, and caught. It
will also be seen, by watching, how easy it is to keep pulling in time,
on either side, to hand or back strokes, with any interval, at pleasure,
and with precision. And at this point it would be well to join the
teacher, standing face to face, taking the rope in the hand as
described, pulling when he pulls, catching when he catches, and easing
as he eases, so as to get the knack without excitement, without hard
labour, and without bending the knees.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

Both pull and catch easy at first, with eyes and ears well open, or as
is said:--

    “The ears open,
    Eyes wide,
    Feet steady,
    Tongue tied.”

By such means, and by such practice, it will very soon result in being
able to pull by oneself, and then remains only the practice, so as to
learn to keep time at both strokes, to get the bell up, and to let it
down without help: always remembering that the weight of the body,
thrown on to the rope, is far more effective and less tiring than using
great muscular force, or bending and twisting the body which causes much
needless exertion, loss of power and breath; a rule being:--

    “Stand upright,
    Pull down straight,
    You’ll ring right.”

When this is accomplished, there need be no delay in proceeding to ring
rounds with your friends in company.


    “Hark! the merry bells ring round.”


To ring-in rounds, it matters little which bell is taken to perform
upon, as each takes its place in proper turn, whether it be first,
middle, last, or any other position, which will be very well understood
if the new ringer has practised, as he should do, _rounds upon hand

Musical hand bells are the most handy for the practice of time, place,
and position, and should accompany every ring of church bells anywhere
and everywhere for this purpose, so much may be practised upon them in
the quiet and comfort of a home fireside. But in ringing rounds on the
bells of the church in the tower, every bell must be _set_ at the start,
and should be brought round to the _hand stroke_, as shown in the cut on
page 15. When all the company are ready--whether four, five, six, eight,
or more in number--the leader or conductor will say “_Ready_”--”_Go_,”
upon which every one will start off in proper order and time, looking at
the ringer preceding as to when to pull off, by turning his eyes or
head, not his body, and keeping the ears open, so as to be in time and
order in striking. The treble (or highest note) bell, in all church bell
ringing, is understood as being No. 1, whether there be a ring of three,
four, six, eight, ten, or twelve bells; and so, presuming a ring of
eight, the bells will be rung in rounds in the order of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 7, 8, at the _hand stroke_; then 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, on the _back
stroke_, and repeated in the same way or method to any length, at will
or pleasure.

Should there be only six bells in the ring, they will be rung to the
call of the leader as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, at the _hand stroke_; then 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, 6, at the _back stroke_, and so for any number of bells.

  NOTE.--_Any number of bells from 3 to 12 in a tower is called a “Ring
  of Bells.”_

Thus it will be seen the usual practice in ringing rounds, is to ring
down the scale, as it is termed in the art of music; or, in other
words, from the highest to the lowest note, or down to the bell with the
deepest tone. There is no reason, however, but custom to prevent the
reverse order (or ringing backwards, as it is put in “Bonnie Dundee”)
being adopted, used, or tried, either in practice or purpose;[2] and to
make a change in the following of place or position in ringing, it is
not at all a bad move to reverse the order of custom, and so ring in the
order of 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, _hand stroke_; 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,
_back stroke_; and after say twelve to twenty rounds resume the first
order or exercise down the scale, viz., 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. (of course, this
is quite a matter of taste, and if not approved can be passed over).
Then it may be well for all to pull or strike together, so as to fire a
volley, at both hand and back strokes, and in such practice the whole
company should be as much together as when the captain’s call of “Fire!”
is responded to by a company of soldiers, with their rifles, shot, and

  [2] Mr. North, in “Bells of Leicester,” which the writer has now
  before him, tells us the bells at Barrow-on-Soar are rung backwards to
  give notice of fire--a hint for country and colonial friends, when, if
  adopted, the motto of the seventh bell of St. Ives would carry a good
  intimation into practice--

    “When backward rung we tell of fire:
    Think how the world shall thus expire.”

Now, so much for ringing and ringing rounds; much more might be said,
but the writer does not consider it just to repeat that which is so well
put in “Bannister’s Change Ringing,” “Rope Sight,” “Wigram’s Change
Ringing Disentangled,” and in “Troyte’s Introduction to Change Ringing,”
and to which at this point he recommends the reader or learner to take
in hand and study. When that has been well digested and understood,
then, and not till then, the next or following portion can or should be
attempted either as for study or practice, viz.:--



    “The bells ring out a merry peal,
    Their music on our ear doth steal.”


Ringing the Changes is a phrase often used by the general public in
every-day life, and especially by some who wish to appear witty or
clever, but to whom, as a rule, if a question be put as to its meaning,
or proper application, it is seen in a moment that such knowledge is
either too great or too small for them--in fact, that they know nothing
at all about it. The lack of this special knowledge is easily traced to
its origin; for how many schoolboys ever have a sum or exercise in the
rule of permutation? Many, if not most, boys on leaving their studies
and school would, it is believed (or as has been tested to some extent),
be found utterly ignorant both of its use or practice. They may have
learnt that it is the changing or varying the order of things; and that
to multiply all the given terms or numbers the one into the other the
last product will be the number of changes required--as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,


  NOTE.--_Any changes of a complete number or course through a series of
  permutations is called a “Peal.”_

Thus 2 bells (they may learn) produce 2 changes, 3=6, 4=24, 5=120,
6=720, and so on. They may have had the old tale told, and the old and
often single, as well as singular, question put to them in this rule:--A
young scholar, coming into town for the convenience of a good library,
demands of a gentleman with whom he lodged what his diet would cost for
a year, who told him £10; but the scholar, not being certain what time
he should stay, asked him what he must give him for so long as he should
place his family (consisting of six persons beside himself) in different
positions every day at dinner? The gentleman, thinking it would not be
long, told him £5, to which the scholar agreed. What time did the
scholar stay with the gentleman? Which, as a matter of simple
multiplication, is very easy to answer--5,040 days. And even the other,
and most likely last question, may have been put, viz.:--How many
changes may be rung upon 12 bells, and in what time would they be rung
once over, supposing 10 changes may be rung in a minute, and the year to
contain 365 days 6 hours?--Answer: 479,001,600 changes in 47,900,160
minutes, or 91 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours.

Either of these examples may be very easy so far, but as to the
practical part of working them out in any performance in every-day life
is quite another matter, and it is left for the schoolboy to wait or to
forget all about both the rule and the figures, unless he comes to see
its workings in the steeple or the fireside, upon the church or the
musical hand bells, he would, perhaps, never see it necessary to prove
by practice, attention, thought, and care that which is multiplied and
multiplied, and left on the slate with astonishment, without any good or
lasting effect either upon the mind or the senses. The Rev. Mr. Wigram
very well shows a supposed case of persons changing positions upon
steps, ascending and descending in method or order, as an example of
permutation. But the positions or places may be made or taken, and the
rule worked out for amusement and practice at the breakfast or dinner
table, where there may be several persons meeting repeatedly. And in
this it is not more astonishing than it is amusing to see the zest and
interest given and taken by a boy of only eight years of age in its
practice, when once fairly explained and started, cultivating both
memory, thought, and interest in a fixed plan until it is accomplished,
by no means an unimportant trait in character (for how many begin a task
with zest, and falter or never finish, is abundantly seen). Such, in a
higher sense, is the effect of change ringing on bells, where, beyond
the changing places at a table, the sense of hearing and the practice of
time or order are added to those of sight and touch.

Three questions naturally suggest themselves to the student at the very
outset of the art of change ringing upon church bells, viz.:--

  1st. How many changes can be rung on various rings of bells of various
  numbers numbers from 2 to 12?

  2nd. How long would it take to ring them?

  And 3rd. How is it to be done?

Now the first two of these questions are so well answered at a glance by
the tabulated form prepared by Mr. Troyte, in his work on change
ringing, and by other books, and are so easily computed by the method of
calculation as is shown a few lines back, and reckoning either 20, 24,
or 28 changes per minute, as may be deemed most convenient to the
performer; so that all that is left for such a work as this is to answer
in a very simple way, the third question--How to do it?

Change ringing on bells, then, is to be accomplished just as all other
arts or studies, not by seeking to take the monitor’s place at first,
but by taking the lowest place on the lowest form, and by giving
attention to every lesson or hint that can be gathered from others,
commencing as with the alphabet, and then proceeding to spell or to
compose. And for this there can be no better plan than to note upon
paper the changes which may be made with from 2 to 4 bells, assuming
that one, which may be represented by a cross, star, or other mark, is
the bell which the student takes to move, vary, or change. Whether he
takes the position of 1, 2, or any other number, No. 1, in a ring of
church bells, is always that with the highest note, and in this way it
will be plain, first, to presume that there are 2 bells, and the reader
takes the second, upon which there are, as he knows already as shown,
but two changes; he will write thus--

  Hand stroke 1 . × --H. S. × . 1
  Back stroke × . 1 --B. S. 1 . ×

and then, when in the tower, try it on the actual bells. On no account,
however, run out of time, and jangle or clatter them, as some are
endeavouring purposely to do, _à la Rome_, in the present day. Then sit
down, write out and commit to memory the changes on 3 bells, still
assuming that No. 2 bell is in hand, thus:--

              EXERCISE 2.
  H. S. 1 . × . 3  |  H. S. 3 . × . 1
  B. S. 1 . × . 3  |  B. S. 3 . 1 . ×
  H. S. × . 1 . 3  |  H. S. 1 . 3 . ×
  B. S. × . 3 . 1  |  B. S. 1 . × . 3

This will be seen is easy to write and easy to remember, as Mr. Troyte
shows the method or order to be to always change places at every move,
variation, or round after starting with the one who struck after you in
the previous move. Thus No. 1 was first followed by X, then 1 takes X’s
place, 1 is then followed by 3, consequently 1 immediately changes place
with 3 and goes to the bottom or _behind_, X being at that time in the
original place of 1, or at the _lead_, she changes in with 3, and is
followed by 1; X now being the changing bell, takes the place of 1, and
comes to the bottom or _behind_, 3 being at the _lead_; 3 then begins to
change as the others did, and so the peal comes _round_. The moving
bells are said in this to be _hunting_, which holds good in whichever
order the moves are made, either _up_ or _down_. Then the six changes
might be written, learnt, and tried in the other form, thus:--

              EXERCISE 3.
  H. S. 1 . × . 3  |  H. S. 3 . × . 1
  B. S. 1 . × . 3  |  B. S. × . 3 . 1
  H. S. 1 . 3 . ×  |  H. S. × . 1 . 3
  B. S. 3 . 1 . ×  |  B. S. 1 . × . 3

This will be seen to be what is referred to, and known as _hunting down_
and _up_; the last bell here takes the position of the one before it,
until it comes to the top or _lead_, and then returns to its original
position, striking in after the one who struck next following in the
preceding move. Now, this hunting up and down is the basis of all change
ringing, and should be practised in just the same way upon 4, 5, 6, or
8 bells before any other method be tried; in fact it would be well for
any young ringers to thoroughly master the method of hunting, upon
either musical hand bells or church bells, beginning with the 6 changes
on 3 bells, and become proficient in these before 4 be attempted, and
when hunting on 4 be mastered, try 5, and so on, progressing to 8 in
hunting alone. Of course, when the musical hand bells are used, it will
be well to take but one in the right hand and strike either at hand or
back stroke, as would be done upon the larger bells in the belfry in
ringing; the hand stroke on the musical hand bells being up and the back
stroke being down. It would be also well to change places from time to
time, not always taking No. 1 or No. 2 position, but changing positions
and bells with your friends, at times taking No. 4, 6, 8, or otherwise,
but in the tower take the one or other most suited to the strength of
the student. This method of changing or hunting is supposed to be that
which was first discovered, and, without doubt, is the easiest for any
beginner, as also it is the safe and sure road to the other methods of
changing. Our advice is, go slowly but surely, and so progress and

Such being the case, and such advice being followed, in order to
introduce another bell for practice, the easiest plan to adopt is to
work out the same changes as has been previously given for three bells,
and to place the fourth bell to strike last in each move, thus:--

   EXERCISE 4.   |   EXERCISE 5.
  1 . 2 . 3 . 4  |  1 . 2 . 3 . 4
  1 . 2 . 3 . 4  |  1 . 2 . 3 . 4
  2 . 1 . 3 . 4  |  1 . 3 . 2 . 4
  2 . 3 . 1 . 4  |  3 . 1 . 2 . 4
  3 . 2 . 1 . 4  |  3 . 2 . 1 . 4
  3 . 1 . 2 . 4  |  2 . 3 . 1 . 4
  1 . 3 . 2 . 4  |  2 . 1 . 3 . 4
  1 . 2 . 3 . 4  |  1 . 2 . 3 . 4

In this it will be very convenient to place the latest or dullest
scholar, if there be one, to the fourth bell, who will simply strike in
at the close of each move or change of those before him, and will count
the time of his pulling to himself, as 1. 2. 3. 4--1. 2. 3. 4, so as to
strike his bell in time or order in the fourth place as long as may be
mutually agreed upon. Then it would be well to try a simple plan for
every bell to make a change, following the rule, viz., to strike from
the lead or first position after the one which previously followed,


      1 at lead  1 . 2 . 3 . 4
                 2 . 1 . 3 . 4 so 1 takes place of 2
      2    „     2 . 3 . 1 . 4 „  1     „     „    3
                 3 . 2 . 4 . 1 „  1     „     „    4, and 2 at lead of 3
      3    „     3 . 4 . 2 . 1 „  2     „     „    4
                    Then 1 returns to lead, after 2 strokes at behind.
                 4 . 3 . 1 . 2 so 3 takes place of 4 and 2 of 1
      4    „     4 . 1 . 3 . 2 „  3     „     „    1
                 1 . 4 . 2 . 3 „  4     „     „    1
      1    „     1 . 2 . 4 . 3 „  4     „     „    2
  brought round  1 . 2 . 3 . 4

And after this being practised and mastered, the usual method of plain
hunting on four bells will come easy, in which the lead and last bells
each begin to change after the first move, the one up and the other
down, at the hand stroke, and the two middle bells cross at the back
stroke, thus:--

            EXERCISE 7.
  1 . 2 . 3 . 4  |  4 . 3 . 2 . 1
  1 . 2 . 3 . 4  |  3 . 4 . 1 . 2
  2 . 1 . 4 . 3  |  3 . 1 . 4 . 2
  2 . 4 . 1 . 3  |  1 . 3 . 2 . 4
  4 . 2 . 3 . 1  |  1 . 2 . 3 . 4

Then it would be well to confine the attention to 4 bell ringing, or
singles, as it is termed, in the other and more advanced method known as
_dodging_, which is a move of positions, as Banister says, in which a
bell is made to stop in its hunting course, return back one place, and
then proceed as before. This should be thoroughly understood and
mastered before 5, 6, or 8 bells be even tried. The number of changes
which may be produced--

  Upon  2 bells are            2, and are called ----
   „    3     „                6,      „         ----
   „    4     „               24,      „         Singles.
   „    5     „              120,      „         Doubles.
   „    6     „              720,      „         Minor.
   „    7     „            5,040,      „         Triples.
   „    8     „           40,320,      „         Major.
   „    9     „          362,880,      „         Caters.
   „   10     „        3,628,800,      „         Royal.
   „   11     „       39,916,800,      „         Cinques.
   „   12     „      479,001,600,      „         Maximus.

With this wide field, it is easy to realize the scope for the pleasure,
the exercise, and the skill there may be to those who are disposed to
give the time, the study, the attention, and the practice the art

The student, taking the syllabus, and proceeding in the following

  1. Learn the names and the uses of the parts of the bell and fittings.

  2. Learn to handle the rope and to ring, _with clapper tied fast to
  prevent nuisance_.

  3. Learn to ring in rounds.

  4. Learn to hunt or plain course work or singles.

  5. Learn to dodge.

  6. Learn place making.

  7. For 5 bells learn bob double, grandsire doubles, and Stedman’s
  doubles or methods in order as given.

  8. For 6 bells learn bob minor, grandsire minor, treble bob minor.

  9. Learn 7 bells learn bob triples, Stedman’s triples.

  10. Learn 8 bells learn bob major; treble bob major.

  11. Learn 10 bells learn grandsire caters.

  12. Learn 11 bells learn grandsire cinques.

  Learn 12 bells learn treble bob maximus.

The various methods for making the changes or varying the positions are
described, and are worked out in the Books by Messrs. Troyte, Hubbard,
Banister, and others.

With such writings on these, more intricate and advanced methods, so
well compiled, so much appreciated, and so easily obtained, giving all
the technical words, and names, in the change ringing art, showing so
plainly the rules for bringing round the peal to its starting position,
through the many variations and changes, it is needless in such a
production as this to say more than to refer the student at once to
those Works, and to wish him every success. Desiring only to lead such
onward, to the further study and practice of this healthy and
fascinating art, with many apologies for humble efforts, and, doubtless,
many mistakes, at the same time craving the forbearance of the masters
of the art, the Writer desires to _stand_ and to subscribe himself as


    “Ring out, ye bells, and waft the sound
    Till heathen lands your notes rebound;
    Till every soul o’er all the earth
    Shall sing the great Redeemer’s birth.”


  _The thanks of the Writer are tendered to T. North, Esq., for
  permission to use extracts from his “Bells of Leicestershire;” to
  Messrs. Warner & Sons for the use of their several woodcuts; to the
  Rev. H. T. Ellacombe and Mr. H. W. Haley for several hints of interest
  which are embodied by permission in the foregoing pages._





                                                                   s. d.
  THE MUSICAL HAND BELL RINGER’S INSTRUCTOR                        2  0
  TROYTE ON CHANGE RINGING. Abridged, as far as Six Bell Work      1  0
  Do., to Eight Bell Work                                          3  6
  CHANGE RINGING. By WILLIAM BANISTER, Member of Ancient Society
  of College Youths                                                2  6
  WIGRAM’S CHANGE RINGING DISENTANGLED                             2  0
  Chiming. Written by the Rev. H. T. ELLACOMBE, of Topsham, Devon  3  0
  MAUNSELL ON CHURCH BELLS AND RINGING                             1  0
  PLAIN HINTS TO BELL RINGERS                                      0  1
  ROPE SIGHT. By JASPER SNOWDON                                    1  6
  TREBLE BOB, in 2 parts. By JASPER SNOWDON                1s. and 2  0



From the _Ironmonger_, August, 1874.

  _The ABC of Hand-Bell Ringing._ By ALPHA BETA. London: M’Corquodale &
  Co., and J. Warner & Sons.

  This little work is of considerable interest, as it comprises short
  notes for young beginners, and a collection of easy tunes, arranged in
  an easy form for the use of persons not possessing a knowledge of
  musical notation; and also a short insight into the principles of
  change ringing. Those of our readers who supply bells, and are
  occasionally asked for information on ringing, could not do better
  than secure a copy of this little pamphlet.

From the _Record_, August 3rd, 1874.

  HAND-BELL MUSIC.--Few of the novel performances of the present day
  have given more pleasure than those of the band called the “Royal
  Hand-Bell Ringers.” This department of music has been systematised in
  a manual entitled _The A B C of Musical Hand-Bell Ringing_, published
  by M’Corquodale & Co., Cardington Street, N.W. This manual, and
  several other books on bells and bell ringing, may also be obtained at
  the bell-founding firm of Warner & Sons, Crescent, Cripplegate,
  London, E.C.

From _Church Bells_, July 25th, 1874.

  HAND-BELL MUSIC.--We have been favoured with a copy of a tractate just
  issued by M’Corquodale & Co., for 1s., entitled _The A B C of Musical
  Hand-Bell Ringing_. It is just the thing which was wanted for young
  beginners. We have much pleasure in recommending it. It is also to be
  obtained of John Warner & Sons, of the Crescent Foundry, who offer to
  send post free their _New Bell Catalogue_, which they say every
  clergyman ought to have.

From _Church Review_, August 8th, 1874.

  A great many of our readers will be much interested by a tract on the
  A B C of musical hand-bell ringing, etc. It seems to be a complete
  manual upon the subject, with exercises and rules for beginners, and
  no doubt before long a set of hand bells will be as familiar in a
  drawing-room as the indispensable pianoforte. To all who take an
  interest in the science of campanology this little book will be very

From _Church Bells_, September 19th, 1874.

  CHIMES AT HAMPSTEAD.--A correspondent writes that “_an awful bungle_”
  is produced by the chimer who attempts tunes. He would learn a better
  way if he would purchase for 1s. (which we would advise him to do for
  the good of trade), the clever “A B C” elementary _brochure_ lately
  issued by Messrs. Warner of Cripplegate. As for ourselves, we don’t
  like chiming tunes for services; plain chiming in regular succession
  is the correct way.--Ed.

  5, _Crown Street, Chorley, Lancashire_, October 11th, 1874.

  Messrs. J. Warner & Sons, London.

  Dear Sirs,--I received your book on Wednesday, with thanks. As a
  hand-bell ringer I have already found it to be the most simple and
  useful book a young or experienced ringer can obtain for commencing




  Bell and Brass Founders
  To Her Majesty,
  By Special


  HYDE PARK, 1851.
  _A Prize Medal awarded for

  _Prize Medal awarded “For
  Excellent Workmanship and
  Ingenuity applied in Chiming
  Bells by Machinery.”_--See
  Jurors’ Report.]

  VIENNA, 1873.
  _Two Grand Medals of Merit
  and Honourable Mention._]


The Largest Number of Awards in THE METAL INDUSTRY were awarded to J. W.




JOHN WARNER & SONS have always a Large Stock of New Bells on hand, which
can be seen at their Foundry.


J. W. & SONS are prepared to send an experienced Bellhanger to report or
advise upon Repairs, Alterations, or New Rings of Bells.

Every Clergyman should have J. W. & SONS’ New Bell Catalogue, which can
be obtained upon application, post free, giving a large amount of
information; also other parts as enumerated below.


Illustrated Priced Catalogues Post Free.

  1. HYDRAULIC--Pumps, &c., of all kinds.
  2. PLUMBERS--Cocks, Valves, Steam Work, &c.
  3. SANITARY--Closets, Baths, Lavatories, &c.
  4. Bells--Church, School, and Plantation Bells.
  5. BRAZIERY--Copper work of every description.




Tuned to the Diatonic or Chromatic Scales, with improved Clappers, and
pegged on a new system, which gives a superior tone and facility for
ringing. The bells by J. W. & Sons are warranted of the best description
both in accuracy of note and finish.


                      A Set     A Set     A Set       A Set      A Set
                      of 8.     of 10.    of 12.      of 15.     of 19.
                     £ s. d.   £ s. d.    £ s. d.     £ s. d.    £ s. d.
  No. 22 size, in C  6  7 0    7  0 0     7 14 0      8 10 0    10 10 0
   „  21    „     D  5 16 0    6  7 0     7  0 0      7  9 0    10  0 0
   „  20    „     E  5  5 0    5 16 0     6  2 0      7  0 0     9 10 0
   „  19    „     F  4 16 0    5  5 0     5 15 0      6  7 0     8 15 0
   „  18    „     G  4  9 0    4 14 0     5  6 0      5 16 0     7  0 0
   „  17    „     A  4  4 0    4 11 0     4 19 0      5 12 0     6 10 0
   „  16    „     B  3 19 0    4  7 0     4 14 0      5  6 0     6  0 0
   „  15    „     C  3 15 0    4  4 0     4 10 0      5  0 0     5 15 0
  A Set of 26 Bells, No. 15 size, in C, 2 Octaves in Chromatic Scale
                                                                 8 16 0
     „     37   „    No.  2 size, in C, 3     „          „       „
                                                                14 14 0
     „     44   „   in F, 3½ Octaves in Chromatic Scale         17  0 0
     „     50   „      „  4     „          „        „           20  0 0

Sets of any other numbers and sizes made to order.

Sets of 8, 10, and 12 are adapted for Change Ringing.

Old Sets Repaired, Re-leathered, Re-pegged, or Re-clappered.

_New Bells added or replaced in sets in lieu of those cracked or old._



Tuned either to the Diatonic or Chromatic Scales, in Sets.

  A Set of 8 Bells, tenor 3½ inches in diameter   £0 15 0
     „    13   „           „         „    „        1  5 0
     „    19   „           „         „    „        1 13 0
     „    32   „           „         „    „        2  5 0

Sets of any other numbers and sizes made to order.

Large Sizes for Turret Clocks and Cemeteries.


  Cheddar, October 11th, 1875.
  Weston-super-mare, Somersetshire.

  To Messrs. J. Warner & Sons,

  Dear Sirs,--Our present set of Hand Bells were purchased from your
  establishment, and have given every satisfaction.

  Yours sincerely, ELI BROOKS,
  Captain of the Cheddar Bell-ringing Society.

  Office Citizens’ Insurance Co., No. 105, Broadway,
  BROOKLYN, N.Y., E.D., Oct. 11th, 1875.

  John Warner & Sons,

  Dear Sirs,--About a year ago my brother (Mr. W. Grim) ordered a set of
  Swiss Musical Hand Bells from your firm for me (you will find them on
  page 11 of your Bell Catalogue), viz.: “A peal of 50 Bells in F, 4
  octaves, Chromatic Scale, £20.” I have used them ever since, and am
  well pleased with them. Now let me know what you will charge me for
  another peal like them, to be nickel-plated.

  Yours truly, C. L. GRIM,
  151, Seventh Street, Williamsburgh, New York, United States.

  _Bells of every description and size supplied complete for use by
  JOHN WARNER & SONS, Bell and Brass Founders to Her Majesty_,

  _Being a short historical
  account of SMALL BELLS_,


  _Author of “The First Steps to Bell Ringing upon Church Bells;” “The A
  B C of Musical Hand-Bell Ringing;” &c., &c., &c._



  ROAD, N.W.


_The Churchman_, March, 1880.

  (Warner & Sons), will prove, to a certain class, _an interesting
  pamphlet_. Many of the illustrations are curious.

_The Bazaar_, February 23rd, 1880.

  We have from Messrs. Warner & Sons, of the Crescent Foundry,
  Cripplegate, E.C., two pamphlets on the art of hand-bell ringing, both
  written by Mr. S. B. Goslin, who is, practically and theoretically, an
  authority on the subject. The first of these, “The A B C of Musical
  Hand-Bell Ringing,” comprises short notes for young beginners, a
  collection of easy tunes, arranged, by means of numerals, for those
  without any knowledge of music, and a general guide to the principles
  of change ringing. The second, “THE MUSICAL HAND-BELL RINGER’S
  INSTRUCTOR,” contains a short historical account of small bells, a
  practical description of hand-bells, and the rudiments of the music
  played on them. Messrs. Warner are eminent as bell founders, and
  _their two publications may be relied on as trustworthy guides_.

_The Bookseller_, February 3rd, 1880.

  “THE MUSICAL HAND-BELL RINGER’S INSTRUCTOR;” being a short historical
  account of small bells, a description of hand-bells, their uses and
  purposes, the rudiments of hand-bell music, with easy exercises in
  tune. By Samuel B. Goslin. A _curious and interesting contribution_ to
  the literature of campanology.

_The Church Review_, April 16th, 1880.

  Co., Crescent Foundry, Cripplegate.--Very interesting to general
  readers, but more valuable to ringers, giving a sketch of the history
  of bells in all countries and ages, and enriched with many curious
  illustrations. To assist beginners in the art of ringing, the latter
  part consists of elementary musical instruction, but the real value of
  the work is in the early portion, containing a deal of information in
  a very small compass. Published in a cheap form (costing two shillings
  only), _it should have a large circulation among students of bells_,
  to _whom we heartily commend it_.

_City Press_, January 7th, 1880.

  Sons, Cripplegate), Mr. S. B. Goslin has produced a work which will be
  found to be of _great practical utility_. It contains, too, a good
  deal of _curious_ matter connected with the history and uses of bells,
  and is illustrated.

_Church Bells_, January 17th, 1880.

  “MUSICAL HAND-BELL RINGER’S INSTRUCTOR.”--This is a very clear and
  valuable addition to bell literature, and _we advise all who are
  desirous of making progress with hand-bells to get it_ from the
  author, Mr. Goslin. The _brochure_ is historically _most interesting_.

_Ironmonger_, January 24th, 1880.

  Sons, Cripplegate.)--This is a comprehensive little treatise on the
  subject of which the author, Mr. Samuel B. Goslin, is evidently a
  master. _The interest of the work is much enhanced by the exceedingly
  quaint engravings_ given of old cymbals and other matters. _All_ who
  are in any way _concerned in bell founding_ or _hand-bell ringing_
  should _not fail to procure_ and peruse this work.

_Rock_, January 30th, 1880.

  A very interesting sketch of the history of small bells is given by
  Warner & Sons), in which _a great deal_ of information is condensed
  _into a small_ compass. _The illustrations_, which are chiefly taken
  from old manuscripts, _are of themselves worthy of attention_.

_The Literary Churchman and Church Fortnightly_, March 5th, 1880.

  famous for bells; and we are led therefore to entertain somewhat high
  expectations from a treatise on the subject with which their name is
  connected. Nor are we disappointed. The essay before us _is
  particularly interesting_, as well _because of the mass of curious and
  recondite learning_ which the author has gathered together to
  illustrate the history of his subject, as _from the clear directions
  given for hand-bell ringers_, and the exercises here provided for
  their use.

  It appears to us quite worth the consideration of the clergy whether
  the practice of hand-bell ringing would not do much to keep their
  corps of church ringers together and provide an antidote to the
  public-house. We find that a medium set of eight hand-bells, forming
  an octave, can be obtained for from four to five pounds; and the steps
  of the art present no considerable difficulty, even to rustic
  intellects. Many a young country curate would find it a pleasant thing
  to take the post of leader, and call his choir together for hebdomadal

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s note:

Footnotes have been moved to directly underneath the paragraph they
refer to. Illustrations and Notes have been moved to between

“... and to which ... he points the reader ... to take in hand ...” as
printed in the source document.

Some minor obvious typographical and punctuation errors have been
corrected silently.

Table “The number of changes which may be produced”, last line: 22
changed to 12.

“Bannister” and “Banister” standardised to “Banister”.

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