Ringing terminology

Above. Further from the lead. So if the two is in second place and you are in third you are ‘above’ the two.

After bell. The bell which is following you two places behind in a method. Knowing which bell this is is useful in finding your way around.

Back, at the back. Referring to the heavier bells, rather than the lighter bells, which are at the ‘front’.

Back stroke. The pull made with the tail end only.

Behind, ring behind. To ring last in a row or sequence.

Below. To ring in a place nearer to the lead than the other bell referred to.

Blue line. The line on a diagram that shows the course of one of the ‘working’ bells i.e. not the treble. (the treble’s line is normally shown in red)

Bob. A call made at specific places in a method that disrupts the sequence and allows a new set of changes to happen. A single does the same thing but in a slightly different way.

Call changes. A way of changing the order of the bells where adjacent pairs are swapped round by means of  individual calls. See Call up. Call down.

Call up. Call down. In call changes altering the order from 1-2-3-4-5-6 to 1-3-2-4-5-6 can be done by calling ‘3 to 1’, which is calling down, or ‘2 to 3’, which is calling up. Both methods have their supporters. It is usual to use one or the other convention and not to mix them up.

Caters. A method rung on nine bells, generally with a cover bell.

Chiming. To ring the bells in the down position by moving the bell sufficiently to make the clapper strike.

Cinques. A method rung on eleven bells. Pronounced ‘sinks’.

Clip. To clash with the bell in front of or behind you.

Closed hand stroke. Where there is no break in rhythm between the tenor back stroke and the treble’s hand stroke. Sometimes called cartwheeling.

Come in or down to the front. Move a bell towards first place.

Course bell. The bell which is running two places ahead of you in a method. Knowing which bell this is is useful in finding your way around.

Coursing order. The sequence of bells that each bell rings after in a method. In plain hunt doubles the coursing order is 2-4-5-3-1.

Cover bell. Where the tenor bell remains at the back whilst the other bells are ringing call changes or a method.

Devon changes. A specific style of call changes typified by ‘closed’ hand strokes (sometimes called cartwheeling) and frequent changes.

Dodge. Move one place in the order and immediately back again. A double dodge means doing this twice. An important skill in method ringing.

Doubles. A method rung on five bells, usually with a cover bell.

Ellacombe Apparatus. A system of cables and strikers to enable one person to ring the bells in the down position. Scarning has one, though it is not fully functional.

Extent. An extent is all the possible changes possible on a given number of bells. In a doubles method it is 120. In a minor method it is 720.

Fire out. Fire up. When a method goes wrong and several bells try to ring at once. Firing also refers to when the bells are deliberately rung in unison, which is impressive if done well but not commonly practised these days.

Go out or up to the back. Move a bell towards last place

Hand stroke. The pull made with the hands on the sally.

Hunt. Plain hunt. Alternately moving the bell between the front and back of the order, one place at a time. The technique of hunting a bell is fundamental to method ringing.

Lay to the treble. Make 2nds. Not an official term but you may hear it in Norfolk.

Lead end. Where the treble is at the front in a method and is doing its backstroke lead. This happens four times in a plain course of plain bob doubles, so you may hear somebody say something like ‘it was fine up to the third lead’.

Long 5ths. Do 4 blows in 5th place.

Major. A method rung on eight bells, generally without a cover bell.

Make places. As in ‘make 2nds’. To move to another position and ring two blows there.

Maximus. A method rung on twelve bells.

Method ringing.  A form of change ringing where the bells alter their positions within the order according to a specific algorithm, known as a method.

Minimus. A method rung on four bells. Often with a cover bell.

Minor. A method rung on six bells, generally without a cover bell.

Odd-struck. Where a bell doesn’t sound evenly at hand and back stroke. Leads to uneven striking unless the ringers listen and make allowance for it. The 5th bell at Scarning is odd-struck. Can sometimes be adjusted.

Open hand stroke. The slight pause left after the tenor back stroke and before the treble’s hand stroke.

Over. As in ‘ring over the 4th‘. Means after. Comes from the concept of ringing ‘up’ to the back and ‘down’ to the front.

Peal. A touch of at least 5000 changes. Normally takes around 3 hours.

Ring up or down in peal. Raise or lower the bells simultaneously and in order. Difficult but a valuable skill for a band to acquire.

Plain course. The full sequence of changes in a method without calling any bobs or singles.

Plain hunt. See Hunt.

Point lead. Where a bell leads for one blow only. Used in some methods.

Pull in. e.g. ‘pull your back strokes in please’. Get closer on your back strokes.

Quarter peal. A touch which is a quarter the length of a peal, i.e. at least 1250 changes.

Queens. One of the best known call-change sequences. Odd bells then even bells in descending order. Thus on 6 bells 1-3-5-2-4-6 and on 8 bells 1-3-5-7-2-4-6-8.

Rounds. To ring the bells in numerical order e.g. 1-2-3-4-5-6. Reverse rounds is often used when doing call changes, which on 6 bells would be 5-4-3-2-1-6, the tenor remaining last.

Row. A sequence in which all the bells ring once.

Royal. A method rung on ten bells.

Run out. To move a bell towards the back of the order (tenor end). Run in means towards the lead.

Sally. The fluffy, tufted part of the bell rope.

Simulator.  There are various systems whereby the bell clappers can be temporarily fixed so that they do not strike. Sensors feed a signal to a computer and loudspeaker in the ringing chamber to reproduce the sound of the bells. This allows ‘silent ringing’ where there is no external sound. It also allows an individual to practice alone, with the computer software simulating the other bells.

Single. See Bob

Touch. A touch is a piece of method ringing longer than a plain course but shorter than a quarter peal. Achieved by calling bobs &/or singles. It should come back to rounds. In doubles methods touches of 120 changes are common, which is an extent.

Treble bob. A more complex way of hunting the treble used in surprise methods. Easier to see on a diagram than explain!

Triples. A method rung on seven bells, usually with a cover bell.

Unaffected. Where a working bell in a method (i.e. not the treble) does not have to change course when a bob or single is called. You may hear this bell referred to as the observation bell. The other bells are said to be affected.

Whole pull. A hand stroke and a back stroke.

Work. The various manoeuvres that interrupt plain hunting in a method. e.g. ‘your next work after long 5ths is dodge 3-4 up’