The X-File (No.1) - January 1996

The demise of the previous regular method review column in the Ringing World, some 14 months ago now, does not seemed to have dampened many peal ringers enthusiasm for ringing and naming new methods. An issue does not pass without a place notation appearing for the first time, and to most readers the features of any new method continue to remain a mystery. The X-file intends to uncover this mystery, to probe deeply into the reality that lies behind that string of figures that is The Place Notation. The truth is out there ......

So, how do I chose which methods to review? As far as I'm concerned, the most important feature of a method is how musical it is. Therefore methods which do not have a fair degree of music, or musical potential, both above and below the treble will not get picked. After that, the interest in the blue-line and the incidence of the falseness will be taken into consideration.

Anyway, here we go with our first file from the issues of January 1996 ...........




Rung at









I North







P C Randall




BD(in) Bc(out)



R C Stevens







D E Sibson







D D Smith







D D Smith


Tiger Surprise Major : 34x5.4x5x36.4x34.25.36.2x1 lh 18

Ian North has a pedigree for producing good methods, and Tiger is by far the best of his latest bunch. Apart from a tedious and mistake-attracting 2nds place bell, the line has plenty of movement, albeit between 4 places at a time. The music at the front and the back is good with plenty of roll-up opportunities, and with a suitable composition to circumnavigate the falseness, you could be in for 3 hours of pleasure.

Pendle Surprise Major : x56x6.5x2.3.4x4.5.4x6.7 lh 18

You can't help wishing for a below work as good as Pendle's combined with a better above work, but unfortunately the one is the product of the other. The music off the front really is excellent, with the features of 4-bell wrong hunting but with movement across the half-lead. The above work has some rather peculiar roll-up positions (6278s for example), and some tricky falseness has to be overcome. It would be interesting to see what sort of composition Peter Randall used, but as they say, pigs, or even Roger Bailey's monkeys, might fly.

Qwerty Surprise Royal : x3x4x5x6x7x238x2x3x678x9 lh 12

With so many royal methods starting x3x4x5x6x7....... being published it would be easy to discount them all. However, Qwerty's not at all bad. Needless to say, it's Cambridge above, but that's pleasant enough, and you get some nice 567890s off the front. A right-place blue line which has plenty of room for trips, but it's worth trying if you're into right-hunting Surprise Royal, and it's certainly better than Lincolnshire! Don't be put off by the contiguous places - sometimes they're just the easiest solution.

Bimini Surprise Major : x5x4.5x56.3.4x4.5.2.36x1 lh 18

This is easily the pick of 5 new methods from another hardened new-methoder, Derek Sibson. Every place bell moves from the back to the front (or vice versa) and consequently, the music front and back is distributed throughout the course. A potential 2-lead course if 4ths place bobs are used eliminates the tricky E falseness, and the Bristol-modified above work ensures plenty of roll-ups.

Beauchief Surprise Major : x34x4.5x2.3.4x4.5x4.56.3 lh 18

This is a good mx method with a Belfast-backwards above work (i.e. fish-tail, point instead of point, fish-tail). Apart from 5 and 6 which cover the whole of the change, the other place bells are confined to 4 places, but there are some nice 6578s off the front and roll-ups at the back in all the normal places. Those falseness groups might have caused a problem though.

Launde Delight Major : 3x56.4x56x1x4x5x2x5 lh 12

Again from the Sussex band, under David Smith's leadership, this is a lot more static but still produces plenty of music, albeit all at once. The back bells start by wrong hunting to a double fishtail or Stedman whole turn, whilst the frontwork is characterised by a 5-pull dodge across the half-lead in 3-4, with two bells making places and dodging round each other in 1-2. The lead-head order makes it a bit more difficult to get rid of the 24365 falseness in the 3rd and 4th leads, but a clever composition (like one expects from Tony Cox) ought to be enough to produce lots of nice changes.

Just a brief mention for Broadsword S.Major (Todmorden 17/12/96) - starting your place notation x3456 is at least a cast-iron way of getting your 87 near-miss. And I see that one of the Leicestershire bands is continuing to ring their series of new methods named "....... Hall". I'm particularly looking forward to them ringing one called "Robin Hall" as this will no doubt be of perfect construction!

This file is now closed.


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