The X-File (No.2) - February 1996

After a successful conclusion to our preliminary investigations, The X-file now turns its attention to the issues of February.

Method designers are a curious and unpredictable breed. One day they might turn out a real blockbuster of a method, the next they’ll take the best bits from 2 existing good methods and produce a load of old rubbish. It is because of this that the file must consider for review every new method that is published within the month, and that steps are taken to ensure that no evidence is left unscrutinised. The X-file Trusts No One .......

Going international this month, from South Africa to Suffolk, here’s file no.2 ........




Rung at









R H Newton







D D Smith







P N Mounsey





Cape Town


A K Regan







R Beniston







M A Coleman







D J Pipe


Epiphany Surprise Maximus : x3x4x5x6x7x8x29x0x4x3x2xE lh 12

As you might guess from the place notation, Epiphany has Cambridge above the treble, and attempts to improve on Lincolnshire style music on the front, without the 5-pull dodging. If this was the aim, then the product is, at least partially, successful. The middle 3 leads of the course produce 4 90ETs and 4 09ETs, with the handstroke half-course change being 09ET56783421, and the bells between 3rds and 10ths place all do 3-pull dodges over the half-lead. For my money, I’d move the 12 notation when the treble’s at the back to 90, and forget the fact that the bells on the front then have to do 5 dodges. Nice though, and right place.

Peel Surprise Major : x5x4.5x5.36.4x2.5x36.4.5 lh 18

If you want some decent music above the treble, then you can’t do much better than Bristol. Peel is a good attempt to produce an l group method with this feature, although there’s a little less variety in the music off the front, and the blue-line has a tendency to be just a bit static in places. Fourths place calls should allow the E falseness to be mostly eliminated, and give a 4-lead home course which contains the best of the music, front and back.

Grahamstown Surprise Major : x3.56.4.56x5.6x34x5.4x2.7 lh 12

Grahamstown is the first (and slightly inferior) of 2 methods rung for the first time on the St James’ Guild South African trip. At first glance, the blue line reminds one of Uxbridge, and the music’s not that dissimilar either. The backwork produces 8 roll-ups in the plain course (7 of them 56s and 65s) whilst the frontwork gives 2 5678s and 1 6578 around the half course, with possibilities for more. The blue-line has the classic f-group features with bells working at either in the front 4 or back 4 places, and 7ths place bell stays in 78 throughout the lead. Different, but not as good as ........

Kaapstad Surprise Major : 3.56x4.56x5.236x4x5.4x4.7 lh 12

I refuse to disguise the fact that I really like this method. Although the start of the place notation is subtly different, the music produced above the treble is exactly the same as Grahamstown. On the front, 4 coursing bells come together, and after a point as the treble leaves 56 they wrong-hunt. The middle lead of the course produces 3 5678s and 1 8765 (back rounds in the plain course), and courses with the 5th in 4ths place or the 6th in 3rds will produce more roll-ups in both directions. The lead-head order (group c) adds further variety and the blue-line is pleasant enough - altogether this definitely deserves to be rung again and again. Composition please!

Lount Surprise Major : x3x4x2.5.6x2x45x4x7 lh 12

Another f group method, and another that at first looks like Uxbridge! In fact, parts of the blue line bear more than a passing resemblance to Grahamstown. However, Lount removes the places in 56 and consequently the plain course produces 7 5678s and 1 4678 at the back. The frontwork is right place, but again concentrates on a group of 4 coursing bells giving 2 each of 5678s, 8765s and 8756s in the middle lead of the course. Whilst short courses should eliminate the B falseness, the D falseness is unfortunately a little more restrictive.

Ferendone Surprise Major : x3x4x2x3x34x3458x4x5 lh 12

This method, from the Murray Coleman stable of thoroughbreds, is right place throughout, with York work above the treble. This is a good roll-up producer, with 8 5678s in the plain course, and therefore all 24 with 3 Homes. The middle lead produces a couple of 6578s and other combinations of 5678 off the front, and although a clever composition is necessary to exploit the significant falseness, plenty of music is available. Worth ringing, but not one of Murray’s best.

Akenfield Alliance Fourteen : x5x4.5x5. lh 1F

Akenfield is the fourteen bell version of Palgrave Maximus (those of you who have read Ronald Blythe’s book of the same name [Penguin, £7.99] will understand the connection). Palgrave combined the classic Bristol start with 8 bells wrong-hunting on the front, producing roll-ups in both directions. Akenfield is the first 14-bell method to get 10 bells hunting on the front, with the second lead of the course producing a 567890ETHF at the half lead. Fourths place bobs give a 3-lead course with the appropriate roll-ups back and front, and it’s worth noting that the length rung was 5088. It must surely be a consideration for those designing methods for the higher numbers that a composition of a suitable length should be obtainable. I shouldn’t think the band that rang Yorkshire Sixteen for the first time (pg 151) enjoyed having to ring 314 changes (almost 15 minutes) over the minimum length.

This file is now closed.


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