The X-File (No.23) - November 1997

In the last file I pondered on how romantic it might be to spend the long winter evenings by the fire devising high quality methods. I can only assume that most of our budding method designers managed to find a more attractive alternative. Nothing ground-breaking this month to match some of the innovative fare we’ve seen recently, but a gaggle of pretenders survive the cull.




Rung at









D D Smith





East Ilsley


A R Peake







W Butler


Spirit of Aquarius





C Bostock


Penenden Heath





J B Keeler







D E Rothera


Abbots Bromley



Abbots Bromley


S C W Hutchieson


Frensham Surprise Major : x3x456x56x8x34x8x6.34.8 lh 12

New delight methods seem to be more and more common of late. It seems unlikely that we are running out of unrung surprise methods just yet, but perhaps it has become more socially acceptable not to ring surprise. Whatever the reason, there are still plenty of worthwhile delight methods out there waiting to be discovered. The charm of this method is an unusual below-work which is a result of the x6.34 final cross-section. After passing the treble in 4-5, 8ths place bell makes 3rds, 6ths and 4ths before passing the treble again in 6-7. All this just about makes up for the rather ugly contiguous places, and combined with a simple, musical above-work and a friendly falseness (short courses are the answer) deliver a pleasant, ringable method.

Clevancy Surprise Major : 34x5.4x5x6x4x25x4x7 lh 12

Anybody familiar with Chandler’s 23-spliced will recognise Clevancy as a close relation of Malpas. The backwork is identical, albeit with a 2nds place lead end. The work below the treble is much easier than Malpas, but the musical possibilities of the method are plentiful with coursing pairs meeting in all four pairs of places. The third and fifth leads both boast one each 87xy, 87yx, xy78, yx78 off the front which is quite pleasing, and the D falseness is easily avoidable.

February Delight Major : 3x5.4x2x8x4x8x236x8 lh 12

Quite why February was rung in September escapes me. Had the band been attempting it for most of the year? Once again, adjacent places are a blemish, but an interesting feature of the line is that there are no dodges or points of any sort below the treble. Coursing pairs fishtail together in 5-6 to offer some musical potential, but the awkward falseness will rather hamper the realisation of this.

Spirit of Aquarius Alliance Royal : x3x4x236x34x0x4x5x4x5 lh 12

Take a tried and trusted backwork, remove a dodge from the treble’s path and you have a new backwork which might be technically original but delivers very familiar music. In this case the template is Uxbridge (or whatever you want to call it at the Royal stage) and the missed dodge is in 3-4, reducing the four-pull dodges to triple ones.. The frontwork is also closely reminiscent of Uxbridge but could easily be improved upon to deliver better music when coursing pairs meet in 3-4. Nevertheless, an elegant method, and with a shorter treble path you can ring more courses!

Penenden Heath Delight Royal : 3x3.4x2x0x2x45x36x0x2x9 lh 12

This month’s fifth f-group method will appeal to anyone who finds London Royal tiring but enjoys the music that its backwork delivers. Penenden Heath is pure London above the treble but with a right placed below-work moulded around three-pull dodges across the half-lead in 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. I could be tempted to replace the final cross-section with x78x simply to allow an uninterrupted orgy of 7890’s off the front in the fifth lead. You see, even adjacent places have their place.

Enfield Surprise Maximus : x56x4x56x3x2x3x4x5x6x7x8xE lh 1T

This method is a logical extension of a previously rung Major method. Fancy that, a logical method extension actually complying with Central Council rules, whatever next? The resultant blueline is arguably tedious, being predominantly Yorkshire below and Cornwall above, but Cornwall backwork is a reliable music generator. What makes Enfield worthy of inclusion is that being a 12ths-place method, and j-group at that (the same as Bristol Maximus), the scope for ringing an interesting composition is far greater than with a more common b-group or f-group method. There are many excellent compositions for this lead-end order, though admittedly most of them have yet to be seen in the Ringing World.

Abbots Bromley Surprise Major : x34x4x2x236x2x2345x2.56.1 lh 18

In line with the government’s policy towards failing schools, here is a "name and shame" approach to a method which should never have been. Moldy’s dislike of adjacent places is well known, but this method takes the felony to extremes. As the treble passes 6-7, everybody else lies still and watches. When a method has a 123458 place notation, you might as well ring call changes. The rest of the method is equally static with graveyard places on the front and interminable dodging at the back. This is what happens when once great ringers slip into sleepy backwaters and lose their slender grip on reality. If anyone else is thinking of ringing this again, might I politely suggest that they lie down until the thought goes away? End of term report: "D-minus, must try harder".

This file is now closed.


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