The X-File (No.25) - January 1998

Januaryís supplication included one or two interesting events worthy of mention that couldnít make the review proper. Gus Warwick missed out on a new method by two days with his version (Gilstone D. Major) when Tim Pett beat him to it with Diamond D.. Obviously you have to work fast in the business of uninteresting new methods. Anniversary Caters looked interesting at first glance until you tried to work out where the music was coming from when it started to look like lots of pain and no gain. Ian Butters tried to squeeze in a rather splendidly musical method (Normandy S. Royal) that passed every criterion except that it had 3 blows in 10ths and 3 blows lead which we didnít like at all! If weíre resigned to such measures in order to get a new musical method, then we might as well all go home to be content with Bristol or something - get a grip!

Anyway, here we go with the best of the bunch kicking off 1998.




Rung at









P N Mounsey







P A B Saddleton


Old Trout





R LeMarechal





Bishops Cleeve


A R Peake





Barrow Gurney


A J Cox







B F L Groves





Barrow Gurney


A J Cox


Bowcliffe S. Maximus 3x3.4x2x3.4x2.5.4x6.7.8x8.9x8x9 lh12

This one wins both the ĎBestí and ĎWorstí 12-bell Method of the Month award for January by virtue of being the sole applicant. Bowcliffe is largely similar to methods seen in this column before (Bowyer and Queenscliffe - hence the name) with Newgate above the treble and bells below ordered so that you get Bristol music off the front around the half-lead. All variations on tried and tested themes, but very worthy to ring I have no doubt: if youíve got it, then flaunt it! The X-File offices have been privileged, on this occasion, to have been show the composition:

5136 Bowcliffe S Maximus
Comp. Paul N Mounsey

23456    M 6/O/7 W   H
43526    -   x   -
32546          A
24365        x
34625    -   x   -
63425          A -   -
32654        x
42356        x   - 
23456          B      

A = Singles at leads 5 - 12 inclusive. B = Singles at leads 6 - 13 inclusive.
S = 1290

Courses A and B are both 19 leads long (home-home) and keep bells 2, 3 and 4 in 9ths, 11ths and 12ths at all the singles. The effect is to move them through all the other bells so that, for example, the back-bell coursing-order TE975680 cycles through E975680T, 975680TE, 75680TE9 etc. etc.. This means that you generate roll-ups on the back-bells off the front by the truck-load in the ĎBristolyí bits where the bells run round in their natural coursing-order. Clever stuff!

Commonwealth Surprise Major : x5x4.5x5.36.4x4.5.236x6.3 lh18

Just another Bristol variation? No! Bristol above, yes, but with a j method group so that the music is distributed throughout the course a bit more. This feature is not always easy to obtain in Surprise Major where you donít have long to get from where you are to where you want to go in the space of one lead, especially if you want to get some music off the front on the way. Commonwealth has 87** and **78 off the front 7 and 3 times respectively even if you have to have the 1238 place-notation to get them. The G falseness is not insurmountable and I expect Philip Saddleton quite easily did the method justice.

Old Trout Surprise Royal : x3x4x5x36.2x4.3.4x4.5.4x4.5 lh10

Old Trout had previously been rung in Spliced S. Maximus, but it gets in the review anyway because itís always good to have the opportunity to be rude to people and this time itís Mrs Reganís turn, after whom, I suspect, the original was also named. Now that thereís a Young Trout too, Iím expecting Roe D. and Proud Pike S.. Back to the method: nice and simple really with mostly just plain hunt on 4 on the front and Cambridge above with the 7-8 places replaced by a double-dodge. Nothing terribly original, but plenty of mobility with the k1 group and straightforward generation of music.

Yelford Surprise Major : x3x4x56x236x2x25.34x4.5 lh 12

Yelford has been specially composed for lovers of In-and-5ths. In fact, it requires I/5ths to remove all the nasty falseness and generate music off the front. Itís almost as though the method should be 6 leads long with a place-notation 14 at the end of leads 2 and 4 in its own right. Iíve not seen a method quite so dedicated to the I/5ths cause before, and it merits a mention here on that novel basis. Yelford is Uxbridge above with the same method group so that the 5678 and 6578 roll-ups occur in the first and last leads of the plain course which are clear of falseness. All 5 false-course-heads occur in leads 3, 4 and 5 and can be snipped out by I/5ths. In doing so, you get the lead ends 18***7**, 1*87****, and 1*7*8***. In these leads in this method you get pairs of bells working in 1-2 and 3-4 from positions 3-4 and 2-6 at the lead-end giving loads of 87** and **78 roll-ups off the front. You get just 1 such roll-up without I/5ths and all the falseness thrown in. With a bit of work, you should be able to get all 24 5678s and 8765s at both the back and the front.

Catís-Eye Surprise Major : x5x4.5x2.3x2x5.4x4.5 lh18

This is super! Thereís very little more to say: big dodges (5ths to 8ths place) above the treble and a somewhat static but extremely musical work below in which bells meet twice in the same place, once in each half of the lead. This has the very attractive consequence that if itís messed up the first time, thereís another stab later on the same lead. Catís-Eye is truly a method for ringers and not theorists - if thereís ever a case for recommending a method for peal-bands looking for something new to do, this is it!

Zimbabwe Surprise Royal : 3x3.4x2x3.4x4.58.4x36.7x78x9 lh10

This monthís handbell offering is Zimbabwe from Bernard Grovesí band in Reading. Nearly London No.3 above (9ths place bell waits in 7-8 for the treble while 3 dodges go on at the back) and a work below giving 5 234567s and 5 098765s off the front in the plain course. Below the treble itís a bit static (6 dodges on the front, 4 in 3-4 and 5-6) and, as an a group method, might do better with the 3rd as the pivot rather than the tenor giving a more mobile b group method.

Jasper Surprise Major : x34x4.5x2.3x4x3.6x4.3 lh18

BYROC came into play for this one - and Iím not surprised: the falseness is pretty hairy and littered through the centre section of the course. However, itís another of Tony Coxís cracking methods with roll-up potential (either at the front or back) in every lead. Bits of the method resemble Glasgow and other bits Belfast. The same method with Belfast above is Garnet S.. Why does Tony Cox get two methods in this monthís review? Because theyíre GOOD - all the others must try harderÖ..

This file is now closed.


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