The X-File (No.30) - June 1998

World Cup fever was apparently sweeping our method designers during May - they were presumably getting all of their new methods in in order to spend most of June and July in Des's company. How sensible. This month we've got 9 new specimens to look at, and several other methods were unlucky to have been rung in such an abundant month. There was still our fair share of David Beckhams though. Still, gives us a chance to give the X-file's Graeme Hick joke book a rest, I suppose.

Here's our June selection then, all of them capable of making it right through both halves without putting a foot wrong:




Rung at









D E Sibson


Banbury Cross


BDc (out)



D E Sibson







D Mottershead


Black Sheep


BOc (out)



G H Campling





Bristol, St Stephen


A J Cox




Ba2c (out)



P C Randall


Quag's Corner





D D Smith







J Brannan


Spitalfields Festival





S Jenner


Babybush Delight Major : x5x4.5x5.36x4x1. lh 18

You might think that there wouldn't be any m-group Bristol-above methods left, at least any decent ones, but you'd be wrong. Babybush's varied frontwork generates a variety of music with possibilities for 5678s or 8765s in four leads of the course, the plain course itself containing just 2 5678s off the front. The K falseness is not serious, but the musical opportunities aren't that plentiful, and it would be difficult to squeeze enough musical leads in to make a classic peal.

Banbury Cross Surprise Royal : x34x4x2x3.2x4.5.6x6.7x78x1 lh 10

"Ring a plain course of Banbury Cross" as the nursery rhyme goes. Not sure who the fine lady on the white 'orse is, but toes seems an odd place for her to put her bells. Still, if she does ring this method, there will at least be some truth in the assertion that she'll have music wherever she goes. The backwork starts with the standard, if somewhat brute-force, music generator of the bells from 5 to 10 all doing 3 dodges, after which they all just treble-bob about. Meanwhile, the below-work is wrongplace, but simple and full of movement, the main feature being fishtails whilst the treble dodges 9-10. Plenty of fun, and plenty of music, not too much difficulty - well worth a repeat performance.

Bishampton Surprise Major : 36x56.4.5x5.6x4x5.4x56.7 lh 12

Bishampton combines pure Glasgow (with a 2nds place lead-head) above the treble, with off-set Bristol-style work below. The bells on the front initially right-hunt to their points, which occur a blow earlier than in Bristol, and then the bells in 1-2 and 3-4 do a wrong double dodge across the half-lead whilst the bells in 5-6 make places. This provides Bristol-type musical possibilities off the front in 3 leads, coupled with the standard Glasgow music at the back. Unfortunately, the BDE falseness covers all the leads, the this will severely cramp any compositional style.

Black Sheep Surprise Royal : x3x4x5x36x4x8x34. lh 12

A quality method named after a quality beer, Black Sheep sports Cambridge above the treble until the treble dodges 5-6, giving firm assurance of all the usual roll-ups. Below the treble the work is also right-place save for a brief bit of wrong 4-bell hunting for 10 rows across the half-lead. Unfortunately, the music off the front is concentrated in one lead, but the 3 7890s, 2 8790s and back rounds are probably work waiting for. The blue-line does just have a slight tendency to be a bit static, but the time soon passes on the glorious bells at Northallerton.

Brunel Cinques : 1.3.E.

Most new principles deserve a brief mention on innovation and rarity grounds and Brunel is no exception. The figures are derived from Carter's Cinques in the Birmingham Version, but by swapping 3s in the place notation with 1s and vice versa. The result is a Stedman-esque frontwork with quick and slow all rolled into one, and a backwork which alternates double dodges with points (the same as Birmingham Carter's). Something different and certainly non-trivial for the Cinques repertoire.

Holmes Delight Royal : 3x5.4x5x1x4x5x4x5.4x2.5 lh 12

Whilst bearing the same work above the treble as St Olave (X-file 26) and Quinqagesimus (X-file 24), Holmes turns the bells round in 5-6 rather than 7-8, and thus produces an a-group method rather than the previous f-group ones. No mystery there then. What's on (aha!) the front? I hear you ask. Elementary, my dear readers. In fact the idea's not a million miles from that used in Bishampton (see above), but with some places in 1-2 around the half-lead to avoid repeating rows. The effect of this is a deluge of 7890s (6 in all plus an 8790) again, regrettably, clustered in just one lead.

Quag's Corner Surprise Major : x3x4x2x36.4x4. lh 12

This piece of Sussex craftsmanship uses the York start giving 8 5678s at the back in the plain course with the minimum of fuss. The frontwork concentrates on getting a coursing quadruplet working together and gives 2 8756s and 6578s and a 5678 in the 4th lead. For my money, the 56 place notation seems a little superfluous, but, hey, why not? What makes this method really reviewable is that David Smith has supplied the composition used. It just goes to prove that even if your method has falseness as tricky-looking as BDK, that doesn't mean you can't get a decent peal of it.

5152 Quag's Corner Surprise Major
Arr. David D Smith
 234567   O   W   I   V   M   F   H
 23564    -                       -
 36245    -                       3
 527346                   3   -    
 352647       3   -               2
 372546               -   3        
 427365               2       -    
 423567           -               -
 347265   -                   -    
 342567           -               -
 237465   -                   -    
 234567           -               -

Contains 24 5678s, 6478s, 4578s, 7568s, 8765s at the back; 8 5678s, 12 6578s, 10 8765s off the front; Queens.

This is just a 23-course block - one of those where you can remove blocks of 3 and end up with nothing - but it's just what's required for a method like this. The music is well spread throughout the peal, and has a nice balance of tenors-together and parted courses.

Saltby Bob Royal : x4x3x45x45x5 lh 12

Finally, this month, two methods which go to show that you don't have to have the treble dodging to have a good time. Saltby is basically hunting on 6 at the back and 4 on the front. Bells above 4ths place start with a dodge, the 6th goes in, and the rest hunt, turning round in 5ths place. The 4 bells left on the front hunt and dodge and generate 2 0987s and 2 7890s in the middle lead. The 1450 place notations are a bit of a blemish, and various versions with wrong hunting (and therefore without the 1450s) on the front are still unrung. Good and simple, but this might get just a little tedious after a while.

Spitalfields Festival Bob Major : x456x36.4.5x5 lh 12

The Spitalfields Festival is obviously an annual event, and one which is regularly commemorated by a peal of a good new method (see X-files 7 and 19). No change here then. The only problem is that in a couple of years time, after, presumably, they've rung a principle next year, Stan Jenner's either going to have to invent some new method classes, or, heaven forbid, they're going to have to get some more bells at Spitalfields. Still that's for the future. Back to the present now, and this year's offering is a quick-fire production with a straightforward backwork not far removed from Double Norwich, and a mostly wrong-place frontwork with double dodges across the half-lead.

5136 Spitalfields Festival Bob Major
Arr. Stanley Jenner
 234567   W   V   O   M   H
 53264    S       1       -
 43265                S   3
 32564                S   2
 63245    -       1       -
 53246                S   3
 32645                S   2
 43256    -       1       -
 26354                S   -
 273546       S       3    
 573246  (S)         (3)   
 632547  (S)  S           2
 32456                S   2

2 part, omitting () in part 2.
Contains 144 crus, 12 8765s and 8756s at the back; 20 5678s and 8765s off the front; Queens, Tittums and Backrounds.

This arrangement is basically a 6 part with a large insertion in part 3 and a smaller one in part 6 to give the split tenors courses. With a method like this, a composer can really just pick and choose whichever courses they want to include and then just join them together, but Stan has chosen to go for a more structured approach and the standard fayre of all the combination roll-ups plus some 8765s and 2468s. Neatly constructed though.

This month's top tip: Don't invite David Beckham into your peals - he makes too many trips.

This file is now closed.


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