The X-File (No.5) - May 1996

So, with Euro ‘96 been and gone, and football presumably still in the pub (it certainly hasn’t come home yet), we turn our attention back to the days when Newcastle were still "top of the league".

Everything seems to be Euro-this or Euro-that these days. They’ve even got they’re hands on our sausages. It could only be a matter of time before the Euro-bureaucrats get their hands on bellringing, and this might, indeed, have some interesting ramifications. For starters, presumably all "methods" will be banned for being discriminatory against treble-ringers, to be replaced with equal-opportunity principles. Odd-bell ringing will have to take place without a tenor cover for the same reason. Bands fielded in the National 12-bell contest will have to consist of 6 males and 6 females, leaving the College Youths in the difficult position of having to invoke the "old women" clause. And, of course, the Ladies Guild will be driven underground. So, some compensations then, but now might be good time to renew your subscription to "Euro-Sceptic Monthly" ..........

May’s X-file is, of course, firmly rooted in Great British soil ........




Rung at




Bath & NE Somerset



Barrow Gurney


A J Cox


Zed Alley


cps(in) a2c(out)



A J Cox





Weedon Bec


J R Mayne


Iceland Spar



Barrow Gurney


A J Cox


Melrose Abbey





D D Smith







I North




cps(in) c(out)



D C Brown


Bath & Northeast Somerset Surprise Major : x3x4x256x6x2x5.36x6.5 lh12

Despite obviously being designed to contain the falseness groups BNS (check the name), this method manages to combine the delights of Uxbridge above the treble with an interesting wrong-place frontwork that has 8765s and 8765s, with possibilities for some 5678s, as well as some other pleasing combinations. The falseness is, however, horrific, and it seems as though even Tony Cox has snookered himself with this one. Tight cue-ball control required.

Zed Alley Surprise Royal : x78x4x278x3x34x5x6x7x6x9 lh10

This right-place method has the look of "Cornwall on 10" about it, with the Major’s places round the lead-end moved up to 7-8 and the bells in 56 and 9-10 doing 3 dodges. This provides some unusual rollups (like 568790s) as well as more conventional fayre, whilst a treble-bob based work on the front rotates 6 coursing bells to give 567890s and some 0987s. Good - but I think, given the choice, I’d have left the Cornwall places in 56 (and moved the 12 notation to avoid the extra falseness).

Duddeston Surprise Major : 3x5.4.56x56.3.2x4.5.4x4.5 lh12

Duddeston combines a wrong hunting start with some vaguely Kent-style places in 56 to give the various roll-up positions with a 7568 and a 2468 thrown in for good measure. On the front, a slight fiddle produces a coursing quadruplet hunting on 4 with the middle lead of the course producing 2 8765s and a 5678. For a method of this lead order there is surprisingly little front-back movement, and the B falseness needs care to be avoided, but otherwise plenty to look forward to.

Iceland Spar Surprise Major : 3x56.4x56.3x2x3.2x4.7 lh12

Melrose Abbey Surprise Major : 3x56.4x256x3.4x4.5.4x36.7 lh12

Cotterdale Surprise Major : 3x56.4x56x3.2x4.5x4x5 lh12

Remarkably, these three methods, all from different stables, use exactly the same work above the treble, that of a wrong hunting start to Stedman whole-turns in 56 and double fishtails at the back. It some ways it is equally remarkable that identical methods aren’t being rung by different bands as has happened in the past ("Philip" and "Tuesday" in 1986 for example). Below the treble the methods are distinctively different. Iceland Spar utilises a combination of points and 4-bell hunting giving 8765s in 3 leads. Melrose Abbey engineers roll-up possibilities in 5 leads of the course, and has more of a look of London about it. The plain course has 5678s in 2 separate leads, with the unfortunate side effect of E falseness. Cotterdale has Bristol-style work with a dodge at the half-lead, and has 4 8765s and a 8756 confined to the middle-lead of the course. You pays your money and you takes your choice .........

Lothian Surprise Royal : x5x4.5x5.36x4.7.58x4x7x458x1 lh10

Lothian is both mx and purely Bristol above the treble, so no complaints there. The below work consists of right dodging and hunting for the front 4 and some double dodging in 56 and places in 78 to turn the other bells round. 4 7890s and 2 0987s occur when the tenor is 2nds and 3rds place bell, but several leads of the course are devoid of any potential for music off the front. However, this looks straightforward to ring and a good choice for a band wanting a Bristol-style repeating lead method.

Anyone for Tennis?

This file is now closed.


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