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Treble Dodging Minor

  Treble Dodging Minor - Norwich Surprise

Norwich Surprise Minor

About Norwich Surprise Minor

Norwich Surprise Minor is the easiest surprise method to ring on handbells, and has a good extension to Major.

Surprise Minor methods are worth ringing in their own right, and as with all method learning the techniques relevant to Norwich S. Minor should be used with a view to their application to the more complex Major methods. With that in mind we have written up the learning approach of splitting the method grid into the six sections plus the associated cross section. This is a brilliant method to ring on handbells.

Table Sections

Tabular Index to the 147 Regular Treble Dodging Minor Methods.

Site Sections:

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells
Method Ringing

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells
Hull Project

A set of 12 handbells

Page Index

Norwich Surprise Minor is a static method except for half lead and lead end where it resembles Oxford Treble Bob. The method is known for the long series of dodges in 5-6 either side of the lead end.

Method Structure.

Place Notation:
X 34 X 14 X 12 X 36 X 34 X 16, 16 Bob 14, Single 1456.


Norwich Surprise Minor change rows with grid

Diagram: Norwich Surprise Minor, plain lead, change-rows and grid.

Plain Course structure
Norwich Surprise Minor is fairly static which helps with concentration and striking.


Learning Norwich Surprise Minor.

The Structure

The method leaves bells to perform work in 1-2, 3-4, and 5-6, the only cross-over taking place either as complementary work to the treble, or when the treble is leading or lying behind.

The Rules

Norwich Surprise Minor - the rules
Ring Oxford Treble Bob places (X 34 X) when the treble is in 1-2 or 5-6, otherwise, ring standard surprise (14 X 12 X 36) places and 16 at half lead and lead-end.

The rules are a memory aid, but (unlike Kent and Oxford) too complex as the sole approach to ringing the method to be used by someone new to Surprise, and too simplistic for an experienced Surprise Minor ringer.

Double Blue Lines

Double Blue Lines

Norwich Surprise Minor, 1-2

Norwich Surprise Minor on 1-2

Diagram: 6t.s.19.01 Norwich Surprise Minor, 1-2.


Norwich Surprise Minor, 3-4

Norwich Surprise Minor on 3-4

Diagram: 6t.s.19.02 Norwich Surprise Minor, 3-4.


Norwich Surprise Minor, 5-6

Norwich Surprise Minor on 5-6

Diagram: 6t.s.19.03 Norwich Surprise Minor, 5-6.

Place Notation


The Blue Line features worth noting are:
3-4 never dodge together in the plain course, but when one is ringing 2nds place bell, the other will be at the back, ringing either 5ths place bell or 6ths place bell.
5-6 spend a lot of time dodging together both in 1-2, and in 5-6.
The Norwich places are Cambridge places without the dodge for the lead end, and without the dodge for the half lead.

Place Notation and Grid

There is little to choose, except personal preference, between "simply" learning the place notation, or visualising the entire grid. However, the Section by Section learning technique shown below powerfully combines grid and notation with physical movement, and is broken down into manageable chunks.


This static method does not lend itself to Pictels except noting the similarities to Oxford Treble Bob.

Section by section

Section by Section

With an eye towards learning to ring Surprise Methods on the higher numbers, the 6 sections, each with a follow-on cross-section, are detailed below. This level of splitting is documented in the Bill Jackson articles (see Download page).

Section 1, 1-2 Up.

Norwich Surprise Minor Section 1

Section 2, 3-4 Up.

Norwich Surprise Minor Section 2

Section 3, 5-6 Up.

Norwich Surprise Minor Section 3

Section 4, 5-6 Down.

Norwich Surprise Minor Section 4

Section 5, 3-4 Down.

Norwich Surprise Minor Section 5

Section 6, 1-2 Down.

Norwich Surprise Minor Section 6

Learning by Sections

  • Memorise treble position and structure (either numerically or visually as you prefer), for each section.
    Perfect your memory of the structure of each of the 6 sections before moving to the next step.

  • Take each pair of bells at the starting point for section 1, and working in handstroke / backstroke couplets
  1. work through their positions using thumbs up for handstroke, thumbs down for backstroke

  2. keep your thumbs in the correct order for the bells inside the changes

  3. note their position at the end of the section
  • Repeat the process for each of the sections but using the new starting points for the pair.

    Ensure you can navigate your thumbs correctly through all 18 combinations of pairs (3) and sections (6) for all 5 leads of the plain course.

  • NB. Whilst similarities of the place notation elements make it easy to get lost this technique uses the unique work of the treble in each section as an aid to memory.

Example exercise: Pair: 3-4, section 1

Counting: (start with one whole pull of rounds)
1, 2, 3 Right thumb up, 4 Left thumb up, 5, 6
1, 2, 3 Right thumb down, 4 Left thumb down, 5, 6

Treble: 1-2 Up:
1, 2, 3 Left thumb up, 4 Right thumb up, 5, 6
3rds and 4ths
1, 2, 3 Left thumb down, 4 Right thumb down, 5, 6

1, 2, 3 Right thumb up, 4 Left thumb up, 5, 6
1st & 4ths
1, 2 Right thumb down, 3, 4 Left thumb down, 5, 6

Example exercise: Pair: 5-6, section 4

Counting: (start from crossing in 4-5 at backstroke at the half lead 243561)
Treble: 5-6 Down:
1, 2, 3 Right thumb up, 4, 5, 6 Left thumb up
3rds and 4ths
1, 2, 3 Right thumb down, 4, 5 Left thumb down, 6

1, 2, 3, 4 Right thumb up, 5, 6 Left thumb up
3rds & 6ths
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Right thumb down, 6 Left thumb down


Ringing Norwich Surprise Minor.

Track the treble

Awareness of the position of the treble is a key skill for most bellringing methods, and a significant help in ringing Norwich Surprise Minor. Some hints and tips for developing the skill are given in the techniques section.

Awareness of the position of the treble is a great help to keeping on track with the method. Norwich Surprise Minor is almost a rules related method.

The work of the treble is the key to Section by Section learning and ringing.

Positional Awareness

This method can be tricky to ring to know when long dodges finish and hunting starts. The half lead is particularly error prone.

Place Notation Elements

The method only contains 5 elements (X, 34, 14, 12, 16, 34), all of which will already have been rung.

Place Bells, Pivot Leads, and Staging posts

The place bell order for 3-4 is unhelpful, (3-4, 2-5, 3-6, 4-5, 2-6) where the order for 5-6 is 6-5, 4-6, 2-4, 3-2, 5-3 is much more useful. Most ringers tend to see the long dodging as a staging post.

Awareness of other bells

The manner in which coursing pairs make places together (when treble is dodging in 5-6), and go their separate ways to the other coursing bells is worth some study time.

Coursing Order in Norwich Surprise Minor

Norwich Surprise Minor preserves natural coursing order both in the dodges in 5-6 and in 1-2. The coursing order is a little bit screwed up at the half lead, but the lead end is, of course, fine.

Ringing the Method

Ring Norwich Surprise Minor because it's a surprise method with the added complexity that surprise brings to the ringing, and use it to develop section by section ringing coupled with tracking the treble.


Bobs and Singles.

Bobs replace the 6ths place at the Lead End with 4ths. This causes the bell that has just made 3rds to make the bob, make thirds once more, and then ring places down. As with Oxford TB., the bob introduces a dodge in 5-6 which connects with the method to create a 7-pull.

Singles Singles are similar to the singles in Oxford Treble Bob Minor, and are rarely used in Norwich Surprise Minor.


Touches of Norwich Surprise Minor.

As with Kent T.B., and Oxford T.B., 2nds place bell is the pivot bell, and hence the first lead end is 142635 giving calling positions from the tenor as:
Home, In, Out, 4ths, Wrong.

See Kent T.B. or Oxford T.B. for touches of Norwich Surprise Minor.