Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers

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Change Ringing on Handbells

Glossary of Terms

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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


"Abel" is the popular name of a computer program which produces both a moving display and bell sounds as near to the sounds one would expect in a belfry or handbell room.
Many powerful extra features are available including an extensive library of methods, moving displays of handbells or bellropes, method lines, and striking reports.

Abel seems initially to be a little tricky but most learners seem to overcome any early difficulties.

For handbell ringers a "front end" system is extremely beneficial, this includes "Motion Controllers" and a piece of Software called Handbell Manager.

During the 2019 / 2020 Covid pandemic, Motion Controllers were redeveloped as e-bells; e-bells have the same functionality as Motion Controllers, but have the look and feel of handbells.

For more internet information go to: Handbell Manager and Abel

Handbell Manager and Abel give handbell change ringers an unparalleled opportunity to practice method ringing without needing other ringers. The system is not without pitfalls for the unwary, but overall is a tremendous step forward. Our notes and advice on the use of Abel are on this website, see Using a Simulator.

Site Sections:


"Alliance" is a category of Method.


"ART" is an acronym for "Association of Ringing Teachers".
See ART Website for internet information.


An artefact is a small piece of work taken from a blue line. that has a meaningful name as an aid to memory. A classic example for handbell ringing is a "scissors dodge".

Example artefact: A Scissors dodge

Diagram: 02 Blue Line Artefact: Scissors dodge.


Backchange and Backrounds (both horrible words) mean, "reverse rounds. "


See "Handstroke and Backstroke".

Backward Hunting

In Backward Hunting a bell leading for a Whole Pull (two blows) makes the first blow at Backstroke and the second at Handstroke.


B&D and BnD(sic) is shorthand for Beverley and District Ringing Society, see Old website and Newer website.


Before is the calling position in minor or major, where the tenor runs out at a bob.


Ringing a bell such that it is hit once by the clapper is often refereed to as one blow.

Blue Line

Early collections of methods, published in Yorkshire by William Snowden, had the treble picked out with a red line, and the tenor with a blue line.

The use of a (blue) line diagram is one aid to remembering and hence ringing a method, in handbell ringing this becomes a double blue line.


"Bob" (1).
Generic noun for describing change ringing methods where the treble is a fixed bell, and the other bells follow different paths to make the changes.

"Bob" (2).
As in "Bob Minor" is bellringers shorthand for Plain Bob Minor.

"Bob" (3).
A type of call used in order to vary the number of changes rung before returning to rounds. c.f. "Single".


A call is a temporary change in the structure of the method, two types of call are commonly used, "Bobs" and "Singles".

For seconds place methods such as Plain Bob etc., on this website:
"Bob" changes the place notation at the lead end, from 12 into 14
"Single" changes place notation at the lead end from 12 into 1234

For sixths place methods (such as Kent Treble Bob) on this site:
"Bob" changes place notation at the lead end from 16 into 14
"Single" changes place notation at the lead end from 16 into 1456

For more information on bobs and singles, please see: Ringing Touches of Plain Bob Minor.

Calling position

A calling position is a specified point in the plain course of the work of a method for the observation bell. The sequence in which positions arise depends on the method, and specifically which bell is the pivot bell.

We will use major, with tenor as observation bell, as the most straightforward example of calling positions. The calling positions are then: Wrong, 5ths, 4ths, Before, In, Middle, Home
of which only Wrong, Before, Middle and Home are commonly used. In Royal and Maximus the standard calling positions are Wrong, Middle and Home.

For sixths place methods (such as Kent Treble Bob Minor) on this site:
"Bob" changes place notation at the lead end from 16 into 14.
"Single" changes place notation at the lead end from 16 into 1456.

Cardinal Method

Cardinal Methods have great sigificance in developing handbell ringing skills. Detailed study of Plain Bob, Kent & Oxford T.B., Cambridge S., and London S. in the Minor and Major stages is of great value.


Change ringing on nine bells, see also Stage Names.

Central Council

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (a.k.a. CCCBR) is the elected governing body for all change ringing.


Change normally means change-row.


The chromatic scale includes all semitones in an octave (both black and white notes on a piano).
Change ringing is performed using a diatonic scale.
See Wikipedia entry.


Change ringing on eleven bells, see also Stage Names.

Combination Rollup

See Rollup

Come round

When a touch returns to rounds it is said to "come round".


Complib is a powerful website and database containing literally thousands of methods and related compositions.

Complib functionality includes a detailed technical analysis of each method, plus the ability to generate a classic blue line with Place Bell Numbers or pair of blue lines for a plain course or touch. (Tip, settings button, play with the line weight).

Complib will prove your composition in real time as you enter the calls and method(s).


The sequence of calls used by the conductor in a touch. is known as the composition.


The conductor is the person that makes the calls in a touch.

The essential responsibilities of the conductor are (in priority order):
a) To ring his or her own bells correctly
b) To make the calls correctly
c) To check the accuracy of the ringing
d) To assist other ringers to recover from mistakes.

A fuller definition of the responsibilities of a conductor are published on the Change Ringing wiki.

Course End
Part End

A plain course of a method is a piece of ringing that begins and ends in rounds and does not include any "calls".

A course of a method within a touch will normally relate to the "observation bell" returning to its natural position. Such a course does not necessarily have to contain the same number of changes as the plain course.

When a touch is written down it is normal to lay out the calls in a grid with columns representing the "calling positions", and each row representing a course, or logical set of courses.
At the end of each line of the "composition", the related change row will normally also be written down, so that the conductor can check that there have been no errors of transcription.
This change row is known as the Course End. On this website we have also provided the coursing orders at each course end.

When a touch is made up of several identical blocks of work, each block is known as a Part. The last change row of a part is the "Part End".

The following two examples are laid out as a standard grid with calling positions across the top and with the calls along the rows.

120 Plain Bob Minor

120 Plain Bob Minor - Wrong Home Wrong Home

Wrong 4ths Before In Home 23456 53246 Changes

Bob Bob 45236 35426 60
Bob Bob 23456 53246 60

Total 120

In this touch, the first course end is 145236 with the related coursing order 35426, the second course end shows the touch coming round.

360 Plain Bob Minor

360 Plain Bob Minor - WHW x 3

Wrong 4ths Before In Home 23456 53246 Changes

Bob Bob 45236 35426 60
Bob 34256 54326 60

Repeat twice Total 3 X 120

The above is the first part in a three part touch and hence the second course end is also the part end, (change row 34256 / coursing order 54326).


In the simple structures of Plain Hunting and Plain Bob, certain pairs of bells have a fixed relationship which keeps those bells close together. The best example is 5-6 in the plain course of Plain Bob Minor. For 4 of the 5 leads, bells 5 and 6 never ring more than 1 blow apart. Only in the middle lead of the plain course are they split apart into the "2-3 hunting" pattern. In that lead, when the bells are three blows apart, the central bell each time is the treble.

On higher numbers, the relationships last longer and hence is even more useful to the ringer. E.g., the coursing pair, 7-8 to Plain Bob Major has 6 leads at 1-apart, and one lead at 3-apart.

Coursing Order

The coursing order, which stems from the simplicity of the structure of Plain Hunting, is visible in Plain Bob Minor in several ways. To see this we need to see how the position of treble relative to the working bells, varies from lead to lead, but how the other bells remain constant to each other:

In the plain course of Plain Bob Minor, the bells lead in the order
2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 1, 3, 2, 4, 6, 5, 1, 5, 3, 2, 4, 6, 1, 6, 5, 3, 2, 4, 1, 4, 6, 5, 3, 2, 1.
Taking out the treble, leaves:
2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 2
Which can be further simplified to
2, 4, 6, 5, 3. (N.B. this is a cyclic pattern, with no start nor end, but most easily typed in a line).
A brief look at the numbers for Plain Bob Minor will reveal the same pattern for bells lying behind.

The treble passes bells in the first lead of Bob Minor viz: 2, 4, 6, 5, 3, 2, 4, 6, 5, 3

This cyclic pattern is known as the coursing order, and the specific sequence above is the coursing order for the plain course, and is also known as the Natural Coursing Order.

Natural Coursing Order

"2, 4, 6, 5, 3" is the Natural Coursing Order, and is most often written down as 53246. This re-ordering puts the tenor, (Bell No6) at the end of the coursing order so that when the tenor is used as the observation bell for touches, the bells affected by the calls occupy consistent sets of positions within the coursing order. Specifically a bob wrong always affects the first three bells (5,3, and 2 in the natural coursing order), and a bob home always affects the middle three bells.

The nature of coursing is a significant help to ringers especially in the simpler methods, and the actual coursing order will normally be checked by the conductor as ringing progresses.

Further notes on Coursing Order can be found viz:
Ringing Techniques
Method Progressions

Coursing round the treble

A coursing pair in Plain Bob makes seconds place over the treble at successive lead ends the other bell ringing 3-4 up and then 3-4 down. In the intervening lead the pair are hunting in the 2-3 pattern, 3 apart, and the centre bell of the 3 is the treble. When the pair meet and cross, the treble lies behind them.

In the plain course, the half lead is also half way through the course, 1-2 pair are in opposites, and the bells ring rounds with the treble shunted to lie behind. So, in Plain Bob Major for example, the half way change is 23456781.

Coursing round the treble may also be called "The Split Lead" or "The Parted Lead".


A covering bell stays in place behind the other bells that are ringing changes. e.g. In Stedman Doubles on 6, bells 1 through 5 ring the method whilst 6 rings continuously in 6th place.


CRU is an acronym for Combination Rollup.


Most ringing is performed using bells tuned to a scale where the tonal spacing is the same as the white notes on a piano being played in the key of C. C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C, the separation pattern being tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone.
See Wikipedia entry.


Delight is a type of method, a sub class of Treble Bob.


A dodge is a single step backwards in a hunting path.
On 6 bells, hunting up is the progression through the places 1-2-3-4-5-6.
A dodge in 3-4 up is then ringing in the places: 1-2-3-4-3-4-5-6.

Double Dodge

A double dodge is the repeat of a dodge in a hunting path.
A double dodge 3-4 up is then ringing in places: 1-2-3-4-3-4-3-4-5-6.

Dodge Home

In Plain Bob Minor, using the tenor as an observation bell, dodging 5-6 down is known as "dodging home" (Bell No 6 rings in 6ths Place at backstroke).

Dodge Wrong

In Plain Bob Minor, using the tenor as an observation bell, dodging 5-6 up is known as "dodging wrong". (Bell No 6 rings in 5ths Place at backstroke).

Parallel Dodge
Scissors Dodge

A Parallel Dodge occurs when a pair of bells is hunting in the same direction and they simultaneously dodge.
A Scissors Dodge occurs when a pair of bells is hunting in the opposite directions and they simultaneously dodge.


Change ringing on five bells, see also Stage Names.

The Extent

The maximum number of unique sequences on any given number of bells is known as "The Extent". The figures up to 8 bells are:

  • 3 bells: 6 change rows
  • 4 bells: 24 change rows
  • 5 bells: 120 change rows
  • 6 bells: 720 change rows
  • 7 bells: 5,040 change rows
  • 8 bells: 40,320 change rows

NB. On 5 bells an extent is also referred to as a "120", and on 6 it is also referred to as a "720".


When a touch duplicates changes it is known as "false", as opposed to "true".


When the rhythm breaks down to the point that bells are clashing together, or out of order, it is termed a "fire-up".


On tower bells, the act of ringing all of the bells in a manner which makes them all sound at the same instant is called firing. The apppropriate use of this is as a special celebratory sound. When performed well, the sound has a special, explosive quality.

Forward Hunting

In forward hunting a bell leading for a whole pull (two blows) makes the first blow at handstroke and the second at backstroke. See also Backward Hunting

Forward Minor

Forward Minor is a principle, Place Notation: 34-34.16.
Click Forward Minor Blue Line to see the blue line.


See Method Grid.

Half Lead

The pattern of the treble dominated methods is symmetrical about the point where the treble makes a place (other than at lead); in Plain Bob Minor or Double Bob Minor the place is 6ths place, in Little Bob Minor, it is 4ths place.

The point at which the treble makes this place is known as the "Half Lead".
See also Lead.

Handbell Stadium

Handbell Stadium is a web based system designed for simulating handbell ringing. Solo practice (offline) and online collaboration are both available. See Internet Ringing for more details


For "Handrail", see Staging Post.

Handstroke and Backstroke

Handbells are rung alternately upwards (a.k.a. handstroke) and downwards (a.k.a. backstroke).
These equate to the pull on the sally (handstroke) and tail end (backstroke) on towerbells.


When the tenor dodges back to its starting position (5-6 down in Plain Bob Minor), it is dodging "Home". (See also "Wrong).

Up, Out, In, Down

The continuous progression of a bell, one place at a time, either:
Up or Out,
between lead and lie, striking in 1st place, then 2nd place, then 3rd place, etc.
Down or In
between lie and lead, striking in 6ths place, then 5ths place, then 4ths place, etc.

The (modern?) fashion or replacing the word "hunting" with the word "hunt" upsets the wrinklies (a.k.a. this webmaster) and should be avoided.


An "inside" bell does the work of the method, as opposed to the treble which does not. On handbells, ringing 1-2 is a specialist calling, other pairs are known as "inside pairs".

Internet Ringing

Collaboration with ringers across the internet became possible during CY 2020. See Internet Ringing for more details

Irregular / Regular

For the purposes of this website, "regular" minor methods have:

  • Lead ends as found in plain bob (but not necessarily in that order)
  • No 5ths away from the half lead
  • No more than two consecutive blows in any one place (except at a single)
  • Either 12 or 16 when the treble leads

The vast majority of methods described on this website are regular methods.

Irregular methods contravene one or more of the above requirements. For an example of an irregular method, see Kirkheaton Treble Bob Minor


"Kings" is the name for a special change row; on 6 bells: 531246.

Lead, or leading

Lead (1)(v)

The first bell to ring in a sequence is "leading".

Lead right

Two blows at lead made handstroke then backstroke is known as "leading right".

Lead wrong

Two blows at lead made backstroke then handstroke is known as "leading wrong".

Full Lead

Lead (2)(n) Full Lead

In a treble dominated method, like Plain Bob, one execution of the method pattern is known as a "lead", or as a "full lead". The first 12 changes of Plain Bob Minor is a "Full Lead"; see also Half Lead.

Lead End
Lead Head

In the treble dominated methods one excursion of the treble hunting up to the half lead, and back down to lead is known as a Full Lead. The Central Council methods collections have the handstroke row of the treble's lead as the Lead End, and the backstroke as the Lead Head (being the first change row of the following Full Lead).

This is both logical and correct, but the term "Lead End" is also commonly used to indicate
a) the pair of rows when the treble leads and
b) the backstroke row where the dodges take place (if any), i.e. where the place bell(s) for the next Full Lead is/are defined.

See also Half Lead.

Lead Head Code

The various methods that have the same structure and backstroke change as the treble leads generally have the same set of compositions. Hence the various methods can be grouped to make the compositions more readily available.

The various groups have been allocated a code letter (the Lead Head Code) within the Central Council Framework for Method Ringing.

To lie behind, or lying

The last bell (e.g. 6th of 6) to ring in a row is "lying".
Ringing more than one blow as the last bell is "lying behind".


Little is a class of method.


Change ringing on eight bells, see also Stage Names.

Make (a place)

The instruction "make 4ths" means ring two consecutive blows in 4ths place.
Right Places are made Handstroke then Backstroke
Wrong Places are made Backstroke then Handstroke

Make (a bob)

The instruction "make the bob" means ring two consecutive blows in the place as defined for the bob for the method.
In Plain Bob (all stages), the bob is made in 4ths place.
In Kent T.B. (all stages), the bob is made in 4ths place.
In Glasgow S. Major, the bob is made in 6ths place.


Change ringing on twelve bells, see also Stage Names.


"Method" is the generic name for the pattern used to produce changes.

The following notes give information relating to the small number of methods covered on this website and experienced by most ringers. For a deeper exposition of the science please visit the: CCBR Method Ringing Framework

There are several categories of method:

  • Plain:
    The treble hunts without dodging.
  • Treble Bob:
    The treble hunts and dodges at each pair of places, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 etc.
    In pure treble bob such as Kent or Oxford, when the treble hunts all of the bells hunt.
  • Delight and Surprise:
    As per treble bob, but when the treble hunts, internal places are made.
  • Alliance:
    The treble has a path which may include plain hunting through dodging positions and normal dodges, together with other, non standard blue line artefacts.
  • Little:
    The treble hunts but does not reach the maximum hunting extent for the number of bells being rung.
  • Principle:
    All of the working bells, including the treble, do the same work.
    The classic example of a principle is Stedman.

These categories also apply to higher numbers of bells.

Distinctions amongst Treble Bob, Delight, and Surprise:
The method types are defined by the places made as the treble hunts between dodging positions.

Method Name
Oxford Treble Bob
Woodbine Delight
Morning Exercise Delight
Cambridge Surprise

Place Notation
-34-14-12-16-12-16,16 (4ths place Delight)
-34-16-12-36-14-56,16 (3rds place Delight)

2nds / 6ths

The place made when the treble is leading is a key feature of the method and a general distinction is drawn between methods as seconds place methods or sixth place methods. Also, methods may be referenced by their lead-end relationship with another method; e.g. Reverse Bob is Double Bob with a sixth place lead end.

Method Grid

If we write out ("prick" out) the changes for one lead of a method, and join together all the numbers 1, then 2, etc., the resulting picture is the method grid. Traditionally the treble is coloured in red, and the tenor in blue.

Double bob change rows and grid

Diagram: Double Bob Minor - Change rows, Place Notation, and Grid.

The grid is a useful memory aid for methods beyond Plain Bob.

Method Rule

A method rule is a simple text statement which can be interpreted to create the sequence of places in which bells are rung.

For example, the rule for Plain Bob is:
Ring Plain Hunting until the treble leads. When the treble leads, 2nds place is made and the bells in 3-4 and 5-6 dodge.

Method rules build on easier methods to create method progressions. So, for example, the rule for Double Bob is:
Ring Plain Bob except when the treble lies behind. When the treble lies behind, 5ths place is made the bells in 1-2 and 3-4 dodge.

Method rules become a powerful aid to memory when used as a means of triggering a mental picture of the grid.


Middle is the "calling position" in major or above where bell number 8 is dodging 5-6 down.


Change ringing on four bells, see also Stage Names.


Change ringing on six bells, see also Stage Names.

Named Changes

A small number of change rows have been given specific names, the most common being Rounds, Queens, Kings, Tittums, and Whittingtons. See Popular Changes.

Natural Coursing Order

See notes on Coursing Order.

Observation Bell

The observation bell is used by the conductor of a touch as a means of knowing where to make calls.

Open Handstroke Lead

In almost all change ringing, the rhythm is defined in blocks of two rows, a handstroke and a backstroke. These two rows are rung together without pause, and with an even spacing between each bell.
Between each block of two rows a small pause is inserted, this serves further to emphasise the rhythm of the ringing and is known as an open handstroke lead. The pause occurs after the last bell to ring at backstroke, and hence before the first bell to ring at handstroke.

Order of Work

Take a double blue line and distil from it an ordered list of the key pieces of work. This list is your "Order of work".

Parted Lead

Parted Lead.

See Coursing round the treble.


Peal n (1).
A generic name for a set of tower bells.

Peal n (2).
A piece of ringing or touch containing a minimum of 5,000 changes, and rung with minimum or (on 7 bells or more) no repetition of sequences (or rows) of bells.

The lowest number of bells where a peal can be rung without any repetition is 7, the extent being 5,040 changes. On 6 bells, the extent is only 720 changes, and hence 7 extents need to be rung to achieve the minimum of 5,000 changes for a peal.

Peal a (3).
See: Ringing Up / Down 'in Peal'

Pickled Egg Methods

Project Pickled Egg.
A review of the standard Surprise Major methods, from a towerbell ringer's perspective.

What would a larder be without pickled eggs?

For a deeper look please visit: Project Pickled Egg..
The review proposed the following 7 methods:


Kent T.B. to Oxford T.B. to Cambridge Surprise is a traditional progression in both Minor and Major stages. However, Norwich S. and Bourne S. have readily understandable relationships between Minor and Major and have been suggested by Stoecklin and Gay as an alternative route into ringing Surprise Major on handbells.

Picture Element

is the name given to the picture of part of a method grid.

Breaking a grid into constituent parts to make them easier to memorise is a valuable technique. The following example has been taken from Double Court Bob Minor.

 Double Court Bob Minor - element

Hunt and dodge 5-6 above

 Double Court Bob Minor - element

Dodge in 1-2, hunt above

 Double Court Bob Minor - element

Plain Hunting at half lead

 Double Court Bob Minor - element

Dodge in 1-2, hunt above

 Double Court Bob Minor - element

Hunt and dodge 5-6 above

 Double Court Bob Minor - element

Plain Hunting at lead end

On this website there are related notes under the following methods:
Double Court Bob Minor
Cambridge Surprise Minor

Pitman's Four

Pitman's Four Surprise Major Methods
The methods are: Cambridge, Superlative, London and Bristol.

Each of these methods is structurally elegant, and Pitman's classical one-part composition is available on Complib.

Pivot Bell

Pivot Bell
is the special name given to the bell that makes the place at the half lead.

The vast majority of treble dominated methods are palindromic, the pattern reflects at the half lead. Therefore the bell that makes the place at the half lead strikes the same place at handstroke of the following lead end as it started from.

In Plain Bob Minor, 6 leads when the treble lies behind, and hence is the pivot bell. It rings in 6ths place at the handstroke of the treble's lead and dodges back to 5ths because of the seconds place lead end. This generates change row: 135264.

Making a place

The position number of a bell within a change row is its place.
In Rounds, 123456, the bell number and the place number are identical.
In Queens, 135246, bell number 1 is in place number 1, bell number 3 is in place number 2, bell number 5 is in place number 3, etc.

When a bell rings in the same place on consecutive rows, it is said to be making the place.

Place Bells

The position of a bell or the positions of a pair of bells defines their work for that lead, they are often referred to as, for example: 4ths and 5ths place bells. The actual numbers of the bells starting in those places will be any 2 of the set 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Place Notation
Abbr: P.N.

Place Notation: what is it, what use is it?

Place Notation is simply a shorthand way of defining a ringing method by the places in which bells remain in the same place from row to row. It is used primarily as an economical way of specifying a method. See Double Bob for an example.

As ringers progress beyond Plain Bob into more complex methods Place Notation may also be used as a memory aid whilst ringing a method.

Because this site focuses mainly on right place minor methods the information below is given in that context for clarity, applying Place Notation to odd bell methods and higher numbers is not needed at this stage.

- specifying a method on 6 bells

Place Notation - the symbols

  • " - " : all pairs of bells change over ("-" may also be written "x")
  • "12" : the bells in lead and seconds stay in lead and seconds, all other pairs change over
  • "14" : the bell at lead leads for a second blow, and the bell in 4ths rings another blow in 4ths; pairs of bells in 2-3 and 5-6 swap over
  • "16" : the bell at lead leads for a second blow, and the bell in 6ths rings another blow in 6ths; pairs of bells in 2-3 and 4-5 swap over
  • "34" : the bells in 3rds and 4ths remain in place, the pairs in 1-2 and 5-6 cross over
  • "36" : the bells in 3rds and 6ths remain in place, the pairs in 1-2 and 4-5 cross over
  • "56" : the bells in 5ths and 6ths remain in place, the pairs in 1-2 and 3-4 cross over
  • "1234" : only the bells in 5ths and 6ths places cross over
  • "1456" : only the bells in 2nds and 3rds places cross over

Contiguous places

In methods where places are made between two rows and again between the immediately following two rows, the places are written down and separated by a "period" or "full stop". Eg:
Kent Treble Bob Minor: 34-34.16-12-16-12,16, Bob 14
London Surprise Minor: 36-36.14-12-36.14-14.36,12, Bob 14

NB. Mathematically the "1" of 12, 14 and 16, and the "6" of 16, 36 and 56 etc is redundant as being the place made by default. This is correct, but not easy to read.

Method Symmetry

Treble dominated methods are symmetrical about the Half Lead. The place notation for the second half of the lead is a mirror image of the first half, and this is usually represented by a comma.
The Place Notation then for Plain Bob Minor is, Plain Course: -16-16-16,12, Bob: 14, Single: 1234.

Method Symmetry is a useful shorthand for defining a method, but a serious pitfall for the unwary for learning a method. Often, the memory imprint of the method from half lead to lead is weaker than the first half lead.

- ringing a method on 6 bells

Using Place Notation - right place methods

When the external places, 1 and 6 are made from row to row, the bells between them cross over, and the alternation of this with no places being made from row to row produces plain hunting. The introduction of places other than 1 and 6 causes disruption to the hunting pattern and the classic example is Plain Bob where the introduction of 2nds place against the treble making 1sts causes the dodging in 3-4 and 5-6.

Going from this specific case to the general impact of internal places:
even numbered places (12, 14) cause dodging above the place,
odd numbered places (36, 56) cause dodging below,
34 causes dodging above and below.

Examples of Place Notation and the related method structure may be found on the pages on Double Bob, Treble Bob and Cambridge Surprise.

Contiguous places

In Kent Treble Bob: 34-34.16-12-16-12,16, the 34-34 has the same impact as -34- in Oxford T.B., i.e. the bells in 1-2 and 5-6 dodge. Because the places are adjacent, Kent T.B. is effectively a right place method.

In Cambridge Surprise: -36-14-12-36-14-56,12, 14 and 36 each create a 4 bell cage in which the bells hunt, and when the cages are adjacent as in the first half lead a bell hunts through each, starting in 6ths and travelling through to lead without dodging (6ths place bell, then 5ths place bell), in the second hald lead the reverse is true, see 2nds place bell and 4ths place bell.

Using Place Notation - wrong place methods

In treble dominated methods, the path of the treble is a right place path. When we come to methods like London Surprise, the working structure is mainly wrong place. The enjoyment of ringing London then is the constant transition between wrong place hunting work, then moving back to right place hunting to work with the treble, and then back into wrong place hunting.

This constant switching between right and wrong creates the blue line artefacts that make the method so interesting and so different from the pure right place methods.


In a plain method, the treble hunts without dodging.

Plain Course

Ringing a method, starting and returning to rounds without any bobs or singles is known as ringing a plain course. See also, Touch

Plain Bob

Plain Bob is a simple bell ringing method. On "n" bells, where n is 4 or more, Plain Bob comprises one hunt bell and n-1 working bells. When the hunt bell leads the bell in seconds place makes seconds, and the pairs of bells above 2nds dodge together. On odd numbers of bells the last, odd numbered bell is forced by the dodging to make 4 consecutive blows.

Ringing Plain Bob on handbells requires the ability to ring all of the Plain Hunting patterns.

Plain Hunting

Plain Hunting is the name for a method of ringing changes where the simplest possible path is chosen; bells step one place at a time towards lead or lie as appropriate, lead or lie, and then turn round and repeat the work in the opposite direction.

Plain Hunting is a fundamental component of almost all bellringing methods and is the most common first step into change ringing. Whilst plain hunting can be rung as a method (Original) in its own right, it is normally rung as a component of Plain Bob.

Plain Hunting can be rung on any number of bells from 3 upwards.

See Plain Hunting for more informationon Plain Hunting on 6 handbells.

Point Lead

When a bell hunts down, makes one blow at lead, and then hunts up, this is known as a point lead.

Popular Named Change Rows

The most useful named changes on 6, 8 and 10 bells are listed below


  •   6: 123456
  •   8: 12345678
  • 10: 1234567890


  •   6: 135246
  •   8: 13572468
  • 10: 1357924680


  •   6: 531246
  •   8: 75312468
  • 10: 9753124680


  •   6: 142536
  •   8: 15263748
  • 10: 1627384950


  •   6: 125346
  •   8: 12753468
  • 10: 1297534680


“Principle” is a class of method.


“Pull” is shorthand for "repeated dodge". E.g. a 3-pull in 5-6 is 3 consecutive dodges in 5-6.

Quarter peal

A quarter peal is a piece of ringing or touch, minimum length 1,250 changes. On 6 bells it should include at least one extent, or a 1440 in compliance with Central Council regulations for peals.


Queens is one of the standard, named changes, viz:
On 6: 1 3 5 2 4 6

Quick bell
Quick six

Quick, or hunting in quick, means to hunt in or down without the interruption of making a place.

The most common usage of "quick" is to refer to the quick bell in Stedman that, after double dodging 4-5 down, hunts 4ths, 3rds, 2nds, lead, lead, 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and then does more dodging work.

Stedman has two types of work for the front three bells, alternate forward and backward hunting for 6 change rows each. The quick bell does its work below 4ths, in a set of 6 change rows where the bells lead right. A.k.a. a quick six.

Regular / Irregular

For the purposes of this website, "regular" minor methods have:

  • Lead ends as found in plain bob (but not necessarily in that order)
  • No 5ths away from the half lead
  • No more than two consecutive blows in any one place (except at a single)
  • Either 12 or 16 (in Minor) when the treble leads

The vast majority of methods described on this website are regular methods.

Irregular methods contravene one or more of the above requirements. For an example of an irregular method, see Kirkheaton Treble Bob Minor

Reverse Rounds

Reverse Rounds, on 6: The change row 654321.

Ringing Up
Ringing Down

For safety, towerbells are normally left hanging mouth downwards when there are no ringers in the tower. When left in this state, a pull on the rope will merely make the bell swing from side to side.

To ring changes the bells need to travel full circle, from mouth upwards through 360 degrees to mouth upwards, and then through 360 degress in the opposite direction. The process of progressively adding more energy into the bell by co-ordinated downward pulls on a rope, until the bell is travelling through 360 degrees, is known as "ringing up".

And the process of progressively reducing the energy in the bell by co-ordinated oppositional muscle action on the rope, until the bell is stationary and mouth downards, is known as "ringing down".

A skilled band can start with the full set of bells mouth downwards, and ring the bells up such that they sound in the correct sequence, and with the larger bells joining in as the begin to "speak", and end in rounds with the instruction to stand. This is known as "Ringing Up in Peal".

The reverse process, starting from rounds, ringing progressively quicker, and particularly as the heavier bells fade away, is known as "Ringing Down in Peal".

Ringing Room

Ringing Room is an website designed for simulating both towerbell and handbell ringing across the internet. See Internet Ringing for more details

Rollup, and Combination Rollup

A Rollup is a pleasing sequence of bells within the changes and usually with the larger bells in their home position, e.g. 12435678.
A Combination Roll Up (a.k.a. CRU) is where two of the three bells 4, 5, and 6 ring in 5th and 6th places, with 7 and 8 in 7ths and 8ths.


Rounds is the standard starting sequence in all change ringing, it begins with the highest pitched bell (a.k.a. the treble) and proceeds in turn to the lowest pitched bell (a.k.a. the tenor), and normally uses a diatonic scale.

Rounds on six bells is normally represented as the sequence: 123456

The mathematical objective in change ringing is to avoid (7 bells and above) or minimise (6 bells and below) the repetition of rows once the ringing of a method has started. However, repetition of the special row, rounds, before the method ringing starts, and in order to settle into a good rhythm is normal. It is also normal on tower bells to repeat the special row, rounds, until the conductor calls stand.


In a "row" (a.k.a. change-row) each bell of the set being rung is rung once only, either at handstroke or at backstroke. Rows are normally represented by the numbers given to the individual bells.
In the following diagram (for the first lead of Double Bob Minor) the columns show:
H/B - Handstroke or Backstroke, the place notation, the change-rows, the method grid.

Double bob Change Rows and grid

Diagram: Double Bob Minor - Change rows and grid.


Change ringing on ten bells, see also Stage Names.


A rule is a simple text statement of the method structure, see Method Rules for examples.

Run in, run out

A bob called when a bell is about to dodge 3-4 down causes it to "run in".
A bob called when a bell is about to make 2nds place over the treble causes it to "run out".

For the context of "run in" and "run out", see Plain Bob - touches.

Seconds Place Method

"Seconds Place" in "Seconds Place Method" referes to the place made when the treble is leading. Double Bob and Cambridge Surprise are examples of Seconds Place Methods, as compared with Reverse Bob Minor which is a Sixth Place Method.

Many ringers prefer Seconds Place Methods as the place introduces a dodge at the lead end, that dodge then defines the Place Bell for the next lead.


In treble bob methods, the treble dodges in each pair of places, 1-2, 3-4, etc. The 4 change rows for each dodge are called a section of work, 1-2 section, 3-4 section, etc.

When the treble moves from one section to the following section, the work is known, logically, as a cross section. The places made at the cross section further define the class of method.


"Single" is a type of call.


Change ringing on three bells, see also Stage Names.

Sixths Place Method

"Sixths Place" in "Sixths Place Method" referes to the place made when the treble is leading in a minor method. Reverse Bob Minor is an example of a Sixths Place Methods, as compared with Cambridge Surprise which is a Seconds Place Method.

Many ringers prefer Seconds Place Methods as the place introduces a dodge at the lead end, that dodge then defines the Place Bell for the next lead.

Slow Bell
Slow Work

"Slow" is a name given to a specific piece of work within a course of a method, and usually including extensive work at lead and near to lead.

In the simplest Treble Bob methods, 2nds place bell is a slow bell, and spends the whole lead in 1sts and 2nds places until it runs out to thirds.

The classical example of slow work occurs in Stedman where the slow bell spends 30 consecutive changes below 4ths place. The commencement of this work includes making a place on the way down to lead, as compared to the quick bell which does not.

In the slow

When a bell is ringing the slow work it is decribed as "in the slow".

Split Lead

Split Lead.

See Coursing round the treble.

Stage Names

Stage Names.

Table of Stage Names

Diagram: Table of Stage Names.

Staging Post

Staging Post.

Handbell ringing is a mentally demanding activity, and ringing for extended periods such as a quarter peal can fail owing to tiredness. Many ringers develop the skill of using a slightly easier piece of method work, - a "Staging Post" that can be used to help overcome mental fatigue.

Stoecklin and Gay in their book "Change-Ringging on Handbells" document the same concept under the title "Handrails".

Examples of Staging posts include:

  • Slow work in Kent and Oxford
  • 3rds place bell in Cambridge Surprise

When learning a complex method, look for "the easy bits", they help you get ready for the harder parts.


The command: "Stand" means stop ringing after the next backstroke; the usage is from towerbells where it is customary to stand the bells, mouth upwards, at handstroke after a piece of ringing.

NB: "Stand and Deliver"!


Stedman (1):
Fabian Stedman was a 17th Century bellringer who published one of the earliest books on the art of change ringing, and gave his name to "Stedman" - the method.

Stedman (2):
A bellring method (class: principle) for odd numbers of bells, comprising alternate blocks of 6 change rows of forward and backward plain hunting on the front three bells, and double dodging in the alternate higher places 4-5, 6-7, etc.

Stedman (3) Half turn:
During the 30 changes of the slow work in Stedman, the slow bell has two separate single blows at lead. These are known as half turns, or alternatively "point lead".

Stedman (4) Whole turn:
During the 30 changes of the slow work in Stedman, the first and last lead comprise: two blows lead, one blow in seconds place, two more blows at lead. This is known as Stedman Whole Turn.


Striking is the word used by bellringers when referring to the:

  • Quality of the ringing
    A "well struck" touch will have the bells evenly spaced with the rhythm defined by the open handstroke leads
  • Quality of the bells
    The mechanics of a specific bell can sometimes require the ringer to take special measures to ensure good striking; such a bell is said to be "odd struck". This is not normally relevant to handbells.


Surprise is a sub-class of Treble Bob methods.


The Tenor is the lowest pitched bell (usually heaviest) that is being rung.


Tittums is one of the standard, named changes, viz:
On 6: 1 4 2 5 3 6


A piece of ringing in which bobs and or singles are called is known as a "touch".


Transposition is the changing of one sequence of numbers associated with a composition into another sequence. For example, a Bob Wrong will change the natural coursing order from 53246 to 32546.

The standard calling positions for major and higher numbers are (using the sequence for Plain Bob):
Wrong, Before, Middle, Home.
The associated coursing order transpositions for bobs are:

  • Wrong: 53246 becomes 32546
  • Before: 53246 becomes 65324
  • Middle: 53246 becomes 53462
  • Home: 53246 becomes 52436


The Treble is the highest pitched bell (usually lightest) that is being rung.

Treble Bob

"Treble Bob" is a class of method where the treble dodges in the even pairs of places.


A trip is a small mistake made during ringing. All human ringers make mistakes, an experienced ringer will be able to recover from their own mistakes, and will not be affected by others when they trip up.


Change ringing on seven bells, see also Stage Names.


When a touch avoids unnecessary duplication of change rows it is known as "true", as opposed to "false".


Up (1)

A bell that is hunting from lead to lie is hunting "up", and conversely hunting from lie to lead is hunting "down".

Up (2)

A towerbell that is ready for full circle ringing is said to be "up".


Whittingtons is one of the standard, named changes, viz:
On 6: 1 2 5 3 4 6

Whole Pull

A whole pull is two consecutive blows at lead.

Whole Turn

The phrase "Whole Turn" is ambiguous, it could mean either a "Whole Pull" (see preceding entry) or it could mean a Stedman Whole Turn. In practice, if you are not ringing Stedman then "whole turn" means the same as "whole pull".