Gransden Church Bells & Training Centre


Fundamental Ringing Terms

Most activities have a lot of jargon associated with them. Listed below are some of the fundamental ringing terms which explain this specialized language.

 Back
The furthest position away from lead
 Backstroke The circle of movement of the bell caused by pulling the rope from the arms length position through to catching the sally
 Bearing Unit fastened to the frame by which the headstock is supported and in which the gudgeon rotates allowing the bell to swing
 Bell Hollow body of cast metal comprising 77% copper and 23% tin, so formed and tuned to emit when struck a clear musical note
 Blow The act of a bell being caused to sound in any particular place amongst the other bells
 Bob  A formula which alters the coursing order of three bells
 Boss A device to prevent the rope from chafing when passing through a floor
 Block, Pulley
Wooden structure containing the pulley over which the rope runs directly beneath the bell wheel
 Call See Bob and Single
 Call Changes
When the bells ring in the same order until the conductor calls the bells into a different sequence
 Campanology The art and science of change ringing - This term is not used by ringers
 Canons Loops cast into the crown of a bell by which it is suspended from a wooden headstock
 Caters Change ringing on nine bells. Extent 362,880 changes
 Central Council
 Inaugurated in 1891 to develop and promote the Exercise and arbitrate as required
 Change row
A numerical order in which all the bells on the same stroke sound once
 Check To restrain the upward movement of the rope causing the bell to travel a shorter distance
 Chime To swing the bell through a small arc until the clapper is made to strike the bell
 Cinques Change ringing on eleven bells
 Clapper Wrought iron, spheroidal graphite or composite device hung in the bell made to strike the soundbow at diametrically opposite points at 90 degrees to the axis of swing
 Close A short space between your bell and the one striking immediately before you
 Closed lead
When the bell leading in any change row is the same distance from the last bell in the preceding change
 Composition The arrangement of calls in any method to give a touch, quarter peal  or peal of a desired length
 Conductor A person (most usually one of the ringers) controlling the length of a touch by a sequence of calls, namely bobs or singles
 Course bell
The bell which proceeds you to lead
 Coursing order The order in which the bells come down to lead after the treble and is altered by a bob or single
 Cover bell
When an odd bell method is being rung on an even number of bells, the tenor strikes last in each change row and is said to be covering or ringing behind
 Crown The top or closed end of the bell attached to the headstock by bolts or cannons
 Crown staple
A loop of iron cast into the crown of the bell on which the clapper is mounted. Now superseded by an independent staple secured by a bolt running through the headstock and bell
 Date Touch
A length of ringing commemorating a particular date. The number of changes indicating the date. This could be the year date or that of a particular historic anniversary
 Dodge When two bells change places with each other twice and then continue in the direction in which they were going
 Doubles Change ringing on five bells
 Down Direction of hunting from back to front
 Draught Distance of the ringer to the bell, or to the first set of rope guides
 Exercise, The
bell ringing as a whole
 Extent The maximum number of change rows possible on any given number of bells
 False A composition containing a repetition of one or more change rows
 Flange The sides of the wheel which stop the rope from running off
 Flight An inverted conical extension on the ball of the clapper continuing the line of the shank
 Frame A structure of wood, metal or concrete which supports the bells
 Front The position in a change row that is taken by the bell which is first to strike in a change row
 Garter hole
The hole in the wheel through which the rope passes before being secured to the two upright spokes
 Go Command given by the conductor to commence changing out of rounds. Can also be the "go" of the bells - how easy is it to ring them?
 Gudgeon Bearing spindle incorporated into the ends of the headstock
 Half pull
One stroke, either hand or back
 Hammer. clock
 Independent hammer which strikes the bell mechanically from the clock or chiming apparatus
 Handstroke
The circle of movement of the bell caused by pulling on the sally and following through to the arms length position
 Hastings stay
A type of stay designed to eliminate the need for a slider, by using a movable toggle on the end of the stay which travels either side of the metal runner and stop at handstroke and at back stroke
 Headstock Wood or metal unit to which the bell is secured, and which is supported by a gudgeon and bearing in the frame at each end
 Hold up
Holding the bell on the balance to prevent it swing at either handstroke of backstroke
 Hunting Moving the position of the bells amongst the others to the adjacent position
 In In or down to the front of the change row
 Inscription Lettering cast in relief onto the outer surface of the bell. Often gives date, donor, maker and church wardens
 Inside Where a method has a treble hunt and/or tenor cover, the other working bells are known as the inside bells
 Lead In treble dominated methods, the section of changes between the treble leading
 Lead end
Generally considered to be the backstroke of the treble lead in treble dominated methods
 Lie to stay in the highest working place for more than one blow
 Long places
Four blows in any one place e.g. four blows in 5ths place in plain Bob Doubles is known as four blows behind
 Lower, to
To  successively reduce the swing of the bell from its raised position to its down position
 Major Change ringing on eight bells with the tenor turned in. Extent 40,320 changes
 Maximus Change ringing on twelve bells with the tenor turned in. Extent 479,001,600 changes
 Method Sequence of changes beginning and ending in rounds
 Minimus Change ringing on four bells. Extent 24 changes
 Minor Change ringing on six bells. Extent 720 changes
 Mouth The open end of the bell
 Muffle Leather pad strapped or otherwise fastened to the ball of the clapper to soften the sound
 Observation bell
The bell chosen by the conductor as his guide to making the calls
 Odd struck
The clapper striking the bell sooner after pulling off on one stroke than the other
 Out To move away from the lead towards the back
 Over To strike after a bell
 Peal  5,040 changes on any number of bells up to and including triples in complete extents. On eight bells and upwards 5,000 changes. Rules as determined by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
 Pit Space in the bell frame in which the bell swings
 Place Any position in a change row and is identified by the bell that occupies that position when ringing rounds
 Place, to make a
Is to strike two blows in the same position in two consecutive rows other than when leading or lying
 Plain course
 A specified number of changes in any method in which the bells start and finish in rounds without any calls being made
 Point To strike the bell once in any position and then returning the direction from which one has come
 Principle A method in which all the bells do the same work
 Pulley Small wheel over which the rope runs
 Raise To swing the bell from the down position to the up position
 Right To lead right is to strike the first leading blow at handstroke
 Quarter Peal
 A piece of ringing which is usually at least 1260 changes. There are no set rules for quarter peals.
 Ring The collective noun for a number of bells e.g. a ring of eight 
 Ring, to
The act of causing a bell to sound while swinging full circle
 Ringing behind
See cover bell
 Ropesight Recognizing the sequence of the bells by the order in which the ropes fall
 Rounds The change row in which the bells are rung in descending order
 Royal Changes rung on ten bells. Extent 3,628,800 changes
 Running board
Length of timber which controls the lattitde of movement of the free end of the slider by means of a slot in which the slider runs
 Sally Woolen grip woven into the bell rope
 Single  A formula which alters the coursing order of two bells
 Singles Changes rung on three bells. Extent 6 changes
 Slider Piece of wood beneath the bell pivoted at one end, the other sliding on the running board. The purpose is to provide a stop for the stay to rest against when the bell is in the up position
 Snap Same as a point, but used when the point blow is at the lead
 Soundbow The thickest part of the bell against which the clapper strikes
 Splice A repair or joining of ropes. Joining two or more methods together in the same touch
 Spoke Wooden struts of the bell wheel
 Stand To set the bell in the up position by means of the stay and slider
 Stay A piece of wood, usually of Ash, bolted to the headstock to rest against the slider when the bell is in the up position
 Sriking  The spacing of one bell from another
 Stroke One complete movement of the rope to make the bell sound once e.g handstroke or backstroke
 Tail end
The end of the rope held in the hand when ringing
 Tenor The bell in the ring having the lowest note
 That's all
 Instruction used to denote the return to rounds at the end of a plain course or touch
 Tied When the clapper is secured in the central position to prevent it striking bell when it is rung
 Touch Any number of changes starting and ending in rounds where calls have been introduced to deviate from the plain course
 Treble The bell in the ring having the highest note
 Triples Changes rung on seven bells with a covering bell. Extent 5,040 changes
 True  Infers that no change row in a composition is repeated
 Tuck The method of adjusting the length of the tail end
 Turn When the bell which is either leading or lying vacates that position and caused your bell to take its place
 Turn in
Term applied to the tenor when involved in changing rather than ringing behind
 Twidle pin
 A screw device on the clapper to slightly adjust its central position in the bell to enable equal striking on the soundbow at handstroke and at backstroke
 Up  When applied to bells it denotes they are raised ready for ringing
 Wheel A timber wheel fastened to the headstock at the opposite end to the stay
 Whole pull
A complete sequence of two strokes
 Wrong stroke
When pulling the rope on the backstroke when all the other bells ringing the same change row are on the opposite, or handstroke





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