Method ringing on Church bells

Animated Method ringing

Bells can be rung in ‘rounds’ where each bell follows the next in sequence; click here to see an animation of rounds on 6 bells (144K). Rounds soon get boring for both the listeners and the ringers but they can be varied by changing the order of the bells.

At first a conductor called the ‘changes’ to tell the ringers which pair of bells were to swap. ‘Call Changes’ are still rung in most church towers from time to time and are often the first thing a beginner learns after rounds (see our program !CallChnge). However, early in the 17th century ‘methods’ began to be developed where the order of the bells was changed according to a pattern memorised by the ringers. Some of the old methods, such as Grandsire and Plain Bob, are still popular today and are usually those learnt first by beginners because of their relatively simple pattern.

ringers in row

The RISCOS computer program we have written allows you to select a method for between 4 and 16 animated ringers and hear their bells; you choose your method, number of bells etc using a window shown below. When you click on the word ‘Look to’ you see this window above, but with the ringers ringing rounds arranged in a line, they start the method when you click on the words starting with ‘Go’. Below them is a small window showing the words the conductor calls in the tower. Below that are instructions for running the program. On the right is a display of the ‘method diagram’ built up as the method progresses.
The ringers can also be shown in a more natural arrangement - in a circle with a selected ringer in the front.

ringers in circle

This full version has a library of almost 200 common methods to which others may be added simply.

The picture on the right shows the first menu window where methods may be selected from the library and ringing conditions established. If you choose ‘Own Bell’ to be a number other than 0, you see your chosen bell in a ring.
!Methods menu

The programme can draw ‘blue line’ diagrams in many forms. These have been used to make several demonstration pages of simple methods on six and eight bells.
They are described here.

Click here to download the zipped version of !Methods (100K, version 1.50). You can also download a manual in PDF format (86K).

Page last updated 13 February 2023
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