Thinking allowed

bobs in Grandsire

I need to get my head around bobs in Grandsire Triples.

In Grandsire, the treble always plain hunts, and in a plain course one other bell plain hunts after it — bell 2 when starting from rounds. This other bell is said to be ‘in the hunt’. At a bob this bell leaves the hunt and joins the other bells in hunting and dodging, and one of the other bells joins the hunt in its place. How does this work?

If we are ringing bell 3, then starting from rounds we ring one blow at handstroke in third place and then hunt down to the lead, up to the back, and down again. Then we dodge in 4-5 down. The plain course continues with dodges in 6-7 down, 6-7 up, and 4-5 up. Then we make 3rds place, which brings us back to rounds.

When a bob is called the dodges are changed in the following way: the bell making 3rds place is unaffected and each of the other bells skips the dodge it would have done and instead double dodges the next dodge, so to speak. This has the following effect:

  • if we were going to make 3rds, then make 3rds as normal (‘last thirds’)
  • if we were going to dodge 4-5 down, then instead double-dodge 6-7 down
  • if we were going to dodge 6-7 down, then instead double-dodge 6-7 up
  • if we were going to dodge 6-7 up, then instead double-dodge 4-5 up


  • if we were going to dodge 4-5 up, then instead make 3rds place (‘first 3rds’) and join the hunt

and conversely

  • if we were in the hunt, then instead double-dodge 4-5 down, leaving the hunt.

In this bob, two bells each make 3rds place — first the bell which would have dodged 4-5 up, but which makes 3rds and goes into the hunt. This bell makes ‘first 3rds’ at the bob. Secondly, the bell which was going to make 3rds anyway — it does so and continues in the normal way, unaffected by the bob. This bell makes ‘last 3rds’ at the bob.

When set down in this way it is fairly easy to remember. All that has to be done is to remember this in the heat of the moment: that is, know which dodge you are about to do next, and consider in advance what you must do if a bob happens to be called. There, touches of Grandsire Triples made easy! Except that we have not yet considered the question of calls of ‘Single!’.

Footnote (24 August 2004): A further point about bobs in Grandsire Triples, is that when a bob is called you double-dodge in the place you are in at the moment of the call (unless you were going to dodge 4-5 up, in which case you make 3rds and go into the hunt).

1 Comment

Stedman and Grandsire

Had a few more attempts at ringing Stedman at Hemingford Grey last night. We rang a couple of plain courses of doubles: first time I rang bell number 2, and afterwards I tried number 3. Both times I got it right. Later in the evening — after more ringers had turned up — we rang triples. I rang bell 4, and started off making a mess of things. I was immediately put right by the conductor (‘lead now!’), and from then on I was okay. I realized at the time that I had probably gone wrong in exactly the same way as I had done the very first time I had tried to ring Stedman. But I could not see at all what I was doing wrong.

Later, when driving home, I worked out what I had probably done on both occasions. Bell number 4 starts by dodging once with 5 (i.e., from ringing in 4th place at rounds, you ring one blow in 5th, one blow in 4th, and then ‘go in slow’, that is, two blows in 3rd place and down to the lead). I had forgotten to do the dodge with 5, instead trying to go in slow immediately with the two blows in 3rd place. Obviously something to remember — not just ‘go in slow’, but ‘dodge 4/5 down’ first.

We also tried to ring a touch of Grandsire Triples, with me ringing bell 6. In a plain course of Grandsire Triples there are dodges in 4/5 up, 6/7 up, 6/7 down, 4/5 down, and then make 3rds. But I haven’t got the hang of bobs in this method yet. Ringing 6 the first dodge is in 6/7 up, but a bob called before this means do a double-dodge in 4/5 up; another bob was called as I was about to make 3rd — which is unaffected by the call. We did this a couple of times, then a bob was called in some other position, and I was somewhat lost. We struggled to the finishing post which was by then in sight. More work needed to understand bobs in Grandsire…