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).

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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…