Thinking allowed

The Nine Tailors

Cover design of the Folio Society edition of The Nine Tailors

Cover design of the Folio Society edition of The Nine Tailors

One of the things that long ago sparked an interest in bellringing (for we had no bells at the church I worshipped at as a child) was Dorothy L Sayers The Nine Tailors, which I saw in the BBC tv adaptation, featuring Ian Carmichael, in the mid 1970s.

It was many years, though, before I read the book, in the lovely Folio Society edition (pictured right), but now I belong to a reading group, which is currently looking at this book. Although I have read it a couple of times before, this is the first time I have read it since I learned to ring, and I have been writing posts explaining about bellringing. For probably all non-bellringing readers of The Nine Tailors, the details of the ringing included in the book are pretty opaque — they add lots of colour, but are largely incomprehensible. And the chapter titles all involve puns on ringing expressions and the like, and these puns are missed without some knowledge of ringing.

Since I have lived for many years on the edge of the fenland area where the book is set I have a second interest and specialist subject area as well, and on Saturday I got out the car and drove around some of the area, concentrating on the start and end of the Old Bedford and New Bedford Rivers, between Earith and Denver, taking lots of pictures. I shall have to plan another excursion in order to get some angel roof churches (March and Upwell, especially) and some pictures of fenland roads and other general scenery.

Perhaps I should turn the bellringing notes and the fenland pictures into a website about The Nine Tailors. Meanwhile, I have uploaded the pictures here.

1 comment

  • Grantham, Bill says:

    Monday, 26 June ‘06/ Tarpon Springs, Fla.,USA

    I was looking for confirmation of:

    Nine tolls for a man’s death:

    Seven for a woman’s;

    Five for a child’s.

    Is this correct? What is your source?


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