Thinking allowed

Lincolnshire and Superlative

Over the last few weeks I’ve been learn­ing two new Sur­prise Major meth­ods: Lin­colnshire and Superlative.

Lin­colnshire was learnt first, and afer a gap of sev­er­al weeks when I was unable to make Wed­nes­day night’s prac­tice, I finally got a chance to ring it. Nat­ur­ally, we didn’t get to the end of the plain course the first time I tried — but I was still quite pleased as it hadn’t failed because of me. We tried again a little later and man­aged the whole plain course.

With Lin­colnshire suc­cess­fully rung we were chal­lenged to learn Super­lat­ive. There’s a group of about five of us at this prac­tice who are all learn­ing these meth­ods togeth­er. For­tu­nately there are enough oth­er more exper­i­enced ringers (as well as oth­ers less exper­i­enced) who can already ring these meth­ods so that we can try with just two or three learners at a time. With all five it would prob­ably be impossible!

Hav­ing been set Super­lat­ive a couple of weeks ago we had sev­er­al goes at it last week. I was reas­on­ably con­fid­ent of hav­ing learnt the blue line and the place bells — but as usu­al we failed first time. Anoth­er go and we failed again. Last night a few more tries, and on the second of these we man­aged to get through a plain course of Super­lat­ive Sur­prise Major. I man­aged to keep my place, even pretty much remem­ber­ing where each place bell starts and ends right up until the last few strokes: ringing the 6 meant that in the last lead I was 2nd place bell, and hav­ing done the front work I dodged 3/4 up when anoth­er ringer called to me, ‘With me,’ and that was suf­fi­cient to make me won­der where I was meant to be, rather than just doing it! After a pull or two I real­ized that I should now be doing 5–6 places up, so I hung around in 5–6 try­ing to work out just where I should be. This was enough to get us to the end of the plain course, since the 2nd place bell stays in 5–6 until the lead end.

Try harder next time, but not bad, I guess.


towards spliced Surprise

Recently anoth­er tower in the area has held a monthly prac­tice for bud­ding Sur­prise ringers. We’ve been prac­tising Cam­bridge and York­shire with the inten­tion of even­tu­ally ringing them spliced togeth­er, but we’re not quite at that stage yet. Those attend­ing have included a suit­able mix of expert and novice Sur­prise ringers — it would be next to impossible with all novices!

A neces­sary step in spli­cing these meth­ods is to learn what each place bell does, and which place bell it becomes after­wards. For­tu­nately the order in which place bell suc­ceeds place bell is the same in both Cam­bridge and York­shire: 2, 6, 7, 3, 4, 8, 5, and back to 2. In addi­tion the work of the 3rd place bell is identic­al in both meth­ods, and most of the oth­ers start and fin­ish with sim­il­ar bits of work. As usu­al in ringing, what has to be done is to mem­or­ize com­pletely these pieces of work so that they can be instantly recalled and inter­changed, so in an attempt to do so I have set down here, from memory, what each bell has to do in each method.

Cam­bridge York­shire
2nd place bell
  • second half of the frontwork
  • dodge 3–4 up
  • double and single dodge at the back
  • dodge 5–6 down
  • treble bob down and up
  • triple dodge 5–6 up
  • double and single dodge at the back
  • dodge 5–6 down 
and become 6th place bell
3rd place bell: 
  • dodge 5–6 up
  • back­work
  • dodge 5–6 down
  • dodge 3–4 down (at the start of 3–4 places down) 
and become 4th place bell 
4th place bell: 
  • fin­ish 3–4 places down (after first dodge)
  • treble bob at the front
  • treble bob at the back 
  • fin­ish 3–4 places down (after first dodge)
  • lead and dodge
  • 3–4 places up
  • treble bob at the back 
and become 8th place bell 
5th place bell: 
  • single and double dodge at the back
  • dodge 3–4 down
  • first half of the frontwork
  • make seconds over the treble 
  • single and double dodge at the back
  • triple dodge 5–6 down
  • treble bob down to the front
  • dodge up with the treble and make 2nds place 
and become the 2nd place bell 
6th place bell: 
  • straight down to the front
  • treble bob up
  • 5–6 places up
  • dodge 7–8 up 
  • straight down to the front
  • second half of the frontwork
  • 5–6 places up
  • dodge 7–8 up 
and become 7th place bell 
7th place bell: 
  • lie at the back
  • dodge 7–8 down
  • straight down to the front
  • treble bob at the front
  • 3–4 places up 
  • lie at the back
  • dodge 7–8 down
  • 3–4 places down
  • dodge and lead
  • 3–4 places up 
and become the 3rd place bell 
8th place bell: 
  • 5–6 places down
  • treble bob down (incl dodge and lead)
  • dodge 5–6 up 
  • 5–6 places down
  • first half of the frontwork
  • dodge 5–6 up 
and become the 5th place bell. 

learning Yorkshire Surprise Major

Home­work time again. This time we’ve been told to learn York­shire (York­shire Sur­prise Major) for next week. It’s been a while since I set out to learn a new meth­od – per­haps it’s becom­ing easi­er. We shall see.

York­shire is sim­il­ar in parts to Cam­bridge (the meth­od, not the geo­graphy, that is). Where­as Cam­bridge con­tains ‘Cam­bridge places’, York­shire has a short­er form ‘York­shire places’ or ‘short places’ of dodge, make places, dodge (where­as in Cam­bridge it is: dodge, make places, dodge, make places, dodge). Places are made in 3–4 and in 5–6 up and down. Here for example is how you ring York­shire places in 3–4

x—– York­shire 3–4 places up
—-x— and carry on up

The back­work is identic­al to that in Cam­bridge – and indeed, York­shire is identic­al to Cam­bridge if you are above the treble. This means that whenev­er you pass above the treble you do whatever you would have done in Cam­bridge if you had passed the treble at that point, and this con­tin­ues until you pass below the treble. Now if only I could ring Cam­bridge by the treble this might be some help!

York­shire also includes the front­work of Cam­bridge, but it is split into two sep­ar­ate halves, and you don’t get to dodge or make seconds over the treble in either half.

First thing is to try and remem­ber the order of work, which looks like this, assum­ing we are ringing the 2.

dodge down with the treble
treble bob up
triple-dodge in 5–6 up
2 & 1 at the back (double dodge 7–8 up, lie, single dodge 7–8 down)
dodge 5–6 down

straight down to the lead
second half of front­work (dodge down, lead, make 2nds, dodge down, dodge up)
straight up

York­shire places in 5–6 up
treble bob at the back (dodge 7–8 up, lie, dodge 7–8 down)
York­shire places 3–4 down
dodge and lead
York­shire places 3–4 up

dodge 5–6 up
dodge 5–6 down

York­shire places 3–4 down
lead and dodge
York­shire places 3–4 up
treble bob at the back
York­shire places 5–6 down

first half of the front­work (dodge down, dodge up, make 2nds, lead, dodge up)

dodge 5–6 up
1 & 2 at the back
triple-dodge 5–6 down
treble bob down to the lead
dodge 1–2 up with the treble
make 2nds place

Armed with this inform­a­tion we can write out a plain course of York­shire, here giv­en for the 3 …



Cambridge Major

Finally a Wed­nes­day night prac­tice at which there were enough exper­i­enced ringers to try Cam­bridge Major, with a reas­on­able expect­a­tion that we could man­age it. In fact there were even enough for one of them to stand behind and give guid­ance – not for me but for someone else who was not too sure about Cambridge.

So we set off, with me ringing the 3 — dodge 5–6 up, back­work, 5–6 down, 3–4 places down, and on we went, and even­tu­ally I got to 5–6 places up, dodge up and down and the back, down to the front, dodge down and up, and just about to start 3–4 places up, when the con­duct­or, a vis­it­or from anoth­er tower, called ‘go rounds’. I wasn’t sure what had gone wrong, and we were with­in about a dozen strokes of the end. How frustrating!

Later in the even­ing we had anoth­er go. This time I chose to ring the 2, just for a bit of vari­ation  — start by dodging down with the treble in the middle of the front­work, and then 3–4 up, double dodge up at the back and single dodge down, 5–6 down, 1–2 up, 3–4 up, places 5–6 up. And in the middle of 5–6 places up I got lost, won­der­ing wheth­er I had dodged with the treble or not. So I meandered up to the back, and hung around there a bit, and then wandered down to the front and dodge around there, and just about put myself right. Then 3–4 places up, and dodging with the treble in the middle con­firmed that I was now in the right place <phew>.

So on to the back­work (brack­et­ted by dodges up and down in 5–6), 3–4 places down, treble bob at the front, then at the back, places 5–6 down, dodge 3–4 down, 1–2 down, dodge 5–6 up, single and double dodges at the back, <nearly there now, just keep going>, 3–4 down, onto the front­work, and here we are dodging with the treble, <steady> and <c’mon con­duct­or> ‘that’s all’. Yes.

As usu­al, there’s a lot that I could do bet­ter — bet­ter strik­ing, bet­ter dodging, bet­ter ropesight, espe­cially in 5–6. And, espe­cially, not get­ting lost! But on the whole I was quite pleased with myself.


Ringing Cambridge Major

It’s four weeks since I star­ted try­ing to learn Cam­bridge Sur­prise Major. I reck­on I have the ‘blue line’ fairly well mem­or­ized — in the­ory. But put­ting it into prac­tice is not so easy.

In the first place, actu­ally get­ting enough oth­ers who can ring Cam­bridge Major is itself quite hard. Of the four prac­tices since I began, at two of them there have not been enough exper­i­enced ringers to even try Cam­bridge Major. At the oth­er two it has just about been pos­sible to find 6 oth­er ringers cap­able of Cam­bridge plus one who can treble bob on the treble.

But on each of these two occa­sions we have man­aged to get about half way through a plain course before it goes hor­ribly wrong. The annoy­ing thing from my per­spect­ive is that this has not been my fault, but mis­takes by oth­er ringers. Both times, I have been ringing bell 2, the first time with anoth­er ringer stand­ing behind me, and each time, as I was com­plet­ing the back­work some of those ringing in front of me have got mixed up. Sigh. I’m not blam­ing them — it’s a reas­on­ably hard meth­od after all. But it is frus­trat­ing when I am try­ing to learn the meth­od myself.

Next week is Ash Wed­nes­day, so it’ll be anoth­er couple of weeks before I can try again.


Cambridge Major

It’s quite a while since I began to learn Cam­bridge Minor, and my teach­er asks me each week wheth­er I have looked at Cam­bridge Major. I keep reply­ing (truth­fully) that I haven’t had any time. So this week he had me ring Cam­bridge Major with anoth­er ringer stand­ing behind me and telling me what to do. This is not ideal, but it works tol­er­ably well, since the exten­sions from Cam­bridge Minor are not too com­plic­ated — it’s just a ques­tion of know­ing when to do them. Later in the prac­tice we did the same thing again. Neither time did we quite com­plete a plain course, and that was partly because I man­aged to lose my place. Not hav­ing the big pic­ture of the meth­od, so to speak, does make it harder to ring.

How­ever, hav­ing done this, and hav­ing briefly glanced at the blue line and Cole­man a couple of times, it began to impress the meth­od in my head, and I found that as I drove home from the prac­tice I could just about remem­ber and/or recon­struct the meth­od. So now I am at that state of learn­ing a new meth­od: when over and over again, at the inter­stices of routine, I find myself recit­ing the dif­fer­ent pieces of work involved — when stuck in a traffic jam, or brush­ing my teeth, or sit­ting in a not-too-excit­ing meet­ing. This is an import­ant part of learn­ing a new meth­od — com­mit­ting the pieces of work to memory, so that they can be recalled without effort when ringing it.

Pre­vi­ously I have also com­mit­ted to memory the actu­al pos­i­tion at each pull. This time, I have not (yet) tried to do so, partly because just remem­ber­ing the order of work is suf­fi­ciently com­plic­ated without adding any­thing else, and partly because the dif­fi­cult bits of work (front­work, back­work, and Cam­bridge places up and down) are essen­tially identic­al to those of Cam­bridge Minor, and there­fore already reas­on­ably well known. The dif­fer­ences are the obvi­ous ones when ringing on 8, rather than 6, bells — the back­work is done on 7 and 8, not 5 and 6; and places up and down must be rung in 5–6 as well as in 3–4.

So, from memory, this is the order of work in a plain course of Cam­bridge Major:

dodge 3–4 up

dodge 2‑and‑1 at the back
dodge 5–6 down

lead and dodge
dodge 3–4 up

5–6 places up
treble bob at the back

treble bob at the front
3–4 places up

dodge 5–6 up
dodge 5–6 down

3–4 places down
treble bob at the front

treble bob at the back
5–6 places down

dodge 3–4 down
dodge and lead

dodge 5–6 up
dodge 1‑and‑2 at the back

dodge 3–4 down

And we can use this inform­a­tion to con­struct a nice table show­ing a single lead end of Cam­bridge Sur­prise Major. This table is con­struc­ted by select­ing a bell, e.g. the 2, and tra­cing its course through a lead. The 2 begins in the middle of the front­work (hav­ing just made 2nds over the treble, so to speak), just as in Cam­bridge Minor. At the end of the lead the 2 ends up in 6th place, and so we con­tin­ue by tra­cing the work from the top again as bell 6. At the end of the lead bell 6 becomes the 7th place bell and we con­tin­ue from the top, becom­ing suc­cess­ively the 3rd place bell, 4th place bell, 8th place bell, and finally the 5th place bell, which ends by mak­ing 2nds over the treble in the middle of the front­work, which is where, as the 2nd place bell, we started.



No doubt I shall find myself con­tinu­ally repeat­ing the order of work over the next week or so, and we shall see next week wheth­er I have learnt it well enough to ring a plain course.

Not that that’s the only dif­fi­culty with ringing Cam­bridge Major. Anoth­er prob­lem I found last week was ropesight, espe­cially when dodging in 5–6. It’s not easy to see 4 or 5 bells below you at this point. Hope­fully, this too is some­thing that will improve with practise.


Simon's Tip for Stedman

I’ve been ringing Sted­man for about a year now, and can gen­er­ally keep my place — even in touches of Triples. I was quite pleased with myself last night because I was able to put right anoth­er ringer. I had dodged 6–7 up with him, and then when I star­ted to dodge 6–7 down he was still hanging around in 6–7. ‘4–5 down now, M,’ I called, and then a dodge or so later, since I thought he still wasn’t sure where he was, ‘Down to the front, now.’ I had to phrase it that way because I had no idea wheth­er he should have gone in quick or slow. But at least it kept the ringing going, and we man­aged to com­plete the touch.

That got me think­ing, how­ever, about how to know wheth­er to go in quick or slow in Sted­man, a per­en­ni­al prob­lem for Sted­man ringers. Steve Cole­man calls it Stedman’s Greatest Prob­lem, and offers a num­ber of tips for remem­ber­ing or work­ing out wheth­er, after you have dodged 4–5 down, you should go in as a slow bell or a quick bell.

One of the sug­ges­ted tips is to use your feet, mov­ing one foot for­ward if you go out quick, and then when you are about to go in, look­ing at your feet and remem­ber­ing that this foot (or is it the oth­er foot?) means some­thing or oth­er. And if a bob is called you have to remem­ber to swap which foot is forward.

But if you are going to put anoth­er bell right then you want to know wheth­er each six is a quick six or a slow six, not just the one where you go down to the front three. What you need to do, then, is to keep track of each six as you ring, or at least as you double-dodge your way to the back and down again.

My first idea was that as you do each double dodge you think, as a back­ground thought: ‘this is a quick six’ or ‘this is a slow six’. But it can be quite hard to keep this in mind — you need to keep it rather near­er the front than the back.

So, this is what I came up with, though I haven’t had a chance to put it into prac­tice yet. I don’t claim any great ori­gin­al­ity for it, but it seems to me to be suf­fi­ciently simple to cope with all cases, and with as many bobs as may be called.

All it entails is that as you count your place when double-dodging up to the back and down again, you append to each pos­i­tion the word ‘quick or ‘slow’. The same word will apply through­out the six blows of a double dodge, and when you move to the next double dodge you swap to the oth­er word.

So, if you have gone out slow, then you would count:

4th quick, 5th quick; 4th quick, 5th quick; 4th quick, 5th quick;
and then
6th slow, 7th slow; 6th slow, 7th slow; 6th slow, 7th slow;
7th quick, 6th quick; 7th quick, 6th quick; 7th quick, 6th quick;
5th slow, 4th slow; 5th slow, 4th slow; 5th slow, 4th slow;
and so go in quick.

If a bob (or a single) is called then you simply move onto the next six:

6th slow, 7th slow; 6th slow, 7th slow; ‘BOB!’ 6th slow, 7th slow;
6th quick, 7th quick; 6th quick, 7th quick; 6th quick, 7th quick;
7th slow, 6th slow; 7th slow, 6th slow; 7th slow, 6th slow;

and you have auto­mat­ic­ally kept track of what’s going on.

And not only have you kept track so that you will know what to do when you arrive at the front, but you also at any stage know wheth­er a bell going in should go in quick or slow too. So you have more chance of being able to put them right.

Wheth­er this works in prac­tice remains to be seen. One pos­sible dif­fi­culty is the tongue-twist­ing nature of some of these phrases. But you don’t actu­ally have to say them aloud or par­tic­u­larly accur­ately — just good enough not to get lost. Stay tuned!

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finally ringing Cambridge Surprise

So finally, some two months after it was sug­ges­ted that I go away and learn Cam­bridge Sur­prise Minor, my chance to try ringing it arrives.

After sev­er­al months away, my ringing teach­er is now back, and Wed­nes­day prac­tices at Hem­ing­ford Grey (which we some­times struggled to main­tain in his absence) are once again more com­plex evenings.

Tonight I walked into the ringing cham­ber: there were 6 oth­er ringers, about to ring Bob Doubles for someone still learn­ing the meth­od. ‘Right, we’ll ring Bob Minor instead,’ the cap­tain said, and pro­ceeded to call a touch. I was slightly taken by sur­prise at the first lead end, because I had been expect­ing a plain course, when he called a Bob. Anoth­er ringer arrived, and with eight present we rang a touch of Grand­sire Triples. This went quite well, but some­where along the line the cap­tain and I swapped places, pre­sum­ably when we were dodging and he was telling me what to do.

Then, after some oth­er ringing, ‘We’ll ring a touch of Kent next.’ Hasty revi­sion of what hap­pens at a bob in Kent. If you’re com­ing out of the slow or going into the slow you are unaf­fected; if you are just mak­ing 3rds & 4ths up for the second time, then imme­di­ately add 4ths and 3rds (so you make 4 blows in 4ths) — this is places down the first time. And if you are at the back then add anoth­er double dodge in the place where you are already dodging. I rang bell 4, so made an extra blow in 4th place and 2 in 3rds — 4ths & 3rds down the first time. Then at the next lead end: ‘Bob!’. I was just mak­ing places down the second time, so I was unaf­fected and went into the slow work at the front. And as I came out of the slow, dodging with the treble, anoth­er bob was called, and again I was unaf­fected, mak­ing places up. So we car­ried on, mak­ing places up the second time, and then ‘Bob!’, so just about to imme­di­ately do places down, but instead ‘That’s all!’ and we had rung three leads of Kent.

Again after a bit more ringing, we turned to Cam­bridge. I offered to ring the treble, and then added ‘I’d like to have a go ringing inside after­wards’. And so it came to my turn to try Cam­bridge Sur­prise. I chose to ring the 3, and the treble was rung by someone just learn­ing to treble bob. We set off: I did the back­work, and Cam­bridge places down, dodged in 1–2, up to the back, dodge 5–6 up and double-dodge 5–6 down, and down to the front­work. And as I made 2nds in the middle of the front­work, it was clear that some­thing had gone wrong, and the treble was lost, and ‘rounds’ was called. We tried again, this time put­ting an exper­i­enced ringer on the treble, and the per­son who had been stand­ing behind the treble came and stood behind me, but we went wrong even quick­er this time. Again it hadn’t been my fault, and we tried again. Back­work, places down, dodge and lead, one and two at the back, front­work (con­cen­trate, con­cen­trate), two and one at the back, lead and dodge, places up (is he going to call a bob?!), ‘That’s all!’. We had made it, and I had rung Cam­bridge Sur­prise Minor at essen­tially the first attempt.

My mind­er made two com­ments: that clearly, I had learnt the meth­od; and that it was a good job I had not missed the sally or I would surely have broken the stay. This was a com­ment on the brute force with which I had been ringing and con­trolling the rope. And it was true, I had been pulling hard and check­ing the rope at slmost every stroke in order to keep my place. I can remem­ber that when I first learnt to ring I would use this brute force tech­nique to ring the ten­or, but it’s not some­thing I have done much since acquir­ing bet­ter bell con­trol. Must try and do bet­ter next time.

All in all a pretty action-packed prac­tice night.


Three leads of Kent

Last Sat­urday was the monthly bell­ringers’ dis­trict meet­ing. I’ve not been to one of these before (though I had inten­ded to go to last month’s), but this time it was at Bluntisham, whose bells have only just been rehung so that they can be rung and only a couple of miles down the road. Bluntisham is where Dorothy L Say­ers spent her child­hood, and where her fath­er, the Revd Henry Say­ers, was Rect­or a cen­tury ago. It was here that she watched an earli­er res­tor­a­tion of the Bluntisham bells, though not one that enabled them to be rung. Per­haps this stuck in her memory when she came to write her mas­ter­piece, The Nine Tail­ors. In that book, Lord Peter Wim­sey, super­hero, takes part in a 9 hour peal of Kent Treble Bob Major. And so Kent was to be the ‘spe­cial meth­od’ at this meet­ing. And as I have had a couple of attempts at ringing Kent I thought that I would have anoth­er go.

The bells have been hung lower in the tower than before, in order to reduce the strains in the tower, and ringing is from the ground floor. When I arrive, the bells have just been rung up and are ringing mer­rily. Inside the church they seem very loud — you’d want to wear ear plugs if you were ringing a peal. A lot of people have gathered for the meet­ing, from some of the new begin­ners try­ing to form a band for the Bluntisham tower, through to exper­i­enced ringers. Some people have come from around the coun­try to ring these ‘new’ bells — very few people will have rung them before — from Worcester­shire and oth­er far-flung places. That’s a day trip to spend half an hour ringing at Bluntisham before it’s time to head home!

The ringing altern­ates between Kent and oth­er meth­ods, such as a touch of Bob Major, and sim­pler ringing, includ­ing rounds and call changes. I stand around, listen­ing and watch­ing (and talk­ing to oth­er ringers as I am try­ing to arrange a band to ring on Wed­nes­day). Even­tu­ally, the lead­er looks at me and says, ‘You haven’t rung yet, what do you want to try?’ ‘I’d like to have a go at Kent,’ I reply. ‘In the­ory I can ring it.’

So we ring ‘three leads of Kent’, a shortened form of Kent in which a bob is called at each lead end so that it comes back to rounds after just three leads. I had nev­er rung bobs in Kent, but I had done my home­work before going to the meet­ing. Once again I chose to ring on bell 6, which with hind­sight was per­haps not the most inter­est­ing bell to ring. At each lead end a bob was called and instead of mak­ing Kent places down (4ths then 3rds) I did an extra two dodges in 5–6 down. If I had chosen the 4, then at the first lead end I would have been unaf­fected by the bob and would have gone into the slow (mak­ing 2nds place over each of the oth­er bells in turn), and at the second lead end I would have come out of the slow and, again unaf­fected by the bob, made 3rds and 4ths up, and then at the the third lead end made 3rds and 4ths up again (which is rounds).

I quickly found that the ropes were rather long, and I had to move my hands fur­ther up the rope, so that I had per­haps 15 inches of the tail end below my hands. This is not ideal, as I kept get­ting smacked in the face by it, and I could still have done with tak­ing in a bit more. If I had known this before I star­ted then I could have tied a knot in the rope, or tucked the tail end up on my little fin­ger. But as it was it reduced my con­trol over the bell.

I think the best that could be said was that I didn’t get lost, that I knew exactly what I was meant to be doing, and that I didn’t need the instruc­tions from the expert ringers around me — ‘lead now’, ‘dodge with me now’, and so on, help­ful though such com­ments are. But I clearly need to con­cen­trate on my strik­ing: that is, on mak­ing the bell sound in exactly the right place. Although I didn’t get lost in this meth­od, that doesn’t mean that I was pla­cing my bell just where it should be, and I could tell this from my own hands, and with my ears, listen­ing to the bells as they rung. The oth­er ringers were, of course, much too polite to tell me how bad my ringing was.

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Surprise, surprise -- putting it all together

So, we have looked (first here and then here) at the main sec­tions of a plain course of Cam­bridge Sur­prise Minor. Now we have to stitch those bits togeth­er. This is how it works. We will con­sider bell 2, which starts in the middle of the front work, as if it had just made 2nd place over the treble. We con­tin­ue with:

  • the second half of the front work
  • plain hunt towards the back
  • double dodge in 5–6 up, two blows behind, one dodge in 5–6 down (‘two and one’)
  • plain hunt down towards the front
  • lead full and dodge in 1–2 up
  • Cam­bridge places in 3–4 up, fol­lowed by…
  • the back work, and then…
  • Cam­bridge places in 3–4 down
  • dodge in 1–2 down and lead full
  • plain hunt towards the back
  • dodge in 5–6 up, two blows behind, double dodge in 5–6 down (‘one and two’)
  • plain hunt towards the lead
  • and begin the front work

The tricky bits here are remem­ber­ing the extra dodges at the front and back, and the order in which they come.

We can now do two things. We can trace out the entire plain course of a single bell. Or we can write out a single lead end for all six bells. In fact these are equi­val­ent things, as we shall see in a moment, and the single lead end is a more com­pact format.

This is what the lead looks like:



At the end of each lead what we have done is to change the order of the bells, and they then do the work that the bell in that place did in the just-fin­ished lead. For example, if we trace bell 2 through a single lead, then it will end up in 6th place, and that means that what it does next is whatever bell 6 did in that lead end. It has become the 6ths place bell. So we can con­tin­ue tra­cing the path of this bell by fol­low­ing the 6 through the lead end. We can do the same for each place bell, not­ing where it starts, and which place bell it becomes:

2, or rather seconds place bell: second half of front­work, dodge ‘two and one’ at the back; become sixths place bell

sixths place bell: down to front, lead and dodge; places up; become thirds place bell

thirds place bell: straight up to the back and do back work, dodge 3–4 down; become fourths place bell

fourths place bell: make 3rds place at start of places down; dodge and lead; up to back and dodge 5–6 up (start of ‘one and two’); become fifths place bell

fifths place bell: two blows behind and double dodge 5–6 down (end of ‘one and two’); down to lead and begin front­work; make 2nds over the treble to become the seconds place bell

One oth­er point is per­haps worth not­ing. In Kent Treble Bob, we always dodged and made places with the same bell in each dodging pos­i­tion (except when the treble was there) — in Kent when you are mak­ing 3rds and 4ths up (Kent places) anoth­er bell is mak­ing 3rd and 4ths down at the same time. But in Cam­bridge Sur­prise, the dodges and places are made with a dif­fer­ent bell each time — and only one bell is mak­ing (Cam­bridge) places at any one time. It’s a much more com­plic­ated dance, all together.