32: Place bells: learning a method

lesson Paragraph: 
Lesson under construction

You'll hear people talking about place bells all the time in the tower. Just to make sure that you fully understand the concept: when you've managed to get completely lost and somebody helpfully suggests that you should be ringing 5ths place bell, they are asking you to please ring the work of the bell which starts in 5ths place in the lead you happen to be ringing. So, for example, 5ths place bell in Kent TB Minor consists of the following work:

  • 5-6 up
  • lie behind
  • 5-6 down
  • 3-4 down
  • lead
  • 3-4 up 
  • 5-6 up
  • lie behind

You might like to check this against the diagram in the previous lesson. I really don't recommend you try to learn 5ths place bell Kent TB Minor for the simple reason that you don't need to. It's just Treble-Bob hunting, with a plain lead on the front. Do though, make sure that you know where to start. Knowing how to start at the beginning of every lead you ring is something you should definitely aim for.

Many ringers are obsessed with place bells. Their idea of learning a method is to chop it up into separate leads and learn the lines for each of the different place bells. There's something to be said for doing that, but it's not the only way to learn a method, nor is it the best way. If you rely solely on learning place bells, it's easy to confuse bits of work and forget the detail. Worse, once you start learning several methods together, it's all too easy to ring the wrong work in the wrong method. People who rely exclusively on learning place bells tend to make a steady string of small errors, which all too easily turn into big ones. When they get lost, they find it difficult to get back on track until they pick up the next place bell at the end of the lead. The place bells in Kent are particularly easy to muddle up, particularly on higher numbers of bells, where all the bells above 4ths place bell ring the same, but starting in different places (treble bob hunting with plain leads on the front).