A quarter of Stedman Caters

Submitted by Simon on Sat, 19/09/2020 - 13:58

One of the Ringing Room quarters this week was supposed to be Stedman Cinques, but Jeff Ladd was having internet problems (which had also been a challenge the previous day for Bristol Royal) and pulled out. Instead, Alan Winter called a quarter of Stedman Caters, which we rang very well. I rang 3-4 and had nice regular repeating work; 1-2 had a similar easy time. I asked Alan for the composition, which he sent me with some explanatory notes and instructions for extending it to a peal, so now I'm going to unpack the composition and write about it as a way of properly understanding it for myself.

The composition uses an Erin start:

123456789
---------
214365879
124638597
142365879
412638597
421365879
241638597
---------
426183957
...

The purpose of this is to put 1-2 and 3-4 into positions that are maintained by the basic block of the composition.

To see how the block works, we can write out the first and last rows of each six, for a plain course with the Erin start. This is an easy abbreviated way of writing out touches of Stedman. The result is a method called Titanic, which is based on quick and slow twos instead of sixes. To the right of the division lines, I have shown the numbers of the calling positions that will be used.

123456789
--------- 1
214365879
241638597
---------
426183957
246819375
---------
428691735
482967153
---------
849276513
489725631
---------
847952361
874593216
--------- 6
785439126
875341962
---------
783514692
738156429
--------- 8
371865249
731682594
---------
376128954
367219845
---------
632791485
362974158
---------
639247518
693425781
---------
964352871
694538217
---------
965483127
956841372
---------
598614732
958167423
--------- 15
591876243
519782634
---------
157928364
517293846
---------
152739486
125374968
---------
213547698
123456789

The first course of the block is called s6, which swaps 1-2.

The second course is s6, swapping 1-2 back again, then s8 to swap 2 and 4, then 15. The effect of s8 followed by 15 is to swap 3-4.

These two courses are repeated to give a 4-course block:

         123456789
------------------
s6       213456789
s6 s8 15 124356789
s6       214356789
s6 s8 15 123456789
------------------

The course heads are the four possibilities with 1-2 and 3-4 in their home positions, either the original way round or reversed.

What is the work of each pair?

1-2 are in the 3-4 position, so they overlap in the slow work. The two singles at 6 swap 1-2 over and back; they make 7ths and 8ths at each single. Then the 2 makes 8ths at the s8 and 7ths at the 15.

3-4 are in a position that contains some coursing, but it's not the 1-2 position. After the pair dodges together at the back, the first bell goes in quick, whereas in the 1-2 position it would go in slow. This is what we call the "hidden coursing" position, as it is not rung by any of the standard pairs in the plain course. In this position, the bells are never on the front together.

The 4 makes 7ths at the s8, and 3-4 dodge together at the 15. This means that between the s8 and the 15, 3-4 are in a different position, which is the natural coursing (1-2) position. In this position, one bell goes in quick and leads just before the other starts its last whole turn.

The overall effect is that both 1-2 and 3-4 have relatively easy work in a regular pattern. It should be easy to call the block from either pair, by learning how they are affected.

For a quarter peal we need 12 courses, giving a length of 1296. This can be achieved by calling a bob at 1 to affect 7-8-9, then calling the 4-course block, and ringing the whole of that three times in all.

1296 Stedman Caters
  
         123456789
------------------
1 s6     213456978
s6 s8 15 1243
s6       2143
s6 s8 15 1234
------------------
3 part.
Erin start.

Alan's notes also explain how to extend this block to a peal, but I will write about that another time.