Getting Started on 10

For a while now we've had two regular but separate handbell bands at 1 Albany Quadrant: our original 8-bell band with Jonathan and Angela, and our more recent 6-bell band with Josy. We also practise with our son Thomas whenever we can.


We've been thinking about how to arrange more 8- and 10-bell ringing for Josy (and more regular 10-bell practice for all of us), without abandoning our general strategy of usually going for a quarter at the beginning of a session.

The plan we've settled on is to move to a system of alternate weeks. One week we'll have everyone together and ring on 8 and 10, and the other week we'll have a 6-bell evening and an 8-bell evening. Thomas is also looking forward to trying some 12-bell ringing. Inevitably there will be variations when one or other of us is unavailable, but that's the plan. It's supposed to start tomorrow with a 10-bell evening.

Josy hasn't done much on 10 before, and although the rest of us have rung various things up to Surprise Royal, I think we'll all benefit from working on our 10-bell speed and rhythm. So what are we going to ring? I'm thinking about starting by ringing Bob Minor on the front 6 while the back bells cover or perhaps plain hunt; the idea would be to practise a good 10-bell rhythm without having to find our way through the whole change. After that, here's a selection of rule-based methods to try.

  • Plain Bob, although I think that methods based on treble bob hunting might be more stable to begin with.
  • Little Bob, which is mainly treble bob hunting. Plain and Little Bob spliced is also fun.
  • Bastow Little Bob, which is good practice for Kent and Oxford Treble Bob; it's treble bob hunting except on the front.
  • Kent Little Bob, which gives intensive practice of Kent places.
  • Forward, which is not often rung these days (although there were some early tower-bell peals of Forward Maximus). It's a principle in which everyone treble bob hunts but always does Kent places in 3-4, so it should also be good practice for Kent.
  • Kent and Oxford Treble Bob.
  • Albion Little Treble Bob, in which the treble goes to 4th place and there are double Kent places in 5-6 (a little tricky!). There hasn't been a peal of it on handbells, so there's a challenge for someone.
  • Xanthe Little Treble Bob, in which the treble goes to 2nd place; it's what you get from Oxford Treble Bob by omitting all the changes with the treble above 2nd place. Actually only the Maximus version has been named.
  • Gonville Little Treble Bob is similar but based on Kent, with double Kent places in 3-4. Again, only the Maximus version has been named.

That should keep us going for a while, until we feel like trying rule-based Surprise Royal methods such as Bourne, Norwich and Westminster. Eventually York should be good for practising wrong hunting in a rule-based context.


I didn't mention Gainsborough Little Bob, in which the treble plain hunts to 6th place. It's probably a very good exercise in observing the treble's position, but at the moment I'm more inclined to work on treble-bob-based methods.

Probably it will take a bit of practice before we feel up to going for a 10-bell quarter, but after a while we should always have a 10-bell quarter project on the go, just as we do on 8 at the moment.

We'll report on progress in due course.


I used to find keeping the rhythm on 10 (and more) much more difficult than on 8... something which has become easier only with practice.

Submitted by Iain Scott (not verified) on Thu, 30/08/2012 - 14:32

I still do! The leap from 8 to 10 is quite a big one (true in tower as well). There's less wiggle room in the spacing between bells. I have found that having someone very definite on the tenors (and preferably 7-8 as well) helps keep a rhythm. But there is no substitute for doing it over and over again.

Submitted by Tina on Fri, 31/08/2012 - 12:50