London Royal

After our success with Cambridge, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, we have decided to try London next. Other possibilities would have been Rutland, or spliced Cambridge, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, or Bristol. I don't think Rutland would be very rewarding - we don't ring it in the tower, so we would probably just be hampered by lack of familiarity with the method. The band thought that spliced would be more difficult without any particular benefit in learning new skills. Probably we could get through it with a simple composition such as this one in whole courses, but I would expect trippiness on going into each new method. Of course you could argue that if there's anything we can't  do well then we should practise it until we get better, but life is busy and we have to prioritise.

I hope we can eventually progress to Bristol, as I would ultimately like to be able to ring Kippin's Four (Cambridge, Yorkshire, London, Bristol). However, I think London will be easier (contrary to our experience of Major, where we found London much harder to master than Bristol).

The composition we have been using for the Cambridge-above methods isn't true to London, so I have to find something different. I searched BellBoard for peals of London Royal on handbells for which the composition has been entered, and found several 2-parts (always a good start), with handbell-friendly features. Let's have a look at them, with the help of Graham John's Composition Library which can analyse the amount of each position rung by each handbell pair.

The first composition is by Richard Pearce. The part-end 26543 means that 3-4 and 5-6 do the same work as each other, with a majority of coursing. It starts with the whole plain course, which is a good warm-up. 

5040 London No.3 Surprise Royal
Richard A Pearce

23456  M   W   H
42356          -
54326      -   
64235  -   2   -
35642  2   -
26543  -       -
2 part.
Both 3-4 and 5-6 do 65% coursing, 15% 3-4 position & 20% 5-6 position.

Next is a composition by Graham John, which gives more coursing to 3-4 and keeps them out of the 5-6 and 7-8 positions. 5-6 have a few leads of the 3-4 and 7-8 positions, but mostly coursing and 5-6.

5040 London No. 3 Surprise Royal
Graham A C John

23456  M   W   H
45326      s   -
26354  s   -  
52364  3   -  
24365  -       2
2 part.
Handbell-friendly for 3-4 (71% coursing; 29% 3-4 position) and 5-6 (54% coursing; 40% 5-6 position).

Finally, there is a composition by Don Morrison, in which 3-4 have 95% coursing and 5% in the 3-4 position. 5-6 have a more balanced diet.

5040 London No.3 Surprise Royal
Donald F Morrison (no. 1705)

23456  M  W  H
46352  -     s
32654  s     -
34256  2     -
53246     -
46325  -  s  s
24365     -   

I also put one together myself, inspired by David Maynard's compositions of Bristol Major in which the idea is to use blocks of 5 befores, with bobs at wrong and home to connect coursing orders in which both 3-4 and 5-6 are coursing. To apply this idea to London Royal, I used 6th place bobs. The result is that 3-4 ring 78% coursing and 19% 5-6, and 5-6 ring 73% coursing and 20% 5-6. The befores can be replaced by in-and-fifths, which replaces some of the coursing by the 7-8 position and splits the tenors for two leads per course. A drawback of having either a before in every course or in-and-fifths in every course is that the tenors don't ring all the work.

5120 London No.3 Surprise Royal
Simon J Gay

23456   M   B   W   H
42356   –   -   –   –
34256       5       –
36452       -   –   –
45362       5   –   –
23456       4       –
Bobs at B are place notation 16.

I'm inclined towards Richard Pearce's composition, but I will give it some more thought before the attempt. We've agreed to go for the peal the day after the next handbell day at the beginning of October. We should be able to fit in some practice during the handbell day. I think the main hazard is failing to turn round in 4th place during 2nd and 3rd place bells. I hope we can develop a way of doing this based on the position of the treble.