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The St Giles Surprise Major

Recently, when Tom Lawrence, Tower Captain of the St Giles Ringers, mentioned that he had devised a new ringing method and named it after St Giles, (there not having been one in the church’s name before), I demanded more information! This is what Tom has (modestly) written:

‘I had just thought it would be nice for us to have an officially named method that we could call our own, so I did a bit of research to devise a few new methods, passed them round the band, and asked which one people would like to ring. The one they chose has now been successfully rung to a quarter peal in June, which gave us official naming rights, and the method is now included in the Central Council Methods Database as the St Giles-in-the-Fields Major. You can see the technical specifications of the method under "details" but they will be gloriously meaningless to most people...

A Major simply means it is on 8 bells; a Surprise is the class of methods to which it belongs, dependent on the path of the treble (the red line in the diagram) and the places made around it (in other words where a bell strikes twice in the same place), and (of course!) St Giles-in-the-Fields is the specific name of the method. The blue line in the diagram is what people have to learn, and you may see that it is a little bit tricky, so we didn't take the easiest option, but it is an interesting method to ring.

Keith Waples, who rang the 3rd, has been associated with St Giles for more than 30 years to my knowledge! A second method that people selected might be easier to ring, though we haven't rung it yet, and I was intending to call it Flitcroft Delight Major after our architect.’

Tom then provides a concluding understatement: ‘This is probably far more than you need, but I hope there is something there that might be of interest.’

Our thanks, then, to Tom and those who rang on the occasion of this quarter peal and to all those who keep this ancient sound ringing out over the noisy streets of London.

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