‘First Peal 2015’ and the North American Guild
- If you haven’t yet rung a peal: would this be a good year to make it happen?
- If you’re already a peal-ringer: can you think of any friends who could go for their first peals this year? What can you do to help?
These are appropriate questions to ask at the start of any year; but they are particularly relevant for 2015 because of an important anniversary which we will be celebrating in May.
The whole sport of peal-ringing grew out of the quest, intensifying at the end of the 17th century, to ring the extent on seven bells — to sound them in every possible order. This requires ringing 7-factorial rows, i.e. 5040; and that’s ultimately where our modern definition of a ‘peal’ comes from.
When was this first achieved? The most well-known contender is found on an ancient peal board in the Church of St Peter Mancroft in the East Anglian city of Norwich, which claims to record ‘the first whole Peal that ever was Rung to the truth by any Ringers whatsoever’.
The method is described as ‘Grandsire Bob Triples’, which today we would call Plain Bob Triples. The band’s names are all recorded proudly on the peal board; the composition is unknown. The date was the 2nd of May in 1715 — and so we are only a few months away from the 300th Anniversary of what may well have been the first true peal.
(For for further details about the history see John Eisel’s letter printed in the January 23rd issue of The Ringing World. He discusses other claims for the title of ‘first true peal’, including a possible earlier instance in 1690 at St-Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London.)
Tercentenary plans are discussed in two articles in The Ringing World. The first (in the January 9th issue) was supplied by the St Peter Mancroft band, who, in addition to hosting local celebrations on the anniversary weekend, are raising funds to install a teaching center.
The second article (in the January 23rd issue) describes a campaign run by the Central Council to celebrate the 300th anniversary not only with widespread ringing on May 2nd, but also with a year-long scheme to encourage 300 people to ring their first peals. This is nearly twice as many as usual number (160 or so in most recent years), so the goal is an ambitious one!
What can we do to participate?
Many of our North American towers could find ways to mark the anniversary weekend itself at the beginning of May, either with a peal or by ringing a special touch of Plain Bob Triples.
It would also be wonderful if we in North America could make a substantial contribution to the goal of 300 new peal-ringers worldwide. This will probably require a bit more planning, and will be ongoing all year -- hence the Big Questions I asked at the top.
As your Peal Secretary, I want to be useful! If you have plans that are progressing well, drop me a line to keep me in the loop. If you’re hitting snags, get in touch and I’ll see what I can do to help. My address is .
- mancroftappeal300.co.uk — the local band’s celebration and appeal.
- cccbr.org.uk/FirstPeal2015 — the Central Council’s ‘First Peal 2015’ campaign, including historical background, the call for new peal ringers, plans for the anniversary weekend, compositions of suggested touches, and public relations advice.
[Images used with permission of the CCCBR PR Committee.]