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Stage 2: From "Base Camp" to "K2"

Double Bob Treble Bob Cambridge Surprise London Surprise

Double Bob and other plain methods

The transition from ringing Plain Bob Minor to ringing Treble Bob methods is quite a jump to achieve all in one step. These intermediate methods create interest for their own sake and also enable practise at ringing some of the structures encountered in Treble Bob, Delight and Surprise methods.

"Variety is the spice of life". These methods are enjoyable to ring in their own right, and present their own challenges mainly because of the fluid nature of the path of the treble. Several methods are described:

Bellringing, like many mathematical arts, is built on constraints. In ringing, these constraints are the bells that remain in their place ("make" the place) from one row to the next. If then we write down the positions of place-making-bells, we get a shorthand way of defining the method, known as "Place Notation". The relevant place notation is shown against the method names above, and further information can be found in the glossary.


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Method Symmetry

The vast majority of methods are symmetrical about the half lead and hence only half of the place notation needs to be written down. Place Notation for Double Bob Minor is:-16-16-56/12, in full: -16-16-56-16-16-12 and the point of symmetry is the half lead (56).

Method Rules

Most plain methods can be defined (given the preset path of the treble) by a set or rules which determine the work of a bell by the position of the treble. This is a key tool in the method ringing toolbox, and can be developed whilst ringing plain minor methods.

Plain Bob: The rules
"Ring Plain Hunting until the treble leads, when seconds place is made, and the bells in 3-4 and 5-6 dodge".

The rules for the plain methods described on this page are shown against each method.

Double Bob

Double Bob

Double Bob: The rules
Ring plain hunting except:
When treble lies behind, 5ths place is made and the bells in 1-2, and 3-4 dodge.
When treble leads, 2nds place is made and the bells in 3-4 and 5-6 dodge.

Double Bob is mostly plain hunting, like Plain Bob, but in Double Bob, whenever the treble lies behind, the bell underneath it makes a place, and the other pairs of bells dodge. In Double Bob minor, the place is made in 5ths, and the extra dodges are in 1-2 and 3-4. However, for the half-lead rule to be useful the ringer needs to observe the treble approaching the half lead (i.e. reaching 5ths place) as it is the position of the bells in 1-2 and 3-4 on that backstroke which is repeated in the dodge.

Double bob numbers and grid

The rows in Double Bob are identical with those in Plain Bob, so you will recognise the “tune”, however, the 5ths place at the half head jumbles up the order in which the blocks of 6 are rung, and in doing so includes all the work of Plain Bob at the lead ends plus all of the same work, “upside down” at the half leads.

If you are new to change ringing on handbells you might also wish to write out the pairs as we did for Plain Bob Minor. However, it is perfectly valid for a ringer who is OK with Plain Bob to attempt to ring Double Bob by observing the treble approaching 6ths place and being ready to make 5ths and dodge in 1-2 and / or 3-4 as appropriate.

Being aware of the position of the treble is a key skill in all treble dominated methods, and equally is a key skill in handbell ringing; starting here to develop the skill of watching the treble.

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Little Bob

Little Bob

Little Bob contains some of the changerows from Plain Bob, but not all of them. The work of the treble is to hunt out only as far as 4ths place, make 4ths place hand and back, and then to returns to the lead, where seconds place is made as in Plain Bob.

Little bob by numbers and a picture

The structure of the half lead, treble making 4ths, is just like a bob in Plain Bob, except that it is the treble that is making 4ths rather than leading. The impact on the other bells makes Little Bob into a good fun method.

Because of the 4ths place half lead and 2nd place lead end, the bells reaching the back always dodge 5-6 up, lie behind, and then dodge 5-6 down.

The impact on the pairs is challenging, as the treble work can force coursing pairs apart, temporarily, as in 5-6 in the first lead, or flip a pair of bells between hunting in 3-4 position into asymmetric hunting, and vice versa.

Little Bob: The rules
Ring plain hunting except:
When treble reaches 4ths place, it makes 4ths and the bells in 5-6 dodge.
When treble leads, 2nds place is made and the bells in 3-4 and 5-6 dodge.

As with Double Bob, a hesitant learner could do well to write out the work of the three pairs, but a better technique for someone who is proficient in Plain Bob, is to observe the treble in 4ths and dodge in 5-6 if needed, and ring the standard lead ends when the treble leads.

Why is this a good fun method? There is something to do every 4 changes, that’s a lot faster than Plain Bob, (every 12 changes), quite a bit faster than Double Bob (every 6 changes), it’s non-stop dodging in 5-6, and the interruptions to the hunting position come thick and fast.

This is a stepping stone towards Treble Bob.

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St. Clements College Bob Minor

St. Clements College Bob

St. Clements - the rules
Ring Plain Bob above the treble. Under the treble, the bells in 1-2 perform 3 consecutive dodges (a 3-pull), the bells between 3rds and 6th place ring plain hunting.

St. Clements numbers and grid

The value in ringing St Clements comes from the combination of dodging in 1-2 and hunting in 3rds - 6ths places. A novice handbell ringer will derive benefit from studying the spacing of the bells both to achieve good striking during the dodging leads, and to make the single adjacent blows in 2-3 at the correct stroke.

Handbell change ringers look for "landmarks" that enable a moment of lesser concentration. The triple dodge at lead in St Clements is one of those landmarks.

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Single Oxford Bob

Single Oxford Bob

Single Oxford Bob - the rules
When the treble leads, 2nds place is made and the bells in 3-4 and 5-6 dodge When the treble passes through 2-3, 4ths place is made and the bells in 5-6 dodge. Ring Plain Hunting below the treble.

Single Oxford numbers and grid

Single Oxford is a "busy" method above the treble. The combination of the 4ths place with the 2nds place lead end produces a 3-pull in 5-6, and the two examples of 4ths place (when the treble is in 2-3) are linked by a whole pull at lead at the half lead. There is a dodge in 3-4 both before and after the 4thhs places.

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Double Oxford Bob Minor

Double Oxford Bob Minor

Just as Double Bob can be viewed as Plain Bob with Plain Bob upside down under the treble, Double Oxford can be viewed as Single Oxford with Single Oxford upside down under the treble. So the interesting blue line artefacts of Single Oxford are repeated, inverted, in Double Oxford.

In terms of place notation, Double Oxford gives practice at elements: -, 12, 14, 36, and 56. (There is neither 34 nor 16).

Double Oxford - the rules
Triple dodging in 1-2, dodge, 4ths, 3rds, dodge in 3-4, triple dodge in 5-6, 5ths at the half lead, and reflect.

Double Oxford Bob numbers and grid

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Bastow Little Bob

Bastow Little Bob

Bastow - the rules
In Bastow the treble alternately makes second place and then leads again. The seconds place causes the bells in 3-4 and 5-6 to dodge.

The Plain Course of Bastow is just 20 changes long.

Bastow full course numbers and grid

As a stepping stone into Treble Bob, Bastow Little Bob is a good introduction. The work of the treble resembles the work of the slow bell in Oxford and Kent, and the work of the other bells resembles the easy part of Treble Bob Hunting.

If you have managed Little Bob without writing out all the dodging positions, Bastow will be easier because it is more consistent, there is always a dodge except at lead, and then it’s just two blows at lead and turn round.

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Touches of Double Bob and Little Bob

Touches and extents of Double Bob can be very similar to those of Plain Bob except that the lead ends are in a different order. However, bobs and singles are just the same, and an extent can be called and rung in the same manner.

Touches of Little Bob are also rung in a similar manner, but the extent on 6 (720 changes) cannot be rung in Little Bob as the method does not include the rows where the treble is in 6th place. Little Bob can be rung as part of an extent but only be “splicing” it in with a method where the treble plain hunts between 1st and 4th places and then dodges both ways in 5-6. Such methods are not included in this site.