Home page Bellringing  Talks & lectures  Fell walking  Settle - Carlisle  Metal sculpture  Brickwork  Journeys  Ergonomics  The rest  Site map

Glossary of ringing terms – B

Last updated on: 05-December-2016

Words or phrases underlined are defined within the glossary. Where it assists with clarity, a definition is annotated to indicate a part of speech. (n) = noun, (vb) = verb, (adj) = adjective, (adv) = adverb. Section references refer to sections within The Tower Handbook.  

Top | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | JK | L |M | N | O | P |Q | R | S | T | UV | W | XYZ | Diagrams
(1) Symbol used to denote the 'Before' calling position when setting out a composition by calling positions, See fig 15.3-5, 15.3-6.
(2) Bob, See fig 15.3-1.
B block
A round block containing only bobs, ie no plain leads.
at or near last place.
Back bells
The heavier bells. Because they have more inertia, they generally need to set the speed. On higher numbers the music is normally based on the order of the back bells.
Back change
As below.
Back rounds
(1) An alternative name for rounds backwards, ie the bells rung in a sequence of ascending notes.
(2) As above, but omitting the Tenor which rings last.
(1) The stroke rung holding the tail end (rope end) in the tower, or with the bells raised in hand.
(2) Short for 'backstroke row', ie the whole row consisting of each bell's backstroke blow.
Backstroke (position)
(On higher numbers of bells) courses and coursing orders in which the back bells come into rounds order at backstroke. (Abbreviation for 'backstroke home').
Backward hunting
Hunting where even positions are occupied at backstroke on the way up, and handstroke on the way down. Backward hunting on the front means leading wrong.
Back work
Working for an extended period near the back, (often in the last pair of places), 'on the back'.
Balance (on the)
(1) (Literally) The bell is at rest with its centre of gravity over the pivot. (In practice this is virtually impossible to achieve, though it can occur)
(2) (Practically) 'Ringing on the balance' is ringing at a speed where the bell comes to rest at the top of the stroke very near the balance.
Balance (below the)
The bell is not swinging high enough to reach the balance point.
Balance (over the)
(1) The bell is being held (by the ringer) after passing beyond the balance point.
(2) The bell is swinging past the balance point (and therefore must be controlled by the ringer otherwise it would bump or break the stay).
The leather lined metal strap from which clappers were hung in early bells.
Part of the clapper, the large mass, normally roughly spherical, that strikes the bell, section 14.12.f.
Ball bearings
Bearings with inner and outer ball races separated by steel balls. Provides low friction and wear, normally self aligning (ie they work even if the shaft and mount are not quite aligned) and only require occasional greasing. 'Hung on ball bearings' = modern hanging.
A group of ringers, normally those who ring regularly together at a particular tower, but also they may have come together for some special purpose, eg a 'peal band'.
Barrel chime
A mechanism that automatically chimes tunes on bells, named after the metal or wooden drum with pegs sticking out that define the tune and activate the hammers.
The bell with lowest note in a carillon, (unlike a ring where the bell with lowest note is the tenor).
Basic stage
Lowest number of bells on which a method can be rung.
Bastow Little Bob (sometimes called Bastow Little Court) a basic method in which the Treble only goes to 2nd place.
The load bearing assembly that lets the bell swing smoothly with minimal friction. Swinging bells have two bearings at either end of the headstock and bolted to the frame. Traditionally bells used plain bearings but modern hangings use ball bearings. .
(1) In the preceding place, eg 3rd is before 4th in rounds.
(2) Preceding in the coursing order, eg 2nd courses before 4th in plain hunt. eg '5th down before 3rd'.
(3) Name of calling position with the observation bell (normally the highest working bell) on the front, or coming off the front.
In last place, eg '4 blows behind', or 'lie behind and then dodge'
(Strictly) bell chamber, but sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the ringing chamber.
A hollow open ended body of characteristic shape, caused to vibrate at resonant frequencies by an impact blow. Mosttower bells hung for full circle ringing weigh between a hundredweight and a ton (50 kg and 1 Tonne). The heaviest such bell weighs approx 4 tons and there are some rings with bells all under a hundredweight. Nearly all bells (hung for ringing) are cast from bell metal.
Bells advisor (the the DAC)
An expert appointed by a Diocesan Bishop to advise the DAC about bell related matters – may or may not be a full member of the DAC.
Bell Board
Website providing instant publication of ringing performances and other facilities.
Bell cage
Alternative name for bell frame. In particular used to describe frames containing bells hung for full circle ringing, not rung with ropes, but by directly handling the headstocks while standing next to the frame, eg at East Bergholt.
Bell chamber
Part of the tower containing the bells.
Bell control
The objective of bell handling, often used to describe doing it well, rather than merely doing it safely.
Bell cote
A small turret on the roof of a building housing one or two bells.
Bell founder
An individual or firm that casts and tunes bells, often also making frames and fittings, and hanging bells.
Bell foundry
Works where bells are cast. There are now only two bell foundries in Britain, Taylors (Loughborough) and Whitechapel (London). Some continental foundries also supply bells hung for full circle ringing.
Bell frame
The framework from which swinging bells are hung. Historic frames were made of timber in various patterns, but modern frames are mainly made of metal (steel and/or iron). Among the commoner types are A frames and H frames, so named after the shape of the main members on which the bells are mounted. An A frame is normally a low sided frame, ie its top is roughly at bearing level, whereas the top of an H frame is above the bells and wheels. H frames are thus particularly suitable for installations where the bells must be hung in two tiers because of restricted space.
Bell handling
The set of skills enabling a ringer to control a bell and its rope. 'Good bell handling' means doing this safely and tidily without undue expenditure of effort so that the blows are placed accurately.
Bell hanger
A person or firm that repairs and installs bell installations, but does not cast bells.
Bell metal
A form of bronze, ie an alloy of copper and tin, containing from 20-23% tin.
Bell plate
Flat, tuned piece of metal, with clapper and handle, used as a cheap alternative to a handbell.
Bell restoration fund
A fund set up by ringing societies to make grants towards projects that restore or install rings of bells.
Bell Restoration Officer
Officer of a ringing society who provides assistance with bell restoration matters
Bell ringer
One who rings bells in full circle ringing, ie by swinging them with rope and wheel. Often abbreviated to ringer.
Bell rope
The rope used to swing a bell, particularly one hung for full circle ringing. It consists of a tail end (normally tucked but occasionally with a billy) a sally and a top end. Most are three strand, but 4 strand rope is also used. Bell ropes were traditionally made of hemp but flax has mainly replaced this. To improve wear and reduce springiness, modern top ends are often made of pre-stretched polyester (brand names Terylene or Dacron). Other forms of synthetic rope, with physical properties closer to hemp, have been used for tail ends.
Bell welding
Repairing cracked or broken bells using a specialised welding technique. An attractive way to restore to use historic bells that would not be permitted to be broken up for recasting.
Bells to lead
Advice given to provide re-orientation just before a bell leads. Thus an errant ringer would be told 'two bells to lead' while hunting down through thirds place.
Bell tower
A tower in which bells are hung (and intended to be heard). See also campanile
(1) (describing a bell's position) Nearer the beginning of the row than another bell, eg 'below 4th place' or 'below the treble'
 '(2) (describing a method) 'X above and Y below' means the work done above the Treble is as in method X and the work below the Treble is as in method Y.
Below the balance
Ringing at a speed where the bell does not swing up to the balance. It cannot be held up to pause, or stood.
The tufted section of rope, similar to the sally, on the tail end of some bell ropes found in Yorkshire. No longer popular since adjustment is more difficult than with conventional tail ends. Also called 'Yorkshire tail ends'
 Black zone 
One of three broad descriptions of ringing ability introduced in Simon Linford's articles Room at the Top published in The Ringing World in 2002-3. Black zone ringing notionally starts at Bristol Maximus and the curve rises steeply. It is mainly done in peals and at a very small number of centres of 12-bell ringing. He estimated that there may be 200 black zone ringers. See also: Blue zone, Red zone.
(1) A set of rows considered as a unit within a composition.
(2) A sequence of changes, as in 'non method block'.
(1) The individual sound of a single bell
(2) The action associated with it
Blue line
A diagram showing the path of a bell through a method. It can be formed by joining successive positions of one bell when the rows are written under one another. See fig 15.1-3) Some publications use a different convention and draw the blue line rotated through 90°, ie running from left to right, rather than top to bottom. With this convention, up and down on the page correspond to up and down in the row.
Blue line proof
A system for extracting falseness by writing out a course with the path of two observation bells (eg 7 and 8) and the treble, and then interchanging rows with similar combinations of the positions of these bells, in order to find other courses with rows present in the plain course.
  Blue zone 
One of three broad descriptions of ringing ability introduced in Simon Linford's articles Room at the Top published in The Ringing World in 2002-3. Blue zone ringing covers everything from learning to handle a bell through to ringing methods inside. It includes methods that are formulaic or based on ringing by the treble, such as Kent but excludes Surprise. Blue zone ringing is largely very local, at a ringer's own practice night or for Sunday service, but some is at District practices. Touch length may extending to quarter peals but rarely beyond. He estimated that 90% of ringers may be blue zone ringers. See also: Black zone, Red zone
(1) The commonest type of call in most methods. In many methods it affects 3 of the bells. In some it affects the work of more bells, but only affects the coursing order of 3 of them with respect to the others, (eg Bristol).
(2) A class of plainmethod in which dodging occurs (somewhere).
(3) class of plainmethod in which the work of some bells includes other than just hunting and place making.
A lead is bobbed if a bob is made at it.
Bob bell
The bell that makes the bob place.
Bob caller
One who calls a touch, as a conductor does, but particularly one who does not otherwise check the ringing as the conductor would be expected to.
Bob course
(1) A touch the same length as a plain course (or similar), but containing bobs
(2) A touch containing all bobs and no plain leads.
Bob lead
The lead head produced by a bob.
Bob place
The place made in the change where the bob takes effect that distinguishes it from a plain lead.
A special call used in twin hunt triplesmethods to obtain the extent without altering the nature of the rows.
Slang term for covering with the tenor. Also 'bong behind'.
Boogie Woogie
A row rung on 12 bells with a 'jazzy' sound 2579E641380T
Smooth wooden or metal flange fitted where ropes pass through floors or rope guides.
Bounce (off)
A technique for a lightweight ringer to pull off a deep-set and/or heavy bell. The rope is pulled and released at the natural frequency with which the bell will bounce on the stay. Thus it is induced to bounce progressively higher, and after a few pulls it reaches a point where it can be more easily pulled up to and over the balance.
A large bell hung to be swung slowly and with solemn effect, not for full circle ringing.
Sturdy portable platform (of various heights) used for short ringers to stand on so they can reach ropes that are adjusted for taller people. See also tenor box.
Sloping member of a low sided bell frame.
The working unit of many Guilds and Associations. Typically consisting of a dozen or more towers. Sometimes called a District.
Bell Restoration Fund
Bell Restoration Officer
Bring round
(1) Successfully complete a peal or other significant performance. eg 'they brought it round in 3 hours 10'.
(2)Call round
A wrong place, double Surprisemethod with London lead order. One of the standard eight.
Bristol start
Starting to raise in peal by striking an extra bell each time: 1 12 123 1234 ...
  Also Bristol style. Common term in Devon
Bump (the stay)
Allow the bell to swing over the balance unchecked so that the stay pushes the slider to its end stop before the bell is brought to a rest.
Bump off
Bounce (off)
A row used in call changes, 213546.
Burton variation
A variation of Superlative Surprise Major with successive adjacent places wrong substituted for the five-pull dodges. This removes internal falseness, increasing the range of available touches.
Replaceable outer part of the clapper bearing. A soft metal sleeve which turns around the clapper pin.
Top | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | JK | L |M | N | O | P |Q | R | S | T | UV | W | XYZ | Diagrams

Back to top Return to start of glossary Return to Home page

Site search: