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

Glossary of ringing terms – S

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) Single
(2) Slow, a twin bob calling position in Stedman with calls when the observation bell is runningin slow and doing the first whole turn.
(3) Society
Thickened woolly part of a bell rope at a height for the ringer to grip at handstroke.
Sally stroke
Alternative name for handstroke.
St Clements
A plain method for even numbers (basic stage Minor) in which Plain Bob is rung above the treble and consecutive thirds made below the treble causing continuous dodging in 1-2. Odd bell extensionsadd a hunt bell.
St Simon's
A plain method for odd numbers (basic stageDoubles) constructed as above (with only one hunt bell).
(1) Slang term for change ringing used by West Country call change ringers.
(2) An asymmetric Triples principle devised by John Carter in 1904. Difficult to learn and ring.
Scissors dodge
When a pair of handbells dodges in a complementary way (one up and the other down) at the same time (eg one in 34 and the other in 56).
Scissors (position)
Sometimes used for 'opposites'. but see scissors dodge.
Seage's apparatus
Mechanical apparatus to allow ringing practice with no external sound. The (tied) bells are connected by wires and levers to a set of small sounders in the ringing chamber that strike when the bell would have done.
Seconds place method
Method with seconds place made at the lead end change (as opposed to last place).
A subdivision of the structure of a method. A set of successive changes in which the treble is in 1-2, or 3-4, etc. The boundaries between sections are the changes when the treble moves between these pairs of positions, eg from 1-2 to 3-4.
Self aligning
Self aligning (ball) bearings allow the gudgeon pins to swivel slightly, and are therefore suitable for use where there is potential movement in the frame.
Stage name for methods with fifteen working bells.
Service bell
A single bell rung or tolled for a few minutes just before a service. Often rung by one person after the other ringers have gone down to robe for the choir, etc.
Service touch
The final touch rung before a service, usually with a band and method chosen to ensure particularly good striking.
Another term for stand
Set out
Write down a composition in a stylised format (with columns for different calling positions) to make it easier to visualise
Set pull
Ringing at a set pull means ringing near enough to the balance to be able to set the bell immediately.
Stage name for methods with thirteen working bells.
The shaft part of a clapper, between the ball and pivot.
Sharp 2nd
A bell added to a ring of 12 to enable 8 of the lighter bells to be rung in a major key. (1, 2+, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
Shear bands
The steel or iron strip used to secure the canons of old style bells to (timber) headstocks.
(n) When two (or more) bells exchange position inadvertently, and hence do each other's work.
An even bell principle (after William Shipway) closely related to Stedman. It consists of alternate 'slow and quick eights', ie backwards and forward hunting by the front four bells with pairs of bells triple dodging above.
Alternative name for firing.
Short course
A course in which the observation bell is affected by a call and returns to the same position (normally its natural position) after fewer changes than a normal course.
Short splice
A splice in which all strands are worked into the rope in one place. This thickens the rope, and should normally be tapered so the thickness does not change too suddenly. A short splice in a bellrope will normally be 6-8 inches (150-200mm) long, depending on thickness and taper.
(of a bell) The part where the crown and waist meet.
The flanges or rims either side of the sole of a bell wheel.
(1) Silent practice is one with the bells tied, or with very good sound control
(2) A silent touch, peal or quarter is one where nothing is said. 'Silent and non conducted' means no-one calls anything, gives advice or issues corrections.
Bell with clapper immobilised so it can't strike when rung.
Simpson, (Canon)
In the early twentieth century, he was instrumental in helping to develop the modern style of tuning
Simpson tuning
A popular name for bells tuned in the modern way. See tuning
A device capable of generating bell (or bell-like) sounds ringing rounds or changes. In the commonest use, the sound of one bell is triggered by a detector attached to a tied bell or dumb-bell, while the sounds of the other bells are generated by the simulator to a predetermined rhythm. Thus one ringer can practise with a perfect band when no other ringers are present. Some simulators can be connected to detectors on all bells, thus providing a form of sound control, so the band can ring together normally, but with the sound only in theringing chamber.
The second commonest type of call. It affects the coursing order of two bells with respect to the others. In most methods the place that defines the bob is made as well as two more places adjacent to it (eg bob=14 and single=1234, or bob=16 and single=1678). In this case, if the bob affects the work of 3 bells (eg plain=12 and bob=14, or plain=18 and bob=16), the single leaves one of them unaffected.
Single change
Change with only one pair of bells exchanging positions.
The stage name for methods with three working bells, so called because all changes are single changes.
Single Oxford Bob
Popular plain method with extended dodging on the back.
Sit out
Not ring in a touch.
(1) A unit of six rows, in principles like Stedman and Erin.
(2) A ring of six bells.
A touch of 120 changes of doubles, ie the extent. (Old term).
The stage name for methods with sixteen working bells . see -'in' (3)
Sixth place bob
(In Major methods). A bob at which 6th place (as opposed to fourths place) is made. This is standard for eighths place methods, eg Double Norwich, but not universal, eg Kent.
Sixth place method
A minor method at which 6th place is made at the lead end change (as opposed to seconds place).
Sixty on thirds
See 60 on thirds
Slack rope
('Ringing with a slack rope') A condition caused by poor handling with no tension on therope for a far greater part of the bell's swing than normal.
Slap board
Alternative name for running board.
The bar beneath the bell against which the stay rests to let the bell be stood. It slides so the bell can go beyond the balance in either direction to be stood at hand or back.
Slider cage or frame
The wooden frame or slot in which the moving end of the slider travels.
Slip wheel
The rope jumps from the groove round the rim of the bell wheel. It may be caused by any combination of damaged or distorted wheel, sticking or misaligned ground pulleys, a stiff rope and ringing with a slack rope. Bells prone to slip wheel can normally be prevented from doing so by good ringing with a taut rope.
(1) (adverb) Hunting interrupted by making a place, eg 'go in slow'
(2) (noun) 'In the slow' = doing slow work.
Slow bell
The bell in the slow, doing slow work.
Slow course
A class of method with a principal hunt bell (normally the Treble) and a secondary hunt bell that makes second's place when the principal hunt bell leads.
Slow hunt (bell)
Slow bell.
Slow six
A six in which the front three bells hunt wrong.
Slow work
Portion of work involving extended front work, especially in methods like Kent and Oxford Treble Bob and principles like Stedman and Shipway.
A single blow at which the direction of hunting reverses. Also called point.
Snowdon, JW
Jasper Whitfield Snowdon was author of many books, including Ropesight.
A ringing organisation, typically representing a number of towers in an area.
Sole (or soling)
The bottom of the channel around a bell wheel in which the rope lies.
The thicker part of a bell, a little way in from the mouth, that is struck by the clapper.
Sound chamber
Intermediate room between ringing chamber and bell chamber that helps reduce and balance the internal sound.
Sound control
(1) A device or system to enable the sound of the bells outside the tower to be reduced significantly (or eliminated) for practices etc, and restored to normal volume when required for services etc. Most mechanical sound control involves some form of movable flap or shutter, but tied bells and some form of internal sounder can also be used. See also simulator, ting-tang.
Sound lantern
An elevated structure on the tower roof containing the sound outlets. If the structure is set in from the edges of the tower, and no other outlets are provided, the sound can be projected well to a distance without beating down oppressively near the church.
Fitting with multiple hooks on which rope ends can be hung. Drawing the spider to the ceiling on a cord then lifts the ropes clear above head level.
Alternative name for snap.
(1) (vb) Making a smooth joint between two pieces of rope by opening the strands of each and then tucking them progressively between the strands of the other piece.
(2) (n) A joint so made. Splices used for ringing are short splice, long splice, eye splice.
(3) Composing or ringing a touch, at various points during which the method being rung is changed.
(1) Used to describe touches in which methods are spliced, eg 'spliced Plain and Little'. See splice.
(2) (By convention, without qualification), spliced surprise, eg 'eight spliced'.
Split lead
(When ringing handbells), a lead in which a pair of bells that are mainly coursing ring in the 2-3 position. The tenors do this in the middle lead of a course of Plain Bob. As it is the treblecoursing between the tenors, the coursing order excluding the treble is not affected.
Split tenors
A composition in which the tenors do not always course each other. The term is mainly used for Major and above, since on lesser number it is not possible to keep the tenors together except for very simple touches.
A 'radial' member of a bell wheel.
Spotted cow
An alternative name for Tittums.
Spread them out
Call used to slow down the ringing when ringing some way below the balance, eg prior to calling 'stand'.
Square bearings
A slang term to describe a bell that does not go well.
The Society of Royal Cumberland Youths.
Technical term describing the number of bells om which the changes of a method or principle operate. Many methods can be extended to a related method at a higher stage. Named stages are: Odd bells: 3 - Singles, 5 - Doubles, 7 - Triples, 9 - Caters, 11 - Cinques, 13 -Sextuples, 15 - Septuples, etc. Even bells: 4 - Minimus, 6 - Minor, 8 - Major, 10 - Royal, 12 - Maximus, 14 - Fourteen in, 16 - Sixteen in, etc.
(1) Causing a bell to go beyond the balance and then resting it against the stay.
(2)Call to cause everyone to do so.
Standard calling
(1) A common touch or composition , particularly in Minor methods, where it produces an extent. Call the observation bell (Wrong, Home, Wrong) three times for a Treble Bob method, and six times with singles half way and end (ie doubled with a single) for a plain method.
(2) Also used for very common touches.
Standard eight
The standard eight Surprise Major methods, ieCambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Superlative,Pudsey, Rutland, London and Bristol.
Standard forty one
The 41 Surprise  Minor  methods that have Plain Bob  lead heads , no 5-6 places (except at the half lead) and no single changes.
Stand behind
Stand near a ringer who may need help or advice during a touch, monitor his or her progress and give such advice as may be needed in the event of mistakes.
Stand in
Ring in touch (especially a peal, quarter peal or some other notable performance).
Stand out
Not ring in a touch or performance (in which you otherwise would).
Crown staple.
(noun) The work a particular bell does at the beginning of a method.
Static extension
Extending a method by repeating a place or set of places in the same position to produce the extra section, eg St Clements,Kent.
Wooden rod attached to the headstock. By resting against the slider it supports the weight of the bell just beyond the balance, so the bell can be stood when up.
Stay bender
Slang term for a ringer with a rough handling style.
(1) Fabian Stedman was a noted ringer, conductor and printer of the late 17th C. He published Tintinnalogia (1668) and was author of Campanalogia (1677). Master of the College Youths (1682).
(2) A popular odd bell principle designed by Fabian Stedman. It consists of alternate 'slow and quick sixes', ie backwards and forward hunting by the front three bells with pairs of bells above double dodging.
(3) Work in a method other than Stedman (eg Bristol) that is the same as a whole turn in Stedman.
Money paid by those present at a ringing practice,
Steeple keeper
The normal title for the tower officer responsible for the physical maintenance of the bells, fittings, etc.
Instruction to let the bells cease sounding at the end of a Devon fall – without an additional terminal round.
Derogatory name for towers ringing only Rounds or call changes that was common in former times when more bands didn't ring methods.
(1) (n) An extra tail end attached to the rope to permit an extra person to assist the ringer of a very heavy bell.
(2) (n) Such an assisting ringer, eg 'he turned in Exeter without a strap'
(3) (vb) Provide such assistance
(4) Toe strap
Strike note
The note that is perceived when a bell is struck. Sometimes the frequency of the strike note cannot be measured, but is synthesised in the hearer's ear and brain from the other tones present.
Used to describe the quality of the rhythm when ringing, eg 'the striking was better that time'.
(verb) To make the bell sound
(noun) Individual bell sound.
Striking competition
A ringing competition where bands compete solely on the quality of their striking when ringing a 'test piece'. Most competitions allow a short unmarked piece of ringing for practice and familiarisation with the bells, either separate from the test piece, or the first few leads of it. Most associations and guilds, and many branches, hold one or more striking competition a year
When a bell is up it swings between handstroke (rope wound under the wheel, ringer holding the sally) and backstroke (rope wound over the wheel, ringer holding the tail end). Thus the 'stroke' is a means of referring to one half of the swing rather than the other, or the corresponding blow.
The way the work of different bells fits together in a method. Familiarity with the structure is a valuable aid for keeping oneself and others right.
Sub section
That part of a section, either above the treble (rear sub section) or below the treble (front sub section).
Superlative Surprise
A double right-place Surprisemethod (basic stage Major). One of the standard eight. The first surprise method to be rung to a truepeal (in 1821).
A class of Treble Dodging   method in which an internal place is made at every cross section.
Instructor guiding a trainee's hands down (or up) by following pressure, but without any grip.
Swing chime
Cause the bell to strike on one side by swinging it through a small arc. Also just called 'chime'.
Swing them up
Call used prior to calling 'stand' when ringing well below the balance. See also Spread them out
Symmetrical method
The normal type of method, ie one whose places are symmetrical from beginning to end of the lead or block, and hence of the course or blue line. Technically this is palindromic symmetry. Methods may also have front to back symmetry – see Double method or rotational symmetry.
The property of a method that is the same if transformed in some way, for example: palindromic symmetry (possessed by most common methods),   double symmetry (possessed by double methods) and rotational symmetry.
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: