Lead End Variants

The title might sound off-putting, but it's just a case of a "Two-For-One" offer, to get more out of your learning. And sometimes it's "Three-for-One"...

Firstly, it's worth mentioning a warning that the phrase "lead end" is often used in different ways; the context will usually give you a clue though. If used on its own, it usually means the backstroke row when the treble is leading (labelled on the left in the diagram below). However, if used with the term "lead head" too, it means the handstroke row of the treble's lead, while the lead head is the backstroke row (shown to the right of the diagram).

Here we are thinking about the change made while the treble is leading, going from the lead end row to the lead head row. This is the lead end change. In the example above, that change has place notation 12. (For a reminder about place notation see here.)

As we did before, we could write out a blue line for this method. Starting from the 2, we trace a line through its path and find that, after some dodging on the front, it ends up in 3rds place at the lead head. It now has to ring "3rds place bell". So to write out the next bit of blue line we look for what the 3 did starting from rounds and follow its path. We find that it ends up in 5ths place at the next lead head, so it will be 5ths place bell next. (For more examples, look back at the work we did on blue lines earlier.)

Let's start with a Doubles method - St Martin's:

The numbers in the circles are the place bells for the 2 at the start of each lead of the method; it starts as 2nds place bell, of course, then rings 3rds place bell, 5ths place bell and 4ths place bell, before getting back to 2nds place bell. 2nds and 4ths place bells make places in 1-2, while 3rds and 5ths place bells lie behind and make 3rds.

The lead end change here is 125; each time the treble leads, places are made in 1sts (the treble), 2nds (the bell making seconds; at the first lead end, this is the 4) and 5ths (causing a bell to do 4 blows behind; at the first lead end, this is the 3).

If we just change that lead end change, we can get a different method. Let's try 123 first. So the 2 rings exactly the same until the treble leads, at which point it is in 4ths place. Instead of dodging back into 3rds place, the 123 place notation causes the bells in 4ths and 5ths to swap, so the 2 goes out to become 5ths place bell. Again, it's going to ring 90% of the 5ths place bell that it did before; just the final change is different. We get Bampton:

Note that the 2 still cycles through the work of all the four place bells it did before, but they get joined together in a different order, before getting back to rounds. See how the place bells, coloured the same each time, match up in both methods. The dodging at the lead end has gone, replaced by making 3rds from the back.

Or we could have 145 at the lead end. Once again, we already know 90% of the work of the method, so there's not much new to learn. As you might expect from the place notation 145, 4ths is made, as well as long 5ths; in fact it's just the normal Bob for St Martin's. And this gives the method Thurning:

Finally, let's see what happens when the lead end change has place notation just 1; i.e. bells swap in 2-3 and in 4-5. We get Candover:

This time, we get back to rounds after just two leads. The 2 has only rung 2nds place bell and 5ths place bell. Here we have a differential method; there are two separate blue lines; the 2 and 5 ring one blue line, while the 3 and 4 ring another. But, the really odd thing (which wouldn't have happened if we'd started with St Simon's) is that both blue lines are the same shape, but the starts aren't evenly spaced along it.

Most Minor methods that are commonly rung are 2nds Place methods; this means that the place notation at the lead end is 12; the bells in 3-4 and 5-6 swap over. For instance, St Clements, where the place bells come in the order 2, 3, 5, 6 and 4.

But we can turn this into a 6ths Place method, using the place notation 16 at the lead end, instead of 12. This gives College Bob:

Each of the place bells is almost entirely the same as before (but, sorry, not colour-coded this time), but they come in a different order - 2, 5, 4, 3, 6. Another feature of note is that all the lead head rows are also the same, but in a different order. Also note that there is now no dodging in 3-4 or 5-6.

And there is a 4ths Place version of the method. As you can hopefully guess by know, this means a place notation of 14 at the lead end. This is the same effect as ringing St Clement's (or College Bob) with a Bob every time. You get Lambeth:

Moving on to Treble Dodging Methods, you often hear ringers who know Cambridge Surprise Minor being told how easy it is to ring Primrose Surprise. "It's just..." they say. The difference between is that Cambridge is a 2nds place method, but Primrose is the corresponding 6ths place method.



And the 4ths place version is Ebor:

As you can tell, there are a huge number of methods that work like this. It certainly helps when ringing the variants if you know all the place bells, that is, where every bell starts in the method.

Finally, some lead end variants of London Surprise Minor:

London is a 2nds place method:

Its 6ths place counterpart is called Water. Watch out for the 4 blows behind:

The 4ths place variant is Bologna: