Peals rung for 2019 "Show of Strength" 50th anniversary

Original "Show of Strength" peals

Westminster, Middlesex
St Martin in the Fields
Saturday, 31 May 1969 in 3hrs 32mins (30-1-20)
5280 Bristol Surprise Maximus

  1. Angela M Wright
  2. Jane Foster
  3. Joan Beresford
  4. Sheila M Dobbie
  5. John R Pratchett
  6. Peter M Wilkinson
  7. Edwin A Barnett
  8. Kenneth Newman
  9. John S Barnes
  10. Howard W Egglestone
  11. James A D Woolford
  12. Dennis Beresford (C)

Shoreditch, Middlesex
St Leonard
Saturday, 31 May 1969 in 3hrs 27mins (28-1-14)
5280 Bristol Surprise Maximus

  1. M Louise Slater
  2. Adrienne Gibson
  3. Susan E Smith
  4. S Kathleen M Baldwin
  5. Simon Humphrey
  6. Michael H D O'Callaghan
  7. Christopher P Starbuck
  8. Edward F P Bryant
  9. Roger Baldwin
  10. Derek E Sibson (C)
  11. Thomas H Francis
  12. Stanley Jenner
Peal Book page image
Peal Book page

Bristol Surprise Maximus 50th anniversary celebration

On Saturday 31st May 1969, 24 members of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths gathered to ring two simultaneous peals of Bristol Surprise Maximus. In the present day, this seems no great feat; the method is now a staple of the repertoire in centres of 12-bell ringing, and enduringly popular due to a relatively interesting blue line and even distribution of music throughout the entire course. It’s easy to overlook the familiarity offered by current day opportunities, but these were only the 6th and 7th peals ever rung in the method. The Cumberlands had rung one previous peal of Bristol Max (the 5th peal in the method) in December of 1968.

The two simultaneous attempts were arranged and conducted by the Master and Secretary at the time, Dennis Beresford and Derek Sibson. In a very understated paragraph about the achievement in the “Belfry Gossip” column of The Ringing World from 13th June 1969, it was announced that, “The Society of Royal Cumberland Youths are very proud of scoring peals of Bristol Surprise Maximus at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch, at the same time and using the same composition.”

And so we fast forward nearly 50 years to October 2018 when Simon Humphrey, who had taken part in the peal at Shoreditch, emailed Benjamin Constant, the current Master, drawing his attention to the forthcoming anniversary of this historic “show of strength” by the SRCY. An attempt had already been arranged at Shoreditch for December 2018 to mark 50 years since the Society’s first peal in the method, and Simon enquired whether it may be possible to pay homage to the two simultaneous peals in a similar way, perhaps even extending this to include some additional attempts.

The challenge was set! Ben decided that three simultaneous peals in London ought to be possible and booked the bells at Shoreditch, St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Magnus the Martyr. St Martin’s unfortunately had to pull out and St Sepulchre, Holborn, were booked in their place. He also contacted regional organisers to enable many of our non-London based members to take part. Additional attempts were arranged in Bristol, South Petherton, Stockton on Tees, and Leicester, as well as an attempt on handbells on the Friday – the actual anniversary.

The weekend arrived, and by mid-afternoon on Friday news came through that the handbell peal had been successful. Interestingly, after a little research and double checking, it transpired that this was the first peal of Surprise Maximus on handbells for the Cumberlands. A good start to the weekend and the pressure was now on! For the Master, 36 ringers had to arrive without issues with trains, at the correct tower, at the correct time and with no scope for illness. Access had to be gained to three towers and in all around 10.5 hours of Bristol Maximus would have to be rung to a good standard.

Unlike 50 years ago, news of success was shared by text as ringers turned their phones back on after the peal attempts. The London ringers met for beer and lunch in the Walrus and Carpenter, where a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon (and evening for some) was spent celebrating the occasion. Reports arrived that the peals at Stockton and Leicester had been scored and later on – due to lunchtime starts – the peals at South Petherton and St Stephen’s, Bristol. A 100% success rate with every attempt scored. Thanks must go to Benjamin Constant for masterminding the event as well as Sally Brown, Jennie Town, David Warwick and Rebecca Cox for arranging the regional attempts.

A few noteworthy points from the peals:-

List of performances, on bellboard

8 (7 Tower and 1 Handbell) peals so far have been rung.

7 different towers by 87 ringers 8 as conductors.

Leading ringers

Simon Humphrey 2
Daniel J Page 2
Katharine J Firman 2

Bristol, Bristol
St Stephen the Martyr
Saturday, 1 June 2019 in 3hrs 19mins (19-1-17 in E)
5040 Bristol Surprise Maximus
Composed by A J Cox

  1. Elizabeth A Coke
  2. Annabelle F Frost
  3. Andrea B Beaumont
  4. Alison E Leach
  5. Louisa A Roughley
  6. Helen Phillips
  7. Anthony J Cox (C)
  8. Matthew C Gardiner
  9. Molly S Waterson
  10. Joseph St J Beaumont
  11. Edward R Mack
  12. Rebecca J Cox

Rung for the SRCY Bristol Maximus 50th Anniversary Event

City of London,
St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge
Saturday, 1 June 2019 in 3hrs 28mins (26-3-9 in D)
5042 Bristol Surprise Maximus
Composed by Richard J Angrave (op.374)

  1. Richard A Pearce
  2. David C Bath
  3. Mary E Holden
  4. Penelope J V Sharpe
  5. Anne M Anthony
  6. J Chapman Knott
  7. Jack L Edwards (C)
  8. Richard L Thumwood
  9. Douglas J Beaumont
  10. Mark E R Gill
  11. Nicholas M W Haggett
  12. Thomas B Mack

For the 50th anniversary of the SRCY 'Show of Strength' peals of Bristol Maximus.
First peal of Maximus as conductor.

City of London,
St Sepulchre without Newgate, Holborn Viaduct
Saturday, 1 June 2019 in 3hrs 30mins (28-2-16 in C#)
5136 Bristol Surprise Maximus
Composed by R J Angrave

  1. Paul A Cammiade
  2. Elizabeth A Hibbert
  3. Shirley E McGill
  4. Jennifer R Sparling
  5. Daniel J Page
  6. Joanna E Knight
  7. Benjamin D Constant (C)
  8. Ian G Mills
  9. Lucinda J Woodward
  10. Adam S Greenley
  11. Michael R Crockett
  12. Ian R Fielding

Leicester, Leicestershire
Cathedral Church of St Martin
Saturday, 1 June 2019 in 3hrs 23mins (25-0-20 in D)
5186 Bristol Surprise Maximus
Composed by R J Angrave (No. 436)

  1. Sally A Brown
  2. Mark J Pendery
  3. Ruth Curtis
  4. Margaret Whiteley
  5. Luke G Groom
  6. Andrew J Preston
  7. Richard J Angrave (C)
  8. Anthony P Cotton
  9. Paul F Curtis
  10. Christian M Peckham
  11. Ian Butters
  12. Mark A Boylan

Rung for the SRCY Bristol Maximus 50th Anniversary Event and at the venue of the first ever peal in the method, rung May 22nd, 1950.
50th peal on the bells for treble and tenor.

Shoreditch, Greater London
St Leonard
Saturday, 1 June 2019 in 3hrs 22mins (25-1-11 in Eb)
5050 Bristol Surprise Maximus
Composed by S Humphrey

  1. Stephanie J Pattenden
  2. Joanna K Dorling
  3. Katharine J Firman
  4. Geraldine R Forster
  5. Simon Humphrey
  6. Claire F Roulstone
  7. Richard M Hobbs
  8. Timothy R Forster
  9. Stanley Jenner
  10. Alan Regin
  11. Ian G Campbell
  12. Ian Roulstone (C)

For the 50th anniversary of the "Show of Strength" by the Society. Simon and Stan rang in the original peal at this tower.

South Petherton, Somerset
St Peter and St Paul
Saturday, 1 June 2019 in 3hrs 16mins (22-3-15 in D)
5040 Bristol Surprise Maximus
Composed by Roger Baldwin

  1. Lucy S Warwick
  2. David A Warwick (C)
  3. Pauline McKenzie
  4. Felicity S Warwick
  5. Philip A L Rioch
  6. Graham A Duke
  7. Hilary A Beresford
  8. Benjamin D Kipling
  9. Donald B Carter
  10. Harry E Blamire
  11. Nigel R Woodruff
  12. Peter W Hill

Stockton on Tees, Durham
St Thomas a Becket
Saturday, 1 June 2019 in 3hrs 20mins (21-0-11 in Eb)
5136 Bristol Surprise Maximus
Composed by Anthony J Cox

  1. Christine Richardson
  2. Matthew J L Durham (C)
  3. Alexander T G Pym
  4. Christopher H Enzor
  5. Christopher M Mansfield
  6. G Jessica Durham
  7. Hayley J Messenger
  8. Robert V Criddle
  9. Matthew S Pearson
  10. Andrew J Cairns
  11. Simon D Ogier
  12. Kristopher King

1st Bristol Max:5

Birmingham, West Midlands
St. Paul (Ringing Chamber)
Friday, 31 May 2019 in 2hrs 59mins (15 in C)
5088 Bristol Surprise Maximus
Composed by G A C John

  1. 1–2Patricia M Newton
  2. 3–4Jack E Page (C)
  3. 5–6Daniel J Page
  4. 7–8Katharine J Firman
  5. 9–10Simon Humphrey
  6. 11–12John P Loveless

On the 50th anniversary of the SRCY 'Show of Strength' peals of Bristol Maximus, in which Simon rang.
The first handbell peal of Surprise Maximus by the Society.
50th peal of Bristol Maximus: 9-10.