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In a world of call changes and cross-peals, a member of the College Youths created a special composition on five bells. His name was Robert Roan and his method-Grandsire Doubles.
The story begins several decades earlier. Change Ringing had first appeared in or around 1610, with the discovery of Plain Hunt on three bells, a key six-change building block. It had then slowly developed from call changes with crude attempts made to create and ring peals on five bells.
Now, some 40 years later, with at least some understanding the mathematics and structure involved, Roan created the first fully-functional modern method. He started with a hunt bell, then he added a second half-hunt bell which snaked around a two-lead cycle. His clever design for the route of this bell enabled the remaining three bells to follow each other along a much longer course, not too dissimilar from a stretched-out version of Plain Hunt on three.
Up to this point his method had used only double changes that swap two pairs of bells between each row and the next. It had now run to the maximum possible sixty-row length. A single change (one pair crossing) was needed to give access to the other sixty. Roan placed it to leave his hunt and half-hunt bells unaffected. Repeating his sixty-row sequence, with two bells swapped out of place by the single gave him his true peal.
Last updated 18th August 2002 by John Irving.