Have you heard the expression “follow your course
bell” and not had a clue what this bit of bell ringing wisdom meant or
what to do with it? Like a lot of things in ringing, the concept of
coursing order and course and after bells is quite simple to understand but it is routinely very
poorly explained, if it is explained at all.
a way of describing how bells follow each other around in a method. One
way to think of it is the order in which bells arrive at the front and
Your course bell is the bell that you course or follow down to the lead – so you might hear someone say “take your course bell off the lead.” The bell ahead of you when you arrive at the lead, or the back is your course bell.
Your after bell is the bell that follows you down to lead – hence the instruction “your after bell takes you off the back”.
This is the bell behind you, which leads after you, or arrives at the back after you.
In Plain Hunt the bells come down to the lead in a certain order. In this example (on the right) we are showing Plain Hunt on five bells.
Your course bell is the bell you ring over before you lead.
You take it off the lead.
If you are ringing the 4 it is the 2.
Your after bell is the bell you ring over in 2nd place after leading.
It takes you off the lead.
If you are ringing the 4 it is the 5.
What about when you’re not ringing Plain Hunt?
Developing an awareness of course and after bells when ringing is helpful later on when progressing on to ringing methods. Your course bells are the same whichever method you are ringing. However when you meet them and what work you do with them
varies with the method you are ringing. Your course and after bells will change when a bob or
single is called.
Knowing which bells are your course and after bell helps you ring in
the same way that knowing the work you do with the treble helps you
If you know that you are doing a piece of work with one of these bells then you don’t have to worry so much about ropesight.
It gives reassurance – you’re in the right place.
If you’re not quite sure then knowing how you work with your course and after bell can help you get it right.
A one page worksheet in which you can write out the grid for Plain Hunt Doubles and work out various course and after bells.