Stedman Doubles Toolbox

What is Stedman?

Stedman is not a method, it is a principlethe treble does the same work as the other working bells. It extends easily to ringing on higher numbers and offers opportunities for many musical compositions.

Ringing Stedman feels quite different from anything else you may have rung. Partly this is due to it being a principle with no treble to look out for at the lead end. But the leading will also feel unfamiliar: sometimes you lead at handstroke followed by backstroke (leading right) which is what you will be used to; sometimes you lead at backstroke followed by handstroke (leading wrong) and sometimes you only lead for one blow at either handstroke or backstroke (snap lead). When learning the method it is very useful to know which leads are right and which ones wrong.

Method Structure

Unlike most other methods Stedman is divided into sixes (rather than leads). The three front bells hunt for six blows and above this the bells in 4-5 double dodge behind. These six changes can be rung in two different ways – a slow six in which the bell in thirds place rings a second blow in thirds place and then runs in to lead back/hand (wrong) and a quick six in which the bell in thirds place runs straight in and leads hand/back (right).

These two sixes are rung alternately – each six starting with a handstroke blow. When the six changes have been rung one bell leaves the front and one of the bells which has been dodging behind comes down to take its place.

» Stedman Doubles explained

Quick or Slow – which way do you go in?

The question of whether you go in to the frontwork quick or slow provides many opportunities for confusion in Stedman, especially after a call. Ringers have different preferred ways of remembering, from moving their feet in certain ways to watching for a particular bell in the coursing order.

Some tips that might help:

  • Unless there has been a call, you will be doing the opposite of what you did last – if you went in quick last time, it will be slow and vice versa.
  • If the bell which you double-dodged with in 4-5 up (your course bell) passes you as you move from 4-5 down towards the lead you must be a slow bell (because it was a quick bell). The converse is true, if it is still on the front it was slow bell so you must be a quick bell.
  • When you are hunting down from the double dodge in 4-5 down, if the bells are leading right (handstroke and backstroke) its a quick six so the next one will be a slow six – you will go in slow – and vice versa.
  • As a last resort – as you move from thirds place towards the lead you will follow each of the two remaining bells one after the other. That may mean holding in thirds if they swap places, meaning you go in slow. If you didn't hold in thirds you go in quick.

Calling Stedman Doubles

The only call used in Stedman Doubles is the single. Calls affect the bell about to double dodge 4-5 down and the bell leaving the front, and has the effect of swapping the bells in 4-5. The bells doing the frontwork are unaffected.

Calls are made at handstroke and are made two blows before a six end. The download indicates all the calling positions.

» Calling simple touches

Learning aids

» Stedman Doubles crossword

» Stedman Doubles dominoes

Learn by watching

Find out more about Stedman by watching these St Martin's Guild YouTube videos.

Stedman workshop

How to set up a Stedman Doubles workshop including theory sessions.

» Workshop presentation

» Workshop notes

Stepping stone methods

» Cloister Doubles

» Stedman Slow Work

» Erin Doubles