Author Topic: "Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)  (Read 163 times)

Offline Matt62

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"Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)
« on: Sunday 02 June 19 11:44 BST (UK) »
I found an interesting newspaper article from the Leeds Intelligencer and Yorkshire General Advertiser - 21 Apr 1866 (SEE ATTACHED) about my Smith ancestors all being professional change-ringers in the Leeds Parish Church. The information was imparted by William Smith (died 1868), son of George Smith (1856 - 1813), banker of Leeds, who was in turn the son of an earlier William Smith (1716 - 1784), cloth merchant in Leeds.

The reference to William Smith (1716 - 1784) being a "most eminent artist, very celebrated in his day" who hand-wrote and conducted a peal of 10,040 changes "rung for the peace with America" near the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783 (but months before the signing of the Treaty of Paris in which Britain recognised the independence of the United states), is corroborated on the Leeds Parish Church website:


http://www.leedsminster.org/Music/Bells/Peal-Archive/18th-Century/

Quote
January 28th 1783
was rung at Leeds a Complete Peal of Tripples called Double Union or Peace with America containing 5040 changes
which was performed in 3 hours and 10 minutes by the following persons
 
William Smith Treble

J Wheelwright 2
George Smith 3
T Bedford 4
B Shirrow 5
William Elbeck 6
Thomas Maud 7
T Normington Tenor

Treble   Composed & Conducted by William Smith


The 'melody' was performed months before the signing of the Treaty of Paris in September 1783, when Britain recognised the independence of the United States.

I am interested to know more about the context of this. Were bell "melodies" and ringing in churches conducted throughout the UK in the lead-up to the termination of hostilities? And why might my ancestor have called his melody "double union"?

If anyone could tell me where to look to find out more about change-ringers in Leeds and the popular response in Britain to the end of the war with America, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Online andrewalston

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Re: "Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 02 June 19 15:19 BST (UK) »
Change-ringing is a practice very peculiar to England. The bells are rung in sequence, then rung again with the positions within the sequence re-arranged, hence "change". There are a couple of towers over the border into Wales and Scotland set up for change ringing, but they are very uncommon there. Continental bells are tuned very differently, and controlled differently. The carillon, arranged to play tunes using an arrangement like a keyboard, is much more common across the Channel.

In England, both Church of England and Roman Catholic churches carry on the change-ringing tradition. Ringers are not what you would call professional, but usually receive payment for ringing on special occasions such as weddings, in the same manner as the organist and choir.

There seems to be some confusion about which peal was the long (10080 changes) one. I would tend to believe the version in the ringing room.

The names of peals relate to the types of changes made during the performance, and might also depend on the number of bells involved. I can't say I can follow the pattern of naming.

"Double Union Triples" is described at https://complib.org/method/28297 but whether this is the same version your ancestor was heavily involved in is open to conjecture.

Many towers have fallen silent in recent years. The strain of heavy bells moving around has taken its toll on many, and a few have fallen to legal threats by incomers who don't like being woken before lunchtime on Sundays.  >:(
Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

Census information is Crown Copyright. See www.nationalarchives.gov.uk for details.

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Online Erato

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Re: "Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 02 June 19 15:48 BST (UK) »
There was a preliminary Articles of Peace signed on 30 November 1782.  This document was basically a rough draft of what was eventually to be the Treaty of Paris.  The Articles of Peace document was  ratified by the Continental Congress on 15 April 1783.  So, it is possible that your ancestor was celebrating that event.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-38-02-0286
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr

Offline arthurk

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Re: "Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 02 June 19 16:33 BST (UK) »
There seems to be some confusion about which peal was the long (10080 changes) one. I would tend to believe the version in the ringing room.

I agree - the letter was presumably written based on memory and/or family legend, and doesn't fully agree with the church's records at the link quoted. Only one peal of 10,000+ changes is listed, and William Smith wasn't one of the ringers.

Quote
The names of peals relate to the types of changes made during the performance, and might also depend on the number of bells involved. I can't say I can follow the pattern of naming.

Each method has a name, which is followed by a term relating to the number of bells involved: Doubles for 5, Minor for 6, Triples for 7, and Major for 8 are the commonest. With an odd-bell method it's usual to ring the next biggest bell as the last in each change - it sounds better.

Quote
"Double Union Triples" is described at https://complib.org/method/28297 but whether this is the same version your ancestor was heavily involved in is open to conjecture.

According to this page, the same method was first rung in 1771, so it probably is the same:

http://methods.ringing.org/cgi-bin/simpleh.pl?id=m26129&mode=big&action=More+info

However, there's a distinction between devising a method and composing a peal. The pattern of changes in every method means that the bells revert to their original sequence after a fairly short time - a 'plain course', which for Double Union Triples is 70 changes. Who originally devised the method may be lost in the mists of time.

On 7 or more bells a full peal of 5040 changes or more is only considered genuine if there is no repetition of any sequence until the very end. (As there are only 720 possible permutations with 6 bells, and 120 with 5, repetition has to be allowed with those.) So in order to produce a non-repeating peal, the pattern of changes needs to be modified from time to time. This is done with a 'call' which tells the ringers to (in effect) shuffle the order of the bells. The composer's job is to work out which calls are needed and when, in order to produce a correct peal. Then as they ring, the conductor is the ringer who makes the calls.
Researching among others:
Bartle, Bilton, Campbell, Craven, Emmott, Harcourt, Hirst, Kellet(t), Kennedy,
Meaburn, Mennile/Meynell, Metcalf(e), Palliser, Robinson, Rutter, Shipley, Stow, Wilkinson

Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Matt62

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Re: "Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 02 June 19 16:44 BST (UK) »
I agree - the letter was presumably written based on memory and/or family legend, and doesn't fully agree with the church's records at the link quoted. Only one peal of 10,000+ changes is listed, and William Smith wasn't one of the ringers.

Yup - I checked and it was actually William's father George Smith, not his grandfather William, who was a "ringer" (the one listed first alongside another on the treble) in the 10,000 + peal in 1790.

William Sr. had been a ringer and composer in a number of earlier peals (he died in 1784) and the last one that he conducted was the January 1783 "double union" which he called Peace with America.

Understandably, William Jr. was relying upon memory and so seems to have gotten himself slightly muddled.

Many thanks for the insights into the art of change-ringing - it's all new to me!

Offline Matt62

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Re: "Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 02 June 19 16:46 BST (UK) »
There was a preliminary Articles of Peace signed on 30 November 1782.  This document was basically a rough draft of what was eventually to be the Treaty of Paris.  The Articles of Peace document was  ratified by the Continental Congress on 15 April 1783.  So, it is possible that your ancestor was celebrating that event.

https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-38-02-0286

Interesting...many thanks.

I have always wondered what British public opinion had to say about, effectively, losing the American colonies.

It looks like my ancestor may have been happy that the conflict was in it's death throes.

Offline Matt62

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Re: "Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 02 June 19 16:47 BST (UK) »
Change-ringing is a practice very peculiar to England. The bells are rung in sequence, then rung again with the positions within the sequence re-arranged, hence "change". There are a couple of towers over the border into Wales and Scotland set up for change ringing, but they are very uncommon there. Continental bells are tuned very differently, and controlled differently. The carillon, arranged to play tunes using an arrangement like a keyboard, is much more common across the Channel.

In England, both Church of England and Roman Catholic churches carry on the change-ringing tradition. Ringers are not what you would call professional, but usually receive payment for ringing on special occasions such as weddings, in the same manner as the organist and choir.

There seems to be some confusion about which peal was the long (10080 changes) one. I would tend to believe the version in the ringing room.

The names of peals relate to the types of changes made during the performance, and might also depend on the number of bells involved. I can't say I can follow the pattern of naming.

"Double Union Triples" is described at https://complib.org/method/28297 but whether this is the same version your ancestor was heavily involved in is open to conjecture.

Many towers have fallen silent in recent years. The strain of heavy bells moving around has taken its toll on many, and a few have fallen to legal threats by incomers who don't like being woken before lunchtime on Sundays.  >:(

Thank you for this very comprehensive response!

I knew nothing about change-ringing, coming as I do from Scotland.

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Re: "Peace with America/Double Union" change-ringing melody (1783)
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 02 June 19 16:57 BST (UK) »
The treaty was well received in the United States where it was generally felt that Adams, Franklin and Jay had negotiated a very favorable deal.  Of course, as it turned out, neither Britain nor the United States fully lived up to the terms of the Treaty of Paris - Britain continued to main forts in US territory and the United States was laggardly in paying restitution to loyalists who had lost property during the war.  I don't know what they thought in Britain but this article suggests there was some grumbling about it:

"Despite the British negotiators' belief that they had gained the benefits of North American commercial relations without the cost of defending colonies, the treaty attracted popular and political hostility. Numerous pamphlets attacking the king and his ministers can be found in the British Library's collections, as well as loyalist publications."

https://www.bl.uk/the-american-revolution/articles/peace-of-paris
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr