Yorkshire Surprise Major

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Yorkshire is probably the easiest Surprise method to ring.  People tend to learn Cambridge first because, unlike Yorkshire, it can be rung to Minor.  At first glance, Yorkshire looks a more difficult line to learn that Cambridge, but there is, in fact, a clear pattern and there are also a lot of signposts.

Yorkshire has the same lead end order as Cambridge and is exactly the same as Cambridge above the treble so, if you ring Cambridge, you should make sure that you know where you pass the treble and what happens when you are above the treble.

Like Cambridge, the pattern is easier to see the more bells there are, so start by getting the line for Yorkshire Maximus (don’t panic, you’re not aiming to learn Maximus at this stage!).

Starting at 2nd’s place bell, you will see that you treble bob hunt out until you get to 9/10 where you do a triple dodge.  This triple dodge is across the half lead (look at where the treble is).  This is the same in Yorkshire on any number; you treble bob hunt out to the highest internal dodging position where you do a triple dodge.  You then do a double dodge up and a single dodge down at the back (3-2-1) and treble bob hunt down to 5/6 where you become 6ths place bell.  5ths place bell is, of course, the reverse of this.

Now look at 3rds place bell; this is the pivot bell and is exactly the same as for Cambridge.  You treble bob hunt out passing the bells in the coursing order, do double dodge, lie and single dodge with the treble, a place under the treble and then do the reverse of what you’ve just done, ending by dodging in 3/4 to become 4th’s place bell.

Look next at 6th’s place bell.  This is the start of the regular pattern.  You treble bob hunt back and forth except where you miss out a dodge and then make places in the next dodging position.  You can, therefore, get away with just knowing what order the places come in!  If you look at the places in Maximus, they come in the order 1/2, 9/10, 3/4, 7/8, 5/6, 5/6, 7/8, 3/4.  The 1/2 places join up with the treble bob hunting on the front to give you the same work as half of Cambridge front work (without dodging with the treble).  The places therefore start at the outer dodging positions and work their way into the middle then outwards again.

In each half of the course, you start with places down (1/2 in 6th’s place bell; 3/4 in 4th’s place bell) and then you do places alternately up and down.

The more bells you omit, the fewer sets of places you make so the easier remembering the order becomes.  Now look at the line for Major.  In the first half of the course it is just 1/2, 5/6, 3/4, 3/4.  You omit the dodge before the places.  In the second half of the course (4th’s and 8th’s place bells) you omit the dodge after the places.

Signposts make Yorkshire much easier to ring than Cambridge.  First of all, apart from where you meet your course and after bells, you pass the other bells in the coursing order both above and below the treble, although in 2nd’s and 5th’s place bells the pairs are reversed.

All of the signposts in Cambridge when you are above the treble apply equally in Yorkshire.

Looking at the triple dodge, you will see that, in 2nd’s place bell, the first 2 backstrokes are after the same bell, the 3rd backstroke is over a different bell; that tells you to move on.  In 5th’s place bell, the first handstoke is over one bell and the next 2 are over the same bell.  The bell you strike over twice in your triple dodge down is the bell you then dodge down with in the next position; 3/4 in Major.

The most useful signposts are, however, your course and after bells which work with you throughout the section where you’re treble bob hunting and making places.  Take a printed line of Yorkshire with the path of one bell, probably the 2nd, drawn in.  Now draw in the line for that bell’s course bell, the 3rd if you’re looking at the 2nd.  You will see that you dodge with it at the front and back.  You will also see that, at the point where you miss out the dodge before the places, you are passing through your course bell’s places so it’s your course bell that you don’t dodge with.  You then make places and your course bell passes through your places.  So, if you meet your course bell in an internal position, you don’t dodge with it but make places in the next dodging position.

In the second half of the course, when you make places, your after bell (4th if you’re on the 2nd) passes through your places and then makes places which you pass through without dodging.  In this half of the course, you always strike over the treble at the beginning of down places and then dodge with it at the end of the places.

Golden Rule:  Never dodge with your course or after bells in an internal position.


Woodstock is 8th’s place Yorkshire.  That means that, at the lead end, in Yorkshire 2nd’s are made but in Woodstock it is 8th’s.  The practical effect of this is that, at the lead end, you plain hunt instead of dodging and then you ring a different place bell.

It is important that you learn Yorkshire by place bells, not just one long line.

Looking at the 2nd, at the end of the lead in Yorkshire, it dodges 5/6 down to become 6th’s place bell, but in Woodstock it plain hunts through 5/6 to become 4th’s place bell.  At the end of 4th’s place bell, instead of dodging 7/8 down to become 8th’s place bell, you hunt straight down to become 6th’s place bell, and so on throughout the course.  This means that the lead end order changes to 2, 4, 6, 8, 7, 5, 3.  The trickiest part of ringing this method is remembering not to dodge at the lead end, especially at the start and finish of the 3/4 places.