IT was no April Fool on the evening of Monday, April 1, when six lady method bellringers came together to ring the first ever all female quarter peal at Poughill Church.

Appropriately nicknamed the Poughill ‘Belles’, just for this historic event, the ladies are regular ringers at Stratton, Launcells, Poughill and Marhamchurch.

For the uninitiated, method ringing — also known as scientific ringing — is a form of changing ringing in which the ringers commit to memory the rules of generating each change of sequence.

Speaking about their first peal in Poughill Church, Jo, who conducted the quarter from the third bell, said: “We are all very keen method ringers and it occurred to us that having enough ladies to ring a quarter peal is quite special. In order to ring method you have to memorise a ‘circle of work’, changing which bell you are following both at hand and backstroke. This is taxing enough as the bells change sequence quickly and it is very easy to forget what ‘work’ comes next!

“On top of this the conductor must also call bobs and singles in the right places, which cause two or more ringers to change their path in the circle of work, ensuring 1,260 different change sequences of bells.”

The ladies’ quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles took 45 minutes to complete.

Jo said: “The 45 minutes actually go quite quickly as the ringing demands full concentration — it is so easy to lose track if you begin to think of anything else!”

The Poughill Belles next target will be to complete a full peal, which will last around three hours.