Sted­man is a com­monly rung odd-bell method, which has much mu­sical po­ten­tial and a struc­ture that ex­tends eas­ily to higher stages. The place starts and the dodges in 4/​5, 6/​7, etc give the method a sim­ilar feel to Grand­sire in some ways, but Sted­man also con­tains pieces of work not found in com­monly rung Plain meth­ods, as well as wrong hunt­ing. Ropesight is also tricky, there is no hunt bell to provide struc­ture, and Sted­man is dif­fi­cult to con­duct-so in many ways it is more tricky for a band to ring than sim­pler Sur­prise meth­ods.

We’ll con­sider Sted­man Triples. Learn­ing the line for other stages is straight­for­ward once the ba­sic struc­ture is known, as is ex­plained later on, but note in par­tic­u­lar that Sted­man Doubles has very dif­fer­ent calls (Singles) to other stages.


At a high level the method con­sists of double-dodging at the back, and plain hunt­ing on 3 at the front. The method is di­vided into blocks of 6 changes. In a “slow six” the bells on the front hunt wrong; in a “quick six”, right.

At each “six end” the bells at the back move between dodging po­s­i­tions while the bells on the front change dir­ec­tion.

This struc­ture res­ults in two dif­fer­ent ‘front­works’, one ‘quick’ (which the treble starts in the middle of) and one ‘slow’ (which 4ths place bell enters at the start and fin­ishes 2½ leads later), with sec­tions of double-dodging in between.

Slow Six

Quick Six



Al­though in the­ory this sec­tion is made up of al­tern­at­ing blocks of right and wrong plain hunt­ing, it is more com­monly learnt as a single long piece of work.

Make 3rds on the way in (which switches you into wrong hunt­ing), and then do the first “whole turn”—lead, point, lead. Note that the first lead is back/​hand and the second is hand/​back (the point 2nds switches you back into right hunt­ing).

The next sec­tion is “3rds, point lead, 3rds, point lead, 3rds”. The points are of­ten re­ferred to as a “half turns”. The first of which is at hand­stroke, and the second at back­stroke. It is worth care­fully count­ing your place while you get used to the swaps between wrong and right hunt­ing.

Come down to do an­other whole turn—lead, point, lead. This time with the first lead at hand/​back and the second at back/​hand.

Fin­ish by not for­get­ting to make 3rds on the way out to the back­work.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice


Go­ing in quick is straight­for­ward—just hunt to the front, lead and hunt back up to the back­work.

The whole sec­tion is right hunt­ing, and so will feel quite nat­ural.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice


The back­work con­sists of everything above 3rd place, which you’ll see con­sists of double-dodging in each dodging po­s­i­tion up to the back and all the way down to the front again.

This is more dif­fi­cult that it looks, be­cause un­like Plain Bob or sim­ilar, the bells don’t come down from the back (or up from the front) in a par­tic­u­larly pre­dict­able pat­tern. This is due to the bells go­ing in quick “over­tak­ing” bells which have gone in slow and mud­dling the cours­ing or­der. The trans­itions between dodging po­s­i­tions are the most dif­fi­cult part. Tap­ping through the line on-screen won’t help much here un­for­tu­nately, but with prac­tice comes ex­per­i­ence.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice

Plain Course

Try run­ning through a full plain course on the treble, which starts by go­ing out quick to the back­work. Next time you will go into the slow front­work, be­fore do­ing the back­work once again and then fin­ish­ing by go­ing in quick.

Note where each of the place starts fall as you go.


Calls are made by the bells at the back of the change. In both bobs and singles if you are dodging 4/​5 then you “make the bob” by do­ing a place in 5ths and turn­ing around to dodge 4/​5 down, miss­ing out the 6/​7 dodges.

If you are in 6/​7 (up or down), then make an ex­tra dodge for the bob in­stead of mov­ing to the next dodging po­s­i­tion, and then con­tinue with an­other double dodge in the same po­s­i­tion. This res­ults in five dodges in total, but you’ll be less likely to lose count if you split them up as de­scribed.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice Make
  3. Prac­tice Up
  4. Prac­tice Down

If you make the bob then you skip two sixes of work, so that makes no change to whether you go in quick or slow, but just ac­cel­er­ates your re­turn to the front. If you are at the back then the bob swaps the way that you go in, so if you came out quick last time you will now go in quick again next time.


Singles are slightly dif­fer­ent to bobs. They are less com­mon, so it can be harder to get prac­tical ex­per­i­ence, and so people of­ten find them more dif­fi­cult. There is no need to fear them though, they’re sim­pler than bobs.

If you’re dodging 4/​5 up then you do the same as in a bob—make 5ths and skip the 6/​7 dodges. If you’re at the back then you don’t do an ex­tra dodge for the call, but in­stead make a place. This res­ults in the bell dodging down mak­ing 6ths and turn­ing around to dodge up, while the bell dodging up makes 7ths and dodges down.

  1. Line
  2. Prac­tice Up
  3. Prac­tice Down

Note that this ac­tu­ally res­ults in no change to the line of the bell that lies be­hind. Al­though it does res­ult in all the work in 6/​7 (dodging up, ly­ing be­hind, and dodging down) be­ing done with the same bell, which does feel un­usual.

In Quick or In Slow?

As the back­work is identical re­gard­less of the front­work there is ample op­por­tun­ity for con­fu­sion about whether you are go­ing in quick or in slow, par­tic­u­larly after a bob or single. This has been the sub­ject of many an art­icle, and every­one has their fa­vour­ite way to re­mem­ber. We’ll walk through a few com­mon meth­ods:

Count Bobs/​Singles and Just Re­mem­ber

In a plain course you will al­ways go in the other way to last time. Each bob that is called swaps the way that you will go in next time, and each Single has no ef­fect.

You may find it dif­fi­cult to keep track, in which case one of the be­low meth­ods may be use­ful.

Listen to / Watch the Lead­ing

When you are dodging in 4/​5-down note which way around the bells on the front are lead­ing: right (hand/​back) or wrong (back/​hand).

If they’re lead­ing right then they’re ringing a quick six and you will go in slow. If they’re lead­ing wrong then they’re ringing a slow six and you’ll go in quick.

This method could be ex­ten­ded to work at your 6/​7, 8/​9, etc dodges as well. If the bells on the front are lead­ing right when you are dodging in 6/​7, then in two sixes time you will go in quick (and vice versa).

  1. In Quick
  2. In Slow

“Di­ary Method”

This method sim­il­arly re­lies on watch­ing other bells, al­though this time a little closer to your own po­s­i­tion.

When you ar­rive in 4/​5-down note the bell you fol­low for your first blow in 4ths. If your first blow in 3rds is over the same bell then make thirds and go in slow, oth­er­wise go in quick.

  1. In Quick
  2. In Slow

Ringing on Other Stages

Ex­tend­ing Sted­man to other stages is straight­ford in the­ory. Simply re­move or add ex­tra sets of double dodging at the back as shown in the lines be­low.

In prac­tice, ringing the method on higher stages is more dif­fi­cult par­tic­u­larly in the back­work, where ropesight gets even harder as the num­ber of bells in­creases.

  1. Doubles
  2. Triples
  3. Caters
  4. Cinques

Calls in Sted­man Doubles

Sted­man Doubles does­n’t have Bobs, and the Singles are com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the Singles on other stages.

Singles are made in the middle of a six by the bells that were to dodge in 4/​5 mak­ing a place in­stead and pick­ing up each oth­er’s work. This res­ults in pieces of work known as ‘C­at’s Ears’ and ‘Coath­angers’ (other names ex­ist), and after do­ing each you go back in the same way that you came out.

  1. Lines
  2. Cat’s Ears Prac­tice
  3. Coath­angers Prac­tice

Cat’s Ears



Sted­man is a dif­fi­cult method, but hope­fully the tu­torial has helped with some of the learn­ing so you can make the most of any prac­tical ex­per­i­ence you’re able to get.

Sted­man does­n’t really lead on to any other com­monly rung prac­tice-night meth­ods. You might con­sider learn­ing Erin or Ship­way to chal­lenge a quarter peal band; they are also prin­ciples and share some sim­il­ar­it­ies with Sted­man. Erin also has the ad­vant­age that Plain Bob cours­ing or­der is main­tained, so less ex­per­i­enced bands might find it easier to ring than Sted­man ono higher stages.