The Wellington Combined Society of Bellringers were so pleased to hear the announcement of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s pregnancy that they rang a quarter peal of a previously unnamed minor method for six bells, and named it in her honour – calling it “Jacinda’s Surprise Minor” method.
Amanda Cunningham, Secretary of the Society, emailed the Prime Minister with a copy of the ringing record (click here to see it) and wished her well for the coming months of pregnancy – and received this reply from Ms Ardern:
I wanted to write a personal note of thanks. Your email notifying me of WCSB’s successful completion of a quarter peal brought a huge smile to my face.
Thank you again
So what’s a method? According to Wikipedia, it’s a form of change ringing that creates a continually changing form of bell music, based on changing mathematical permutations rather than instructions from a conductor. The ringers memorise the rules for how the ringing order is to change, and ring according to the rules – meaning that what they play never sounds like a recognisable melody. Method ringing dates back to 1650 in England, and the earliest method is known as the Plain Hunt – you can see an example of this being played in this one-minute YouTube clip.
By the way, although the Prime Minister’s baby is a minor, and the news came as a bit of a surprise, it turns out “surprise minor” is a bellringing term, in case you were wondering.