In Stedman all bells do the same work – there is no “hunting treble”. Because of this Stedman is called a “Principle” rather than a method.
Stedman consists of Quick Work, Slow Work and double-dodging in 4-5, 6-7, etc. on any odd number of bells.
The Quick Work and Slow Work take place on the front three bells, regardless of the total number of bells being rung. Above thirds place the work consists of double-dodging up in each pair of places, 4-5, 6-7, etc., then double-dodging down again in each pair of places. You can see this if you follow the blue lines for Stedman doubles and Stedman triples in the diagrams book. (For caters and cinques add the extra dodging places, 8-9 and 10-11.)
After double-dodging 4-5 down a bell may come to the front “Quick” or “Slow”. If it is a “Quick” bell it hunts to lead, leads full and hunts out to double-dodge 4-5 up If it is a “Slow” bell it stays in the front three places for a long piece of work (the “Slow work”) before going up to the dodging. New features about the ‘Slow work’ are that sometimes you have to “lead wrong” (that is, backstroke/handstroke), also you have single blows at lead and in seconds
If you would like more help then the following articles are also useful:
(…taken from: Quick or Slow? – Philip Abbey)
Quick or Slow?
Stedman is so simplistic in construction it should be easy. Alternate quick and slow ‘sixes’ (or hunting on 3 bells) with simple dodging above, extending to as many bells as are available, it is enjoyed by so many ringers, whatever their experience. Yet seemingly excellent peals of Stedman can ‘fire out’ at a moments notice. Part of the cause of the fire up is a momentary lack of concentration to figure out which way to go into the front work, quick or slow?
Different Ways To Work Out Which Way To Go In
It is essential that you know which way you should be going in. If you go in the wrong way, you may confuse those already on the front, which will probably start a fire up.
If there is an even number of bobs whilst you are at the back, or you have to make the bob, then enter the opposite way to the way you came out last time. i.e. This does not affect the
normal order. Many compositions of Stedman Triples use pairs of bobs which makes it easier for everyone ringing. ‘Odd bob’ compositions are considered harder as ringers are more
prone to entering the front the wrong way. Singles do not affect the way you enter the front.
Using the bob counting method is useful, but on higher numbers especially, a ringer is prone to forgetting which way they came out last. Since you only need to worry about whether there was an even or an odd number of bobs, you can use your feet to remind you which way to go in next time. Decide which foot is slow. Each time you exit the front work, swap your feet over to tell you which way to go next time. For each bob called whilst you are in the highest dodging position, swap your feet over. This method goes wrong when you forget to swap your feet over on exiting the front work. By the time you get to 10-11, you may have forgotten which way you came out! Another version of this involves muttering quietly to yourself which way you will go in next time when you leave the front. For each bob you are caught dodging behind for, mutter the other way to yourself in between counting the dodges.
This method relies on your course bell going in correctly. Watch the bell coursing down in front of you to see which way it goes in, and then you go the opposite way. You must identify your course bell. This is easy if you have not been caught behind by bobs as it’s the bell you were dodging 6-7 up with in triples, and that bell then courses down in front of you. If you had to dodge down at a bob, then your course bell is now the one that made the bob. When you get to 4-5 down, if you strike over your course bell for your first blow in 4ths, then your course bell has gone in slow and you go in quick. If your course bell continues down to lead, then it’s going in quick and you must go in slow.
Watch the Leading
Again, this method trusts the front bells will not go wrong. Look at the leading whilst you are in 4-5 down. If bells are leading at hand and back (leading right), it’s a quick six, so you go in slow in the next six. If the leading is back and hand (leading wrong), is a slow six, so you go in quick next six. This one needs good rope-sight or listening skills!
Slow and Hope?
This method must not be used, in spite of being a ‘top tip’ in newsletters I have read in belfries on ringing outings. This is how peals fire up. The ‘tip’ is to always go in slow and yank the bell in quickly if you see someone try to ring over you. As a result of using this method of entry to the front, you will probably end up crashing another bell 50% of the time. This does not sound good and you may have to suffer the humiliation of an irate conductor!
Lastly, if you are conducting the touch of Stedman, then you have the upper hand, and can check through the composition to see in advance which way you will enter the front work and you can remember this detail for short enough touches. Just don’t miss-call it!