Grandsire is one of the standard change ringing methods, usually rung on an odd numbers of church bells. Grandsire Doubles is rung on five working bells, Grandsire Triples on seven, Grandsire Caters on nine and Grandsire Cinques on eleven.
The method was designed around 1650, probably by Robert Roan who became master of the College Youths change ringing society in 1652. Details of the method on five bells appeared in print In 1668 in Tintinnalogia, the first book to be published on change ringing. By this time R.R. had invented a six-bell extension he named Grandsire Bob, now known by ringers as Plain Bob Minor. The description of Grandsire predates modern method naming conventions. Grandsire on odd numbers of bells (as it is usually rung) would share a name with the method known as Plain Bob on even numbers of bells, if it were invented today.
The 120 possible changes of Doubles could only be rung by the introduction of single changes---that is, changes in which only two bells change position. Only two such singles were required. It was unclear whether the 5040 (7!) possible changes of Triples required a similar compromise. Although attempts at Triples compositions appeared in print as early as 1702 and a peal length composed by John Garthon was rung in 1718, it was 1751 before John Holt produced the first satisfactory peal. William Henry Thompson proved in a paper published in 1880 that it was impossible to achieve the 5040 changes without the use of single changes.
Peal length round blocks of Caters and Cinques were more easily achieved. However, the ringing of Grandsire at these stages was limited by the relative rarity of towers with sufficient bells. Caters was first rung to a peal length in 1717 and Cinques in 1725.
Grandsire at all stages is still frequently rung today. It is frequently one of the first methods learnt by new bellringers.
- (Online book) Duckworth, Richard [ http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/18567 Tintinnalogia. 1671 edition] (Gutenberg Project)