York Minster begins its search for a new team of bell ringers

12 Feb 2017 @ 7.18 pm
| History, News

York Minster’s plan to ring the changes has begun in earnest.

The Dean and Chapter of the cathedral prompted headlines around the world when it sacked its entire team of volunteer bell ringers last October.

Now the Minster is advertising for someone to put together a replacement band of ringers.

The decision to disband the ringing team generated such widespread outrage, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu stepped in to say it was essential following a safeguarding investigation.

But that prompted an angry rebuttal from the ringers and a petition for their reinstatement which gathered 18,000 signatures.

Salary of £7K

The York Minster bell ringers in action. Photograph: WTHR / YouTube

At the time a spokeswoman told YorkMix that the decision was also part of a process to professionalise all its volunteers.

That process has begun. The Minster is now advertising the post of Head of Bell Tower.

Applications from experienced bell ringers are being sought for the £7,000-a-year post. Initially a 12-month contract, the job is expected to require an average 10 hours per week.

This would include practice, previously on Tuesday evenings, plus ringing on Sunday mornings for an hour from 9.30am and at special services and festivals.

The job description states:

The ring of 12 bells in York Minster are widely regarded by experienced change ringers as some of the best sounding bells in the country.

The Head of Bell Tower will be responsible for the recruitment and development of a skilled band of York Minster Bell Ringers to lead change ringing for Sunday services and for other special services and occasions in York.

‘Work effectively with Minster colleagues’

Your new workplace?

The successful applicant will be required to

    create a band of bell ringers by introducing a volunteer culture for all bell ringers and Carillonneurs that aligns with the mission of York Minister
    encourage a ‘Minster Standard’ in everything, including during the ringing of full 12 bell peals at agreed times
    work effectively with colleagues throughout the Minster community in particular the Precentor, Succentor, and the coordinator of volunteer carillonneurs

The application pack also states: “It is the responsibility of the Head of Bell Tower to ensure Chapter Safeguarding (of Young People and Vulnerable Adults) policy is understood, implemented and complied with by all members of the Band.”

When the original bell-ringing team was disbanded, the Minster said previous ringers would be welcome to apply for the new posts.

But at that time, one of the ringers told YorkMix: “If the Minster think we’re going to go back… I really doubt any of us will after all this.”