With a tradition that dates back to the 18th century, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths (SRCY) takes history as its focus. Yet with a variety of events running throughout the year and a membership spanning all age groups from 14 onwards the Society is very much alive in the 21st century! To find out more read on...
Who are we and what are we about?
We are a society which promotes and practices the highest standards in ringing bells. These can be church bells, bells hung in non-sectarian buildings or they can be handbells. Although not specifically a religious organisation, our headquarters are sited at the Anglican church of St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, with whom we maintain a strong connection.
The Society has a special presence within the wider bellringing community. One of only two societies of its kind (the other is the Ancient Society of College Youths), it is unique because its members are elected to join on the strength of their proven ringing ability. Ringing ability can take many forms and includes the skills that members offer in the service of ringing such as leading bands at their home tower, but essentially we seek to elect those people who have persevered to achieve a high standard in ringing, usually determined by ability to strike a bell accurately. Over the years we have developed a strong reputation as a Society which takes its responsibility towards the wider ringing community seriously and many of our members have been long standing committee members of the Central Council of Church Bellringers, the body which oversees the art of change ringing.
Is there a set programme of events throughout the year?
The Society holds weekly practices every Wednesday at a tower in central London and monthly practices by arrangement at Stockton on Tees in the North East of England. In addition we run a number of events which take place each year and form the backbone of the Society's calendar. View each box in the timeline for more information on what these activities are and where they are typically held.
Historically the SRCY has enjoyed strong links with churches in London, right from the Society's conception when it is said that the Duke of Cumberland came riding past St Leonards, Shoreditch on his way back from victory at Culloden. Therefore our early membership was mainly drawn from the city of London and its hinterlands. Today, however, the Society is proud to have fostered a strong national base of members across the UK and more recently developed a growing presence in the USA and Australia. One of the advantages of a non-territorial society is the opportunity to ring and socialise with members from different parts of the world. Another strong aspect to the SRCY membership base is the wide range of age groups that are involved in all aspects of the Society's existence - a valuable benefit of ringing in general made all the more obvious in a Society made up of over 1350 active members.
Every group or organisation needs a team of people who run things and the SRCY is no exception! We are dependent on the enthusiasm of members who give up their time to the Society in the capacity of an officer whether that be in planning special events, arranging ad-hoc ringing, keeping weekly practices running or ensuring the finances are in order. The officers are elected annually at the AGM in October, although it is usually the case that an officer will serve for more than one year in any given position (but no more than 3 years in the case of the Master or Stewards).
There are 7 elected positions. The Master has overall responsibility for the Society but he or she is assisted by a team of 6 people who each have specific responsibilities. The stewards assist the master in ensuring ringing practices run smoothly through tower arrangements and collecting the steepleage for each practice. The secretary and assistant secretary take responsibility for all correspondence and play a large part in arranging events during the year. The treasurer has responsibility for the accounts which are held by the Society and the librarian ensures the Society's property is accounted for and well maintained. There are two auditors and two trustees of the Society. View the current team of officers here.
What does being an officer involve?
The Officers attend weekly practices in London and certainly for the Master and Stewards this is an important aspect of their duties. In addition, there is a requirement that each officer attends the business meetings that are held throughout the year and to the separate meetings that are held for the officers prior to the business meetings. Three business meetings (and the AGM) are held at the Society's headquarters (St Martin in the Fields) and there are two business meetings held at locations across the UK, one in March and one in July. The officers' individual meetings are generally held at a location which is convenient for all officers. Additional responsibilities then depend on the positions - view the links below to see a description of each:
|January Business Meeting||Not The Dinner Day||May Business Meeting||July Country Meeting||Anniversary Dinner*||AGM Day||Peal Weekend|