York Minster Bell Ringers

Today, the following statement was released by the Dean and Chapter of York and delivered by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. Last Tuesday, following a meeting of the Dean and Chapter, all 30 volunteer ringers were axed and access to the ringing chamber prevented. Another ringer of the carillon bells was subsequently suspended.

“Monday 17th October 2016

A Statement of The Dean and Chapter of York Minster delivered and released today by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

York Minster’s governing body, the Chapter of York, is responsible for ensuring that the Minster is a safe place for everyone who steps inside. This means managing and minimising risk to people and the building and includes safeguarding, health and safety and security.

Earlier this summer, it was necessary for the Chapter to take action regarding a member of the bell ringing community on safeguarding grounds. This came after complex multi-agency activity involving City of York Council, York Diocese Safeguarding Adviser and the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Officer.

The decision was taken in line with advice from safeguarding professionals, and with regard to national policies and guidance, including the Church of England’s on minimising risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Some members of the York Minster Society of Change Ringers have consistently challenged the Chapter’s authority on this and other important matters.

Repeated disregard of the Chapter’s attempts to fully implement the Church’s national policies for safeguarding, health and safety and security meant that decisive action was required.

This is why the Chapter took the decision to disband the bell ringing team last week.  New arrangements for bell ringing at the Minster will start in the New Year.


For media enquiries contact:

Sharon Atkinson – Director of Communications – t: 01904 557248 m: 07785 615457  sharona@yorkminster.org

Elizabeth Addy – Communications Officer for the Archbishop of York – t: 01904 772365 M: 07738 354491″

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "York Minster Bell Ringers" in Law & Religion UK, 17 October 2016, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2016/10/17/york-minster-bell-ringers/

6 thoughts on “York Minster Bell Ringers

  1. The back-story of the breakdown of relationships is obviously a complex tale, but if the trigger is essentially a safeguarding issue in relation to one particular ringer (the handling of which was presumably contested by colleagues) why was this not declared from the outset, instead of the unconvincing smokescreen of concerns about ‘working at height’ and the desire for a more diverse group of ringers, and so on? In the present climate, this makes the Dean and Chapter appear (needlessly) furtive.

    • Thanks for you comments Michael. However, I restricted the post to a “cut and paste” of the Dean and Chapter’s Statement and deliberately avoided comment. As you state, this is an “obviously complex” tale, and as a third-party observer, it is difficult to unpick the various threads from reports in the media and statements by the ringers.

      Nevertheless, the circumstances raise some general-applicable issues on safeguarding and H&S that are relevant to PCCs &c, and I will be posting on these in a couple of days. dp

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