Ancient Society of College Youths
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The Society is said to be founded on 5 November 1637, although it is possible that it was actually in existence before this date. The first Master is noted as Lord William Brereton. The first ringing by the Society was recorded in c.1642 when it managed "a plain six-score on five bells". Robert Roan (Master in 1652) is said to have invented Grandsire Doubles and Plain Bob Minor.
Since its formation the ASCY has been a leader in ringing achievement, including large numbers of "long length" peals - ringing bells for up to 17 hours continuously. The first of these long lengths took place on 18 May 1728, and consisted of 10,080 changes of Plain Bob Major. More recently, three members of the ASCY - Philip Earis, Andrew Tibbetts and David Pipe - have rung the longest peal ever, on handbells, consisting of 72,000 changes of Minor, ringing 100 different methods, all of which had to be memorised, and taking 24 hours and 9 minutes.
The Society also rang the 'extent' (or maximum number of possible permutations in the order of the bells) of Major - 40,320 changes, on 27 December 1977, taking 15 hours, 59 minutes to do so. The ASCY is responsible for the bells at St Giles-without-Cripplegate, St Lawrence Jewry, St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, St Magnus the Martyr and St Michael, Cornhill. Its members hold regular practices at these towers, as well as at St Pauls Cathedral, St Mary-le-Bow and Southwark Cathedral.
- Dickens, Jr., Charles (1879). "Victorian London - Directories - Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr., 1879 - "CAB-CHA"". Dickens's Dictionary of London. Retrieved 2012-02-10. "Change Ringing is extensively practised in London, where the Ancient Society of College Youths has its head-quarters. The Society of College Youths was founded in 1637, by Lord Brereton and Sir Cliff Clifton, for the purpose of promoting the art of change ringing; and the society, having outlived its first youth, prefixed the "Ancient" to their original title. For many years the head-quarters of the society was at St. Martin's-in- the-Fields. They are now at St. Saviours, Southwark. There is another society of change ringers in London, called the Cumberland, and practising at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, which probably sprang from the internal dissensions which at one time agitated the older society. The London Scholars who are frequently mentioned in the records of the Ancient College Youths, have become extinct as a change-ringing society. At present, although there is an association of change ringers in almost every town where there is a good peal of bells, the Ancient Society of College Youths is the most important, as it is the most venerable in the kingdom. Its rules are few and simple, and its subscription and expenses low; and for this reason, no doubt, it has gradually attracted more and more members from the working classes. The early list of members contains the names of many Lord Mayors and of more than one member for the City; and Sir Watkin Wynne, Lord Dacre, and the Marquis of Salisbury also figure in the roll. The principal peals of hells in London, besides that newly hung in the belfry of St. Paul's Cathedral, are to be found in the following churches: St. Mary-he-Bow, Cheapside; St. Michaels, Cornhill; St Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames-street; St Matthew, Bethnal Green; St. Saviour's Southwark; St. Brides's Fleet-st; St.Martin's-in-Fields."