Updated Rules as adopted 12th April 2005 (including revisions up to 11th September 2018)
1. The Society
- This Society (established 1637) shall be called the "Ancient Society of College Youths" and is referred to in these Rules as "the Society".
- The Society shall consist of an unlimited number of members over the age of fourteen who shall elect annually from their number a Master, Secretary, Treasurer, Senior Steward, Junior Steward, Librarian and two Trustees. These officers are referred to in these Rules as "the Officers".
- The Society shall meet at St. Paul's Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral, St. Mary-le-Bow Cheapside, St. Michael Cornhill, St. Giles Cripplegate, St. Lawrence Jewry, St. Sepulchre without Newgate, St Magnus the Martyr or at such other places as may be selected from time to time, to practise change ringing.
- The Society shall meet for the transaction of business once every month at a meeting place within the City of London appointed by the Society and at such other times and places as may be decided at a preceding meeting.
- The Society shall keep a book exclusively for the recording of peals rung by the Society. A name book shall be kept in which the names of all members elected shall be entered.
- The Society shall hold an Anniversary Dinner each year in London on the nearest convenient Saturday to November 5th.
- The Society shall have a Bell Restoration Fund which shall be registered with the Charity Commission and administered under rules approved by the Society.
- The Society shall be affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and shall abide by its rules and decisions insofar as they are consistent with the constitution, rules, decisions and traditions of the Society.
- A candidate for membership of the Society must have rung a tower bell in at least a quarter peal in some recognised method or methods and in the opinion of members be a suitable person for membership who will uphold the traditions and standards of the Society.
- A candidate shall be proposed and seconded by two members present at a business meeting or by letter. His or her election shall be considered at the next or subsequent business meeting. The candidate and the proposer and seconder shall, if possible, be present at the business meeting at which the election is to be considered.
- A member of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths shall not be eligible for membership of the Society. Any member joining the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths will cease to be a member of the Society.
- Any member whose conduct seriously or persistently damages the Society or brings it into disrepute shall be liable to expulsion, suspension from membership for a period not exceeding 12 months, exclusion from specified Society events, or a lesser penalty. Such action shall require the passing of a Motion at a Business Meeting of the Society. In the case of expulsion, a two thirds majority of Members attending shall be required. At least four weeks' Notice of Motion shall be given at a previous Business Meeting, setting out the grounds. The Member concerned shall be given a reasonable opportunity to respond in person or in writing. If the Member is not present at the Meeting when Notice of Motion is given, the Secretary shall advise him or her in writing as soon as is practicable thereafter.
3. Election of Office Holders
- The Officers shall be elected annually at the first business meeting following the Anniversary Dinner.
- The Society shall elect members annually as the Society's representatives on the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers in accordance with the Council's rules at the first business meeting following the Anniversary Dinner.
- The Society shall elect annually at the March business meeting members to act as Tower Secretary and Steeple-keeper at each of the churches of St. Mary-le-Bow Cheapside , St. Giles Cripplegate, St. Lawrence Jewry, St Sepulchre without Newgate, St Magnus the Martyr and St Michael Cornhill. No member shall be elected to office at more than one church. The elections are subject to the approval of the church authorities.
- The Society shall elect annually at the first business meeting following the Anniversary Dinner members to act as Peal Recorder and Webmaster.
- Two members shall be elected annually as Independent Examiners at the December business meeting. Officers, Tower Secretaries, Steeplekeepers, the Peal Recorder and the Webmaster are not eligible for election as Independent Examiners, nor may any of them nominate, propose or second a member to stand as an Independent Examiner.
- The Officers, Tower Secretaries, Steeplekeepers, Peal Recorder, Webmaster, Central Council representatives and Independent Examiners are together referred to in these Rules as "the Office Holders".
- All Office Holders are eligible for re-election.
- Candidates for any of the above elections shall be nominated at the business meeting preceding that at which the election is to take place and be proposed and seconded by two members present at the election meeting. A period of at least four weeks shall elapse between nomination and election.
- Election shall be by show of hands unless the meeting decides it shall be by secret ballot.
- Any casual vacancy shall be filled in accordance with Rule 3.8.
4. Duties of Office Holders
- MASTER. The Master shall attend if possible every ringing practice and business meeting, where he/she shall supervise the ringing and conduct the business. He/she shall preside at the Anniversary Dinner unless otherwise decided by the members.
- SECRETARY. The Secretary shall attend if possible every business meeting. He/she shall record all the business transacted and conduct the correspondence of the Society.
- TREASURER. The Treasurer shall attend if possible every business meeting. He/she shall be responsible for the safe keeping and recording of the Society's funds. He/she shall make payments from these funds as authorised by the Society. He/she shall make a statement of accounts and present a balance sheet as at December 31st each year.
- SENIOR STEWARD. The Senior Steward shall attend if possible every ringing practice and business meeting, where he/she shall assist the Master. He/she shall assist the Librarian in placing the Society's property for the use of members as required and in returning it for safe keeping after use. He/she shall attend on the Master at the Anniversary Dinner.
- JUNIOR STEWARD. The Junior Steward shall attend if possible every ringing practice and business meeting, where he/she shall assist the Master. He/she shall make a record of the names of members present at ringing practices and business meetings, collect steepleage due, and pass both to the Treasurer. He/she shall attend on the Master at the Anniversary Dinner.
- LIBRARIAN. The Librarian shall attend if possible every business meeting. He/she shall supervise the safe keeping and preservation of the Society's property and maintain an inventory thereof. He/she shall record the issue and return of any books and other items borrowed from the Society's library.
- TRUSTEES. The property of the Society shall be vested in the Trustees. Either of the Trustees together with the Treasurer, or both Trustees, shall authorise the making of payments agreed by the society from its funds.
- INDEPENDENT EXAMINERS. The Independent Examiners shall examine all books and accounts of the Society before the annual presentation of accounts, and shall report to the business meeting at which the accounts are presented. They shall check the Society's property annually against the inventory and report to a business meeting.
- CENTRAL COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES. The elected representatives shall represent the Society's interests as they individually consider necessary and shall on request give an account of Council matters of interest to members at a business meeting.
- TOWER SECRETARIES. The Tower Secretaries shall assist the church authorities with the administration of matters concerning the tower and bells, shall arrange ringing when required and shall represent the Society's interests in liaison with the church. Each shall present an annual report to the Society at the January business meeting.
- STEEPLE-KEEPERS. The Steeple-keepers shall attend to the proper upkeep and maintenance of the bells and belfry. Each shall present an annual report to the Society at the January business meeting.
- PEAL RECORDER. The Peal Recorder shall establish the truth of all compositions of peals rung by the Society and shall assist the Officers with the administration and recording of peals as required.
- WEBMASTER. The Webmaster shall maintain the Society's Web Site under the overall responsibility of the Secretary.
5. Meetings of the Society
- In the absence of the Master or Secretary from any business meeting of the Society the members present shall elect substitutes for that meeting.
- Non-members of the Society may attend a meeting of the Society having been introduced by a member to the Master and subject to the consent of the meeting. This consent may be withdrawn at any time.
- Twenty members including at least two Officers shall form a quorum.
- Not less than four weeks' notice must be given at a business meeting of the Society of any matter or proposition which would in the opinion of the Master and members substantially affect the Society's interests.
- Not less than four weeks' notice must be given at a business meeting of the Society of any proposed alteration or addition to these rules. Following such notice, rule changes shall be proposed and seconded by two members present at a meeting or by letter and be voted on by a show of hands at the same meeting unless a majority of members voting agrees that the voting shall be by another process.
6. Steepleage and Fees
- All members meeting the Society at a ringing practice or at a business meeting shall pay steepleage. Alternatively, steepleage may be paid annually in advance.
- A member on election shall pay the entry fee, and be entitled to receive a certificate of membership and a rule book.
- Each member taking part in a peal rung by the Society shall pay the peal booking-fee. The conductor, or treble-ringer in the case of a non-conducted peal, shall forward all fees due with full details of the peal and the peal composition to the Secretary within two months.
- Steepleage and fees shall be determined from time to time in accordance with the provisions of Rule 5.4.
- The Society's property shall be kept in such places as shall be decided from time to time by the members.
- Items of property may be borrowed by members for use in a proper manner and for an agreed period. Permission for such borrowing must be given at a business meeting of the Society and minuted. The borrower shall be responsible for the return of the property within the agreed period and this return shall be minuted.
- Books may be borrowed from the library by members at the discretion of the Librarian outside the provisions of Rule 7.2.
- Any member borrowing any items of property or books within the terms of Rules 7.2 and 7.3 shall be financially liable for any loss of or damage to such property or books.
8. Bell Restoration Fund
- The fund shall be known as: "The Ancient Society of College Youths Bell Restoration Fund".
- The object of the fund shall be to advance the Christian religion by providing financial assistance to Churches in which the Ancient Society of College Youths has a major interest, for the purpose of maintaining and improving their bell installations by making grants to them. Maintaining and improving a bell installation shall be deemed to include the following:
- Taking out an existing ring of bells, supplying and installing a new frame and erecting the same.
- Taking out, overhauling and reclappering existing bells, supplying and installing a new frame and fittings and re-erecting the bells.
- Taking out existing bells, overhauling existing frame and fittings, recasting, tuning, reclappering, and overhauling bells and re-erecting.
- Augmentation and bringing existing bells, frame and fittings into an adequate state of repair.
- Other major repairs and improvements to bells, bellframes and towers.
- The provision of bells, frames and fittings and erection in churches which previously had none.
- The provision of new, or the repair of existing, sound control installations.
- The fund shall be administered by a Committee of the Ancient Society of College Youths, which shall have the power, after considering an application submitted in writing, and with the approval of a business meeting of the Society, to make a grant from the fund. A business meeting of the Society may delegate to the committee authority to make grants for routine maintenance at specified churches, subject to a stipulated maximum annual amount in each case. The Committee shall be chaired by the Master of the Society and the members shall be the Officers of the Society as defined in the Society's rules. In the absence of the Master the members of the Committee shall elect a chairman from those members present. The Committee shall have the power to appoint sub-committees who shall report back to the Committee on actions taken and decisions made under delegated powers.
- The trustees of the fund shall be the members of the committee. Cheques drawn against the fund must be signed by any two of the persons authorized to sign cheques on behalf of the Ancient Society of College Youths, who shall have the power to invest or otherwise deal with such sums as the committee may place in their hands, in such a manner as the committee, or any sub-committee appointed by the committee, shall direct.
- The fund shall be set up by the total transfer to it of the balance of those monies collected, made available, or designated for bell restoration by the Ancient Society of College Youths.
- In the event of the dissolution of the fund, the assets of the fund shall be distributed among Churches in which the Ancient Society of College Youths has a major interest and as decided by the members at a business meeting held in accordance with the Society's rules.
- The Treasurer shall prepare a balance sheet as at 31st December in each year and an income and expenditure account for the year ended on that date. The accounts shall be examined by Independent Examiners elected by the Ancient Society of College Youths to examine the Society's accounts, and be presented to the members at the next convenient business meeting after 31st December of the year for which the accounts were prepared.
- No alteration of, addition to, or deletion from these rules shall be made so as to cause the fund at any time to cease to be a charity at law. No alteration to, or deletion from these rules shall be made except as results from a business meeting of the Ancient Society of College Youths for which the agenda item proposing the change in rules has been notified at a business meeting of the Society at least four weeks previously.