Information about the Association
The Hertford County Association of Change-Ringers (HCACR) promotes all aspects of bells and bell ringing, encourages the recruitment and training of bell ringers, and advances the art of change ringing - principally, but not exclusively, in the service of the church - within Hertfordshire. Most often, HCACR members ring bells that are fixed in churches, although some also ring handbells. As the name implies, HCACR members are principally interested in Change Ringing, in which bells are rung in mathematically defined patterns, and not necessarily in tune ringing, in which the bells are used to ring music - although some Association members also have an interest in the latter activity. Since 1994 the HCACR has been a registered charity (No. 1037400).
The Association was founded on October 28th 1884, at a meeting held at St Albans Abbey. Many ringing societies were formed towards the end of the nineteenth century - perhaps because technical developments were leading people to ring bells in more complex sequences, which meant that the more capable ringers from different towers needed to meet to practise. This remains one of the reasons for the Association's existence today. The present membership is around 700.
The Association was a founding member of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, the international body responsible for setting standards, recording achievements and promoting bell ringing. The Association remains a member of the Central Council today, abiding by its decisions and playing an active part in formulating its policies.
Other objectives of the Association, as set out in its rules, include maintaining a library, arranging meetings and instruction, publishing annual and other reports, assisting in the maintenance of church bells, and sundry supporting activities.
The Association is divided into 6 Districts ( Bishop's Stortford , Eastern , Northern , St. Albans , Watford , Western ), at which level most activity is organised. The Association also operates The Hertford County Association of Change Ringers Bell Restoration Fund, separately registered in law as a charity, which was established in 1971 to provide financial assistance to church authorities when repairing or improving church bells and installations. So far over £190,000 has been awarded in grants.
The services which the Association provides include:
- A point of contact for advice or help on any matter related to ringing. In the first instance, contact the Honorary Secretary.
- Grants, upon request and within the terms of the Bell Restoration Fund, towards work on bells, fittings or towers.
- A library containing rare ringing books, peal books recording all peals rung for the Association, and documenting the history of the Association.
In addition, the Association:
- Organises two striking competitions each year - the Kimpton Cup, for six bell teams and the Coburn Trophy for eight bell teams- and enters teams for striking competitions against other Associations.
- Organises a 200 Club to raise funds for the Bell Restoration Fund.
- Helps Districts to review local training needs and arrange suitable tuition using all the resources available within the county.
- Coordinates publicity activities to ensure an effective voice for bell ringing within the county.
- Encourages young ringers to improve their striking by awarding the Ursula Fergusson Bequest.
Anyone interested in learning to ring church bells or learn more about the art of church bell ringing is more than welcome to attend one of the tower or District practice evenings. Please contact the relevant tower correspondent or District Secretary for times and places of meetings.