Young@Herts. For young ringers. By young ringers.

Scroll below the poster for latest Y@H news!

Young@Herts is the official group for young bellringers in Hertfordshire. Anyone aged 18 or under is welcome at our monthly practices. All abilites are catered for. Our only request is that you are able to handle a bell in rounds without assistance. At our practices we aim to give everyone an opportunity to work on whatever they're learning in their tower, and progress, or try something that their tower can't offer. In addition to our monthly practices, we enter teams in two bellringing contests: The Ringing World National Youth Contest (RWNYC), and the South East England Youth Contest (SEECON). The RWNYC is a major event in the national ringing calendar, with 30+ teams of young ringers from all over the UK coming together for a fantastic day out. SEECON is a smaller and more informal version. We also have occasional days out, either for a day of ringing, or to somewhere like the Taylors Bellfoundry Museum in Loughborough.

We meet on the last Sunday afternoon every month, from 2.00-4.00pm. Details of each practice are circulated to all towers, and via a mailing list. The practices are run by Jen Johnson and Mike Below, with a few adult helpers (often ex members of Y@H), who are strictly by invitation.

Young@Herts was formed in 2013. In 2010 The Ringing World organised a contest for young ringers as part of their centenary celebrations. Herts entered a team and won! The event was such a success that it was decided to make it an annual thing. Herts entered again in 2011, but couldn't repeat their win. By 2012 all the team members were too old, and it proved impossible to get a team together, so in 2013, it was agreed that we needed to be organised, and Young@Herts was established. We have a good track record in the contest, always being in the top half of the results. Our best result to date was coming second in 2016, by winning the Call Change Category.


To contact us,

8th July 2023: Ringing World National Youth Contest - York

From January to June each year, Young@Herts prepare to send a squad to the annual Ringing World National Youth Contest. This year it was held in the city of York (postponed from 2020).

We were fortunate to have a full squad of ten young ringers this year (eight to ring and two reserves). We were entered in the 8 bell call changes category of the contest. Teams may ring 6 or 8, in either call changes or method categories.

The day started hot and sunny, although the threatened rain did arrive in the afternoon. We met at the Memorial Gardens to board a specially chartered bus service to our first tower of the day.

Acomb are a pleasant 6 in the York suburbs. A nice easy start to the day.

Back on the bus, following a very tight timetable, and to our next tower, All Saints, North Street. The bells here are almost exactly the same weight as the contest tower, so we took full advantage of this to have a run through of the test piece, which went very well. Time at all the towers was limited, but everyone had a couple of goes, including some method ringing for the more advanced members.

Our next venue was the highlight of the day. York Minster! The bells could be heard all over the city, making our approach even more exciting. The 12 bells, with a tenor weighing 59cwt are hung in the south west tower. There are various bells in all the other towers, but these are the ringing peal. Video of Y@H ringing at York Minster (without much sound)

We shared our 45 minute session with two other teams, Sussex, and the Coventry Spires. We have a connection to the Coventry team, with their manager being the aunt of one of our young ringers. Some local ringers ran the session, ensuring that everyone had a good ring, with support if needed. The bells are a lot bigger than most of our group are used to, but they all adapted quickly, and had a great visit. Our two captains were included in a final more advanced piece of ringing.

After the ringing we had a lunch break, with time to look round the Minster, and play on a couple of mini rings. These are portable towers with very small bells. One of the rings, used to be housed in a pub called The Black Bull, in Frosterley, Durham! There were also opportunities to try handbells, and various stalls to visit. We all met up again at St Martin, Coney Street. A nice ground floor ring of eight. We took another opportunity to practice our test piece. One advantage of ringing last in the contest was the chance to have a “cold” practice on strange bells several times during the day. We arrived at St Lawrence’s church in good time for our contest ringing. A few last minute tactical talks, and our team went up to ring. The start was understandably a little nervous, but they settled quickly and produced a really outstanding piece of ringing. Those of us listening outside (in the rain!) were so impressed. The bells were very quiet outside, but a recording was captured in the ringing chamber, and part of it can be heard below.
Video: A brief excerpt of the team's performance

With the contest done, we could all relax, and we made our way back to the Minster, and the York Oratory Church located opposite. This was our final tower of the day, and because of its proximity to the Minster (whose bells had been ringing ALL DAY), our visit was on the simulator. This is a computer driven system that allows the bells to be rung, but with the clappers silenced, and the sound produced in the ringing chamber electronically. Ringing completed, we made our way to The Central Methodist Church in St Saviourgate for the results and presentations. Despite some difficulties about capacity at the venue, everyone was able to get in. Twenty five teams competed, seven in the method category, and sixteen in our group, ringing call changes. Eleven of the teams rang on eight bells, including us. The results are read out in the traditional reverse order. We had to wait quite a while before they got to us! Young@Herts were placed joint 4th out of the 17 teams. This is a great result, and in other years our performance could have won. It should also be noted that the winning team only rang on 6, so of the 8 bell teams we were joint 3rd.

Results of the 2023 Robert Lewis Trophy for Excellence in Call Changes at St Lawrence, Hull Road, York (8, 7-3-24).
Position Team name Score
1st Durham & Newcastle 9.5/10
2nd Sussex Young Ringers 9/10
3rd Kent Young Ringers 8.5/10
4th= Go Bellistic! (Salisbury DG) 8/10
4th= Young@Herts 8/10
6th= Bucks & Berks Young Ringers 7.5/10
6th= Brumdingers 7.5/10
6th= Worcester Cathedral 7.5/10
9th= Yorkshire Tykes 7/10
9th= Nottingham Young Ringers 7/10
9th= Norfolk Young Ringers 7/10
12th= W&P Youths 6.5/10
12th= Derbyshire Young Ringers 6.5/10
12th= Lincolnshire Poachers 6.5/10
15th Coventry Spires 6/10
16th= Bath & Wells 5.5/10
16th= Ely Fen Tigers 5.5/10

A fantastic day, and a fantastic result! Next year London!


This outing had been postponed for two years! We had a trip to Loughborough, and Taylor's Bellfoundry back in 2017, but went on the wrong day for bell casting, and at a time when the Carillon Tower was closed for renovation. We attempted to rectify this omissions on this trip!

Holy Week is the ideal time for this outing. It's in the school holidays, and as the foundry campanile is a secular building, there is no restriction on ringing.

We met in Queens Park outside the Carillon Tower. This is a WW1 memorial, dedicated to the men of Loughborough who lost their lives in the Great War. This included three from the Taylor family, who owned the Bellfoundry, and they cast all the bells in the carillon. The lower floors are a museum of war memorabilia, and above that is the clavier room, where the carillon is played from. At the top are the bells. 47 in total, the largest weighing about 4 tons (roughly the same as the tenor at Liverpool Cathedral). Euan was persuaded to have a go at playing the carillon, and we all now appreciate how hard it is!

A very convenient Wetherspoons (The Moon and Bell) is just outside the park, and we had a leisurely brunch/lunch in there, before assembling at the foundry just before 1pm for our tour. This lasted about an hour, and took us around all the sections of the works. Bells everywhere! You won't take your bell wheel for granted after you've seen one under construction!

We were due to see a bell casting at the end of our tour, but staff illness ('rona again....) meant that couldn't take place. Next time....

We concluded with a good session on the bells of the foundry campanile. 12 bells with a tenor weighing just 2cwt. Mike did a splendid job running the ringing, and made sure that everyone got several goes. It was great to give two of our younger ringers their first try on more than 8 bells. They did really well considering how light the bells are. With some assistance from a few local friends, including two from the Leicester Young Ringers group, we were able to ring Stedman Triples and Grandsire Caters.

A great day out, and one we'll be doing again!

2nd April: SEECON 2022

This year's SEECON (The Southeast England Youth Striking Contest) was hosted by the Essex Association at Writtle on Saturday 2nd April. The contest is in it's 7th year now, having only missed 2020. It is a more relaxed version of the RWNYC, for teams from the South East. Potentially about nine teams could take part, but this year we had just five. Everyone has suffered from reduced numbers and several teams were a combination, enabling everyone to take part.

The day was perfectly organised, and ran smoothly. We started with three towers available for open ringing between the M25 and Writtle, along the A12. Bobbingworth, Moreton, and Fyfield. We gathered at Writtle Christian Centre, our base for the day, where refreshments were available. There was a Mini ring in the churchyard, and handbells to try in the hall. The contest ran over lunchtime, with food being available from various places in the nearby town centre. The chippy seems to have had a very good day!

Young@Herts were represented in two teams. East Berks/South Bucks, included Euan, who conducted call changes on eight, and Sussex were able to ring Grandsire Triples with the addition of Lucas, and a ringer from Kent on the tenor behind.

The day finished with three more open towers heading back to the M25. Margaretting, Ingatestone, and Fryerning.

Worcester Ringing World National Youth Competition 2021

Photos of the Young@Herts team in action at the Worcester Ringing World National Youth Competition 2021. Photo credit: Tom Cubitt.

Practice at St Alban's Cathedral (+parents/supporters)

Herts' valiant Ringing World National Youth Contest band & supporters!

Young@Herts YouTube Video

Contact Webmaster