Victorian London - Directories - Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr., 1879 - "Change Ringing"

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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.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879