During the Second World War there was a ban on bell-ringing. The bells were only to be used as a signal of invasion. Towards the end of the war this ban was relaxed and ringing for Sunday services, special occasions and practices was allowed. However, following the war there was a shortage of ringers.
Albert E. Sellers wrote to 21 local towers stating"...There is not sufficient number of experienced ringers in any one tower in the area to give the necessary tuition and encouragement to learners in the art of change ringing...". The letter invited representatives from the towers to a meeting to discuss forming a District Society.
The meeting was held on the 19th August 1946 in the vestry of Holy Trinity Church, Hull (now Hull Minster) with representatives from 11 towers attending and letters of support from a further 3. Mr Clement Glenn and Mr Clement R. Robinson proposed and seconded the formation of the Society.
Mr George F. Williams chaired the inaugural meeting and was elected as the first President of the Beverley and District Ringing Society. The other officers were
• Clement Glenn, Ringing Master
• Albert E. Sellers, Secretary and Treasurer
A committee of 6 was elected and together with the officers they were empowered to draw up rules and standing orders for the Society.
In the first year, membership rose steadily to 114 with regular attendance of 50 members at general meetings. Also, during the first year a project to install a ring of 6 bells at Hutton Cranswick was well under way and the Society contributed to this scheme, the first of many that the BnD came to support over the coming years. The vicar of Hutton, Revd George Storer was elected as the Society's first Chaplain.
The BnD's first peal was scored at Nunburnholme on the 7th June 1947, 3 Minor methods conducted by Leonard Rodmell. Commemorative peals have been rung at Nunburnholme to mark the 25th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of the first peal. In 2007 Mr John Hobson rang the same bell as he rang in the first peal. Peal ringing continues to be strongly supported by Society members with the total number of peals now over 1,100.
During the 1970s the Society developed a strong Maximus band with assistance from the Rotherham area. This developed into a strong peal ringing band that pushed the boundaries of ringing in the Society's area. This momentum continued through the 1980s as records for the Society show. This period showed a major increase in peal ringing activity that continues to this day.
The 1970s also saw the Society create a Bell Repair Fund. In 1976 the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers carried out a national survey of Bell Repair Funds based on 1975 figures. Three categories were measured:- Income per head, Capital per head and Expenditure per head. The Society came out top in both Income and Expenditure and was second in the Capital. (Ref Ringing World 1977 p107)
As part of the Society's 50th year (1996) an effort was made to ring 50 peals during the year, this total was achieved largely as a result of organisation by David Johnson.
From 1978 to 1980 the Society had a marquee at the annual Humberside Show in which a miniature bell tower was built. Princess Anne, to whom the Society President presented an LP record of change ringing, visited the marquee. For the Show, Hornsea Pottery were commissioned to produce a limited edition of 2500 bell ringers' mugs. These were advertised in the Ringing World and the Sunday Times, becoming one of the Society's greatest fundraising successes. The gallery contains a number of photos from the Humberside Show.
The Albert Sellers Memorial Cup, remembering one of the Society's founders and its first Secretary and Treasurer, was originally awarded in 1963 to the 'most improved tower' in the past year. In 1973 it was decided to change the basis of the annual award and since then it has been awarded to the winners of the Striking Competition in the years when a competition in held. A trophy was given to the Society in memory of Mrs Joan Castle in 1984. This is presented annually to the tower that has rung the most quarter peals in a year. A further trophy, donated to the Society as a memorial to Derek Watson, was first awarded in 2004 to the highest placed 'Novice Band' in the Annual Striking Competition.
The Society's membership now stands at well over 200, this represents an overall increase over the peak membership of the Society's early days, but on a seemingly more sustained level.
The Society celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1996 with a series of events, but the climax of the celebrations was a commemorative service at Holy Trinity Church (now Hull Minster), Kingston upon Hull, followed by a civic reception in the Guildhall, on 7th September. For the first time ever a band drawn from Society members entered the National Twelve Bell Competition.
2006 saw the 60th anniversary of the Society, which was again marked by a service at Holy Trinity Church, preceded by a peal of Spliced Plain and Little Bob Maximus on the bells there and followed by an informal reception.
In 2015, the Society hosted the 118th Annual Meeting of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend - an event that was 3 years in the planning. This was the second time in its history, the first being in 1984, that the Society had welcomed CCCBR members for their Annual Meeting - quite an achievement for one of the smaller ringing societies in the UK.
2015 also saw the acquisition by the Society of a mini ring - a portable peal of 8 bells with a tenor weight of 10 lbs. This purchase was made possible by sales of the 2015 Ringing World Calendar, which featured towers in the Society's area, and by generous personal donations. The Society's first quarter peal on the mini-ring was rung on the 2019 Annual General Meeting - Saturday 9th March. It is used on a regular basis for recruitment and training and for publicity.
We are looking forward to celebrating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Society in 2021.