A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/College Youths, Ancient Society of
COLLEGE YOUTHS, Ancient Society of. This is the chief of the change-ringing societies of England. It dates back to the early part of the 17th century, and derives its name from the fact that the students at the college founded by the renowned Sir Richard Whittington about that date, having six bells in their college chapel, used to amuse themselves by ringing them; and the annals of the society show that, being joined by various gentlemen in the neighbourhood, the society was definitely started under the name 'College Youths' by the then Lord Salisbury, Lord Brereton, Lord Dacre, Sir Cliff Clifton, and many other noblemen and gentlemen connected with the city of London, on Nov. 5, 1637. There are books in possession of the society (which has gone through many vicissitudes) in which are recorded the performances of its members for the last 150 years. Of late years the society has been in a most flourishing condition; its books contain the names of many noblemen and gentlemen, not only as patrons but as actual performers, and there are few counties in England in which it has not members. It flourishes also in the ringing line, for there is no society of ringers in England who can equal some of its later performances, amongst the most important of which should be mentioned a peal of 15,840 changes of Treble Bob Major rung by eight of its members in 1868 at St. Matthew's, Bethnal Green, and which lasted without any pause for nine hours and twelve minutes.
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