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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/001
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1637-1974
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 14 production units.
Name of creator(s): Ancient Society of College Youths


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Ancient Society of College Youths is a bell-ringing society, though little is known for certain of its history. It was founded in 1637, and appears to have been based at first at St Martin Vintry, in the City of London, and to have taken its name from the college founded in the fifteenth century in College Hill nearby.

It is thought to have been based subsequently at St Bride Fleet Street, at St Martin in the Fields (from 1735), at St Saviour Southwark (from 1849) and at St Paul's Cathedral (from 1878), though it rang peals throughout London and the home counties.

The Society appears to have drawn its members from the ranks of the aristocracy and well-to-do professional classes. This much is apparent from the "Name books" or registers of members (Ms 21656).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Ancient Society of College Youths, including membership books, peal books, minutes, and notes on the history of the Society.

The records were microfilmed in 1985 and 2003. Mss 21656-7A and 33992 are positive copy microfilms and microfiche presented to the Archive by the Society, which has retained the master negatives and the original manuscripts. Permission to take reproductions from the films or to publish extracts from the records should be sought from the Society's Hon. Secretary (please ask staff for further information).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

These records were catalogued in 1986 and 2003 by members of Guildhall Library staff.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Microfilms deposited at the Guildhall Library by the Society. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

No other records appear to survive in the hands of the Society other than "Peal books", or records of peals rung. A memoranda book of the Society, 1726-45, is however preserved in the British Library (Add. Ms. 19373). This includes a copy of the rules of the Society as revised in 1735.

Publication note:

For further information on the Society see : History of the Society of College Youths, published by the Society, 1928 (copy in Guildhall Library Printed Books, reference GL Pam. 2354); J. Armiger Trollope, The College Youths : a history of the Society, 1937 (GL L 11.62); E. Morris, The History and Art of Change Ringing, 1931 (GL 789.5); and F.W.M. Draper, "The Old London Ringing Companies", in Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, new series, 11 (1952-4), 27-38.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June to August 2010.

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