Guild rules

Last updated: January 2020

Name and Purpose

1.1 The Guild shall be called “The St. Martin’s Guild of Church Bell Ringers”.

1.2 The purpose of the Guild shall be to practise and develop bell ringing in order to:
1.2.1 Help maintain strong local bands of ringers who can maintain ringing for church services;
1.2.2 Maintain the heritage of ringing as an art by training new ringers;
1.2.3 Provide a rewarding and enjoyable activity for its members;
1.2.4 Demonstrate excellence in ringing and achieve the highest standards of performance;
1.2.5 Push forward the boundaries of change ringing achievement and ambition;
1.2.6 Support the improvement of bells and ringing infrastructure through the provision of funds.

1.3 The Guild’s activities will be centred on the general Birmingham area but not be limited by geographic or ecclesiastical boundary.

1.4 The Guild shall be affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) and shall abide by its Rules and Decisions.


2.1 The Guild shall consist of a number of classes of Member, with Eligibility, Duties, Rights and Privileges as follows:

2.1.1 Full Members
Any bell ringer can become a Full Member, subject to submission of a completed application or nomination by a Full Member prior to a peal attempt, agreement to pay the Annual Subscription on an ongoing basis, and ratification at the next Meeting.

Recognise the importance of the Guild’s purpose;
Encourage eligible ringers to become Full Members, and learners to become Associate Members;
Pay the Annual Subscription.

Rights and Privileges
Attend Meetings, take part in ringing activities and vote on the business of the Guild;
Be covered by the Guild’s insurances.

2.1.2 Associate Members
Anyone who is learning to become a bell ringer can become an Associate Member, subject to completion of an application from a Full Member, and payment of the Associate Membership Fee.

Aspire to become a Full Member;
Pay the Associate Membership Fee.

Rights and Privileges
Attend Meetings, take part in ringing activities as appropriate, but not vote on the business of the Guild;
Be covered by the Guild’s insurances.

2.1.3 Life Members
Any Full Member can become a Life Member, subject to the submission of an application from two existing Full Members to the Secretary and approval at the next General Meeting. In making its decision the meeting shall take into consideration the length of membership or service of the prospective Life Member.

As for a Full Member with the exception of the requirement to pay the Annual Subscription.

Rights and Privileges
As for a Full Member.

2.2 Membership will renew on payment of the Annual Subscription, otherwise membership will cease until such time as outstanding subscriptions are paid.

2.3 Full Members and Associate Members receiving full-time education and those retired from employment are entitled to pay half the Annual Subscription.

2.4 If a Member is considered to have brought the Guild into disrepute, or displayed wilful disregard for the Guild’s purpose, they may be expelled from the Guild, with no refund of subscription, if so decided by a two-thirds majority voting at a General Meeting. Notice of any proposed expulsion shall be circulated to Members by the Secretary at least two months in advance.

2.5 The Guild may elect a Member as a Life Vice President to recognise exceptional service to the Guild or ringing as a whole. Notice of proposal of Life Vice Presidents shall be given by a Full Member or current Life Vice President at any General Meeting prior to the Annual General Meeting or in writing to the Secretary six weeks prior to the Annual General Meeting, and they shall be elected by simple majority vote at the Annual General Meeting. Life Vice Presidents retain all the rights and privileges of Full Members and are not required to pay an Annual Subscription.

Officers and Officials

3.1 The Officers of the Guild shall be:
3.1.1 a Master, who shall chair all Meetings of the Guild, and ensure that decisions made by the Guild comply with statutory requirements and CCCBR Rules and Decisions.
3.1.2 a Ringing Master, whose duties shall include organising ringing practices, quarter peals, peals and other ringing events to further the purpose of the Guild.
3.1.3 a Secretary, whose duties shall include recording minutes of Meetings of the Guild, conduct of the Guild’s correspondence, and informing Members of the dates, venues and business of the Guild’s Meetings and other activities.
3.1.4 a Treasurer, whose duties shall include keeping an account of the income and expenditure of the Guild, the preparation of an annual statement of the accounts for examination and presentation at the Annual General Meeting, maintenance of the Guild’s insurances, and maintaining a complete register of all Members of the Guild.
3.1.5 an Archivist, whose duties shall include the safekeeping, preservation and curating of the Guild’s library, peal and quarter peal records, and other property, the maintenance of an inventory of the Guild’s property, and overseeing the loan of books and other property to Members.
3.1.6 a Recruitment Officer, whose duties shall include identifying opportunities to promote ringing and recruit potential Members.
3.1.7 a Safeguarding Officer, whose duties shall be to ensure that the procedures of the Guild comply with the safeguarding guidelines issued by the CCCBR, the Dioceses, and legal requirements. The Safeguarding Officer shall also provide guidance and assistance to Members regarding Safeguarding issues if able to do so, or to refer Members in need of assistance to the appropriate sources of guidance.
3.1.8 a Public Relations Officer, whose duties shall include promotion of the best possible image of bell ringing, bell ringers and the Guild to the general public.

3.2 The Officials of the Guild shall be:
3.2.1 two General Fund Trustees, in whose names all funds and assets, other than the Bell Restoration Fund, of the Guild are vested.
3.2.2 two Bell Restoration Fund Trustees, in whose names, along with the Master and Treasurer, all the funds and assets of the Bell Restoration Fund are vested.
3.2.3 two Independent Examiners who shall examine the annual statement of the accounts of the Guild and of the Bell Restoration Fund and report to the Annual General Meeting.
3.2.4 a Dinner Secretary, who shall organise the Henry Johnson Commemoration Dinner, working with the Officers or a sub committee thereof.

3.3 All Officers and Officials shall normally be elected at the Annual General Meeting to serve until the next Annual General Meeting. The term of office of the Dinner Secretary shall take effect from 1st April following the Annual General Meeting.

3.4 Subject to the nominee’s acceptance, the proposer and seconder of a candidate for an office shall give the proposed name to the Secretary no later than six weeks prior to the Annual General Meeting.

3.5 In the event of a vacancy occurring the Officers may appoint a replacement who shall serve until the next Annual General Meeting when an election to fill the office shall take place in accordance with the procedures in 3.4. Such temporary officers shall not act as Trustees of the Bell Restoration Fund.


4.1 The Annual General Meeting of the Guild shall normally be held on the second Saturday in January for the following purposes:
4.1.1 the election of Life Vice Presidents, Life Members, Officers and Officials of the Guild;
4.1.2 the presentation of the accounts and reports from Guild Officers;
4.1.3 the determination and apportionment of subscriptions and fees;
4.1.4 other appropriate business including the election of Central Council representatives.

4.2 Special General Meetings shall be held at a venue to be decided by the Officers within four weeks of either:
4.2.1 such a meeting being called by the Officers, or
4.2.2 receipt by the Secretary of a written notice specifying the business to be transacted at the meeting signed by at least one tenth of the Full Members of the Guild.

4.3 The quorum at the Annual General Meeting or at a Special General Meeting shall be forty Full Members of the Guild.

4.4 All motions and proposals, unless otherwise provided for by the rules, shall be decided on a simple majority of those members voting. The Chairman of the meeting shall have a casting vote.

4.5 Full Members, Life Vice Presidents and Life Members unable to attend an Annual or Special General Meeting and having tendered a written apology may register their views on the business of the meeting and vote by writing to the Secretary prior to the meeting. The number of such voting members shall not count towards the relevant quorum but their votes shall count equally with those of the members present.

4.6 In the absence of either the Master or Secretary from an Annual or Special General Meeting the members present shall elect a substitute for that meeting.

4.7 There will be at least two other General Meetings a year to review and organise ringing activities and conduct the regular business of the Guild.

4.8 Quorum for a General Meeting shall be ten, two of whom must be either the Master, Secretary, Ringing Master or Treasurer.

4.9 For the purpose of interpretation of these Rules, a ‘Meeting’ refers to a General Meeting, Special General Meeting or Annual General Meeting of the Guild.

Funds and Expenditure

5.1. The funds of the Guild shall be raised by Annual Subscriptions from Full Members and Associate Membership Fees from Associate Members, the levels of which shall be determined at each Annual General Meeting.

5.2. Membership subscriptions shall be apportioned between the General Funds of the Guild and the Bell Restoration Fund in accordance with a ratio to be determined at the Annual General Meeting on the recommendation of the Treasurer and Independent Examiners.

5.3 The General Funds of the Guild shall be used to:
5.3.1 pay for the use of towers for Guild activities;
5.3.2 provide Public Liability insurance for all the Guild’s activities;
5.3.3 defray the normal expenses of the Guild;
5.3.4 defray any special expenses sanctioned at a Meeting of the Guild;
5.3.5 defray the reasonable accommodation and travelling expenses incurred by the Guild’s representatives attending the Annual Meeting of the CCCBR.

Guild Peals

6.1 A record of a peal shall be made in the Guild peal books providing that:
6.1.1 the peal complies with the prevailing rules of the CCCBR, unless in exceptional circumstances, and in the opinion of the Members voting at the Annual General Meeting, a non-compliant peal is of sufficient merit to be included;
6.1.2 it is published in ‘The Ringing World’ as being rung for the Guild;
6.1.3 more than half the participants are Members of the Guild.

Henry Johnson Commemoration Dinner

7.1 The Henry Johnson Commemoration Dinner shall be held on the last Saturday of February each year or the nearest available Saturday.

Support for bells and ringing infrastructure

8.1 The Guild shall maintain a fund, The St Martin’s Guild Bell Restoration Fund (BRF), from which grants may be made as directed by the rules of the BRF.

8.2 The Guild may establish other funds for the maintenance and development of ringing infrastructure at towers in which Members have an interest.

8.3 The Officers shall include the management of the BRF and other funds as an item on the agenda of each General Meeting.

Modification of Rules

9.1 Any alteration to these rules shall only be made at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) with the consent of a majority of two-thirds of those members voting.

9.2 Notice of proposed alterations to the rules shall be given to the Secretary four months prior to the AGM who will circulate such notice to Members at least three months prior to the AGM.

9.3 The motion(s) shall be circulated by the Secretary to Members with the agenda of the AGM.

9.4 Amendments to the proposed alteration may be made at the AGM.

9.5 No alteration to these rules shall have the effect of causing the Bell Restoration Fund to cease to be a charity at Law.