[Bell Historians] St John, York

john ketteringham john.ketteringham at n...
Fri Mar 29 13:33:26 GMT 2002

What does the covenant referring to the bells which the Redundant Churches
Uses Committee would have put into the conditions for transfer say?

-----Original Message-----
From: David Bryant [mailto:djb122 at y...]
Sent: 29 March 2002 13:16
To: Bell Historians
Subject: [Bell Historians] St John, York

The former church of St John, York (last used as York Arts Centre) has
been put up for sale. It was almost demolished in the 1930s, but
reprieved by being given to the Civic Trust, and became the Institute of
Advanced Architectural Studies (part of the University) in the early
1950s. In the 1960s it became York Arts Centre, a small theatre which
degenerated into a run down dive of a nightclub. For the last couple of
years it has been more or less derelict, although we have continued to
ring the bells (6, tenor 9-0-4 in G#) on a regular basis for the last
eighteen months or so. The grade II* listed building is is quite a bad
state (on the E-H buildings at risk register) and needs serious money
spent on it to rectify structural problems. It became a liability to
both the Civic Trust, who owned it, and the University (who had a
99-year full repairing lease). As a result, ownership has been
transferred to the University who have put it up for sale. I haven't
discovered what the asking price is as yet, but I'm working on it!

We hope that the bells can remain in the building and continue to be
rung, and the University have promised to point out to any prospective
purchasers that the bells are there and that we would like to continue
to be able to ring them. The ring includes a bell of c.1350 (2nd) and
two beautifully cast bells by John Potter of York (5th and tenor). The
tenor is dated 1408, and according to the late Fred Sharpe is the fifth
earliest dated bell in the country. They were rehung in 1955 by Taylor's
with all new frame and fittings, so go well although the heavy
canon-retaining stocks make them rather sluggish.

Any future developments will be reported on my York website. This is not
the only threatened ring of bells in York - St Laurence is also
threatened with demolition, and any developments there will also be
reported on my site.


(p.s. if anyone want to ring at St John while the bells are still
available contact me and I'll try to arrange something).

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