Bells at York Minster’s Fall Silent at Christmas For First Time In 600 Years After Controversial Sacking of Bell-ringers

The archbishop of York, John Sentamu, greets members of the congregation as he leaves York Minster on Christmas Day. Photograph: John Giles/PA
The archbishop of York, John Sentamu, greets members of the congregation as he leaves York Minster on Christmas Day. Photograph: John Giles/PA

The bells of York Minster fell silent on Christmas Day for the first time in more than 600 years following the controversial breakup of their bellringing team.

Worshipers had been warned to expect a silent Christmas after the cathedral disbanded its 30-strong ringing group in October due to safeguarding concerns.

One group of campanologists from Leeds was asked to help ring the bells before a new team could be appointed, but they refused in solidarity with their sacked York colleagues.

The dean of York Minster, Vivienne Faull, and the archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who supported the decision, were both in attendance at the minster’s Christmas Day service.

The decision came after the ringers refused to accept the decision not to reinstate one of its members, who had been suspended following a police investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse that did not lead to a prosecution.

This member has not been named by the chapter but is understood to be David Potter, a senior campanologist who was given an MBE for his services to bellringing and has never been convicted of any offences.

Potter was the subject of a police investigation in 1999 that was reviewed again in 2014, but he was never charged.

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SOURCE: The Guardian