16th September 2015

Tower Stewardship

It has been increasingly obvious in recent years that bell ringers cannot exist “in isolation”. There are a number of external factors that now impinge on the activities of ringers. As responsible bell ringers, we must be aware of these factors, be able to effectively communicate with the relevant authorities and be able to manage these factors to the benefit of ringers. The Tower Stewardship Committee has identified a number of areas where external factors can affect how bell towers are used and managed. For example: child protection, insurance, health and safety, fire risk, etc. They monitor and advise ringers on these factors and have set up liaison with several outside bodies that have relevant interests, such as the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group and the Church of England’s Child Protection Adviser. They offer advice to churches, and ringing bands, mainly via a series of Guidance Notes published on the Council’s website.

Guidance Notes

The Committee provides a set of Guidance Notes on the topics of particular concern:

Other resources


Terms of Reference

  • to support the good management of towers by promoting best practice and good governance;
  • to inform and make available advice on the roles and responsibilities of tower officials;
  • to monitor regulatory issues that might affect the local parochial organisation
  • to act in support of the interests of tower officials in consultation with the authorities whenever necessary, and
  • to coordinate the UK support network for handling complaints about ringing


In recent years there has been a steady increase in legislation and social regulation that impacts directly on the role and responsibilities of the Tower Captain. It is quite probable that this trend will continue and Tower Captains are becoming exposed to considerable potential personal risk in the discharge of their voluntary duties.

Insurance, Child Protection and Health and Safety issues have in years past been dealt with on behalf of the Council by the Administrative Committee through the formation of ad hoc sub-committees of Officers or Members. However, these issues are ongoing and they continue to be subject to further review, extension and development — going right to the heart of how ringing is managed at the local level.

The office of Tower Captain or Ringing Master is generally not recognised within the constitutions of most members societies of the Council or of the Council itself, yet this office is not only crucial to the day-to-day management of ringing but carries the principal responsibility for compliance with the law within our ringing community.

During its 2005 meeting the Central Council approved the creation of the Tower Stewardship Committee at its 2006 meeting, and appointed a Working Group to start work immediately.

Committee membership

Ernie De Legh-Runciman (Lancashire Association) Chairman
Michael Hansford (Bath and Wells Diocesan Association)
Julian Hemper (Salisbury Diocesan Guild)
David Mattingley (Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild)
Christopher O'Mahony (Australian and New Zealand Association)
Chris Sharp (Lincoln Diocesan Guild)

Contact the Chairman

Ernie De Legh-Runciman 07624 426 654. 10 Derwent Drive, Onchan, Isle of Man, British Isles, IM3 2DG
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