1. ITV Report

Hornblower required in Ripon to fill 1000-year-old role

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Damon Green

Ripon is recruiting for a new hornblower to fill the current vacancy as the town's timekeeper, a custom that is described as the "longest ongoing tradition in the world".

The hornblower will be required to sound the horn at 9pm in the Market Square at Ripon up to three nights a week.

They will also be called on to give a brief history of the role to the public who have gathered in the square to watch the ceremony.

The job advert says "some flexibility will be required" in the £8.72 an hour role.

The hornblower will part of a team of three who together ensure the horn is blown every night at 9pm.

The Mayor of Ripon, Councillor Pauline McHardy said the role was a "huge commitment".

"It purports to be the oldest (hornblowing tradition) in the world. Ripon is the only one that has consistently had the horn blown every night at 9 o'clock," she said.

As well as a talent for horn blowing, the right candidate will also need people skills and an ability to deal with difficult situations, said Councillor McHardy.

"The horn is not as easy to blow it it looks," the Mayor of Ripon told ITV News.

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She said: "And the horn that Paul (Schofield - the outgoing hornblower) uses is the hardest horn to blow of the three.

"This larger horn replaced the ancient horn in 1690 for the cost of six shillings and eight pence, 34p in today's money.

"We've certainly had our money's worth from it.

"The hornblowers are a profile of Ripon and are good ambassadors for the city - and they have to do the job in all weathers - rain, hail and sunshine as well".

The Prince of Wales is welcomed to Ripon Market Square by the historic Ripon Hornblower. Credit: PA

The horn has never not been blown at 9pm in the city, even during wars and staff shortages. A few years ago councillors were forced to step into the role every night to ensure the tradition continued.

The job description, issued by Ripon City Council, sets out the hornblower's responsibilities as "to sound the Horn at 9.00pm on an agreed number of evenings per week in the Market Square at Ripon

"This ceremony is followed by the sounding of the Horn three times outside the Mayor’s house or at the place of the Mayor’s engagement in the City of Ripon .Attendance at Civic events, ceremonies or processions during the Civic Year is also required (attendance is paid at a flat rate of £21.12 per event).

Applications close on Monday 3 July.