Big news for Ripon's ancient hornblower tradition

The current Ripon hornblower team.
The current Ripon hornblower team.

It's said to be the longest unbroken tradition in the world, and now the Ripon hornblower role is set to be boosted with an exciting new development.

The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy, is donating a new horn to the city, and it has an extraordinary story behind it.

Quest the bull.

Quest the bull.

Ripon City Council currently has a team of four hornblowers who cover the nightly setting of the watch ceremony, but the council only has three horns that are suitable to be blown.

The new horn means that the two hornblowers who currently share a horn, will no longer have to do so. Richard Midgley, who is one of the city's hornblowers, has been instrumental in making this project happen.

Richard sourced the horn from Malton farmer Ruth Russell - she kindly donated a horn from one of their much-loved bulls, Setterington Quest, who was sadly euthanised on vets advice due to ill health.

Richard spent many hours preparing the inside of the horn himself, and once it was ready, the tip of the horn was sent to the Czech Republic to have the mouth piece formed.

On its return to England, the horn was taken to Leeds to have the nickel silver put on it. It is currently with a local saddlery to have the leather strap work fitted.

Ruth Russell of Duggelby High Barn breeds the Settrington herd of English Longhorn Cattle and owned Quest. She has taken great comfort in the fact that his horn is going to be used in this way. She said this means that in some way their beloved Quest will live on.

Quest was no stranger to the spotlight, having appeared in the Dad's Army film remake in 2016.

When the Tour de Yorkshire passes through Ripon on May 3, the Mayor will present the new horn to the city just before the setting of the watch ceremony at 9pm. There will be a special horn blowing ceremony, where all four hornblowers will be blowing their own horns.

The Mayor said: "I am delighted that I will be able to present the new horn to the city during what will be my final week as the Mayor of Ripon. Quest’s owners have been invited to our celebrations to see the horn of their much-loved bull being blown for the first time.

"Four hornblowers did blow on Yorkshire Day last year, which was a unique ceremony, but the four of them blowing the city’s now four horns will be a very special event indeed