The Bumping Stone

The Salisbury ‘choir boys’ traditionally undergo a quaint initiation ceremony.

Chorister initiation – “bumping”

now be said about the rather quaint initiation ceremony for newly made choristers after Evensong on the day that they receive their surplices.

The new chorister is seated on the stone shelf in the south choir aisle with the Bishop’s Chorister and the Vestry Monitor standing each side of him with their hands on his head. They proceed to, fairly gently, bump his head against the stone wall behind him seven times saying:

“We bump you a chorister of Salisbury Cathedral according to ancient custom”.

There is quite an indentation in the stone worn away over the ages!

Salisbury Cathedral lays claim to being the first English Cathedral to found a girls choir.

The year 1991 was a great one for the cathedral’s music when Richard Seal, organist of many years’ standing embarked upon a completely new venture, recruiting, founding and training a girl’s choir, 18 strong aged between eight and 11 years at the time of recruitment. It was the first English cathedral girls’ choir and has gone from strength to strength and when in the cathedral is completely independent of the boys’ choir.

On our visit to the Cathedral we were informed that the girls didn’t undergo the same initiation ceremony as the boys…  They merely got whacked on the head with a prayer book!

8 Comments CherryPie on Jul 5th 2014

8 Responses to “Salisbury Cathedral – The Bumping Stone”

  1. Alan says:

    A wonderful tradition (well, perhaps not for the choirboy). I seem to spend most working days banging my head again a brick wall; doesn’t not seem to help, though :)

  2. Natalie says:

    Amazing! I wonder if there have been any concussions over the years? :)

  3. james higham says:

    Seems to be shades of Wailing Wall.

  4. ubermouth says:

    Loved the history!

    Is the indentation on the right-hand corner of the stone where they bumped their heads?

    I laughed at you saying the girls only got whacked on the head with a prayer book. LOL