C William Brown

23/12/1900 - Oct 1992

Bill Brown was well known as a ringer in the Guilsborough Branch of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild, where he was Branch Ringing Master 1962-1980.

His death in early October came rather quickly, but it was obvious that his health was failing when he attended the Branch meeting held in Spratton in February 1992. He gradually lost the will to go on after the death of his wife Marjorie in 1986. He did, however, give up on his allotment before his bellringing. We could rely on some good salads and jams for Branch teas when Bill and Marjorie were in charge.

Bill began ringing in 1911, taught by his father alongside his six brothers. They had to ring the bells of Great Creaton with care as they were at that time only a four, hung on plain bearings without stays. In 1926 he married Marjorie and moved into the Spratton parish. Bill became tower captain at Spratton and taught many to ring - especially after the Second World War, when Bill was the only surviving Spratton ringer.

He often told Branch members that transport need not be a problem to attend meetings. He would recall the first District meeting he attended. “It was in Lilbourne and Dad took us in the horse and cart. It was like travelling to another world. We didn’t often go out and it made us look forward to the next meeting.”

Peal ringing was not one of Bill’s priorities, but he did ring a few in the area. He was more concerned with the quality of the striking and the art of bell control, thus making a good sound for service ringing.

In 1988 Bill was made an Life Honorary Member of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild - an honour of which he was justly proud, as members were equally proud of him. Spratton ringers rang a half-muffled quarter peal on the Sunday following his death; the bells were rung for the funeral service. Bad weather conditions caused a peal of seven surprise minor arranged by Branch members for December 23, 1992, which would have been Bill's 92nd birthday, to be postponed until January 22, 1993.

Author: David Westerman