On Saturday, November 23rd, members of the Oxford Diocesan Guild attempted a peal of Cambridge Surprise Major at Beaconsfield Parish Church as a farewell to the Rector (the Rev. R. F. R. Routh), who has accepted the living of St. Ambrose's, Bournemouth, and took up his duties there on December 2nd.
The attempt came to grief after 1¾ hours of good ringing, owing to a broken rope. The band stood as follows: H. Wingrove (conductor) treble, D. R. Fletcher 2, G. Martin 3, Rev. R. F. R. Routh 4, W. Edwards 5, C. A. Levett 6, W. Lee 7, W. Henley tenor.
The local band has greatly appreciated the Rev. R. Routh's services in the belfry during his nine and a half years in the parish, and his departure, and consequently that of his two sons, who are also members of the local band, leaves a gap which will take a long time to fill.
The good wishes of all ringers in the district will go with him in his new work.
The Ringing World No. 1863, December 6th, 1946, page 583
The news of the death of the Rev. R. F. R. Routh was received by his many ringing friends with much regret. He passed away at Beaconsfield, his old parish, on November 5th at the early age of 61, after an illness lasting for several months.
The funeral service, which took the form of a Requiem Mass, was held at the Parish Church on Thursday, November 9th, when the Celebrant was the present Rector of Beaconsfield (the Rev. C. R. Warner). The service was preceded and followed by half-muffled ringing, which included a quarter peal of Stedman Triples by the following:- H. Wingrove (cond.) 1, D. R. Fletcher 2, J. Harrison 3, R. Buckland 4, J. Howard 5, A. Bridges 6, W. Lee 7, S. Hatfield 8. Others who took part in the ringing were Miss M. Wingrove and Miss E. Gordon.
The Oxford Diocesan Guild was represented by the Rev. E. C. S. Lowman. who succeeded the Rev. R. Routh as chairman of the East Berks and South Bucks Branch of the Guild when he left to take up the living of St. Ambrose, Bournemouth. Other members of the Branch wrote to express their regret at being unable to be present owing to illness, and the difficulty of making arrangements, due to the early hour of the service. The bells of St. Peter's Church, Bournemouth, were rung half-muffled on Thursday evening as a tribute to his memory
Mr. Routh endeared himself to all ringers with whom he came in contact by his friendliness, his youthful spirit and wholehearted enjoyment of ringing. He came to Beaconsfield from Hitchin in April, 1937, and while he was Rector of Beaconsfield he always found time, even on the great festivals, to take part in service ringing. During his nine and a half years in this parish, he found increased opportunities for peal ringing which he enjoyed to the full. He rang his first peal in each of the following Surprise Major methods:- Cambridge, New Cambridge, Yorkshire, Superlative, Lincolnshire and Beaconsfield, and also took part in the first peal of Stedman Triples rung by an entirely local band.
He rang on these bells for the last time at All Saintstide last year, when he visited the parish to preach at the Patronal Festival, and took part in a quarter peal.
His keen sense of humour and his unfailing sympathy will be missed by those who were privileged to call him friend, and they are the poorer for his passing.
D. R. F.
Mr. Arthur Davis, of Bournemouth, writes:-
Mr. Routh came to St. Ambrose shortly after the war and I remember we rang a touch of Grandsire Triples in his new church after his induction. He was particularly pleased with this for, although St. Ambrose possesses a fine tenor bell for ringing and a frame for eight bells, local inhabitants have prevented the full ring being placed there.
As soon as he settled in his new parish Mr. Routh identified himself actively with the ringing in the District, attending practices at St. John's and St. Peter's regularly with his sons when they were available. He was attached to St. John's, Surrey Road, as that church was nearest to his own but I think he missed his Sunday ringing. Mr. Routh held office in the Christchurch District as representative on the Central Committee and as Assistant Ringing Master. He enjoyed a peal attempt and rarely refused a rope if his duties at St. Ambrose permitted. We miss him very much at Bournemouth but we looked forward to his going to Winchester (as he did) for we hoped his interest in bells may have resulted in the Cathedral bells becoming more accessible than they are at present, but it was not to be.
His passing leaves a gap which will not be easily filled. Bournemouth and District ringers extend their deepest sympathy to Mrs. Routh and family at this time. Tributes were rung on the bells of St. Peter's and St. John's and a peal of Maximus was rung at Christchurch to his memory. His wise counsels and friendliness brought happiness to us all in Bournemouth during his all too short time amongst us.
The Ringing World No. 2069, November 24th, 1950, page 747