Mr. and Mrs. George Williams, who recently celebrated their golden wedding and to commemorate the event presented two treble bells to make a ring of ten at North Stoneham Church, were on Saturday week [Jan. 16th] the recipients of gifts from members of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, of which Mr. Williams is the popular Master. The presentation took place at the annual meeting of the Southampton District, and consisted of two armchairs.

The General Secretary of the Guild (Mr. F. W. Rogers) said the meeting was a dual one, for, besides being the annual meeting of the district, it was to show the gratitude and affection of the Guild to Mr. and Mrs. George Williams, by presenting them with a gift on the occasion of their golden wedding. There had been a large and ready response from members. The Bishop of Southampton had kindly offered to make the presentation, thereby showing his keen interest in the Guild. The Bishop had had to postpone duties at Winchester to attend, and the Guild greatly appreciated his presence.

The Bishop (Dr. Boutflower) made the presentation in a happy manner. The debt of the members to Mr. and Mr. Williams, he said, was such that for some time they had wished to record the appreciation in some tangible form. So they chose the opportunity when Mr. and Mrs. William had celebrated their golden wedding. When a man was away, night after night, in church towers, he might, so far as his family was concerned, be in public-houses (laughter). So they included Mrs. Williams in the presentation. The Bishop mentioned that he had been endeavouring to fulfil the duties of two bishops during the illness of the Bishop of Winchester, and tried to save from disappointment people and associations whom the Bishop had promised to visit. He did feel that the Bishop of Winchester would have wished to attend this function. ‘I do not tell the Bishop very much when I see him,’ added the Bishop of Southampton, ‘but I shall probably tell him during the next week that the ringers of the diocese held this function and wished him Godspeed and healing.’


Dr. Boutflower went on to say that when he was Bishop of Dorking he made friends with the ringers, and preached at their festival in 1906. Then he went abroad for 12 years, and returned to a changed England. ‘During my absence I was in a land (Japan) where we never heard a ring of bells. The temples have one bronze bell, struck by a swinging beam, whose boom you may hear for miles. Such a thing as a peal of bells does not exist. When one comes back to England one of the delights, on Sunday mornings, is to hear the sound of the bells from the House of God, and enjoy the messages they seem to send.’

The Bishop then presented Mr. and Mrs. Williams with the two easy chairs, and gave his arm to the recipients to assist them to the chairs. Musical honours were accorded Mr. and Mrs. Williams.

Mr. Williams returned thanks, and spoke of the team work necessary if ringers were to succeed.

Thanks to the Bishop were proposed by the Rector of St. Mary’s (the Rev. R. B. Jolly, Rural Dean).

The presentation took place after tea, and afterwards the business meeting was held. The officers were re-elected as follows: Chairman, the Rev. G. T. Tritton (Eling); Ringing Master, Mr. George Williams; District secretary, Mr. W. T. Tucker; Auditor, Mr. C. J. Fray; Representative to the Central Council, Mr. J. W. Faithfull.

It was decided to hold the next annual meeting at Southampton on Saturday, January 13th, and quarterly meetings at North Stoneham on April 16th, Eling on July 16th, Romsey on October 15th.

The towers represented at the meeting were Bishopstoke, Curdridge, Gosport, Portsea, Portsmouth, North Stoneham, Titchfield, Brockenhurst, King’s Somborne, Twyford, Farnborough, Wickham, Lymington, Hedge End, Winchester and Southampton.

Votes of thanks were accorded to the Rector of St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s for the use of the bells, and to Mr. George Williams for presiding. Notice of the meetings will be given in ‘The Ringing World.’

The Ringing World No. 1088, January 29th, 1932, page 74