We much regret to announce the death of Mrs. George Williams, wife of the Master of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, of 1, Stoneham Avenue, Eastleigh, who passed away on Friday last. Mrs. Williams had been in indifferent health for some time past, and a few months ago underwent an operation, from which, however, it was hoped she had made satisfactory recovery.
Although Mrs. Williams never rang church bells, she made ringing history by being the first lady to ring a peal, when she took a pair of handbells to a peal of Grandsire Triples. This was rung in her own home at Brighton, in March, 1892, and was conducted by her husband, the ringers being Mrs. G. Williams 1-2, Thomas Blackbourn 3-4, George Williams 5-6, Alfred P. Goddard 7-8. Mrs. Williams rang two other peals of Grandsire Triples later, in March and April, 1897. Although she gradually gave up practice, she continued to have a deep interest in ringing, and closely followed the activities of her talented husband and the many other ringers whose acquaintance she made over a period of more than half a century.
Mr. and Mrs. Williams celebrated their golden wedding a few years ago, when they presented two new treble bells to North Stoneham Church, in commemoration of the event. These bells made the peal the lightest ring of ten in any church in the country. At that time Mr. and Mrs. Williams lived within sound of North Stoneham bells, and in that quiet churchyard, on Tuesday, Mrs. Williams was laid to rest.
The sympathy of the whole Exercise will go out to the bereaved husband in his great loss.
The Ringing World No. 1285, November 8th, 1935, page 716
At the foot of the tower, on the south side, at North Stoneham, the mortal remains of Mrs. Martha Emma Maria Williams, wife of Mr. George Williams, the greatly respected Master of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild, were laid to rest on Tuesday of last week. For over 30 years the deceased lady had worshipped at the Church of St. Nicholas, and it was to celebrate their golden wedding that the deceased and her husband gave the two trebles to augment the peal into the lightest ring of ten in any church in. the county.
The ceremony was of a simple but very impressive nature. The funeral cortege was met at the lych gate by the choir, with cross-bearer, and the Rev. F. H. J. C. Chambers, priest-in-charge. As the coffin was conveyed into the chancel it passed through a large congregation of ringing friends of the deceased lady and her husband. Among those who were present were the Rev. G. T. Tritton (Rector of Dibden and chairman of the Southampton District of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild), the Rev. Evan Jones (Vicar of Hedge End and treasurer of the Guild), the Rev. E. Bankes James (chairman of the Portsmouth District of the Guild), Mrs. G. W. Fletcher (hon. secretary of the Ladies' Guild), Mr. W. H. Fussell (Oxford Diocesan Guild), the Rev. R. H. Gundry (Master of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild), Mr. G. Pullinger (secretary, Southampton District), Mr. J. H. Shepherd (Swindon, representing Gloucester and Bristol Association), Mr. G. Noice and Miss Noice (joint secretaries of the Winchester District), Mr. E. J. Harding, sen. (Portsmouth), Mr. W. Brooker (Leatherhead), Mr. W. Linter (Swanmore), Miss Joan Wheeler (Bishopstoke), Mrs. Faithfull and Mrs. Brown (St. Mary's, Southampton), Mr. D. C. Williams, Mus.Bac., F.R.C.O. (organist and choirmaster, St. Mary's, Southampton), Mr. H. S. Smith (St. Mary's, Southampton), Mr. W. Andrews (Winchester Cathedral), Mr. J. W. Elkins (senior verger, Winchester Cathedral), Mr. G. Preston (Christchurch Priory), Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Bayley (Titchfield), Mr. A. F. Martin-Stewart (Wimborne Minster), the Rev. C. Phillips (Bournemouth), Mr. W. T. Tucker, Mr. R. C. H. Conolly (St. Nicholas', North Stoneham), Mr. F. Townsend (Poole), Mr. W. Linter (Fareham) and others.
Mr. Leslie Smith presided at the organ, and the choir led the singing of the hymns, "How bright those glorious spirits shine" and "Abide with me," as well as the 23rd Psalm.
The family mourners were the widower, Mrs. A. Scardifield (sister), Mrs. Upsdale (sister-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. V. P. A. G. Scardifield (nephew and niece) and Mr. H. P. Scardifield (nephew).
The committal prayers were said in the presence of the greater portion of the congregation, and the coffin was lowered into the earth with the bright beams of the autumn sunshine pouring over the grave. So we left all that was mortal of a lady who had played a very prominent part in the ringing history of this country; indeed, one can faithfully say, the mother of the lady ringers of the world, for was it not her who in 1892 was the first lady to ring a peal? She led the way for others to traverse, and although in these days many may have outstripped her in the race, yet her memory will be revered by the ladies as the one who showed the way.
There were many beautiful floral tokens to the memory of the deceased lady, and, apart from the personal wreaths, tributes were sent by the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild; the Southampton District; the Portsmouth District; the Christchurch District; the Ladies' Guild; the ringers of St. Nicholas', North Stoneham, etc.
Immediately after the service the ringing friends of the deceased and her husband rang the bells half-muffled as a token of respect, and a touch of Stedman Caters was rung by the following band: Mrs. G. W. Fletcher, Edmonton (conductor) 1, D. C. Williams (St. Mary's, Southampton) 2, W. Linter (Fareham) 3, W. T. Tucker (North Stoneham) 4, W. H. Fussell (Slough) 5, the Rev. E. Bankes James (Portsea) 6, F. S. Bayley (Titchfield) 7, A. F. Martin-Stewart (Wimborne) 8, G. Preston (Christchurch) 9, E. J. Harding (Portsmouth) 10.
The Ringing World No. 1286, November 15th, 1935, page 737