John Ridgley Witts

Date published: 26/06/2014
© Newbury Weekly News





By the decease of Mr. John Witts, another of the old band of ringers in connection with the tower of the Parish Church has passed away. He was at one time a Speen ringer, but joined the Newbury team about thirty years ago, and until ill-health recently prevented his regular attendance, he consistently performed his duties as a servant of the church; whether as in chiming for the ordinary Sunday services, or in the more joyous and triumphant music of the bells for the great festivals of the church, and for the general holidays of the people. The deceased had been a member of the “Loyal Jack of Newbury” Lodge for upwards of thirty years, and was a regular at its meetings, although not taking any of the more prominent offices. The respect in which he was held was evidenced by the large attendance of Oddfellows at the funeral on Friday afternoon, including Bros. A. Bailey, P.P.G.M., C.S., and J. Sperring P.P.G.M. acting as mute bearers, Bro. Alfred Wellington, P.P.G.M., secretary of the “Jack” Lodge, Bros. Winterbourn and Laidler, P. G.'s G. Bolton, G.M., F. Bailey, N.G. Bros. Jones, Leach, C. Langton, Lipscombe, Stephens, Barson, Duckett, Loveridge, Swaite, etc.


The interment took place at the cemetery, the service being performed by the Rev. J.A. Thomas, hon. Secretary of the Oxford Guild. The deceased was borne to his last resting-place by four of his old comrades , Sam Quinton, Thomas Prout, Thomas Laidler and William Lipscombe, while another old friend, Edgar Stillman was present at the graveside.


The mourners were the widow, eight sons and two daughters, and other relatives. On the coffin was placed a number of wreaths from the bereaved members of the family and sympathising friends. Before the service a full muffled peal was rung-

Let comrades muster round the old church tower

To tell the tidings sad, with bated breath

Then let the bells ring out in muffled power

The plaintive requiem for this ringer's death.

After the funeral eight members of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Bell-ringers of which the deceased was a fully qualified member rang the customary tribute to the late campanologist, namely, the “whole-pull-and-stand” consisting of the first, second, third (arranged), and last treble leads of the plain course of Grandsire -triples, 56 changes, that being the age of the deceased, the bells being half-muffled. The following are the names of the ringers: Sam Quinton, 1; Edgar Stillman, 2; Sam Burton, 3; W, Lipscombe,4; E. Crocker, 5;T. Prout, 6; Thos. Laidler, 7; John Targett; Mr. John Hussey rang in the muffled peal.

Newbury Weekly News 10 June 1898

Not in Mrs P.


Sources:Newbury Weekly News 10 June 1898

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