Hoby – Commemorative Half Muffled Quarter Peal

14th May 2017 – Private Arthur Felstead

Another Sunday evening ringing a half muffled quarter peal at Hoby, this time commemorating the life of Private Arthur Felstead.  He was born in Hoby in 1880 (the youngest of eight children).  The cottage where his family lived is now the site of the pub car park.  Arthur was listed as a brick layer in the 1911 census.  He had also worked at the Holwell Iron Company’s Furnaces and later worked at Ragdale Hall, very much a local man.

He initially joined the Leicestershire Regiment but later transferred to the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment and embarked for France in July 1916.  Ten months later his regiment received the order that they would be called on to capture Bullecourt.  The Battle of Bullecourt was part of the Arras offensive and the battalion suffered heavy losses.  Arthur was among them; killed in action on 14th May 1917 aged 37.  Either his body had never been recovered, or his grave had been lost as he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial (one of 35000 servicemen who died in the Arras sector and have no known grave).  He is also commemorated on his parent’s head stone in Hoby Churchyard.

The Arras Memorial

 

We arrived at the tower; the bells had already been rung up in preparation for us.  We selected our bells to ring a few rounds but something wasn’t quite right.  Of course it would be my bell with the muffle on the wrong way round.  A quick trip to the bell frame, turn the muffle around and head back to the ringing chamber – then a voice shouted up the stairs “is the bell up wrong?”.  Back to the bell frame we go.  Yes… he was right, the bell was in fact up wrong.  I don’t know how I missed that the first time!  Simple solution, turn the muffle around again and move the clapper.  Now we are ready to go again.  This time the rounds sounded so much better.

Our Ringing Master was in charge of this quarter.  A slight change in methods was proposed – no problem, we are all more than capable of ringing multiple methods … but as it turns out, not quite as easy as we thought.  First attempt, there was a miss-call in the Grandsire.  We still had plenty of time for a re-start so off we went again.  Despite knowing in advance that we would be ringing variations of bobs and singles in the quarter it completely took me by surprise to hear a Gradnsire Single in the St. Simons.  Somehow, by the time I had processed the call, acted on it and then got back into the method, two of us managed to swap over.  Back to rounds!  Time was now becoming an issue.  We could not afford to have yet another false start.  It was imperative that we complete the quarter on the third attempt.  Our conductor reduced the numbers of variations – much to my relief.  We successfully completed the first 180 changes of Grandsire before moving into the 360 changes of Plain Bob.  There were a few stumbles during the 240 changes of April Day before moving into the 240 of St. Simons and 240 of St. Martins.  What a relief when the conductor called “that’s all”.  We all looked at the clock and decided that the quarter had actually taken 1 ½ hours.  In reality it only took 45 minutes.  We had completed our tribute to Arthur Felstead.

The Society will be ringing again at Hoby on 21st June 2017 for the next half muffled quarter peal.  Details about the future half muffled quarter peals can be found via http://www.hobyanddistricthistory.co.uk/commemorative-half-muffled-quarter-peals/

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