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In memory of

JACK LEONARD MILLHOUSE

17 April 1916 - 29 August 1999

Compiled by

John R Ketteringham, MBE, PhD

President : Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers, 1989 - 1990
Master : Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers, 1982 - 1986
Secretary : Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers, 1969 - 1973

Master of the Lincoln Cathedral Company of Ringers, 1970 - 1983

Member of the Central Council of Church Bellringers, 1960 - 1989

Tower Captain St Giles Church Lincoln, 1949 - 1972

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Well done thou good and faithful servant

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Foreword

by
Keith N Buckingham
Master (at the time of writing)
Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers

When I was asked to write a Foreword for this tribute to Jack, I inevitably turned to my own memories of ringing with him, listening to him speak at meetings, and of the help he gave freely. In 1987, and with some trepidation (for I only knew him as Mr Millhouse then!) I wrote to ask if he would agree to take part in a quarter peal day that I was organising in the Eastern Branch. At the same time, my interest in ringing peals had been re-kindled, and I also asked if he would consider a 'Guild Officers' peal. I still have his (prompt) reply, which contained encouragement, ideas, and agreement. He closed his letter with "I will support anything you suggest, Best wishes, Jack".

For almost half a century, Jack steered ringers through their first peal, and the facts and figures speak for themselves. They also hint at the great number of us that are also indebted to Jack, achieving personal goals with him at the helm.

In this, his latest of many works for the library of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild, John Ketteringham has captured the essence of Jack's contribution to the ringing careers of so many. The painstaking analysis of peal records, and the compilation of the statistics, must have been a mammoth task, yet John has shown typical tenacity in ensuring that the Guild has a lasting tribute to one of its most important servants. On behalf of the Guild and all its members, I congratulate John on his efforts, and thank him for a job well done.

Keith Buckingham

INTRODUCTION


At the Annual General Meeting of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers in April 2002 it was suggested that a record be made of all those for whom Jack called their first peal. I undertook to do this and eventually decided, instead of producing a list of names, to try to compile as complete a record of Jack's bellringing career as possible.

From my own experience and by reading Jack's peal records it is abundantly clear to me just how much bellringing in Lincolnshire in particular and the Exercise as a whole owes to him. I am very grateful to those, from all over the country, who have sent me reminiscences. It is obvious that Jack was well liked and he is greatly missed.

The Lincoln Guild has been well served for the 100 years since its foundation by many people and Jack well deserves his place among those who have contributed so much to its progress. Jack's particular strength was in the encouragement he gave to young ringers. It was his enthusiasm which enabled a new recruit to progress to that important stage in ringing where they in turn became enthusiasts. As a result so many of his recruits remained bellringers beyond the time when they could have so easily been tempted by other attractions.


I often visited Jack at his allotment which was adjacent to the bungalow where he lived with his sister, Betty. I always stopped to talk to Betty first and the conversation was often very lengthy. Although Betty was never a ringer she had a very extensive understanding of ringing matters. She was an honorary member of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild and served for several years as librarian putting her professional experience to good use. Betty also took on the task of cleaning the Ringers' Chapel in the Cathedral. She assisted Jack with much of the paperwork when he was Guild Secretary and also assisted him in arranging the September peal tours. Betty's ability to put many of the Exercise's leading ringers in their place is legendary.

I am sure that Jack would acknowledge the support which his sister, Betty, gave him and I hope that this project will help to remind future generations of bellringers how much they owe to people like Jack and his sister Betty.


Betty Millhouse as a member of the Royal Observer Corps in 1946

Acknowledgements

I thank those whose first peals Jack conducted for sending me photographs. Margaret Parker, Gwen Bloomfield, David Phillipson and Beryl Read have also contributed photographs. I am very grateful to Stephen Ivin and Alan Ainsworth for their comments on the peal tours in which Jack took part.

The basis of the biography is the obituary prepared by the late Geoffrey Parker which was published in the Ringing World and I acknowledge his work. I am grateful to the Master and Secretary of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild who have given me great encouragement to continue a task which at times seemed impossible to complete to the standard I would wish.

I am very grateful to George Dawson for searching through his collection of Ringing Worlds for information and photographs.

I also acknowledge the assistance of Rev John Baldwin, who searched the Ringing World Index prepared by Cyril Wratten several times on my behalf, and Dr John Eisel Librarian to the Central Council of Church Bellringers who made similar searches.


John R. Ketteringham
2002

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Jack Leonard Millhouse

17 April 1916 - 29 August 1999

A Biography


Jack was brought up on the new housing estate which had been built between the Wragby and Nettleham Roads to the north of Lincoln. He was a staunch Anglo-Catholic, being a choirboy and altar server at the wooden hut which had been acquired from RAF Scampton for use as a temporary church. The estate had been designed with provision for a church and hall and when, on 30th November 1930 an impassioned plea for the erection of a permanent church written by nineteen year old John (Jack) Chambers was published in the Lincolnshire Echo it was decided to incorporate much of the material from the demolished church of St Peter at Arches. The new church was consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln on 4th April 1936 in honour of St Giles. The name of the estate resulted from a competition in the Lincoln Leader and this was clearly suggested by St Giles Hospital which was situated opposite Curle Avenue on Wragby Road.


St Giles' Church, Lincoln circa 1936

It had not been the original intention to transfer the ring of eight bells which had been cast by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester in 1728 from St Peter's to St Giles. There was a proposal to hang them in the tower of St Swithin's or to hang them as two rings of four in two churches in the Diocese. However, after the parishioners petitioned the Bishop it was agreed that the bells should go to St Giles. Unfortunately the tower had been built without provision for a ringing peal and it had to be strengthened before the bells could be installed. In 1938 the bells were tuned and rehung in the new tower by John Taylor and Co of Loughborough and dedicated by the Bishop of Lincoln on Whit Sunday, 5th June 1938.

Harold Marcon was anxious to ensure that there would be a band of ringers from the parish able to ring when the bells were installed. As a result of a talk which Harold gave to the Youth Club which met in the hut Jack, the three Chambers brothers (Jack, Noel and Sidney), Ray Stallibrass, Frank Metham and his wife were taught to ring at the Cathedral and Harold became the first tower captain at St Giles.

Jack's first peal was rung on 23rd February 1935 at Navenby and conducted by John Walden. His second peal on 4th March 1935 was of Grandsire Triples conducted by Jack Bray and then on 2nd October 1935 he rang Stedman Triples conducted by John A. Freeman. On 12th October 1935 Jack rang a peal of Cambridge Surprise Minor with George E. Feirn conducting and this was the first of many peals they rang together on both tower and handbells.




John Walden Jack Bray John A Freeman George Feirn



Fred Stokes George Creasey Leslie Lunn

His fifth peal was also of Cambridge Minor conducted by Fred Stokes and his sixth and seventh were called by George Feirn (Bob Major and seven minor methods respectively). Jack's eighth peal was another of Cambridge Minor with George Creasey conducting and this was followed by Bob Minor with Leslie Lunn conducting. The conducting of his next six peals was shared by George Creasey, George Feirn, Leslie Lunn and Fred Stokes.

Jack soon began to take an interest in conducting and he used to ring next to the conductor whenever he could so that he could watch the calling 'to see how it was done' as he put it. This stood him in good stead, because he eventually called 1311 peals out of his total of 2254 (1766 of them being for the Lincoln Guild). On 12th September 1936 Jack rang his sixteenth peal at Elston, Notts when he called seven minor methods for his first in that capacity. His next as conductor was not until 21st August 1937 and his third was on 16th October 1937. Within two years Jack had rung peals of London Surprise Major and Stedman Cinques. He was a member of George Feirn's band which, in 1939, rang the then record peals of Minor. They rang a series of peals increasing the number of methods each time until they broke the then record with a peal in 100 methods. They rang further peals in 102 and 104 methods and then, finally, in 125 methods.


Clifford Vessey

On Saturday 17th October 1936 Jack rang a peal at Perlethorpe, Notts conducted by Clifford Vessey. Also in the band were the Burchnall twins (Grace and Katharine) and Harold Denman and this band with a treble ringer rang peals together almost every week with Cliff Vessey conducting. On 14th September 1937 the footnote to a peal at Gainsborough records the fact that Cliff Vessey was leaving the district. Jack now did more of the conducting and his first peal of Major in that capacity was Double Norwich at East Markham on 23 October 1937.



The Burchnall twins, Grace and Katherine, of Sutton on Trent with Harold Denman of Gamston, rang in many of Jack's early peals and continued to ring peals with him for many years.

At this time he was also a keen distance cyclist and the effect of ringing a peal and biking home along the Ermine Street (often against a head wind) caused him to fall off his bike more than once. His father told him to decide which he wanted to do, and the ringing exercise is the better for the decision he made.

On 12th July 1939 Jack called a peal of Grandsire Doubles at Scothern and this was the first peal by the three Chambers brothers (Noel, Sidney and Jack) and Frank Metham of the new St Giles' band. Five days later at Dunholme Jack called the first peal by three more members of the St Giles' band : Raymond Stallibrass, Bernard Houseman and William Humphreys. These two peals paved the way for the first peal on the bells at St Giles. Of this band Sid Chambers was a great friend of Jack's and they rang many peals together. It was a great tragedy when Sid died in 1966.



The first peal on St Giles' bells was of Grandsire Triples and it was rung on 27th February 1940. The peal was conducted by Jack. The ringers, as shown in the above photograph, were as follows : Back row (left to right) Sydney A. Chambers (3); Frank Metham (2); JLM (7); Noel Chambers (6). Front row (left to right) Bernard Houseman (5); Raymond Stallibrass (1); Harold Marcon (4); Jack Chambers (8). It was the first peal on eight bells by all except Jack and Harold.


Able Seaman Millhouse



Able Seaman Millhouse circa 1940


Later in 1939 Jack, like so many of his generation, was called to serve his country and he became Able Seaman Millhouse. He was trained as a Royal Navy gunner attached to the Merchant Navy. This took him to all the continents except Australia and his ship was torpedoed more than once. He was reported missing three times. Jack took part in the convoys to Russia in appalling conditions and he was one of those who received a medal from the Russian Government in recognition of this. He spent much of his 'waiting time' working out compositions, and lost them all when the ship was sunk. His last ship used to sail out of Newcastle, carrying coal for the London power stations. In Newcastle he became friendly with William H. (Bill) Barber and in London with George Cross, the Master of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths. Jack had been elected to that Society in 1937, and was proudly associated with it throughout the remainder of his life and acted as Trustee from 1968 until 1996.





William H. Barber


George H. Cross


In 1997 the Cumberlands celebrated their 350th Anniversary and they published memories of some of the Society's esteemed members in the Ringing World. This is Jack's contribution.

'During the Summer of 1936 the members of the St Martin in the Fields band came to Lincoln on their annual weekend outing. Kenneth Mayer and I, members of the Lincoln Cathedral Company, were asked by our Ringing Master [John A. Freeman] to escort them around the various towers - and we were well and truly wined and dined at their hotel! We were invited to London (our first visit to town), and we were escorted round the various towers on College Youths Dinner Day by the late James E. Bailey. Following ringing at St Martin's on the Sunday morning we were proposed members of the Cumberlands, and I've always very much valued my membership.

During the war I served as a gunner in the Merchant Navy, and happened to dock in London many times. On these visits I visited the home of George H. Cross where we rang handbells. I was taught so much by this much esteemed Master. His home in Barnehurst became my second home, and on my demob leave I rang my first Society peal at Milton near Gravesend, followed by a handbell peal at Barnehurst.

Dinner Days were most important and enjoyable to me for many years. I remember peals of Bristol at Cubit Town, Maximus at St Martins and Cinques at Southwark Cathedral. In 1949 I was privileged to call the first peal of Spliced Surprise for the Society. This was at Willesden.

I think my membership was the first in Lincolnshire, but with my great friend, the late Tom Francis, we eventually had a large following of the Society from the Eastern Counties, and peals have been so much enjoyed by these members.'

For the VE day celebrations Jack and George went to St Martins in the Fields where there was a service every hour with ringing in between. Raymond Glendenning sat in the window commentating to the world on the scenes in Trafalgar Square. He had a radio monitor relaying events as they took place in the vicinity of St Margaret's Westminster. This included the sound of the bells at St Margaret's and the ringers at St Martin' s had great difficulty in hearing the twelve in their own tower and ringing Cinques above this competition! Jack commented "It was most disconcerting to be ringing Cinques and all we could hear was the Major coming from St Margaret's. In the end George [Cross] said to Glendenning 'If you don't turn that thing off I'll throw it out of the window'".

Jack was demobbed in 1946 and returned to his occupation as an upholsterer. He was always a good friend to ringers getting married or moving house, offering to make curtains or fit carpets.

In 1947 Jack took part in the record breaking 14,144 of London Surprise Major and later in record peals of Spliced Surprise Major, all called by John Freeman.

When Harold Marcon moved to Loughborough in 1949 to work at the bellfoundry of John Taylor & Co. Jack became Tower Captain at St Giles and remained in that post until 1971 shortly after he was elected Master of the Cathedral Company which post he held until 1982.

For a number of years in the 1950s it was the custom at St Giles during the week before Christmas for the bellringers to tour the parish ringing carols on handbells. Christmas Eve was reserved for the Maternity Home and the local hostelries. The above photograph shows the following ringers and friends - Left to right : Margaret Parker, Jack, Sidney Chambers, Elaine Greathead, Mrs Swann, Geoff Parker, Derek Smith, Eunice Hunter, Mr Swann and Geoffrey Paul.

The first peal week in which Jack took part started with a peal of Yorkshire Surprise Major at Thirsk on Saturday 30 August 1947 conducted by J Edward Cawser. During the week Jack rang one peal each day and conducted London at Ormesby. Three of the nine peals in which Jack took part were called by James Simpson and the names of those who took part in peals during the week reads like a Whos-Who of the leading ringers of that time. The week culminated with a peal of Stedman Cinques at Lincoln Cathedral conducted by Albert Walker. The band was Alfred H. Pulling 1, William Hewett 2, Margaret Fidell 3, Albert Walker 4, Albert Coles, George Swann 6, Stan Bennett 7, Harold May 8, Herbert Spencer 9, Jack 10, Frank Pervin 11 and Walter Ayre 12.

The following year Jack took part in a peal week in Devon arranged by Phil Corby. Again a number of well-known ringers took part including Maurice Hodgson, George Fearn, Tom Lock, Alick Cutler with John Thomas and his wife. Jack rang ten peals during the week including Stedman Caters and Plain Bob Major in hand.

In 1949 the Lincolnshire ringers arranged 'A Vale of Evesham and District Tour' which started with a peal of Rutland at Hampton, the home of Mr and Mrs John Thomas, called by Jack. Jack rang ten peals during the week including Stedman Caters and Stedman Cinques in hand. Both of these peals were called by John Freeman. During the week George Feirn from Kirton Lindsey called a peal of London Surprise Major at Upton-on-Severn from the tenor with George Fearn from Birmingham ringing the seventh. I think this was the first time the two Georges had rung a peal together!

In 1950 the peal week was based in the Guildford area and Jack rang nine peals conducting three. On two days during the week Jack rang two peals and this is the first record I have found of him doing this. In 1951 Jack took part in a peal week arranged by George Fearn. The towers were in the Birmingham area and Jack stayed with George Fearn and his wife. The bands were made up of the older generation of Birmingham ringers and included John Pinfold, Arthur Pearson, Clifford Skidmore, Norman Goodman and Terry Hampton. In the mid-sixties the tour tended to move away from the Birmingham area and several of the younger generation were invited including Peter Border, John Hunt, Geoffrey Paul, Alan Ainsworth and John Anderson.


George Fearn

The 1963 tour was in Devon and on 2nd October Jack rang his 1000th peal at Evercreech conducted by Peter Border.

In 1966 a ten bell peal week was arranged by Alan Ainsworth ringing at towers in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire. Jack commented that he had never felt so tired at the end of a week's ringing. This was due to the longer peal times for Royal especially at places like Grantham and Melton Mowbray and also because the time spent travelling to most towers was quite long. This was, of course, before the Motorway system had really developed. In the early 1970s the arranging was taken over by Jack with most of the paperwork being done by Betty.

In 1973 the tour was held in North Wales and Jack was most embarrassed by the quality of the Headquarters hostelry! It was during this week that thirteen peals of London were rung and one John Pladdys wrote to the Ringing World making disparaging remarks about peal weeks in which only one method was rung. A letter which he has no doubt lived to regret!

Because of the poor quality of the hotel the evening gathering on this tour was at another hostelry and the tourists were alarmed one morning when Jack failed to appear at breakfast. He eventually turned up in a very anxious state - although he had turned his room upside down he couldn't find his wallet. It contained a lot of money but enquiries at the alternative hostelry revealed that the cleaner had found the wallet intact. It had slipped out of Jack's pocket and down the side of the cushion of the chair in which he had been sitting.

These peal weeks always took place at the end of September or early October and continued until George Fearn died suddenly in May 1974. For over two decades enduring friendships had been formed and Jack was one of those from all over the country who rang in a peal at St Philip's immediately before George's Memorial Service on 7 June 1974.

A Memorial peal week was arranged by Jack and Betty based at the Robin Hood in Sutton-on-Trent and took place in September 1974. After the tour had finished Betty had to go round all the various hostelries visited to collect pipes which Jack had left behind! George Fearn's good humour was sadly missed and the tour arranged by Jack and Betty in September 1975 was rather a sad swan-song. This was the last of this long running and highly successful series of peal weeks.



The above photograph is of the band which rang a peal in 32 Surprise Major Methods at Harmston on 20th February 1954. This was at that time the record number of Surprise Major Methods rung in a peal.
Back row : Sydney A Chambers (4), Jack L Millhouse (5), Walter Tomlinson (6), John Walden (7), John Freeman (8 Conductor). Front row : Archer T Lowman (1), Betty Brown (2), Raymond F Smith (3), Les Pask (umpire).

For many years Jack enjoyed the August weekend peal tours with the Cheshire ringers which were arranged by Arthur Mason.

Jack joined several of the peal weeks I arranged and in July 1983 Sylvia Collin of Ruskington arranged a peal week with most of the peals being rung in Nottinghamshire. Jack rang ten peals conducting seven of them. Sylvia arranged a peal week the following year with peals in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and Jack rang nine peals conducting seven. In 1985 the last peal week in which Jack took part was organised by Barbara Clipsham. It was again in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and Jack rang seven peals conducting three.



This photograph is of the band from St Giles which won the Lincoln Guild Striking Competition held at Bassingham in 1971. The ringers are from left to right : Jack, Margaret Parker, David Phillipson, Vivienne West, Chris Sharp and Susan Faull.

Jack called his 2,000th peal, Stedman Cinques, at Lincoln Cathedral in 1984 and his last tower bell peal was rung in 1993, again Stedman Cinques at the Cathedra1. This was his 100th as Conductor at the Cathedral and he rang a total of 212 peals on these bells. His last peal was in 1995 on handbells.

Although a prolific peal ringer, Jack's first priority was always his Sunday Communion followed by service ringing. Second in his priorities was training and helping up-and-coming ringers. He called first peals of Stedman Cinques for at least 90 people. He took seriously his service to the Guild where he was held in high-esteem. Jack represented the Lincoln Guild on the Central Council of Church Bellringers from 1960 until 1989. He was Guild Honorary Secretary from 1969 to 1973, and Master from 1982 to 1986. He was was the only lay President of the Guild (1989-90).

Jack lived with his sister Betty. Neither of them married. Betty was never a practising ringer but her knowledge of ringing matters was formidable. She was elected to the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths in 1948. In her later years she suffered failing health, and during her last four years, while resident in a nursing home Jack would bring her home for lunch whenever her health allowed, and he visited her without fail every day. His funeral was two years to day after her death.

As well as all Jack's ringing activities, he was a keen gardener and had allotments within earshot of the Cathedral. Right to the end, whenever there was any ringing on a Saturday, he would comment on it the following morning. For the last two years he began to find it difficult to garden and he had reluctantly decided to give up his allotment. He was still able to climb the 127 steps to ring on Sunday morning usually calling a touch of Stedman and his last visit to the belfry was on 11th July 1999. When he was taken ill his main concern was his communion and this was arranged for him so he died at peace.

Jack's funeral service took place on 8th September 1999 in Saint Hugh's Choir at Lincoln Cathedral. The Dean and Precentor officiated.

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SUMMARY OF THE PEALS RUNG BY JACK
Compiled by Geoffrey Parker
The number of peals Jack conducted is shown in brackets MAXIMUS (in 17 different methods) 129 (47) 2 (None) 131 (47)
CINQUES (in 3 different methods) 223 (113) 10 (None) 233 (113)
ROYAL (in 24 different methods) 166 (81) 23 (11) 189 (92)
CATERS (in 3 different methods) 74 (47) 25 (2) 99 (49)
MAJOR (1079 conducted 635)
Plain 97 (69) 92 (50) 189 (119)
Treble Bob 27 (21) 33 (13) 60 (34)
Delight (in 11 different methods) 13 (12) (None) 13 (12)
Surprise (in 74 different methods) 729 (434) 4 (1) 733 (435)
Spliced Surprise (in 2 to 32 methods) 82 (35) 2 (None) 84 (35)
TRIPLES (in 3 different methods) 134 (100) 8 (3) 142 (103)
MINOR (373 conducted 267)
1 - 7 methods 161 (102) 5 (4) 166 (106)
8 - 125 methods 105 (84) (None) 105 (84)
Surprise (in 1 method) 96 (73) (None) 96 (73)
Surprise (in 2 to 7 methods) 6 (4) (None) 6 (4)
DOUBLES 8 (5) (None) 8 (5)
TOTALS 2050 (1227) 204 (84) 2254 (1311)

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REMINISCENCES


For many years Jack called most of the peals in which he took part. On one occasion a band, mainly undergraduates from London University, arranged to ring a peal at the Cathedral and they invited Jack to ring. After the usual preliminaries the opening rounds were in progress when suddenly to everyone's surprise Jack called 'go'. He had thought he was conducting! I understand this was taken in good part and I doubt if Jack ever knew of his mistake!

At the height of his bellringing career Jack was calling so many peals that he commented that it was not so much learning the compositions but forgetting the previous one to learn the next!

Although Jack conducted 1311 peals of his final total of 2254 he was always prepared to help and advise the up and coming youngster who showed an interest in this branch of the art. He would eventually arrange for the budding conductor to call a quarter and, when he thought they had sufficient confidence, he would arrange a peal for them to call. I can confirm from personal experience how much it meant to have him in the band when I was bob calling! Indeed on one occasion at Caythorpe I called a peal of Plain Bob with both Jack and John Freeman in the band!

Typical of Jack was the occasion when he was calling a quarter peal and he made the day of one 13 year old by asking him before starting how to call a 60 because he couldn't remember how!

On another occasion he went to Nettleham to call a quarter for a band of youngsters who were very nervous. When Jack flicked his rope to draw the attention of one of the band who was about to miss a dodge his rope caught on the clock winders platform and the sally didn't appear as expected. The look of amazement on Jack's face followed by a smile eased the tension and everyone relaxed and the quarter was successfully completed!

Those who knew Jack will always remember his pipe and the trail of hot ash which followed him. There were scorch marks on most of his clothing!

On one memorable Sunday morning he arrived in the Ringers' Chapel in rather a hurry and hadn't extinguished his pipe properly. Clouds of smoke were coming from his pocket and he was told he was on fire. He was quite unperturbed and pulled the offending pipe out of his smouldering pocket and beat the fire out!

I recently (10th August 2002) attended a meeting at Eagle and this reminded me of an incident which took place after we rang a peal at that tower on 16th October 1956. It was a very dark night and we ended up in a ditch! I fell on top of Jack and broke two of his ribs. When it became apparent that Jack wasn't going to be fit enough to ring in a peal to celebrate the enthronement of the Rt Revd Kenneth Riches as Bishop of Lincoln on Wednesday 7th November 1956 the Master of the Cathedral Company, John A. Freeman asked me to ring. This was how I came to ring my first peal of Stedman and on 12 bells! The peal was conducted by John Freeman and it is something of a miracle that I managed to ring so well because I was very scared and had fortified myself with several brandies!

Soon after Jack died, Jim Raithby of Newark contributed an appreciation to the Ringing World. Jim said that there was little chance of a young ringer practising conducting in those days at the cathedral and Jack learned his conducting at Barnby-in-the-Willows with the enthusiastic band of young ringers at that tower. Jim said he was very flattered to have taken part 'in the great Jack Millhouse's first peal as conductor'. Jim went on to say that 'Once we met at Holy Trinity Church Hull, to ring a peal of Cambridge Maximus, the band being graced by the incomparable George Fearn and Arthur Mason. Unfortunately one ringer was missing and Jack went outside to see if he could find him. He was met by a young lady who stated that her brother - an undergraduate at Hull University - had broken his leg that morning playing football. Jack must have scratched his head and wondered what to do. Then inspiration struck him and he enquired of the young lady whether she could ring. She replied in the affirmative and stated that George Fearn knew how badly she rang. Jack persuaded her to have a go and she rang the treble very creditably and the peal was scored. Shades of Lord Peter Wimsey!'

I am very grateful to Peter Sharp for contributing the following account of the way in which Jack introduced him to bellringing. I think all of those who Jack taught to ring and those who he encouraged to go on to become competent ringers will agree that Peter's experience is typical of all of them. I thank Peter for his time and trouble.

In early 1957 the Vicar of St. Giles, took me on one side at the church Youth Club and asked me if I would like to learn "how to ring the bells" as some new recruits were wanted. I wasn't very keen, but not wishing to offend, I agreed to go along to the church the following Monday evening. My only knowledge of the ringers was that one or two of them sat at the back of the church at Evensong and it was possible for we choirboys to drop bits of paper onto their hymnbooks from the balcony above. Also, one of them (Mr Millhouse) used to read a paper covered with figures during the sermon.

The following Monday I went to the church and no one turned up so I went home, quite relieved and as far as I was concerned that was the end of it.

A few weeks later the Vicar asked me if I was making progress in learning to ring and I told him what had happened. Within a few days Mr Millhouse came to see me, apologised and invited me to come along next week.

I was taught to handle a bell by Sid Chambers and when I could ring rounds and call changes Jack took over. During the summer he took me to the Cathedral where I was allowed to ring rounds for several weeks on a Sunday afternoon.

In early December 1957 Jack told me that he wanted me to ring a peal before the end of the year. I was given plenty of practice at Grandsire Triples on the treble for a week or two and then taken to Caythorpe on a foggy Boxing Day. The peal was rung and I remember thinking at some stage during it that I wouldn't be doing this very often. Jack was very persuasive however, and during the next year he gradually introduced me to ringing Major and Minor, mostly on the treble.

The following year (1959) along with Louis Willders, Jack Pearson, Len Thompson and Ron Applewhite we started to ring Treble Bob Minor peals. I rang the treble initially but Jack told me I had to learn the methods we were ringing. Then he dropped me in at the deep end by announcing I was to ring inside. I started to attempt peals each week and was introduced to some of the standard eight Surprise Major methods. Then one Monday night in October, at the end of the St Giles practice Jack gave me a piece of paper and told me to learn the method on it for Saturday. Nothing more was said. I struggled all week to learn what was on that paper and went to Ewerby very unsure of myself. We rang the peal, London Surprise Royal. Jack knew me and what I could ring far better than I knew myself. After that I continued to be given opportunities to ring new methods on all numbers of bells.

In 1961 I obtained a place at Culham Teachers' Training College near Oxford. Jack invited me to go with him and Betty to the Central Council meeting at Stoke on Trent, and during the weekend he introduced me to several ringers from the Oxford area. I, therefore, immediately found ringers I knew when I went to college through Jack's foresight and thoughtfulness. He also, before I went away, encouraged me to start conducting peals.

Jack made me the ringer that I am through his interest in me; his careful "programme" of advancement; his encouragement when I found things difficult and his faith in me as shown in the circumstances of my first peal of London Surprise Royal.

Jack was particularly good with Joyce and appreciated her difficulties in learning to ring - it didn't come at all naturally to her. He was able to appreciate the fact that once she knew how to ring a method she almost never made a mistake. He particularly wanted her to ring in the 5080 Stedman Cinques for his 80th birthday and I know of no one else who could have persuaded Joy to ring another peal.

I have tried to give an appreciation of Jack's thinking and utter kindness and generosity when bringing ringers up in the Exercise. He was able to sense when one needed help and support and was unstinting in his help. He gave opportunities for all the right reasons.

Finally, when the measure of someone's life is assessed, it all comes down to the effect that someone has had on individuals. I believe this to be true however important or talented a person may or may not be. Jack was outstanding in enabling others. That is a far more important attribute than being able to ring remarkably difficult methods and compositions.

I am grateful to Robin Heppenstall for the following reminiscences :

Jack was always keen to involve and encourage as many people as possible, and in so doing, he didn't always get his numbers right.

On one occasion two Lincoln Guild members went to Bottesford for a joint Lincoln and Birmingham peal. Whilst waiting at the level crossing on the outskirts of the village, they were surprised to hear the bells ringing but assumed it to be the firstcomers raising the bells. Not so. On arrival at the church they found the peal under way and Jack himself sitting outside as well.

Another example of Jack encouraging people came when I went with him for a peal weekend in Birmingham; it was my first experience of ringing with the Brummies. After a successful start to the weekend I mentioned to Jack that the next peal would be my 100th, whereupon he gave me a composition of Lincolnshire to call for the next day's peal. All of the band had called many more peals than I had rung, but Jack wanted my 100th to be a special occasion for me to remember.

Two other recollections; one of many multi-minor peals, when, after two or three extents, Jack would send a message round the circle asking what methods people knew. It didn't matter what answer went back round; Jack would start the next extent with whatever method he wanted and then tell us all what to do.

Finally, it was in one of those peals that Jack's trousers began to fall down, and I have a lasting memory of him ringing Willingham tenor with one hand whilst holding his trousers up with the other and the rest of the band trying to keep ringing at the same time as being doubled up with laughter.

It is a tradition at the Cathedral for the bellringers to have a break from Sunday afternoon ringing when the Choir is on holiday during August.

Although Jack and several other members of the band continued to ring at the Cathedral in the morning and at St Giles in the morning and evening often on Sunday afternoons he arranged a peal.

On one occasion Jack's band arrived at Walesby to hear another band already well into a peal attempt. Jack had in fact got two extra ringers so eighteen ringers turned up at Walesby that Sunday afternoon!

One aspiring young composer sent compositions to Jack on a regular basis from London and he called most of them in due course.

On one occasion a composition of Rutland arrived in Jack's post and, as it happened, Jack was due to call a peal in the method within a few days of receiving this masterpiece. Unfortunately, almost as soon as the letter was despatched the aspiring young conductor realised he had made a careless mistake and in a panic contacted Jack only to be told that the composition had been rung at St Giles the previous evening (9 March 1968)! I had already had a considerable number of compositions rung and I admit I must have got too sure of myself. I learned a lesson from this incident but both Jack and John Freeman continued to encourage me by calling many of my compositions for which I am eternally grateful.

These two items have been contributed by Bob Smith :

Jack used to arrange "August Bank Holiday Weekend" peals from Lincolnshire and Cheshire in the 1960s. On one of these we were staying in Cirencester when Bernard Groves, who was talking to Jack at breakfast, said that when we rang our early handbell peals at Marple we stood up for these as we didn't know that people sat down for them. Jack laughed so much that his false teeth fell out, which of course caused more laughter from everyone else.

We were ringing a peal of Cambridge Maximus at Manchester Town Hall which was being conducted by Ken Lewis. Ken has always been known for calling bobs, singles etc. very loudly. About halfway through the peal Ken called a bob even more loudly than usual. At this point Jack, who was ringing the second bell leaned across and said something which caused Christine Andrew to almost collapse with laughter. After the peal I asked her what Jack had said. Her reply was "There's another peal on at Ashton-under-Lyme and Ken is calling that one at the same time".

For many years Washingborough bells were not available for peals. In 1950 Betty, whose work colleague, Herbert Knott, was a ringer, persuaded him to obtain permission for Jack to go there to ring a peal for his birthday.

Jack's birthday peal became an annual event there until 1966 when John Freeman, in the course of his work, was involved with the new sewerage scheme for Washingborough.

William Clark, the local tower captain, was so incensed at the consequent rise in rates, that he said Jack could only attempt a peal if John was not in the band. Jack would not agree to this condition so the birthday peal tradition ceased.

A side to Jack which is not well known was his kindness to those who were ill. I can well remember him calling to see me when I was in lodgings in Rasen Lane. This was in 1956 and I was in bed feeling very low and he suddenly turned up in my garret of a room at the top of the house. He had called to see me on his way to the Radion Cinema (now the headquarters of Radio Lincolnshire) to see Bill Haley and the Comets in 'Rock Around the Clock'!

When Harold Radley had a very serious car accident Jack went to visit him in Lincoln County Hospital every day. I know from personal experience how much this must have meant to Harold. Jack also gave much encouragement to a disabled ringer and eventually called a peal for her.

The following item contributed by Jack to the Central Branch Newsletter for Autumn 1996 gives an insight into the problems of peal ringing and the enthusiasm of bellringers before cars were the normal mode of transport.

In the early 1950's Jack Millhouse, Syd Chambers, Bob and Geoff Parker and Margaret Swann (now Parker) went to Ewerby to join five ringers from Newark for a peal attempt.

As none of them ran a car (as was usual in those days) they caught a bus from Lincoln to Sleaford, then a second bus that was to drop them at Ewerby lane end - about a mile or so from the village - but the bus failed to stop in time and took them a further mile along the road. As they could see Ewerby Church across the fields they headed directly towards it - until they came to the river! So, on a hot August afternoon they made their way through the long undergrowth along the river bank until they reached the bridge. At one point Bob disappeared. They heard him say, "I'm standing up - and my feet are dry!" Looking down, they saw his head level with their feet! He had slipped into the overflow ditch. When at last they reached the Church Jack went up to oil the bells. On his way down, he slipped on the stairs and broke his knee. He was taken off to hospital, and the rest walked back to Speedway Comer to catch the next bus home. After taking half a day to get there, they didn't even touch the ropes - and Bob never did ring at Ewerby.

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First peals called by Jack

Below is a list of all those for whom Jack called their first peal. It is important to remember that Jack enabled many ringers, having rung their first peal, to progress in the art of change-ringing. He also, later in his ringing career, helped many young ringers to achieve their first peal as conductor. Jack's philosophy was to give opportunities and his expectation was that if one arranged a peal band you could only expect the ringing to be at the level of competence of the band. Ringing in Lincolnshire is very much the poorer without him.


No Date Name of Ringer Bell Tower Method(s) JLM
rung Peal#
1 03-Mar-38 Kathleen M. Vessey 1 All Saints Barnby, Notts 8 minor methods 80
2 10-Jan-39 Eric Willcock 1 All Saints Barnby, Notts 10 minor methods 104
3 21-Feb-39 Kenneth M. Willcock 1 All Saints Barnby, Notts 7 minor methods 109
4 12-Jul-39 Frank Metham 1 St Germain Scothern Grandsire Doubles 116*
5 12-Jul-39 Noel Chambers 2 St Germain Scothern Grandsire Doubles 116*
6 12-Jul-39 Sidney A. Chambers 4 St Germain Scothern Grandsire Doubles 116*
7 12-Jul-39 Jack H. Chambers 6 St Germain Scothern Grandsire Doubles 116*
8 17-Jul-39 Raymond Stallibrass 1 St Chad Dunholme Grandsire Doubles 117*
9 17-Jul-39 Bernard Hooseman 3 St Chad Dunholme Grandsire Doubles 117*
10 17-Jul-39 H. William Humphreys 6 St Chad Dunholme Grandsire Doubles 117*
11 24-Aug-46 John E. Cook 3 St Michael Bassingham 8 minor methods 154
12 20-Jan-47 Mrs F. Metham 1 St Giles Lincoln Grandsire Triples 177
13 21-Jan-47 Arthur Melton 1 St Peter at Gowts
Lincoln Cambridge S. Minor 178
14 08-Nov-47 Madeleine G. Campbell 1 St Paul Whitley Bay Double Norwich
C.B. Major 223
15 12-Feb-49 Margaret Swann[Parker] 1 St Giles Lincoln Plain Bob Major 297
16 03-May-49 Joyce Gibbons 2 St Giles Lincoln Grandsire Triples 302
17 13-Jun-49 Marianne Gann 3 Cathedral Lincoln Stedman Cinques 309
18 26-Dec-49 Norman Hepworth 1 St Giles Lincoln Plain Bob Major 341
19 10-Jan-51 John R. Worsdall 1 St Michael Bassingham 7 Minor Methods 385
20 25-Sep-51 Nancie E. Swann 1 St Michael & All Angels,
Heydour Plain Bob Major 414
21 20-Nov-53 Derek E. Smith 1 St Vincent Caythorpe Grandsire Triples 466
22 20-Nov-53 Ralph Hempsall 8 St Vincent Caythorpe Grandsire Triples 466
23 26-Feb-55 Elaine Greathead[Smith] 1 All Saints Harmston Plain Bob Major 512
24 18-Feb-56 Roland Drury 1 St James Grimsby Grandsire Triples 552
25 18-Feb-56 Frank Kennington 5 St James Grimsby Grandsire Triples 552
26 18-Feb-56 David J. Kennington 8 St James Grimsby Grandsire Triples 552
27 30-Sep-56 Paul W. Webb 1 Sts Peter & Paul Rock,
Worcs Superlative S. Maj 581
28 11-May-57 David N. Sellars 8 All Saints Harmston StedmanTriples 609
29 26-Dec-57 Peter A. Sharp 1 St Vincent Caythorpe Grandsire Triples 644
30 08-Feb-58 Brian M Bentley 3 St Paul Fulney Plain Bob Major 647
31 30-May-58 Claire Dillamore 1 St Micharl Bassingham Plain Bob Minor 662
32 03-Sep-58 Richard A. Burton 2 St Chad Dunholme 5 Minor Methods 671
33 29-Sep-61 Peter Burton 2 St Chad Dunholme 4 Minor Methods 867
34 10-Mar-62 Janet Burrell 1 Martin by Timberland 10 Minor Methods 895
35 03-Apr-62 Joyce M. Gurnhill[Sharp] 1 St Giles Lincoln Gainsborough LB Maj900
36 15-Jun-63 John N. Edwards 8 St Vincent Caythorpe Stedman Triples 973
37 29-Aug-64 Paul Raithby 1 St Paul Daybrook Grandsire Triples 1064
38 12-Sep-66 David Phillipson 1 St Giles Lincoln Grandsire Triples 1195
39 27-Dec-66 David V. Carrott 3 St Helen Willoughby 2 Minor Methods 1222
40 27-Dec-66 C. Victor Waite 4 St Helen Willoughby 2 Minor Methods 1222
41 09-Dec-67 Gillian Radley 2 St Chad Dunholme Cambridge S.Minor 1277
42 09-Dec-67 Julie Radley 3 St Chad Dunholme Cambridge S.Minor 1277
43 22-May-68 M Ian Minns 2 St Oswald Blankney Plain Bob Minor 1300
44 22-May-68 John Parkin 3 St Oswald Blankney Plain Bob Minor 1300
45 22-May-68 Robert H Minns 4 St Oswald Blankney Plain Bob Minor 1300
46 03-Nov-69 Alan J Sinden 2 All Saints Nettleham Plain Bob Minor 1381
47 26-Dec-69 Vivienne West 1 St Giles Lincoln Plain Bob Major 1387
48 26-Dec-69 Susan A Faull 2 St Giles Lincoln Plain Bob Major 1387
49 14-Mar-70 Alan Crabtree 12 St Alphege Solihull Grandsire Cinques 1391
50 14-Nov-70 Gregory J. Webster 1 St Chad Dunholme Plain Bob Minor 1427
51 04-Jun-71 David Booth 1 All Saints Nettleham Cambridge S. Minor1447
52 25-Jan-72 Fiona MacInnes [Watson] 1 St Michael Waddington 3 Minor Methods 1495
53 26-Feb-72 Margaret C. Ranken 4 St Swithun Bicker Kent T.B. Major 1498
54 04-Apr-72 Susan J. Bennett 1-2 Nettleham Handbells Plain Bob Major 1503
55 04-Sep-72 Susan I. Abery 1 St Giles Lincoln Grandsire Triples 1523
56 07-Apr-73 Colin P. Drabble 3 St Giles Lincoln Plain Bob Major 1549
57 07-Apr-73 Alan E. Brown 5 St Giles Lincoln Plain Bob Major 1549
58 19-Aug-74 David Collis 5 Walesby Kent & Oxford
T.B. Major 1591
59 31-Aug-74 Nigel Turner 8 Middlewich Stedman Triples 1592
60 01-Jan-75 Susan A. Smith 2 Lincoln Cathedral Stedman Triples 1613
61 01-Mar-75 C. Anita Gibson 1 St Swithun Bicker Grandsire Triples 1619
62 25-Sep-76 Michael J. Wallis 3 All Saints Nettleham Plain Bob Minor 1665
63 02 Feb-77 Robert Wilson 5 All Saints
Sutton-on-Trent Plain Bob Major 1672
64 29-Mar-77 Jackie E. Hill 1 St Giles Lincoln Cambridge S Major 1675
65 22-Apr-77 Richard J. Davies 8 St John Colston Bassett Stedman Triples 1677
66 06-Jan-79 David J. Townsend 1 St Chad Welbourn Grandsire Triples 1726
67 29-Mar-82 Keith D. Anderson 1 Scothern 3 Minor methods 1804
68 29-Mar-82 Michael J. Bentley 2 Scothern 3 minor methods 1804
69 29-Mar-83 Mark P. Jacot 3 Scothern 3 minor methods 1804
70 05-Jan-82 Graham F. Whittaker 8 St John Washingborough Stedman Triples 1810
71 16-Oct-82 Judith N. Bloomfield 3 St Andrew Burton-Stather Plain Bob Major 1822
72 25-Oct-82 Jeremy M. Wheeldon 3 St Chad Welbourn Plain Bob Major 1823
73 23-Nov-82 Karen Thompson 1 St Oswald Blankney Plain Bob Minor 1829
74 27-Nov-82 Timothy J. Day 3 St Mary Horncastle Cambridge S. Mino 1830
75 06-Mar-83 Lorna J. Waite 1 Holy Trinity Raithby Plain Bob Minor 1844
76 06-Mar-83 K. John Turner 4 Holy Trinity Raithby Plain Bob Minor 1844
77 24-Mar-84 Judith J. Williamson 1 St Peter Navenby 7 Minor Methods 1943
78 06-Oct-84 Clare L. Valentine 1 St Peter Norton Disney St Clements &
Plain Bob Minor 1986
80 30-Sep-86 Samantha J. Williamson 1 St Oswald Blankney 5 Minor Methods 2109

* All the ringers taking part in Jack's peals numbered 116 and 117 appear to have been
members of the recently formed band at St Giles, Lincoln.

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Some of those for whom Jack called their first peal.
The date of the peal is in brackets.




Kathleen Vessey
(3.3.1938)

Bernard Houseman
(12.7.1939)

Jack Chambers (12.7.1939)

Frank Metham
(12.7.1939)





Noel Chambers (12.7.1939)

Sid Chambers (12.7.1939)

Arthur Melton (21.1.1947) Jack Cook
(24.8.1946)




Madeleine G. Campbell
(8.11.1947)
Margaret Parker
n
e Swann
(12. 2.1949)

Joyce Gibbons
(3.5.1949)

Marianne Atkinson
ne Gann
(13.6.1949)




Robin Worsdall
(10.1.1951)
Nancie Colley
ne Swann
(25. 9. 1951)
Derek Smith (20.11.1953) Elaine Smith
n
e Greathead
(26. 2. 1955)




David Kennington
(18.2.1956)
Frank Kennington
(18.2.1956)
Paul W Webb (30.9.1956) Peter Sharp (26.12.1957)



Claire Hudson
n
e Dillamore
(30. 5. 1958)
Janet Herbert
n
e Burrell (10.3.1962)
Joyce Sharp
n
e Gurnhill
(3. 4.1962)
John N Edwards (15.6.1963)



Paul Raithby
(29.8.1964)
David Phillipson (12.9.1966) David Carrott (27.12.1966) Vic Waite (27.12.1966)



Julie Bell
n
e Radley (9.12.1967)
Gillian Trowbridge ne Radley (9.12.1967) John Parkin
(22.5.1968)
M Ian Minns
(22.5.1968)




Robert Minns
(22.5.1968)
Susan Faull (26.12.1969) Vivienne West (26.12.1969) Gregory J Webster (14.11.1970)



Alan Sinden (3.11.1969)
David Booth (4.6.1971)
Fiona Dawson
n
e MacInnes (25.1.1972)
Susan Duke
n
e Bennet (4.4.1972)
Alan Brown
(7.4.73)




Colin Drabble (7.4.1973) David Collis
(19.8.1974)
Anita Blundell
n
e Gibson
(1.3.1975)
Michael Wallis
(25.9.1976)




David Townsend
(6. 4. 1979)
Robert Wilson (3.2.1977) Graham Whittaker
(5.1.1982)
Michael Bentley
(29.3.1982)




Judith Whittle
ne Bloomfield (16.10.1982)
Jeremy Wheeldon
(25.10.1982)
Karen Wood
ne Thompson (23.11.1982)
Tim Day
(27.11.1982)




John Turner
(6.3.1983)
Judith Williamson (24.3.1984) Clare Valentine (6.10.1984) Samantha Williamson (30.9.1986)

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