Vernon Taylor - A Personal Tribute
By John R. Ketteringham
The announcement in a local paper that 'Vernon Taylor of Market Overton had died in Grantham hospital on 1st December 2006 at the age of 92' will not mean a great deal to most present day ringers.
His first peal was of Plain Bob Major at Swineshead on 6th October 1934 and he conducted his second peal which was of Plain Bob Minor at Old Leake three weeks later. Vernon learnt advanced method ringing under Horace Day of Market Deeping and he took over the conducting of the band based on the bells at Algarkirk which had been augmented to six in 1935, concentrating on Spliced Minor.
Vernon corresponded with the composer, A. G. Driver, and in 1935 he conducted peals in 20 and 27 methods. In the following year they competed with a Cheshire band and increased the number of methods as compositions became available ringing peals in 30, 38, 42, 48, 51,57, 60, 61 and 70 methods. Vernon was teaching at Winchester College but when he received a composition for a new extent he posted copies to the band and on the next available Saturday he travelled the 150 miles each way to call the resulting peal.
In 1937 the Cheshire band regained the record with a peal in 73 methods. Most of the Algarkirk band had left the village by then but on 4th December 1937 they re-formed to regain the record with 80 methods. The band was George Burrel 1, Arthur Young 2, Vernon Taylor (C) 3, Harvey Burrell 4, Harold Barsley 5 and Cyril Burrell 6.
One of the band, Harold Barsley, told Roger Bailey that Vernon had all the methods on a clipboard on the handlebars of his bicycle and used to learn them as he cycled round the area. Emma Southerington tells me that Vernon Taylor lived two doors down the road from her home in Market Overton but never said that he rang more than the usual Bob Doubles etc. at the Thursday night practice. At a branch practice at Cottesmore after some badgering he agreed to ring in some Cambridge, which he hadn't rung for over thirty years and he kept everyone right. Later on he called a touch of Spliced Minor.
Vernon Taylor rang a total of 35 peals (including one in hand) for the LDG conducting 19 the last being on 27th June 1939.
It would appear that he was a schoolmaster for a short time before the Second World War and then joined the Army as an officer. Of his career after the War I have no knowledge and if anyone who knew Vernon can help to fill in the gaps in this tribute to a remarkable man I would be most grateful.
JOHN R. Ketteringham (First published in the Ringing World dated 25 May 2007)