Jonathan Freeman (d. 1914, aged 78)

John (as he was known) and elder brother of Charles, joined the Walden Company of Ringers in 1868 and was a member of the Society from its re-birth in 1881, being present at the initial meeting. He rang in a number of the peals for the Society his first being in 1890.

From the minutes in 1910, when John was 74 we have that he "was still one of the most enthusiastic and regular attenders". He  celebrated his 76th birthday on 27/2/1912 by taking part in a touch of Cambridge Surprise of 672 changes. A coachman by profession, he lived at 2 New Almshouses.

In the minutes for February 1914, we have the report of John's death:

During the month the Company have lost through death the services of two of the oldest and most respected members. - Mr Jonathan Freeman aged 78, and Mr Nathan Pitstow aged 67.

Both died within a few days of each other Jonathan Freeman on Sat. Feby 14th and Nathan Pitstow Wednesday, Feby. 18th after long and painful illnesses.

Mr Freeman was buried on Wed. 18th and the Company attended the funeral. In the evening a touch of Stedman Triples was rung with the bells fully muffled in memory and out of respect of the oldest member of the Society.

Obituary

We also have a brief report from a local newspaper following Jonathan's death:

DEATH OF A BELLRINGER. - The death occurred on Saturday evening, after a few months' illness, of Jonathan Freeman, a well-known and respected inhabitant of the town, and the oldest member of the Saffron Walden Society of Change Ringers. The deceased, who was in his 78th year, formerly conducted the Rose and Crown "tap". He leaves a widow and a grown up family. As a tribute to the deceased, a muffled peal was rung on church bells on Wednesday evening. The funeral took place at the Cemetery on Wednesday and attended by a number of Bellringers and Foresters, and the Foresters' funeral address was read at the graveside by Bro. J. F. Penning.

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