Richard Miller (d. 7 January 1862, aged 81)

Miller's note book - title page

Richard Miller was a farmer from Ashdon (Nuts Farm, Ashdon Rd) - a village about 4 miles NE of Saffron Walden. It would seem that he started to ring in Saffron Walden around 1803 and continued to do until at least 1858. Miller therefore started his "career" at Saffron Walden at around the time of the re-casting of the bells (1798) and the setting up of the Society (Articles of Agreement, 1800). Under his guidance the Society rang an impressive series of peals between 1807 and 1828 culminating in a performance of 1,200 changes of Superlative Surprise Major being rung by the local band in December 1845 as reported by the Cambridge Chronicle of Dec. 6 1845:

High Attainment in the Art of Ringing. An extraordinary display of talent was made a few days since by the company of change ringers, of Saffron Walden, performing on their church bells 1,680 changes of Double Norwich Court Bob Major, and upwards of 1,200 changes of Superlative Surprise, performed in the following order, viz. : Messrs. J. Bennett 1 Messrs. J. Richardson 5 John Carr 2 S. Francis 6 M. Ward 3 R. Miller 7 F. Ruse 4 J. Wright 8 Composed and Conducted by Mr. R. Miller, churchwarden [of Ashdon]. It is very singular that there are not at the present time eight persons in the metropolis to be found who are able to accomplish this very arduous task.

Miller was also responsible for the Society's accounts - in the archive we have seven books of accounts covering the period 1818-1857. These have been beautifully maintained by Miller.

In 1848 the ringers clubbed together to make a presentation to Miller to show their appreciation for his efforts of the previous 45 years. The Misses Miller of Ashdon, Miller's grand-daughters, returned to the Society in around 1900, a framed:

List of Small Subscriptions Presented to Mr. Richard Miller as an acknowledgment for his unremitting services, for 45 years and upwards, as a Member and Conductor of the Saffron Walden Company of Ringers.

The total amount was 10 6s and on the back of the frame (in the archive) is written:

Presented March 13th, 1848 by J. L. Taylor. Esq., Mayor of Saffron Walden. Names of the S. Walden Company of Ringers: Richd. Miller, Saml. Francis, David Smart, Jonathan Bennett, Matthew Ward, James Wright, William Bishop, Peter Philpott, George Bennett, James Miller, George Brand.

We also have in the archive, two wonderful note books of Miller's. The first of these is dated Dec. 23 1804, titled (pictured above) "Richard Miller. his Ringing Book, Wherein is contained, a variety of peals upon five, six and eight Bells; with the general Rules of ringing the same."

As stated in the title, the two books give the rules for ringing for the core methods of the day and touches of various lengths up to and beyond peal length. The fly leaves of the first book contain the details of six peals that Miller conducted for the Company / Society (five at Saffron Walden and one at Finchingfield) between 1813 and 1828 (three of these peals can be seen listed to the left-hand side and bottom of title page pictured above).

Pictured below is Miller's rules for the plain course of Cambridge Minor.

Miller's rules for Cambridge Minor

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