Arthur Francis James (d. 1932, aged 64)

Arthur James (Click on the picture for larger version)

Arthur, a jeweller by profession, lived at 20 West Road. Immediately after Arthur James' funeral on May 25 1932, a peal was rung is his memory.

Long peal of Superlative

From Bell News - 30 June 1894.


As is well known, on Whit Tuesday last, eight members of the Midland Counties Association, rang at Loughborough the longest peal in the above method which has yet been performed 8800 changes. The record appeared in due course, and we publish this week a group photograph of the company [photograph]. Below a brief notice of each member is given in the order in which they rang.


This gentleman was born October 11th, 1868, in the parish of St. Mary, Whitechapel. His parents removed to Saffron Walden when he was three years old. He took an early liking for bells, and made rapid progress as a beginner, soon becoming proficient in Stedman. He has now mastered all the most difficult methods, including London Surprise Major, and out of a total of 19 peals has scored 5 of Superlative, 1 of Cambridge, 3 of Double Norwich, 4 of Stedman, 1 of Treble Ten, and 5 of Treble Bob Major. He also takes an interest in the volunteer movement, and is a sergeant in the Saffron Walden Corps.


From Ringing World - June 3rd 1932:

Saffron Walden has lost an old member of the company by the death of Mr. Arthur Francis James, who passed away at the age of 64 years, in the Freemasons' Nursing Home, Chelsea, after an illness of six months' duration. Deceased entered the nursing home a few weeks ago, and underwent an operation from which he apparently was making a good recovery, but he passed away in his sleep on Saturday week.

Born at Farnham, Surrey, Mr. James was the son of Mr. James who set up a business as watchmaker and jeweller in Saffron Walden, to which the deceased eventually succeeded. He was educated at Saffron Walden School, and afterwards took a prominent part in local activities. He joined the Saffron Walden Ringing Society in 1888, and was a member up to the time of his death. He always took a great interest in the society, and altogether he rang 65 peals, one of which was the then record length of Superlative Surprise Major, the 8,800 rung at Loughborough in May, 1894, composed and conducted by a famous Saffron Walden man, Nathan Pitstow. Mr. James also rang in a 6,016 in the same method, an 8,064 of Kent Treble Bob Major. His peals consisted of I Treble Bob Major 6, Royal 2, Grandsire Triples 1, Caters 3, Stedman Triples 12, Caters 4, Bob Major 1, Royal 1, Double Norwich Major 9 (conductor 1), Superlative Surprise Major 9, Cambridge Surprise Major 10 (conducted 1), New Cambridge Surprise Major 5, and London Surprise Major 2.

In his early days he joined the old 3rd V.B. (Cambs) Suffolk Regiment, and received rapid promotion. On reaching the rank of colour-sergeant he was one of the youngest volunteers of that rank. He was afterwards awarded the Long Service Medal. On the formation of the Territorial Army Mr. James transferred to the 1st/8th Essex Regiment and mobilised with that unit at the outbreak of war. He was afterwards transferred to the 2nd/8th Essex Regiment and promoted to R.Q.M.S. He continued to serve until he was  discharged in 1916 on reaching the age limit. However, he was soon called upon to give his services. He was specially commissioned with the rank of captain and helped to raise and afterwards commanded 'B' Co., 2nd/3rd V.B. Essex Regiment until the end of hostilities.

Mr. James was also an accomplished musician, and was a member of the Orpheus Orchestra and a keen supporter of the Saffron Walden Amateur Operatic Society. He was also a Freemason, being Master of the Walden Lodge, 1280, in 1927, and had he lived would have received still further honours in the craft. He was a member of the Saffron Walden Chapter of Royal Arch Masons.

Mr. James was active in many other spheres. He was one of the oldest members of the Literary and Scientific Institution, and in his early days actively supported both cricket and football in the town but later bowls claimed his attention.

The funeral at Saffron Walden on Wednesday of last week was attended by members of all the organisations with which Mr. James, had been connected in his lifetime. The service at the cemetery church was conducted by the Rev. W.Bro. A. J. Gillson, assisted by the Rev. W.Bro. W. Rutherford. The lessons were read by W.Bro. F. J. Pitstow and W.Bro. L. S. Thorning. The committal rites were performed by the Rev. W.Bro. A. J. Gillson, and the brethren of the craft filed past the grave and placed on the coffin sprigs of acacia, in accordance with the Freemasons' custom.

The immediate mourners were Mr. H. James (brother), Messrs. E A. and H. E. Pitstow (brothers-in-law), Messrs. A. E., F. J., H. and L. Pitstow (nephews).

Mrs. A. James, the widow, was unable to be present.

There were a large number of floral tributes, including one from the Saffron Walden Society of Change Ringers, who in the evening; rang a muffled peal of Grandsire Triples in memory of the deceased.

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