1942 - 2008

It was a dull foggy autumn evening in 1955 that David and I stood on the market square in Hanslope when the bells of St James the Great began to ring and, with nothing else to do at the time, we climbed the forty-nine steps to the ringing chamber to see what this bellringing was all about. That was the beginning of fifty-three years of bellringing together.

But that was not the beginning of our friendship as we had started at Hanslope Primary School only one year apart in 1947. In 1952 I moved with my parents and younger sister to a new house which was only a few yards from where David lived and this is when we became good friends and eventually lifelong mates.

At the age of eleven we attended Wolverton School and then at the age of fifteen we moved on to the British Rail (Engineering) Training School, both serving apprenticeships, and then onto the Engineering College at Wolverton. As we progressed with our ringing, most evenings we spent bellringing around the local area, on cycles of course, with fellow learners George Walker and John (Hoppy) Powell. It was during this period that David acquired a tandem and it was the other three of us that took it in turns to ride pillion. David was the power house of this machine and on many an occasion the person on the back would put his feet up on the rear handle bars, lean back, arms folded [not me of course!] and let David propel us along the country lanes.

One of the towers David and I visited on a regular basis was Wicken, where they had a very good band. However, one particular evening David couldn’t make it and I decided to go on my own. On arrival seven ringers had already turned up with me making the eighth so it was decided to ring a quarter peal of Stedman Triples. I had only rung plain courses but, with the help of George Green, we made it. David, right up until quite recently, never let me forget that I got my first quarter of Stedman Triples before him.

Since then we have rung many quarter peals together but our first peal together was at Maidwell, Northamptonshire and also in the peal was another lifelong friend, Tim Wooding of Newport Pagnell.

I have spent quite a number of holidays with David, some of them being camping/ringing holidays, but my very first one with him was in 1968 at a small hotel in Llandudno, Wales where he caused havoc with all the older residents but they all knew that it was in good fun and loved him for it.

David had many friends but there are a small number of them, including myself, that can say that he was an extremely good friend when they needed one. I am sure none of us will ever forget David or his mischievous nature, his pranks or just being able to produce havoc amongst the rest of us.

There are many happy memories and stories that I could tell you about David and hopefully we shall all share these at some later date. His passing is a sad loss to bellringing and to bellringers, but I shall be ever grateful to have had his friendship and comradeship, and to be able to have called David ‘my mate’.


Memories of P. David Taylor

The band at St James the Great, Hanslope was shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of David. In his early days David was a loyal and committed ringer at Hanslope tower before moving to Newport Pagnell, where he also had a long bell ringing association at SS Peter and Paul. Recently David had moved to Southern Ireland where he died after a short illness. Over the years David had kept in touch with the band at Hanslope usually joining in with Sunday morning service ringing at Hanslope several times a year.

After some years of sporadic ringing at Hanslope I was invited in late 1955 to teach a new band of young ringers. These included Fae Hollis, Robert Tomkins, George Walker, David Taylor, Edward Boss, Roy Keeves, Joe Geary and John Powell. These young people set the tradition of bell ringing at Hanslope which has continued ever since.

David rang his first quarter peal on July 5th 1958 at Courteenhall, Northants; 1260 Doubles (Kennington, Canterbury, PB), the band being David Taylor 1, Freda Curtis 2, Ian Markham 3, Alan Cozens 4, Kenneth Perkins (C) 5. David went on to become a very competent method ringer and I personally rang a number of peals with him, ranging from Doubles to Surprise Major. David’s first peal was 5040 Doubles (7m) at Grafton Regis, Northants. on December 13th 1958 the band this time being David Taylor 1, Patricia Neasham 2, Alan Cozens 3, Michael Bennett 4, Robin Baker (C) 5.

David was a fun loving person and enjoyed many ringing outings and weekends with his bell ringing friends. He was always involved in pranks. On one occasion on a Derbyshire outing, my wife Shirley offered him a glass of “red wine” which in fact was beetroot juice and he said it was very nice. When told what it really was the look on his face was priceless much to the amusement of everyone. He got his own back on a ringing weekend at Chester when he pinned items of ladies underwear on our bedroom door for all the Hotel guests to see on their way down to breakfast much to our horror but with gales of laughter from the rest of the group (we later returned the items whilst camping in the New Forest by pinning them on the tent he was sharing with Roy Keeves). We often wondered whose underwear it was!

David loved football and went to see the Cobblers (Northampton Town) regularly with his friend Tim Wooding and no doubt Tim has got good memories of these matches which he attended with “Bomber”. David was known in Hanslope as Bomber Taylor. He supposedly got this nickname from his footballing days but he certainly “bombed” every where and used to climb the tower steps at Hanslope at 100mph.

A quarter peal of Stedman Triples (one of David’s favourite methods) was rung at Hanslope on Wednesday, 10th September, the day of his funeral in Ireland. The bells were rung open which we thought David would have wished. David’s very good friends Tim Wooding and Audrey Jones came over to listen and remember.

David has gone to join the illustrious band of past ringers in heaven where no doubt he is still playing pranks but he will not be forgotten by those of us who knew him and rang with him over the years.


Hanslope, Buckinghamshire


Hanslope, Bucks. 10 Sep, 1260 Stedman Triples: Alan Cozens 1, George Green 2, Jonathan Griggs 3, Roy Keeves 4, Ian Thompson 5, B Douglas Hird 6, Richard Haseldine (C) 7, Tony Gray 8. Rung to celebrate the life of P David Taylor whose funeral took place on this day in Co Limerick, Ireland. David was a ringer at Hanslope and Newport Pagnell, and also recently in Co Limerick.

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