Obituaries

Edward W. Martin

1938 - 2013

Eddie was a Leicesterhsire lad born and bred and learnt to ring at Great Bowden in the early 1950s. His first peal was for the Coronation in 1953 when he was just 15. He went on to ring many more peals in the Market Harborough area, one of which was conducted by Ernest Morris, the first ringer to achieve 2,000 peals.

Eddie first visited the Washington DC area in 1968 and moved here in 1971, an exciting time for ringing in North America. The installation of the bells at the National Cathedral in 1963 had energized the few ringers here and in 1972 the North American Guild was founded with Eddie as one of the original 141 members. Eddie’s peals in the early 70s consisted of many ‘firsts’ in North America: first of Stedman Triples, London Surprise Major, Bristol Surprise Major, Spliced Surprise Major, Erin Caters and Erin Cinques most of which were rung in hand and conducted by Eddie. Especially sweet for the band must have been the knowledge that they scored the first peal of Double Norwich Court Bob Major in North America, in hand, on the same day that the “Boys of the North” also tried, and failed. Eddie held several offices in the Guild over the years including peal secretary, education officer, and editor of the North American Guild publication, The Clapper. Eddie was an Honorary Member of the North American Guild, as well as a member of the Ancient Society of College Youths.

Like so many ringers Eddie met his future wife through ringing, and through The Ringing World in particular. Ann was one of the early ringers at the National Cathedral and wrote a school essay on bell ringing that was later published in the journal. After the article was published, Eddie wrote a letter to Ann. They corresponded for several years, developing a relationship which grew stronger while Ann studied at Oxford. They were married at the National Cathedral in 1971, a place their daughter Lucy referred to as Eddie’s spiritual home.

Eddie had a lifelong fascination with composition, especially the rarified world of Triples, with its difficult puzzles of fitting together all 5,040 possible rows. Several of his peal compositions featured unusual callings, such as a peal of Erin Triples with no consecutive calls, and a peal of Stedman Triples with only singles. Eddie also came up with the first peal composition of Titanic Triples. He assembled a variety of new and interesting Triples methods, including the Triples principles Artistic and Martin’s; the latter a method so challenging that it has been pealed only twice; in Birmingham in 1999 and 2001. Eddie authored two books on twin hunting Triples methods, a category he thought unjustly neglected; and at the time of his death, he was writing a book on the life and work of Fabian Stedman.

Over the years Eddie and Ann moved to various parts of the USA and UK, and wherever they moved they made an indelible impression on ringing. In the 1970s Eddie and Ann set up a handbell group at Smith College; in Annapolis they taught a handbell band to ring Stedman Triples (and they scored a quarter peal to prove it wasn’t a fluke!). The last six years of Eddie’s life was spent at Easthampstead Parish where he was an integral part of the band, and a major conductor.

In June of this year Ann and Eddie returned to Washington DC. His last tower bell quarter was on October 13th, and fittingly marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral Ringing Society. His last quarter with the Monday night handbell band was of Erin Caters.

Eddie was the backbone of the Washington Ringing Society, never happier than when he was calling a touch of Stedman, showing visitors around the tower or, along with Ann, teaching learners. His presence lit up a room and he always had a funny ringing story to share. Eddie, we miss you. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eddie’s wife, Ann, his children Tim and Lucy, and son-in-law Max.

A tree fund has been set up in Eddie’s name and information on the fund can be obtained from All Hallows Guild, Washington National Cathedral, Wisconsin and Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20016.

SUSAN O’NEILL

BB BellBoard
CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers