Henry was born on 17th February 1916 at Deddington, Oxfordshire. He met his wife, Winifred while she was there in service to Lord and Lady Lewis. Win and Henry married at Euston and would have celebrated 70 years marriage this October. When Henry was called up, Win moved back to Euston to live with her mother, who kept the village post office. (Win’s father had already died by this time). When Henry was de-mobbed he joined the family at Euston and they lived at the Post House from then on.

Henry was a bricklayer, carpenter and joiner and he worked for Goddard builders of Thetford and Sindalls of Cambridge. He was involved with house building at Thetford, Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area. One of Henry’s claims to fame is the Red Cross Building at Thetford.

When Henry reached retirement age he became the carpenter and joiner for the Euston estate. Henry had his own workshop and made the doors and windows for the estate cottages and also repaired various items of Euston Hall furniture. Henry continued working for the Estate until 1999.

Henry learnt to ring at Euston, he was mainly self taught and he looked after the bells there from 1952. Henry became a member of the Suffolk Guild in 1953. He rang 30 peals for the Suffolk Guild; 14 of these were at Euston. His first peal was in 1953 at Elveden, Plain Bob Triples conducted by Jim Paul. In the early 1980’s Win and Henry worked hard to raise funds to rehang the 5 bells at Euston in a new frame. They raised £15,000 in 2 years and the bells were rehung and augmented to 6 in 1983. Henry did a lot of work in the tower himself and greatly assisted Trevor Bailey with the installation. Win and Henry made good use of the bells and arranged peals and quarter peals for events in the village, a tribute to a villager, the Royal family, or family events of the Duke and Duchess of Grafton. Henry rang 12 of his peals here post 1983.

In 1974 Euston Hall was opened to the Public to raise funds for charity. Henry became the man on the gate and had his own hut at the entrance. It is still in use today and known as 'Henry's Hut'.

Henry had another passion, motorbikes, and he had several during his lifetime. The main make being 'Nortons'. In his 70s Henry had a new one and built a shed to house it and their riding gear. Henry and Win would ride to an Elveden practice on a summers evening.

In the autumn of 2007 both Henry and Win were ill and they moved to Wickwar Nursing Home, South Gloucestershire, where they were close to their son John. During their time there they were visited by the Rector of Wickwar, Revd David Russell. Henry died on 29th May 2009. His funeral service took place at Old Sodbury Church and was conducted by the Revd Russell. Joan, Henry's daughter, played the organ for the service, John and his daughter Kate read the lessons and the 3 grandsons Matthew, Adrian and Charles, assisted by Kate's husband Nick, acted as pallbearers.

On Sunday, 23rd August 2009 a Thanksgiving service for Henry's life was held at Euston St Genevieve church. The church was filled to the side aisles with villagers and ringing friends. Hymns that had been used at his funeral were incorporated. The service was conducted by Revd Philip Garbett, Team Rector. In his introduction he said how Henry had cared for Euston church. There was evidence of his handiwork throughout, a bookcase he had made, an offertory box, a base on which he had placed a piece of carpet, Henry liked his mats! Canon Sally Fogden led 'Henry Remembered' and read a letter from Win saying how touched Henry would have been to think this service was taking place. Sally read a letter from the Duke and Duchess of Grafton who remembered Henry with gratitude as a friend and loyal worker on the Euston Estate for many years.

Sally remembered Henry riding his bicycle and that he was usually seen pushing a wheelbarrow doing something for somebody in the village. Henry had his own very large garden which he cultivated and kept very tidy. Not a blade of grass out of place and certainly no weeds! When Henry was 90 someone expressed concern having seen him up a ladder cutting off a branch. Sally said Henry had been an important part of a proper Country Estate where all are dependant on each other. Sally expressed her joy at hearing the bells ringing on the evening of her ordination, 31st May 1987, and said the bells are Henry's lasting memorial.

Christopher Spicer recalled working with Henry. When he had joined the estate as Estate Manager in 1984 Henry was already working from his workshop. He recalled that when part of the Hall was demolished in 1952 a bell had been pushed off the roof and Henry had rescued it and made a frame for it. The bell now has centre place in the Old Kitchen, which is used as a tea room, and it is rung to summon people for meetings etc.

George Pipe gave a tribute to Henry on behalf of the bellringers. He recalled that Cecil and Edmund Pearson had rung with Henry at Deddington on many occasions. Cecil was an engineer and had emigrated to Melbourne Australia in 1955 and when George went to work there, Cecil became a staunch member of the band George set up at St Paul's Cathedral Melbourne. They often talked of Deddington and Henry. George said Henry had a cheerful smile, and everytime he travels through Deddington and Euston he thinks of Henry and Win.

In his sermon Revd Garbett said although he had not known Henry personally, he had a good picture of him now from the tributes that had been given.

For my part, I pay tribute to both Henry and Win for their support to me especially during my time as Tower Captain at the Norman Tower, Bury St Edmunds. During the 1980s Henry and Win joined the Sunday service band at the Norman Tower, Bury St Edmunds to ring for Evensong. They were available for weddings, ringing during the week — often at short notice, such as when the 'Bury in Bloom' Judging took place. Henry encouraged ringing in the district. When the striking competition was introduced Henry made some shields as trophies. When they ran out he made some more! Henry and Win helped arrange a minibus tour to Scotland and the Lake District in 1986 which inspired more tours which they enjoyed.

We think of Win, John, Joan and their families at this time and give thanks for all Henry did and meant to us.


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Central Council of Church Bell Ringers