The clerical peals of Fred Ross

May I add to the tributes to Canon Fred Ross in Issue 5143 that he was, of course, a member of the Guild of Clerical Ringers, and took part in some notable all-clergy peals.

He rang in the first peal of Royal (Plain Bob) by 10 priests at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1969. A few more peals in this method have been rung for the Guild, but this is not the case regarding London Major. Only one clerical peal of this has ever been accomplished, at Darley Dale in 1970, and Fred rang in it. The same is true of Yorkshire Royal, scored for the Guild many years later at Saltby in 1997, an achievement not as yet repeated.

Fred was, as has been said, a Rural Dean, first of Ashbourne and then of Melbourne, in the Derby diocese, and participated in a peal of Doubles by Rural Deans at Brailsford, near Derby. It might have been Minor but one of our colleagues was restricted to the tenor. This remains the only peal performed by clerics holding that particular office, though there are many former Rural Deans amongst the present membership.

After a time Fred was appointed an Honorary Canon of Derby and a peal of Plain Bob Minor was rung with him in the band at Horbling, Lincolnshire, by six persons of similar status from various dioceses.

I rang with Fred in all of these, as well as more run-of-the-mill clerical peals, and also many for the Derby Diocesan Association, when we were both working in that diocese. In fact for a while we were in adjoining parishes. The group of villages where Fred was once Vicar has now been merged with the market town of Ashbourne, where I served, to create a benefice of six churches under one Vicar. I don’t know whether Fred was aware of this before he died. If so, like myself, he was probably horrified! But, as you all know, this kind of “reorganization” is a common practice in the present-day Church of England, which Fred served so well.


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