Obituaries

William Adlard ‘Son’ Smedley

1917 - 2012

‘Son’ was a Crowland institution. He lived all his life in Crowland, always working on the land, mostly as a shepherd. At market he was famous both for the quality of the stock he presented and for his ever-present trilby hat.

However his life revolved around Crowland Abbey. From attending three times every Sunday as a boy with his parents and sisters his devotion to the church never waned. He served on the PCC for over 40 years, was a sometime verger and a long-serving church warden. He ran the church youth club and a highly successful branch of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade.

He was an active bell-ringer at the Abbey for well over 65 years, initially as a junior member of the 2nd team (those were the days!) until in time becoming Tower Captain for around 30 years. He had little time for the idea of secular ringing, seeing the whole purpose of the exercise being to celebrate his religion before Sunday services and to announce key moments in people’s religious lives by ringing at christenings, weddings, funerals and particularly the muffled ringing on Remembrance Day. He taught me to ring in 1998 and after I took over the captaincy from him in 2006 he was always supportive; a source of well-considered advice whenever I needed it.

After the death of his parents he lived on in the family home in Crowland with his two sisters, never marrying. On Christmas Eve, 2008 he was taken ill in Crowland. On coming out of hospital he lived in a residential home in Spalding, gradually slipping away from this world. He died on 3rd January 2012 and was interred in the family plot at Crowland Abbey on Friday, 13th January. A team of Crowland ringers, all of whom had rung with ‘Son’, rang half-muffled for half an hour before the funeral service.

ROY SNOW
Tower Captain, Crowland Abbey

BB BellBoard
CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers