The latest peal book to be deposited in the Guild Archives contains a mere 21 peals, the lowest number in all the 31 books so far given to the Archives.  It is, nevertheless, a most special book, as it has been very carefully and lovingly produced.  The writer was not a professional calligrapher.  Not everything is entirely pleasing to the eye, and on closer inspection errors and less successful attempts at design and embellishments can be detected.  These are only minor, though; the overall effect is very satisfying, and one can only imagine the hours of painstaking effort spent in its production; and the even greater number of hours spent by the recipient in enjoying her perusal of its contents.  Later in her life she must have relived many precious moments of her fairly brief peal-ringing career which took place many miles away from her home.

The owner of the book was not actually registered as Daphne Lloyd, when she was born in Chester on 21st March 1928, but as Miriam Lloyd, after her mother.  She was the oldest of five children, at least two of whom were also ringers; but none rang any peals.  She has a niece, however – Kathryn Lloyd – who rings at Hoole and is following in her Aunt’s footsteps, having already rung two peals.  It is Kathryn whom we must thank for donating the peal book to the Archives; and it is her regret that it is unlikely that the book will be viewed by more than a few people that has led to the scanning of the peal book and it appearing on the Guild website.  It is the Archivist’s intention that other documents of interest from the Archives will follow.

Gordon Corby, a former ringer of Hoole, and whose name occurs several times in the peal book, remembers her as living at some point at 11b Seller Street.  Gordon tells us she left school at 14 and she began work for a high-class tailor’s on Eastgate Street.  He also remembers her as a calm and pleasant young lady, who was nice to everybody and never got ruffled.  In her ringing she was always well motivated.

According to the 1939 Register George and Miriam Lloyd were living with their family in Handbridge at number 30 Overleigh Road, not too far away from the church.  More importantly perhaps is that they were not many doors down from the widow of Henry Wilde and from James Swindley.  Wilde had been brought to Chester to work on the Duke of Westminster’s narrow gauge railway, and become well known as a ringer and composer.  James Swindley will ever be remembered for his work on the Eastgate Clock, and he was, of course, also a ringer at Handbridge and the Cathedral.  In those days there was one band which served both places.  It is highly likely that Daphne learned to ring at Handbridge.  That was where she rang her first peal in 1947.  James Swindley was not in the band, but his son Percy was.  Indeed Percy Swindley featured in 15 of her peals.

Not many people besides Gordon Corby still remember ringing with Daphne, but Brian and Betty Harris certainly do.  Some of the other ringers who rang with her in the peals were well known in the area:  John Griffiths, Dennis Millward, Henry Baker, George Sperring, to name but four.

Her peal-ringing career lasted barely seven years.  A few years after the last peal she married and moved to live in Bermuda.  It was on one of her niece’s visits that the peal book was handed over and is now available to be seen by a much wider audience.  She died, in Bermuda, in May 2017.

There are 21 peals recorded in the book, but the third one – Grandsire Triples at St Mary’s Within the Walls (now known as Old St Mary’s) on New Year’s Eve 1947 – does not appear in the Annual Report for that year; nor does it appear in the Ringing World.  The reason would appear to be that it could not have been counted as a Guild peal because the tenor ringer was not a Guild member at the time.  There seems no reason, however, for not accepting it as a valid performance.

Of course, we must not neglect the writer: J Benjamin Budd.  He rang in ten of the peals, including the last one, which was his 100th peal.  He also produced for Brian and Shirley Harris his own book, recording 103 peals rung between 1910 and 1954.  That book also deserves to be copied and put onto our website, perhaps.  It contains much of interest, including peals with some very well-known ringers of the day: Frederick Dexter, Harold Poole, Ernest Morris, Jack Bray, and others.

Benjamin Budd was from Knaresborough, Yorkshire and it was in that area where the early peals were rung.  In about 1919 he moved to Grimsby and then, in the early 1930s, he went to live in Eccles, Manchester.  Six months or so before Daphne began ringing peals he rang his 46th peal at Worsley.  Then, in 1950, he moved yet again, this time to Mold, and a few years later his peal ringing positively exploded.  He must have endeared himself to many ringers in Chester and North Wales, as is clear from what he wrote in his own book:

Percy [Swindley] welcomed me from the first contact, and attendance at the Cathedral service ringing, and for practices, became normal, and expected routine.  There was to follow some four years of peal success and reverses, and the making of valued and lasting friendships of first importance.

Peal number 47 was rung in June 1950 at Pulford and, as we have already seen, the 100th peal came up in March 1954.  He rang all the intervening peals, and three more, in Cheshire and North Wales.  Included in the total were several in Plain Major methods which were then being rung and named.  His return to Grimsby in 1954 was a matter of some sadness, as is quite clear from the footnote to his last peal in our area, Kent Royal at Chester Cathedral: ‘My regretful farewell ringing in this place of memories.’

Benjamin Budd had served in the cavalry in the Boer War, and he had shot competitively at Bisley.  He had also run a grocery business.  He clearly had an artistic flare, and was a man of some learning.  The peals in Daphne’s book often have Latin headings, and on the reverse side of each one there is a quotation or series of quotations.  Some are well known, but not all; and some look as if they are of his own creation.  As already stated, this was a great labour of love.  It is highly unlikely that a peal book like this one is ever going to be deposited again in the Chester Guild Archives.

The peal book contains 21 peals each beautifully presented with an accompanying page of poetry or reflection. This large file make take some time to load.


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