John Ashley Freeman 1884 - 1961

John Ashley Freeman

John Ashley Freeman was born at Market Deeping, Lincolnshire on 21st November 1884. He learned to ring a bell there but did no method ringing.

He came to Lincoln in about 1907 and after a patient wait commenced ringing at the City Church, St Peter-at-Arches. His first peal, one of Kent Treble Bob Major, was rung on 14th October 1908 and was conducted by the Rev. H. Law James. Seven of his first eight peals were Kent Treble Bob Major, including a 7040 rung in 4 hours 15 minutes, which at the time, was the longest peal rung by the Lincoln Diocesan Guild. After this surfeit of Kent Major, the method lost its appeal for him and thereafter he rang only two more peals in the method.

He scored his first peal as conductor with his ninth peal - Stedman Triples on 18th October 1911. This was the start of a lifelong enjoyment of the method on all number of bells but he had a particular affection for Stedman Triples. After losing his first peal due to a change course, he never again lost a peal of Stedman Triples which he was calling, even though on many occasions, the band included ringers attempting the method for the first time.

He was elected a member of the Cathedral Company in April 1914 and soon took on the role of Conductor. He was elected Master of the Company in 1929 and held that office until his death in 1961.

He was Master of the Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers from 1947 until 1961 and represented the Guild on the Central Council from 1945 until his death in January 1961. He rang 269 Peals and conducted 119 of them.