Obituary Notices.

YACR 1915 Annual Report, vol40 p91-94.

Died October 21st, 1915, aged 71 years.

  To say that Mr. Hattersley‘s death means a serious loss to ringing is to put very baldly a fact that will be realised by all who know anything of the work which, for fifty years past, he has done in promoting the art and raising the standard of ringing. His enthusiasm and genius have placed him in the forefront of composers, and his name in this connection will live for all time in ringing history. By his death one of the most highly respected and honoured members of the craft, one who fully merited the title of the “Grand Old Man” of the Exercise has been removed from our midst. His integrity in matters concerning ringing was as steadfast as his uprightness in business and every other walk of life. His wide knowledge, gained through more than half a century of close application to the art, was always at the service of others, and, to the end, his keen intellect was ever striving after something new which would be an advance upon the old. His sterling qualities, honesty of purpose in all things, clearness of perception, unsurpassed knowledge, wide experience, and warm-hearted and companionable nature, endeared him to all with whom he came in contact, and to all the world it can, in Shakespeare’s words, be said of him, “This was a man."

  Charles Henry Hattersley was 71 years of age, having been born at Sheffield on Sept. 12th, 1844. It will be remembered that, last year it was proposed to celebrate his 70th birthday by a public dinner, which, however, was abandoned owing to the outbreak of war, but the ringers of the city and district of Sheffield marked the occasion by presenting Mr. Hattersley with an illuminated address.
His passing to the great majority severs the last link with bygone generations of ringers, whose activities go back for more than a century. Mr. Hattersley came of ringing stock, and inherited his ringing instinct from his maternal grandfather,  Mr. William Booth, an eminent ringer and composer, of Sheffield, who, it is interesting to note,  first introduced  Mr. Hattersley to the belfry, for at the age of only four years he was carried by his grandfather up the steps leading to the Sheffield Parish Church belfry.  There, in 1848, for the first time he saw ten bells rung by the local company. It seemed only in the natural-course of events that Mr. Hattersley should early in life take seriously to the art himself.

  His earliest recollection of actual ringing was the pulling of the evening prayer bell when quite a youth. A little later he became sufficiently skilled to take part in prize ringing contests, although he was still considered too young to be enrolled a member of the Parish Church Society, which his brother Thomas also joined. He was, however, admitted to this select circle in the year 1862, in which year he rang his first peal, 5079 Stedman Caters. He soon took a prominent part in conducting, and called his first peal when only 19 years of age. In 1864 he was made a member of the College Youths on the occasion of ringing a peal of Stedman Triples at Bethnal Green with such notable London ringers as Matt. Wood, Henry Haley and George Muskett. His first visit to Birmingham was paid in 1867, when he made the acquaintance of the late Mr. Henry Johnson, and between the two men, who had many accomplishments in common, a lasting friendship sprang up.

  In 1886 Mr. Hattersley had the honour of presenting Mr. Johnson with his portrait, which had been subscribed for by the change ringers of England. Another honour which fell to Mr. Hattersley was that of being one of the representative ringers present at, the opening of the Imperial Institute in 1893 by Queen Victoria.

Picture: C.H. Hattersley

  Mr. Hattersley’s business, that of a manufacturer of plated goods, necessitated his travelling a great deal, and in this way he came in contact, with ringers in many parts of England,  and his fund of anecdotes was almost inexhaustible, Although in his early days peals were not of the frequent occurrence they are of the present day. Mr. Hattersley‘s list amounts to something like 200, and many of these he composed and conducted. No one could have been more particular than he as to striking, and he soon put an end to any irregular ringing if he was one of the band. Some of his peals have been of historic note, but he considered the 120 course-ends peal of  Stedman Caters (13,041 changes) rung at Cheltenham in 1888, in 8 hrs. 20 mins. and which stood as a record in the method for several years, was one of the best performances he ever took part in. At one stage for a period of five hours there was never a word spoken by way of correction. Among other notable performances in which he participated were 9238 Stedman Cinques at Birmingham in 6 hrs. 48 mins., in the year 1881; 6591 Stedman Caters (60 course-ends), in 4 hrs 45 mins., at Sheffield in 1886; a non-conducted peal of Stedman Triples, the first ever rung on tower bells, at Burton-on-Trent in 1886, and an “all-conducted" peal in the same method at the same church in the following year. He composed and conducted the first peals of Stedman Caters and Cinques, and the first peals of Double Norwich and Superlative ever rung by the Yorkshire Association. He rang in the first two peals ever scored in the Isle of Man - Treble Bob Major (which he composed) and Stedman Triples (which he conducted) rung on the same day - in 1888, and in 1889 he rang in the 15,227 Grandsire Caters at Cheltenham, which occupied 9 hrs. 43 mins.

  It will thus be seen that, as a performer in the tower, Mr. Hattersley played a conspicuous part in his day and generation, but it was in the realm of Composition that he excelled, and many are the gems that he has produced. Few men have done as much as he in getting the best out of figures, and, while it is unnecessary here to go into much detail on this point, it may be stated that he has left an interesting collection of compositions in Grandsire, Stedman, Bob Major, Treble Bob, Double Norwich, Duffield, Superlative, Bristol and London Surprise. His 14-course peals of Treble Bob Major with the 5th and 6th extent in 5-6 and eleven out of the possible twelve 8—6's were the first ever composed in 5024 changes. He obtained the first 5056 Superlative Surprise containing all the possible changes with the 6th and tenor together, without the 2nd being in 6th's place, and he also introduced a twelve-course set with the 6th the extent in this method, with interchangeable calls, which has been the means of increasing the variety of compositions. He evolved a new 11-course set to Stedman Caters, which is equally applicable to Bob Major, Double Norwich, and Superlative, thus extending the scope of composition in all these methods, while he was also among the first to obtain peals of London Surprise with the 4th and 6th their extent in 6th‘s, and the 5th and 6th their extent in 5th's.

  Upon all matters relating to composition there was no greater authority than Mr. Hattersley, and it is worthwhile recalling an extract from a letter written by him less than a month before his death, to a meeting of the Southern District of the Yorkshire Association:
"I can't understand," he wrote, "how it is we have so many ringers who seem to take so little interest in composition, and the higher aspect of conducting. If they would only pay a little more attention to these two elements of the science, they would soon discover, when ringing, how much easier it is for them to find their companion bell, than, as often is the case, to stare and twist about like a person who had lost his understanding. Of course, every ringer is not bent that way, and every man would not prove a success, but I do think that all ringers would find it exceedingly attractive and interesting. More-over, it would ensure less mistakes being made, less talking, and consequently better striking. The art of composition, and conducting also, is not so mysterious as some people would have others imagine, and to talk of composition being played out is all moonshine and nonsense, as the possibilities of composition are almost of surpassing belief. In various degrees I have been interested in change ringing for the past 60 years, and it I had another 60 years to live I would still keep on being interested. " This letter should appeal to young ringers with all the more force, now that the writer of it has passed from among us.

  As already mentioned, Mr. Hattersley formed a very interesting link with past generations of Sheffield ringers. His grandfather, William Booth, who was born in 1783, made his mark in ringing at quite an early age, and in 1804 took part in the last 5000 on the old peal of ten at the Parish Church, Sheffield, and also rang in the first 5000 on ten of the present peal in the same year. He established a connection between Sheffield and Birmingham ringers by ringing in a peal  at All Saints’, Derby, in 1809, in which Joshua Short and other well-known Birmingham men took part, and in the association between the ringers oi the two cities which has been maintained ever since, Mr. Hattersley has played no small part. William Booth in 1811 took part in the first peal ever rung on handbells retained in hand. This was a peal of Oxford Treble Bob Major, and on the centenary, on October 30th, 1911, a commemoration peal was rung at Mr. Hattersley’s house, and was timed by the same "grandfather" clock that ticked off the minutes during the peal of a hundred years before. William Booth also took part in the first peals of Oxford Treble Bob Royal and Maximus rung “in hand," the former on December 3rd, 1811, and the latter on November 24th, 1816. He participated, too, in the opening of the peal of twelve at St. Nicholas’, Liverpool, in 1814, and in 1816 made the three days’ journey to London, where he rang a peal of Oxford Treble Bob Royal at Shoreditch with men like George Gross, William Shipway and other giants in the ringing world of that day. It was William Booth who, in 1848, first took Charles Henry Hattersley into a belfry. In 1811 there was rung at Sheffield a peal of 5040 Bob Royal, in which Robert Daft was one of the band. In 1863 a second peal in the same method was rung in that tower, and the same Robert Daft took part. Mr. Hattersley was also of this band, again making him a link between the ringers of to-day and those of a hundred years ago.

   From 1862 to the day of his death Mr. Hattersley was connected with the Sheffield Parish Church (now the Cathedral Society). In 1879 he entered the Yorkshire Association, in which he took the keenest and most active interest. He became a vice-president and trustee, having in the former office, since the division of the county, been attached to the Southern District. When the Central Council was formed, Mr. Hattersley was elected as one of the representatives of the Yorkshire Association, and he remained a member to the end of his days. He was always a regular attendant at the meetings, when his health permitted, and he was present at the meeting last Whitsun in London, when many or his friends were glad to see him in apparently improved health, His services to the Council were great and valued, and he was a member of the Standing Committee. As one of the oldest members of the College Youths he was always a welcome guest at their annual banquets, and in Birmingham, too, his presence at the Johnson Commemoration Dinner was a source of gratification to the company. Indeed, no man was ever more warmly received wherever he went than Mr. Hattersley, for his genial disposition and kindly nature won for him a warm place in the hearts of all who knew him. His death has caused a gap which it will not be easy to fill, and to the widow and other members of the family, who are left to mourn their loss, the sympathy of the Exercise will go out.

  The funeral took place at Ecclesall, Sheffield, on Tuesday, October 26th. In the unavoidable absence of the Archdeacon of Sheffield, the service was taken by the Rev. H. Cecil (senior curate at the Cathedral), and the Rev. C. C. Marshall, President of the Yorkshire Association. The bearers were provided by the Cathedral company. About 50 ringers from all parts of the country, representing various societies of which Mr. Hattersley was a member, had gathered to pay a last tribute of respect, and they lined the approach to the church, while the coffin was borne between their ranks, and then joined in the procession into the church. Alter the committal had taken place, a course of Grandsire Caters was rung on handbells over the open grave. The afternoon was fine, with just an autumnal touch in the air, and the melody of the bells, falling with crisp clear beats, stirred the deepest emotions of the silent audience. The little band was a representative one, consisting of S. Thomas (Sheffield District secretary) 1-2. G. Holmes (Sheffield Cathedral) 8-4, C. Glenn (Yorks. Association secretary) 5-6. S. Wood (Lancs. Association and Ashton-under-Lyne Society) 7-8, A. A. Hughes (College Youths) 9-10. It was the farewell to the warrior, and, after the Benediction had been pronounced and a last glimpse of the coffin taken, the body of Charles Henry Hattersley was enfolded by his Mother Earth. But his spirit will remain, his name will endure, and his example will provide an inspiration to many a young ringer.

  In the evening a half-muffled peal of Stedman Cinques was rung on the Cathedral bells, and half-muffled  ringing has also taken place at St. Maries’ and Ranmoor, Sheffield; Ashton-under-Lyne, Pendleton, Cheltenham, St. Saviour’s, Southwark, Erdington and St. Martin's, Birmingham, etc.

We have again to express our thanks to “ The Ringing World" for their permission to reproduce the above memoir from the issue of Oct 29th , 1915.

End of Article

     YACR 1915 Annual Report, vol40 p91-94.

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