J. Stanley Margereson
Few who have rung at Old Brampton, certainly in the latter half of the 20th century, will have failed to come across Stanley Margereson. Stanley had been a ringer there for around 65 years, holding the position of Tower Captain for 40 of them. After retiring from that post, he would usually meet any visitors, as he lived but three doors away from the Church.
He was born in the village of Cutthorpe, on the outskirts of Chesterfield, and within the parish of Old Brampton, on 26th July 1925, where he grew up and lived until his marriage. Stanley started to ring at Old Brampton, where he was already a member of the choir (he joined when he was 8 years old), and where his uncle was Tower Captain, shortly after the Second World War ended.
During the late 1950s ringing at Old Brampton had tailed away, and Sam Scattergood from Chesterfield had been invited to teach a new band of girls to ring. Stanley volunteered to help out and “add a bit of stability”, becoming Tower Captain and, in 1960 marrying Margaret, one of those recruits. Ringing at Old Brampton has had few silent periods since.
Stanley rang just three peals. On 29th July 1981, five ringers met to ring a peal for the wedding of HRH Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. Stanley also met to ring, but was expecting to ring the treble to a quarter peal of Minor. When the bells came into rounds for the second time, Stanley looked inquisitively at the conductor and was told “keep on ringing a bit longer …”. The bells came into rounds for a third, and a fourth time; each time he was told to “keep on ringing”. Eventually, he realised what was happening, and (so I am told), a grin started to appear on his face which got wider and wider as the peal progressed. A successful peal of Kent TB was rung, which was a first peal for four members of the local band, including Stanley.
In his working life, Stanley joined the East Midland Motor Company, and remained there for 50 years until retirement. He obtained numerous qualifications at Technical college, and became Assistant to the Chief Engineer. There he became acquainted with future bellhanger Fred Pembleton, who at the time was employed as an insurance assessor, and used to do the safety inspections on lifting equipment. Being a technically minded person (Stanley was ‘always repairing things’), he would ensure the bells were in good order, and the clock was wound and keeping regular time.
When the new team started ringing in the 1950s, they found in the back of one of the cupboards a set of eight handbells. They decided to put these to use around the village at Christmas, and used the money raised to augment the set, another activity which Stanley was involved in (and led for most of the time he was Tower Captain).
Stanley rang for the last time in August 2008, and was elected an Honorary Life member of the Derby DA the following April. He passed away on the 19th February 2012, and was cremated on the 6th March. His ashes are in one of the tombs just outside the tower at Old Brampton.
On the 12th of March a half-muffled quarter peal of Kent TB was rung at Old Brampton (the method in his first peal). On 31st March a peal of Minor, with some of the methods Stanley had rung in the past (with possibly the exception of Oswald Delight) was rung to celebrate his life. (The peal was also rung in memory of former Old Brampton ringer Paul Wallis who died a few weeks after Stanley. Paul, who was one of the other first pealers in the Royal Wedding peal, rang in all of Stanley’s peals, and they each rang in the other’s final peal, at Old Brampton, and which was for the wedding of Old Brampton ringers John and Jane Holmes)
Stan was a true gentleman, quiet and patient who never raised his voice in anger. His life touched so many people. He will be sadly missed but always in our hearts. We will treasure our memories, be glad we have known him, and give thanks for his life.
(with acknowledgements to Joan Quartermain, who gave the eulogy at Stanley’s funeral service)