Captain Poyntz of Teignmouth

Very many thanks to Alan Furze who has forwarded this account which forms an appendix to his forthcoming book.


Captain Albane Rahere Castleton Poyntz

Albane/Alban Poyntz was born in 1886 and, according to local personal recollection, was the son of a member of the clergy.

He seems to have had a lifetime of association with seafaring and several sources maintain that as a young man he made voyages under sail, even rounding Cape Horn.

His career choice was with the Royal Indian Marine, later known as the Royal Indian Navy, which he joined as soon as he was old enough and his service record shows that in 1911 he gained the rank of Lieutenant. He was promoted in 1913. In 1917 he was 'Gazetted' having been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1919.

He continued in the Royal Indian Navy through most of the Second World War.

By 1944 he had settled at Clive Cottage in Goring on Thames, Oxfordshire and had become a member of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Ringers and the Guild Minute Book records that he became a member of the Guild Committee. He seems to have established a keen interest in the affairs of the Guild. In 1945, for example, he donated books to form the nucleus of the Guild Library with Marie Cross as its first librarian.

At the Guild AGM in July 1946 There was an election contest between Rev C.E.Wigg and Captain Poyntz (he was, in ringing circles, always known as 'Captain' Poyntz, a rank he attained during his service in WW2) for the post of Ringing Master which Mr Wigg won so became Master. Poyntz was elected Deputy Master, filling the vacancy which Mr Wigg's appointment had left.

It appears that he was not altogether satisfied with the manner of his election because at the AGM in 1948 Poyntz successfully proposed a more formal procedure involving nominations to the Committee in March for election at the AGM in July.

He was keen to support the Guild Bell Restoration Fund and, at the AGM in July 1949, was successful in setting up an arrangement whereby PCCs were asked to help with finance.

During his Oxford years he was Ringing Master of the Reading Branch and was listed as an unattached member of the Bradfield Deanery Branch of the Oxford Guild which is the Branch local to his home in Goring on Thames.

In 1952 Captain Poyntz tendered his resignation as Deputy Master of the ODG as he was leaving the Guild.

Captain Poyntz moved to 7, Riverside. Shaldon and later became Tower Captain at St. Michael's, a post he held until his death in 1968.

On 24th July 1966 a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples was rung with compliments to Captain Poyntz on his eightieth birthday. The band for the occasion was as follows:

1 Allison Shingler +     5 Mary Bushby *
2 Capt Poyntz             6 Brian Shingler
3 William Parker          7 Bill Simmonds (c)
4 Keith Fursdon ++     8 Martin Dodd : :

+ first on eight             + + first on Grandsire Triples
* first on triples inside    : : first quarter

Captain Poyntz died on December 1st 1968 and his funeral was held at St. Michael's on December 9th.
A touch of 500 Grandsire Triples was rung half-muffled before the service. The band was as follows:

1 Arthur Gowlett         5.Greg Roberts
2 Frank Sheppard      6.Dr Gent
3 Bob Edden              7.Bill Simmonds (c)
4 John Reed              8.Martin Dodd

Martin Dodd recalls that after the service Captain Poyntz's body was transferred to a local trawler for his burial at sea twelve miles off the coast of Teignmouth. This was the first burial at sea off Teignmouth for a hundred years and to Martin's knowledge there has not been another since.

A very sad footnote to this account concerns the ringer of the 6th bell, Dr. Gent. Dr. Jack Gent was a former Naval Surgeon who had joined a medical practice in Newton Abbot. He took up bell ringing as a beginner and was proficient enough to be awarded his Guild Certificate at the Guild AGM in 1962. It was on 30th October 1982 whilst he was participating in a Teignmouth tower outing that he died at Dean Prior at the age of 79, a day before he was due to retire.