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Tuesday 27th February 2024  

Obituary for Murray Rumsey from Quorn, 1963

Murray Rumsey came to Quorn in 1910 and settled here, close to his brother, Rev Henry Rumsey, vicar of Quorn and his family. He became well known in the village as a real character. He died aged 88.

Loughborough Echo, 25th January 1963

Man of many parts

Mr. Charles Murray Rumsey, who died at Hastings House, Loughborough, on Wednesday morning, aged 88 years, was a man of many parts-singer, composer, poet, lay reader, journalist, collector, insurance man, salesman, sanitary inspector, wood turner- with a great love for the simple things of life.

Formerly of Quorn, where he lived for over 46 years, he was known to everyone in the district. for he was one of those rare characters who could mix freely with all.

Until early in 1957 Mr. Rumsey resided alone in his bachelor home in Barrow Road. Quorn. Then for health reasons he went into the old people's accommodation at Hastings House and although not too happy about the change of his mode of life at first, he accepted it gracefully.

In recent years he had become more infirm, but his brain was as active as it had ever been and he continued to devour favourite authors such as Trollope and Thackeray. Last week he had a fall and spent several days in Leicester Royal Infirmary before returning to Hastings House.

It is difficult in a brief space to pay tribute to a man with so many interests. Born on January 11th, 1875 at East Brixton, London, he claimed descent through his grandmother from George Canning, Prime Minister at the time of the American War of Independence.

His father, who was on the staff of the Bank of England, was a singer of some merit and his mother was also musical. Mr. Rumsey started singing at an early age and after his schooling became a student of the Royal Academy of Music, London, where in 1901 he won silver and bronze medals and a certificate of merit. Later he became a lay clerk at Southwark Cathedral and a deputy at St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal.

Mr. Rumsey war equally at home with secular music and spent several seasons "busking" at seaside resorts, just managing to keep his head above water financially.

During all his early years he was troubled by epileptic fits and was advised towards the end of 1910 to retire from an active life in the city and live in the country. So he came to Quorn, where his brother, Canon H. H. Rumsey, was vicar and was granted a pension by the Royal Society of Musicians.

He soon found that his pension did not allow him to live a life of retired idleness and in 1913 he became a collector of medical club payments, agent for a sewing machine firm and agent for an insurance society in Quorn and surrounding villages.

He also undertook the supplying of news to the Echo, but after a year gave this work up, only to resume again in 1918 and maintain a
service which lasted for many years. On ceasing this work a few years ago he received a small pension from the Echo Press.

Mr. Rumsey threw himself vigorously into the work of St. Bartholomew's Church, Quorn, and was lay reader, chorister, server and regular communicant, also taking a class of King's Messengers, a Bible Class for big boys, a choir practice for boys and a mixed glee party all of whom met at his house weekly.

Other tasks he had performed were census enumerator, sanitary inspector for Quorndon Urban Council, and presiding officer for local elections.

He recalled that for some years he mowed and rolled Quorn Vicarage lawn for 10d. per hour. He made and sold hammocks and other nets and turned candlesticks, basins, ash trays, egg cups, etc., on his woodworking lathe.

But his main interests continued to be musical. As well as singing with a true baritone voice here, there and everywhere, he wrote hymns, anthems, carols, songs and other pieces, many of which have been performed regularly. One of his early anthems, “Draw nigh to God," for baritone solo and chorus, was sung in Westminster Abbey and his settings of the daily canticles were at one time in regular use at Southwark Cathedral.

He also wrote poetry and readings from his book of verses. 'Rhyme and Reason.' was featured in a B.B.C. programme. He made it a rule to write all his sermons and he often took the unusual step if illustrating his message from the pulpit by singing.

In 1937 he embarked on a singing contest with Mr. Sam Price, meeting him at the "Three Crowns," Hathern, every Saturday night for some months to see who could sing the largest number of songs, unaccompanied and without a copy. Eventually Mr. Price retired from the contest, which attracted a great deal of attention, with 29 songs sung, while Mr. Rumsey had at that time given 34 and said there were more to come!

From the time Mr. Rumsey was licensed as a reader in 1928 until his retirement in 1957, when he wished to make way for a younger man, he preached 778 times in 71 different churches.

He had a great fund of stories innocently told. He liked his half pint of beer and used to assert that in his experience the friendships and conversation of the public houses were usually more desirable and less vicious than the gossip of drawing-rooms.

The funeral will be at Quorn will be at Quorn Parish Church at 3 pm on Monday, followed by cremation at Loughborough.

 Submitted on: 2023-05-17
 Submitted by: Caroline Rumsey
 Artefact ID: 2537
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=2537

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