Said by some to be the best looking man in Tylers Green, Mr Freemantle is well known partly because of his eccentric personality: ‘for genius is to madness near allied & thin partitions do their bounds divide’ so wrote Pope and it is partly true of Allan Freemantle.
We are all familiar with the famous notice he put up in the post office.
“Lost, a soft man’s hat”.
Asked to subscribe the Sunday School Outing to the sea, he replied to me; ‘I am very much afraid your touching belief in my eventually becoming reasonable about the necessity of taking S.S. children to the seaside is likely to be disappointed once more. I cannot bring myself to abet the discharge of one more charabanc on to our much enduring south coast.’
I have another note regretting his inability to attend a meeting of the P.C. Council fixed for Feb 14th. ‘I am sorry to say I cannot be your Valentine today – or Mrs Haywards, as I am kept In with a cold.’
He and Mrs Freemantle are a familiar sight walking to the church. A few yards ahead of each other. [sic] – Nearly always late.
He undertook the reading of the lessons on one occasion, (he came alone to church), he fainted dead off at the lectern & it required six men to carry him out. On ringing up his wife to warn her of his arrival home she told me that he had eaten nothing for five days – just to see if he could do it and that she had refused to go to church with him as she was quite sure he would faint.
His tastes are literary and he is engaged in writing an exhaustive history of England in the 18th Century. His speeches at the ex-servicemens’ annual dinner are looked forward to for their humour and pithiness. His clothes look as if he had slept in them and where other men’s coat collars have a convex curve at the back of the neck, his curve downwards and he is never seen without his stick with its large silver knob.
Thin and regular, his bones seem to stick out but his back is as straight as the proverbial poker. Kindliness, friendliness and straightforwardness look out from his eyes, heavily fringed with dark lashes and there can be very few who can compete with his magnificent record of a double first at Oxford University.