Shipton Church: Tower Clock

Shipton church towerFlatbed movement by Thompson & Profazel, 25 New Bond Street, London.

Installed about 1883/4.

Situated at the base of the spire, driving hands on the west face of the tower level with the top of the ringing chamber and striking the hours on the tenor bell.

The following is an extract from Wychwood Local History Society “Survey of St Mary’s Church Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire 1986 – 1900 Book III.”:

The church clock has a flat-bed movement probably made in the second half of the 19th century, installed above the bell chamber. The pendulum swings in a box in the bell-chamber. The single face on the west side of the tower is level with the ringing chamber (it is actually between the ceiling of the ringing chamber and the floor of the bell chamber) and is driven through appropriate gearing and a vertical shaft that passes through the bell-chamber. The face is blue with gilt figures.

The striking (hours only) is on the tenor bell and operates via suitable cranks and a wire that passes down the south wall of the tower to the bell-chamber. Power is provided by two weights with cables passing over pulleys in the spire, some 7 metres above the movement. Below the weights is a sand box in case of cable breakage. The weights need winding weekly.

The minutes (of PCC meetings) record that in 1883 “the churchwardens were requested to make enquiries as to the best way of obtaining a really good church clock”. Evidently here had been a church clock before this because in1859 £8 was paid for a new iron clock face. It is of interest that the illustration of the church in Skelton’s ‘Antiquities of Oxfordshire’ (1823) shows no clock face. There appears to be no record of the outcome of the churchwardens’ enquiries, of where the present clock came from, or of how much was paid for it. However, it appears to be ‘a really good clock’ and was thus presumably obtained after 1883. Its ‘real goodness’ to-day may be due in considerable measure to the very thorough overhaul that it received in 1969 from Mr Peter Meecham, (including the making and fitting of a number of new parts), who has wound and maintained the clock ever since.