Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

St. Mary's Church - Clock
Church Clocks

Northampton Mercury Saturday June 26th 1875, transcribed by Susan Manton

Rushden - The Old Church Clock’s Appeal

Why am I doom’d to rust away in silence and neglect?
I ought to tell the hours of the day in striking, loud effect;
But now I’m hid from all the world in this dark dreary place,
I really think my lot is hard, and hard, too, in my case.

I know there’s many blunders made all through my silent state;
Some rise too early in the morning and others very late;
But set me going once again, my “striking” voice would shout
“Ye would-be early ones may stay, ye lazy drones turn out”

The farmer’s man, I often think, must now be in a fix;
He might start off to work by five, when thinking it is six.
And then he might go on at night, if no right time is given;
Through me not striking, he might strike, but not till it was seven.

'Tis just as bad for those in trade; ye men who deal in leather.
Know that your hands go straggling in, but seldom altogether.
There’s Colson’s men sometimes too soon, and Cave’s are often late
And Denton’s all are out of tune, through this my quiet state.

Those who should work nine hours a day do never relish ten,
I’m sure the number’s very small among the best of men
Then, men, lest you should work too long, subscribe to put me back;
And, Masters, lest they work too short, put me on my track.

My Rushden friends who long to hear the tones so many like,
All know I never work so hard as when I am on “Strike”
But if I am to silence doom’d I tell you very plain,
I hope, soon, Squire and Parson both may be late for the train.

Then men who live in houses large, ye men who live in small,
Now put your shoulder to the wheel I now appeal to all.
You leather men and farmers too, your hearts and purse unlock.
And send me striking, striking on so pleads your old church clock.

Wellingborough News, 5th January 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins

CHURCH DECORATION— On entering this edifice one is struck with the lively and natural aspect of the decorations. Instead of the wreaths, and, in some cases, festoons we see in church decoration, we here have a very natural effect, the ivy, instead of being tied on string or lath, is trained in tendrils and climbing up the pillars of the church, and the windows are filled in with ivy, bays, laurels, &c., the growing positions being followed with good effect. In the chancel, under the east window, are the words, "The Prince of Peace," and up the chancel screens the ivy is relieved by bunches of everlasting flowers. The pulpit presents quite an object of admiration, having, in harmony with the rest of the decorations, the climbing ivy, also a profusion of red blooms, yew, ferns, &c intermixed with red and white berries, the whole being artistically blended to represent the natural effect. The climbing ivy on the reading desk is relieved by coloured flowers, and over the entrance to the chancel on a scarlet ground in gilt letters, are the words, "Unto us is born this day a Saviour which is Christ the Lord." The font is also very nicely decorated in harmony with the other parts of the church. The decorations were executed by Mrs. Barker and daughters, Mrs. Currie, Miss Sartoris, and Miss Stephenson, assisted by scholars of the Church Schools.
Wellingborough News, 4th May 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins

PARISH CHURCHWARDENIn our last impression it was reported that at the Vestry meeting, held on the 24th inst., Mr. Sartoris and Mr. Packwood were nominated for the office of parish church warden, and that the latter gaining a majority of votes a poll was demanded in behalf of Mr. Sartoris. We are glad to say that, since the vestry meeting Mr. Packwood wisely decided to withdraw from the contest, so that a poll is rendered unnecessary.
Wellingborough News, 28th September 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins

RUSHDEN - HARVEST THANKSGIVINGOn Sunday last, a harvest thanksgiving service was held in the Parish Church which had been very beautifully and chastely decorated by Mrs. Barker, Mrs. Sartoris, Mrs. Currie, Miss Stevenson, and Mr. Smith. An excellent sermon was preached by the Rector, and a collection was made realising £8 6s. 0d., which will be added to the Restoration Fund.
Wellingborough News, 23rd November 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins

CONCERTOn Friday evening, Nov. 15th, a concert of vocal and instrumental music, intermixed with readings, was given in the National Schools in behalf of the fund for providing a new Church clock. At the restoration of the Church the old clock was taken down with a view to be repaired, but when it was examined it was deemed advisable to have a new clock, and a concert was held previously, at which £10 was realised. The Church organist, Mr. J. E. Smith, got up the present concert, and notwithstanding the unfavourable state of the weather, upwards of 200 persons were present, amongst whom we noticed—Mr. F. U. Sartoris, Mrs. and Miss Sartoris and party, Sir F. Robinson, Mrs. Currie and party, the Rev. J. T. and Mrs. Barker and party.

The programme was a capital one, and all the performers acquitted themselves satisfactorily. The Rev. J. T. Barker read a new poem, by the Poet Laureate, which was listened to with breathless attention, and elicited hearty applause. The following was the programme presented:—Duet, pianoforte, "Masaniello," Miss Sartoris and Mr. Smith; song, "The slave chase," Mr. J. Warren; four-part song, "The distant sea," Choir; reading, "Japheth in search of a father," Rev. Sir Frederick Robinson; song, "The lost chord," Mrs. Dickens; solo, pianoforte, "Bonnie Scotland," Miss Mason; quartette, "Silent night," Mrs. Barker, Mrs. Dickens, Mr. Baker, and Mr. Warren; song, "Tell me, my heart," Mrs. Wetenhall; duet, pianoforte and violin, "Cosi fan tutte," Messrs. J. E Smith and J. Jolley; glee, "Gipsy life," Choir; duet pianoforte,"Zampa," Miss Sartoris and Mr Smith; song, "The bellringer," Mr. W. Skinner; quartette, "The last wild rose," Miss H. Wrighton, Mrs. Dickens, Messrs. J. Nichols, and W. Skinner; reading, "The revenge," Rev. J. T. Barker; song, "Shall I wear a white rose," Mrs. Barker; solo, pianoforte, "Home, sweet home," Miss Mason; song, "The anchorsmith," Mr. J. Farey; ballad, "Ye little birds that sit and sing," Choir; song, "Sally," Mrs. Wetenhall. Mr. Smith acted as accompanyist.

The proceeds amounted to upwards of £5, which amount was handed over to the Rector. At the conclusion, the Rector, on behalf of Mr. Smith, thanked the audience for their patronage, and gave notice of a series of lectures to be given during the winter.

Wellingborough News, 24th May 1879, transcribed by Kay Collins

PROPOSED CHURCH CLOCKOn Tuesday evening the Rector (the Rev. J. T. Barker), presided over a parish meeting in the Vestry Hall, the business being to decide the kind of clock that should be placed in the church tower. The Chairman said the funds in hand amounted to £100, and that would be sufficient to provide a plain clock. A clock that chimed the quarter-hours would cost about £30 more. The meeting was strongly in favour of a clock that chimed the quarter-hours being obtained. £13 were subscribed in the room, and it was resolved that the parish should be appealed to to find the other £17. The meeting was then adjourned for a week.

Wellingborough News, 27th September 1879, transcribed by Kay Collins

NEW CHURCH CLOCKWhen is the new clock to be set going? This question, which at Rushden had taken the place of inquiries about the weather after the new dial and hands were fixed, some few week since, was conclusively answered at the end of last week, when hands and bells combined to announce the clock's completion. At the invitation of the Rev. J. T. Barker, the clock committee met at the Church earlier in the week to inspect the new clock, and to have its mechanism explained. Toiling up some forty steep and rugged stone steps, which generations of ringers have worn out of all shape, and apparently almost past hope of restoration, the committee, somewhat "blown," found themselves in the clock chamber, surrounded by a network of massive timbers, interlaced with iron bolts, and braces in every possible and almost impossible direction. This massive framework, which supports the bell floor some fifteen feet above, with its peal of six bells, proved a serious obstacle in fixing the new clock and required the exercise of considerable ingenuity in avoiding the numerous beams and struts. In the centre of this network, and standing about five feet above the floor, supported on a very substantial wooden frame, were seen the works of the new clock, enclosed in a case somewhat resembling a monster Noah's ark with glass sides and ends, wires connected with cranks, and pulleys leading off from it in all directions, in apparently the most bewildering confusion. The committee having as it were swarmed on to a platform, raised about five feet above the floor for the winder's use, Mr. Martin, a skilled workman sent by the makers to fix it, proceeded to explain the new clock's mechanism. The clock comprises three distinct sets of wheels, or trains, the going part, the quarters train, and the hour train, all working together in a framework of iron. Having explained this, Mr. Martin pointed out the means by which the going power of the clock is maintained during winding, and the ingenious contrivance which prevents the winding being proceeded with until the maintaining power has been placed in gear. Turning then to the machinery for chiming the Westminster or Cambridge quarters, he directed attention to the arrangement of levers which control the quarters, and prevent the hour being struck until the quarters have finished. The quarters are worked by means of a revolving barrel, like that of a greatly enlarged musical box, but with steel cams instead of pins. The bells used are the 1, 2, 3, 6, the musical notes being C sharp, B, A, and E. They vary each quarter in the following order:— First quarter, 1, 2, 3, 6; second quarter, 3, 1, 2, 6-3. 2, 1, 3; third quarter, 1, 3, 2, 6-6, 2, 1, 3-1, 2, 3, 6; fourth quarter, 3, 1, 2, 6-3, 2, 1, 3-1, 3, 2, 6-6, 2, 1, 3. The striking hammers are from twenty to thirty pounds in weight, according to the size of the bells, and fall eight inches in striking. They have to be raised for this purpose 960 times in every twenty-four hours. The lifting clock weights, from which the lifting power is derived, weighs over a quarter of a ton in the hour train, the lifting weights being fixed on the main wheel. The hour is struck on the 6 bell, weighing 22cwt., the striking hammer being 56lbs, in weight, and requires to be raised eight inches 156 times daily, the clock weight for this purpose being nearly 5cwt. Like the quarters, the hour train has to be wound every three days. Turning again to the going part of the clock, the action of which is what is termed the double three-legged gravity escapement, was explained. This simple but interesting invention not only limits the speed at which the connecting cogs escape it, but its gravity furnishes the motive power for the pendulum, hence its name. It consists of two brass arms, shaped something like the two outer edges of a boy's kite, suspended one on either side of the pendulum, near the top, and so hung that but for being divided by the pendulum rod the lower ends would nearly meet. At each stroke of the pendulum the double three-legged wheel moves one leg or cog onwards, and the trifling weight of the alternately falling arm, at the most only an ounce or two, is then sufficient to give the required movement to the pendulum with its own iron bob of 200lbs. in weight. So little is the friction, and so wonderfully exact is the action of this beautiful piece of mechanism, that the makers are able to warrant that the clock shall not vary three seconds per week during the five years they have guaranteed its due performance. The going part, which will require winding once a week, has a weight of 2½cwt. Ascending then to the bell floor, the committee were enabled to see the difficult nature of the obstacles to be overcome in fixing the hammers, and which amply account for the four weeks occupied in the fixing. The danger of ringing while the hammers are in position for striking was pointed out but this difficulty, as Mr. Martin explained, is overcome very readily by a simple contrivance working from the ringers' floor, and enabling all the hammers to be instantly lifted preparatory to the bells being chimed or rung. Adjourning to the vestry hall, the committee decided to place the winding and general care of the clock in the hands of Mr. Fisher, a local watchmaker. The clock has been supplied by the well known Croydon firm of Gillett, Bland and Co., and has all the modern improvements. It is a highly finished and beautiful specimen of mechanical art, and will cost, excluding masons and carpenters' work, about £120. This amount has already been promised or collected, leaving the cost of the masons and carpenters' work still to be provided for.

Wellingborough & Kettering News, February 14th, 1880, transcribed by Kay Collins

LECTURE—On Friday evening, the 6th inst., the Rev. Canon Whyley gave an interesting lecture, in the National School, on "The life and genius of Handel." The proceeds are to be devoted to the Church Clock Fund. The lecture, which was very interesting and instructive, was illustrated by selections from Handel's orations, rendered by a band, and a chorus of about 60 of the best amateur musicians in the district, conducted by the Rev. J. E. Stocks, vicar of Market Harborough. The attendance, we are sorry to say, was small. Handel's life was ably reviewed, and the proceedings were much enjoyed.

Extracts typed from J E Smith's notebooks
Old Church 'Clock' Rushden, Mr Fisher told me on Saturday Feb 15th 1908, that the 1st Clock from Rushden Church is in Wymington Church, & the date upon it was 1736, made at & sold by a man at Kettering. Stanwick, Wellingborough & Knotting Church Clocks were by the same man, so I do not now know whether the Clock 'Weight’ I found last Sunday (Feb 9 1908) in the yard against Vestry Hall (& which is now inside the organ case) belonged to the Clock at Wymington or the one at Hargrave, the 'weight' is a very rough stone with ring put in with lead. J E Smith.

Maker's name on the clock at Hargrave - Joseph Eayre, maker Kettering.

Our present Clock and Chimes by Gillet & Bland (Croydon)

The present clock by Gillott & Bland of Croydon was put with the chiming apparatus in 1879. Mr Fisher who has charge of the clock says it is a splendid one, never hardly varies in time. (written here 1916 JES)

Extract from Council Meeting, October 1916

Church Clock
It was resolved to recommend the Council to appoint Mr. Richard Gilbert as the person responsible for regulating the striking of the Church clock during the war, at a weekly wage of 2s 6d.

Rushden Echo, 8th September 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wellingborough Police Court - This day (Friday)
Before Ald. Nunneley, Mr. John Claridge and other Magistrates.

Richard Gilbert, sexton, St. Mary’s Church, Rushden, summoned under the Defence of the Realm Act for allowing the church clock to strike at night on September 5th, was fined 5/6. This is the first case in the county to be brought forward under the new regulations.

Extract from Council Meeting 20th June, 1919

Church Clock
A report was received from Mr. Ginns calling attention to the bad condition of the winding line, and the Surveyor was instructed to obtain a price for a new one.

Public Clocks
An application was received from Mr. W. Ginns, the Church Clock Attendant, for an increase of salary.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to increase his remuneration from £6 to £10 per annum dating from July 1st next.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Churches & Chapels index
Click here to e-mail us