Samuel Thorp Clock at Witley Court Church

Samuel Thorp Clock at Great Witley Church
Samuel Thorp Clock at Great Witley Church

This article describes the  history of the Samuel Thorp Clock at Witley Court Church, and its restoration between 2013 to 2015.

In 1804 the second Lord Foley of Witley Court in Worcestershire, commissioned the Abberley village clockmaker, Samuel Thorp, to install a quarter chiming clock in the cupola of the newly built stable block.

After a career, including a short, unsatisfactory period in the church tower it was replaced by the current Joyce flatbed in about 1860 to 70, since when it has languished in the rood loft gathering ecclesiastical rust and dust for some 150 years.

The Parochial Church Council as part of the restoration activities decided to restore the crypt and feature the clock as an additional exhibit.

Under the leadership of a churchwarden, a group of six retired volunteers was assembled to restore and erect the clock in a disused vault. Two engineering draughtsmen, a Birmingham toolmaker, a master carpenter, a plumber and a haulage contractor, with help from a local garage and firm of agricultural engineers undertook the work.

Starting in October 2013 the intrepid band have met for three hours every Wednesday. The clock was dismantled and all existing parts collected and taken to the crypt, where they were cleaned, painted, polished and reassembled in a custom built oak frame, designed to display the clock to its best advantage, including replications of missing parts and the bells which were salvaged from the servant hall in the ruined Court.

The clock now stands, in working order, in pride of place, in the crypt completed, to the delight small girl visitors, featuring four wooden mice. ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ …

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