18th October 2017 and the clock faces have gone on their travels to be repaired.
Thanks you to everyone who has contributed to our Restoration Appeal, without your help these repairs would not be possible.
The two clock faces probably date back to about 1893. Here’s a brief history of the clock (provided by our historian B Jobling):-
1630, a clock is mentioned as being in the tower;
1652: 6s/6d was paid to John Martin & others for mending ye clock and ye bells.
1680, the present clock and chimes (and presumably a dial) were made and installed by Thomas Powers of Wellingborough. Powers maintained the clock from 1680 to 1709; then Joseph Eayres of St. Neots maintained the clock etc, from 1732 to 1772.
1730: The famous view of Buckden Palace & Church (reproduced on the inside cover of the Buckden Book) shows a single clock face on the south side of the tower one stage lower on the tower than at present (i.e. where the new bell frame is); indicating that the whole clock mechanism was likely also at that lower level. The clock face is lozenge/diamond shape but possibly smaller than now. The west side of the tower at that height has a medieval window at that height. There is no clock face on the west side of the tower.,
1733: Joseph Eayres of St. Neots supplied a new clock dial (note: singular).
1733: “Paid Jon Allerson for bringing the clock & chimes from St Neots [probably after Eayres had repaired it at his workshops] & hired a man to drive his team 1/8d. Writing a bond for maintenance of clock & chimes 3/0d. Maintenance by Mr Eayres 15/0d per year”.
1773: a sketch of Buckden Church in the British Library shows no clock face on the west side of the tower.
1812: a sketch of the church shows the south side dial still at the lower level, although the west side is obscured by a tree it has the medieval window at that level so there could not have been a second, west-facing dial at that height in 1812 or indeed before.
1848: Mr. Peacock was paid £13/10/0d for repairing clock. The south clock chapter ring (the numerals) has the name ‘Peacock’ cast into it, whereas the western face casting has no name. Therefore it is likely that the south dial was installed by Messrs. Peacock of St. Neots in 1848 and the west face in 1893.
1893: there is a rough note in the warden’s terrier notes that the clock was installed in 1893. This could indicate when the clock and dial were raised up one level and west side face installed in addition to the south face.
1909: a photo of Buckden Church in the Country Life magazine of 31st July 1909, shows the dials painted white, not black.
1956, September: The dials of the tower clock were repainted and the figures & divisions re-gilded with 23 carat gold leaf. Minor repairs were done to the clock. The work was carried out by Smith & Derby at a cost of £54. To meet this the Vicar held a Gift Day which produced over £93. The balance was created into a “Clock Fund” [now long gone].
1968 wardens’ notes: both clock faces need repainting and re-gilding; the west face’s hands were missing and it had been disconnected from the mechanism.