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The Clock on the Church

The clock in the tower of Great Chishill church has just had an overhaul (September 2019). This was prompted by the failure of the chiming mechanism, which not only stopped the clock from chiming but also caused potential damage to the tenor bell.
The clock is a large piece of Victorian engineering, the size of a small chest of drawers, which resides on the 2nd floor of the tower. It is not known just when it was put into the church but it must have been after the tower collapsed in 1892 and it is known to have been present in 1904. It is manually wound once a week, 2 very large weights being literally wound up to the top of the 2nd floor, and descending during one week to ground level. There are 2 weights, one for the time and the other for the striking. Striking is initiated by the ‘big hand’ reaching 12 but there is no physical connection between the hour hand and the number of chimes, which is why sometimes it may strike the wrong number of chimes!
When the clock reaches the hour, a lever is activated which pulls on a series of metal wire links eventually causing a very heavy metal hammer to hit the bell. This hammer rocks on a pivot and the whole assembly was bolted onto a series of old, wooden blocks, crudely nailed together and gradually deteriorating, such that over time, the hammer assembly was getting nearer and nearer to the bell, until finally failing altogether. It is this assembly that has been replaced with an adjustable metal arrangement, which has enabled the horologist to make the hammer hit in just right place to get the optimal sound from the bell. He also increased the striking weights, which means that it rings slightly louder, and has replaced all the old wire linkages to make the whole system more robust. All this of course came at a cost – a cost of £1200. However, the great Great Chishill residents dipped into their pockets and the whole amount was raised in a week! Thank you everyone.

one of the two faces of the clock, re-gilded when the tower was renovated

The Back of the Dial

The Clock Mechanism

The Pendulum
Note pile of wood underneath it, to break its fall should it ever fall off!

The Clock Hammer

The Weights wound up to the ceiling once a week