Holy Trinity Church, Messingham

Clock

The tower houses a hand wound clock with a single face which is documented as having been bought second hand from Brant Broughton, South Lincolnshire in 1896.

“We had hoped to have a permanent memorial to the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria (on 20th June 1897) in our midst in the shape of a clock, but this idea had to be abandoned, to the disappointment of many persons. However, the Rector of Brant Broughton has made us a very good and kind offer, viz, to give a clock for the church tower on condition that we are willing to pay the expenses of the putting up, etc.,which will amount to about £15. At a meeting in the School-room, on Thurs, July 8th, it was unanimously decided to accept this kind offer, so we hope that before long we shall have this clock in our church tower.”-
Extract from the Bigby Magazine 1897

The clock, with a new face, was again restored to working order in 1951, being the gift of the ‘Messingham Group for Young Wives’. Since then the clock has been kept mostly in working order by volunteer clock winders and various local craftsmen.

A condition report by Smith of Derby in 2017 stated:
“The clock frame, which is a hand built cage frame design, and some of the components such as 4 spoke gears and arbours appear to have been manufactured by a Blacksmith around the late 1700s.

However other components look like they have been modified and fitted after this.

For the age and style of the original clock, the escapement would have almost certainly been a recall anchor system which has been converted to a deadbeat system currently on the clock, this is evident by the 6 spoke gear wheels attached to the arbour, and the dial works, these designs and methods of manufacture are more commonly found in later clocks.

There are also a number of brackets that appear to have been modified and sections of the original frame have been adapted to accommodate new components following the original manufacture, some of the original holes have been filled in on the framework see photo 283 attached. Further evidence of later modifications are the roundhead screws, which postdate the original hand forged square fasteners.

It was common practice in the mid 1800’s for traveling clock engineers to visit sites with a stock of spares and offer to modify clocks to make them more efficient time keeping pieces, and given the history of the church and the alterations of the clock we believe that the clock would have been bought second hand, possibly as an incomplete unit, and one of these engineers brought in to modify the clock to suit the requirements of the church around this time.”

Questions for further exploration.

Why was the original late 19th Century plan for purchasing a clock abandoned - was it lack of funds or were there any other reasons?

What prompted the Vicar of Brant Broughton to offer a second hand clock to Messingham?

How had the clock become available?

Can we find any information on the craftsmen who installed the clock?

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