The Clock Room

Above the organ, on the first floor of the Tower, is the The Clock Room.

The first floor houses the clock mechanism. It is reached by going up the spiral staircase entered from a small door beside the organ.

The clock has its own shelter to keep the dust and dirt off. It is a “side by side Blacksmiths bird cage strike clock”, a design which came into being around 1670. This clock was dated between 1700 and 1720. It may have been second hand as the Berkswell church warden accounts record that £26.1.0 was paid in 1771 to a Mr Wilkes of Stratford-upon-Avon for a church clock. By 1774 the clock needed a new dial which cost £11.10.6d, while Mr Joseph Tedd was paid 7/- for cleaning the clock and putting up the Dial Plate. Every year between 1771 and 1823 something had to be paid out for the maintenance of the clock until £112.4s.5d had been paid out – the equivalent of round 10 thousand pounds today. At this point expert help was enlisted:

“I, W.Wells, of Solihull, Clockmaker, do hereby bind myself to repair ye church clock at Berkswell in a most workmanlike manner for the sum of Five Pounds, and I do hereby bind meself to take it from Berkswell and replace it in ye Church without any additional expense, and I do agree to keep it in repair from the date herof to Easter date 1824 free of any expenses, and I agree to leave two pounds in the possession of ye Churchwardens of Berkswell till ye clock goes to ye satisfaction of ye said Wardens. Witness my hand this 21 day of April 1823. Signed Wm Wells.”

This clock has become somewhat of a hybrid with repairs, alterations and suffered much damage over the centuries but is now serviced annually. It strikes the hours on no. Five Bell (of 6) and 'tells' the time on the 5 ft (1.5m) diameter clock face on the Tower's east side facing the village. The clock face, number and hands was restored and re-gilded with 231/2ct double thickness gold leaf in 2011.

Until 2004 the clock was wound by hand each week but the very heavy weights and the dangerous condition of the cables, together with the extremely serious wear and tear on the wooden clock winding sprockets meant that to repair the winding mechanism was unrealistic and so electric winding was installed – without changing the clock itself.

Also restored was the sundial on the south side of the Tower. It is thought this may have continued some time in use as the 18th century villagers were in the habit of reading the sundial rather than the new and obviously unreliable clock. The earliest time keeping devices for the rector are the scratch sundials which are still visible on the southern wall of the church.

A puzzle is a clock face which turned up in 2012 during a tidy up of the bell ringing chamber. It is dated 1788 and is over 5' high with the rector and church wardens names inscribed in large letters. The rector, Richard Levett, was the incumbent 17 years before when it is thought the present clock was bought. As this clock face would not fit under the parapets where the present clock is situated it is not obvious where, if ever, it was hung.

NB Nadfas says that the large clock face stored in the tower was the original clock face bought with the clock but as it did not fit on the Tower the current one was made. This would be ok except the date on the unused one is 1788 and churchwarden accounts date clock purchase and expenses beginning 1771.

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