We have recently had the pleasure of restoring the magnificent clock dial for St Mary’s church situated in Walsham-le-Willows, Suffolk.
This church is grand by village standards having been gifted to Ixworth Priory around 1540 and, such is the case with many English Churches, was lavishly restored by the Victorians, although many of the medieval features have been retained.
It is unusual for a village church to feature a clock, in fact St Mary’s sheer scale and grandeur puts it on the map as one of the stand out village churches in the county.
According to a Bury Free press release from 1877, the clock appears to have been a gift from Hopper Jnr. Wilkinson Esq, quoted to be an “esteemed and venerable gentleman of the parish”. It was noted that it was “Set Going November 13th 1877 by the Donor”. The stone surround was, according to the report gifted by another local gentleman; “A very elaborate massive stonework moulding has been constructed for the new dial that is the gift of Thomas Golding Esq. Churchwarden”
The dial, when we arrived, was indeed requiring some attention, due to weathering and inevitable general wear and tear, reflective of its long term positioning on the church’s tower.
The original copper dial has a 5 foot diameter, so the first challenge for our team was to remove the dial with care, as to prevent any damage to the surround and mechanisms.
Once it was safely back in our workshop we set to restoring it to its former glory. The dial was stripped back and repainted, with special action given to the large golden, roman numerals that adorn its face.
We are delighted to have played a part in preserving this dial, to ensure it remains in place for years to come.
Now we just need to await some fair weather in order to be able to reinstall it to its rightful place, atop St Mary’s Church!