All Saints Church

Church Clock

All Saints Clifton Church Clock

Clifton Church clock continues to strike the hours, chime the quarters and play the carillon at 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm and 8 pm. I know from our village Facebook page that many people are pleased to hear the bells but it’s not the bell-ringers making the noise it is ‘just’ the clock. However the clock does not do all this by magic (or electricity). It happens because the dedicated team of clock winders continue to serve our community and keep us in time. When we ‘change the clocks’ this also happens manually and involves going up the Tower at night to make the adjustment either forward or back.

In case you are thinking of a small finger turned key for winding the clock you could not be further from the truth. There are 4 different serious pieces of engineering making up the clock and all the mechanisms require quite a bit of two-handed ‘welly’ to do the winding. In theory it is an 8 day mechanism but to make the job more manageable the team wind it 3 times a week to keep it all topped up. Our Church Guide tells us:

The Clock and Carillon

The clock was installed in 1863. It was made by John Moore of Clerkenwell. It is of a type known as a cast iron four poster with three trains, deadbeat escapement and rack striking. In 1867 Henry Miles added the Cambridge Quarter Chimes. In 1879 the carillon machine was also commissioned from John Moore. It is still in use and is the only working carillon in Bedfordshire. It plays four tunes on eleven bells at 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm and 8 pm.

The clock is regularly serviced by a firm of traditional clock maintainers and work has been done over the years to ensure that the clock keeps ticking along. There was a major restoration of the clock in 1986 and money had to be raised to enable the work to be carried out. Fundraising efforts included the Clifton Fun Run of that year and the Rector, Canon Peter Pavey, nominated Peter Blackmore to run on his behalf—a true doppelganger or ringer!

The full text of the Clifton Church Guide can be found on the village website:

Kathy Blackmore
Clifton Chronicles June 2020