Welcome to East Chinnock
The Clock
Keeping Time in East Chinnock

In 1919 voluntary subscriptions from this parish provided a war memorial tablet in the church costing £20 and a clock with two dials, facing West and North, costing £160.
That same clock remains today. It is powered by two weights, each one approximately 125kg. These have to be wound each week by hand from ground level to 37 feet high. 

Close up after gilding
The clock winders to date have been :-

  • Henry R Hallett from October 1919
  • George Guppy from October 1950
  • John Hawkins from January 1975
  • [Clock out of order 1995 to 1999]
  • Neville Coe from May 1999
  • Alan Bailey from June 2005
The main mechanism of the clock was overhauled by Humphrey Hamilton of Montacute in the Spring of 1999.
At the same time the hands and numerals were gilded by John Burton of East Coker.  The total cost of this work was £1652.

Pete  abseiling 2000

In 2000 I carried out repairs to the wooden enclosure of the clock mechanism and found the following names inscribed:-

  • Sydney Gibbons 1919
  • S.Shire 1919
  • C.G. Hallett 1919
  • J.Andrews
  • H.Vincent
Bruce & yours truly 2001

Unfortunately in 1999 the sub-mechanisms which pass through the North and West walls of the tower to the hands of the clock had not been serviced.  Early in 2000 Arthur Harris found the North minute hand, complete with 5cms of shaft, at the foot of the tower. In order for the sub-mechanism to be withdrawn into the tower; the hour hand had to be removed from the outside.

To this avail, on December 26th Peter Sakulku abseiled down the outside of the tower and attempted to remove the hand.  This attempt failed and scaffold had to be erected.

Rick & Keith  2003

50cm rule shows length of

In January 2001, I removed the hand and sub-mechanism, turned a new shaft (on a lathe lent by John Guppy) and restored the clock to its former glory.  That year the cost of materials, scaffolding & regilding amounted to £456.  For the mechanically minded, I noted that there was then one and a half minutes of play in the mechanism.

Parts removed during repairs

That should have been the end of my tale: however in 2003 our old friend had another seizure. Rain from the sill above the face of the clock had seeped in between the minute shaft and the hour shaft. Out came the sub-mechanism once more. I cleaned the shafts and fitted a lubrication system, (designed by Chris Dixon and myself).  The hands were refitted by Rick Pallister and Keith Lewis using a ‘cherry picker’.

photo © Andy Sinclair

At almost 90 years of age (2009) this grand old lady ticks away very nicely and most of the time is taken for granted.

Neville Coe