View of clock mechanism inside tower
The clock was made in 1834 and was a joint effort by local clockmaker, John Robinson, and blacksmith, Matthew Beacock. This is confirmed by the inscription on the pendulum bob "Nov. 1 1834 J Robinson and M Beacock fecit". John Robinson had married into the Tate family. The Tates ran a business in Winterton, including clock repairs, until 1987.
From 1834 until 1987 the clock was wound and maintained by the Robinson and Tate families. Since 1988 John Ablott has been Clock Keeper.
The 1834 mechanism still functions. The old hemp ropes to the weights were worn and replaced by steel wire ropes in May 1988. In 1993 the cast brass third wheel of the striking train broke, having failed previously many years before and being roughly repaired by brazing. A new wheel made from a blank sawn from 9 inch diameter solid brass bar was machined and fitted in May 1994. Perhaps as a result of this earlier failure a further disaster occurred August 1995 when the "fly" (which regulates the speed of the striking) failed causing much damage.
Close view of clock escapement
The clock movement is of wrought-iron plate & spacer construction, with the time keeping train to the left and the striking train to the right. The great wheels are cast iron with cast brass wheels further up the train. The time keeping is controlled by a 13ft. long pendulum beating 2 second intervals, coupled to "dead-beat" escapement which is unique having pivoted roller pallets acting on the 16inch diameter escape wheel. The time is shown externally on a single cast iron skeleton dial approximately 5 feet diameter. The hour striking on the tenor bell is controlled by locking plate. The clock is manually wound raising the weights up 35 feet every week. The weight to the time keeping train is approximately 3 cwt. and that of the striking train about 7 cwt.
Based on information supplied by John Ablott (M.B.H.I.)
John Ablott winding clock
Clock weights near tower floor, ready to be wound up
If you would like to find out more about church tower clocks in general do see The Turret Clock Keeper's Handbook published by the Antiquarian Horological Society.