St Mary’s Clock Dial Restored

It’s time to put the clock back!

The magnificent clock dial for St Mary’s church in Walsham-le-Willows, Suffolk was restored and reinstated by S Michlmayr & Co Ltd., clock and watchmakers of Norwich, and financed by the Walsham le Willows Open Gardens Trust from funds raised in the past from its August Bank Holiday event.

S Michlmayr & Co blog have recently restored and reinstated the magnificent clock dial for St Mary’s church.

St Mary’s church sits at the centre of Walsham and is impressive by any standards, with a large clerestory and an interesting chequerwork flint porch. It was gifted to Ixworth Priory around 1540 and, as 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 article in 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 also 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 required 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’ diameter, so the first challenge was to remove the dial with care, to prevent any damage to the surround and mechanisms. Back in the Michlmayr workshop the dial was stripped back and repainted, with special attention given to the large golden, roman numerals that adorn its face.

The company are delighted to have played a part in preserving this dial and reinstalling it to its rightful place, atop St Mary’s Church so that it can be used and enjoyed for many years to come!

John Stebbing
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