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Time Ticks


January 1793 - French Revolution was in full swing

March 4 1793 - George Washington is sworn in as President of the United States in Philadelphia, for his second term.

21 January 1793 - King Louis XVI of France was executed.

February 1 1793 - France declares war on Great Britain, the Netherlands and Spain

July 23 1793 - Roger Sherman, American signer of the Declaration of Independence died

October 16 1793 – The execution of Marie Antoinette is held.

December 1793 - Napoleon Bonaparte gains prominence for the first time as the French take Toulon from the British after a siege of nearly 4 months

1793 - A Royal Navy fleet puts in at Naples, where the ambassador's wife, Lady Hamilton (née Emma Lyon), now 32, is introduced to naval officer Horatio Nelson, 34. She becomes Nelson's mistress

1793 - Niccolò Paganini debuts as a violin virtuoso at age 11.

Born in 1793 Samuel Courtauld (1793-22 March 1881) industrialist and Unitarian, chiefly remembered as the driving force behind the early 19th century growth of the Courtauld textile business.

1793 - All Saints Church Epping Upland installed the latest development in turret clocks!!

It is amazing to think that when the former wardens of our church were raising the funds for the purchase of ‘this new technology’ Europe was in turmoil, grain rationing was imposed in England due to the war, carbonated drinks were becoming popular, some new fangled measurement system called metric was being discussed, Wedgwood porcelain was just becoming popular and a Royal Navy navigator George Vancouver, was exploring an island off the west coast of Canada that will eventually bear his name.

From church records we have the following receipt:
 £ s d
The bill of Messrs Thwaites for a new 8-day Church Clock affixed at the parish church of Epping 59 0 0
Ditto for a new Dial to the Clock 17 17 0
Ditto for a new Bell for the Clock to strike upon 16 18 9
Ditto for a new set of irons  18 0
Out of which was deducted the value of an old bell belonging to Epping Church 1 8 9
The bill for the carriage of the above from London to Epping 18 0 0
The carpenters’ bill for cases, frames and assisting in putting up the clock 8 14 6

I don’t think our former Wardens would have been happy with the cost of carriage!
Our clock was manufactured by Ayms and John of Clerkenwell London and bears the date stamp 1793 and is one of the earliest forms of Posted Frame clock which were first seen in 1790. So when the Wardens were considering this clock you can see they went for the latest technology not what was commonly installed!!

The dial of the new clock was fixed on the south face of the tower through existing window openings, so that people who came from Epping Town would know whether to hurry or not!  In 1902 a second clock face with its hands linked to the original mechanism was erected on the north face of the tower.  It was installed to provide a permanent memorial of the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902. This also explains why the two clock faces are different, with the south face being more ornate in design.

Our clock has an eight day operation although due to the need to have support blocks at the end of the weights this has reduced the period between rewinds to 7.5 days. The one great thing about our clock is the very loud tick every two seconds. This comes primarily from the acoustic effect of the tower but is also due to the large weight and the pressure it produces on the escapement and the cast iron construction of the clock movement. I find it very soothing during quiet moments in church just to listen to the tick, although I do not think I would like to live with it!

So each Saturday I wend my way up to the clock room which is mid way up the tower and hand wind, firstly the clock weight and then the chime weight, which is twice as large and always leaves me out of breath!! Our clock has a character all of its own. For example every now and again it stops chiming but then starts again on its own (I know this because the weight has not dropped as far as expected) or it slows down more than I would expect in a week but then is fine for months thereafter…all very weird!

Last year we welcomed 25 clock enthusiasts (Tickologists?? Penduologists?? Dongologists??) to All Saints and it was from them we learnt much about our clock and how valuable it is in historical terms. They were amazed it continues to work without a service and with little protection to the movement. 

So in September 2008 we were given a donation to have the clock fully restored. We took the opportunity of having the dials re enamelled and the complete workings of the clock dismantled, deep cleansed and reassembled with some parts being repaired due to wear. The final result is amazing. The clock is much easier to wind and even sounds different when it ticks, (that is probably because it does not need to push its way through all the grease!). After the works it took some time to balance the pendulum so that the clock ran to time - but now it works perfectly

We are told by the experts the clock should not be greased, and if wound carefully, should run for many hundreds of years to come!

So next time you look at our clock think about what it has seen over the years, the people who have come and gone and remember time stops for no one and we certainly can’t turn it back, so enjoy life every minute of the day and night.