December 12 2013 Latest news:
By sophie wyllie
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Visitors to Felbrigg Hall will be able to hear chimes from an 18th century clock tower again thanks to a £25,000 legacy.
The tower has been silent since 1999 but, after months of restoration in Penrith, Cumbria, the Thomas Page clock, made in around 1770, is now complete with its two blue clock faces put back on either side of the tower.
The bell has also been restored and the weather vane, repaired by Felbrigg Forge, will be put back in the middle of next week.
The money was left to the National Trust by Gillian Hart, who lived in the former servants’ quarters – which house the clock tower – until her death four years ago.
Visitors to the attraction, which opens this Saturday, will be able to hear the hourly chime in about four weeks after the mechanism is returned. It is currently being tested.
Paul Coleman, building surveyor for the National Trust, said: “The clock face was replaced in the 1980s. It had suffered quite heavy weathering, deterioration and rot. We are using traditional craftsmen locally and further afield.”
The 18th century weather vane has not been restored for about 70 years and was fragile. Gold leaf has also been added to the metal clock faces.
The clock was made by Thomas Page, who died in 1784 having established businesses in Norwich and Aylsham. There is a similar clock at Blickling Hall and another at Sheringham.
Mrs Hart moved into Retreat Cottage in the late 1970s with her husband Henry, a former Dean of Queens College, Cambridge.
The couple never had children but some of their family remain in Norfolk.
Her friend Mary Llewellyn, from Felbrigg, said: “The clock was part of Felbrigg life.
“It struck and chimed and Henry and Gillian loved it. When it stopped working they missed it. She was anxious that it should be restored. She thought it should be part of Felbrigg life and heritage once more. She would be very pleased with the restored clock.”
Mrs Hart worked as a teacher at a theological college in Cambridge.
She was heavily involved with community life in Felbrigg and at the village church where she was a speaker for the Mothers’ Union.