‘We’re so delighted it’s back here’ - Historic church clock returns to Littleport

A clock that sounded the hour across Littleport for 175 years from 1744 has been returned to the village.

The stunning 18th century clock from St George’s Church tower spent the latter part of its life as a decorative glass table at a home in Suffolk.

But last Thursday (November 26), the clock was back in the village it served during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

It would’ve sounded to let workers in the fields know the time, during the Littleport Bread Riots of 1816 and as men went to war in 1914.

Lyn Gibb de Swarte, spokesperson for The Littleport Society, said: “This clock is something that’s part of the fabric of the history of Littleport.

“It’s a marvellous thing to look at. The design is exemplary and the structure is absolutely fascinating.”

She added: “It belongs to this village.”

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The clock was originally a gift from the Rev Walter Barnes, a vicar at St George’s Church for 45 years, and it was emplaced on the tower in 1744.

Murfitt the clock makers in Sutton gave it an overhaul in 1827.

But less than 50 years later in 1873, it was noticeably worn with a faded face and only an hour hand.

The parish magazine editor launched an appeal to have the clock repaired and five years later it was sent to James Dean, a turret clock maker, in Wisbech.

It was converted to run for eight days, and had a new dial, works, a deadbeat escapement and would strike on the tenor bell.

Leftover money from the collection was used some years later to buy a replacement clock as a war memorial after the armistice in 1918.

William Luddington, a St George’s churchwarden, took care of the retired clock when it was removed.

His surname is engraved on one of the piece’s two brass plaques, and it remained in his family for 100 years.

The clock ended up in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, and when Mr Luddington’s distant nephew passed away his widow donated it to The Littleport Society.

Lyn said: “It is a massive clock and we need to get it looked over by someone who is knowledgeable in this area.

“Our hope is that it can be repaired and placed on display for everyone in Littleport to admire.”

She added: “We’re so delighted it’s back here.”