Clock & Tower
For many Northleach residents, the clock chimes from Northleach church are a constant old friend, observing the passage of time.
Due to health and safety, very few people are lucky to access the tower and roof these days.
It is reached through a small door and up a spiral staircase. The first room is ringing chamber, where bell ringers now and through the years have been stationed to ring the church bells for occasions such as weddings, memorials etc.
Next up the spiral staircase is the clock chamber. The “new” clock, by Smiths of Derby was installed in 1907. The old clock, made circa 1700 can still be seen in the North Chapel. It had no face, but struck the quarters and the hours using a new peal of six bells. There was also a carillon which played a tune regularly.
Going further up the spiral stair case is the bell chamber itself, housing the eight bells.
Finally further up, a small door provides access to the roof with stunning views across the town of Northleach and neighbouring Cotswold villages.
The church has a fine ring of eight bells with a chime every 15 mins, using the quarter chimes composed for Holy Trinity, Guildford in 1843. Every 3 hours (3,6,9 and 12) the carillon using the eight bells plays three verses of “O Worship the King. Based on Psalm 104, the melody is named “Hanover” and is composed by William Croft (1678-1727).
Why does the tune play even at midnight, 3am and 6am? It’s a question visitors to Northleach (especially those staying overnight!) often ask. The main reason is that it is a 12 hour clock which doesn’t take into account 24 hours, therefore the midday, 3pm and 6pm, 9pm chimes are repeated through the wee small hours.