1862 — 1965
All types of turret clock made by Joyce of
Whitchurch, based on their location
To open via our website, visit www.inbeat.org/joyce/ or click the button,
Ascot Racecourse 1896 – 2004
The Bell Tower, Perth, Australia 2010 -
This large three train clock with double three legged gravity
escapement was installed at Ascot in 1896. It was auto-wound
with a single motor in 1962, which the units above replaced in
1992. In 2002 the grandstand was demolished and the clock was
sold. It is now at The Bell Tower, Swan River, Perth, W Australia,
Bowell Patent Continuous Motion Clock 1930s
Stable building, Private House, Shropshire 1933
This clock was made under licence from George Bennett Bowel the patentee. It combined
electrical and mechanical operation and was designed to be very accurate. It had a double three
legged gravity escapement, which, unusually had no fly. Most of the production was exported to
Canada, but two were installed in the UK, only one of which has survived. This however has had
all the Bowel components removed and is now driven by two motors
Carnforth Railway Station 1895
The single train clock with pinwheel escapement is housed in the
green cupboard seen in the top picture left. The clock is fitted
with an extra wheel which reduces the need for a tall weight drop.
For a number of years the movement, dial and hands were lost
after being replaced with an electric movement, but by a miracle
were found again and reinstalled.
St Mary’s, Dudleston, Shropshire 1865/6
St Mary’s, Dudleston has a two train clock with a small single four legged gravity escapement. It was
given to the church by a local family in 1866, when it cost £100, see below left. The single four
legged gravity escapement clocks were made in large numbers in single, two and three train versions,
from late 1863 and throughout the 1870s and 1880s.
St Mary’s, Earls Barton, Northamptonshire 1879
This clock had been superseded by an electric clock when we visited a few years ago. The Joyce
clock had been kept safely in its cupboard and so remained in original condition.
This church is a rare example of an Anglo-Saxon
building dating back to the late tenth century.
Below: a close up of the escapement.
St Peter’s, Farndon, Cheshire 1874
As the plaque below shows, the clock was gifted to the church by Emma Barnston on the day of
her marriage. Her family had a long history in Cheshire and were significant landowners in the
area around Farndon. Their home, Crewe Hall was in the hamlet of Crewe-by-Farndon. The
clock is of the two train, single four legged gravity type.
All Saints’, Gobowen, Shropshire 1948/9
This was the last large three train, full quarter chiming clock made by JB Joyce & Co. Ltd. It was
made by Tom Briscoe, uncle of Paul Fraser. It has a pinwheel escapement, although a double
three legged gravity option would have been available.
Holyhead Railway Station & Harbour,
This clock was made in 1880. The cast iron tower
was originally located almost adjacent to the harbour,
as seen in the photo at the bottom of the page. The
railway platforms were just out of shot to the left.
At some time in the mid to late 20th century, the
clock was removed and discarded outdoors in a
remote part of the site. 1990 brought a re-modelling
of the station and harbour complex and the tower
and clock were repaired and re-sited on the station
approach. The position on a mini-roundabout meant
that its former configuration had to be altered. What
had been a meteorological panel became the
entrance door for access to the clock (seen right) as
the old door could no longer be used as ladder
access would be unsafe so close to traffic.
The single four legged gravity timepiece with short
weight drop remains hand wound and is cared for by
Stena Line who now owns the site.
St John’s, Ightfield, Shropshire 1866
Ightfield is a small village south of Whitchurch with a beautiful Grade ll* listed church in the
perpendicular style which dates back to the 14th century. Despite its small size, the church has a
full three train movement with ting tang chiming and single four legged gravity escapement.
Joyce factory clock 1902
The Joyce Factory timepiece - a single train, double three legged gravity escapement clock. This
was the first clock to be auto-wound by the company - the design was by Paul Fraser. When the
factory closed, the clock remained in place and the new owners, auctioneer Trevanion & Dean
have had it built into the rostrum where it is hand wound and on view to visitors.
St Paul’s, Knowbury, Shropshire 1888
The church has one of the last
clocks with a single four legged
gravity escapements to be made. We
saw none dated 1889 or later
although there were a few where the
dates were illegible.
When photographed this clock was
‘resting’ awaiting a visit to Joyce’s
for an overhaul.
St Trillo’s, Llandrillo-yn-Edernion,
This early two train clock with pinwheel escapement is of the style adopted about ten years
later; it lacks the decorative cut out detail seen on all the later pinwheel supports. Both clock
and dial were in beautiful condition when we visited. This small village has border-hopped
and is now in Denbighshire.
Hovis Showroom, Macclesfield 1937
Hovis the baker had a presence in Macclesfield from 1886 when the company set up in Union Mill
on the side of the Macclesfield Canal.. This building, which houses this clock is almost adjacent to
the mill and was built in 1937 for the Hovis Van Division where the company’s vans were finished in
the Hovis livery and were also serviced on site. Since the company left, the building has had several
owners. The clock is a pinwheel timepiece with only a six foot weight drop.
For the clock
St Mary’s, Nantwich, Cheshire 1892
Records are scanty, but it is believed there were two clocks in the church dating back to 1661 and
1763. This large three train clock which chimes Cambridge quarters has a double three legged
gravity escapement.. A plaque on the clock records that it was supplied by John Palin of Nantwich
and set going at Easter 1892. A brief look at the 1891 census on Ancestry revealed that JP was a
sixty year old watchmaker, glass and china dealer in the town. The clock is wound twice weekly.
Christ Church, Oxford 1889
This large two train clock which strikes on the Great Tom bell, weighs 6 tons, 4½ cwt. The clock
was converted by Smith of Derby to be driven by electric motors, so its original escapement had
been removed. Its date suggests that it was probably a double three legged gravity from the
outset, but we have found nothing to confirm this. A third motor drove the traditional ‘curfew
toll’ which strikes 101 times (one toll for each of the 101 original students) at 9.05pm (9.05pm
GMT, 9pm Oxford time), to warn students the college gates are about to be closed for the night.
This heavy frame style was used when clocks had to strike on very large bells (as at Worcester).
Palé Hall, near Bala, Gwynedd 1871
Palé Hall was once the country home of Scottish engineer Henry Robertson who made a fortune
developing many of the railways in Wales and the border counties. The beautiful country house
is now a hotel. The clock is ting tang chiming, with a single four legged gravity escapement which
drives four dials. It has been fitted with a night silencing unit for the benefit of light sleeping
St Andrew’s, Quatt, Shropshire 1873
(We haven’t visited yet!)
This church has been on our list for a visit for a very long time. It has a Joyce clock which is
believed to date from c. 1873 so it will most likely be a two or three train clock with a single four
legged escapement. A person named Miss Carr gifted the clock to the church in memory of a
Ruthin Castle, Ruthin, Denbighshire 1853
(This clock is outside of our date range, but was too individual to miss)
This two train clock is one of the experimental clocks with pinwheel escapements made by
Thomas Joyce in the 1850s. It was made during the same year as the last of the double frame
clocks was made (for Coalbrookdale) and the first small single three legged gravity escapement
clock was made (for the Savings Bank, Chester). None of the other experimental pinwheels
resembles this one. When we visited, the clock was not operational but it appeared to be complete.
St Dominic’s Convent, Stone, Staffordshire 1862
This three train clock which chimes ting tang quarters is one of the small three legged gravity
escapement clocks which James Joyce made after the death of Thomas Joyce in 1861. Several were
made including those for churches at Overton-on-Dee, Wrockwardine Wood, Menai Bridge,
Montford and Milton Malsor. The last were made in 1863, which was the year when the first four
legged gravity escapement clocks appeared.
St Chad’s, Tushingham near Whitchurch 1863
We believe this two train clock in St Chad’s, Tushingham and one of the same date in the stable
block of a country house were the first single four legged gravity escapement clocks to be made.
Both are near to Whitchurch where James Joyce(2) would have been able to attend to any
potential problems with the new escapement. This format proved very successful and was used
on single, two and three train clocks, large and small, for twenty years, until superseded by the
double three leg and pinwheel formats.
Victoria Institute, Worcester 1882
Now at Worcester Museum & Art Gallery
This four legged gravity timepiece
was awaiting refurbishment for
display when we visited. It was
made for Canon Richard Cattley
for his home where it drove one
dial on the exterior for public
view and two inside, one of which
had a specially made dial by the
Royal Porcelain Works, Worcester.
In his will the Canon left the
clock to the Victoria Institute
which is now a museum and art
Worcester Cathedral 1869
A plaque in the clock case records it was made by James and John Barnet Joyce in 1869. The clock
has a very large three train, Westminster chiming mechanism with a double three legged gravity
escapement. It is the earliest clock with this feature as this format was not routinely used by
Joyce’s for another twenty years. It drives a slave dial in the ringing chamber and another in the
North Transept, but, like many cathedrals, there was never an external dial.
St Deiniol’s, Hawarden, Flintshire Oct 1854
(Like Ruthin Castle this clock is also outside our
time-frame but could not be missed.)
The clock at St Deiniol’s, Hawarden is one of a small group of experimental pinwheels made by
Joyce’s in the 1850s. We have not seen another of this same design, but other trial examples were
found at: Ruthin Castle, Denbighshire, 1852; Stanton-upon-Hine Heath, Shropshire, 1854; and
Bronnington, Shropshire, 1859.
St Mary & St David, Y Fflint, Sir Y Fflint 1869
(or Flint, Flintshire in English)
This three train, ting
tang chiming clock with
a four legged gravity
escapement was autowound
many years ago.
It drives just one dial.
Hope Bowdler, Shropshire 1964
The First and the Last ....
It is not known whether
there was an earlier clock in
this old church tower, but
the clock illustrated dates
back to 1964 when it was
gifted to the church by Mary
Ellen and Fanny Jones as a
memorial to their family.
This clock was the first to be
made by Joyce’s which was
intended to be auto-wound
from the outset at the
request of the two ladies. It
has a pinwheel escapement
and an auto-wind system
based on the one designed
by Paul Fraser and trialled on
the factory clock in
This clock was the last clock
to be made by Joyce’s at the
Whitchurch factory. The
following year the business
was bought by Smith of
Derby and from then on the
role of the Whitchurch work
-force was to repair and
service the clocks in their
area and to work on heritage
All the clocks in this booklet feature IN GREATER DETAIL in our book JOYCE of
WHITCHGURCH Clockmakers 1690-1965. There is also the family genealogy and
histories of each of the family’s clockmakers and of the company. The major part of the
book is a photographic record of over 150 of their turret clocks; our aim was to
photograph examples of each of the different models made by the company, but not all,
as we would have had to visit between one and two thousand clocks! (The exact number
was never recorded.)
Hardback book 670 pages Over 1,500 illustrations, mostly in colour.
SPECIAL PRICE until 31/12/20: £40 post free (normally £48 + £6.50 postage = £54.50)
To buy the book at the discounted price, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell us you have read the booklet, and we will send you payment details.
To see sample pages of the book visit www.inbeat.org/joyce/