History and Information on Abberley in the County of Worcestershire.


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Some history of Abberley

More information on Abberley to follow. I probably created the page as I had a link to Abberley from another page. When building the site it is easier to place links as they crop up rather than go back later on. I realise this is frustrating if you were specifically looking for information on Abberley. There is information on Worcestershire dotted around the website - click here for a suitable starting place.

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Abberley Pubs

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Related Newspaper Articles

"During the last two years a work of a quite remarkable kind, to which we have more than once called attention, has been going forward at Abberley, on the estate of Mr. J. J. Jones, of Abberley Hall. Mr. Jones, on succeeding his cousin in the ownership of the estate, wished to perpetuate his memory by some suitable memorial, and conceived the idea of building a clock and carillon tower, which should stand, not merely as a mute monument of the dead, but as an object of enduring pleasure and usefulness to the humble dwellers in the surrounding district. Mr. Jones, in a fortunate moment, took Canon Cattley into his counsels, and as no consideration of cost was allowed to limit or hamper the plans, a work as near perfection as possible, and almost unique in its character, has been produced. There are few rural districts that can boast such an adornnent as Mr. Jones has provided for Abberley. Certainly no one unacquainted with the circumstance would expect, in a secluded spot far from the din of toil, and which no railway has yet approached, to hear the Westminster quarters chime out with canerous peal, followed by sweet and far-resounding music by the familiar notes of such tunes as the "Easter Hymn,", "The Blue Bells of Scotland," or "The Harmonious Blacksmith." Still less would one expect that such an unlooked for pleasure was the work of a private gentleman, anxious only to perpetuate the memory of an ancestor and to edify his neighbours. The erection of the tower was begun in April, 1833, and a granite block built into one of the angles near its base records that "This stone was laid by John Joseph Jones and his wife Sarah Amelia [Amy] May 4th, 1833." The work has been carried to completion with praiseworthy expedition, and the tower as it presents itself to the eye, or as it appeals to the ear by the voices of the bells within, must be an object of gratulation to all who have been concerned in giving embodiment to ideas happily conceived and ably executed. The site on which the tower stands is credited by tradition with being the scene of a battle between the English and Welsh at the end of the 13th century, when the English were commanded by Robert de Todeni, then Lord of the Manor of Abberley. The tower rises from a around about 300 yards from the hall and opposite the principal entrance. From it may be commanded charming views of the country on every side, while for miles around it forms itself a striking feature in the landscape. It rises to a total height of 161 feet from the ground level, and is built with local grey sandstone quarried upon the estate, relieved with red Alveley sandstone, and yellow Somersetshire oolite. At its base the tower is 25 feet square externally and 15 feet internally. The walls have a thickness of three feet, and taper to 23 feet wide above the plinth. The first 70 feet of the tower is plain. At this height angle turrets are introduced, between which the four clock dials are arranged under crocketted canopies. At 100 feet from the ground the square tower becomes an octagon lantern, pierced with windows; and at 123 feet commences the spire capping, which is perforated with numerous lucarne. Apart from its architectural details the most remarkable external features of the tower are the four clock dials, each worked in white mosaics, placed at a height of nearly 80 feet from the ground, and having a diameter of 10 feet to each dial. Just above the entrance doorway is a heraldic shield, wrought in red sandstone, with the family arms and motto "Deo Adjuvants." Higher still, above the oriel on the same side of the tower, is a sun dial, with the inscription "Sol me vos umbra." The tower is divided into several stages or floors. On the lower floor is a spacious entrance, to the right of which is the doorway of the spiral staircase leading to the upper floors. The first object which catches the eye upon entering the tower is a bold inscription engraved upon a brass tablet set into the masonry, "In memory of Joseph Jones, of Abberley Hall, Esq., born 18th October, 1816, died 15th October, 1880. This tower was erected by his cousin and heir, John Joseph Jones, of Abberley Hall, Esq., 1883-1885." The first floor above the entrance will be occupied by the winding apparatus, the second as a store room, and the third is the oriel chamber. This room, which is 17 feet 9 inches high, and has oriel windows on three sides, is faced with wrought Bath stone, has a groined ceiling and solid oak floor. It is finished as a look-out or pleasance, and it would be difficult to conceive of a place to which one could retire with more security from the cares and intrusions of a busy work-a-day world, for study, meditation, or a calm enjoyment of the beauties which nature has spread around. This chamber is at a height of 40 feet from the ground. The floor above the oriel room is set apart for the clock and carillon machine, and over that is the dial-room, while a stage higher still are the 20 bells, arranged in three tiers, and occupying a height of about 30 feet. The six largest bells are on the lowest tier, the six next in size in the middle, and the remaining eight on the upper tiers. A strong oak framework, supported on stone corbels projecting from the walls, carries the bells; and in order to give their sound a free escape large window openings filled with glass louvres have been provided. The tower is capped with a short spire of stone, on which a weather vane is placed. Mr. J. P. St. Aubyn, of The Temple, London, was the architect, Messrs. Patnam and Fotheringham, London, the contractors, and Mr. J. Dampier, clerk of the works. The bells were cast by Messrs. Taylor and Co., of Loughborough. The hour bell, B flat, has a weight of 3 tons 18 cwt. 2 qrs., and is 6ft. in diameter, and the six next largest range from 3 tons to 1 ton in weight, and the 13 smaller ones, making 20 in all, range from 3 cwt. to 17 cwt. The total weight of the bells is nearly 21 tons. The carillon machine is the work of Messrs. Gillett and Co., Croydon. It is made to play a tune at every third hour - three, six, nine, and twelve o'clock. The tunes are 42 in number, pricked upon six barrels, which are studded with 3,000 brass pins each. The motive power is derived from weights amounting to 15 cwt. in all. The great variety of tunes is obtained by having a series of moveable barrels, which are taken out and exchanged as often as desired. The machine is similar to that erected by Messrs. Gillett, in Worcester Cathedral. As soon as the clock has finished striking the hour at which the tune is to be played it lifts a lever in the carillon which causes the weight to descend, and the mechanism to be set in motion. The musical barrels are thus made to revolve, and these again let off the levers, which in their turn cause the hammers to descend on the bells according to the requisite note. The note having been produced the hammers are restored again to their suspended position by what might be described as an endless "worm-wheel" or "carn," and remain there held in readiness to be released again as before should the same note be required later on. The following is a list of some of the tunes : "God Save the Queen," "Hark, Hark my Soul," God Bless the Prince of Wales," Abberley Hymn Tune," Christians Awake," She Wore a Wreath of Roses," Easter Hymn," Vicar of Bray," Good Friday Hymn," Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be," Haste to the Wedding," "Four-leaved Shamrock," "Sheds of the Ocean," and "Rule Britannia." The clock was made by Messrs. J. B. Joyce, of Whitchurch, Salop. It shows time upon four mosaic dials, strikes the Westminster quarters upon four bells, and the hour upon the large bell already described. The hammer striking the hour weighs 160 lbs., and has a lift of 12 inches. The clock weighs altogether nearly three tons. It can be wound either by hand, water, or gas power. The frame of the clock is horizontal, cast in one piece; it rests upon two iron brackets which are built into the wall. The pivot holes are screwed on to the frame, so that each wheel may be separately removed. The whole of the wheels [except the winding wheels] are of gun metal, and are cut and finished in an engine. The pinions are of steel hardened and tempered. The escapement is Denison's cravity. With this escapement the pendulum receives its impulse from the gravity-arms acting alternately upon each side, and as these arms are always lifted the same height by the clock, no matter what amount of weight drives them, the vibration and the rate of the pendulum must always be uniform so long as the pendulum remains the same. The escapement also renders the pendulum independent of all vibrations of force and friction in the clock, or the effects of wind on the hands. The variations of temperature on the pendulum are obviated by its being composed of zinc and iron. The pendulum beats 1½ seconds; the ball weighs 2½ cwt. By the addition or subtraction of small weights to the pendulum the clock can be regulated to the greatest nicety. The maintaining power is self-acting. The hammers in the quarter-part are lifted by hardened steel cams fitted into a barrel. The hour cam wheel is one piece of steel. The hammer can be lifted clear of the bells by an eccentric. The weights are hung on steel cords running over iron pulleys which have turned grooves, and steel pivots running in gun-metal holes. The ceremony of publicly opening the new tower took place on Monday, being the birthday of Mr. Jones, and the second anniversary of the laying of the corner stone. Mr. Jones issued invitations to many of his Worcestershire neighbours, and his friends at a distance to attend the ceremony, and a large company assembled. The weather was overcast; there had been much rain and it was somewhat cold, so that it was not very favourable for an out-of-door celebration. At a little before twelve o'clock, however, a procession of those present, headed by Mr. and Mrs. Jones and the Bishop of Hereford, was formed, and passed from the hall to the tower. There the key of the entrance door was handed to Mrs. Jones, who turned the key in the lock and declared the tower open. The Bishop then offered prayer, invoking the Divine blessing, and praying that "the work now completed in this building may set forth the honour and glory of God from generation to generation." "Grant O God, we beseech Thee," continued the prayer, "that wherever the sound of these bells is heard, men's hearts may be moved to consider how short their time here on earth is, how frail and uncertain their condition, and so to number their days that they may seriously apply their hearts to that holy and heavenly wisdom, whilst they live here, which may in the end bring them to life everlasting." At the conclusion of the religions ceremony, Mrs. Jones ascended the tower stairs to the clock chamber, where she set the clock machinery in motion, and exactly at noon, Greenwich time, the deep tones of the great bell were heard announcing the mid-day hour. Then followed the strains of the National Anthem from the carillon machine, and numerous other tunes were played in succession, while in the green hollow at the foot of the mound on which the tower stands a salute of 21 maroons was fired from small mortars, and exploded with loud detonations. Meanwhile, those assembled were permitted to ascend the tower in small parties, to visit the oriel chamber, the clock and carillon machinery, and if they were not too timorous, to venture out upon the narrow but well-protected footway at the top of the tower. From this point a magnificent view would have been possible on a clear day, but on Monday it was too cloudy to enjoy the full beauty of the far spreading landscape, and visitors had to be content with a sense of unusual altitude, and with a view only bounded with the driving clouds and the distant hills. Upon leaving the tower the guests returned to the hall or wandered through the grounds, which present some curious specimens of artificial rockwork, or visited the magnificent conservatory and well-stocked fernery. At half-past one o'clock the company, to the number of about 160, sat down to an elegant luncheon, served by Mr. Mountford, of Worcester. The luncheon was served in a pavilion specially erected upon the lawn in front of the hall and decorated with considerable splendour."
"The Clock and Carillon Tower at Abberley"
Worcester Journal : May 9th 1885 Page 3

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