Project 'Clock Face'

Many thanks to Grant Elliott RIBA, who has provided the excellent blog article below. Grant is a Chartered Architect, Associate at LHC

He is admitted on the RIBA Conservation Register and on the Diocese of Exeter List of Inspectors Approved to carry out Quinquennial Inspections.

Grant is also a member of the pool of volunteer experts on The Design Review Panel, attending Design Review Panels across the South West; in Cornwall, Devon (both Plymouth & Exeter), Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Swindon.

"2018 marks the centenary of the Great War armistice. Communities across Devon will come together to commemorate more than 11,000 Devon men and women who died, and the sacrifice made by local families a century ago.

In the village of Ermington, a village located approximately two miles south of Ivybridge in Devon, England, this commemoration will take the shape of a project to restore the memorial clock on the village church of St Peter & St Paul.

Being a war memorial, the Grade 1 Listed church clock has a communal value within the Parish and signifies a collective experience and memory, its restoration will be a fitting tribute to the memory of Ermington’s fallen, and the man in who’s memory it was originally dedicated.

The clock itself is connected with the Battle of Loos, which took place between 25th September and 18th October 2015. Compared with the small scale British efforts of spring 1915, this attack of six Divisions was a mighty offensive. So much so that it was referred to at the time as ‘The Big Push’. Taking place on ground not of their choosing and before stocks of ammunition and heavy artillery were sufficient, the opening of the battle was noteworthy for the first use of poison gas by the British Army.

Despite heavy casualties, there was considerable success on the first day in breaking into the deep enemy positions near Loos and Hulluch. However, the reserves had been held too far from the battle-front to be able to exploit the successes and spent succeeding days bogged down in attritional warfare for minor gains.

All England was buzzing with rumours of this ‘Big Push’ some weeks before the attack. There was little by way of strategic deception

More than 61,000 British casualties were sustained in this battle. 50,000 of them were in the main fighting area between Loos and Givenchy and the remainder in the subsidiary attacks. Of these, 7,766 men died. Casualties were particularly high among Scots units.

the first time only a matter of days after landing in France, were devastated.

A significant proportion of the remaining pre-war regular troops were lost, and more than 2,000 officers were killed or wounded. This irreplaceable asset in experienced men and leaders was a most serious loss to the army. The new army units that had taken part in a major action for the first time had suffered heavily, but had shown without doubt that they were worthy soldiers.

Among the fallen was Captain Rodney Gransmore from Thornham, Ermington Parish. A Captain in the 3rd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment he fell in action, aged just 25, while leading his Company at the assault on the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 28th September 1915.

A plaque in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Ermington, records that the clock was placed on the tower in memory of Captain Rodney Gransmore. His family ordered the clock from Smith of Derby in October 1918; it was installed on the tower during the following year and the ledger entry in Smith’s records shows that the clock cost £150 - more than £7,500 at today’s values. The clock takes the form of a flatbed hour striking movement with quarter Westminster chime driving the single dial; the external dial is a backed cast iron skeleton design, 5’6” in diameter.

The clock face will be restored in situ using rope access, firstly cleaning down the dial surface and applying a spot primer as required, and then applying a suitable undercoat and finishing in black gloss. This will be followed the gilding of the Roman numerals, minute marks, outer ring and hands using 23½ carat double thickness English gold leaf. Next the dial motion works will be dismantled, cleaned, polished, re-greased and re-assembled. The hands will then be re-synchronised with each other and the clock movement.

At the same time, the clock will be converted to automatic winding and be installed with a pendulum regular, which will remove the need for regular manual winding and also provide more accurate timekeeping.

Fundraising to carry out the restoration has been well supported within Ermington village. Donations have also been gratefully received from Mount Kelly School in Tavistock, which was Captain Gransmore’s old school, and the Devon Rural Archive. To date, grant funding has also been forthcoming from South Hams District Council, Devon County Council and the All Churches Trust. Completion of the restoration works is planned for November 2018 to coincide with the Great War armistice centenary commemorations."


Note: Historical Text referenced from: “The Long, Long Trail” Website (

Historical Photos from The Imperial War Museum

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