The 2019 Oundle Vintage Festival was an event being staged by volunteers with an organising committee made up mainly of members of the local business community.

Urgent work was required in the Church Tower to repair the Town Clock and the bells. The clock had now actually stopped working and requires a full face clean, major mechanism upgrade and electric motors – basically the same work as Big Ben albeit on a smaller scale.

The three main groups involved were…

The 2019 OVF Organising Committee

Chair Philip Amps Amps Wine Merchants
Vice-Chair Paul Eveleigh The Cycle Technician
Vehicle Display Ali & Oli Winbolt The Splined Hub & AGA Oundle
Vintage Market Alan Byham Amps Wine Merchants
1950’s Dance Bobbie Turton Parish Church Friends
1950’s Dance Alex Worth Just Lets
Tower Tours Ian Goldsmith Parish Church Friends
Treasurer David Webb Bulley Davey
Website & PR Justin Jeffrey Qi Marketing & Web Design
General David Cheney Oundle Rotary
General Alan Smith Oundle School
General Keith Smith Oundle Museum

The Clock Mechanism

The Clock Face



Members of Oundle’s business community were approached by The Friends of Oundle Parish Church; a charity separate to the religious side of the church who help maintain and enhance the church building, being as it is an asset to to town and wider community – whether they are a churchgoers or not. The Friends needed help with a major fund-raising appeal to repair of the Town Clock and Bells.

The Vintage Festival Organising Committee was set up by local business representatives not only to put in place a plan to raise in excess of £10k for the ‘Clock & Bells Appeal’, but also to create a new ‘town event’ to attract footfall to Oundle in order to highlight Oundle as a visitor destination and encourage local trade, and lastly (not to be forgotten) to provide local residents with a major event to look forward to, take part in and enjoy.





A Letter from The Friends' ``St Peter’s Tower Group``


To Whom it May Concern

RE: The Town Clock and the Bell’s in St Peters Church, Oundle

Funds are needed  to refurbish the Town Clock and the Eight bells of St Peters Church.  The  clock is situated in the Tower of St Peter’s and is a Flat Bed, 3 Train Clock, weight driven with a pendulum action, with a 6’ copper backed cast iron skeleton dial. The left section is linked to a gravity drop hammer that strikes the hours on the tenor bell and the right section is linked to various treble bells chiming the Westminster chimes.

In 1974 the clock was converted to automatic winding, leaving the clock still driven by weights but the weights wound by motors rather than by hand. This required the installation of bulky chains and frames to harness the winding mechanism. The winding mechanism is mains driven and has no back up which causes problems when there are power cuts and when the clocks change in spring and autumn. It is unreliable and there are Health and Safety issues with the old winding unit. Damage has also been caused to the hammers becoming damaged during bell ringing activities.

There is a need to replace the automatic winding system with a more modern system returning the clock to its original operating method. This new system will operate at low voltage with the dual benefit of resolving safety issues and the ability to support the systems with a rechargeable battery back for continuous operation during all normal power failures. The bell hammers are to be repaired and a new controller is to be installed to pull off hammers for bell ringing with light controls to indicate when these are operational.

When specifying the works detailed above it was recognised that, to the public view, the clock dial is suffering from some corrosion and the paint is in poor condition.  It was decided that it was best to link this work in at the same time as the internal works as they gave some cost savings. The aim is to take the dial down, shot blast it to a clean surface and then re-paint and re-gild it.

The costs of the above works is c.£12,250 plus VAT.  Works are needed urgently and we have managed to secure funding to underwrite the costs so works on the clock can go ahead as soon as possible.

St Peters is one of the few Churches in the area with 8 bells. Some work has been carried out this year to treat death watch beetle in part of the bell chamber but some repairs are required to the wheels, frames and clappers. Short and longer term works required are currently circa £6,700 plus VAT.

We therefore need to undertake substantial fund raising to re-pay back the monies to be advance for the clock works advanced and I am indebted to the Oundle Business Association for their help with this project.

Ian Goldsmith

Chairman, St Peter’s Tower Group



Your Ideas & Assistance

If you might have a bit of time spare to help on Festival weekend in May, or have any amusements to offer or ideas for vintage displays, then we’d love to hear from you. Please let us know!