Church Clock at Pont-Farcy

Rediscovered in 2007

By Christopher Long

In 2006, with our friend Jacky Brionne, an historian, we decided to investigate and catalogue the bells in the Pont-Farcy church belfry. Having climbed a very narrow spiral stone staircase and then a ladder into the loft beneath the bells, Jacky headed on upwards while my wife and I stopped to examine a large glazed timber case containing an elaborate and very beautiful church clock.

It was covered in pigeon-droppings and cobwebs. Through the grime of the glass panes we read that it had been a gift to the commune in 1910 by a Mlle Hurel who had died the year before. Clearly no-one had touched this clock since the mechanical movement had been disconnected, in favour of an electrical system, many decades earlier.

In 2007 I persuaded another friend, Georges de Coupigny, an amateur clock expert – to revisit the loft with me and this time we opened the case to find that the clock was not only complete and in full working order but that it had also been perfectly preserved inside its casing. Three colossal weights were still attached and its striking mechanism (hours/quarters) soon whirred into action. The winding handle was there, along with the oil-can last used to lubricate it.

No one in Pont-Farcy was then aware that this beautiful clock was lurking among the pigeons over their heads. Now that they do, we feel it deserves to be more widely appreciated and that it should be exhibited, in working condition, within the church. It would be fitting if this could be achieved on its 100th birthday in 2010.

L’horlogerie domestique dans le sud-ouest de la Normandie par David Nicolas-Méry

See Main Index

Technical details: Date: 1910 — Location: L'église, Le Bourg, Pont-Farcy, FR14380 — Condition: Complete (with winding handle and all accessories), in working order, excellently preserved, weights attached but movement disconnected from tower clock face — Type: Horizontal with 3 weights, manual winding — Dimensions: Length 172 cm, depth 50 cm, height 54 cm — Materials: Cast iron, mixed brass/alloys, bolted — Escapement: 'Chevilles' — Length of pendulum: 115 cm — Striking: Hours, half-hours and quarters — Housing: Purpose-built wooden cabinet, glazed — Inscribed enamel plaque on chassis records: "Don de Melle Hurel Josephine-Louise décédée à Pont-Farcy le 26 mars 1909 / Année 1910 / Guezet Jules maire / Barbier Albert adjoint / Gesnouin Alphonse / Delahaye Alphonse / Paris Louis / Barbier Prosper / Tirel Napoléon / Lenouvel Henri / Delafosse Jules / Hallay Alcide / Conseillers municipaux / Alphonse Fay curé".'

See Main Index

My gratitude to our friend Georges de Coupigny, president of the AVPPS, who took these photographs (© November 2007) and to La Voix Le Bocage which kindly published an article (08-04-2010) based on this web page.

After almost four years of campaigning (and about forty years since the clock was abandoned up in the belfry) Pont-Farcy's municipal council finally made arrangements to have the movement and it weights brought down from the tower and made publicly visible in the south door entrance below the church tower.

© (2007) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
The text and graphical content of this and linked documents are the copyright of their author and or creator and site designer, Christopher Long, unless otherwise stated. No publication, reproduction or exploitation of this material may be made in any form prior to clear written agreement of terms with the author or his agents.

Christopher Long

Home Career Press Print Radio TV & Film 3rd Party Trivia Projects Personal Etcetera Sound Images Index