No time lost in hunt for historic clocks

The Thomas Taite clock.
The Thomas Taite clock.

The search for other pieces made by a 19th-century north Northumberland clockmaker has borne fruit, thanks to an appeal in the Gazette.

Recently, Valerie Glass wrote asking whether anyone else had a clock made by Belford and Alnwick clockmaker, Thomas Tait.

The Thomas Taite clock.

The Thomas Taite clock.

She and others are currently researching various people connected with the Erskine United Reformed Church in Belford, including Thomas Tait, for the village’s Dissenting History project.

In 1812, Mr Tait made a clock for the church, which hangs opposite the pulpit, still ticking away after 200 years.

Valerie said: “A few days after the Gazette published my letter I was delighted to receive an email from a local person owning a clock made by Thomas Tait.

“What was more, he had a history of the clock written many years ago by his father from whom he had inherited it.

The 200-year-old church clock in Belford.

The 200-year-old church clock in Belford.

“This was more than I had dared hope for and I promptly made arrangements with the owner to go and view the clock.

“It is magnificent. A traditional long-case clock in excellent condition, dating to about the same time as the clock at Belford, it has had an interesting life.

“The present owner’s great uncle had spotted it standing in a farmhouse while travelling on his rounds for his father who owned The Beehive Stores in Embleton.

“Initially acquired for five shillings, it was then sold on for seven shillings and sixpence to the owner’s father in about 1920.

“The latter managed to get it working and since then it has had pride of place in several homes, always remaining within the family.

“It has ventured outside the county once, but did not take long to return within a few miles of its birthplace of Northumberland.”

Playwright Christine Fletcher, from Belford, has already written a play – Marking Time – about the church clock, which was performed before Christmas by the Belford Players.

Her imagination fired by the recent discovery, Christine now has ideas of incorporating this second clock by Thomas Tait into a new version of the play which will be performed again in December this year.