Rotherham's Wentworth Woodhouse clock - which hasn't chimed since the tragic death of eighth Earl in 1948 - is restored

Standing in front of its majestic 18th century splendour, it is easy to feel lost in time at Wentworth Woodhouse.

The two-faced clock on the North Quadrant of the house has been repaired free of charge by South Yorkshire based horologist Andrew Bates.
The two-faced clock on the North Quadrant of the house has been repaired free of charge by South Yorkshire based horologist Andrew Bates.

But visitors to the Rotherham stately home will now be more grounded in the present moment after one of its clocks which has marked time since the 1700s has undergone its first repairs in almost 60 years.

The two-faced clock on the North Quadrant of the house has been repaired free of charge by South Yorkshire based horologist Andrew Bates.

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Mr Bates was tasked with repairing both the mechanism of the clock, and its hands - which have had no expert care since the 1950s.

Its bells are not believed to have struck since 1948, when they chimed to mark the funeral of Peter, the eighth Earl Fitzwilliam, who died in a plane crash alongside the sister of John F Kennedy.

It is the oldest clock that Mr Bates has ever worked on, and is dated from 1710 when it was made by Warwick master clockmaker Nicholas French.

Mr Bates said: “It’s an honour to restore important items of local history and this is a beautifully made clock.

“Nicholas French put real care into it. There are some lovely flourishes on the mechanical pieces which he took the time to do, even though they would only ever be seen by another clock restorer.”

Despite its age, the clock was relatively straightforward to repair.

Mr Bates said: “The only reason it wasn’t working was because it was very mucky and hadn’t been serviced since the 1950s. Plus one of the weights had been replaced with a car drum brake.”

Each cast iron wheel, pinion and bell hammer has now been cleaned and repainted its original green colour to prevent rusting, and the huge hands have been re-gilded with real gold leaf, which does not tarnish over time.