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Westoning Clock Tower

Westoning Clock Tower August 2009
Westoning Clock Tower August 2009

The Clock Tower in the High Street bears a plaque with the following legend:

THIS TOWER WAS ERECTED BY
J. G. COVENTRY CAMPION AND HIS WIFE
THE CLOCK WAS GIVEN BY THE PARISHIONERS
AND FRIENDS OF WESTONING TO COMMEMORATE
THE SIXTIETH YEAR OF THE REIGN OF
QUEEN VICTORIA
1837-1897
RENOVATED 1975 

John Gadsby Coventry Campion was Lord of the Manor and also chairman of the Parish Council in 1897 (for the third time). The parish council had been established, like others in the country, in 1894 to replace the local government functions of the old parish vestry. The minutes for 15th April [PCWestoning1/1], read: "The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Commemoration next occupied the attention of the Council, and after a few remarks from the Chairman stating what he & Mrs. Campion intended to do, in order that the younger inhabitants may always remember the long reign of Her Majesty, it was decided to call a Public Meeting on Thursday, April 29th at 8 o'clock in order to ascertain the opinion of the whole Parish. A Commemoration Clock & Tower on School was suggested". Sadly the minutes of the Public Meeting were not recorded in the Parish Council minute book.

The meeting of 30th September recorded: "Major Campion formally handed over the Clock & Tower to the Parish & hoped the Parish Council would be willing to look after the same. The Legal Forms, he hoped to have ready for the next meeting. A Resolution was then passed that the Westoning Parish Council should be the Custodian of the Clock & Tower. A vote of thanks was accorded Mrs. & Major Campion for their great kindness in presenting the Site & Tower to the Village. It was then proposed by Mr. Short and seconded by Mr. Smith that Mr. Perkins be appointed to look after the Clock &c. & be paid £1 per annum, payments to be made ½ yearly".

John Gadsby Coventry Campion died on 7th February 1903 at Radnor Place, London [Z897/19]. His widow Jessie married Henry Blyth King on 10th November in the year of her husband's death.

At a parish council meeting on 17th March 1975 [PCWestoning 1/4] the following was minuted: "Mr. Kitchener read a note from the Bedfordshire Association of Parish Councils asking for entries into a competition for a piece of Architecture to be judged later in the year. Mr. Kitchener said that there were only one or two buildings of architectural interest in the village, namely the Church, the Chequers and the Bell. Mr. Lovatt said that the Bedfordshire Community Council were to hold four lectures on this subject and all were welcome. Mr. Scott said that he had proposed this item for the Agenda and when doing so he had had the Clock Tower in mind as this is quite unusual although not a brilliant piece of architecture. He proposed that this be given a face lift during the year and also the weather vein [sic] restored. It was unanimously agreed that the Councillors would look at the clock tower to see what was required in the way of restoration and at the next meeting they could decide whether to enter the competition".

At the meeting of 21st April it was noted: "The Chairman [A. G Kitchener] had taken a quick look at the clock tower and it did appear that part of the tower needs re-pointing also the inscription on the plaque needs to be re-inscribed. It was agreed after some discussion that Mr. Olney should be asked to look at the clock tower and give a quotation for a face lift. Also the clerk would contact Geers Limited to see what the cost would be to have the plaque re-inscribed either on stone or a metal plaque. Nobody had yet located the weather vein".

On 16th June the following item was minuted: "The Chairman read a quotation from South Beds Brick & Tile Supplies Ltd., for renovation of the clock tower this amounted roods £126.50. he also read the quotation from Geere & Co Ltd., for renovation of the plaque on the clock tower. It appeared that the work would cost in the region of £200. Mr. Scott said that if the Council had the money the work should be done as it would be extremely necessary as time went by and costs seem to increase daily. Mr. Scrivener seconded and it was unanimously agreed that the work should be done".

At the next meeting it was felt that the work done on the tower had not been done satisfactorily. After a meeting with councillors the contractor "completed the work and it was considered satisfactory".

Westoning Clock Tower plaque
Westoning Clock Tower plaque