Parham is home to an outstanding collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century clocks that demonstrate the ingenuity of early clockwork engineering and the intricate beauty of horological design. Featured in the collection are the impressive Clock Tower built in 1776 by Sir Cecil Bishopp and a Morbier clock from the renowned clock-making centre in France.
Every clock is exquisite, but there is one timepiece in particular that captures the spirit of Parham for Lady Emma; the longcase clock that has stood in the Great Hall for over 250 years. Dating back to around 1700, this English walnut marquetry longcase clock is inlaid with flowers and birds, with a beautiful dial signed by Jos. Norris, Abingdon.
This beauty is echoed in the sentiment surrounding this treasured clock. Often seen as the ticking heart of the House, its continuous chime acts as both a reassuring presence and a moving reminder of how Parham’s timeless beauty has changed little over the centuries.
The clock has spent most of its life at Parham, and is mentioned in a letter written by The Hon. Margaret Leicester Warren on Saturday 28th January 1871, when she visited Parham and stayed with Robert Curzon, by then a sad widower, as his wife Emily had died. Margaret tells of how the whole household, including the servants, would gather in the dim light of the Great Hall for prayers each night before they went to bed. ‘…… the great wood-fire burns in the hall & the great clock ticks, & the whole house is half asleep in the snow.’
Visitors have an opportunity to learn more about Parham’s horological history with our Special Clock Tour on Friday 6 September. Click here to find out more.