The Clock Tower was commissioned in 1882 and
plans were drawn up by the architect J.P.
St. Aubyn. The builders were Patman and
Fotheringham and their master mason was
Work began on 29th June 1883 and the topping
out was on lst October 1884. On 10th June
1885 a final account was rendered for a
total cost of £7980.
The height of the Clock Tower is 161 feet.
It has three lower rooms, a sewing room and
a clock room as well as two flushing WC's
(no longer in use).
The clock is by J.B. Joyce of Whitchurch,
the firm which still services it.
The building is certainly prominent and can
be seen from six counties. The carillon
consisted of 16 bells weighing a total of 21
tons. These were raised into position
through a series of trapdoors in each of the
floors between ground level and the belfry.
The heavy sound louvres are made of 1 1/4
inch plate glass, which have survived intact
save one which was broken by a thunderbolt
in 1969. Features include the four mosaic
clock faces, a sundial and the Jones coat of
In 1880, John Joseph Jones, a man of
substantial wealth, inherited the Abberley
Hall estate. Two years later he commissioned
a carillon and clock tower, to be built on
Merritt's Hill due north of Abberley Hall.
Work began in June 1883 and the edifice was
completed in October 1884. This was
remarkable progress at a time that most
building materials had to be delivered to
the site by horse transport, as contemporary
There are many reasons given for the
building of the Clock Tower. A persistent
local story is that 'JJJ' constructed it so
that none of his numerous workmen and staff
should ever have the excuse of not knowing
the time. However, it is more likely that he
built it to exalt the Abberley Hall estate
in the face of aristocratic rivalry from
Lord Dudley at Witley Court nearby.
In Victorian times, the large room with the
oriel windows was used as a sewing room. It
had a coal fire, costly hangings and a
flushing WC nearby. Lighting was by gas,
produced at the estate's Gas House which can
still be seen to the west of the Clock Tower
although now in a ruinous condition.
The only time the Clock Tower was
continuously inhabited was during the Second
World War. It became a Home Guard
observation post, reporting enemy aircraft
making for Birmingham.