Quaker clock donated to school in memory of former scholar

A traditional Quaker clock manufactured in Sibford Ferris back in the 1870s has been donated to Sibford School near Banbury in memory of a former scholar.

Mike Finch died on 10 June 2016. Having been a pupil at the school from 1949 to 1954, Mike returned to Sibford in adult life to take on the role of Estates Manager and, more recently, was the school’s archivist. He was also an active member of SOSA (the Sibford Old Scholar’s Association) fulfilling many roles over the years including President, Reunion Secretary, General Secretary and School Committee member.

Now, a year after his death and to coincide with the school’s 175th anniversary, Old Scholars have purchased the clock in Mike’s name.

SOSA President Ashley Shirlin said: “Mike dearly loved Sibford, the School and SOSA. Prior to his death, he and I discussed the purchase of the clock for the School’s 175th Anniversary and so SOSA felt that it was fitting that the clock be donated to the School in his name. As an association, we are the poorer without his help and guidance.”

The brass faced 30-hour longcase clock, was made by John Wells and can be defined by an unusual hammer action not found in other mechanisms of the time.

Sibford Head, Toby Spence said: “This type of clock was only made at Sibford and so it is fitting that it should return close to its point of origin some 250 years later.

“We are extremely grateful to SOSA for this gift in memory of Mike. It is now on display in our Visitors’ Room where it is proving to be an interesting topic of conversation.”

Mike Finch’s wife Wendy, is pictured with Toby Spence and the clock.

  • John Wells was born in 1749, the son of Quakers Thomas and Elizabeth Wells. He was apprenticed to clock makers Thomas Gilkes in Charlbury in 1766 and ended up at Sibford sometime in 1770s. He married Mary French at Sibford Meeting House in 1785 and the couple had two sons, Thomas and John, who both became clockmakers. The Sibford clock was acquired by collector Tim Marshall who restored it before passing it on to Sibford Old Scholars’ Association.
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