Great Finborough: Couple’s clocktower restoration sets bells ringing in village

Dominic and Bonny South with daughters Eleni and Lottie in Great Finborough.

Dominic and Bonny South with daughters Eleni and Lottie in Great Finborough. - Credit: Archant

THE bells have rung out in a village for the first time in 20 years.

Bonny and Dom South moved to Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, almost two years ago but it was only last year that they decided to restore the clock tower which sits atop their home.

Mrs South, 41, said: “We ended up really going for the project. We probably wanted to spend a smaller amount of money but we wanted to make the bell ring and the tower look nice as well.

“The bell had rusted so we had to move it and restore it. The more we did, the worse the condition we found it to be in, there was a lot of rebuilding to make it last.

“The bell is quite loud and it can be heard throughout the village. People have said it’s wonderful we are doing it and that it helps them to keep time.

“The family thinks it’s wonderful. We all feel very proud of it and that it gives an insight into the history and heritage of the house.”

The couple also uncovered a secret poem written on a panel in the clock tower during the restoration project.

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Mrs South added: “The bell is from 1767 which dates the clock tower. The clock is really interesting – we found the man who wrote the poem inside the tower, Ron Wassell. He showed us a lot of slides about the clock, which was made by a Chelsea clock-maker.”

Mr and Mrs South and their daughters Eleni, five, and Lottie, two, met with Mr Wassell, 85, to find out more about the poem, which comes from a selection of works called The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which were transcribed by Edward FitzGerald.

Mr Wassell spent almost 40 years working to maintain the buildings at nearby Finborough Hall before it became a school. One of his jobs was to go up to the tower to wind the clock up every few days.