We have been taken on as church architects to the wonderful St Mary Magdalene Church in Whitgift. This Grade I listed church, has a mystery behind its clock. Installed in 1919 to mark the end of World War 1, with the inscription ‘IN TERRA PAX’ Peace on Earth, you have to do a double take to see if you are seeing things, but if you see roman numerals for 13 instead of 12 you are not mistaken.
No one is sure of the story behind the extra roman numeral, but there are a number of legends – one of my favourites being that there used to be a pub opposite the church and some say the painter may have been a little ‘worse for wear’ adding an extra ‘I’ by mistake. But the church clock is rather famous, even being mentioned by Lord Haw Haw when he bragged during World War II broadcasts that German bombers would fly so low they would ‘be able to see the thirteenth hand of Whitgift church clock’.
What ever the reason, it is an important part of history and has remained there all this time. During a restoration the original was removed and placed inside the church, but its replacement has kept the extra ‘I’, keeping its unique mystery for years to come.
We are currently working with the PCC and looking forward to attending a Community Consultation Evening to assist them with engaging local support for a potential re-ordering project.