This turret clock was made by Arnold of Child Okeford and dated on the dial as 1787. Unfortunately the name dial does not give his Christian name.
John Arnold is the only known Dorset Clockmaker from Child Okeford and is reputed for his turret and longcase clocks.
Turret clocks, that is a public clock installed in a high building for all to see, were introduced into major towns and cathedrals in the 14th century. Thereafter they spread to parish churches.
There were many Arnolds in Milton Abbas, and elsewhere in Dorset, especially Motcombe. There must have been some link between Milton Abbas and Motcombe because there are several names in common, e.g. Abbott. For more information on Arnolds see opcdorset.
St James’ turret clock was probably made around the year 1786. St James’ church, Milton Abbas, was consecrated in 1786, and the Churchwardens Accounts show payments for ‘oil for the clock’ in 1789, so it was likely in place at the consecration.
In the 20th century an automatic winding mechanism for the clock was donated by Vanda Hambro.
The clock is still regularly maintained and is in good working order, although the frame needs realignment.