A past vicar of Penkridge, the Rev. Cecil Littleton
would have rejected both of these attitudes. The coil of the clock snapped in 1886. He reported in the parish magazine,
“The Church Clock has been silent
now for many weeks, causing much inconvenience to the village at. To provide a new weight and coil will cost a good deal.
The clock goes and strikes for the benefit of the whole community who in this, if in
nothing else, “take their time from the Church” and we think the whole community should be asked to contribute
to the repair of what may be called common property and that the cost should not be defrayed out of the offertories.”
The combative attitude revealed in what
should have been a neutral parish announcement was typical of the man. He did not mince his words. He rebuked his parishioners,
“There are some who, like the Jews
of old cry, “speak unto us smooth things” and who kick at anything like plain language. Without going out of our
way, however, to give causeless offence, the clergy have a duty to perform and that is to preach the Truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the Truth.......”.
So, his message for Lent, 1886 was unrelenting,
“The parish seems sunk in vice
and indifference. Few, comparatively speaking, avail themselves of the means of grace offered to them. While hundreds live
in such carelessness and sin that it makes us tremble to think of the Eternal future which awaits them if so living, they
When the clock was eventually repaired,
the hymn he chose for the opening ceremony was,
and Moments quickly flying,
Speed us onward to the dead;
Soon may you and I be lying,
Each within his narrow bed”.
For the Rev. Littleton the church clock
was a symbol of the relentless nature of time and the certainty of death with its threat of eternal damnation.
Thus we have three philosophies of life
and we are fortunate to be free to choose between them.