YORK'S largest parish church has launched an 'Appeal for the Peals' to raise cash to restore its stuttering clock and hourly chime.

And they're calling on the best of the best to bring the clock back into full working order - experts who once worked on Big Ben.

St Lawrence's Church on Lawrence Street says the cost of repairing its Victorian clock is expected to be about £12,000.

Grants have been obtained to cover some of that - but now church leaders have launched an 'Appeal for the Peals' to raise the rest of the money.

The hope is to send the clock's internal mechanism off for repairs to public clock specialists the Cumbria Clock Company - who installed a temporary drive for Big Ben in 2007 while the famous Westminster clock's mechanism was being restored.

York Press: Fr Adam Romanis inspecting the clock mechanism at St Lawrence Church, YorkFr Adam Romanis inspecting the clock mechanism at St Lawrence Church, York (Image: St Lawrence Church)

Externally, St Lawrence's won't look any different while the clock mechanism is being repaired. The clock face itself will remain in place on the church tower - but of course, without an internal mechanism, it won't work.

Church leaders say the clock's time-keeping - and the hourly chimes - have been suffering from 'irregularities' in recent years.

But Nick Beilby, the resident engineer at St Lawrence, said: "It's a lovely piece of engineering. It just needs a bit of TLC and it will be good for another century!"

The clock dates from the 1860s - before the 'new' St Lawrence's was built in 1883.

It was first installed in a church in Doncaster, but was then sold to St Lawrence's - as a 'new' clock, despite being second hand - by Potts of Leeds in 1893.

For years, the clock was maintained by Geoffrey Newey, who made the Coney Street clock on St Martin le Grand and also used to wind the Minster clock.

It was last rebuilt in 1948, and was converted to an 'electronic winding mechanism' in 2002 - meaning it no longer had to be laboriously wound by hand, as it had been for decades.York Press: The hour bell at St Lawrence, YorkThe hour bell at St Lawrence, York (Image: St Lawrence, York)

Vicar of St Lawrence Father Adam Romanis said: "We're hoping to restore the hourly peal to the parish from a smoothly-running clock, which can be seen for miles from the north and south."

St Lawrence is the largest parish church in York and holds three services every Sunday.

But it was in danger of becoming a redundant building before major works to install a new heating system, significant re-wiring and lighting costing more than £200,000 in 2016 and 2017.

In 2020 the 1885 Denman organ which had previously been in St Michael Le Belfrey church was refurbished and installed in St Lawrence. It is regularly used for recitals and concerts as well as church services.

To donate to the 'Appeal for Peals' send a cheque made out to 'St Lawrence PCC' to The Treasurer, St Lawrence Parish Church, Lawrence Street, York, YO10 3WP or contact info@stlawrenceparishchurch.org.uk.

You can also make a payment direct to Yorkshire Bank, Sort Code: 05-09-94, Account Number: 25485880.