In 1916, the First World War Zeppelin raids on London forced Mr Arthur Masson, who ran Lindisfarne School in Blackheath, Kent, to move his 50 young pupils to rural Worcestershire.

In 1916, the First World War Zeppelin raids on London forced Mr Arthur Masson, who ran Lindisfarne School in Blackheath, Kent, to move his 50 young pupils to rural Worcestershire.

Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, Arthur Masson Kilby, Headmaster of Lindisfarne School, Blackheath was looking to move his school further from London and its environment, preferably into the country, and was on the lookout for larger premises with better facilities for games. The need for a move was made more urgent by the outbreak of War and the coming of enemy bombers and zeppelins. Mr Kilby made a remarkable bargain when he purchased Abberley Hall, including furniture, curtains and fittings on the private side plus a large and valuable library of books, nine cottages and 120 acres of grounds for the sum of £10,000 including all expenses. The actual move to Abberley was made in time for the opening of the September term 1916.

In August 1919, Mr. Ashton's son Gilbert was invited to join the staff with a view to him taking over the school in due course. Negotiations between Mr. Kilby and Gilbert's father, Hubert Shorrock Ashton, continued for two years were not made any easier by Mr Kilby's attitude towards the legal profession as a whole and his absolute refusal to have a legal agreement drawn up.At some point in 1920, a letter was sent to all parents informing them of the situation and that Mr Ashton would commence his duties in September 1921 while Mr. Kilby remained at the helm. Unfortunately, he was required to take up the reins much sooner than anticipated as Mr. Kilby suffered a stroke that summer. He returned to Abberley towards the end of that term and his health improved gradually albeit he took no further responsibility in the running of the school.

Numbers began to increase and by the year 1926/27 the tide had indeed turned. Further accommodation was required and so plans to develop the stables were drawn up by Mr. R. C. Foster.However, they needed to have the freehold before embarking on a large capital expenditure which would involve borrowing from the bank. Eventually, a price of £25,000 was agreed over and above the £15,000 Mr Kilby had already received.

The Clocktower

Abberley Hall Clock Tower Poppy Display

The iconic Clock Tower has breathtaking views across six counties and was built in 1884 by John Joseph Jones, a man of substantial wealth who had inherited the Abberley Hall estate.

The Clock Tower stands at 161 feet and has three lower rooms, a sewing room and a clock room.

The clock was made by J.B. Joyce of Whitchurch, the firm which still services it. 

Twenty bells, at a cost of £2,885-6-3 + £625, were commissioned from the bell foundry of John Taylor & Co., Loughborough and each was inscribed with the names of JJJ's immediate family from John Joseph Jones to his youngest niece and nephew Lillian Blanche and Geoffrey Algernon and included his brothers, their wives and other children. The bells were hung in three tiers. The top tier held the 8 smallest bells which hung 4 by 4 with the central bay left vacant, the middle tier were arranged 3 by 3 as did the lower tier. Four bells were rejected as being too flat. Two ended up in Broughton near Banbury, and the others went to Elvetham in Hampshire and Rochdale Town Hall.

Messers. Gillet and Co. of Croydon designed the carillon and it was similar to the one in Worcester Cathedral. There were twenty bells and they weighed in at 21 tons. The carillon played a total of 42 tunes which were pricked upon six barrels which were studded with 3,000 brass pins each and played at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock every day.

The only time the Clock Tower was continuously inhabited was during the Second World War. It became a Home Guard observation post, reporting enemy aircraft making for Birmingham. The Clock Tower is open to visitors on advertised days.