Amazement as 100-year-old clock from Wigan turns up with name of finder's ancestor on plaque

The clock which is now in the possession of Katrina Thomas, from Chepstow
The clock which is now in the possession of Katrina Thomas, from Chepstow

A woman is appealing to Wigan history buffs for help after a clock turned up with a plaque bearing what could be the name of an ancestor.

Katrina Thomas, from Chepstow, was astonished after her husband Adrian acquired the 1916 item in a job lot in the middle of Wales as part of his interest in old timepieces.

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The rather-neglected clock had a plaque on it explaining it had been presented to J Tither by MBC St John’s Pemberton during the First World War.

Katrina was astonished as research into her family tree had discovered she had several male forebears who were called J Tither and she has links to Wigan as her grandparents moved to the English-Welsh border area from the borough in the 1930s.

Attempts to discover more about either J Tither or the Pemberton organisation have so far drawn a blank and Katrina admits she is extremely curious to fill in the gaps in the story.

She said: “My husband picked up five or six clocks from Llandrindod Wells in Wales along with a load of bits and pieces he thought would be useful for clock restoration.

“Among them was this sad-looking one. It was peeling a bit, somebody had painted the face and the inside was all rusty. Adrian was going to set it aside for the junk but as he was carrying it from the car the plaque was glinting in the light.

“The details of the presentation sparked my interest. My grandfather was called John Tither, his father was John Tither and an uncle is also John Tither. There are also two generations of Joseph Tithers in my family.

“It is just such a coincidence. My husband has got this job lot of clocks in the middle of Wales and there’s a clock from this presentation with the name of my ancestors. It’s really quite incredible.

“Even if it’s not a direct ancestor it could be an uncle or cousin somewhere along the line.

“I want to know more. It would be amazing to find out who this clock belonged to and if it was anybody in the family, and also why it was presented.”

Katrina began her research by investigating the organisation on the plaque.

She contacted both St John’s CofE Church and St John’s CofE Primary School in Pemberton.

However, despite the best efforts of the headteacher Mark Speakman to dig out the facts the archives had no record of any clocks being presented in 1916.

Internet searches have also failed to turn up records of other authorities or bodies from the wartime period with that name.

Katrina’s grandparents lived in Wigan before moving to Chepstow in 1935 due to her grandfather working in the shipyards. The family has remained around the Monmouthshire area ever since.

Do you know who J Tither or MBC St John’s Pemberton are and what the story of the clock presentation is? If you do please email newsroom.wigan@jpimedia.co.uk