Fixing Time: Specialist watch and clock repairs

The Scottish Longcase clock by William Young

The Scottish Longcase clock by William Young

My family have been repairing and restoring clocks for over 60 years between us, as were our grandparents before that.

Many of the timepieces that pass through our oil-stained hands have a story attached to them. The Scottish Longcase clock in the picture is a nice example by William Young, a prolific maker working in Dudee around 1845. On the dial picture, you can just make out ‘Barrin o’ the Door’ bottom centre. The phrase intrigued me, and I discovered the words to this 18th century Scottish Folk song.

The Barrin’ o’ the Door

O the barrin’ o’ the door

O the barrin’ o’ the door

It fell about a Christmas time, and a cauld time it was then

When our guidwife had puddings to make, and she boiled them in the pan

The wind it blew from north to south, and it blew untae the floor

Said our guidman to his guidwife, ‘Get up and bar the door’

My hand is in the mixing bowl as well that you can see

If it’s never barred this hundred year, it’ll not be barred by me

They made a pact between themselves, they made it firm and sure

Whoever should speak the first word, should rise and bar the door

By there came two gentlemen at twelve o’clock at night

There they saw the man and wife sitting by candlelight

Have we found a rich man’s house, or is it but you’re poor

But neither o’ them would speak a word for the barrin’ o’ the door

First they ate the white puddings and then they ate the black

And though the guidwife thought a lot yet never a word she spak

Said one traveller tae the other ye’re a man to wield a knife

You shave off the auld man’s beard and I will kiss his wife

There’s no hot water in the house, and what shall I do then

Why don’t you use the gravy that’s boilin’ in the pan

Then up jumped our guidman, and an angry man was he

Wad ye kiss my wife before my eyes and shave my beard with gravy

Then up jumped our guidwife and skipped around the floor

Admit it now, you’ve spoken first, get up and bar the door.

‘Barrin o’ the Door’
‘Barrin o’ the Door’

The scene on the dial represents the words of this folk song. The wife is busy making sausages, the door is open, and the robbers are eating the food. One robber wields a knife, and proposes to shave off the man’s beard. The wife was so stubborn that she was about to be molested but refused to speak for fear of losing the pact with her husband. The lesson is no good comes from being obstinate.

We still have this (lucky) clock, saved from the brink of a skip. In our care its future is secure for now. Our ancestors were horologists in the Lancashire town of Prescot, which, in the 1800s, was renowned internationally for making the finest pocket watches money could buy at the time. Visitors can to this day see examples of watchmakers’ cottages that preceded the mass manufacturing that later took place in the Lancashire Watch Company.

Horology is in our genes, and we operated our business, FIXING TIME, from our home in Prescot, for many years before moving to Valle del Sol near Mutxamel in 2020.

In our modern workshop, we work on all types of clocks, pocket watches and high spec, retro and modern watches – quartz and mechanical. Contact us if you would like a no cost no obligation quote for repairs/service of your time piece. Long case clocks, like ours, and large wall clocks we can come to you – again at no cost and no obligation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Telephone: 608 013 157 or email:

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