Fivemiletown Village Clock & Petty Sessions House

Location: Fivemiletown

The Montgomery family commissioned a street clock to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1903.  Local craftsmen were selected to make the copper casing.  It was the centrepiece of the display at Fivemiletown Industrial Exhibition on 31st July 1903.

The main frame is of solid wrought-iron members with rivet dowel and bolted connections.  In October 1903 it was fixed to the wall of the Petty Sessions by means of eight partially threaded metal rods.  If you look carefully at the iron scrollwork used to mount the clock, the initials E and A (Edward and Alexandra) can be seen on either side.

It is believed that the frame and possibly the iron scrollwork may have been made by William Martin at his forge on the Screeby Road.

The hand-crafted outer casing panels and the crown which forms the finial are made of copper.  The royal coat of arms is described in repoussé work on the side facing the Main Street.

The main timepiece is primarily made of brass and is mounted on a shelf inside the Petty Sessions building.  It was supplied (and possibly made) by Sharman D Neill, jewellers in Belfast which was later taken over by Lunn’s.

The Sessions House and Shambles was build in 1931 by Col Hugh Montgomery.  It belonged to Blessingbourne Estate and was used as both a courthouse and a barracks until 1874 when the barracks was transferred across the road to a separate building beside the Tanyard Tavern.  The barracks section was then occupied by James Mulligan, a cab driver, who may also have been the live-in caretaker.  He seems to have vacated his section about 1912, presumably when the copper workers took it over.

The upper floor continued to function as a Sessions House until 1910, when its designation was upgraded to that of ‘Courthouse’.  The Petty Sessions or Court operated on a monthly basis on the first Thursday of each month.  The building was also used as a reading room and lending library in the 1890’s.  In more recent years the ground floor of the Courthouse has been used for commercial purposes.

Directions:  Main Street, Fivemiletown  (Opposite The Valley Hotel)

Petty Sessions Building 6          Fivemiletown 4    Petty Sessions Building 7

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