Wells Cathedral clock, c.1392

Turret Clock, English, 1392

The Wells Cathedral clock was built around 1392 and has been in almost continuous use ever since. It is the second-oldest surviving clock in England (the oldest is at Salisbury Cathedral). Similarities in construction make us think that the craftsmen went on from Salisbury to Wells to make this clock.

In the 1600s the original horizontal swinging beam mechanism called a foliot balance was replaced by a pendulum and anchor escapement to improve timekeeping. The clock also drove a display of automata figures which can still be seen at Wells every 15 minutes.

This original mechanism came to the Patent Museum in London in 1871, where new bells were added.

Sources: Dean and Chapter of Wells Cathedral; Gillett and Co.

 
Year made :
c.1392
Inventory number :
1884-77