06 November, 2010

World's Oldest Working Clock And Salisbury Cathedral

Oldest clock in world Salisbury Cathedral
While on our recent break we visited Salisbury Cathedral, which is thought to be on the same ley line as Stonehenge (more about this perhaps on another day). What the Cathedral does house is the world's oldest working clock, as per the photo above. Yes, I know I'm a little off subject from the usual subject matter of the blog!

Though the first stones for Salisbury Cathedral were laid in 1202 the clock is from 1386 and was originally housed in a separate bell tower until 1789. It is now positioned in the North Nave Aisle.

The clock has no face, as per modern time pieces, and was designed to strike the hours.

The power is supplied by two large stones hanging from pulleys. As the weights fall, ropes unwind from the wooden barrels. One barrel drives the main wheel which is regulated by the escapement, the other drives the striking mechanism and the air brake.

When the weights reach the floor, they have to be lifted back up again, a task that explains the presence of two large wheels shaped like steering wheels at either side of the clock.

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral itself is a special place with Britain's largest spire at 404 feet (123m) and has the earliest choir stalls dating back to 1236.

The Cathedral's Chapter House is home to the best preserved of four surviving original Magna Carta sealed by King John in 1215. Written in abbreviated Latin on Vellum, the document set down for the first time the relationship between the King and his subjects and their rights.

The Magna Carta's significance in the democratic world continues today, inspiring documents from the United States Constitution to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I've mentioned before that I do not belong to any organised religion but I love the atmosphere and history of places of worship. I'd recommend a visit to Salisbury Cathedral if you are ever in the area and, while there, take a look at the world's oldest working clock, the tall spire, the medieval Cloisters, the Magna Carta, the 1236 choir stalls and so on.

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1 comment:

  1. Have never been to Salisbury, appears an interesting place with lots of history. Like the clock.

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