The Wells Cathedral clock is an astronomical clock in the north transept of Wells Cathedral, England. The clock is one of the group of famous 14th to 16th century astronomical clocks to be found in the west of England. The surviving mechanism is dated to between 1386 and 1392.
Salisbury Cathedral and Wells cathedral are home to the world’s oldest working clocks. We hope to make it to Salisbury on our next trip to the UK.
Wells Clock Shop Conspiracy
We had a strange experience while in Wells. There was a clock shop near the cathedral and it, of course, caught our eye as we were passing by. We popped in and in the in the center of the shop was a grandfather clock and on the dial a name was inscribed: James Harrison. On the case, was propped a copy of Longitude by Dana Stobel, the terrific story of John Harrison and his quest to create the marine chronometer. (We highly recommend this book and the subsequent mini series made for A & E.)
A Little Legwork
We asked after the clock and the proprietor claimed the clock was created by John Harrison’s brother. This seemed odd. Harrison was a carpenter by trade and his brother worked with him in that mien. We had never heard that his brother produced clocks on his own. The proprietor was adamant and the clock was priced accordingly.
We ruminated on this for days, investigating where we could. We even took a trip to the Worshipful Company of Clockmaker museum at Guild Hall in London and asked to speak with the director so that we could question him about this. (He was polite if not befuddled at our odd request to speak with him.) Nonetheless, he confirmed our thoughts, that this was an errant tale. We hope no poor punter was convinced by the story and swindled into buying that clock.