Keeping Time

This is the oldest working clock in Britain.

The mechanism dates from sometime just before 1500 and sits in St. Andrew’s Church in Castle Combe, Wiltshire. It was first installed to measure intervals between ringing the church bell and was only taken down from the bell tower for repairs in 1984…ah the good ol’ days when tech lasted 400 years.


A device was installed to mechanically turn the clock’s winding mechanism at the same time that it was taken down for repairs. Previously someone would’ve had to climb up the bell tower every day to wind it by hand.

You might also notice the clock has no face. The faceless clock of Castle Combe sounds like some kind of Lovecraftian horror story, but the people who relied upon it in the 1500s would have only needed to mark the hours in the day rather than minutes – life certainly ran at a slower pace.