After 600 years, world’s oldest clock ‘to be wound by hand for the last time’

August 21st, 2010 - 2:18 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Aug 21 (ANI): The world’s oldest mechanical clock is to be wound by hand for the last time next week.

The clock at Wells Cathedral in Somersetthat that has been wound by hand every week for 600 years will now be fitted with an electric motor.

The change comes following the retirement of the last member of a family who has maintained it for almost a century.

Experts say the clock, which tracks the sun across the sky and records the stages of the moon, is a marvel of medieval craftsmanship.

Paul Fisher has been undertaking the daunting task of spending an hour, three times a week, turning the three 250kg weights about 800 times, since 1987.

Above it is a figure, “Jack Blandifers”, who hits the bells on the hour with a hammer and his heels, while a pair of knights chases each other above the dial every 15 minutes.

This week, however, he announced his retirement as the official “Keeper of the Great Clock of Wells”.

“I’m a bit sad that all these years of history are coming to an end but winding the clock by hand is just so time consuming,” The Telegraph quoted Fisher, as saying.

“I feel very proud and privileged to have wound this magnificent clock and that my family has been involved in such a historic task,” he added.

Fisher’s family took over responsibility in 1919 after his grandfather, Leo Fisher, returned from First World War service.

Leo Fisher’s sons, Ken and Toni, continued the tradition in 1935 before his daughters, Ruth and Mary, took over during the Second World War.

“Mr Fisher’s leaving is a reminder that we are responsible for caring for the Cathedral and other spiritual and heritage treasures for this and future generations to come,” said administrator Paul Richards. (ANI)

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