Derwentwater Clock – Alston
Posted by on Oct 31, 2010 in Unusual clocks | 0 comments
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High in the North Pennines, and just in Cumbria, is the highest market town in England, called Alston.

Derwentwater Clock, Alston

Derwentwater Clock, Alston

Built in 1869 The Church of St Augustine of Canterbury is a member of the Diocese of Newcastle in the Parish of Alston Moor.

A single handed clock, known as The Derwentwater clock,  resides at the back of the church.

With an open face and exposed mechanism it is quite an unusual site.

The Derwentwater clock

The history of the Derwentwater Clock dates back to the 1600’s when it belonged to the Radcliffes of Dilston Hall near Hexham.

Following the execution of James Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, due to his leading role in the Jacobite Rising of 1715, lands and Estate were confiscated by The Crown.

Much of the Estate was granted to Greenwich Hospital in 1735 and all but the medieval tower house, including the clock, was demolished.

Around 20 years later in 1767 Greenwich Hospital gave the clock and a bell to Alston. Possibly for installation into the new church being built at the time.

It was during the journey between Dilston Hall and Alston that the clock face was lost and some damage also occurred to the clock frame.

Alston clock restoration

Two hundred years passed by until 1977 when the local community raised almost £1,000 to restore the clock and make a new glass fibre face.

Counterweights for the Derwentwater clock

Counterweights for the Derwentwater clock

William Potts and Sons of Leeds undertook the clock repair.

The face was created and donated by David Dowding of Arts and Constructions based in Alston.

Hanging from pulley wheels in either corner of the church above the clock are counterweights slung in leather straps.  These were as per the originals and crafted by another local craftsman Tim Meagher.

Other single handed clocks in Cumbria

We are aware of only one other single handed clock in Cumbria, The Moot Hall in Keswick