Page last updated at 23:58 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 00:58 UK

Ancient Scots clock chimes again

St Bride's Clock (picture from Historic Scotland)
The clock face was replaced by tougher hard wood.

Scotland's oldest known working clock is running again after undergoing a major refurbishment.

The ancient timepiece, which dates back to 1565, was put back into place on Friday in the bell tower of a 14th Century parish church in Lanarkshire.

Historic Scotland had the clock removed from St Bride's in Douglas last year after it began to slow down.

The mechanism was given a complete overhaul and a new clock face was fashioned from hard wood.

The clock is said to have been a gift to the village of Douglas from Mary, Queen of Scots.

When its mechanism began to fail last year, Historic Scotland commissioned Edinburgh clockmakers, James Ritchie and Son, to undertake repairs.

The conservation agency also decided to replace the clock face which had suffered substantial decay and erosion caused by the weather.

'Traditional techniques'

Skilled craftsmen and women from its own St Ann's Croft An Righ workshop fashioned a replacement from teak-like hardwood, with the numerals and hands adorned with gold leaf.

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Clock restorer explains the process

The church's weather vane was also regilded by the team at Historic Scotland's Stenhouse Conservation Centre.

Robert Duncan, Historic Scotland district manager, said: "All the work was carried out using traditional, specialist techniques and authentic materials, and the new face is a superb piece of craftsmanship.

"It has been made from a better quality, more durable material than that used the last time the face was replaced in the 1970s, so it should last for many decades to come.

"The gilding work means that people will be able to use it more easily as the time can be seen much more clearly."


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