Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Moon Clocks and High Tides

High up on the southern tower of St Margaret's is this oddity; a moon phase and tide clock. The writing on the edge says Lynn High Tide, each letter representing an hour. The hour hand is a little green dragon with a cross in his mouth (a Lynn motif). The moon phase appears through a circular hole but as it was new moon on the day I arrived you can't actually see the moon . (But don't you take my word for it here's another view) The clock dates from 1681 and was the gift of one Thomas Tue, clockmaker, churchwarden and one time mayor of King's Lynn. Thank you Thomas.

St Margaret's has undergone much needed repairs and renovations this last year, so I've read. The porch needed fixing as bits might have fallen on someone's head. The new stone is a bit off putting but it'll weather and does show how bright the whole church would have looked when new just six or so hundred years ago. Must have been stunning. (Ignore the little red sign saying "Minster open"; St Margaret's was apparently turned into King's Lynn Minster some years back by the Bishop of Norwich, but, like Holy Trinity in Hull, also recently minsterised, no-one seriously uses the term. Seems you can't overturn centuries of use by episcopal degree)

King's Lynn, like Hull, is prone to flooding. The Wash is just up the river and beyond that the big old North Sea prone to tidal surging every now and then. At the entrance to the church these markers are reminders of high water levels over the years. The renovation has somewhat blurred them but the highest, at nearly four feet, was just back in 1978 but the worst by far for the whole east coast of England was in 1953 when hundreds died. There are lots more flood protection measures in place now and regular exercises to test them, so I've read, let's just hope they work when the next surge comes.

1 comment:

  1. That kind of clock is a new one to me, but given that tides are very much a concern, I see the reason for it.