At the October Court meeting Past Master Charles Hughes presented a wonderful Cathedral Clock to the Company. Accepting it on behalf of the Company, the then Master Michael Grant, described it as a stunning and very generous gift and the Court acclaimed the presentation.
Charles and his wife Beverley first saw examples of Stephen Harris’s craftsmanship at the Royal Berkshire Show. They were entranced by his modern interpretation of traditional concepts, the skilled attention to detail and wonderful use of wood.
The Cathedral Clock is inspired by the great English gothic cathedrals, hence its name, and is Stephen’s unique piece de resistance. When Charles and Beverley saw it they both, independently, thought how well it would look in our Hall and what a wonderful Master’s gift it would make.
The clock has an eight day mechanism and is entirely constructed from ash. There were some refinements to be made and a special lever was fitted so that not only can the chimes be changed but also, should there be an event which requires silence, turned off altogether. Although the clock can be dismantled transportation of intricate timepieces needs to be undertaken with great care. Having purchased the clock the first challenge was to transport it from the workshop in mid Wales to Charles and Beverley’s home in Berkshire. Thence to the Hall in August where the Clerk, Mike Jenkins, assisted in its assembly and Charles gave him guidance on its general care and weekly winding.
Charles said that “Presenting the Cathedral Clock at the October Court meeting was a privilege and a pleasure. I am thrilled at the enthusiastic response it has received and the Master’s kind and effusive acceptance of our gift. Beverley and I wish all who meet in the Livery Room happy times!”
The incoming Master, Michael Webster, who took the Master’s seat to Chair the concluding part of the October Court, [having consulted his Webster’s Dictionary (1897 edition) to find]... that a cathedral is so defined because it was where a bishop had his seat of office; “cathedra” being Latin for chair. Past Master John Carrington presented the splendid Master’s seat, so there is a good symmetry between these two artefacts. Indeed it might be appropriate to describe this superb cathedral clock, after Charles’ own words, as a “Timepiece de Resistance”!
Thank you, Charles and Beverley for such a generous gift - a continuing reminder of Charles’ illustrious year as Master.