Prior to Nicolaus Copernicus' 16th Century predictive mathematical model of the Solar System, that showed how the planets orbited the Sun, it was widely believed that the Earth was the centre of the Solar System and even the Universe. Wimborne Minster's astronomical clock, which is estimated to date from around 1320, is a relic from this pre-Copernican era.
On the face of the clock the Earth is show as a blue/green sphere which is positioned in the very centre of the clock face. The Sun, which is a gold emblem painted on a black disc, revolves around the perimeter of the clock's face and indicates the hour of the day as it orbits the Earth. Between the Earth and the Sun there is another sphere which has one hemisphere painted black, and one hemisphere painted gold. This black/gold sphere represents the Moon, and as it orbits the Earth it depicts the Moon's lunar phases. At full moon the sphere's golden hemisphere is on display, and at new moon the sphere shows its black side in its entirety. Intermediate phases of the Moon are shown by a display of varying proportions of the black/gold hemispheres.
Some say that as the clock dates from 1320 it is amongst some of the oldest working clocks in the world, a group which includes clocks from Salisbury Cathedral and Beauvais Cathedral in France. It is also suggested that the clock was built by a Glastonbury Monk, Peter Lightfoot, who was also responsible for building a similar pre-Copernican clock for Wells Cathedral.
|Looking towards the clock in the West Tower.|
|1693 or 1703?|
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