“Oh, thou who dost these pointers see”

A huge thank you to our very own Benefice historian, Chris, and his very interesting piece on the history of the Cockshutt Clock; like a lot of us, it might be old, but it’s still going and is, nevertheless, loved and treasured by the villagers of Cockshutt. 

It’s an interesting fact that despite the endless presence of digital time on our various devices, when the Cockshutt Clock bell doesn’t ting and the clock itself stops, it’s quickly noticed, and the Wardens informed!

For many of us, it is truly humbling when we take stock of all that our clock has borne witness to since its installation in 1789, when George III was King, and the ravages of both World Wars were far into the future, as indeed was the landing of the first man on the moon.

Now, 234 years later, as we observe our clock, we marvel that it is still working!  Quietly, we reflect on its marking of the passage of time in the lives of the villagers, whether past, present or future and its relentless but steady march through days of humdrum ordinariness, celebration and inevitable sorrow.  The following poem aptly sums this up …

The Church Clock

Cockshutt Clock

Oh, thou who dost these pointers see,
And hears’t the chiming hour,
Say, do I tell the time to thee,
And tell thee nothing more;
I bid thee mark life’s little day
By stokes of duty done;-
A clock may stop at any time,
But time will travel on.

I am a preacher to a few,
A servant unto all,
As here I stand tick, ticking,
like a death watch in a wall;
And, it were well that those who see
These fingers gliding on,
Should think a moment, now and then,
How fast the moments run.

There’s some of you are wealthy,
And some of you are proud;
And some are poor, and some are sad,
And waiting for a shroud;
Be patient yet a while, for see
This little yard below,-
The man who goes the longest way,
Has not so far to go.

A christening, then, a wedding comes;
And then, a passing bell;
‘Tis just the ancient tale that time
Has always had to tell:
The very clock that marks the hour,
With ticking wears away;
The gladdest pulse of life contains
the music of decay

Edwin Waugh, English Poet (1817 – 1890)


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