'My Dear Mother' Clock – Devon, England - Atlas Obscura

'My Dear Mother' Clock

Instead of numerals, the unusual clock face spells out a memorial to a lost loved one. 


Buckland in the Moor is a perfectly picturesque village in Dartmoor; the pastoral landscape is dotted with quaint thatched cottages that harken to another time. With a population of just around 100 people, this tiny village also has more than its fair share of oddities.

One of the local gems is the parish church, St Peter’s, which was originally built in the 12th century and mostly rebuilt in the 15th century. It is notable for its Norman limestone font, rood screen, and medieval floor tiles. But its biggest draw is the unusual clock that graces the stone tower.

Instead of numerals, there are 12 Olde English letters around the circumference, which spell out “My Dear Mother.” The words “My Dear” make up the hours of 9 through 2 across the top of the clock face, with “Mother” spelled out counterclockwise below from 8 to 3.

The black-and-gold timepiece was added to the old church in 1931 by William Whitley, Lord of Buckland Manor. He had the clock made as a memorial to his mother who had recently died. Ever quarter hour, its chimes play the the Anglican hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful.”

Whitley is also behind the village’s other unique attraction, two large granite slabs engraved with the Ten Commandments. He hired a mason to carefully carve the biblical text into two stones that stand on top of Buckland Beacon, a grassy hill with lovely views overlooking the valley. The Commandments are also carved on the wall inside the parish church.

Know Before You Go

The church stands on a small hill near the center of the village. The clock is on the exterior of the tower. The gold lettering was repainted when it was restored in 2004.

The Ten Commandments stones are at the top of the Buckland Beacon, which is accessed through a short walk. A footpath starts near the Cold East Cross parking area just east of the village.

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August 16, 2018

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