Located in the Inner Hall, the castle object of the month is a replica of the original clock reputed to have been given by King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn on the morning of their marriage in 1532. The original clock is said to have been given to Horace Walpole by Lady Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Germain and placed in his collection of curiosities in the Library at Strawberry Hill, c.1747-95. It was then bought by the Keeper of the National Gallery for Queen Victoria at the sale of Horace Walpole’s collection in 1842. It was subsequently put on display in the ‘Panel Room’ at Windsor Castle.
The original clock remains in the Royal Collection and is a wall hung clock mounted on a gilt metal bracket and with a glass dome. The top is pierced with foliage and scrolls containing the bell, surmounted by a leopard holding a shield with the Royal coat of arms and Garter.
The first domestic clocks, in the early 15th century, are miniature versions of cathedral clocks – powered by hanging weights, regulated by escapements with a foliot (primitive balance wheel), and showing the time by means of a single hand working its way round a 12-hour circuit on the clock’s face. By the middle of the 15th century the spring-driven mechanism had been developed.
Find out more about the history of Hever Castle.