Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

‘My Dear Mother’ – Church of St. Peter, Buckland in the Moor

The Church of St. Peter dominates the centre of Buckland in the Moor. It dates from the 15th / 16th centuries, was extensively renovated in 1907 and is a pretty typical for Dartmoor, except for one thing – its clock. In the early 1930s, the clock on the tower was donated by the Lord of the Manor, William Whitley (who also had commissioned the inscription of the Ten Commandments tablets on Buckland Beacon in 1928). The letters ‘MY DEAR MOTHER’ replace numerals on both the west and east faces of the clock. This post provides some information and details pertaining to the clock folly which the author researched from ‘Dartmoor Follies’ by Philip Knowling.

1. Post Card
The above picture is a postcard which can be bought from inside the church. The picture is a view of the two stage unbuttressed west tower.
2. My Dear Mother
Both the east and west clock faces spell out the words ‘MY DEAR MOTHER’. The “MY” starts at 9 O’Clock and the “DEAR” ends at 2 O’Clock. The “Mother” starts at 8 O’Clock and goes in an anti-clockwise direction to 3 O’Clock. The gold lettering was repainted when it was restored in 2004.
3. William Whitley Grave
In the graveyard is the Whitley family (four brothers) plot. Each gravestone has the motto inscription ‘Live to Live’ on it. William Whitley, died in July 1957 and is buried with his wife Elizabeth
4. Be Funky
As well as donating a new clock and clock faces, William Whitley also donated three bells to the church. The clock chimes “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and is partially . The clock was installed by John Smith and Sons of Derby.
5. My Dear Mother
Why “MY DEAR MOTHER” ? This is a dedication to Elizabeth, mother of William Whitley who passed away a year before the clock faces were installed. He must have loved his mother very much indeed. Coincidently both his wife and mother were called Elizabeth. The author’s research has yielded either 1930 or 1931 as the year the clock was installed.
6. Church
The east end of the church taken from the road. The interior of the church is well worth a visit and of note there are the fine wagon roofs and 15th century rood screen (which originated from Bradninch Church). The screen features a red and gold frieze with foliage and bunches of grapes, together with a series of painted panels. The west side of the panels depict the Annunciation, the Wise Men and several Saints.

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