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Astronomical Clock of Canon Music in Beauvais

Much more discreet than its neighbor, the astronomical clock known as the ‘Canon Music Clock’ is considered the oldest functioning carillon clock to date. The clock’s barrel and a large portion of its mechanical elements were crafted in the early 14th century. The cage adorned with two angels is likely from the 15th century, while the dial is an addition from the 18th century. The clock is said to have been donated by Étienne Musique, a canon originally from Anagni and affiliated with the cathedral. References to the clock appear in accounting records from 1387, documenting repair work undertaken by Pierre de Saint-Omer, as well as in writings from 1540.

Description of the Clock

The clock is located in the Chapel of Sainte-Thérèse in Beauvais Cathedral. It stands on a hexagonal stone base, and above it rises a wooden cage adorned with small windows and trilobed ogives. This structure houses the clock mechanism, while a bell tower above contains the hourly bell. The three weights responsible for the clock’s movement are housed in a hollow pillar. The gears, arranged on iron plates connected by tenons and keyways, perform three distinct functions: timekeeping, the carillon, and the striking of the large bell in the bell tower. Each set of gears consists of a barrel, a time wheel, and an escapement wheel with its anchor. The carillon is equipped with a keyboard with twelve keys.


Le fût de pierre s’élève à environ 4,5 m du sol, quant à la cage de bois, elle mesure 2,5 m de haut. Une porte permet d’accéder à l’intérieur pour la remonter et réaliser son entretien.

The mechanism