The view from the top

and some background history

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The view from the top' page

St Albans has the only medieval town belfry in England - kept open to the public by volunteers from this Society and the Civic Society. It was built in 1405 (dated by dendrochronology) to signify the increasing importance of the town and to enable the townsmen to have their own clock, to ring the curfew, and to give the alarm - the bell rang for the first battle of St Albans in 1455.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The view from the top' page

The Tower has had many uses, one of which was as a signalling station from 1808 to 1814 to help warn the country if Napoleon invaded. It could pass a message by semaphore to Yarmouth and back (220 miles) in five minutes on a clear day!

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The view from the top' page

Now owned by St Albans District Council, the Clock Tower is open to the public at weekends and Bank Holidays from Easter to mid-September. There are great views from the top of the Abbey, Roman Verulamium, the rooftops of St Albans and the surrounding countryside.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The view from the top' page

The Society benefits from our involvement with the Clock Tower as we receive part of the "takings" each year, which represents a useful income to the Society.

We rely on a regular team of helpers to keep it open and welcome more volunteers. It is not onerous; we enjoy doing it and "clockateers" are invited to the annual party in Spring as a "thank you".

This page was added by Brian Bending on 26/04/2009.

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