Clock Tower Fountain

Location: Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales

In 1858 a tower was erected by public subscription to replace the Guildhall in the square at the top of Great Darkgate Street. A clock was installed courtesy of the noble family of Pryse of Gogerddan.

1905

Original clock tower circa 1905

The highly unpopular decision to demolish the original clock tower in 1957 was necessary due to safety concerns with the upper masonry. The current clock tower which was erected to celebrate the millennium bears no resemblance to the original design.

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A plaque in Welsh with English translation states;
This Clock Tower Was Inaugurated By Cllr D J Rowland Jones, Chairman Of Ceredigion City Council And Cllr Jaci Taylor Mayor Of Aberystwyth On 20th October 2000. Its Construction Was Funded By Ceredigion County Council And The Wales Tourist Board.

The drinking fountain at the base of the clock tower was donated in the mid-19th century by the Reverend John Williams who was a local Methodist minister and founder of the Band of Hope temperance group in Aberystwyth. They met in the Tabernacl Chapel and processed around the Town Clock.

 

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The original drinking fountain has been incorporated into the south face of the current tower. The central area where the font was located now hosts a plaque in Welsh with English translation; This Casting Surrounded The Drinking Fountain On The Original Clock Tower And Was Donated By The Rev. John Williams (1826-1898) Of Tabernacl, An Ardent Advocate Of Total Abstinence And Founder Of Band Of Hope Aberystwyth.

Coalbrookdale_Jesus Samaria

The fountain was designed by brothers William and Thomas Wills, sculptors best known for their designs of drinking fountains. Their cast iron fountain designs were manufactured by the Coalbrookdale Co. Limited.

The cast iron frame is in the form of a stylized shield with curved edges. The top part of the shield forms a lunette of a winged cherub resting upon clouds. Beneath the cherub was a recessed arch which contained the font.

Each side of the arch is decorated with flowers and ivy tendrils. On the left side is a seated figure of Jesus Christ pointing with his left hand to the engraved verses 13 and 14 of St John’s Gospel, Chapter IV. Jesus Said / Whosoever Drinketh Of This Water Shall / Thirst Again But Whosoever Drinketh Of / The Water That I Shall Give Him Shall /Never Thirst. But The Water That I Shall / Give Him Shall Be In Him. A Well Of Water / Springing Up Into Everlasting Life / John IV. 13. 14.

On the right is a seated figure of the Woman of Samaria with her right hand resting on her cheek and her left hand on a tall urn. The vignette is a pictorial scene of Jesus meeting the Woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well.

Glossary

  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Vignette, portrayal of an episode
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