Gaunt's Clock, Royal Arcade, Melbourne


Dublin Core


Gaunt's Clock, Royal Arcade, Melbourne


arcade, Britain, Brutus, Corineus, Gaunt’s Clock, Geoffrey of Monmouth (d.1154/5), giants, Gog, Gogmagog, guardian, Guildhall, Historia Regum Britanniae, legend, London, Magog, medieval folklore, Melbourne, myth, mythology, porter, Royal Arcade, statues, time, Trojan army


A view of Gaunt’s Clock in Royal Arcade, Melbourne. Royal Arcade was designed by architect Charles Webb and was completed in 1870. Gaunt’s Clock was added in 1892. On either side of the clock is a statute of the mythical giants Gog and Magog, who symbolically strike chimes every hour. According to the legend cited in the description under the clock, Gog and Magog were captured by Brutus and forced to serve as porters at the gateway of a palace on the site of the Guildhall in London. They are indeed guardians of the City of London, and wooden statutes of the figures were installed at the Guildhall in the early eighteenth century. These statues replaced large wicker models of the giants that had been paraded in the Lord Mayor’s Procession since the time of Henry V (r.1414-1422), but that were destroyed in the Great Fire.

The description under the clock reads: “These two 7-feet giants have been striking the time on Gaunt's clock since 1892. They were carved from clear pine and modelled on the figures erected in Guildhall, London, in 1708 to symbolise the conflict between the ancient Britons and the Trojan invaders. Mythology tells of the giants Gog and Magog (also known as Corineus and Gogmagog) having been captured in battle by the Trojans and made to serve as porters at the gateway of an ancient palace on a site later occupied by the Guildhall. It is traditional for Gog to stand to the north and Magog to the south.”

However, although the description lists Corineus was an alternate name for Gog, Geoffrey of Monmouth describes Corineus as an ally of Brutus in his twelfth-century Historia Regum Britanniae, and credits him with slaying the giant Goëmagot (by throwing him into the sea).


Lynch, Andrew


29 January 2011


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