Ripon’s ancient tradition of setting the watch every night at 9pm ran 15 minutes late earlier this month when the hornblower’s car broke down.
Since 886 the watch has been set by an appointed Ripon hornblower sounding the horn on the four corners of the obelisk at exactly 9pm.
But as tourists gathered for the nightly ceremony,there was no sign of the hornblower.
Coun Adrian Morgan, Mayor of Ripon, said the hornblower had been delayed because of car trouble, and setting the watch instead took place around 15 minutes later than usual.
The mayor said: “Due to the circumstances of car trouble he did well to blow it only 15 minutes late. It hasn’t affected the tradition, as long as it was blown and as long as the watch was set.”
Tourists come from all over the world to watch the ceremony at 9pm. The responsibility for setting the watch is shared by three deputy hornblowers. Coun Morgan said he did not want to name the deputy who was late.
The centuries-old tradition is believed to have started in the Ninth Century, when Alfred the Great visited the city and gifted Ripon a horn as a symbol of a Royal Charter.
Ripon City Council said it was unavailable to comment.