Most of the year duration longcase clocks which were produced are either in Museums or the Royal Collection. These clocks were mostly made by 17th century London makers such as Thomas Tompion, Daniel Quare, Joseph Knibb and the Fromanteels but a few were made in the provinces.
At least four of these clocks were made in the North East, three of which were described in my book “Early Clock and Watchmakers of the Blacksmiths’ Compan”, by ex-London makers:
* One by William Prevost (c 1695).
* The second one was raffled by Abraham Fromanteel when he “retired” to Newcastle in 1711. This may or may not be the year longcase clock which was present to the Town by the mayor and sheriff of Newcastle in 1711 which stood in the mayor’s parlour and was ceremonially wound up every New Year’s Eve and is known as the Mansion House Clock. The Mansion House clock has been resold recently for £13,000 by a local auction house.
* The third clock was also made for the Town, by John Walker about 1770, who had been trained in the B.C. but moved to Newcastle about 1754.
John Craig had a long life and probably sold a large number of longcase clocks, dying in 1864 when he was succeeded in business by his widow Jane and daughter Eleanor Bolam who had been baptised in 1828. The partnership was still trading in Newgate Street, Morpeth in 1877. John’s son Thomas, born 1817 also worked as a watchmaker in Morpeth, a watch by him is recorded and hallmarked for 1840. One wonders if John Rawson, the maker of the clock, had been trained in London. A John Rawson son of William Rawson tailor of St George’s, Southwark, London, was apprenticed to George Gimber, a watchmaker in the Blacksmiths’ Company on 7th May 1767 and would have been freed about 1775, then he could have moved to Newcastle in the 1780s.
Another clockmaker who had been trained in London and then moved to the provinces was John Williamson, who moved to Leeds in 1683 and made month duration longcase clocks and at least one year duration clock.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider purchasing one of our books online here:
Early Clock and Watchmakers of the Blacksmiths' Company
Clockmakers of Northumberland and Durham
Keith Bates is an amateur horologist who has been researching clocks, watches and chronometers and their makers for over 30 years.