onderfully original and unique 8-day, three train quarter chiming 'iron' ting-tang by Thomas Royle, who was working in Whitehaven (Cumberland) during the 1730s, before moving to Liverpool around 1750. It is extraordinary in having a massive and heavily built iron ting-tang movement , with thick iron plates, pillars and iron backcock. The clock performs one ting-tang (on two bells), at quarter past, two at half past, three at quarter to, four ting-tangs on the hour, followed by the hour strike, which is done on a third and and seperate bell. The 14-inch square brass dial is exceptionally handsome and needs to be large to allow for the wide set of the three winding squares for the three seperate trains. The dial centre is most beautifully engraved in a type of scrolling leafwork and floral design. There is herringbone engraving to the dial edges making it an attractive border. The spandrels are a large cherub-head form and very pleasing. The finely cut blue- steel hands are original. The chapter ring is signed at the bottom in the usual manner Thomas Royle without placename. However interestingly there is further engaving to the dial centre and executed by the same hand which reads ` Ex Dono Jno Whitehead`. This means `the gift of John Whitehead`. It is also dated 1744. The original and extremely heavy, high quality solid oak case has a long shaped door top and is typical of the area and period.The hood door with four beautifully turned pillars has an interesting fretwork panel. The whole clock is in a wonderful original condition suggesting that the clock has been well looked after.
iscovered and illustrated many years ago by Brian Loomes, this interesting and heavy-duty longcase was probably commissioned by John Whitehead as a ‘one-off ’and purpose made by Thomas Royle - but for whom - remains a mystery? The excellent original condition of its oak case, suggests that it has been very well looked after and that it was given pride of place somewhere! John Ogden of Bainbridge made a unique six bell quarter chiming clock for a convent in the 1690s and it makes sense to me that this clock by Royle may have been made for a similar purpose. Interestingly Thomas Royle did not include the place name ‘Whitehaven‘on the dial but this may be because the clock was made for a house or institution just outside or near Whitehaven. This could have been a school, workhouse or even offices within a shipping company in the area. However, it was certainly made for an institution or a person who needed to be reminded of the time every fifteen minutes!
e may never find out why or for whom this handsome and heavy duty longcase clock was originally made for, but for me the mystery is part of the excitment that comes with owning such a fasinating example. However I would certainly be most grateful to hear from anyone who has any ideas or information on this subject!
Click an Image to view clock
This clock is fully illustrated inside Brian Loomes book ' Clockmakers of Northern England ' and the dial is also shown on the front cover
very original and interesting three train quarter chiming iron ting-tang. Truly a one-off special Whitehaven clock.
howing the beautifully engraved dial centre of the rare ting-tang.
howing the superb dial. The fine iron hands are original.
howing the original, heavily built oak case.
Click to view a Whitehaven watch made by Thomas Royle
And enraved by the same engraver used for ting-tang.