The wonderfully interesting early religious 30-hour wall clock illustrated here was made by Richard Sill of Wigton who was an important member of the 'Wigton School of Clockmaking' headed by John Sanderson. Dating around c1705 the polished dial centre is deeply engraved with John Sanderson's favourite religious verse which reads: 'Remember man, That Die thou must, And after that, To judgement just'. The absence of spandrels and the heavily built brass lantern type movement are both typical features of the school. The penny moon in the dial centre is a rare feature on these early Wigton clocks.
Above. Showing the wonderfully interesting brass dial of an early 30-hour religious versed wall clock with rare penny moon feature by Richard Sill of Wigton dating from c1705.Photographed by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a close-up of the busy Richard Sill dial centre. Interesting half-hour markers.Original iron hands.Photographed by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a close-up of Richard Sill's penny moon feature. Note the wonderful and deeply engraved religious verse. Photographed by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a close-up of the Richard Sill signature signed Richard Sill Wigton, Fecit. Photographed by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a side view of the Richard Sill heavily built lantern type brass and iron movement which is typical of 'The Wigton School'. Lovely original condition throughought including retaining all it's original wheelwork and collets Photographed by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a close-up of the Richard Sill original wheel collets and pinions.Photographed by Lee Borrett Photographed by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a rear view of the Richard Sill brass and iron lantern type movement.The cartwheel cast dial is typical of Northern clocks of this period.Photographed by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a view of the Richard Sill top plate. The longcase type of bellstand is normal for these early Wigton clocks, as is the pyramid shaped back cock.Photographed by Lee Borrett
It is thought that the 'wigton school' clockmakers sold many of their early 30-hour clocks with the brass lantern style pillars at the local marketplace in wigton and surrounding areas including even as far as Edinburgh with a view that the new owners could either use them as wall on bracket clocks (showing off the lantern style brass pillars) and keeping the price down. Alternatively, they could house the clock in a wooden case straight away or at some time in the future when they could afford to. From my own experiences in collecting them I think that apart from a few cases the vast majority of the early religious versed 30-hour clocks with the lantern style movements were probably used as wall clocks initially and then some of these were either housed later in a new case, styled in the then fashion of the day, or like other examples found today - which have been at some time in their life adapted to a previously occupied case (married up). However, when collecting these early Wigton clocks this is all part of their natural history through the passage of time and ownership and I do not view this in a negative way.
Above. Showing the early Richard Sill clock sitting on a primitive oak wall bracket. Photograph by Lee Borrett
Richard Sill was born about 1670 and was working in Wigton by 1704 when he married there to Mary Jefferson, though he may have already been resident for some years. He died in 1729. He is thought to have worked mostly for John Sanderson though may have worked alone later in his life. His earliest clocks are typical 'Wigton School' type Sanderson 30-hour clocks with the heavily built lantern type movements and was an important early member of 'The wigton School of Clockmaking'.
I would like to thank Brian Loomes for allowing me to use any previously published information and articles on John Sanderson and 'The Wigton Scool of Clockmaking'.
Brian Loomes is the authority on John Sanderson. His book 'Brass Dial Clocks' has a whole chapter on The Wigton School. This book is a must for collectors interested in this subject.