A very rare early religious versed wall clock by Henry Sheppard of Wigton, c1710. Photographs by Lee Borrett
The extremely rare and unrestored early 18th century religious 30-hour illustrated here, was made by Henry Sheppard of Wigton and to date is his only known clock to have come to light. The polished dial centre is engraved with John Sanderson's well known religious verse which reads: 'Remember man, That Dye thou must, And after that, To judgement just', showing that Henry Sheppard clearly had links to the Wigton 'School' of Clockmaking. The brass lantern type movement is typical of the Wigton 'School' and survives in a very original condition throughout including retaining all it's original wheel-work and collets.
Above Showing the unrestored brass dial of the Henry Sheppard religious 30-hour, c1710 Photograph by Lee Borrett
Below. Signed Henry Sheppard, Wigton Fecit (Made it). Photograph by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a close-up of Henry Sheppard's polished dial centre which is engraved with Sanderson's well known religious verse which reads: 'Remember man, That Die thou must, And after that, To judgement just'... Photograph by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a close-up of one of the twin cherub and crown with crossed maces spandrels. Photograph by Lee Borrett
Below. A rear view of the Henry Sheppard lantern type brass and iron movement which is in an unrestored condition. Photograph by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a side view of the Henry Sheppard movement. It is in a superb original condition throughought including retaining all it's original wheelwork and collets. Photograph by Lee Borrett
Below. Showing a view of the top plate. Typically of the Wigton 'School' Henry Sheppard has fixed the movement to the dial by pinning the top and lugging the bottom. Photograph by Lee Borrett
The clock is housed in an interesting unrestored oak green laquered case with caddy top and finials. Close inspection reveals that this Henry Sheppard wall clock was adapted (married up) to this case in about c1740 and at the same time the spandrels were added to the dial which match the grandness of the case in the fashioin of the day. This is typical of what happened to many of these early religious wall clocks where they started life on a simple wall bracket to keep the cost down and show off their brass lantern type movements and then have been cased later when the then owner could afford to do so. This original Henry Sheppard wall clock has probably spent the last 285 years housed in this green laquered case.
Above Showing the Henry Sheppard clock housed in its green laquered case with caddy top and finials. The clock which would have originally sat on a simple wall bracket was housed in this this case around c1740 when the spandrels were added to the dial and would have been very grand when new. Photograph by Lee Borrett
Left. Showing a close-up of the trunk door with raised laquered work.
It is thought that the early Wigton clocks with the brass lantern style pillars were sold 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 these 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
The clock illustrated here is a very rare example because there are only one or perhaps two clocks known to exist by Henry Sheppard. In his book of 1977 entitled The Clockmakers of Cumberland, John Penfold lists that there is only one clock known by Henry Sheppard and describes it as having an inscription to its dial which reads "Remember Man That Dye Thou Must, And After That To Jodgement Just". The clock illustrated here may or may not be the same clock that Penfold mentions in his book. No more information has been found on Henry Sheppard, but in 1748 a John Sheppard married Jane Hendrie and this is possibly the son of Henry Sheppard marrying the daughter of James Hendrie the Wigton clockmaker!
I would like to thank Brian Loomes for allowing me to use any previously published information and articles on '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.