An early London 30-hour tulip dial longcase clock, c1672 Private collection, Photographed by Lee Borrett.
At Guildhall , c1672
The small and very desirable early tulip dial longcase clock illustrated here is a rare 30-hour London example and was made by Charles Rogers at Guildhall from around c1672. Charles Rogers was born about 1635. He was apprenticed through the Clockmakers Company when he was Bound to William Almond on 6th November 1649 through Ralph Almond until he was Freed on 14th December 1657. In 1662 he was working in Blackfriars and later at Guildhall and Charing Cross. He took as apprentices: September 1661 Benjamin Heath; July 1662 Henry Atlee, March 1665 Charles Templer; March 1672 John Frethy; his son, Charles Rogers (II), passed over March 1678 from William Cowper but he was never Freed. Charles Rogers, I worked till late 1704 at least and is believed to have been buried in 1709 at St Dunstain’s in the West. He left a Widow, Jane, and seven children. Lantern and longcase clocks are known signed ‘Charles Rogers Guildhall’, ‘Charles Rogers at Guild Hall’ and ‘Charles Rogers at Chareing Cross, Londini’, and ‘Charles Rogers Londini’.
The Trial of
Charles Rogers, 1665
Research revealed that on the 17th February 1665 and about two weeks before the first recorded deaths of the Great Plague which began in March 1665, Charles Rogers along with 33 other persons was put on trial in London for attending an illegal Religious Meeting.
Religious Meeting. A Religious meeting in the seventeenth century. Alamy.com.
The Middlesex Sessions Rolls record:
On the 17th February 1665 the following persons for having attended an unlawful assembly under colour of exercising religion &c. after two previous convictions of the same offence before Justice of the Peace, to wit—(4) Charles Rogers late of St Sepulchre’s clockmaker. …Of these thirty-four arraigned persons the following twenty-four are recorded in the register to have put themselves on a jury, to have been found ‘Guilty’ and to have been sentenced to transportation to Jamaica for seven years—(1) Thomas Weeks, (2) John Somerfield, (3) Hugh Carter, (4) Charles Rogers, … They are ordered to be safely transported to the Island of Jamaica being one of his Majesties forayne Plantations there to remain for seven years.
In February 1665, Charles Rogers along with 33 other persons was put on trial for attending an illegal Religious Meeting. Shutterstock.com
Thomas weeks may have been the clockmaker of that name. It is not known if Charles Rogers was actually transported, as he took an apprentice in March 1665, yet no other till more than seven years later! In 1679 he was in Whitehall parish, in 1695 in St Ethelburga’s. He did not sign the 1697 Clockmakers’ Company oath of allegiance but one of this name signed for the Coopers’ Company. In 1698 he had a wife and child and lived in Houndsditch Precinct.
The Great Plague
An historically important fact is that Charles Rogers trial in February 1665 took place in London within a week or two before the first official deaths were recorded from the out-brake of the Great Plague which started in the March of 1665. The Plague lasted until September1666. The Great Plague was London’s last major outbreak of the plague, a bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis. The outbreak began in the late winter or early spring of 1665. By the time King Charles II fled the city in July, the plague was killing about a thousand people a week. The death rate peaked in September when 7,165 people died in one week.
Above. Plague doctor with bird mask,suitcase, lantern, garlic and hat. Shutterstock.com
A plague doctor was a physician who treated victims of bubonic plague during epidemics mainly in the 16th and 17th century. These physicians were hired by cities to treat infected patients regardless of income, especially the poor that could not afford to pay.
Officially, the city recorded 68,596 deaths from the Great Plague, and the true death toll may have exceeded 100,000. Most of these deaths were from bubonic plague, a form of plague spread through fleas on small mammals. In London, the major carriers were rats. (In the United States, where plague has likely existed since a 1900 outbreak in San Francisco, squirrels and prairie dogs can and do transmit plague to humans.) After peaking in September 1665, the city’s plague deaths began to taper off that winter. In February 1666, King Charles II returned to London, signaling a belief that the city had become “reasonably safe,”
30-hour Longcase Clock
The Charles Rogers clock has a 9.75-inch square brass dial with small winged cherub head spandrels to the four corners and a narrow chapter of 1.25 inches wide. It has a matchstick flower design for half-hour markers with minute markings on the outside edge of the ring. The busy dial centre is most beautifully engraved with tulip flowers and is signed within a lambrequin above the number VI. The dial engraving is of the highest London quality of the day.
Above. Showing the beautifully engraved 9.75 inch brass dial of the Charles Rogers 30-hour c1672. Private collection, Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Above. The busy dial centre is most beautifully engraved with tulip flowers and is of the highest London quality of the day. Private collection, Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Above. The dial centre is signed within a lambrequin above VI 'Charles Rogers at Guil Hall'. Private collection, Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Below. Showing a close-up of a small winged cherub head spandrels which sits above one of the matchstick flower design half-hour markers. Private collection, Photographed by Lee Borrett.
The superb quality 30-hour plated movement with its original anchor escapement has four large ringed and knopped pillars and survives today in a very original condition including retaining all its original wheel work.
Above Showing a side view of Charles Rogers plated movement and as you would expect from a london maker of this early period, it is of a high quality throughout. Private collection, Photographed by Lee Borrett.
The clock is housed in a wonderfully small proportioned architectural case stands approximately 6 feet, 4 "high to the top of its pediment and is fashioned with ebonised fruitwood veneers and mouldings onto a pine carcass. It has hood side windows and no mask. Until recently, this Charles Rogers longcase clock had been in the private collection of antique clock dealer John Carlton-Smith since 1960.
Surviving 30-hour clocks that were made in London during the early 1670s are very rare indeed and the example shown here is no exception. It is very desirable and has a fascinating historical background that is linked to it's maker Charles Rogers. The clock also has a superb known provenance that we can trace back to at least 100 years. Hopefully by illustrating the clock here it has brought part of Charles Rogers story and his clock back to life!
I would like to thank https://www.history.com for allowing me to use material from their website regarding The Great Plague of 1665.