At Guildhall , c1672
The small desirable longcase clock illustrated here is a rare and exceptionally early 30-hour London example and was made by Charles Rogers at Guildhall from around c1672. Charles Rogers was born about 1635. He was apprentice 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 until at least 1704 and died in 1709
The Trial of
Charles Rogers, 1665
Research revealed that on the 17th February 1665 (the same year as the Great Plague), Charles Rogers along with 33 other persons was put on trial for attending an illegal Religious Meeting. He was found Guilty and sentenced for transportation to Jamaica for 7 years. However, the evidence suggests that he managed to purchase his freedom and took Charles Templer as an apprentice just one month after his trial in March 1665. Templer was Freed in March 1672.
Religious Meeting. In February 1665, Charles Rogers along with 33 other persons was put on trial for attending an illegal Religious Meeting. Shutterstock.com
The Great Plague
An historically important fact is that Charles Rogers trial in Feruary 1665 took place in London only a few weeks before the first offical deaths were recorded from the outbrake of the Great Plague which started in the spring 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,”
Charles Rogers 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. 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. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Above. The dial centre is signed within a lambrequin above VI 'Charles Rogers at Guil Hall'. 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. 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. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
The 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. The case is antique and shows the signs of age, however, it is not the original which was probably lost due to wood rot and decay. London dealer, John Carlton-Smith purchased this Charles Rogers architectural longcase clock in 1960 for his own private collection and then kept the longcase clock untouched in his collection for almost 60 years until I purchased the clock from him for my own collection.
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