top of page
Ismay Angels Dial c WEB.jpg

John Ismay

Oulton Fecit, c1720

The primitive brass dial (only) illustrated here is most interesting. It was made by John Ismay of Oulton (near Wigton) from around c1720. It has the religious verse  'memento Mori' (Bear Death in Mind), engraved to the dial centre along with some cup-and-ringing. However, to the top two corners there are also winged-cherubs that are up in the clouds and looking down whilst blowing a trumpet and shooting arrows from a bow. The trident half-hour markings are detached and the dial is signed on the chapter ring 'John Ismay, Oulton Fecit' (Made it).

Ismay Angels Dial Centre a WEB SHARP.jpg

Above. Showing the John Ismay dial centre with cup-and- ringing, a square date calendar opening and the religious verse MEMENTO MORI (Bear Death in mind) with pointing arrow heads. Photographed by Lee Borrett

Ismay Angels Left a WEB SHARP.jpg

Above.  Showing a winged cherub blowing a trumpet in the top left hand corner of the dial, along with some cup-and-ringing. Photographed by Lee Borrett

Ismay Angels Right Sharp WEB WHITE.jpg

Above.  Showing another winged cherub blowing a trumpet in the top right hand corner of the dial, along with some cup-and-rining.. Photographed by Lee Borrett

Below. Showing John Ismay's signature at the bottom of his chapter ring - Signed 'John Ismay, Oulton Fecit'  Photographed by Lee Borrett

Ismay Angels SIG Sharp WEB.jpg

John Ismay was born at Thursby, a village near Wigton in Cumberland, in March 1699.  He was apprenticed to John Ogden at Bowbridge in 1711, and was living in Tiffinthwaite at the time of his death in 1755. Today there are only a handful of religious versed clocks known to survive by him.


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. Much of the above information on 'The Wigton School' was taken from the book, along with an article written for Clocks Magazine of April 2006, also by Brian Loomes. I have however included additional information on clocks and newly discovered makers that have come to light since the book was first published, along with my own opinions on the subject!

bottom of page