The Quaker Connection
A wonderfully original, early 18th century hook-and- spike wall clock made by Thomas Gilkes of Sibford Gower in Oxfordshire from between around c1710-1720. The wafer thin, solid nine-inch square brass dial has the twin cherub and crown (with cross) spandrels, attatched to the corners and there is rather an attractive zig-zag engraving to the dial centre. The original iron hand (with long tail) is retained and the chapter ring is signed ‘Gilkes Sibford '. The iron and brass birdcage movement with hoop and spurs is in an untouched and original condition throughout and has some nice early individual features including some interesting iron work - for example: - the nicely shaped iron tapoured arbours - have no seperate collets. Instead, the tapoured arbours are attatched directly to the wheels. This shows me that Thomas Gilkes was still using 17th century techniques during the early part of the 18th century.
Above. Showing the 9-inch square brass dial with a beautifully engraved zig-zag dial centre and Lozenge type half hour-markers.Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Below. Showing one of the twin cherub and crown (with cross) spandrels. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Below. Showing a close-up of the zig-zag dial centre. The superb single iron hand with long tail is original. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Below. Showing the signature, signed Gilkes, Sibford and was probably made by Thomas Gilkes between around c1710-1720. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
The Thomas Gilkes iron and brass birdcage movement with hoop and spurs is in an untouched and original condition throughout and has some nice early individual features.
Above. Showing a side view of the Gilkes hook-and-spike birdcage movement. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Below. The clock retains its original and fabulous wooden pulley and lead bucket type lead counterweight. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Below. Showing a close-up of the the nicely shaped iron tapoured arbours which have no seperate collets. Instead, the tapoured arbours are attatched directly to the wheels. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Below. Showing the early Thomas Gilkes hook-and -spike iron and brass movement with it's dial removed. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Below. Showing a view of the Thomas Gilkes of Sibford top plate. Photographed by Lee Borrett.
Quaker Clockmaker,Thomas Gilkes was born in Sibford Gower in about 1665. He was the son of Thomas Gilkes Senior - who back in the 1650s (with the guidance of George Fox) - had helped set up the first Quaker Meeting House in Sibford Gower (amazingly - a similar situation to that of John Sanderson).
Above. Thomas Gilkes was the son of Thomas Gilkes Senior - who back in the 1650s (with the guidance of George Fox) - had helped set up the first Quaker Meeting House in Sibford Gower. Image by Alamy.com
Young Thomas Gilkes could have been working as a clockmaker during the late 1680s or early 1690s. There is no known record of where he learnt his trade, but as he was a Quaker he would have probably been apprenticed to a fellow Quaker; possibly Richard Gilkes of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in London (this is only assumption only). Thomas Gilkes trained two of his sons as clockmakers: Thomas (1704–57), who then worked in Charlbury as both a clockmaker and a Quaker minister, and Richard (1715–87) who was a prolific maker and had established his business in West Adderbury by the c1740s. John Fardon (1700–43) of Deddington also served his apprenticeship with Thomas Gilkes in Sibford. Gilkes pioneered a clockmaking industry in north Oxfordshire villages with such success that his fellow-Quakers, including several further members of the Gilkes and Fardon families, dominated the trade in parts of the district for the next 150 years. Thomas Gilkes of Sibford died in 1743.
Quaker's meeting in the seventeenth century. Alamy.com
In the 18th century, Hook-and-Spike clocks were a cheaper alternative to the brass lantern clock and full longcase 30-hour clocks of the day. In essence, it was a smaller thirty-hour longcase which in fact had no case, but was made with the hoop and spurs with which the lantern clock had always been equipped, and which could thus be hung from any convenient wall hook, exactly as the lantern clock had done. It would have been a very popular and much more affordable clock to own.
Much of the above information on hook-and spike wall clocks has been taken from the excellent book entitled ' The Concise Guide to British Clocks' by Brian Loomes , who is the expert on such clocks!