Francis Whitton, Norwell

A Stunning George III Longcase Clock by Francis Whitton c.1740.



The case is made from the finest English oak, the long trunk door typical of the period still retains it’s original engraved ‘H’ hinges and escutcheon. The hood door still with it’s original glass has integral pillars and gilded capitals, above is a beautifully carved blind fret.  The trunk door has it’s original gilded ‘Bullseye’ lenticle to view the swinging brass ‘bob’ pendulum.  The casework is typical of central England.


The movement is also typical of early provincial clockmaking with some unusual features, for example the very ‘crude’ way of fixing the chapter ring to the dial with two strips of iron bent into a gentle curve more reminiscent of blacksmith’s work almost, but in keeping with an early village clockmaker. Improvising to overcome the problems of fixing his chapter ring to the dial he had just made.  Francis made a brass plated movement with a single hand, finely turned, knopped and ringed pillars, a cut out of the bottom of the plates (probably to save on brass which at the time that this clock was made was around seven times more expensive as iron!) It is of thirty hour duration and strikes the hours on a large bell.


The dial is interesting in that the ‘scrape’ marks can still quite clearly be seen in the brass plate (‘scraping’ was the method used to level the brass sheet) quite clearly Francis made everything by his own hand, even the engraving of his own name (compare this to the engraved names on most clocks which were more usually done by a professional engraver) is very crudely done but shows a rustic charm. The clock retains it’s original lead weight, pendulum and single hand.


This is an incredibly original example of an early provincial Longcase clock, totally unchanged since the day it was made in Nottinghamshire.


Francis Whitton is recorded in Brian Loomes ‘‘Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World’’ as working in Norwell, Nottinghamshire in 1740.                              

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