fail to excite me in one way or another. I do find Savage's earliest work most interesting, and although many of his early clocks all seem to have very similar features to both his dials and movements - like the goblet shaped collets and iron top and bottom plates for example - they each have their own unique charm and character about them which makes them different to each other and very desirable to me - as a collector.
ichard Savage was born in Wenlock Magna ( the ancient name for Much Wenlock), Shropshire, on 2 August 1663, the son of William & Joan Savage. He was one of the middle children of a family with at least 11 children, not all of whom survived their childhood.Richard married Elizabeth Price of Bridgenorth in 1685/86, after he would have finished his apprenticeship. Their children included William, born in Wenlock Magna on 15th September 1687 and Thomas, also born in Wenlock Magna, on 17th August 1690. William was apprenticed to his father, in Shrewsbury, in 1700 and Thomas, also in Shrewsbury, in 1703 when both were aged 13. Elizabeth, Richards wife, died in Shrewsbury on 7th March 1722. Richard re-married, to Margaret Jones on 19th October 1726, but he himself died, in Srewsbury, on 27th June, aged 64.
everal clocks signed by Richard Savage are known, and some of these but not all, are dated. Richard was apprenticed around 1677, and was a qualified clockmaker from about 1684/5. There is a lantern clock dated 1692 (illustrated on this website. It has no place name but was made in Wenlock Magna) and another lantern dated 1694 signed ' Wenlock Magna'. There are also several wall clocks by Savage dated during the 1690s, signed '' Wenlock Magna' (all have beautifully engraved dials) and a dial and movement (only) of a wall clock known to exist by Savage that is dated 1688. Recent examples to have come to light by Savage include a hooded wall clock of the c1680s (illustrated here) and a round dial hook-and-spike of the c1720s.
he question arises as to who taught Richard Savage his skills. While unsophisticated, his work shows good attention to detail and decoration, and is in no way crude. He is most unlikely to have been able to teach himself, in those days, to an acceptable standard. There is no evidence about his apprenticeship,and one can only conjecture. Assuming that the date of 1677 is right for the start of his apprenticeship, there were 5 clockmakers working in Shropshire at that time, with 3 watchmakers working in Shrewsbury. Of the clockmakers, two worked at the other end of the county and another appears to be an itinerant church clock repairer. The most likely candidates appear to be William Haseldine of Rowton (working 1672-1726) about 15 miles from Much Wenlock, Edward Norton of Berrington (1680), 8 miles from Much Wenlock, and Richard Bird of Much Wenlock itself. The formers two existence is only known from the records of repairs to church clocks in those places, so they might have been itinerants too. Richard Bird, however, was born in Wenlock Magna on 25th August 1605, and married there on 3rd March 1632. He would have been 72 when Savage started his apprenticeship and 79 when Savage became free – he was definitely working in 1659 and the possibility that he was Savages mentor is strongest.
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recently and does not disappoint. Dating during the 1680s, it is a rare and very early example, and survives today in its original primitive oak hood. Not only is the clock particularly interesting in its own right and made by the earliest domestic clockmaker in the county of Shropshire from whom work is known to survive today, but it also has a wonderfully historical provenance attached to it. The clock, hood and its fascinating story is fully illustrated and revealed below!
stonishingly, to make the 10-inch dial, it looks like Richard Savage has used some kind of old brass vessel that has been joined together from two separate pieces of brass. The joint - which can be seen running in a straight line right through the matted dial centre and then which curves off at each end has been castellated and brazed together just like when they needed to make joints on old brass or copper cooking pots, water jugs and other vessels of this period to make them watertight. It is a total mystery to me why Savage has made his dial from something like an old cooking pot, but the fact that he did use the above method for this dial gives us a very rare insight into some of Richard Savages earliest working practices never seen before. Another interesting talking point is Richard Savages signature. It is quite normal to find 17th century Savage clocks signed with the place name as ‘Salop’ or ‘de-Salop’, (in French), but this is the first time I have seen an example signed ‘of Salop ‘ and the use of the word ‘of ’ (in English) in his signature is extremely rare. The superb iron hand is original and typical of other Savage clocks. It has meeting arrowhead half hour makers and cherub head spandrels to the four corners
condition throughout and has many typical Richard Savage features including the tapered iron arbours with his trademark brass goblet shaped collets. Other typical features are the iron top and bottom plates with pre- drilled holes for his optional screw on hoop and spurs (if required). It also has Savages unique way of fixing the dial to movement by having an upper iron L shaped iron bracket which is riveted to dial and then fixes on top of iron top plate of movement by a screw and pin. Also a dial lug is pinned to the lower movement - exactly same features and locations as others I have owned and seen by him
brackets and just like Savages castellated jointed brass dial - it is just as interesting. There is no hood door opening, so the hood which retains its original wavy glass, needs to be removed to adjust the time. The case retains its lovely original blacksmith iron hooks that prtrude through the backboard and are clearly custom made for the Richard Savage clock to hang from. Interestingly the whole front of the hood has been made up with just two solid pieces of vertical joined oak and then the large square hole to receive the glass has been cut out with no joins at all to the four corners. This has caused some expected splits because it is not a good working practice. However, I have seen this same feature before on another early Savage clock case. Other clocks by Savage where the hood glass opening has been constructed using this very peculiar method can be seen in the book entitled Lantern Clocks by Brian Loomes pages 379-380, where two examples are illustrated and both have been made in a very similar way and were probably made by the same case maker who made the hood shown here. The glass opening is 11 inches square and the dial is only 10 inches square meaning there is a half inch gap around the dial. However, the fact that Richard Savage has made the dial with a castellated joint showing right through its matted centre, also the fact that the clock hangs from its original long iron hooks clearly made for the Savage movement to hang from and the peculier way the hood glass opening has been made resulting in large splits (but is the same peculiar feature to other early known Savage cases) - shows us that for whatever reason - Richard Savage was not too bothered about this hooded clock looking too perfect and in a way the gap around the dial is in keeping with the other inperfect finishes of this rustic, rare and very early example!
howing the original
primitive oak hood c1680s
he hood has tulip