llustrated here is a fascinating early 18th century two handed 30-hour religious versed wall clock by John Sanderson which was made between around c1710-c1715. The 9.25 inch solid-sheet brass dial with square box date calendar has an applied chapter ring with floating fleur-de-lis half hour markers and is signed John Sanderson, Wigton Fecit. The deeply engraved multiple religious verses to the dial are particularly interesting. Although the verses are different to each other, they are all warning us that man should be mindful of death and repent his sins before it’s too late! The verses from left to right and across the top of dial read: - ‘ Our days and years here will Quickly spend, Eternity will come that has no end. The verse to the dial centre reads ‘As time and clock and all things pass a way, A mend your lives for here wee must not stay’. To the bottom left hand corner the verse reads ‘ Esto Memor Mortis’ and to the bottom right hand corner it reads ‘ Libile Tempus a bit ‘.
he large, heavily built brass and iron Sanderson movement with lantern-style turned brass pillars has some typical features that are often found on early John Sanderson clocks including the large and very distinctive shaped back cock and the way the dial is attached to the movement by way of two upper pins to the middle of the top plate and a lower lug fixed central to the bottom plate. The movement has survived in a very original and complete condition throughout including its wheel-work and brass collets.
ohn Sanderson was born in 1671 and was the son of Robert Sanderson a blacksmith from the Quaker settlement of Tiffenthwaite near Wigton. In 1691 John Sanderson had returned to Tiffenthwaite to live and work as a clockmaker after cutting short his apprenticeship to Quaker clockmaker John Ogden of Bowbridge. And in the same year, Sanderson a Quaker himself for much of his life married the granddaughter of William Pearson of Tiffenthwaite farm who back in 1653 had hosted founder of the Quakers George Fox which led to the opening of Wigton’s first meeting house on his land.
anderson would have been well known for using his clocks to spread the word of God. I think it’s likely that this was a specially made wall clock in its day - custom made by Sanderson for a certain individual or family from the Wigton area who had very strong religious beliefs and this would explain why almost the entire dial is covered in multiple religious verses. By 1715 Sanderson was mostly using 11 and 12 inch cartwheel type dials on his clocks so to find an example with a solid dial of just over 9 inches square at this period is very unusual and again for me points to it being a one-off, purpose made clock rather than just being made to the fashion of the day - and sold at a market place - as we know Sanderson did!
ohn Sanderson single handed clock wanted.
Please Contact Lee Borrett
religious wall clock with multiple verses to the 9.25 inch dial.
Wall Clock, c1710
riginally the clock probably sat on a simple wooden wall bracket. It now sits on an interesting pair of old antique iron wall brackets which are attatched to an oak backboard with ancient bronze cross. This arrangement must have been custom made for the clock by a previous owner or blacksmith a very long time ago.
howing a close up of the 9.25 inch Sanderson dial.
Note the multiple religious verses.
howing a rear view of the John Sanderson lantern type
movement which is in a superb original condition.
howing the unusual wall bracket arrangement.