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lantern clock made in the 1650s by Benjamin Hill of Fleet Street, London lantern clock made in the 1650s by Benjamin Hill of Fleet Street, London

Superb lantern clock made in the 1650s by Benjamin Hill of Fleet Street, London, with reinstated balance wheel escapement and alarmwork, a fine maker by whom very few clocks are known. Pictured before restoration. See article. SOLD.

Extract from my book 'Lantern Clocks and their Makers'

This Fleet Street clock was made by Benjamin Hill, probably in the 1650s but certainly before the Great Fire of 1666, when his premises were destroyed. He was working from the 1640s, but this clock is not as early as that. This is a classic late Civil War period clock, though his engraving is finer than some. The pillars are of composite type, but being well fitted look at first sight like integral pillars. Ball feet became the norm and he is now using the new slimmer, rounded urn pattern for finials. His iron hand is unusual but original. His hammer spring stop is filed into a bird's beak type of decoration. This serves no purpose, but this (or sometimes a 'crocodile mouth') was done by many clockmakers from now on, just for fun. Three examples of the matchstick man casting mark appear on this clock.

Hill, Benjamin. London. He was baptised 22nd March 1617 at Hatton, Warwickshire, the son of John Hill, a wheelwright of Rowington, just a couple of miles from Warwick. He was apprenticed in the Blacksmiths' Company in 1632 to Richard Child. He was made a free Brother in the Clockmakers' Company 1640 and free of the Blacksmiths Company in 1641. He took many apprentices through the Clockmakers' Company, including Nathaniel Chamberlaine, who himself later made lantern clocks. He became a Clockmakers' Company Assistant in 1651, Warden in 1652, Master from 1657-59. He was married in 1645 at St. Bride's Fleet Street to Gunnett Say (sister of clockmaker Nehemiah Say), by whom he had several children born between 1646 and 1653, none of whom seem to have followed his trade. They were 1646 John, 1648 Benjamin, 1650 Sampson, 1653 Mary, and others who died young. By 1646 he worked in Boar's Head Alley off Fleet Street in St. Dunstan's parish, possibly in a yard named Cock and Key Court. His property was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and he then moved to Fetter Lane. His daughter, Mary married clockmaker William Young in 1671. He died in September 1670, aged about 53, leaving a will and was buried in St. Dunstan's. His widow, Gunnett died in 1673.

He was principally a watchmaker and not many lantern clocks are known by him. Matchstick man castings have been noted on some of his clocks. A lantern clock is known signed 'Beniamin Hill in Fleete Streete' (illustrated in Antiquarian Horology Sep 1999 p.47). Another, a balance wheel reconversion, is signed 'Benjamin Hill in Fleete Streete Londini'. Another reconverted to balance wheel is signed 'Benjamin Hill Londini' and is pictured in Clocks Magazine May 1987 p.11. Another is signed 'Benjamin Hill in Fleete Streete'. Hunter pictures on p.17 an example with alarm signed 'Benjamin Hill Londini'. A lantern clock by him is pictured in Clocks Magazine June 2001 p.36. See the article in Antiquarian Horology March 2001 by Jeremy Evans, where two lantern clocks are pictured.

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click for details of home page || clocks for sale: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11
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finding a clock by a particular maker

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