Clock and Watch-makers of the Isle of Man
1785 - 1850
[Taken from Journal Manx
Museum IV #63 pp211/213 Dec 1940]
OUT of a large number of old clocks and watches exhibited
in the Manx Museum in 1928 examples of local manufacture were
represented only by a Muncaster and Son watch (1845) and a
grandfather clock by John Cottier, Peel Town. Those who have
imagined that the clockmakers art was scarcely known in the
Island before the middle of the nineteenth century may be
surprised to learn that during the sixty years between 1790 and
1850 more than forty individuals conducted clock- and watch-making
establishments in Douglas, Castletown, Peel, Ramsey and Ballaugh.
How many of these craftsmen manufactured the cases and
mechanical parts of the articles they sold we cannot tell as yet.
Doubtless some of those named in our list merely combined a
jewellers (and sometimes a dentists or
inn-keepers) business with the repair of clocks and watches,
but several advertisements* suggest that not a few were clock and
watchmakers in the strictest sense, manufacturing their wares in
their own workshops.
Nor must it be imagined that the products of these workshops
were merely poor, provincial articles good enough for
the farm kitchen. To be sure many were manufactured in response to
the growing enthusiasm for the time-piece which spread rapidly
among common folk in the early nineteenth century. Yet the
grandfather clocks created by JOHN ATKINSON DOUGLAS
in the closing years of the previous century remain as a lasting
monument to the consummate skill and excellent taste which
characterised the work of many now forgotten craftsmen of that
The list printed below was compiled by Miss Margaret Stevenson,
of the Museum staff. The information it contains is largely based
on announcements in old newspapers and, as the first Manx paper
appeared in 1793, it has so far proved impossible to obtain
information relating to clock and watchmakers who may have worked
before that date. Any information which readers can supply to
supplement the list will be received gratefully.
- ARCHER, Matthew. 1817
- Commenced business in King St., Douglas, coming from Liverpool
(MA. 30 Jan.) ; 1818, Duke St., where he manufactures &
repairs Patent Lever, Horizontal Watches, also makes Clocks
(MA. 8 Oct.) ; 1824, Chapel Row (PD) ; 1824, Duke St., 4 where he
carries on business as a watchmaker and dentist (RS. 16
Nov.). 1819, married on Jan. 19 to Miss Curphey of Douglas (MA) ;
1840, John, son of the late Mr. Matthew Archer, died
on 8 June, aged 13 (MS. 12 June).
- ASPINWALL, J(oseph) & Son. 1803.
- Commenced business in Peeltown coming from
Liverpool (MA. 25 June).
- ASPINWALL, W. 1808.
- Commenced business in Douglas (MA. 9 July); 1824, North Quay
- ATKINSON, John. 1785.
- Seven years lease of Salmon Fishery in all the bays of
the Island, for £22, granted in 1785 to John Atkinson,
Douglas, Watchmaker (Comm. Report, App. A. No. 34) ; 1794,
P. Garrett, of Ballabrooie, Lezayre, offers a three guinea reward
for a J.A. watch lost near Ballaugh (MM. 1 Feb.) ; in 1793
John Atkinson, watch-maker, advertises the sale of a
very good smacked-rigged fishing boat (MM. 9 April) ; 1793,
Rickerby Atkinson, son of J.Atkinson, watch-maker . .
. (MM. 11 June).
[Named in 1843 as the last surviving FreeMason
from an early Lodge.]
- BATTlE, James. 1810.
- Came from Liverpool, opened shop in Duke St. (MA. 21 July) ;
1815, death of Battie (WG. Jan.); 1815, sale of unredeemed pledges
(MA. 13 May).
- BELL, Robert. 1849.
- 1856. A new clock erected by Bell in front of his premises in
Duke St. with 2 faces & illuminated at night.
(MS. 20 Dec.) ; 1857, 30 Duke St. (SD); 1862, Strand St. (LD).
1849, Feb. 4, married Miss Eleanor Kelly of Douglas, at Kk.
Braddan; described as Bell, late of Wigton, Cumberland
- BRAY, T. 1820.
- From London. Commenced July 27th, Duke St.
- BROWN, Joseph. 1841.
- Taken a shop in Duke St. . . served an apprenticeship
in a manufactory, and had 20 years experience in repairing
watches (MS. 15 Jan.).
- BROWN, Thomas. 1850.
- An advt. of 15 June (MS) states . . watchmaker &
jeweller, &c. (Manager for the late Geo. COX) begs to
inform the Public that he has opened a shop at No. 20 Atholl St.
in the above business in all branches ; 1853, 20
Athol St. (SD) ; 1857, 63 Athol St. (SD) ; 1862, Prospect Hill
(LD) ; 1863, 4 Duke St. (TD).
- CASSON, James. 1804.
- 1809, James Casson, w.-m., acquaints his Friends . . .
that he has removed from his late House, Nr. the Customs House, to
the House of Mr. Quirk, near the Muckles Gate, adjoining the
Manks Coffee House (MM. 1 July) ; 1812, A silver
watch . .whoever will bring it to Mr. Casson shall receive one
guinea reward (MS. 18 Jan.) ; 1824, Lord St., (PD) . 1804,
7 July married Miss Creer, Douglas.
Will (GL754) states James Casson watchmaker of Liverpool formerly of Douglas died 28 September 1839
- CLUCAS, William. 1837.
- 24 North Quay, Douglas (SD) ; 1844, 46 North Quay(PSD) ; 1862,
45 North Quay (LD). 1837, death of only daughter on Dec. 8 of same
year (MS) ; and on March 31, 1842, death of a son aged 1 year 8
- COTTIER, John. 1824.
- Peel (PD) ; 1837, Market St. (PD) ; 1842, Peel (PSD). 1842,
death of daughter, aged 13.
- COTTIER, John. 1839.
- On 13 May, John Cottier, w.-m., of Ramsey married Miss
Mary Casement of Peel (MS. 18 May).
- COTTIER, John. 1838.
- Commenced business in Duke St. opposite the New
Market. J. C. has had many years of experience in some
of the most respectable Houses in the trade in Liverpool
(MA. 19 June) ; 1842, (MA. 19 April), whole stock in trade
of Mr. John Cottier, to be disposed of, consisting of Timepieces,
clocks, watches &c., also the goodwill & lease of House,
situated in Duke St. 1842 (5 Aug.), death of
Margaret, relic of the late John Cottier, watch-maker (MS.
- COX, George. 1846.
- 50 North Quay (PD) ; 1847, (MS. 6 Nov.) Cox informs the public
that he is finally closing down his est. in Douglas in
preference to removing the stock to Whitehaven, he now offers the
whole at 20 per cent. below prime cost.
- COX, William. 1846.
- Wm. Cox solicits attention to his new stock of gold and
silver watches (MS. 29 Aug.).
- CRABB, I. (or J.). 1801.
- 'Repeating, Horizontal, Patent Lever and Plain Watches
repaired (MA. 8 Aug.) ; 1812, The Quay, Douglas (WG. 14
- CRAWFORD, John. 1794.
- 'James Crawford from Belfast has taken a shop in Peeltown,
where he intends carrying on the Business in its full extent. He
makes & repairs all sorts of Clocks ; likewise Plain,
Horizontal & Repeating Watches (MM. Dec. 20).
- CRAYSTILE*, John. 1837.
- Market Place, Ramsey (PD) ; 1842, St. Pau1~ Square (PSD)
; as also 1846 (PD).
*On a watch paper in the Museum the name is spelt CAYSTILE.
- CURPHEY, Wm. 1824.
- '1 North Quay (SD) ; 1830, apprentice required (MS. 29 June) ;
1837, Duke St. (SD) ; Watchmaking takes second place in 1840:
W. Curphey, Dentist, a. small par. only advertising Clocks
& Watches (MS. 16 June) ; 1846, entire advt. on dentistry (MS.
~ Aug.) ; 1846, 41 Duke St. (PSD) ; 1853, sale of
itock of jewellery & silversmith goods . . . (MS. I
Jan.) ; 1853, to be sold by auction the premises ~?; whole
of household furniture property of W. C., who is declining
Housekeeping (MS. 26 Mar.). 1828, married, at Kk. Braddan,
to Miss Ann Keegan, Dec. 8; death of infant daughter Nov. 9,
- GARRETT, John. 1842.
- Death on 25 Sept. at Peel: a self-taught watch-maker,
and one of the greatest mechanical geniuses that the Island could
- GOLDSMITH, Thomas. 1848.
- Appointed by the Patentee, Mr. Thos. Yates, Agent for the Isle
of Man, for the new Half-second Patent Dead-beat Watch (MS.
15 Jan.) ; 10 King St., Douglas ; 1848, a clock has
been erected in front of the Steam Packet Office on the Quay, made
by Mr. T. Goldsmith (MS. 21 June) ; 1853, 10 Great George
St. (SD) ; 1857, advert. headed Ta Traa reill harrish
ooilley (Time rules over all), 8 Great Nelson St. (MS. 25
July) ; 1860, T.G. can accurately repair
Chronometers & Duplex watches as well as Hlorizontal, Geneva,
Lever and Verge Watches. ~ T.G. is about forming a clock
& watch club that working men may obtain a good watch or clock
by small payments (MS. 28 Jan.) ; 1862, 11 Great Nelson St.
(MS. 5 Mar.) ; 1863, 8 Great Nelson St. (TD). 30 Aug., 1849,
married, at Kk. Braddan, Miss Eleanor Sayle, Douglas (MS. 1 Sept.)
; 1862, death of 7th son, Alfred James, aged 7 months (MS. 15
Mar.) ; 1865, death of infant son, Samuel Wesley, on 2 Jan. (MS. 7
- GRAHAM, J. 1794.
- Clock & Watch maker, taken a shop in Ramsey
(MS. 8 Feb.).
- GRAVES, William. 1837.
- Market Place, Ramsey (PD) ; 1846, Church St. (PD).
- HIGGINS, John. 1834.
- 1837, Big St., Peel (PD) ; 1834, married, at Ramsey, Miss Mary
Cannell both of Peel (MS. 23 May).
- JOUGHIN, William. 1843.
- Parliament St., Ramsey (PSD) ; also 1853 (PSD).1846, married
on April 28, Miss Kerruish, inn-keeper of Ramsey (MS. 16 May) ;
MS. of 13 March,1847, records death of only son of Wm.
Joughin (innkeeper and watchmaker) ; 1858, Joughin
died 23 Aug. at Ramsey, aged 42 (MS. 3 Sept.).
- KERR, Robert. 1824.
- Malew St., Castletown (PD).
- KNEALE, John. 1837.
- 1838 and 1843, Malew St., Castletown (PD) . Nov., 1837, death
of only daughter, Ann Jane; 1848, On Sunday, 5 March, the
body of Mr. John Kneale, watchmaker, was found drowned in the
harbour, near the stone bridge, Castletown. He leaves a wife and 2
children. He was 57* Mr. Kneale will long be remembered for his
scientific knowledge. He was probably the best watchmaker on the
Island, and has made many very curious pieces of mechanism.
(MS. 8 March). Buried at Malew, 7 March
* The Register of Malew Parish gives his age as
- LEMON, A(braham) & M(orris).
- In May, 1832, came to the Island from Liverpool, opening with an assortment of Patent Lever and Verge Watches
(MS. 15 May) ; 1837, Duke St.; Nov., 1837, A. Lemon states that he intends closing shop on 3rd Dec. and
re-opening at the commencement of April; 1846, 12 Duke St. ; a neat skeleton gold lever watch presented to Bro. Ed. Quayle
. . manufactured by A. & M. Lemon (MS. 19 Sept.); 1857, a massive silver spirit stand manufactured by A. & M.
Lemon presented to Prov. C. S. John Watson, Attorney at Law of City of Durham (MS. 3 Oct.) ; 1860, they announce
that in consequence of their lease of premises being about to expire they propose selling off their valuable and extensive
stock (MS. 7 April) ; 1861, . . . will continue to sell off at cost price to the 12th May (MS. 20 April)
; 1862, 14 Duke St. (LD) ; 1863, Duke St. (TD). June, 1840, P.P.G.M. Lemon was Island delegate at Annual Moveable Committee
of Odd-fellows held at York (MS. 19 June) ; 1842, A. Lemon married at Liverpool
to Miss Amelia Lyons, by special licence, on 13 July (MS) ; 1845, birth of daughter 20 March (MS) ; 1847, birth of daughter
20 Feb.; 1848, birth of son, 11 Dec. (MS); 1851, birth of daughter 16 March (MS) ; 1853, birth of son, April 11 (MS ?)
; 1854, birth of son, 1 May (MS) ; 1862, birth of daughter.
- MOORE, James. 1816.
- Death of James Moore, watchmaker, Pulrose, on 14th
October, 1816 (MS ? 24 Oct.).
- MOUGHTIN, Thomas. 1832.
- A watchpaper marked 7/3/32, cleaned 1/6d. in Manx
Museum; 1837, Ballaugh (PD) ; 1840. a few ozs. of silver,
in a broken-up state and which has all the appearance of having
been a cup, was offered for sale at Messrs. Lemon, Duke St. ; they
thought it proper to acquaint the High Bailiff with the facts as
they had purchased 2 similar parcels before and were
becoming apprehensive that all was not right. The silver came from
a watchmaker in Ballaugh. (14 July). 1847, death, aged 42
(MS. 7 Aug.); Catherine, his daughter, married Wm. Oates, of
Ballalionney, Michael, at Liverpool (MS. June), 1849.
- MUNCASTER, William. 1810.
- Representative sent from Whitehaven (MA. 27 Sept.) ; 1813
arrival on Island from Whitehaven (MA. 18 Dec.), opens a shop at
Castletown; 1841, Factory Lane, Douglas (HG) ; in business with
son (John ?), 1846 (WG) ; 1830, death of his wife, Mary,
aged 50 (MS. 23 Feb.) ; 1833, married Miss Hannah Miller, of
Netherwarsdale, Cumberland (MS. 22 Jan.) ; 1833, death of eldest
daughter, aged 25, in Workington (MS. 9 Aug.) ; 1851, on 25 Nov.
his own death occurred at the age of 75 (MS. 29 Nov.).
- MUNCASTER, John. 1824.
- In business in Ramsey (PD) ; 1837, in Factory Lane, Douglas
(PD) ; 1846, 13 Factory Lane; attempt at robbery of premises (MS.
7 Feb.) ; 1853, 13 Factory Lane (SD) ; married in 1837 to Miss
Jane Lewin at Kk. Braddan (MS. 22 Aug.) ; 1847, death of 2nd
daughter, aged 6½ years (MS. 18 Sept) ; 1847, death of son
John, aged 4 (MS. 4 Oct.) ; 1851, death of his wife, Jane
Margaret, aged 35 ( ? May 15); 1857, Glenwillan, Kk. Michael (SD)
; 1858, death in village of Kk. Michael, of Mr. J.
Muncaster, late of Douglas, in his 47th year (MS. 13
- MUNCASTER, William. 1835.
- In business in Castletown (MH. 7 Nov.) ; 1837, in business
with his father, William, in Arbory St., Castletown (PD) ; 1843,
Malew St., Castletown (PD) ; 1846, Castle St. (PSD). In 1853 he
and his brother, George, were in business together in Douglas
. . . W. Muncaster & G. Muncaster, watch & clock
makers &c. inform the public that they have succeeded to the
Business & premises of their relative, Mr. J. Muncaster
(MS. 3 Dec.) ; 1857, Factory Lane (SD) ; 1858, the
partnership between Wm. & Geo. Muncaster has been dissolved by
mutual consent (MS. 16 Jan.) ; Wm. M . . . announces
that the business will be carried on in all its various branches,
in his premises, Factory Lane, as formerly, having engaged a
superior workman from England (MS. 16 Jan.) ; 1859,
apprentice required, will be treated as one of the family
(MS. 15 Oct.) ; W. M. informs the inhabitants of
Castle-town that he has taken the premises in Arbory St.
(Castletown), lately occupied by Mr. T. Rogers, as a Branch
Establishment. W. M. solicits a share of the patronage which was
so liberally bestowed upon him when in former occupation of the
premises, for a period extending over 20 years (MS. 17
Dec.); 1862, 18~ Duke St. (LD) ; 1863, 22 Duke St. (T.D.). 1836,
married Miss Eliza Kinveg, of Castletown; 1858, death of infant
daughter, buried at Malew (MS. 16 Jan.) ; [1864, married at
Nelson, New Zealand, on 13 June, Mr. Thomas Muncaster, Watch-maker
&c., eldest son of Mr. William Muncaster, of Douglas, to Miss
Emily Hughson, of Nelson (MS. 24 Sept.)] ; 1864, death of
William, aged 50 (MS. 31 Dec.).
- MYERS, Henry. 1843.
- Parliament St., Ramsey (PSD) ; also 1857 (PSD); 1863, .
. . & photographic
artist (T.D.). Married on 27 June, 1848, at the
Cathedral, Manchester, to Miss Alice Callow, of Ramsey (MS. 5
July) ; 1857, death of Wm. Bridson, Ballaquinney, Kk. Marown,
apprentice to Myers (MS. 27 June) ; death on 30 Nov. of George
Henry, 3rd son of Myers, aged 3 years (MS. 5 Dec.) ; 1872, married
on 21 Nov., at Baltimore, U.S.A., Mary Theresa, eldest daughter of
Myers, late of Ramsey, to Wm. Henry Gregg, of Baltimore (MH. 10
- NESBITT, James. 1843.
- Market St., Peel (PSD).
- SAYLE, Daniel. 1843.
- Lezayre St., Ramsey (PSD) ; 1857, Parliament St. (SD) ; also
1863 (TD). Married on June 3rd, 1851, to Mary Ann, daughter of Wm.
Teare, of Ballawhane, Andreas (MS. 7 June).
- STEPHEN, Philip. 1816.
- Death on Aug. 13, in Douglas, only 19 years of
age (MS. 16 Aug.).
- SHEARER, William. 1802.
- Death, at Peel, of Wm. Shearer, watchmaker, 3rd Dec.
- SMITH, I. 1793.
- He makes and repairs all sorts of watches (MM. 5
Nov.) ; in 1794, I. changes to E. Smith, this is perhaps a
typographical error (MM. 3 May).
- STOCKS, Peter. 1810.
- Appointed representative of Wm. Muncaster (MA. 27 Sept.) ;
1816, sale of his watch-making utensils (MA. 11 Jan.).
- WATTLEWORTH, Charles. 1846.
- Died in Liverpool, Chas. Wattleworth, watchmaker, aged 68,
formerly of the Island (MS. 31 Jan.).
J. M. STEVENSON.
* Smith (1793), Crawford (1794), Stocks (1810), Archer (1817),
etc. Earliest reference in each case..
Abbreviations as follows:
HG. Hainings Guide.
MA. Manks Advertiser (1801-1842).
MH. Monas Herald (1833- ).
MM. Manks Mercury (1793-1801).
MS. Manx Sun (1826-1906).
PD. Pigotts Directory. (presume 1823/4
but another in 1837)
PSD. Pigott & Slaters Directory.
RS. Rising Sun (1821-1824).
SD. Slaters Directory.
WG. Weekly Gazette (1812-1819).