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I have now received my Shepley clock back all nicely cleaned and in good working order and you will see it is a fine illustration of John Shepleys work.
The dial is only 9in square which is rare for a longcase clock and usually indicates early work.The dial centre is very finely engraved with all over floral pattern reminiscent of the lantern clock made in the second half of the 17th century.The hand which is typical of the period has the addition of a brass tip which could be a nice later feature.
The engraving is very professional and looking at the later clock owned by Peter Wattenburg it was almost certainly done by a specialist.
The dial is signed Johannes Shepley, Hyde in abbreviated form.
The most important feature is the posted type movement e.g. horizontal plates with vertical corner posts similar to the earliest domestic clock in Britain, the lantern clock which is rarely found in the North West. It was thought that most clockmakers in this area first made clocks with vertical plates and horizontal pillars which had been the norm in London for at least 20 years by the time Shepley was making clocks in the late 17th century.
The lantern type movement is very much the order of the day but an unusual feature is the extended pillars which form legs below the lower plate similar to a lantern clock and again an early feature.John was keen to show his skill by beautifully filing the hammer spring although it would not normally be seen in a longcase clock. The bell and large hammer would ensure the chime could be heard in Yorkshire!
John Shepley clocks are often compared with those of the Whittaker brothers, James and Samuel of Middleton. The elder brother James was slightly earlier than Shepley and I believe one lantern clock by him does exist. All longcase clocks are thought to be of the plated form and I do have a longcase by Samuel. Little is known of his early life in Hyde but it is thought that Shepley could have been apprenticed to James Whittaker before starting his business in Hyde.
To discover this clock was very exciting and it could in fact be the first clock made by John Shepley.
I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Dukinfield but I have many connections with Hyde. Sadly I did not make Hyde Grammer School for my secondary education. The first clockmaker in Dukinfield was John Taylor who could be slightly later than Shepley but his surviving clocks are scarce. When John Shepley moved to Stockport his market was much greater. I would be most interested if anyone knows of a John Taylor clock.
Thank you Keith for sharing your clock with us... it's a beauty and it is an honour to be able show it here... I hope information on a John Taylor clock is forth coming...