Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

John Shepley Clockmaker

We had an email recently asking if we had any information on a Hyde Clockmaker called John Shepley. To be honest I had not heard of him before... we know of a street named John Shepley Street but we think this relates to a later John Shepley a relation of the clockmaker. I'll quote Keith who contacted us abot John the clockmaker.
John Shepley was the first clockmaker in Hyde and little is known of his early life. He is a well respected maker and was probably working in Hyde from about 1690. The population in Hyde at that time was about 300 so he would struggle to make a living and sometime later moved to Stockport where his later clocks are signed either Johannes or John Shepley.We know that he died in 1749.



Single handed 30 hour clock by John Shepley of Stockport
Thanks to John Craik for the pictures and information

This clock, from a well respected early maker dates from about 1725 or slightly earlier. The dial measures 11 inches and is signed simply John Shepley without a placename. The typically bold northern half hour markers are floating, and the engraving around the datebox is beginning to extend outward, both indications of a slightly later date. The movement has four beautifully knopped and finned pillars, and an eight day calender wheel which is typical on 30 hour clocks from Manchester. (John Craik)


It would be interesting to find more information about Hyde's skilled clockmaker... we know he was from a well known and respected family, and it seems he could well have been born in the family home 'The Lumn' as it's documented that Richard Shepley purchased the Lumn estate from Sir Uryan Legh, of Adlington, in 1612 and it remained in the possession of the Shepleys, and his direct descendants, down to the John Shepley, who has the street named after him.


Wouldn't it be nice if someone reading this realises that the old clock handed down from granny is more than just a family heirloom, that is a bit to big for modern housing, but is also a part of Hyde's history dating back to a time when Hyde was just a small cluster of farms and folds and a certain clever chap called John Shepley was busy making these beautiful time-pieces.


Family home of the Shepleys


Hydonian said...

Thanks for posting this ,Tom.
Very interesting and It's something I was unware of ,too!

Tom said...

Keith who first got in touch with us about this as emailed to say thank you... he had not heard of 'The Lumn' or where it was so I will be letting him know a bit more about that... Any info on the Shepleys, and the Lumn would be very much appreciated.

Dave Williams said...

I assume you've got the story of The Lumn from the History of Hyde where it states that the name 'Lumn' probably comes from the fact that it was the only dwelling in the neighbourhood which had a chimney. I had thought that this was just a Scottish word, as in the expression of good wishes 'Lang may your lumn reek' or 'Long may your chimney smoke'.

Tom said...

Cheers for this Dave... I'd forgot about the chimney reference. I have to admit I did wonder about the name meaning Chimney.. I do like that saying...

Deslilas said...

As fine and interesting as ever !

MartinT said...

I have recently discovered that I am a direct descendent of this Richard Shepley. His father was Samuel Shepley and his grandfather was called John - but not the clockmaker - John was a farmer born in 1799. HIS father was called John, he was a landowner and his father before him was also called John. This John was born in 1734 so still not early enough to be your clockmaker, however I do not know what his occupation was or how the family accumulated their wealth. If you have information that could join the bits up, I'd be interested.

Keith said...

Further to comments by Martin re John Shepley the clockmaker who died at Stockport 5 Nov 1749. He had 2 sons John and Samuel who also were clockmakers. John worked in Stockport and Glossop,died in 1775,Samuel worked also in Stockport,died in 1780.There was a William Shepley working in Stockport and Manchester in 1784.Hope this may help.

Tom said...

Martin.... thank you for commenting... I'd drawn a blank with this... but thanks to Keith you might have a piece or two of your jigsaw... I hope it helps...
Keith.... thank you for the above information. This as been a very interesting post... please feel free to add to it at any time.

Paul Shep! Shepley said...

I'm a direct decedent of the Shepleys of the lumn.

Liz Holliday said...

Martin T - I know this is a long time since your post - my husband is also a descendant of the Shepley of the Lumn, Hyde. Your lineage is I think Richard b1843, Samuel b 1802, John b 1775 = Hannah Leigh [this is also my husband's common ancestor], John b1736, Thomas 1700, John 1668, John b1618, John b1590, John b1539 - this John also had an elder son Henry b 1575 who I think is the ancestor of John Shepley the clockmaker b1681 of Hyde & Stockport