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There have been many clock and watchmakers in Hungerford. For examples of some of the clocks made by the Woodhams and Matthew Bance, see Clocks & Watches. The local clock and watchmakers include:
A large family in Hungerford during the 18th-19th century, associated with 1, 3-4, 30 and 105 High Street. Records extant from 1702 to 1896.
Much more on the history of this large and complicated family can now be found under Woodham Family.
Another well-known clockmaker was Matthew Bance, one of a large family living in the Hungerford, Kintbury and Inkpen area. Matthew lived at 119 High Street (now NatWest Bank), from 1781. He died in 1805.
A distant relative of Matthew Bance, namely Ashley Strachan, has carried out extensive research into Matthew Bance, and has compiled a booklet entitled "Matthew Bance 1743-1805; Clockmaker and Watchmaker at Kintbury and Hungerford". We are indebted to Ashley for this interesting work.
In the 1844 Pigot directory Edwin Raymond was listed (as is Ambrose Woodham) as "Watch & clock maker, High Street". Nothing more is yet know about him.
Leah Francis James.
In the 1852 Slater directory Leah Francis James was listed "Watch & clock maker, High Street". Nothing more is yet know about him.
In the 1869 Kelly's directory C. Joyce was listed as "Watch & Clockmaker, High Street". Nothing more is yet known about him.
From 1891 Kelly Directory has William Mapson as watchmaker. It is likely that this was at 30 High Street (having taken over the business from James Woodham), as he was certainly owner and occupant in the Commoner's List of 1896.
William Mapson continued the business until 1916-17 when 30 High Street was taken over by Albert Parsons the photographer, apparently in a swap of properties arranged with William Mapson and Ernest Clements.
[The following notes include information from his daughter Ada Froom, interviewed in 1983]. Ernest Clements was an apprentice at Mapson's (30 High Street) before starting a business on his own in the front room of his first cottage (now the site of Fairfields in the High Street). He moved to 4 Bridge Street in c1907 (rented from the Freemans), and later (c1916-17) to 1 Bridge Street, when Albert Parsons moved to 30 High Street following his son's drowning in Hungerford lock. Ernest Clements never owned 1 Bridge Street; it was in trust to three brothers at Vernham Dean (possibly the "Devisees of Daniel Allen"?).
He worked at a bench in the front room, and went by bike, later motor-bike, to visit the large houses, including Littlecote and Chilton Lodge to repair clocks. He looked after the Town Hall clock, and devised the mechanism to stop the night chimes circa WWI, previously thought to be impossible.
Ernest was married to Lydia Franks, and they had five daughters: Lydia (b. 1900 – died aged 6 from whoping cough); Ada Louise (b. 1901); Winifred Frances Anne (b. 1905); Marjorie Mabel (b. 1909); and Lilian Marie (b. 1912), who became Mrs. Mundy, and lived in Dunside, 1 Bridge Street until 1994). Ernest Clements wanted a son!
Lydia Clements died in 1951, after which he retired and lived with his daughter Mrs. Froom in Charnham Street. He later moved to another daughter in Mortimer, where he died in 1954. [With thanks to Ernest's grandson Frank Smith].
The business was taken over in 1954 by John Earthy (who also worked in Newbury)., and later by his brother.
Charles May ran a clock repair and jewellery business from 23 High Street (now Swift Cleaners) between c1945 and 1971.