You are in [People] [Clock & Watchmakers]
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's family lived in Kintbury. He was born c1743 and married Sarah Eyles at Little Bedwyn in 1773, after which they lived initially in Kintbury. It seems that the family moved to Hungerford in 1776 - Matthew signed a lease and release on 119 High Street (laterly NatWest Bank). In 1777 he is recorded in the Commoners' List for what is now the Town Hall and Corn Exchange. He was probably living there, and maybe working at (what became) 119 High Street opposite. From 1781 it seems he was living at 119 High Street, as his name is recorded in the Commoners' List there from 1781.
The following directories list Matthew Bance as Silversmith and Watchmaker:
- 1790 Universal British Directory
- 1792 Universal British Directory and
- 1796 Berkshire Directory.
He died in 1805.
Matthew Bance is listed in "Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World" by G. H. Baillie as working in Hungerfrod 1793-97.
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.
Ed Bilson commented ((on an internet chatgroup in 2008) that the door of his Matthew Bance longcase clock has the initials IB carved in it. His father's research led him to discover that Iohannes Bilson was an employee of Bance at the right time, 1763.
The 1823 Pigot Directory lists Edward Alexander as Watchmaker.
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.