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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 (showing the approximate dates they were making clocks in Hungerford) include:
The Woodhams, c1737-c1898:
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.
Matthew Bance, c1776-1797:
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 (now Costa Coffee). 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 Hungerford 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.
Edward Alexander, c1823:
The 1823 Pigot Directory lists Edward Alexander as Watchmaker.
Edwin Raymond, c1844:
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, c1852:
In the 1852 Slater directory Leah Francis James was listed "Watch & clock maker, High Street". Nothing more is yet know about him.
Caleb Joyce, c1867-1871:
Caleb Joyce, an experienced watch and clock maker, moved from Ramsbury to Hungerford in 1867, 1868 or early 1869.
The 1869 Post Office Diractory lists him as watch and clock maker in the High Street, as does Kelly’s Directory of 1869 - Watch maker, High Street, Hungerford.
In the 1870 Electoral Register he is listed as living in the High Street, Hungerford, but it seems that he was soon to move again, as by the time of the 1871 census (2nd April) he was in Speenhamland, Newbury.
It had been very unclear just where in the High Street Caleb Joyce lived and worked, but the Hungerford Virtual Museum had an interesting entry under 105 High Street.
In May 2011 Brian Ham had kindly contacted the Virtual Museum regarding some interesting discoveries he had made whilst doing some renovation work at 105 High Street. Behind a chimney breast he found three small folded documents.
One was a printer paper bag from D. Allen, Tea, Grocery, Tea and Butter factors, High Street, Hungerford.
The other two, however, relate firmly to Caleb Joyce and strongly suggest that he was living at 105 High Street in 1866:
1) A bill dated 24th October 1866 from Usher & Cole of Clerkenwell, Chronometer & Watch Manufacturers, of 45 St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London.
A bill for Mr Joyce from Usher & Cole, 1866:
London, Oct 24th 1866
Mr Joyce, On Appro
Usher & Cole, Chronometer and Watch Manufacturers, 45 St John's Square, Clerkenwell, EC
12245 4 Hole Hunter over spring £4 10s 0d
12253 2 Hole Hunter under spring £4 10s 0d
11450 Vecy open face £2 10s 0d
2) An appointment note dated 9th November 1866 from Martin & Bishopp of 20 Bunhill Row, London, for Mr C. Joyce to meet Mr Bishopp around 12th November.
Appointment Note from Martin & Bishop, 1866:
London Nov 9th 1866, 20 Bunhill Row
Martin & Bishop, Watch Manufacturers, respectfully beg to inform you they intend Mr Bishop to have the pleasure of waiting upon you on or about the 12th Inst when your favours will be highly esteemed, and receive their best attention.
To Mr C Joyce
(Martin & Bishop were Watch Manufacturers at 20 Bunhill Row, Moorgate, London during the 1860s.
Caleb Joyce's key dates were:
• 14 Apr 1811. Birth at Hamstead Norris (sic!).
• 27 Apr 1811. Baptised at Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Newbury.
• Sep 1839: Married Mary Ann Dance at Wantage RD.
• 6 Jun 1841 (Census): Living at Church Street, Hamstead Norris. Aged 30 yrs. Watchmaker.
• Sep 1843: Son John Dance Joyce born, Thatcham.
• Jun 1847: Daughter Ann Joyce born, East Ilsley, Wantage RD.
• 1847 Post Office Directory: Caleb Joyce, Watch & Clock Maker, East Ilsley.
• 1848 Kelly’s Directory: Caleb Joyce, Watch and Clockmaker, East Ilsley.
• Mar 1849: Son Theophilus Caleb Joyce born, Hamstead Norris, Wantage RD.
• Dec 1850: Son Caleb Joyce born, Lambourn.
• 30 Mar 1851 (Census): Living at High Street, Lambourn. Watch and Clock Maker.
• Dec 1851: Death of son Caleb Joyce aged 1 year.
• Jun 1852: Death of son Theophilus Caleb Joyce, aged 3 years.
• Dec 1854: Birth of son Joshua Joyce, Lambourn.
• 1859 Post Office Directory: Caleb Joyce, Watchmaker, Ramsbury.
• 7 Apr 1861 (Census): Living in High Street, Ramsbury, Watch Maker.
• 1867 Kelly’s Directory: Caleb Joyce, Watch maker, Ramsbury.
• 1869 Kelly’s Directory: Caleb Joyce, Watch maker, High Street, Hungerford.
• 1870 Electoral Register: Caleb Joyce, High Street, Hungerford.
• 2 Apr 1871 (Census): Living in Speenhamland, Newbury, Watchmaker and Jeweller.
• 1874: Living in Speenhamland, Newbury.
• 9 Jun 1876: Death of wife, Mary Ann Dance, Newbury RD.
• 1876 Harrod’s Directory: Caleb Joyce, watch and clock maker, silversmith and jeweller, Broadway, Speenhamland.
• 3 Apr 1881 (Census): Living in The Broadway, Speenhamland, Newbury, Watchmaker.
• Mar 1883: Married Mary Ann Lewenden (1853-1941), Newbury RD.
• 2 Apr 1884: Birth of daughter Lillie Martha Hill Joyce, Newbury.
• 10 Jun 1885: Birth of daughter Rose Mary Joyce, Newbury RD.
• 1885 Living in Speenhamland.
• Dec 1886: Died, Newbury RD.
• 21 Dec 1886: Buried at St Mary, Hampstead Norreys, Berkshire, aged 75 years.
Follow this to see the documents from 1866 found behind a chimney breast of 105 High Street.
Follow this for 105-106 High Street.
William Mapson, c1891-c1917:
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.
Ernest Clements, c1900-c1951:
[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, c1945-c1971:
Charles May ran a clock repair and jewellery business from 23 High Street (now Swift Dry Cleaners) between c1945 and 1971.
Mr & Mrs Tyrrell traded from 12 Bridge Street, selling and repairing clocks. (They had previously had a unit in the Hungerford Arcade, near Patsy Styles soon after August 1974). The Tyrrells had been very busy in the Arcade, almost selling clocks as soon as they brought them in. They were only there for a short time before renting 12 Bridge Street from Mrs Burchett. They didn't stay there long either before they moved to ?Lee-on-Solent.)