he wonderfully primitive 30-hour wall clock illustrated here is particularly rustic and interesting. Dating from around c1715,  the clock  was made by John Ismay of Oulton - who possibily  made it whilst he was serving his apprenticeship to John Ogden - and before he had actually finished his training. It is probably John Ismay's earliest surviving clock to come to light so far - pre dating any of his Wigton clocks and is a historically important Oulton clock.  After serving his time under Ogden, Ismay  worked with his step brother, clockmaker John Sanderson at Wigton and became an important  member of  ' The Wigton School '. He made this clock using crude materials with major casting faults to both movement and dial. Ismay probably not only made the clock himself, but also engraved the dial as well.  The clock is very primitive and the chapter ring markings have been so badly spaced out and poorly executed by Ismay that I find it hard to believe that he actually sold it on the open market at the time, but I do think there is a good chance that he may have made it in-house for his own use. The polished dial has the verse 'Memento Mori' in the top two corners. It has a heavily built iron and brass lantern type movement. The clock is housed in a primitive elm and oak longcase. However, originally this clock was probably caseless and made by Ismay as a wall clock to just sit on a simple wall bracket and show off its massive brass movement until a later owner decided to spend the money to house the clock in a case.







   ohn Ismay was born at Thursby, a village near Wigton in Cumberland, in March 1699.  He was apprenticed to John Ogden at Bowbridge in 1711, and was living in Tiffinthwaite at the time of his death in 1755. Today there are only a handful of clocks known to survive by him. Please see two other rare examples of Imay's work that is also shown on this website.






ohn Ismay


' Memento Mori '

(Bear Death in mind)

Oulton, Fecit

S 2 Z13 Z12


onderfully primitive engraving by Ismay




ohn Ismay 30-hour

Primitive Clock




howing a view of the polished dial centre. Note the crudely executed       engraved minute markings and casting faults to the chapter ring.




igned John Ismay, Oulton Fecit and probably executed by Ismay himself. Note that the ringed date calendar is set within an eye


ear view of John Ismay's

heavily built Lantern

type movement





Please Contact Lee Borrett

John Ismay clock wanted