This afternoon I started to look through books, Journals, catalogues and anything on watches, and one of the first was "The English Watch 1585-1970 by Camerer Cuss. In the index, I found John Wightman, and it said plates 58 and 79. So I took a look, and on Plate 58 it reads under the said watch by Henry Jones. London. ( Gold cases, inner ID incuse (James Delander), hallmarked 1690-1: outer WI coronet above incuse (John Wightman), ( hallmarked 1699-1700)
Plate 79, Reads, Richard Williamson, London. Silver cases both WI coronet above (John Wightman) This watch is a Sun & Moon watch.
So the next step was Philip Priestley. WI Incuse c.1697 1st. Register Grimw.p-327 Loomes p-523 John Wightman FCC 1698 No Trade Entered (Britannia Mark) Collage Hill Private collection.
So looked up Loomes in his new book page 837 John Wightman (I) London a1688, CC 1696-1717. John Wightman (II) London (Tower Street) 1744.
I put Tower Street in red because Thomas Wightman was living in Tower Street. and we have on page one above the proof, Was this John Wightman a relative and lived there too? It's more I think than a coincidence? Same surname, same address?
The division of Labour became increasingly sophisticated. Workshops specialised and parts were bought in. Movement frame and dial makers occasionally marked their work-the former most often on the underside of the top plate-but otherwise only case makers did so. Movements were supplied both unfinished and Finished, and unsigned as well as signed, to order. Some evidence of this trade is well illustrated by Eric Bunt (AHS, March 1973). According to this day-book, which runs from 1704 to 1726, of the 160 watches and seventeen clocks sold by the maker in question-apparently benjamin Gray of London--eighty-eight watches were supplied as motions and/so movements to other watchmakers. The remaining seventy-two consisted of thirty-eight gold and twenty-eight silver watches plus six noted as second -hand` and Gray records the names of the private individuals to whom he sold these completed watches.
The E.F.Bunt article is a must-read for those interested these old watches and their makers.
To sum up at the moment on the life of Thomas Wightman.
The above started with the information by Brian Loomes from his book "Clockmakers of Britten 1285-1700. It was at this point I had to accept the details. I was unable to find the apprenticeship records saying he was apprenticed to Henry Hestor, and I was not able to verify Richard Wightman´s (father)? because his trade is not given.
I wrote later, "Was Wightman ever involved with these people is hard to say, but on the evidence so far it is easy to say no he was not". I think that is no longer true.
I think the information as given by J.A.Neal in his book "Joseph and Thomas Windmills Clock and Watch Makers 1671-1737" is more reliable, and was printed after Brian Loomes book.
We have read above, that Wightman´s came from a clockmaking family in the Little Old Bailey, in St Sepulchre, the home parish of other Windmill´s associates. The father could well have been James Wightman.
Not as yet proved, James Wightman had three sons, William, John, and Thomas. All it would appear were in the clock and watch trade. John is known to have been a watch case maker, Thomas clock and watchmaker, and William the better known of the three was a clock and watchmaker and at one-time Partner with Thomas Windmills. Later he was the CC´s Porter from Sept. 1735-1744 (It´s thought the year he died)
Also from above, we have John Wightman, who we know made watch cases for both Windmills and Delander, and that his address was at Tower street, and that address was also used by Thomas Wightman the clock and watchmaker. Some of this is conjecture, as we have no number for the Tower Street building, but strong coincident.
There is scant information on the father (?) and I must again go back to Brian Loomes book.
James Wightman. (sometimes Whitman)
London. He was born about 1649 and was apprenticed in January 1663/4 to Edward Eyston, transferred to Thomas Fenn till 1670 and freed in January 1770/1. One of this name was married on 7 December 1674 at St. Botolphs Bishopsgate to Grissell Rector. One of this name was married (Secondly)? on 9 November 1680 at St. Jame´s Duck´s Place to Ann Fosse. He took apprentices: Sept. 1672 Thomas Dennis, Mar.1678 William Smith, May 1684 Simon Weaver. A Longcase clock is Known signed James Wightman in Lombard Street, Londini`, and another James Wightman, London.
I now need to find some record of births for the two marriages.
Here is a clock made by Thomas Wightman c1710. (Courtesy of John Robey) I have put this on here because his watches at the moment I cannot find. This clock is a quarter chiming clock with quarter repeat. Anyone can see it is a first-class clock, and I am sure his watches were too. It is also a fact that at this period that all these well know makers mentioned above were Clock and Watchmakers-or should we say sold clocks and watches`?
Allan, I see that Wightman is mentioned in Keith Bates "Early Clock and Watchmakers of the Blacksmiths' Company", page 270 discussing a turret clock bell made by William Wightman in 1667. Bates goes on to say, "There seems to be no record of William Wightman in the Blacksmiths' or Founders' Companies. However a William Wightman was apprenticed to Joseph Windmills in the CC in Aug 1686 and freed Feb 1696/7, he may have been the bell founder's son. Bates' source is Brian Loomes. More information on this family is in Loomes latest book on "Clockmakers of Britain 1286 - 1700" (published 2014).
Thank you, Rich I read up on William in Loomes at the same time I read up on Thomas, then when I moved onto Neale's book my interest lacked a bit. At the moment I think William, after his apprenticeship stayed on as journeyman and then Forman, till he set up on his own. I am still trying dates, though it looks like the Wightman´s all came from London in this instance.
I do not have a copy of Keith Bate´s book on the Blacksmith´s, must look around. If William, John and Thomas were brothers, the information so far indicates a well-respected family in the clock and watch trade at that period.
What could we say that the men above had in common, well for one they were all clock & Watchmakers. They all lived and worked in the late 17th century and early 18th century, they were all members of the Clockmakers Company, and if follows they would have known each other if only to nod to. One of them had been an apprentice of Thomas Tompion, and one of them had William Wightman as an apprentice, and top it all they all had at one time or another had their watches were cased by John Wightman. Williams Brother, as to Thomas Wightman, it would appear he was as good as any of those above.
For me I think it answers one of my questions, did they know Tompion, Banger, and George Graham. I would say they did.
I am still looking, I have more question to answer........
PS, Today I was Looking for a watchmaker in Loomes by the name Charles Lloyd, London, a.1683, CC1691-1707. There are sixty-eight Lloyd watch & Clockmakers listed, and sixteen of them fit into the dates above. Anyone want to go through Loomes, and list the rest??
So, for now, this thread is coming to an end, I think I can re-write it into an article with the information accumulated here, and thanks to those of you who found it interesting, I thank you.
Below the last of my attached pieces here.