The Blaylock Clockmakers
The bridge over the River Esk at Longtown
The reader should note that I have continued with the same numbering system in brackets as used by Dr. Penfold to identify clockmakers of the same name. In his book "The Clockmakers of Cumberland" Dr. Penfold suggests that John (1) was the son of John Blacklock of Caldewgate, Carlisle. More recent research by myself does not support this theory and shown below is my interpretation of the history of this family.
John (1) Blaylock 1736 to 1803.
The Blaylock clockmaking business was founded by John Blaylock, the son of Edward and Jenetta Blacklock (née Coltherd). He was born in the year 1736 at a hamlet called Hunters Holm in the parish of Arthuret and in 1753 he was apprenticed to Archibald Lawrie of Carlisle for a period of seven years, premium £10. The spelling of the family name is Blacklock in the early records but all the clocks I have seen are signed Blaylock. Edward Blacklock, the father of John (1) was buried in 1803 as Edward Blaylock so it would seem the change in spelling was applied to other members of the family.
On the 14th February 1767, John (1) married Hannah Liddell of Burgh by Sands at the parish church of St. Mary, Carlisle.
It is assumed that on completion of his apprenticeship, John (1) continued in the employment of Archibald Lawrie as a journeyman clockmaker, until he set up his own business in Longtown in 1768. Longtown is in the parish of Arthuret and so when he set up his business in Longtown he was in fact returning to the parish of his birth with his father and family living close by.
The location of the clockmaking workshop in Longtown has not been identified but the following description of the premises is given in the will of John (1) proved 18th February 1804:
"I give and Bequeath unto my son John my House adjoining to Mozes Grave (Musgrave?) on the South with one half of the Backyard which belongs now in common to my two Dwelling Houses, together with a Row of Office Houses ranging betwixt William Corry Premises And the House that I now occupy. In the next place I give and bequeath to my Son William my Dwelling House adjoining to Mrs Mary Graham on the South together with an equal share of the Backyard already mentioned in common to both my said Dwelling Houses and the Barn at the Bottom of the said yard fronting North & South. The Gateway I leave share and share alike to my before mentioned sons. And be it hereby remembered that the property hereby devised to my Sons John & William is to be subject to the payment of one third of its yearly value by each of my Sons in respectively to my beloved wife Hannah Blaylock during her natural life".
John (1) died on 27th June 1803 and he was buried in the churchyard of St. Michael and All Angels' Longtown in the parish of Arthuret.
John (1) seems to have made only longcase clocks mostly with brass dials. Only one painted dial clock bearing his signature is known to me. Painted dials were first produced in Birmingham in 1772 and it is considered that by 1785 most clockmakers had adopted this new type of dial. This does not appear to have happened with John (1) based on the clocks I have seen over some twenty years. When the two sons of John (1) took over the family business in 1803 there was an immediate changeover to clocks with painted dials and quite a number are known signed "J. & W. Blaylock Longtown".
The chart below summarises the known dial signatures of their Longtown clocks.
Dial signature Period of making Made by Type of dial John Blaylock, Longtown 1768 to c. 1795 John (1) Brass Jno. Blaylock, Longtown 1768 to c. 1795 John (1) Brass J. Blaylock, Longtown 1768 to c. 1795 John (1) Brass Jno. Blaylock, Long Town 1785 John (1) Painted Blaylock, Longtown c. 1795 to 1803 John (1&2) and William (1) Brass J. & W. Blaylock, Longtown 1803 to 1818 John (2) and William (1) Painted
John (2) Blaylock 1774 to 1821 and William (1) Blaylock 1777 to 1832
John (2) in partnership with his younger brother William (1), inherited the Blaylock clockmaking business in 1803. They moved their business to Carlisle in 1817 or 1818. A number of painted dial longcase clocks are known to exist signed J & W Blaylock, with the place names Longtown and Carlisle.
John (3) Blaylock 1806 to 1877
John (3), the son of William (1), developed the clockmaking business out of all recognition of its former style of a family cottage industry. He was also an engineer and foundryman with plant to produce iron and brass castings. Clock number LC9, to be described later, has two cast iron weights embossed "Blaylock, Carlisle" and these would have been cast in his foundry. Whether he supplied components for other local clockmakers is not known but one clock by a Brampton clockmaker has been reported also with a weight embossed "Blaylock, Carlisle". Both 30 hour and 8 day painted dial longcase clocks continued in production under his leadership but also a number of high class regulator clocks were made with high leaf pinion counts, deadbeat escapements and Harrison type maintaining power. A skeleton clock with deadbeat escapement is known and a marine chronometer. The business expanded to produce the station clocks for the Lancaster to Carlisle Railway which opened in 1844. With the death of John (3) in 1877 the business went into gradual decline and finally came to an end about 1885.
The following advertisement was placed in the Carlisle Patriot of 2nd August 1834 by John (3).
Watch and Clock Maker
Returns his sincere thanks to the inhabitants of Carlisle and its vicinity for their very kind continuance to him of that patronage which they so long and liberally conferred on his late father, and begs to assure them that no exertion shall be spared on his part (with the aid of able and experienced workmen) to deserve a continuance of their support.
JB begs to call the Public Attention to his present stock of Vertical and Detatched Lever Watches (in Gold and Silver Cases) of superior London manufacture, and offered at very low prices.
JB has during the Past Year supplied several of his friends with Duplex watches, constructed and finished with the greatest accuracy and encouraged by the high degree of satisfaction produced by their excellent going, will always keep on hand a selection of watches constructed on that most desirable of Principles to those who value accurate performance.
Mathematical Instruments, Music Boxes etc carefully repaired.
JB is happy in being enabled to state that, from the possession of a very excellent Transit instrument (formerly the property of Mr Pitt of this city) he has an advantage in ascertaining and preserving the correct time, which is enjoyed by very few of his profession in the Kingdom.
The chart below summarises the recorded dial signatures on their Carlisle clocks.
Dial signature Period of making Made by Type of dial J. & W. Blaylock, Carlisle (also Carlyle) 1818 to 1821 John (2) and William (1) Painted W. Blaylock, Carlisle 1822 to 1832 William (1) Painted J. Blaylock, Carlisle 1827 to 1873 John (3) Painted Blaylock, Carlisle 1827 to 1832 William (1) and John (3) Painted and Brass single sheet (regulator clocks) John Blaylock, Carlisle 1825 to 1873 John (3) Painted and Brass single sheet (regulator clocks) Blaylock and Dudson, Carlisle 1862 to 1873 John (3), case almost certainly made or supplied by William Dudson Painted
Other Members of the family who were engaged in the clockmaking business:-
William (2) Blaylock 1817 to 1892? son of John (2)
John (4) Blaylock 1850 to ? son of William (2)
John (5) Blaylock 1851 to 1898 son of John (3)
Robert Blaylock 1814 to ? possible son of John (2)
Clocks may well exist made by these other members of the family but as their working periods largely overlap the working periods of the Blaylock Master clockmakers it is difficult to attribute clocks to them.
VIEW PICTURES OF SOME OF THEIR CLOCKS
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01 January 2006