Bradford Watch & Clock Makers

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


clock made by Joshua Rudd

An 18th century clock made by Joshua Rudd. Photograph by Gary Preston


There seems to have been a whole family of clock and watch makers called Rudd. Joshua sr. and Rose had six children who were christened at Holy Trinity parish church between 1737 and 1752. There is a long case clock by him in The Hall which he made in 1769 and the Museum has acquired another; other clocks by him are known. He died in 1780. His eldest son, Edward was born in 1742 and was working in Melksham from at least 1766 and died in 1786. Joshua jr. was the fourth child and was probably born around 1745 and, if he made clocks in Bradford, would have finished his apprenticeship in about 1766. Another Rudd, Tillum Rudd, was working in Warminster in the 1760s. By the 1790s no Rudd clockmakers were listed in Bradford on Avon; the only Rudd, Stephen, who was perhaps related, was a peruke (wig) maker.

The shop of Edward Hopkins, watchmaker of Bradford was reported to have been “broke open on Mon night 17 Dec.” in 1787 and some articles were stolen. He was listed in a directory in the 1790s.

Thomas Blatchley, possibly related to the Blatchley family of  farmers in Winsley, was a clock and watchmaker active in Bradford from about 1750 to 1780. A stop-watch by him is in the collection of the British Museum.

James Moxon and Joseph Moxon were the clock and watch makers here in 1792 and in 1795.

No makers were listed in directories at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1822 Joseph Cross was listed in Woolley and then between 1830 and 1841 in Whitehill. John Bubb was in Market Place (Silver Street) and was also a jeweller and a printer and engraver who left money towards rebuilding the women’s almshouses in Frome Road.

William Bullock was listed as a clock and watch maker in Pippit Street (now a part of Market Street) in the directories for 1844, 1848 and 1867. In the 1848 directory there is also an Isabella Bullock in Pippit Street, a straw hat maker. She was William’s second daughter and, like her older sister Julia, was in 1851 a dressmaker. In 1887, 1895 and 1899 we find Arthur Bullock carrying on the same business at 30 Market Street; he was William’s second son and his successor. Arthur was single and aged 56 in the census of 1891. William’s elder son George was also a clock and watch maker in 1851 when he was 19, but he seems to have disappeared after that, perhaps set up elsewhere by his father. The shop was one of those in what are now called Pippit Buildings.

William George Hallett advertised in 1848 as an ironmonger, brazier, locksmith and bellhanger as well as a watch and clock maker, jeweller and silversmith in the New Market Place (ie. Market Street). In 1860 he made the turret clock which survives in the tower of St Peter’s church, Freshford as is recorded on the clock’s face.

Joshua Phillips Deacon (1842-1880) was operating the Shambles by 1866 and was listed as watchmaker and jeweller in 1870-1, but had moved away to Swindon by 1876. Charles Hart, watch maker, was operating at 6 Church Street in 1895 and had moved to 1 Shambles by 1899 and was still there in 1900. He was succeeded by Edgar Payne (see below) was a watch maker, aged 30, in Silver Street in 1841 and a clock and watch maker at Bridgefoot (the bottom end of Silver Street) in 1844. He additionally advertised as a tinman and brazier in 1848.

John Joyce is known from the 1841 census as a clockmaker who was then aged 45 and living in St Margaret’s Street. There is another reference to him as a clockmaker in 1875.

Edgar Payne was a watchmaker at 7 Market Street in 1899, but by 1910 his shop was in the Shambles, perhaps having taken over the business of Charles Hart. His sign can be plainly seen photographs and postcards of the Shambles from around the turn of the century. The shop has often been a jeweller’s, in the late 20th century that of George Chisholm.

The clock that was installed in Holy Trinity church in the early eighteenth century seems to have been the work of a John Snow (although, apparently, the surname could possibly be read as Knox!), possibly the John Snow of Salisbury. A note on a parish register in 1611 records that a previous clock was smashed by falling masonry when the church tower was struck by lightning.

The Museum is, of course, interested in acquiring examples of Bradford-made clocks and watches and has acquired long-case clocks by two Bradford makers- Joshua Rudd and Joseph Cross.