Edward East clock 1664

Edward East clock 1664In the Long Gallery of the President’s Lodge, is an interesting long-case clock of the 17th century.

The case of the clock immediately below the dial-plate has a label bearing the text:

To Queenes Colledg Cambridg
The Guift of Edward East Clockmaker to King Charles the Second

On a strict reading, the label records merely that the clock was given by Edward East in 1664: it does not claim that the clock was built by Edward East (a noted clockmaker of the time, who was indeed appointed clockmaker to King Charles II around 1662), nor that it was built in 1664: the original parts might be older. [White, 1989, p. 523]

The clock is not in its original condition. It was originally a lantern clock, not a long-case clock. In an earlier condition, it might have been able to strike the minutes on a small bell, as well as the hours. At some stage, it was enclosed in the present case and hood, and the original dial-plate replaced with the current square one, with new hands. Also, at some point, it was converted to an anchor escapement with a long pendulum, from an earlier design. Although the label is now attached to the wooden hood, as recently as 1950 it was riveted to the top of the dial-plate. In 2007, the striking weight was reduced from 16 lb to 8 lb, and the going weight from 12 lb to 5½ lb, to reduce wear on the clock mechanism.

Edward East clock 1664 case removedLeft: A view of the clock with hood removed.

Below: The label on the case.

Edward East clock 1664 label

Edward East clock 1664 from side 1Edward East clock 1664 from side 2Views of the mechanism from each side.

Technical data

The top and bottom plates are 7½″ square and 8¼″ apart.
Mainwheel: 60 teeth, 105mm diameter; 2nd: 60×6, 88.5mm; Scape: 30×10, 61.5mm.
Strike mainwheel: 56 teeth, 105.2mm diameter; Hoop: 54×7, 91.8mm; Warning: 56×6, 78.0mm; Fly: 6.
Chains: 32 and 34 links per foot.

Edward East and the Swan with Two Necks

There is no record of why East was motivated to give the clock to the college. East was the owner of The Swan with Two Necks, a coaching inn at Lad Lane, now Gresham Street, London. Since 1607, that property had been liable to two rent-charges, each at £5 per year: one to Brasenose College Oxford, and the other to Queens’ College Cambridge. These rent-charges had been set up in the will of former owner James Stoddard, in order to found scholarships at the two colleges. Subsequent owners of the property were liable to pay those rent-charges to the colleges in perpetuity. There is a discrepancy in the historical record in that East’s will (dated 1688, proved 23 February 1696/97) refers to the payment to Queens’ being only £2 12s. per year, rather than £5, while the Brasenose payment continued to be £5.

On 24th March 1664, Edward East leased the Swann with Two Necks in Ladd Lane to John Ashborne, citizen and innholder, for 41 years for a fine of £200 and a rent of £52 a year. Lad Lane was well within the area consumed by the Great Fire of September 1666 and the inn was destroyed. On 14th January 1667, Ashborne applied for a new foundation to be set out. In the reports of the Fire Court for 1667, there is a petition by Ashborne against East alleging that East had refused his proposals for rebuilding. East appeared on summons and informed the court that there was payable out of the messuage £5 p.a. to Brazen Nose College, Oxford, £5 p.a. to Queens’ College, Cambridge and 40 shillings p.a. for a sermon in the Church of St Martin, Ironmonger Lane [all as set up in Stoddard’s will]. East said that he had refused the tenant’s offer to contribute £600 to the rebuilding. The Fire Court held that Ashborne should rebuild and have his term increased and his rent abated. It was decreed that Ashborne should pay East two months’ rent for the Michaelmas quarter 1666, after deducting Landlord’s taxes, and surrender the lease. In return Ashborne was to receive a new lease for 61 years from Lady Day 1668 at a reduced rent of £40 a year, the first payment to be made on Lady Day 1669, provided that he rebuilt another inn and messuage with all convenient speed. The new inn soon prospered.
[The Swan with Two Necks, by Foster Ferrier Harvey Charlton, Linklaters & Paines, 1987]

By 1949, the property address was known as 59–​69 Gresham Street, EC1. [London Gazette, No. 38546, p. 1005].

The annual rent charge of £5 in favour of Queens’ College was extinguished in 1969 when the freeholders purchased the charge from Queens’ College.

Further reading

1618: Survey of London, by John Stow (1598), edition by Anthony Munday, p. 191; (OCLC 837706769) [1607 bequest of James Stoddard]
1633: another edition by Anthony Munday, p. 100; (OCLC 435644754)
1720: edition by John Strype, Vol. I chap. xxx p. 269 (OCLC 79510969); online transcription. (ISBN 978-0-9542608-9-7)

1950: Description of Clock presented to Queens’ College Cambridge in 1664 by Edward East, by Herbert Alan Lloyd.

1950: The One and Only Edward East, by Herbert Alan Lloyd, in Horological Journal, Vol. 92, May No. 1100 pp. 296–​8, June No. 1101 pp. 370–​7. (ISSN 0018-5108) [clock given by Edward East] 

1951: An Old Benefactor, in Queens’ College 1949–1950, p. 19.

1951: Chats on Old Clocks, by Herbert Alan Lloyd, pp. 102–​3, plates 20, 56; (OCLC 6979082) [clock given by Edward East]
1958: Second edition as Old Clocks, p. 94, plates 20a, 37d; (OCLC 3637684)
1962: Third edition, p. 94, plates 20a, 37d; (OCLC 154196127)
1972: Fourth edition, p. 94, plates 20a, 37d. (ISBN 978-0-486-22662-0)

1987: The Swan with Two Necks, by Foster Ferrier Harvey Charlton (1923–​1999), Linklaters & Paines, pp. 4–​5. (OCLC 24559336)

1989: English Lantern Clocks, by George White, p. 523 note 138. (ISBN 978-0-907462-33-0) [clock given by Edward East]

2008: Lantern Clocks & their Makers, by Brian Loomes, p. 458. (ISBN 978-0-9554460-1-6) [bio of Edward East]