The Clockmakers Of Askrigg-Wensleydale

A Selection of the clocks made at Askrigg
The earliest mention of Askrigg clockmakers is one John Ogden a quaker from Halifax  born in 1660 who moved to Askrigg aged 20 although he did not reside in Askrigg itself but lived first at Bainbridge and then at Bowbridge Hall a quarter of a mile from Askrigg before moving away to Darlington in 1720.

Bowbridge Hall was on the site of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, also known as Bowling Hall, now a private residence.

In the year 1687 was born one, Mark Metcalfe by name, who may justly be termed the father of the clockmaking industry at Askrigg. He died in 1776. His son John Metcalfe, with him as apprentices were James Wilson (died 1780) and Christopher Caygill (Born 1747 and Died 1803), who were also his contemporaries in business.

  • Two other makers Thompson and Sagar were of a relatively short stay.

1746: Here is the entry from “Yorkshire Clockmakers” by Brian Loomes: Sagar, Edmund Askrigg/Middleham/Skipton b.1746 – d. 1805 Clock and watchmaker. Born at Askrigg 1746, son of John Sagar, Clerk. Married there in 1769 Jane Horsefield, then shortly after went to live at Middleham. Long-case brass dial clock reported signed “E.Sagar – Middleham”. Had children born: 1772 Edmund; 1773 Mathew (died same year); 1774 James; 1778 Mathew. By 1793 the family had moved to Skipton, and son Edmund died that year there. Son James died there in 1796. Son Mathew was a watchmaker there during his short life. Edmund died there in 1805 aged 58. Longcase clock reported signed “Sagar – Skipton”. Could not have been working as early as 1750, as stated by Reid and Britten. Another brass dial longcase clock reported signed “E. Sagar – Middleham”. Brass dial 30 hour clock reported signed “E. Sagar – Skipton”. This is the uncle of Matthew Sagar in the Blacksmiths of Devon Index. 

Apprenticed with Caygill, were John Stancliffe (who married Caygill’s daughter)and James Pratt. After Stancliffe and James Pratt (died 1850), the undivided line of succession devolved upon William Pratt (died 1857), who in turn was succeeded by his nephew John Skidmore. The business was then carried on by John Skidmore and Sons where specimens of their predecessors work could be seen. Thus in brief we have the history of this old established industry. John Ogden and Mark Metcalfe clocks had only one hand, the earlier ones have the corners of their square brass faces engraved-generally with mottoes and not embossed, as afterwards became the fashion.

James Wilson and Christopher Caygill during their time arched faces were introduced, but generally still made of brass, though painted faces were occasionally made by Caygill.

Joe Sayer and his family have lived in the dales for a few generations.
he was born and brought up at Beckermonds in Langstrothdale although he moved away in the 1960s.
Photos of an Askrigg clock which he inherited. James Pratt circa 1800.


Ogden’s clocks were painted and brass faces. James Pratt only made clocks with painted faces.

Clock face reads John Ogden Darlington

The following rhyme is found on some of Ogden’s clocks:-

“Behold this hand,
Observe ye motions trip,
Man’s pretious hours
Away like these do slip.

Clock face reads Mark Metcalfe Askrigg
















Clock face reads Chris Caygill Askrigg

Clock face James Pratt Askrigg

Clock face and close up of the work of William Pratt

From: “” <> Subject: Re: WES John & Sarah PEARSON Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 20:37:39 +0000 (UTC)

Just out of interest in “Westmorland Clocks and Clockmakers” by Brian Loomes 1974 he gives some information on Edmund SAGAR.He says “SAGAR, E. Kirkby Stephen. This might be Edmund SAGAR from Askrigg, Yorkshire. Born at Askrigg 1746, married there 1769. Then lived at Middleham 1772-8 or later. By 1793 had moved to Skipton where he died in 1805 aged fifty eight.”Loomes goes on to say…”Cannot see how he could have worked at Kirkby Stephen too!”.. Attributed to SAGAR are “One thirty hour clock recorded, apparently early eighteenth century; another one apparently mid-eighteenth century – two men of the same name?”Other clockmakers listed at Kirkby Stephen (Winton) by Loomes are:John BELL George DENTJohn HUTCHINSONThomas W HUTCHINSONRichard IVESON Josiah MOREY Thos PATTINSONE SAGAR John TAYLOR John THOMSON If anybody has any clockmaker ancestors listed elsewhere in Westmorland let me know & I will see if Loomes has them listed. Dean List-Admin ENG-WES Mailing List
I have been sent a photo of a lovely clock made in the 1770s by Edmund SAGAR, then a clock and watchmaker of Kirkby Stephen. This clock isinscribed “John & Sarah PEARSON”, and the present owner (a collector)thinks it was the custom for newly married people to be given these around the time of marriage.Another Sagar clock mentioned was inscribed “Robert and Dorothy BOUSFIELD” and their marriage took place in Kirkby Stephen in 1775.Can anyone manage to identify John & Sarah PEARSON, by any chance? Nancy Mc Laughlin Kaiapoi, NZ


















The initials E.F.M stand for Edward and Margaret Fawcett for whom the clock was made by John Ogden in 1681


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Dales