WARMINSTER BELL FOUNDERS
JOHN LOTT & LEWIS COCKEY
WITH AN ADDENDUM TO EDWARD COCKEY CLOCKMAKER
THIS ARTICLE IS TO CLARIFY THE HISTORY OF BELL FOUNDING IN WARMINSTER, AND TO PUBLISH FURTHER RESEARCH NOTES OF COCKEY CLOCKMAKERS
It has always been presumed that the first bell founder in Warminster was John Lott as his bells are well known in many parish churches and chapels throughout this county and others besides, but a recent research has come to light in the form of a letter from the church wardens at Charlton Church in Somerset showing an agreement between them and a Mr Richard Purdue of Warminster Wiltshire bell founder dated 1622, which precedes the foundry of John Lott!
Richard Purdue was well known as a bell founder working out of – Stoford, Glastonbury and Bristol, he cast many bells in Bristol in the period 1628/36. a William and Roger Purdue were recorded in Salisbury circa 1613-1622, and Thomas Purdue 1663
John Lott may have been an apprentice for him as John was born circa 1605, this we will never know but it indicates that bell founding started many years earlier in Warminster than was believed! or, it begs the question as to Purdue being just a sales agent for John Lott and Purdue just used John Lott’s address?? or it was Purdue as the bell founder and John Lott as his employee and later taking over the company! (It was noted that the bells cast by Lott had capitals on the crowns which were rather flat and clumsy as typified by early Purdue bell’s).
John Lott used the Royal Arms and the Prince of Wales Feathers on some of his bells, notably at Codford st Peter, Stockton (as pictured), Upton Lovell and elsewhere, evidently he and Richard Purdue, who also used the Royal Arms on some of his bells, were fervent Royalists but of course refrained from using either during the Commonwealth period. it must have taken some skill to produce such works of art on bells and one wonders whether the churches commissioning these bells were aware of the arms being applied., indeed if they ordered them, and whether they knowingly paid for what must have been a considerable amount of extra time to achieve them.
The casting of bells was a secondary item of production to these foundries.
Firstly was the casting, in either brass, pewter or cast iron, of these cooking utensils, firstly cast in bronze such as cauldrons, a three legged vessel with lug handles that could be either suspended above the hearth or stood in the embers, cauldrons varied considerably in size from less than a gallon up to 30 and sixty gallons!, the most common was two gallons.
Secondly was the posnet, essentially a small cauldron with a horizontal handle same as a modern saucepan, again with three legs to stand on the hearth.
Thirdly, the skillet, the forerunner of our modern saucepan again supported with three legs to stand in the embers of the fire.
Many foundries made a mark on the products, such as an identifying mark, or in some cases with their initials, whether any exist from the foundries of Warminster is not known at present.
We must start with a view of that part of Warminster where the actual foundry was, called Common Close, now The Close, which is parallel with Meeting House Lane, now known as North Row.
In 1709 during the rise and fall of the religious house of Presbyterians they held meetings in a shop or barn “at the back of Richard Lott’s house”, so I suggest that the foundry was on the site of the Warminster Hospital or the land behind what is now called LOTT HOUSE in the close, recently named by a new owner, possibly with reference to the deeds, although this cannot be substantiated!
At the time of writing, autumn 2018, planning permission has been granted for some of this area to be built on, a request has been placed to the planning authority to undertake an archaeological survey in the hope that evidence of the foundry can be found
The earlier furnaces consisted of a single ended stocked fire pit which was shaped in the form of a bee hive made of bricks and covered in clay with a chimney at one end, fired by charcoal and dried wood, and big bellows that took many man hours night and day to blow air across the fire so that the correct temperature was achieved , the exhaust gasses went green when the copper melted , at this point tin would be added to the copper, then stirred with green oak poles to de-oxidise the mix
The Smelting Furnace
By 1678 had improved thanks to a Sir Clement Clerke, who invented the reverberatory furnace which is shown on right, it allowed the burning of coal as opposed to charcoal and dried wood which were not particularly good for heat transference, bellows would have been used if the melting period was to be efficiently quick.
By 1678 had improved thanks to a Sir Clement Clerke, who invented the reverberatory furnace which is shown on right, it allowed the burning of coal as opposed to charcoal and dried wood which were not particularly good for heat transference, bellows would have been used if the melting period was to be efficiently quick.
The bell pit would have been dug into the ground adjacent to the furnace, there, the bell mould was placed in the pit, the pit was dug fresh for every bell cast, a clay mould comprised of both the inner shape and the outer shape, this process could take months to achieve, the wicker basket of the inner mould would be covered with wet clay , horse hair until the shape was achieved, rubbing away until smooth, then coated with fat / lard to allow the casting to be released when cold . the outer mould was the formed outside of the pit, same methods applied, the this was placed over the inner mould, forming a cavity where the molten metal was poured in from the top into the void between the moulds, the molten metal was allowed to drain off from the hearth by removing certain bricks and thence, through a clay/brick channel from the furnace to the mouth of the clay mould in the pit.
Following many hours, to allow the metal to cool, the pit was dug out, the mould broken away, to reveal the newly cast bell, which was then lifted out from the pit to be cleaned/ tuned.
The area would have been subject to a considerable amount of smoke and fumes, together with the logistics of carts bringing in the burning fuels, wood/ charcoal and coal, clay fired bricks for building the furnace, clay / horse dung / hair and water for the moulds, further pack horses would be delivering the brass and tin from mines to be used as bell metal. The final task would be for the carrier, by either horse or ox, to load up the finished product for transportation to the church itself!
BELL SHAPE AND COMPONENT DESCRIPTION
To help the reader understand bells what could be better than describing the bell at St Laurence’s Chapel cast by John Lott in 1657 the 5 is inverted by mistake!
The bell has a diameter of 45.5/8 inches a note of E dated 1657 and weighs 16.1/2 cwt it has a cast in staple from whence the clapper hangs.
In 1787 it was rehung in a new oak frame & the bell was quarter turned as the clapper had damaged the mouth, thus a false crown staple was fitted to the original staple to allow the bell to be swung. The clapper is original & connected to the staple by a wooden clamp known as a copsed busk board
The rough texture to the outside is comparable to the inside where the maker hasn’t taken time to smooth the inner of the outer clay mould before fitting it over the inner mould and filling with bell metal. It has a note of E but shows no sign of tuning as it doesn’t have to be in harmony with other bells!
It hangs from its original oak headstock with strap gudgeon’s running in plain brass bearings, ie as bell brasses cast by Lewis Cokey 1697. The tie rods are a modern replacement due to rust wear.
We start with Richard Purdue
CHARLTON CHURCHWARDENS ACCOUNTS 1622
Now witnessed by these present Mr Richard Purdue of Warminster in the county Wilts, bell founder.
The condition of this obligation is such made whereas the above bounds Richard Purdue have exchanged one new bell for one old bell and delivered unto the hands of the churchwardens above named to the use of the parish of Charlton aforsaid and there hung replaced by the said Richard Purdue for and in consideration of the sum of fifty seven shillings and four pence payable unto the said Richard Purdue Michaelmas next ensuing the date of her present and the said Richard Purdue doth acknowledge himself satisfied thereof unto the sum of ninety three shillings four pence in part of payment and the bell being placed the said Richard Purdue from henceforth dothe warrant the said bell to continue sound and tunable during the space of two whole years and a day next after the date agreed present and if the said bell doth crack case or become untunable in or by any default of the said Richard Purdue that said churchwardens at the time being shall bring the said bell to his casting pit in Warminster above said there delivered him to the said Richard Purdue by weight and after such casting foundering or exchanging by the said Richard Purdue deliver the said bell to the said churchwardens by weight and if thereby any weights wanting thereof by the said churchwardens delivered the said Richard Purdue shall pay for ??? the said churchwardens or their successors shall pay twelve pence so far as the hundred weights and to be paid twice and there at the delivery whereof and future if any payment do claim or challenge the said bell from the said parish of Charlton the said Richard Purdue shall well and truly defend the same that now his present obligations to be void and ye were effect or else it to stand and remain in full time and virtue
Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of
Will Chube – Thomas – John Townsend – R Purdue
The history of the family of Lott is much like many families following on from father is often the sons!
I will give genealogical introduction to the descendants that are in the main, closely connected with bell foundry and general iron-smelters and braziers,
- 1605 John Lott born in Warminster,
- 1626 married at the church of St Deny’s to Christian Lawrence (a local family) on 14 January when he was aged twenty one, they had two daughters, Elizabeth1627 & Joan 1629. Seven sons followed,
- John (jnr.) 1631, who carried on the bell foundry following his father’s death
- Robert 1634, Edward 1631-1661 (card-maker)
- Lawrence 1642
- Nathaniell 1647
- Thomas 1650
- Richard born1639-1711 following his marriage on 17 June 1667 at the church of St deny s to Francis Carpenter, continued the foundry (following his brother John’s death in 1692)) they in turn had two sons,
- Richard 1671-1741 who traded as a baker
- Edward 1673-1741 who inherited the business from his father during which time he married Margery Stroud on 27 April 1699 at St deny s church
- Our records start in:
- 1624/62 cast bells for Frome Somerset (incidently an entry in Frome churchwardens accounts show 1621, payed Richard Cockey of Warminster the pewterer for casting of 8 braces of the bells which was 86 lbs of brass -43/-)
- 1627 East Knoyle , John Lott bell founder of Warminster agrees with Augustine Goldisborough and Anthony Burbage, churchwardens of East Knoyle to newcast the fourth bell or treble and make it tunable with the other bells in the tower of East Knoyle , if the bell should become faulty or untunable within a year and a day being the fault of John Lott he will carry out the worke again without further charge
- 1627 Frampton Cottrell/ Marden
- 1629 Enford
- 1630 The Minster Church Warminster
The Minster Church Warminster 1630
This year the cannons of the great bell broken by mischance was sold to John Lott for £5—13-4 at 10d the pound with this proviso that when so ever the parish had occasion to ??? so much metal he would be redie to furnish them with as much, and as good and at the same price.
Layed out this year for three bell clappers waying 2-4 and a half
- 1633 Silton nr Mere/
- 1633 Frome church- payed John Lott for casting two bells £22-1s-0d,
- payd for expenses at Warminster and at Frome when the bells were cast £1-9s-0d
- payd Rogers and John Biss for carriage of the bells from Warminster £2-0-0
- payd for hanging the great bell and mending the stocks and brasses £2-12s-8d
A further entry later in the year-
The parishioners of the parish of Frome bargaineth with John Lott of Warminster bell founder for the new casting of their tenor and the forth bells now in the tower there, he is to cast them ruleable and tuneable , to go with the sounde in perfect and tunable manner with other three bells there,he is to have twenty pounds of lawful money of England for casting the said bell as aforesaid, he is to be allowed two pounds and a half for waste of each hundred of mettle that he doth caste,he is to take down the said bells out of the said tower, to hang them up again out of his own charge, for performance hereof to give security to the said parishioners when he doth take down the said bells out of the said tower. In witness the said John Lott hath hereunto sett his hand this 27 day of May of the raine of our sovereign lord Charles that is now king of England anno do 1632.
- 1633 These bells were paid for in but the tenor cracked again in 1662 thus the following entry, to Mr Avery For drawing a bond and articles about the grete bell 8/8d, spent waiting the great bell 10d, spent in beare the daie that the bell was hanged 1/0d
- 1634 Binegar Somerset /Killmington Wilts/ Winterbourne Monkton/ Norton Malreward
- 1637 Claverton
- 1638 Buckland Dinham
- 1639 Oake
- 1640 Eddington
- 1641 Cherhill
- 1648 /75/84 Earlstoke
- 645 John Lott cast the great bell in Chippenham church
- 1649 Norton St Phillip
- 1652 Bishopstone
- 1656 received of John Lott for exchange of his wife’s seat for a end seat at the Minster Church Warminster
- 1657 The town bell was cast by John Lott it has his initials on it, Roger Townsend a musician left a memorandum– the chapel bell was cast in common close by John Lott. Most of the old and young people put money, as half-crowns, shillings, and sixpences into the furnace, which makes it of such a soft, silvery sound. (This was in the chapel of St Laurence in the Warminster town centre referred to as the towns Curfew Bell)
- 1657 Stourton
- 1660 / 83 Stockton church four bells cast by John Lott
- 1660 Durrington
- 1660 Fittleton
- 1661 Idmiston
- 1662 Frome church paid John Lott the fourth quarter for the new casting of the great bell and new mettall as appears by his reseite £19-3s-4d ( this was probably a recasting of the bell which he installed in 1633!) this bell weighed 31 cwt when it was recast
- 1663 John Lott died
- 1634 Batheaston John Lott jnr.
- 1671 / 67 Sedgehill/ Coombe Hay
- 1671 Codford
- 1672 Stratford Tony
- 1673 Minster Church
Item payed Lewis Cockey for a new clapper for the great bell, £3.13.0d
Item to him again for tuning the great bell £0.16.10d
- 1675 Steeple Ashton the account to John Lott bell founder as coming and casting 4 bells £ 42-15-06
The Will of John Lott 1663
In The Name Of God Amen
The six and twentieth day April in the year of our lord gods one thousand six hundred sixty and three for I John Lott of Warminster in the county of wilts bell founder being weak of body but of good and perfect memory(prays fore to god) do make and ordain this my last will and testament renouncing and revoking all my other former wills and testaments by me made, in former and manner following. first and provisionally I commend my soul into the hands of almighty god for it mit by the merits of my lords and saviour Jesus Christ to obtain remissions of my sins and life everlasting and my body to be sent from whom it was wanton to be decently interred to the earth from wonce it was taken of Warminster now aforesaid and for my mortally estate I dispose of it in manner ********** concerning my messauges or tenement wherein I now live my will and that my ***************
Richard Lott after the demise of Christian my now wife shall duly the remainder turn of years to come than to rooms and repositories, hold and enjoy for the rest of their natural life, the shoppes, the parlour, the bakehouse, and the chamber over the bakehouse in manor and form following that is to say Richard that is to say the joynt use of the shoppe, were of of Lawrence to have the east part, and fireplace one window to the west as formerly thought ??? had it. were to rent the east *** and fireplace one window to the west as formerly though ***** and all of that my sons Lawrence shall have the parlour and Richard the bakehouse,and the chamber over it to his own use,
I give unto my sonne lawerence10 acres of land being the roads around lying at Mott Ridges.and to my sonne Richard two acres lying in mancrome bottom shooting against the fore roads, and after their demise it to rescind to my sonne Thomas Lott
I gift to my sonne John Lott after the demise of Christian now my wife that part of the house wherein I now live being the hall, the buttery the chamber over the hall, and the chamber over the shoppe,the wooll lofte, the joynt use of the stable with **** and two acres of grounds lying in copper ripped bottom, to hold unto him for for most of his natural life,and after his demise to descend to my sonne Nathaniel
I give unto my son Robert Lott after the demise of Christian my now wife three acres of land, the one called long acre and two acres in Mancrom Bottom, and after his demise it to descend to my sonne Thomas lott.
I give to my son Nathaniel Lott three acres of land one acre lying beastly against the Swan Gate one in Nappers Hole the other lying by Mr Bennett four acres under Copper Ripper,and after his demise give unto my to my son Thomas lott, after the demise of Christian my now wife two acres of land the one called the long acre lying in Cross Lands the other being at the road acre lying near the highway Shooting Sote Elms, and after his demise it to descend to my sonne Nathaniel
I give up to my sonne Thomas Lott after the demise of Christian my now wife two acres of land the one called the length also lying in Roofs Lands the others coming at the roads by my near the highway shooting?? to the elms, and after his demise for it to rescind to my sonne Nathaniel, also my will and ????is that after the demise of the said Christian my wife, that my sonnes Lawrence and Richard shall joyn thus and equally pay the lords rent. And that my sonne John after the demise of his mother shall equally by pay unto his brother Robert the sum of twenty shillings towards the payment of his rent in some other place.
I give to my daughter Elizabeth Pirtman the sum of two shillings and six pence, and to my daughter Joan Daniel the sum of ten shillings both of lawful money of England
my will and meaning’s that my sonns John and Richard shall have the use of the furnace to brew withal in the use of the pumps and ???, and to have the barns joyn the between them my will and meaning is that my sonn John shall have the lower garden and my sonn Richard the hovel and the little plot wherein to lay his femall after the demise of their said mother and for all my other goods and chattels and money formerly not given nor bequeathed my debts being payed and my burial discharged
I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Christian, ?? and nominate and ordain to the executer of this my last will and testamentalso I desire my trusty and well beloved friends Lewes Cockey and William Gulliford both of Warminster to be the overseers of this my last will and testament to see it justly and truly formed and I give unto my overseers for their payments to be taken ??? twelve pounds apart an??? I have to this my last will and testament putt my hands seal this day on year first above written
signed, sealed, public showd and acknowledged in the presence of vis Thom smyth
the mark of William Garrett:s son / John Lott
An inventory followed showing items of value in his dwelling house, but did not included the bell house or foundry. The inventory was undertaken by others to include Lewis Cockey on 12 May 1663
(damaged page *************)
An inventory of the goods and chattels of John Lott lately of Warminster in the county of wilts bell founder who deased the seven and twenyioth day of April 1663 perused and valued by Richard Davis, Lewis Cockey, Stephen Pirtman and William Gulliford all of Warminster aforesaid the 12 day of May 1663
in his lodging chamber
one feather bedstead, one feather cott coulster, six feather pillows, one rugge, one trundle bedstead one table boarde and frame, six joyners stools, one side board, two ???, two coffers, one box,??? and shelfwood
in the outwards chamber
two feather bedsteeds, two fock cotts, two boulsters, one tundle cotsteads, and cotts, one rugge, one dowerlid, one tableboard and frame, one joyner forme, two ???, one old trunke, one sideboard and other lumber
in the wool loft
one livery cotsteed and cott, one little tableboard and other lumber
in the bakehouse chamber
one ??? one ??/ two banketts with other lumber
in the hall
one tableboard one joyners form. Three joyners stools one joyners cuboard, one sideboard, ??? ??? ??? pewter, brass, baron of beef, two ?? of andirons, two spitts, a firew pann and tongos, fire grates two ?? of potthangers, 2 ?? potthooks, one iron dripping pann and other lumber, two bibles
in the buttery
one hogg, two half hoggs,three fowls,carrotts, one safe and other lumber
in the barne
in hay, wo ladders and other lumber
in the stable
one mare ???
one hogg in the barnside
one hogg pigg one sowe and piggs
one leaden pump and stone in woods
in the workhouse
the house and his working tools and other lumber
the lease of the house lands
- 1683 Stockton the third bell recast by John jnr. Lott
- 1686 St Deny s church– payed John Lott for the casting of the forth bell weight 17 hundred one quarter and 18 pounds at 20 p per lb £ 17-4-6
allowing for the waste at four pounds to the hundred at 9 pence the pound £ 02-11-0
St Denys Church Warminster 1686
(please excuse the irrelevant content but I thought it would be of interest to the reader!)
- payed John Handrorke for 2 polecatts heads
- John Handrorke for the carriage of the bell
- spent in beer in all taking down the bell ? afting of him and putting him up
- William Eloway for 11 days work
- John Eloway for nine days work
- Emanwell bailey for a polecats head
- Livia Lott for bread for the communion
- George Clarke for a fox head
- for the tuning of the bell
Death of John Lott Jnr
Inventory of John Lott – April 1692
This inventory was carried out by order of the Archdeacons office at Sarum, those appointed were – Richard Lott of Warminster in Wilts baker Edward Cadby of Taunton Somersett joyner, Robert Browne of Sarum Wilts, ???????? following the inventory of normal house hold goods comes aN entry of monies owed to suppliers, just stated as bills, but also these amounts of monies still owed to him!
- 1692 Inventory of John Lott goods taken and appraysed this 18th of Aprile 1692
- due from the churchwardens of Hindon £ 10 00 00
- from from the churchwardens of Batcombe?? £120 00 00
- from the churchwardens of Imber £ 11 00 00
- from the churchwardens of Wellow £ 02 00 00
- 1703 Pimperne Richard Lott
- 1707 Minster Church
payd for ale when the tenor bell was cast £0.03. 0d
payd John Barton for 3 bushells of hair £0.01.0
payed Richard Lotts bill for casting ye bell £ 46-05-0
- 1710 death of Richard Lott (John’s son)
- 1711 Norton Bavant number 4/5 Edward Lott
- 1741 death of Edward Lott
Will of Richard Lott 1711
In the Name of God Amen
I Richard Lott of Warminster in the county of wilts yeoman being sick and weak in body but sound and perfect memory do make my last will and testerment in manner form following revoking and cancelling all wills now before by me made and appointing this only to be my last will and testament
I give and bequeth to my son Edward Lott this new built house which I now dwell in, with the two garden plotts one that is paled in and the other adjoining to it, only reserving away for my son Richard four foot broad by the hovel to the lower garden
I give my son Edward the joynt use of the pump and backside with my son Richard his bearing an equal charge with my said son Richard in the repair of the same
I give to my son Edward my bell house and all that belongs to the art of casting of bells and all the bell matters I have in my possession
I give and bequeth to my son Richard all that part of the old housing belonging to the living in on ??? with the barn stable out housing therto belonging and after the death of my brother Nathanniel Lott I give him that house wherin my said brother dwells to hold the said premises to my said son Richard during all my estate ??? wherin
I give and bequeth to my said son Richard all those three acres belonging to the living, I now enjoy, and I give and devise to my said son Richard after my said brother Nathanniell Lott seven acres more which as part of ye same living and are enjoyed by my said brother Nathaniell during his natural life, and I give to my said son Richard three other acres of land belonging to my said living after the death of my brother Robert lott. To hold the said sevral parrots of land to my said son Richard from the sevrall???? ??? thereof aforsaid for and during all my term and estate
I give my son Richard all those ffive acres of land I purchased of William carpenter, and the sevrall asigments whereof to hold the same ffive acres to my said son Richard for and during all my term therein
I give Frances my now wife one shilling
I will my two sons Richard and Edward shall equally and joyntly allow my said wife a sufficient maintenance whilst she lives and my will further is that if either of my said sons shall refuse to allow an equal share with the other towards the compliant and nessasary maintaince of my said wife his part so refusing heron before given him shall to all intense and purposes devolve to the other brother that shall allow her such maintenance, if both refuse to allow her a sufficient maintenance from what is before given to my said sons shall wholly devolve and to the use of my said wife.
I give to my three brothers Robert, Lawrence and Nathaniel and to my son in law lewis Morgan twelve pounds a pierce and so by this my last will bind and oblige my two sons aforsaid to give my brother Robert twenty shillings a year during his natural life, my will is that the said annuity shall be equally paid by my said sons, that the lords rent be equally paid by them
I give to my two grandsons Richard Morgan and Lewis Morgan ten pounds apiece to be paid to them when they shall respectivley attain the age one and twenty years, if either of my said grandchildren shall decease before he attains the said age of one and twenty years then I give his ten pounds to the survivor and if both of them shall happen to dye before they attain the said age then the said legacies shall remain equally to my executors and my will is that my excuters whosoever named shall pay all my debts and discharge my funeral expenses
all the residual remainder of my goods and chattels whatsoever and whosoever they shall or may be found I give and bequeth to my said sons Richard and Edward equaly to be divided between them except the lower garden, which I do herby give to my son Richard and I do hereby constitute and appoint my said two sons joynt executors of this said last will and testament in witness whoever I have herunto sett my hand and seal the two and sixteenth day of august in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred ten
signed sealed and publicly declared by the said Richard Lottthe ffather as his last will and testament in the pre ??? of
the mark of Chritian lott
Charlton Musgrove Curchwardens Accounts 1718
Articles of agreement indented had made founded and fully agreed upon the nine and twentieth day of october one thousand seven hundred and eighteen, between, Edward Lott of Warminster in the county of wilts bellfounder of the one part and Thomas Piezte churchwarden of the parish church of Charlton Musgrove in the county of Somerset of the other part as followeth
whereas one of the bells belonging to the parish church of Charlton Musgrove aforesaid called the tenor or great bell there, is so much decayed razed and broken that there is an absolute necessity of renewing recasting or new casting the same, and whereas the above named Edward Lotthas taken upon him effectually honestly and in due and proper manner to new cast the said bell it is therefore agreed by and between the parties afore said and the said Edward Lott for himself his executors and admin doth hereby ??? promise and agree to and wish the said Thomas Piezte and his successors churchwardens of the parish church aforesaid for the time being that he the said Edward Lott within two months from his reciept of the said bell whilst is agreed to be delivered to him at his house in Warminster aforesaid, shall and will well only truly honestly faithfully firmly and according to ask new cast the said bell and such bell when so new last shall cause to be fitted wrought made complete and fashioned so that the same shall be appear and prove a good sound perfect substantial fashionable and tuneable tenor or great bell in all respects proper and ???, and he the said Edward Lott shall attened assist and give directions off the hanging setting upp or fixing the said bell at the church of Charlton Musgrove aforesaid when so new made and if any defect or fault shall appear in the said bell in twelve months after fixing or hanging up the same either in his note sound substance or other respect whatsoever he the said Edward Lott his exec ??? at his and their costs and charges shall make good and redress the same as ??? reason and justice, and the said Thomas Peizte for himself doth covernant promise and agree to and with the said Edward Lott his exec and ??? by these present that he the said Thomas Peizte shall and will at his cost carry and ??? the said bell discharge the smyth and carpenters workabout the same and allow and pay unto the said Edward Lott on the considerations aforesaid within one month offer the fixing or hanging up the same bell the sum of twenty shillings for every hundred weight of bellmetal of the said old bell which shall be so new cast and for every pound of new mettall which shall be added ??? said new cast bell over and above the weight of the said old bell ???at the rate of nine pence ye pound, and for the true performance of all and every the covernants and agreements aforsaid each party bindeth himself to the other of them in the penall sume of fifty pounds firmly by those present , in witness in andof the partied first above named to these present intelligently their hand and seal have put the day and year first above wittnesed
sealed and delivered in the presence of ??? day / Edward Lott / Wmm Day
July 23rd 1740
David Hannams bill for bell cages :lyerns timber and work done in Charlton tower
for lyerns to bear ye bells
- 5 pieces 10 feet by 17 inches 20–0–12
- 3 pieces 10 feet by 15 inches 15–2–2
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Total 35–2–3
- The above 35 ½ feet at 52 pence per foot is £2—6—7 ½
- For bell cages and hanging the bells £12—12-:-
- Four day’s work for taking down the old lyerns and putting up the new lyerns to bear the bells for sawing them, for sawing ye old lyerns into planks to lay the flore, for laying down the flore, for drawing up the bells, for putting up ye window shutters, for plastering the staircase and mending the under floor
- David Hannam 12 days at 20p £1 – 0 – 0
- Willm Sawyer 11 days at18p £0 – 16 – 6
- Robert Hannam 13 days at18p £0 – 19 – 6
- Edmd Hannam 11 days at 10 p £0 – 9 – 2
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £3 – 5 – 2
For timber to bear ye tower leads, for ye windows, for rafters, wallplates for ye staircase, and for 10 feet of boards in the under flore
- 46 feet in wall plates 5 inches by 12 at 25d £2-17-06
- 34 in half lyerns at 16 2—5–4
- 12 in the main lyern at 0—2—4 1—8 £
- 140 of jeice at 4 d £ 2 – 6 – 8
- 24 of gutter plank at 8d £ 0 – 16 – 0
- 160 of boards under the leads and in
- the under flore at 3 1/4d £ 2 – 3 – 3
- 17 of plank for ye windows at 4 ½ d £ 0 – 6 – 4 ½
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £12 – 3 – 1 ½
- The carriage of 3 loads of timber (with boards)
- to bear ye bells and leads £ 0 – 15 – 0
- total of David Hannams bill £31 – 1 – 11
- the plumbers bill £ 6 – 7- 0
- the smiths bill £ 2 – 16 – 0
- the masons bill £ 0 – 13 -10
- for new casting 4 of the bell brasses by M Mathews £ 0 – 12 – 0
- £40 -18 – 9
- Total £41-10 – 9
- three shillings omitted for 3 leathers for clappers
- makes this account amount to in all – £41-13 – 9
I herby acknowledge I have received of Joseph Ryall parish clark for Charlton Musgrove by the hand of Nathaniel Farewell several payments and sums of money amounting in the whole to the full sum of thirty one pounds one shilling and eleven pence, which is in full for all my work and timber, done, and placed up for repairing the bell cages, lofts, beams and roof in the tower of the said Charlton Musgrove, as mentioned in my bill above written.
Witness my hand this first day of February 1740
Witness hereto – Betty Barnes / David Hannam
The Lott Family Genealogy
The Cockey Family
We now turn to the family of Cockey, it appears as though they were friends and had a similar interest in brazing/iron foundry’s, as our first record being Lewis Cockey snr for the church of St deny s in Warminster
- 1673 Minster church
item to Lewis Cockey for a new clapper for the great bell £3/13.0d
payed to him again for tuning the great bell £0.16.10.
- 1697 Minster church
payed Lewis Cockey bill for casting the bell brasses £0.16.04d
Minster Churchwardens Accounts 1732
- paid Wm Clares bill for glazing £ 0-11- 2
- for drawing the registers £ 0- 5- 0
- Edwd Reeves bill for iron about the bells £ 4-11- 9
- Wm Gravells bill for iron about do £ 4- 0- 3
- Wm Cockey for casting the second bell £14-14-10
- Edw Cockeys bill for wine etc £ 6- 2- 9
- George Knotts bill for hanging all ye bells £23-0- 0
- for carrying the 2 bells to & from Froome £ 1- 8- 4
- charges at visitation £ 1- 8- 6
- for vermin heads £ 2-15-3
- Zerrub Smiths bill £ 1-15- 0
- turkey slaves & others in distress £ 0-12- 6
- workmen for drink at severall times £ 0- 5- 0
- for horse hire to Sarum £ 0- 3- 0
- Wm Pearce one year’s salary & washing church linen £ 2-10- 0
- for ringing the 5th of November £ 0-10- 0
- John Taylor for work £ 0- 2- 8
- for drawing the rates £ 0- 2- 6
- Paul Toogood for a buckett £ 0- 2- 0
- Wm Pearce for cut leather
- & other things about the church for the year £ 0- 9- 1
- Richard Greens bill £ 2-10-2
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £ 67- 19 -7 1/2
Minster Churchwardens Accounts 1734
- paid sparrows & vermins heads £ 1-12-7
- to travelers £ 0- 8- 6
- ringers 5 november £ 0-10-0
- for making the article about casting great bell £ 0-10-6
- expences at Froom when bell was weigh £ 0-13-10
- tile tileing lime & sand £ 3- 0- 8
- Mr Knott for straining the bells & 2 keys £ 1-17-0
- John Painter carpenter £ 7- 7- 2
- Henry Bayly for hair £ 0- 7- 6
- charge at visitation & expences £ 1-14- 3
- Wm Gravill bill £ 1- 8- 4
- fur smith £ 0-16- 6
- Willm Clare plummer £ 1- 6- 8
- Mr Cockey for wine £ 3-12- 6
- Wm Cockey of Froom casting ye great bell £29- 0-0
- paid the poor for part of interest £ 3- 6- 0
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £57-12-00
- to balance due to the parish . . . .£ 0-10- 8
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .£58- 2- 8
So where did this connection come to move the foundry to Frome??
Richard Cockey was born in Warminster in 1578 and upon his wedding to Susan yockney in 1600 was stated as being a pewterer, among the children were— Lewis Cockey baptised, again in Warminster in 1626, he married in 1651 Mary hawker, they had seven children, among which were-
Edward Cockey baptised warm (clockmaker Warminster Wiltshire 1699-1768
William Cockey baptised warm (clockmaker Wincanton Somerset 1663-1748
Lewis Cockey jnr baptised warm (bell founder Warminster/Frome Somerset 1656-1703)
The oldest son Lewis jnr married in 1680 a local girl Elizabeth Pierce at St Deny’s Church Warminster.
We first find records of his bells in 1681 but as to where they were cast is not proven, ie Warminster or frome, his last bell casting was in 1697
Lewis Cockey’s bells
- 1694 3 bells cast Frampton Dorset/ Bitton Somerset
- 1695 Clevedon Somerset
- 1681 Farleigh Hungerford Wiltshire
- 1687 Hinton Charterhouse
- 1697 Tytherington
Although I cannot find proof of the earlier connection to the Cockeys of Warminster, and their relations in Totnes Devon, there exists a document which does show a rare glimpse in to life in the 17century, and also shows that Richard, son of Lewis snr , has a marriage in Totne Devon in 1680 and as he was born in Warminster in 1660, meant he was below the age of consent, thus, this contract! it is outside of this discord on clock/bells it is worthy of print!
Incidently, the wife mentioned in this marriage contract was the daughter of John Harlowin who was in 1670 the mayor of Totnes!
Another tenuous connection is that a Mordecai Cockey from Totnes was recorded in 1675 as a bell founder.
The monies mentioned above equate to in 2017 thus:
In the 16-17 century the marriage of a couple, where a investment of money or property was given, came under the archaic law of having the marriage verified on the night following the church service by witnesses standing by the nuptial bed, with either the curtains around the bed closed, or open! The witnesses, appointed by the interested parties in ensuring that the marriage was consummated as they had vested interests, would await the report from the witnesses as to the outcome, a very lucrative settlement and shows the wealth of the Cockey family!
John Harlowin was mayor of Totnes circa 1637 and gave a contract to a William Cockey of Totnes for the upkeep of the water pipes to the town.
Lewis Cockey snr died in 1711 and was buried at the church St Deny’s an administration bond in favour of his wife Mary was proved in 1714 and was witnessed by their son Edward Cockey
Without the provenance of the bells cast by Lewis Cockey in Warminster being identified by actual recipts, it is difficult to prove which ones were cast by lewis snr or lewis jnr!, some churchwardens records do show snr or jnr, but for the others ???
Lewis jnr died in 1703 and was buried in the local church in Frome, again according to summary records his total production years was not less than seven ranging from 1681 to 1697
It then appears as though his son William (died 1762) took over as his bells noted as the first was 1706 at Leigh Delamere -Wiltshire, his last 1750 at Frome, supplying bells to the local Somerset and Wiltshire area and as far north as Frampton Cotterell in South Gloucestershire!
Again a summary total of 59 bells in that period
In the church at Dunkerton is cast this inscription:
“Before I was broke I was as good as aney, but when that Cokey casted I near was worth a penny”
So much for rivalry amongst bell founders!!
Thomas Bilbie recast these bells in 1732
Will of William Cockey Frome 1762
William Cockey of fFrome Selwood in the county of Somerset bell founder do make and publish this my codicil to my last will and testament in the manner of following (that is to say) I give and bequeath unto Mary Maynard my servant she be living with me at the time of my demise the sum of ten pounds the same to be paid ??? ?? months after my demise and whereas in and by way latte wife of which ?? have executers duplicates bearing ??? ??? day of march last past ?? cousin Mary ?? daughter of my late brother Joseph Cockey deceased one hundred pounds and my silver tankard marked with the letters ?? thereby also given to my cousin Ann Capper daughter of my late brother Samuel Cockey deceased the sum off fifty pounds and whereas I I have suffered several considerable losses I do herby order and ??? and my will is that only the sum of fifty pounds and the said tankard be paid and delivered on to the said Mary taper?? by my executers ??? of the ???of ??? hundred pounds and tankard???by my said will as aforesaid and firstly to my wish is that only twenty pounds be paid to the said Ann Capper by my executers instead of the said ??? of fifty pounds so given his by my said will as ??? said whilst said several sums of fifty pounds and twenty pounds shall be paid in eighteen months following my demise and this is my will and decision of this present and codicil by buried so and made part of my said last will and testament in witness before I have here unto set my hand and seal this sixteenth day of February in the year of our lord one thousand and seven hundred and sixty two w Cockey signed sealed published and discharged by the said William Cockey as and for a codicil to be ??? so to his bill in the presence of us Wilf Green, William Tyler, the mark of Sarah Shile
This will was proved at London with a codicil the sixteenth day of ??? in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty two as before the right worshipful Esward Simpson knight ??? of law master cooper ?? ?? ?? of the Prerogative Council of Canterbury lawfully as constitutes by the oath of Lewis Cockey the sole executer named in the said will together ?? ?? was granted of all and singular the goods?? and codicils of the ??? bey having been first ??? by commission duly to administer Will of William Cockey 1762
William Cockey of Frome Selwood in the county of Somerset bell founder do herby revoke and make void all wills and testaments by me heretofore made and do now make declare this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following (that is to say) first as my wife has lately her disregard to me giving every from me that was in her power to do so I give to me said wife only five shillings , I give to my cousin Mary Jupe daughter of my late brother Joseph Cockey sum as one hundred pounds and my silver tankard marked with the letters Wc, also I give to my cousin Ann Capper daughter of my late brother Samuel Cockey deceased the sum of fifty pounds whilst said legacy my will is shall be paid at this end of eighteen months next after my after my demise and I do by that my executer do expend the like sum of twenty pounds on and about my funeral I give and devise all those my freehold tenements or dwelling houses situated ??? ?? in Frome Selwood aforesaid whilst purchased of Stephen George and now in several occupations of William parsons the younger John Layatt and John Collier with afterwards ???? in backsides and appurtenances therto belonging to my kinsman Lewis Cockey the elder of Frome selwood aforesaid brazier son of my late uncle Richard Cockey and his heirs forever and lastly I give devise and bequeath unto my said kinsman Lewis Cockey all other my messuages lands tenements and ???? and also all my leaseholds lands and tenements and all ??? residue and remainder of my monies security’s for money goods chattels estate and substance whatsoever to hold to and to the use of him and the said Lewis Cockey his assigns executers administrators and asseyors for ever respectfully and I do make and appoint the said Lewis Cockey to be the sole executer of this my last will and testament as witnessed thereof the said William Cockey have to this my last will and testament ??of my hand and seal this ???? the day of march in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-two Wm Cockey Selwood sealed published and dated by the said executer William Cockey as and for his last will and testament in the presents of us who at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each of us have set our hands as witnesses – Will Green– Walt Browning –Mary Maynard
ner of following (that is to say) I give and bequeath unto Mary Maynard my servant she be living with me at the time of my demise the sum of ten pounds the same to be paid ??? ?? months after my demise and whereas in and by way latte wife of which ?? have executers duplicates bearing ??? ??? day of march last past ?? cousin Mary ?? daughter of my late brother Joseph Cockey deceased one hundred pounds and my silver tankard marked with the letters ?? thereby also given to my cousin Ann Capper daughter of my late brother Samuel Cockey deceased the sum off fifty pounds and whereas I I have suffered several considerable losses I do herby order and ??? and my will is that only the sum of fifty pounds and the said tankard be paid and delivered on to the said Mary Taper?? by my executers ??? of the ???of ??? hundred pounds and tankard???by my said will as aforesaid and firstly to my wish is that only twenty pounds be paid to the said Ann Capper by my executers instead of the said ??? of fifty pounds so given his by my said will as ??? said whilst said several sums of fifty pounds and twenty pounds shall be paid in eighteen months following my demise and this is my will and decision of this present and codicil by buried so and made part of my said last will and testament in witness before I have here unto set my hand and seal this sixteenth day of February in the year of our lord one thousand and seven hundred and sixty two.
W Cockey – WILL OF William Cockey 1762
Once again you will notice the confusion of manufacturing dates, as it cannot be established if the earlier bells were cast in Warminster or Frome!
At this point it would appear that bell founding by the Cockey family had come to an end, a total of seventy years.
Cockey’s at Frome most definitely was a separate foundry from 1720 to 1751,
Edward Cockey 1699—1768
Now we turn to Edward Cockey 1699—1768 (son of Lewis Cockey 1626—1711 ) in Warminster – brazier Edward Cockey as a prominent person of Warminster and famous clockmaker, is well documented in my book, so I will not repeat here anything previously written about him, but wish to offer the following information that has now been researched-
Edward married a Mary Bowden in 1695, the marriage took place in Totnes Devon, as it was assumed she lived there with her parents, it is now known that her father was a Gregory Bowden who was an established clothier both here in Warminster and also in Totnes! A copy of his will shows his bequeathments to Edward’s children in 1708–
Will of Gregory Bowden 1708
In The Name Of God Amen
I Gregory Bowden of the city of Exon clothier being in very good health of body and of perfect mind and memory do make and ordaine this my last will and testament in manner and form to the following-first I bequeth my soul to god that gave it and my body to christian burial at the disscretion of my executors at the decresion of my executors who after named item I give and bequeeth unto my grandson Christopher Cockey ten pounds item I give and bequeeth unto Elizabeth, mary, Edward, and Susanna Cockey my grandchildren the sum of twenty pounds each to be paid to each of these as they shall respectfully atain the age of one and twenty years of age either of them dye before attainment of the said age, then his or her legacy so dying shall be equally divided between ye survivors or survivor of them. Item I give and bequeath unto my sister Susanna Lurkeratt my brother Richard Bowden twenty shillings each, all ye lot of my goods chattels and monies not herin before given to bequeethment I do herby give and beqeeth unto my daughter Mary ye now wife of Edward Cockey and make her whole and sole executer and after her demise ye **** part to my daughter given to be equally divided between my said mentioned four grandchildren just with whose I have pass unto sett my hand this twenty ninth day of march in ye year of our lord 1708
( this will was proven in Warminster and Devon)
Edward Cockey snr, born 1669-1768 Warminster Wiltshire as stated in the opening chapter, his history and facts are covered in my book published in 1998, since that time I have been fortunate to have one of his 30 hour movement’s to compare and photograph alongside movements made by his brother William 1663-1748 of Wincanton and his son William of Yeovil 1696-1762.
General view of all three 30 hour movements
Edward Warminster – 30 hour clock
Edward Warminster – 30 hour clock – Rear View
At a recent auction Gardiner Houlgate sold a musical clock by Edward Cockey, a very crude, or much altered 4 post movement that had one post cut away to allow the chiming drum to turn, i do not consider that this is a product from Edwards workshop because of its crude workmanship, why fit a chiming barrel with 14 hammers when it only required 8!, in my publication, i have shown the chiming clock at Corsham Court and its superb quality work.!
a recent sale of a cockey eight day longcase clock depicted the movement fitted with a false plate!!
Edward Cockey’s Relations
We now move on to Edwards relations who were also clockmakers.
Edwards brother , William Cockey 1663-1748 was born in Warminster son of Lewis Cockey and Mary Hawker in 1663, some three years before Edward was born, his occupation would I suggest was with his father as a brazier and learnt his skills alongside Edward at the family’s foundry, he appears to have moved to Somerset
1691 a plaque in south Brewham church dedicated to a Edward Bennet is signed as made by Guliet Cockey de Wincanlto (believed to be one of the oldest brasses in Somerset)
1692 he married a Sarah Tatham at Maperton Somerset.
Maperton church was already well established in the community, he was appointed as a churchwarden in 1692/3 and again in 1703/11.
They had six children but either due to illness or living standards not all survived, and like many family’s at that time, named the next child of the same sex, after one that had died, so there were:
- William 1696,-1762
- Sarah 1697-1700
- Sarah -1703
- Elizabeth 1701-1702,
- Elizabeth 1705-1706
- Margaret 1712
In 1710 he is recorded as making a lantern clock and there is record of several long case clocks by him
1711 paid William Cockey 29 shillings for repairing the town clock he repaired it again in 1721
1719 William Cockey of Wincanton Somerset brazier taken John haden as apprentice 24 October 1719 for £5.0.0
1720 William Cockey clockmaker took on Thomas Lawes son of Ann lawes of Alford Wiltshire for seven years for £20.0.0
(An apprenticeship for a brazier would be for a short period, and not so demanding in skill than a clockmaker thus the difference in charges)
William died on 1st April 1748 and sadly was followed by Sarah his wife who died on the 11th of the same month both were buried in Wincanton Church and respectfully were referred to as Mr & Mrs Cockey
William Wincanton – 30 hour clock
A Rare Lantern Clock by William Cockey of Wincanton, Somerset, c.1710
With original verge escapement, pictured before restoration, the only lantern clock by this maker known to survive unaltered. One of a very famous family of clockmakers
William’s son William 1696-1762 moved from his birth place, Wincanton, to Yeovil in Somerset
1729 Yeovil we find him paying £0-0-1d in poor rate tax
1736 Montacute Somerset, paid Mr Cockey for righting the clock and for the agreement for the keeping in repair for ye year £1-4-6d
1737 until 1761 he was paid £5-0-0 per annum for looking after the clock
1757 Yeovil Somerset paid 1 penny local tax and lived in the borough of town, listed as brazier
1761 St John’s church payment for maintaining the fire engine
1762 he died and was buried in the local church yard
There are three long case clocks know by: William Cockey Yeovil / Somerset
William Yeovil – 30 hour clock
William Yeovil – 8day Clock
I can find no marriage for him so supposedly he remained a bachelor all his life!
I acknowledge the following articles and authors which have helped me compose this article
- George Dawson
- Brian Loomes
- Trevor Jennings
- Dorset collection of clocks
- Gardner Houlgate
- West Country Households 1500-1700
- John Allan
- Nat Alcock
- David Dawson
- Neil Skelton