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Memorial to Thomas Tompion

Nature volume 131, page 497 (08 April 1933) | Download Citation



ON Saturday, April 1, a plaque in memory of Thomas Tompion, the clockmaker, was unveiled in St. Mary's Church, Northill, Bedfordshire, where he was born in 1639, and simultaneously a wreath was laid on his tomb in Westminster Abbey, where he was buried in 1713. The plaque is the gift of the Clockmakers' Company and was unveiled by the Master, Mr. B. Kettle, the address at the service being delivered by the Archdeacon of St. Albans, the Ven. A. H. Parnell. At the ceremony at the Abbey, Sir Francis Newbolt, the Deputy Master of the Clock-makers' Company, said Tompion was honoured by the Company as one of its greatest Masters. So great was his mechanical genius and incessant industry that he was appointed clockmaker to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich at its foundation. He was a brilliant craftsman and made practical the theoretical inventions of others. He left English watches and clocks the finest in the world and the admiration of his brother artists. The grave Tompion lies in, it may be remarked, also contains the remains of his famous pupil and successor, George Graham, who died in 1751. The slab now to be seen in the Abbey, on which Graham's remarkable skill is referred to, was removed in 1838 and a small lozenge-shaped stone substituted. Thanks, however, to Dean Stanley, the original was replaced in 1866.

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