Thomas Milles

This maker was made a Free Brother in the Clockmakers' Company in London in September of 1652. He is last heard of in 1662 - the 'brother' meaning he had trained elsewhere than within the Company and therefore officially he could not take apprentices directly through them, but had to use an intermediary. In fact his apprentices included several, who themselves later became well-known makers of lantern clocks, amongst them Thomas Birch, Matthew Crockford, and William Glazier or Glassier, who also himself worked later in Shoe Lane and may have succeeded Thomas Milles in his business there. His apprentices were all taken through Nicholas Coxeter, a famous maker of lantern clocks and for whom Milles may at one time have worked. The fact that Coxeter acted as 'sponsor' for each of Milles's apprentices suggests that there was more than a casual connection between them.

Milles usually signed his clocks 'in Shoe Lane', but one is signed in 'Soe Lane'. Very few are known, about five or six in total, which is not surprising as he was working no more then ten years, and some of that time he may have been working for Nicholas Coxeter. A spectacular two-handed hourly-striking, quarter-chiming and minute striking lantern clock is known by him, today in Leicester City Museum. His work ranks alongside the best in the land of this period.

A receipt survives dated August 1662 for work he did on a clock belonging to Lord Salisbury, a clock which appears to have been in appalling condition.

Work done to my Lord Salsbereyes Klocke

For a new pinnian to the woch parts11s0d
for rounding flating and equalling the krowne wheele60
for putting peaces to the ballance varge and brasinge it
and new plomets
70
for stoping the hooles of the woch parte and makinge the
wheeles to goe and of the klock
90
for keanings the klocke80
for mendinge the fley of the strikinge parte and mendinge
the strikinge
4 0
£2.4s0d

But he accepted £2. 00. 00 straight