(Part 3 of 5)
The culture of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne revolved around Anglicanism.1 All Saints’ Church was one of the oldest churches in town. Prominent citizens worshipped there, even though the building was old and deteriorating. Built on a hill before 1286, the gothic structure held little architectural interest. The steeple was a low square tower from which a short spire rose. One entered the church through the tower on the west side. Above the door was a large, beautiful gothic window. Inside, a large area opened out, lighted by a large pointed window. Beautiful stained glass windows brought color into the space. The church’s curate and town historian, Henry Bourne, described the chime of the five bells as, “not being so melodious as the others in the town, but their note exceedingly exact, and more tuneful than the others2.”
On a cold and windy December day in 1684, Deodatus married Hannah Anderson at All Saints’ Church. He was twenty-seven, a clockmaker with his own shop. She was the daughter of a landowner. Deodatus and Hannah made their home less than half a mile from All Saints’ Church in a street along the River Tyne called “The Close”. It was a neighborhood where the prominent and wealthy people of Newcastle lived. The mayor’s house was nearby3.
During the time of Deodatus’s apprenticeship, Huygens patented the pocket watch. People now carried their timepieces with them. The pocket watch was not only mobile, it was a status symbol and a fashion statement.
Deodatus reached a career milestone in early 1691 when All Saints’ Church commissioned him to construct a new steeple clock. He received an annual salary thereafter to maintain the clock. Still receiving the salary in 1703, the church asked Deodatus to enhance the clock to make it strike.4 Thomas Sopwith, author of a book about All Saints’ Church, says of the church’s clock: “The steeple contained a good clock, with chimes. The machinery was placed in the bell-loft, and communicated with two painted dials, one on the south side of the steeple, the other in the church’s inside, against the south pillar of the great west arch5.”
At home, Deodatus was not doing as well. During the years of their marriage, he and Hannah had six children. By 1700, only three of the children were living. Their oldest son, named for Deodatus’s father, William, died the year Deodatus received the commission to build the clock at All Saints’ Church. William was just six years old when he died. Deodatus and Hannah lost two more children, an infant and a toddler, over the space of two years. And in 1699, Hannah died.
At the turn of the 18th century, Deodatus was a successful Master Clockmaker in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. He was also a widow with three children.
1 A. W Purdue, Newcastle: The Biography (Stroud: Amberley, 2011).
2 HENRY BOURNE, HISTORY OF NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE: Or, the Ancient and Present State of That Town. by the Late … Henry Bourne. (Place of publication not identified: GALE ECCO, PRINT EDITIONS, 2018), 89-100. https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=B1wJAAAAQAAJ&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA10.
3 Bourne, HISTORY OF NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, 126-127.
4 Janis Heidenreich Miller and Dr. Francis Dycus Threadgill, Threadgills in America: A Colonial Virginia Family (Baltimore, MD: Deford & Co., 1971), 1-2. https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE933701.
5 Thomas Sopwith, “A Historical and Descriptive Account of All Saints’ Church in Newcastle upon Tyne : Illustrated with Plans, Views, & Architectural Details,” 41-42. HathiTrust, accessed February 24, 2021, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101048097255?urlappend=%3Bseq=29.