Watchmakers in the Douglas Family

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James Douglass watch

James Douglass of Chertsey ca 1733 - 1805

His life James Douglass was born around 1730-1733 to John Douglass (unfortunately I don’t know where, though family stories suggest the Douglasses originally came from Scotland). James married Letitia Joyce of Godalming on 20th May 1761 in Godalming, Surrey, and James is already described as watchmaker of Chertsey at this time. Letitia, born in 1733, was the daughter of Joshua Joyce (a baker and formerly Warden of Godalming) and Elizabeth (née Chitty) . James Douglass, 1765-1835 was their son. This James died at Chertsey in 1805.


His business James was apprenticed to Richard Stedman of Godalming for 7 years on 10/10/1747. The apprenticeship refers to his father as John Douglass.

A number of rather fine watches and clocks produced by him have been on sale, illustrated items may be seen (click on the watch to the right).


Other clocks seen for sale  without illustrations are: -

Baillie, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the world Vol 1. gives following information: -

        1768-1791 Bankrupt

The bankruptcy record is confirmed by records at the National Archives in B4/23:  Douglass James, Jenkins James and Abbot, 5th Feb 1791

The middle names were either his agent or solicitors or creditors. I have found some information that they were a firm of solicitors at New Inn, London.

The London Gazette carried the Notice: -

The Commissioners in a Commission of Bankrupt awarded and issued forth against James Douglas, of Chertsey in the County of Surry, Clock-maker, intend to meet on the 29th Day of November next, at Eleven in the Forenoon, at Guildhall, London, to make a Dividend of the said Bankrupt’s Estate and Effects ; when and where the Creditors, who have not already proved their Debts, are to come prepared to prove the same, or they will be excluded the Benefit of the said Dividend. And all Claims not then proved will be disallowed.


There are 4 timepieces by James Douglass, and a painting , by James Douglass, of Chertsey clock in Chertsey Museum, at The Cedars, Windsor Street, Chertsey.  Not all likely to be on view at one time.

James was based in Guildford Road, Chertsey.  See this page

James himself took an apprentice James Front in 29/4/1767.

He signed a settlement certificate on 6.12.1769 for a John Gunnor moving to Woking, as a churchwarden and overseer for the poor.


See brass longcase dial I have bought here.


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