The Fromanteel family

Ahasureus FromanteelThe Fromanteel family was a large family of clockmakers of Dutch extraction. Ahasuerus Fromanteel worked at East Smithfield in 1630 and was a member of the Blacksmiths Company. He joined the Clockmakers Company on its foundation, but was at ‘constant disapproval’ with the Wardens and Master.

A second Ahasuerus Fromanteel was elected in 1655 and a third in 1663. A John was admitted in 1663 and an Abraham in 1680.

In 1657 John went to Holland to learn the art of pendulum clocks recently invented by Huygens and made by Coster. It was thus that the family were the first to make pendulum clocks in England, a matter ‘examined and proved before His Highness the Lord Protector’. Evelyn in his diary of November 1660 writes that ‘In His Majesty’s cabinet of rarities was a clock by our famous Fromanteel.’ They made their clocks at the sign of the Mermaid, in Lothbury, near Bartholomew Lane End.

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