Thomas Tompion

Thomas Tompion, called the finest English clockmaker of all time, is buried in the centre part of the nave of Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his stone (which has been re-cut) reads:

Here lies the body of Mr Tho. Tompion who departed this life the 20th of November 1713 in the 75th year of his age. Also the body of George Graham of London watchmaker and F.R.S. who curious inventions do honour to ye British genius whose accurate performances are ye standard of mechanic skill. He died ye XVI of November MDCCLI in the LXXXVIII year of his age.

Tompion was born in 1639 at Northill in Bedfordshire, a son of Thomas, a blacksmith, and his wife Margaret. Nothing is known of his early life and education but by the 1670s he was making turret and long-case clocks for the nobility. He was admitted to the Clockmakers' Company and he worked on projects with the scientist Robert Hooke although he was never elected to the Royal Society. He supplied the original clocks for the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. His niece Elizabeth married clockmaker George Graham who inherited Tompion's business in 1713. Graham, as the inscription shows, was buried with Tompion in 1751.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The Clockmakers' Museum is at the Science Museum


20th November 1713





Memorial Type


Thomas Tompion
Thomas Tompion & George Graham grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

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