Milton’s Watch

Here’s an intriguing article from the Sussex Advertiser of 29 August 1836:

“A poor family in this county recently received a box from America, as part of the effects of an aged relative, whose ancestors had emigrated to that continent soon after the time of the Commonwealth; the box contained coins from the time of Elizabeth, Charles and James I, and a few from the Protectorate, but none from a later date. With the coins was an old watch, and the family to whom the bequest came being indigent, sold the whole to a silversmith, who was also a watchmaker. The purchaser gave the full price for the coins, but refused to give more for the watch than the value of the silver case, 2s 9d. The works with the face (on which looked like iron) were left in a drawer frequently opened. After a while the friction on the face showed it to be of silver, with an inscription on it. This being deciphered, on cleaning the metal, was found to be ‘Johani Miltoni 1621’ and contained also the name of the maker, a person in Pope’s Head Alley, London, whose name appears on the tables of the Watchmaker’s Company for that period. The watch is well made for the time, and would seem to be an appropriate gift for a young man then entering upon life. The present possessor had it as a token of gratitude for some former favour  from the silversmith, and the relic has become an object of inquiry for purchase at considerable price for the British Museum. – Yorkshire Paper”

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