The Peter Stretch lantern clock sold for £4000 at Hanson’s. Picture from Brian Loomes.

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There, with a shop at Front and Chestnut Streets, he became one of the earliest American clockmakers - second only to fellow Quaker Abel Cottee of Crediton, Devon, who emigrated between 1679 and 1682 - and a man who now carries the same name check in American decorative arts as Tompion and Graham do in the United Kingdom.

It gives some idea of his standing in America to note that in 2004 when Delaware's Winterthur paid $1.5m at Sotheby's to secure a splendid Stretch longcase, it described the acquisition as the most important since the days of benefactor Henry Du Pont.

Of course, for a Stretch clock to command this level of interest, it really needs to have been made in America. Nevertheless, a handful of clocks made by Stretch in England before he left for Philadelphia do survive (there are more that carry the name of his brother Samuel who worked in both Birmingham and Bristol) and they include a form apparently unknown in American clockmaking - the lantern clock.

Given that by 1700 they were fast becoming passé in favour of the superior timekeeping of the longcase, no unimpeachable American-made lantern clock has survived.

Adding to the three previously known Stretch of Leek lantern clocks - two residing in the States, one in the UK - was that seen at Hanson's, who conducted their second sale at the Green Man Royal Hotel, Ashbourne on January 19.

Probably dating from the late 1690s, it exhibited typical wear to its eight-day movement and chased dial, but retained its original anchor escapement (based upon the other surviving examples Stretch did not produce a verge escapement) and was unrestored. Charles Hanson had found it in a Derbyshire farmhouse.

There was some interest from the US and a Stretch family member was in the room, but seeing off competition at the upper end of the £3000-4000 estimate was the well-known North Yorkshire author and specialist dealer Brian Loomes of Pateley Bridge, Harrogate.

It was not an imposing sum for an original clock with a lot of history, and Mr Loomes - who said it was the first Stretch he had had a chance to buy in 40 years of dealing - has already found a buyer for it in the US. He did, however, take the opportunity to photograph the clock as source material for a book he is planning on English lantern clocks.