This clock was likely purchased in the 18th century by a member of the Stanhope family of Newport, Rhode Island. It descended in that family and is listed in an undated inventory of Elizabeth Stanhope Engs (ca. 1854 - 1940s). Upon her death the clock was inherited by Rose Bradford (1884-1961), whose mother was Harriet Stanhope Engs. The tide dial of the clock may reflect the seafaring occupations of the early Stanhope men. A portrait miniature of Colonel J.R. Stanhope descended with this clock, and depicts a sailing vessel in the background.
Clockmaker William Claggett, born 1696 in Wales, moved to Boston at the age of 12 and it is believed he was there apprenticed to Benjamin Bagnall. Bagnall had done his own apprenticeship in Philadelphia, and thus it is not surprising that there are both Boston and Philadelphia clocks closely related to this one. This clock is signed Newport on the dial, dating it between 1716 (the year Claggett permanently relocated to Newport) and 1749 (the year of Claggett's death). A man of many talents, Clagget not only made beautiful clocks, but was as well an engraver, printer, merchant, author and the man responsible for introducing Benjamin Franklin to the phenomenon of electricity.
It is likely that this clock originally had a sarcophagus top. Although this aspect is a common trait of Claggett's work, the clock's arched dial and blind fretwork are more rarely seen. Similarly shaped cases can be seen in the work of Benjamin Bagnall, William Stretch and other Boston and Philadelphia clockmakers of the time.