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David Ramsay, the Clockmaker
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Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Sat Oct 9th, 2010 09:14 pm
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For some time my imagination has been captured by the figure of David Ramsay, the Clockmaker (b. bef. 1580, Scotland, d. aft. 1653 (1658, 1663?)). He has an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography and was an eminent clockmaker, the first Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in London. But he is also said elsewhere to have been an alchemist. Moreover, he was a dowser and obtained a royal permission to search for treasure at Westminster Abbey (which is discribed by Lilly). He was also the father of William Ramsay, the author of a book on astrology and a physician.

I wonder if anyone knows of any other sources of information about him? He was apparently a younger brother of George Ramsay, 1st Lord of Dalhousie and ancestor of the Earls of Dalhousie.

Last edited on Sat Oct 9th, 2010 09:16 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sat Oct 9th, 2010 11:35 pm
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
For some time my imagination has been captured by the figure of David Ramsay, the Clockmaker (b. bef. 1580, Scotland, d. aft. 1653 (1658, 1663?)). He has an entry in the Dictionary of National Biography and was an eminent clockmaker, the first Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in London. But he is also said elsewhere to have been an alchemist. Moreover, he was a dowser and obtained a royal permission to search for treasure at Westminster Abbey (which is discribed by Lilly). He was also the father of William Ramsay, the author of a book on astrology and a physician.

I wonder if anyone knows of any other sources of information about him? He was apparently a younger brother of George Ramsay, 1st Lord of Dalhousie and ancestor of the Earls of Dalhousie.


There's something about him in Schuchard, Restoring the Temple of Vision:

On pp. 390-391 she says he was 'Vicarius Magistraturae' of the Clermont Rite, taking office in 1640 in succession to Jacob Gremy. She says Ramsay was a close friend of Sir David Cunningham http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_David_Cunningham,_1st_Baronet,_of_Auchinhervie who seems to have acted as his referee in his dealings with Charles I. Schuchard cites William Ramsay's Astrologia Restaurata pp. 28-29 as reference.

See also this page here from Schuchard:
http://books.google.com/books?id=YvBynNte54YC&pg=PA380&dq=%22david+ramsay%22+%22clockmaker%22&hl=en&ei=JvmwTPe-Msql4AanivH3Bg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDIQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=%22david%20ramsay%22%20%22clockmaker%22&f=false

Eric Wynants also refers to him briefly in his article about Scottish Esoteric Masonry:

"Initiates of the eighteenth-century Clermont Rite preserved a tradition that David Ramsay was succeeded as head of the order in 1659 by Charles II, with "Eduard Frazer" serving as his "Vikar." (31) Baron von Starck, the German source for these early Scottish-Templar Masons, was often inaccurate or confused about their forenames and spellings, and "Eduard" was probably Dr. Alexander Fraser, who had earlier distanced Scottish Presbyterian plotting from Hyde's English agenda."

http://www.themasonictrowel.com/Articles/apendent_bodies/scottiest/the_true_history_scottish_esoteric_masonry.htm#b31

He's also mentioned in Gould's History of Freemasonry, Vol. I, p. 191???? [not sure]

Also in Isaac Disraeli's 'Amenities of Literature' p. 259 (in the chapter on John Dee).

There's a short note about him here too:
http://books.google.com/books?id=_pxf17y9wAEC&pg=PA223&dq=%22david+ramsay%22+%22clockmaker%22&hl=en&ei=pviwTKihGsGA4Abc5Zn1BQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22david%20ramsay%22%20%22clockmaker%22&f=false

Please note he is also known as 'Davy Ramsay'.

Here's one of his creations - the Nativity Watch.

Attached Image (viewed 376 times):

RAMSEY-WATCH-160x300.jpg

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Mon Oct 11th, 2010 04:20 pm
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Thanks Paul. One of the problems is that there were two David's at the same time, the other one is nicknamed "The Courtier", and it is not sure which of the two was the early freemasonic initiate. Ron Heisler also mentions the uncertainty in one of his Hermetic Journal artlicles (don't rememeber which one it was).

What I would be most interested in, is the identity of his first wife, the mother of William. Her first name was Mary and she was English. His second wife was Mary Aglionby.


Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Mon Oct 11th, 2010 04:27 pm
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
Thanks Paul. One of the problems is that there were two David's at the same time, the other one is nicknamed "The Courtier", and it is not sure which of the two was the early freemasonic initiate. Ron Heisler also mentions the uncertainty in one of his Hermetic Journal artlicles (don't rememeber which one it was).

What I would be most interested in, is the identity of his first wife, the mother of William. Her first name was Mary and she was English. His second wife was Mary Aglionby.




The Heisler article is here I think:
http://www.alchemywebsite.com/h_zeiglr.html

Probably not of very great interest but this large (8 meg) document:

http://www.rainbeaux.net/sandfordhistory/SandfordsofWestmorland.doc

fills in some of the details about Mary Aglionby's first husband. Search the text for 'David Ramsay'. His first wife is mentioned but unfortunately not by name.

Perhaps one of the genealogists on this forum might be able to help:

http://www.scotland.com/forums/clans/

Will keep searching...

Last edited on Mon Oct 11th, 2010 04:38 pm by Paul Ferguson


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