yeovil people

Thomas Dobel

Watch and Clockmaker of Yeovil


Thomas Dobel was a Clock Maker who is known to have lived in Yeovil, certainly during the last quarter of the eighteenth century (specifically in 1780). Unfortunately almost nothing else is known about him. Another contemporary member of the Dobel clan, known simply as "E Dobel" is known from a long case clock dated to about 1772 and it is most likely that Thomas and 'E' were related, possibly brothers.

It is almost certain that Thomas was related to, perhaps the uncle or even the father, of Watch and Clock Maker Robert Dobel. Robert was born in Wiltshire in 1808 but was certainly in Yeovil by 1830, perhaps joining Thomas in the business. Also, in 1869 Robert's son Frederick Dobell placed an advertisement in the Western Gazette claiming his business to be "Established nearly a Century" which can really only mean a family relationship between Thomas - Robert - Frederick and/or 'E'.

Thomas Dobel is not recorded in AJ Moore's scholarly tome The Clockmakers of Somerset, 1690-1900.

The clock shown at left is the only known (by me at least) piece made by Thomas Dobel. It is a late George III (reigned 1760-1820) inlaid mahogany tall case clock described in an auction catalogue as "The hood with arched scalloped cornice surmounted by spherule finials over a glazed door opening to a painted fourteen inch dial with Roman chapter ring, subsidiary seconds dial and date aperture polychrome decorated in the arch and corners with Norman ruins flanked by outset columns, the trunk with a chevron banded long door above a similar plinth base raised on bracket feet. Height 7ft 9in (2.33m); width 18½in (46cm); depth 9½in (24cm). This clock sold for £1,246 in 2008.