Joseph Knibb’s connection with Hanslope started in 1691 when he bought an estate at Green End in Hanslope, although he did not live there until his retirement in 1697.
Joseph was born in Oxfordshire. After serving an apprenticeship to his cousin Samuel Knibbs at Newport Pagnell, from about 1655 to 1662, he then returned to Oxford to set up business with his brother John as his apprentice.
The most renowned member of a renowned family, Joseph was classed as a clock, watch and turret clockmaker with Tompion and Quare. About 1670 he moved to ‘The Dyal, Serjeants Inn, Fleet St. (later Suffolk St.) London’. He made famous clocks such as those for Charles II, Prince Rupert’s night lantern, the turret clocks for Wadham College, and the State Entrance of Windsor Castle. A Freeman of the Clockmakers Company, he became a man of considerable means.
In 1697 he sold up in London due to ill health and moved to Hanslope. The following is the advertisement for his sale:
SALE -‘At the Clock Dyal, in Suffolk Street, near Charing Cross, on Friday, the 23rd inst., will begin the sale of a great Parcel of very good Pendulum Clocks, some do go a year, some a quarter of a year, some a month, some a week and some 30 hours; some are Table Clocks, some repeat themselves and some by pulling repeat the hours and quarters; made and sold by Joseph Knibbs, at his house at the Dyal, in Suffolk Street aforementioned. There are also some watches to be then and there sold’ [London Gazette Apr. 15-19, 1697]
Joseph Knibb’s estate in Hanslope consisted of a farmhouse with 10 acres of land adjoining and 68 acres in open fields. He did not entirely give up clock-making but took on an apprentice by the name of John Hunt. His only son Thomas was buried in Hanslope Church on 10 January 1703 and Joseph himself was buried in Hanslope on 14 December 1711. The location of their graves is unknown.
Green End passed to Joseph’s brother John and then to John’s son also called John. The estate was sold in 1737. The following entry is from Northampton records.
‘Articles of Agreement 19th. May 1737.
( I ) John Knibb of Oxford, upholder
( II ) Richard Brafield of Northampton, haberdasher of hats.
( I ) agrees to convey estate in Hanslope for sum of £2010.’
Green End in 1616 had 24 households. Today it is open fields with no sign of ever having been a hamlet with a large house. The only clue is a few old fruit trees which were presumably an orchard of Knibb’s residence.
In 1982 a clock signed by ‘Joseph Knibb Hanslope’ came up for auction, an article about it was in the Wolverton Express