Our article on the clockmaker David Ramsay has been published in Antiquarian Horology. It provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of his origins and eventful life. He was born at the farmstead of Langraw near St Andrews and apprenticed there to the gunsmith Henry SMITH in 1594. He is next found in Paris in 1610, helping the Fife nobleman John CARNEGIE to choose clocks for his brother, and he is mentioned as ‘Langraw’s son’ in a letter from John.
In 1613, he was invited to London where he joined a large expatriate Scots community, taking positions in King James’s bedchamber and becoming keeper of the King’s clocks in 1618 after the death of the previous incumbent Randolph BULL. He was also made Master of the Clockmakers’ Company in 1632 when it was established by King Charles.
When King Charles became embroiled in the Civil War, Ramsay was put in the Gatehouse Prison in Westminster for debt, where he remained for 4 years. He was finally released after agreeing to work for the Commonwealth. He died in relative obscurity in St Martins in the Fields in April 1659 and was buried there on the 3rd May 1659.