Maker's Mark a Heart (Part one)
Some Possible Contenders

By Piers Percival

Fig.1, Maker's mark, a heart, marks taken from spoon in figure 2.

The Maker's mark, a heart in a heart punch outline (fig.1) appears to come from one of the most prolific, and therefore probably one of the most prominent, goldsmiths working during the first thirty years of the 16th century. It has been found extant on spoons with date letters ranging from 1499/1500[1] to 1528/29[2].

Fig.2, Apostle spoon (St. Paul) made in 1510, 17.4cm, 1.76oz.

The spoon in figure 2 is dated 1510, a 'golden' year of the young and lusty, golden King[3]. The finial has the sword of St Paul unfortunately broken off at the hilt, but bears a reasonable remnant of gilt and the gauge of the spoon is good. Many spoons of quality came from this maker and include St Paul for 1515 (Corpus Christi, Cambridge), the Swaythling six apostles for 1524, St James the less for 1518 (Manchester Art Gallery), 1520 (The Ashmolean), and St Simon for 1527 (Christ''s College, Cambridge). Slip tops have been noted for 1507, 1508 and 1515. It is also found on the six unusual cup knop spoons (fig.3, Drawing of a cup knop, previously termed ball knops) of Bishop Fox for 1516 (Corpus Christi, Oxford)[4], and there is the splendid falcon knop for 1517 with the letter 'R' engraved[5]. This heart is also to be found on the Bodkin 'font' cup for 1525 and on a paten for 1526[6]. Few other marks from this period have survived in such quantity. For a maker we should be looking therefore, at goldsmiths of some importance who were known to have a reasonably large output and who were responsible for a variety of plate that included hollow ware.

Fig.3            Fig.4
There is another 'font' cup in the British Museum for 1518, which was found recently at Welford. This also has a heart (fig. 4, drawing of a heart in a shaped punch from the Welford cup), but is in a shaped punch and may or may not be a variation from the same maker. The later mark of a heart in a dotted circle which is found on mounts for stoneware jugs in the Elizabethan period, clearly pertains to a different maker of a later generation[7].

In considering possible proprietors, my methodology has been to establish the names of goldsmiths paying quarterage, which was an obligation upon all brothers of the fellowship: in 1499 there were 179 names (with wardens added); in 1506, the year in that decade with the largest number and where the clerk had separated the liverymen, the 'young men owt of the livery' (who were up for consideration) and the others street by street, there were 195 names[8]. Quarterage lists are not given after 1515, but there are two useful lists, of 114 names from 1519 (Court Minute book D, p421) and of 74 names from 1522 (book D, p364). The first was of subscribers to a midsummer pageant to celebrate ten years to the day from the king's coronation and the second of amounts from subscribers to an enforced royal loan. It is highly likely that our man would be on one or both these lists. Subsequently there were those that attended the livery assemblies: from 27.2.1527/8, the date of choosing a new intake, to 1.6.1529 there were 57 names (book D, pp247-284). The table gives names that appear on at least four of these five lists; those with known spoon connections are starred. But excluded from the table are liverymen receiving no further mention after 1523 (total absence suggests inactivity and most probably retirement to the country or death) and those gaining freedom after 1499.

One might pause here to question why the maker a heart should have been a liveryman. There is no absolute certainty since he could have been a continental, but this is unlikely. All the high profile goldsmiths then in London became liverymen and it is difficult to believe that the maker with extant output for the 1515-1530 period second only to William Simpson, was not one of its number[9]. One might also ask if such marks of importance are thought to be outside the livery, where indeed are the marks of the livery.

Table of prominent goldsmiths working 1499-1528

* known spoon connections

So the reasoning that the maker, a heart, has to be on the table is not foolproof but considering his relatively prolific output for this early period, it is highly likely. The taking of apprentices is further evidence of continued activity, but the additional finding of fines for substandard spoons though sometimes a helpful pointer, does not guarantee any prominence within the company; rather the reverse, and we are after all, looking for a maker of cups as well as spoons.

Sometimes relatives would have the same names and these, can be identified by scanning new entrants into the livery. Also, ex-wardens and senior members were generally styled Mr. whereas junior members were written in full. Thus on the 1519 pageant list we find Mr. Latham sixth down, and near the bottom is his nephew written Rauff Latham. Rauf Latham I was a warden for 1492, 1497, 1504 and 1505, he paid quarterage for 1499 and 1506 but died before 1523.

Rauf Latham II 'the younger' (book D, p26) was sworn in 1517, chosen for the livery in 1522 and a warden in 1530. John Frende I was sworn 1478, livery 1485 and a warden in 1490. John Frende II apprenticed to his father, was sworn in 1498. In 1506 he was labelled 'ffyner' [10] (book A, p425) so is not in contention for the heart. He entered the livery in 1522 and his name is written in full on the 1519, 1522 and 1528 lists. His son John Frende III, was sworn in 1530. Sir Thomas Exmewe and Sir John Mundy were both knights by 1528. John Pyke, in the period under discussion, was always styled Mr. on the assembly lists and there were no subsequent Pykes that entered the livery. He was sworn in 1478, a warden many times between 1489 and 1526, but is unlikely to have been very active by 1528. He was still attending the assemblies in 1532, at the ripe age of at least 79. Richard Kynge just scrapes into the list being sworn as a lowys[11] in 1499, but he was an almsman by 1532 and an unlikely candidate. Edmund Lee may be excluded because from 1524 he was the appointed common assayer. We are left therefore with a short list, some with spoon connections to discuss, but first there are two names that have been championed in the past, those of Robert Preston and Robert Philip[12].

Robert Preston initially appeared to be a reasonable candidate, being the master for spoon specialist William Simpson and having a fairly high profile within the company. He was apprenticed to William Ilger in 1486 (book A, p261) and free in 1494. He was fined for misworking six slip tops in 1495 and a standing cup in 1504 (book A, pp338 & 4l6). He was admitted to the livery in 1500 and was Warden in 1509 and 1513. He was a regular attendee of the assemblies until 1523, his last being for the obyt of Sir Edmund Shaa in April that year. The last of his apprentices was sworn in January 1523/4 (book D, p.179). He probably died soon after and certainly was not active in the 1524 to 1528 period when several hearts have been found. There is some indication that he might have used the holy lamb device, a discussion of which will appear in a later issue. John Preston, the brother of Robert, had in 1494, also been apprenticed to William Ilger who by then had twice been Warden. John was free in 1502, married Ilger's daughter, and was also known to make spoons (book A, p396). But he ended as an almsman and died in 1521 (book D pp115,128).

Robert Philip (Phelyp) was certainly active in 1499 as one of his apprentices John Hartforth, was then sworn, and another, Thomas Tyldsley, just started. He paid his quarterage in 1499 then working in Cheap, and in 1506 as one of the young men 'owt' of the livery. But his last mention was in 1510. Faulty workmanship was noted on several occasions including buckles in 1487, and spoons in 1496 and 1497 (book A, pp272, 346, 348). He was not on the important quarterage lists from 1511 to 1515 suggesting that by then he may have died. A second Robert Philip was sworn 2nd October 1517, with no mention of being 'the younger' as often happened when two of the same name coexisted. Neither were ever admitted to the livery.

John Baynard (Barnyard) was a spoonmaker with a very much higher profile. He had been apprenticed to Sir John Shaa in 1480, was sworn in 1488, chosen for the livery in 1497 and elected Warden for 1506, 1510 and 1519. His numerous apprentices, seventeen have been recorded, included the later spoonmakers John Cotson (free 1499) and William Calloway (free 1523). He was fined for misworking spoons in 1495 and again in 1498, though on the latter occasion the spoons had been made by John Cotson (book A pp338, 358). He had his own gilding house (book B, p351) and despite the threat from mercurial vapour, he lived to a great age. His period of activity completely covers the heart dates as he took two apprentices, Thomas Botler and Thomas Underhill in 1527 and was still a regular attendee at the assemblies in the 1530s. By December 1540 he was old (at least 76) and poverty stricken; he was then granted alms, but with a note of unusualness as he 'hath been in his time thrice warden' (book F p203).

William Brocket was another regular attendee of assemblies and was several times warden between 1508 and 1532. He had been sworn as a lowys in 1493 and entered the livery in 1500. Spoon connections are indicated in 1499, when Roger Newenton late servant with William Brocket was fined for two dozen substandard spoons (book A, p366).

Thomas Wastell was also a prominent member of the company. His relative seniority in 1522 is shown by being sixth on the list for the royal loan, behind two knights and three aldermen. (Pyke, Brocket, Baynard, Preston and Amadas incidentally, were respectively 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th). He had entered the livery in 1500, was a warden for 1512, 1516, 1521, 1522 and was still attending assemblies in 1537, aged then, at least 75. His claim as a spoonmaker is that he had been apprenticed to John Cotson in 1478 and was late with him when sworn as a lowys in 1486. The Cotsons appear to have been a line of spoonmakers. John Cotson the younger was noted specifically as a spoonmaker in Gutter Lane when paying quarterage in 1500 and is not a contender for the heart. He was sworn as a lowys in 1499 and the previous year his master John Baynard had been filled for six spoons made by him with weighted pommels. Quarterage was paid regularly between 1499 and 1515 but after that he disappears from view. John Cotson senior paid quarterage 1478 to 1489 and was admitted to the livery 1485. He was fined for misworking spoons in 1487 (book A, p273). John Cotson the 'younger' was also fined for twelve slip tops in 1497 (book A, p348).

Sir Thomas Exmewe had been sworn in 1478 and entered the livery in 1485. In 1490 he was fined for twelve spoons found at the burnishers worse than sterling by 29dwt, and for ungodly demeanour. Nevertheless he was warden in 1491, 1499, 1507, 1508, 1513, and prime warden for 1521, 1527 and 1528. He was an alderman from 1508 until his death early in 1529. His will was dated 24 January that year and the dinner to commemorate his life was held Saturday 13th February.

So who on the list is the man we are looking for? I have just touched on a few suggestions, but so far there seems no reason why any should have chosen a heart. However, like a 'Times' crossword clue, the reason, a rebus, is there right under our noses, ……and ready to be revealed in the next issue!

1. Jackson Sir Charles. English Goldsmiths and their marks London 1921 (hereafter Jackson), p92. The date letter, a lower case 'b', was recognised by Crichton Bros, a reputable firm: this letter would be difficult to confuse with later cycles which are in capitals.
2. Christies' 13.12.1906, Lot 101, St James the less; Christies' 9.7.1958, Lot 101, St Peter, both for 1528/29.
3. Fraser A. Golden World in The Six Wives of Henry VIII, London 1992 ch3.
4. These finials are almost certainly representative of the cup and cover which along with buckles, are found on the goldsmiths' coat of arms; at least two dozen such spoons have been identified from a list of plate among papers relating to the mint: 'item vi dosen of spones ij dosen wt cuppes ij dosen wt buckyllys and ij dosen wt wrethen pomills or knoppes' Brit. Lib. Additional Ms 24359 f44.
5. The Finial 2002; 13: 12,35.
6. How GEP&1P. English and Scottish Silver Spoons, 1957 vol. 3, pp39, 40.
7. Jackson p101; Christies' Loan Exhibition, March 1929, no.875.
8. Quaterage payment (2/8 a full year) gives a guide to total membership although there were occasional defaulters and others who paid in kind. Wardens and Renters were excused. See Reddaway TF and Walker LEM The Early History of the Goldsmiths' company 1327-1509, London 1975, p182.
9. Goldsmith liverymen at this time generally numbered between 50 and 60. Some would be inactive. When numbers dwindled because of death, replacements were made en bloc usually at 3-year intervals. In 1528 there were 10 new members. All documented assignees in relation to a prolific spoon output of the early and mid 16th century, viz William Simpson (fringed S), Francis Jackson (bird claw) and Nicholas Bartholomew (crescent enclosing a mullet), became liverymen.
10. An ancillary trader who specialised in refining the gold and silver brought to him.
11. Lowys: one that is loose or free. After a minimum term of seven years and at the minimum age of 24, an apprentice could be granted freedom and on payment of 2/-, sworn to abide by the company's ordinances. He would then be allowed to practice his art.
12. Kent TA. London Silver Spoonmakers, London 1981, pp9, 10; The Finial 2003; 13: 4; Bonhams 29.11.2002, Lot 241.


.4. / .5. / .6. / .7.
The Finial, June/July 2003

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