In 1991 in an interlude before relocating to Ireland from Yorkshire I undertook extensive concentrated research on Sheffield silver and silversmiths. I wrote up my findings at the time as two essays, which I publish here for the first time.

I am indebted to the Master of the Sheffield Assay Office who permitted access to the records of the Company, and to Mrs. J Richardson, the Company’s Librarian, for facilitating their perusal and for help and advice in connection with this research.

It is probable that new material has become available in the past ten years, and I should be happy for others to ground further research on this material, as I have utilised the findings of earlier researchers.

Major sources consulted were.

Sheffield Assay Office.
Sun Insurance Policies.
Sheffield City Libraries, Archives Division. (Partnership agreements, company records.)
West Yorkshire Records Office, Wakefield (Land Tax returns; Memorials of Deeds; Memorials of Wills, Quarter Sessions material.)
Borthwick Institute, York. (Wills and Administrations.)
Parliamentary Papers.
Published works. (Particularly those of the Sheffield Assay Office and Francis Buckley’s pamphlet Sheffield Silver Platers 1771-1805, as annotated to 1828.)

ESSAY 2: SHEFFIELD SILVERSMITHS PART 1. Registrations to1774. PART 2. Registrations 1775-1792. PART 3. Appendix.

Essay 2 is a study of the makers’ marks, personnel and successors of the partnerships of the Sheffield silver trade, covering all those registered from the foundation of the Assay Office in 1773 down to June 1792, and including known successors down to the twentieth century.

The appendix contains details of all other makers who registered marks down to June 1792, under three headings:

1) Those who did not submit any silverware for assay.
2) Those who only submitted cutlery.
3) All other makers not otherwise dealt with, with the types of silverware submitted for assay.

I am indebted to the Assay Master of the Sheffield Assay Office for permission to reproduce, by scanning, the makers’ marks as illustrated in The Sheffield Assay Office Register, second edition. This work which is still available from the Assay Office, is an essential reference work for all with an interest in Sheffield silver of the nineteenth century. The marks have been reproduced at 200%.

Though I set down my findings at the time, events precluded me from including references for this latter essay. Ten years later I do not have the confidence to add them. However, I retain my research notes and would happily try to answer any specific enquiries. lawe@eircom.net


Edward Law, interests, bibliography, and the Victorian prize medals of Huddersfield College.

The Sheffield Assay Office, where you will find details of their publications for sale.


The history of Huddersfield and district: essays and research.

The history of Kilkenny county and city: essays and research.

Anastatic printing, some brief notes, relating to photograph and crest albums and Cowells of Ipswich.

The Victorian pastime of Crest Collecting: research findings, album publishers and scans of crests.

Notes and queries on Free Franks of the United Kingdom.

Page updated 15 December 2006