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Last Updated 29-05-2017

CHANNEL ISLAND PEWTER

With thanks for the kind assistance of Giles Bois
(author of An Introduction to Channel Islands Pewter available from the site)

Channel Islands’ Pewter Measures are very special because there are no exactly similar types which ever existed elsewhere.

As a collector I find the patina of old and oxidized Channel Islands’ Pewter often (and if not cleaned off) has a dark green hue which is very special, and though I might have seen some similar patination (aged body color) from the North Coast of Germany or the Baltic region - I have seen nothing identical.

Jersey
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Guernsey
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Although the Channel Islands are Alderney, Sark, Guernsey and Jersey - there are only Jersey and Guernsey lidded flagons (measures) and Jersey unlidded, that are likely to be found (I seem to have two Guernsey small unlidded – so you can never be certain).

Pewterers of Channel Island origin have also made plates, porringers and other pieces – but this short introduction concerns itself only with these special lidded measures.

This simple article uses information taken as ‘fair comment’ from  –

Pewter of The Channel Islands by Stanley C Woolmer and Charles H Arkwright published by john Bartholomew of Edinburgh in 1973 ISBN 0 85152 933-X….and

and

An Introduction to Channel Islands Pewter by G J C Bois published by the author ISBN 0 9507966 1 1

For those who would take an interest these are the references to consult for further information.

The book by Woolmer & Arkwright is out of print occasionally copies are found at auction or at sites dealing with secondhand specialist books or by contacting The Pewter Society.

The book An Introduction to Channel Islands Pewter by G J C Bois is available from myself at johnstpehenbank@btinternet.com for a price of £10 plus UK postage of £2.50 or US and AUS of £4.20 and all mainland Europe of £3.00  in a padded protective envelope fit for purpose. In Jersey this good book might be found at the ‘Societe Jersiaise’ office bookshop.

Any profit from books, etc, above the basic costs of running this site will be offered to readers by way of reduced price books (or even free books in limited numbers) in the year following (at latest) of any surplus being made. This site is solely to encourage interest - but it incurs costs by way of Google Adwords (so folks can find it without going to search page 9 or more) and paying for alterations, additions and hosting. But the ethic is simply that this is a site to encourage interest in Antique British Pewter - and not for any profit whatsoever remaining with this web site. Only in this way do I believe that opinions can be without bias – wrong maybe (?), but certainly with no bias, and anxious to correct any errors.

This Article

The purpose of this short article is to encourage those who might be interested or come across this very special old pewter to pursue the subject, and to lead the reader to the books that can help. The word flagon is often used as regards the lidded measures. But here I shall use in all types the word measure.

The Sizes

Pot Quart Pint Half Pint Noggin and ½ Noggin -

There are two quarts in a POT. There are 8 Noggins to a quart.

The Purpose of The Pewterware

In the 1700s and before, Jersey produced Cider and exported it to England. These are Cider measures and every farm had to have them, thus for the size of the population there were a lot of these in use. When England developed the canal system cider production moved into the West Country and the Cider export trade from the Channel Islands was not required. So these then are mostly Cider measures or perhaps began as Cider measures (flagons), though undoubtedly earlier and later were used for wine.

The Pewterers

There is evidence from the Royal Jersey Court Records that there were pewterers active in Jersey from the 1500s. The first known and identified pewterer whose pieces can still be found, though they are scarce, was Pierre du Rousseau who arrived in Protestant Jersey as a refugee from Catholic religious intolerance in about 1688/9. The Channel Islands are some 100 miles from England but perhaps only 15 miles from France. That these measures then most closely resemble French flagons (Caen, Rouen, Troyes, Paris Le Mans, Normandy) as well as others of Flemish and Dutch origin is not surprising, (but as before) that none are exactly the same however - is.

The most prolific and commonly found pewterer from the 1700s is John de St. Croix (angl.). Apprenticed in London in 1722 he struck his touch and began work in 1730. His family is recorded as having been in Jersey since at least 1200 AD. His mark often found is the unusual IDSX (underside of lids). It is thought that he was working in Jersey in 1738.

There are a number of other pewterers identified in the books quoted with some detail of marks, product, and limited known histories.

The Makers Marks

Whilst some pewter may have been made in Guernsey it seems likely much was made elsewhere in Cornwall or perhaps London. So it is less than certain who these makers were and where some produced their pewter. Interestingly though there are not a lot of marks commonly found. Most Jersey Pewter was made in that Island (with the possible exception of that marked with three leopards by the John de St Croix mark but not the IDSX mark) also some or all late measure being made in France (lidded group 4) and England (unlidded handle type ‘a’).

There is one ‘type’ of Jersey measure subdivided into four lidded groups loosely based on makers, secondary features and age. There are two ‘types’ of Guernsey measures (type 1 like Falaise and type 2 like Rouen both of these types are from Normandy).

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FEATURES OF INTEREST TO COLLECTORS

There are four different groups of Jersey Measures and 2 of Guernsey. The differences (which the books show in some detail) are sometimes subtle differences of –

Belly, Neck and Foot Shape

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Other Differences of Note

The wedges attaching the lids, the acorns of the thumbrest, the handles, marks on the hinge pins of Jersey pieces, the verification marks, (different Guernsey to Jersey) do vary slightly as the years went by.

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a. Typical Jersey & Guernsey twin acorn thumb piece
b. widely spaced twin-acorns, found mainly on Guernsey Type 1 pints.
c. Conjoined twin-acorns, usually found only on smaller sized Jersey flagons.
d. Twin-bud thumbpiece found on most Guernsey Type 3 quarts.
e. Multiple flanged hinge - a rare variant found on both ‘Jersey’ and ‘Guernsey’
 

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Hinge Pin Embellishment Found sometimes on Jersey Pieces
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Crowned GR on Jersey Measures a) 1727-54 b) 1754-1901 c) 1790-1830
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Some terms are the author’s. For example the correct term for ‘pedestal’ is ‘stemmed foot’. The more you go into this then like any subject the more detailed it can become.

But these are delightful measures, beautiful to some eyes, in both shape and colour/ patination/distinctive aging. It is almost as though the seas around the Channel Islands are very special and bring a warmth and tone to the green grey pewter aging that nowhere else ever will.

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