Welcome to Pewterbank
Website security

Last Updated 29-05-2017

CROWNED hR/HR VERIFICATION MARKS
David Moulson

previous page

Balusters made earlier, such as the slim ones already discussed could have been marked later.  It is also likely that pewterers developed the bud thumbpiece during the 1690s to emphasise that measures with this thumbpiece were wine standard. 

The only apparent evidence to the contrary is a pint bud attributed to Thomas Battison who died in 1668.  A possible explanation is that his brother William made it.  Although Free in 1662, there are no dates in the records for him striking his touch or opening shop and he did not become a Liveryman until a month after his brother died.  All this suggests that he worked with Thomas and continued to use his touch.  This extends the dating for that mark until 1708 when William died and fits better with the appearance of the measure itself.

I know of seven measures in the second group, which incorporate the sword of St Paul in the hR or HR mark (Figs. 6 & 7). Two have hR marks with the sword rising vertically from the ‘knee’ of the h, and five are in the format of HR with the sword between the letters.  Michaelis records a gallon bud by John Langford with H:R but not having seen a clear version of this I wonder if it was a corroded sword between the letters.  One of the ‘H sword R’ examples is the pint by Battison for which I have no capacity. 

The inclusion of the sword of St Paul, used by the City for many years, may predate the addition of the full Arms insisted upon by Lord Mayor Brocas in 1730.  The two with the ‘hR with a sword’ mark are a quart by John Smith who opened shop in 1685 (Fig. 7), and a half-gallon by Anthony Waters who opened shop in 1698.  They are 17.7 and 17.08 fl oz per pint respectively.  The two with the ‘H sword R’ mark are a half-pint by Thomas Stribblehill dated in the Company’s catalogue to 1695-1720 and engraved ‘H.M. Warehouse at Woodbridge’, and a quart by Joseph Sherwin who was Free in 1726.  These contain 17.8 and 16.75 fl oz per pint respectively.  The average of these six whose capacity is known is 17.32 fl oz per pint compared to 16.55 for the previous group marked ‘hR’.  Patently, they were meant to conform to the same standard, and London pewterers made all of them.

6.  Examples of the crowned hR/HR mark with a sword

HR marks 13 a

HR marks 13 c

HR marks 13 b

Anthony Waters J551

Thomas Stribblehill J552

Joseph Sherwin J553

The third group are verified with the Arms of the City of London flanked by ‘H’ and ‘R’ (Figs. 8 & 9).  It comprises one bud baluster measure by Thomas Mathew (1716-c1745), 10 double volute baluster measures and one Type 1 bulbous measure.  William Fasson 1758-87, or Randall Moring 1780-1821 made six of the double volute balusters.  The bulbous pint is unmarked but probably dates c1800-25.   

Close examination of the marks leads me to believe that all but the half-gallon bud by Mathews (Fig. 9) were marked with the same iron but cleverly double-struck to fit the punch on to the lip of the measure.  These 12 vary in capacity only from 16.3 to 17.2 fl oz per pint and average 16.77 fl oz, just over the 16.65 fl oz wine standard pint.  We saw above that in 1730 Lord Mayor Brocas decreed that the City’s Arms should be added to the mark or seal used to verify measures.  Hence, we now have HR or WR either side of the Arms for wine or ale standard measures respectively (Fig. 8 centre & right). 

For interest, the 29 measures recorded comprise one gallon, two half-gallons, eight quarts, twelve pints, five half-pints and one gill.

HR marks 11
HR marks 6 e
HR marks 12

J554

7.  Quart bud by John Smith with crowned hR & sword mark

8.  Examples of the crowned London shield HR & WR marks

HR marks 14 a

HR marks 14 b

HR marks 14 c

Found on wine standard double volute and
Type 1 bulbous measures J555

Normally seen on London
Ale mugs

CONCLUSION

I have considered the Parliamentary and other legislation relating to the development of wine and ale measures, with physical evidence from the surviving examples.  Previous attempts to address this conundrum were predicated on the assumption that pewterers would make the capacities of their measures close to what was required.  Thus, as there is a range of capacities from around 16 to 18.5 fl oz per pint, they assumed there must be various capacity standards to which the measures were made.  While I draw my conclusions from a tiny sample, it would seem that their makers may have been more interested in conforming to the Company’s sizing relating to weight and less concerned with the actual capacity within an ounce or so.

We know that after 1700 ale quarts or pints were to be marked with the crowned WR, and the evidence from maker’s dates suggests that crowned hR or HR marks were also to be used, possibly having been reintroduced from an earlier time, to distinguish wine from ale measures. That is, the hR or HR marks were used between c1700 to 1730 and HR with the Arms of the City of London from c1730 to the early 19th century mainly on double volutes and Type 1 bulbous measures.  It also seems safe to assume that the crowned hR or HR verification mark was used only in and around the City of London.

However, such is the nature of research that further examples, unknown at this time, could challenge these findings.  Meanwhile, although more work needs to be done on the earlier forms of measures, I believe these conclusions are reasonably sound.  I am unable to explain why some pewterers used the gothic h and some the capital H at around the same time.

HR - page 7 HR - page 7 a

9. Half-gallon bud with City of london shield HR mark.

TABLE – Data for 29 measures with hR/HR marks

Type

Maker

Maker’s Location

Maker’s Dates

Total Fl oz

Fl oz / Pint

Current Location

Crowned hR only

Ball

‘F’ & 2 stags

?

c1550

29.6

14.8

V & A Mus #222

Wedge

AB

?

c1550?

15.0

15.0

Mus of Lond #22571

Ball

‘I’ in a circle

?

c1550?

28.0

14.0

Mus of Lond #80227

Ball

?

?

c1600

8.2

16.4

Yorkshire

Wedge

RS

?

c1650

16.0

16.0

Mus of Lond #2354

Bud

?

?

“1687”

131.5

16.4

WCOP #252

Bud

William Waters

London

1677-99

18.5

18.5

Warks

Bud

Anthony Waters

London

OS1698

35.0

17.5

Japan

Bud

Anthony Waters

London

OS1698

17.8

17.8

Warks

Bud?

Robert Seare

London

1667-1711

17.6

17.6

Mus of Lond #8461

Hammer

?

London?

c1690

9.0

18.0

Warks

Crowned hR or HR incorporating the Sword of St Paul

Bud

John Smith

London

1685F

35.4

17.7

Somerset

Bud

Anthony Waters

London

OS1698

68.3

17.08

Colonial Williamsburg #304

Bud

Thomas Stribblehill

London

1668-1700

8.9

17.8

WCOP #402

Bud

John Langford

London

c1700

8.8

17.6

Warks

Bud

John Langford

London

c1700

17.0

17.0

Derbyshire

Bud

Joseph Sherwin

London

m1726-36

33.5

16.75

Warks

Crowned City of London arms flanked by HR

Bud

Thomas Mathew

London

1716-c45

67.5

16.9

London

Dv

William Fasson

London

1758-87

8.6

17.2

Derbyshire

Dv

William Fasson

London

1758-87

4.25

17.0

Warks

Dv

William Fasson

London

1758-87

16.8

16.8

Warks

Dv

Randall Moring

London

1780-1821

16.8

16.8

London

Dv

Randall Moring

London

1780-1821

34.0

17.0

London

Dv

Randall Moring

London

1780-1821

17.1

17.1

London

Dv

No mark

?

c1770

16.5

16.5

Germany

Dv

No mark

?

c1770

16.3

16.3

Spain

Dv

No mark

?

c1770

33.8

16.9

Yorkshire

Dv

No mark

?

c1770

32.1

16.05

London

Bulbous

No mark

?

c1800-25

16.7

16.7

Cheshire

REFERENCES

1.  HJLJ Masse, Pewter Plate(London, 2003), p197.

2.  HH Cotterell, Pewter down the Ages(London 1932), p76, figs 40 & 41.

3.  CA Peal, ‘Notes on pewter baluster measures and their capacities’ Apollo, Jan 1950, pp20-21.

4.  CA Peal, ‘Tankards, and Housemarks on early measures’, Apollo June 1949 p159.

5.  RF Michaelis, ‘Capacity marks on old English pewter measures’ The Antique Collector, Aug 1954, p157.

6.  HJLJ Masse, Chats on Old Pewter(London 1911) p153

7.  RF Michaelis, Antique Pewter of the British Isles, (London 1955), Chap 4.

8.  CA Peal, British Pewter and Britannia Metal for Pleasure and Investment(London 1971), p65.

9.  S Woolmer, ‘The crowned hR mark’ JPS, Dec 1975, p27.

10.  CA Peal, ‘A new line on ‘hR’ balusters’ JPS Spring 1979, p15.

 

11.  A McInnes, ‘New light on an old problem: the crowned hR verification seal’ JPS Spring 1991, p28.

12.  RF Homer, Libra, Dec 1963.

13.  RF Homer, ‘Standard Measure?’ JPS Autumn 1994, p153.

14.  C Ricketts with J Douglas, Marks and Marking of Weights and Measures of the British Isles, (Taunton 1996), p50.

15.  RD Connor & ADC Simpson, The Weights and Measures of England, (London 1987), p158

16.  Pewter a Celebration of the Craft 1200-1700, (Mus of London 1989), #93.

17.  RF Homer, ‘The crowned C verification mark’ JPS Spring 1993, p28.

18. RF Homer, ‘Fraudulent verification of measures’ JPS Autumn 1989, p65.

19.  I Robinson, ‘English pewter lidded baluster measures – makers and marks, c1660 – 1830’ JPS Autumn 2004.

20.  C Welch, History of the Pewterers’ Company, (London 1902) Vol II, p148.

21.  1698-99 Act 11 & 12 Will III c15 (for ascertaining the Measures for retailing Ale and Beer) not amended or repealed until the Weights & Measures Act, 1824

previous page

Site Design & Build by
Lee Rushton