Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.
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Reasons for passing this Act
Cities appointed for assaying, &c. Wrought Plate.
Whereas the Goldsmiths Silversmiths and Plateworkers of this Kingdom remote from the City of London are under great Difficulties and Hardships in the Exercise of their Trades for want of Assayers in convenient Places to assay and touch their wrought Plate For Remedy whereof and for preventing all Frauds and Corruptions therein Be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and ( (fn. 1) ) Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That the severall Cities within this Kingdom where the Mints were lately erected for recoining the Silver Money of this Kingdom viz[en] York Exeter Bristol Chester and Norwich shall be and are hereby appointed for the assaying and marking of wrought Plate and for executing the Powers Authorities and Directions given by this Act
II. Goldsmiths, &c. in the said Cities incorporated a Company.
Company to choose Wardens annually.; Proviso for Death, &c. of Warden.
Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That in every of the Cities aforesaid the Goldsmiths Silversmiths and Plate-workers who are or shall be Freemen of and inhabiting within any of the said Cities and having served an Apprenticeship to the said Trade of a Goldsmith Silversmith or Plate worker shall be and are hereby respectively incorporated a Company of or belonging to such City and shall be called and known by the Name of the Company of Goldsmiths [of such City (fn. 2) ] respectively Which Company of such City shall be enabled and are hereby authorized annually to choose Two Persons to be the Wardens of [the (fn. 2) ] said Company in each of the said Cities respectively Which said Wardens shall continue for the Space of One Year and no longer unless reelected by the said Company And if any of the said Wardens so chosen as aforesaid shall happen to dye or remove out of such City then the said Company shall within One Month after such Death or Removall choose another Person of their Company to be Warden in his Room and such Person so chosen shall and is hereby authorized and required to act accordingly
III. No Goldsmith, &c. to make Plate less in Fineness than Standard, nor shall sell any until marked, &c.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no Goldsmith Silversmith or Plateworker in any of the said Cities shall work or make or cause to be wrought or made any Silver Vessell Plate or Manufacture of Silver less in finess then according to the Standard of this Kingdom which for the Time being is or shall be appointed by Law for wrought Plate nor shall put to sale exchange or sell any Plate or Manufacture of Silver made after the Nine and twentieth Day of September One thousand seven hundred and one untill such Time as such Plate or manufactured Silver shall be marked as followeth (viz[en]) with the Workers Mark to be expressed with the Two first Letters of his Sirname to denote the Maker thereof and also with the Lions Head erased and the Figure of a Woman commonly called Britannia and with the Arms of such of the Cities aforesaid wherein such Plate shall be assayed and marked to denote the Goodness thereof and the Place where the same was assayed and marked and also with a distinct variable Mark or Letter in Roman Character which Mark or Letter shall be annually changed upon the Election of new Wardens for each respective Company to denote the Year in which such Plate is made upon pain that all such Silver Vessells Plate or other manufactured Silver (except such Things as by [reason of (fn. 2) ] their Smallness are not capable of recieving a touch) which shall be made exposed to sale or exchanged contrary to this Act shall be forfeited or the Value thereof One Moyety thereof to the Kings Majesty His Heirs and Successors and the other Moiety thereof to such Person [and (fn. 3) ] Persons as will sue for the same to be recovered by Action of Debt Bill Suit or Information in any Court of Record in any County or Place wherein such Offence shall be committed and wherein no Essoign Protection Wager of Law or any more than one Imparlance shall be allowed
IV. An Assayer to be elected in each City.
His Allowance and Oath.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That there shall be an able and skillfull Man experienced in assaying of Gold and Silver elected by the said Company of Goldsmiths in each of the said Cities respectively for whom it shall and may be lawfull to detain Eight Grains only from every Pound Troy of Silver he shall assay Four Grains whereof shall be put into the Box of Dyett and the other Four Grains shall be allowed him towards his Wast and Spillings in making the said Assays And who imediately after his Election shall take the Oath following (viz[en])
I A : B : do swear That I will be faithfull and true to our Sovereign Lord King William and will so long as I shall continue an Assayer well and faithfully behave my self in the said Office and no undue Profit to my self take to the hurting or hindrance of any Person that is Owner or Bringer in of any Gold or Silver [in (fn. 4) ] Plate to be assayed except of Plate wrought only Four Grains of every Pound Weight to be taken and put into the Box of Diet and other Four Grains to be taken likewise of every Pound Weight of Plate wrought (and not otherwise) towards my Wast and Spillings in making the said Assays And that I will touch no Gold nor Silver but [what (fn. 4) ] shall be of the Goodness of and according to the Standard of this Kingdom which for the time being is or shall be appointed [by Law (fn. 4) ] for wrought Plate And all such Gold [or (fn. 5) ] Silver as shall be brought to me to be touched I will truly sett down in Writing and the same at all times as I shall be required will duely and truly deliver again (except Eight Grains as aforesaid) and will true Accounts make thereof when thereunto required by the Wardens of the Companies wherein I am chosen Assayer and that I will no Assays make of Things new wrought before they be markt with the Mark of the Maker or Owners thereof And that I will not put into the aforesaid Box any Silver but that Silver which I shall have scraped and taken from the Plate which I shall assay and pass for Standard So help me GOD.
Which Oath the Mayor in the respective Cities aforesaid is hereby required and impowered to administer to such Assayer
V. Diet Box to be locked with Three Locks.
May be annually conveyed to the Mint in the Tower; False Diets,; Penalty £50; Plate unduly marked,; Penalty.
And it is hereby further enacted That the Box or Boxes wherein the Diet of all such Plate as shall be tryed by the Assayers aforesaid is put shall be locked up with Three different Locks and the respective Keys thereof shall be kept by the Wardens and Assayers of such respective Companie by whom such Assayers shall be elected and chosen which Box or Boxes shall be at the Charge of each respective Company conveyed annually (if required by the Lord Chancellor or Keeper of the Great Seal of England for the time being) to His Majesties Royall Mint at the Tower of London And the said Diet therein contained shall be tryed as the Pix of the Coin of this Kingdom is tryed And if in any of the said Diets there shall be found any Falshood or Deceit then every such Company for every such Offence shall forfeit the Summe of Fifty Pounds to be recovered in manner as aforesaid against such Company or any Member thereof in his private Capacity and to be disposed of as aforesaid And if any Plate shall be touched [allowed or marked (fn. 6) ] for good by any of the Assayers of the respective Places aforesaid and if in the same there shall be found any Deceit then such Assayer who so marked the same shall forfeit double the Value of the Plate so marked to be recovered and disposed as aforesaid
VI. Goldsmith, &c. of any City where no Assayer is appointed, to enter his Name, &c. with Wardens of Company of such City where Assayer is appointed.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That on or before the Nine and twentieth Day of September One thousand seven hundred and one every Goldsmith Silversmith or Plateworker inhabiting in any of the Cities aforesaid or in any other Town or Place within this Kingdom where an Assayer is not or shall not be appointed and also every Person who at any time after the said Nine and twentieth Day of September shall be a Goldsmith Silversmith or Plateworker and shall inhabit in any of the Cities aforesaid or in any other Town or Place within this Kingdom where an Assayer is not or shall not be appointed before he takes upon him to exercise any of the said Trades shall enter his Name and his [Mark and (fn. 4) ] Place of Abode with the Wardens of such Company of that City or Place where an Assayer is or shall be appointed which shall be done by the said Wardens upon Demand without Fee or Reward and if any such Goldsmith Silversmith or Plateworker shall not enter his Name and Mark and Place of Abode as aforesaid or shall strike any other Mark on Plate but what is so entred such Goldsmith Silversmith or Plateworker so offending shall forfeit double the Value of the Plate so marked to be recovered and disposed as aforesaid
VII. Counterfeiting Stamps,
And be it further enacted That if any Person shall counterfeit any of the Stamps appointed by this Act to be used by the said Wardens or Assayers for marking wrought Plate or any of the Stamps used by the Wardens of the Company of Goldsmiths of the City of London such Person shall for every such Offence forfeit the Summe of Five hundred Pounds to be recovered and disposed as aforesaid
Goldsmith, &c. to fix his own Mark on Plate, Exception, and then send it to be assayed, &c.; If Standard, Assayers to mark the same; Fee.; Goldsmith, &c. working Plate, &c. of improper Fineness, or selling before marked,; Exception.; Penalty,
And whereas it is not the Intent and Meaning of this Act to hinder any Goldsmith Silversmith or Plateworker not inhabiting within any of the Cities aforesaid from exercising his or their Trade of Goldsmith Silversmith or Plateworker yet for preventing of Abuse & Corruption therein it is hereby further enacted That all and every Goldsmith Silversmith and Plateworker inhabiting in any Town or Place where an Assayer is not or shall not be appointed elected or chosen shall first fix his or their Mark upon all his and their Plate which shall be made from and after the said Nine and twentieth Day of September (except such Things as by Reason of their Smallness are not capable of recieving the Touch) and shall then bring or send the same to some City or Place where an Assayer is or shall be appointed elected or chosen and the same shall be there assayed according to this Act And if by the said Assayer it shall be found to be of the Finesse of [the (fn. 4) ] Standard which for the Time being is or shall be by Law [appointed (fn. 4) ] for Wrought Plate then the same shall be marked by the said Assayer as he is by this Act [required (fn. 4) ] to mark the Plate of the respective Company by which he shall have been chosen an Assayer and shall be allowed satisfied and paid towards his Charge and Trouble in making such Assays by the Owner or Owners Bringer or Bringers of such Plate so assayed a Summe not exceeding Six [Spence (fn. 7) ] for every Pound Troy and so proportionably for every greater or lesser Quantity of Plate so assayed and marked And if any such Goldsmith Silversmith or Plateworker shall work or make or cause to be wrought or made any Silver Vessell Plate or Manufacture of Silver less in Finess than according to the Standard which for the Time being is or shall be by Law appointed for Wrought Plate or shall put to Sale exchange or sell any Silver Vessell Plate or Manufacture of Silver made after the said Nine and twentieth Day of September (unless it be such Things as in respect of their Smallness are not capable of recieving a Touch) before such Vessell Plate or Manufacture of Silver shall be assayed and marked as aforesaid every such Goldsmith Silversmith and Plateworker so offending shall forfeit the said Plate or the Value thereof to be recovered and disposed as aforesaid