Tyne and Wear HER(7897): Newcastle, Royal mint - Details
Newcastle, Royal mint
Henry II established a mint in Newcastle in 1157. This is probably when the Newcastle goldsmiths started work. The goldsmiths were sufficeintly numerous in 1536 to join with the pewterers and painters to form a craft guild. In 1702 an assay office (where the metals were tested for quality and awarded hallmarks) was established at Newcastle and in 1716 the Goldsmiths formed their own company. Trade flourished throughout the eighteenth century. Many fine pieces of silver haver survived from this period. In 1884 the Newcastle assay office was closed and the manufacture of Newcastle silver virtually ceased. The little that was made had to be sent elsewhere for assay. The earliest piece of Newcastle silver is a communion cup from Ilderton Parish Church in Northumberland. It is inscribed 1583 Mark VB (Valentine Baker). The Laing Art Gallery holds a placque with Newcastle silver hallmarks and a fine flagon dated 1670, inscribed to Major Thomas Davison.
F. Graham, 1976, Historic Newcastle, p 43