Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
• • •
George Wintle ~ 1813

    www . 925-1000 . com   ••    www . 925-1000 . com   ••    www . 925-1000 . com  

The Trial of George Wintle, Master Silversmith
• • •
Crime of Hallmark Forgery - "Duty Dodging"
The Old Bailey ~ London ~ 17th February, 1813
• • •
George Wintle was indicted, for that he, on the 6th of October, feloniously did forge and counterfeit a certain impression used by the Company of Goldsmiths, in London, in pursuance of a certain Act of Parliament, made and passed in the 4th year of our Lord the King, entitled an Act for granting to his Majesty certain duties on all silver plate, made and wrought in Great Britain, and for the making and stamping of silver plate, to wit, the mark of the King's head, upon divers silver plate, to wit, one silver table-spoon and one silver fork. And THREE OTHER COUNTS, charging him with the like offence, only varying the manner of charging.


George Wintle Maker's Mark with Hallmarks

TESTIMONY
• • •
Q - You are a marshal-man of the City of London?

DANIEL LEADBETTER - I am.

Q - Did you, on Friday, 16th of October, go to the house of the prisoner?

DANIEL LEADBETTER - I did, in Bell Savage-yard, Ludgate-hill. Hawkins had the warrant. It was about two o'clock, or a few minutes after. I went up stairs to the third pair of stairs, to the shop. I passed the accompting-house; the door was shut.

Q - You did not see who was in the accompting-house?

DANIEL LEADBETTER - Not till I came down.

Q - You went up to the manufactory?

DANIEL LEADBETTER - I did, up three pair of stairs. I went directly to a man that was at work at a wheel; he had a spoon in his hand he appeared to be polishing. That man's name I believe to be Dickens. I have not seen that man since, until lately. I took the spoons from him; these are them. I afterwards went to a man at work opposite, at a trough; I took these eight forks and three spoons; one was in the man's hand, and the other two laid close by, opposite of him. There was a man at work with these forks. I took them out of the trough. Other officers took other articles from this manufactory. Cartwright took some articles. I did not see, from where he took them. I saw the prisoner in the accompting-house, and Hawkins and Fogg were both there.

_______________


DANIEL CARTWRIGHT - I was in company with the last witness. I went up into the same shop; I found nine spoons. A man was in the act of polishing one, and the other eight were laying by him.

_______________


Q - You are a marshal-man of the City of London, and you are a working silversmith?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - I am. I went to the house of the prisoner on this day. I went up stairs into the top shop. I went first into the accompting-house. I found the prisoner there. I left Fogg in the accompting-house, to see that the prisoner touched nothing nor any body else.

Q - In what dress was the prisoner?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - He had his coat on in the usual way. He was in the accompting-house.

Q - Was he in his working dress with his sleeve tucked up?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - I think he had his coat on, I am not positive whether he had or not. I then went up with my fellow-servants, thinking I might assist them, knowing the nature of the business. I saw them take the things as they have just mention. I took one dozen of salt-ladles and one dozen of tea-spoons from the top shop, and another dozen of tea-spoons not polished. There are two dozen of tea-spoons. I took from the top shop, and one dozen of salt-spoons The son was up in the top shop. I immediately returned to the accompting-house.

Q - When you returned to the accompting-house, who was in the accompting-house?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - Fogg and the prisoner. I brought the son down from the top shop to the accompting-house, and we proceeded to search the accompting-house. I took then these spoons from different parts of the accompting-house. There are about eight or ten dozen of tea-spoons, mustard-spoons, and caddy-ladles, and tea-tongs. I found two punches with the initials of the prisoner, in the accompting-house, with an anvil, which is proper to mark this work, and another punch, with somebody else initials; it is so badly done I can hardly tell the letters. There was an anvil, or a test. I found the punch close to the anvill. There was a fork-press that could be used for any purpose.

Q - Was there any thing that could be used for putting the forged stamp upon plate?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - The fork-press could be used for that purpose better than the test, or anvil.

Q - Have you the fork-press here?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - No; it is a fixture; it is a heavy thing, similar to a fly. That tool is a common tool in the trade, but it would be more useful to put the stamp on than the hammer and anvil.

Q - Did you say anything to the prisoner?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - He seemed to be alarmed, and asked what we all wanted. I said, you must know; you know me; I have a warrant; there is an information that you are marking your own work. He then said, if that was all he cared nothing about it. The table-spoons were shewed to him; they were held to him and he was asked if they were his own make. He said, they were. He said, every thing was right as far as he knew.

MR. ALLEY - You did not find any die for the forged mark or stamp in any place, by which any impression could be made?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - No, I did not expect I should. I looked a long while very minutely and very diligently. It is a small thing; it might be very easily concealed.

FOGG - You were with the last witness, we understand?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - I was. I went into the accompting-house; I there found the prisoner; he was sitting at his desk without his coat, with his sleeves tucked up, quite in a working state.

Q - What was before him?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - This ladle I hold in my hand was laying before him, and one spoon. Hawkins merely locked in, and left me with him; he did not stop.

Q - Did anything pass between you and Wintle?

JOHN LACEY HAWKINS - I do not know that I spoke one word to him.

_______________


THOMAS DICKENS - I am a silver polisher.

Q - Have you been for some time past in the employ of the prisoner?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes, on and off about three years.

Q - Were you working at the time the officers came to make search?

THOMAS DICKENS - I was. I was going to get the lathe to brush the plain table-spoons. I had three in my hand when they came in.

Q - Where were the other nine?

THOMAS DICKENS - The other officer found them. They were in the wheel-box, near me.

Q - Now, these spoons, had you seen them before in the course of that week?

THOMAS DICKENS - I had seen them the day before. I had them given out to me to smooth fine, to make ready for the hall.

Q - Did you smooth-fine them on the Thursday?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes; I took them up stairs, and after I had smooth-fined them I took them down, and delivered them to James Wintle, to take to the hall.

Q - How long had you them out?

THOMAS DICKENS - I had them out before eight o'clock; and I took them down a little before nine in the morning. I suppose it was about ten minutes as near as I can guess. I delivered them back to James Wintle . He assisted his father in the business. He used often to give work out; and take it in, and pay us sometimes.

Q - Did Mr. Wintle conduct his business, or leave it to others?

THOMAS DICKENS - He used to be there almost always; he was there that week.

Q - Before you delivered them back to James Wintle, did you put a mark upon them?

THOMAS DICKENS - I did.

Q - I believe it is customary for each workman to put a mark upon them that he might know them, to finish them?

THOMAS DICKENS - It is. I put a X upon them. Them nine have my mark, and them three have my mark.

Q - And next morning, Friday morning, when you came to work, where did you find them?

THOMAS DICKENS - I found them in my box a little after seven in the morning, and I was at work upon them when the officers came.

Q - Now, at the time these spoons were delivered to you to smooth-fine, on Thursday, did James Wintle deliver out any other work to the other workmen?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes, he delivered out eight forks to James Cook ; and to Green, one dozen salt-ladles; to Nicholson, twelve tea-spoons.

Q - Were these smooth-fined by these several persons to whom they were delivered?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes, and they went down at the time I did, and delivered them to James Wintle.

Q - Then they were all of them in a state in which they should go to the hall to be stamped?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes.

Q - And at that time there was no stamp upon them, such as now appears?

THOMAS DICKENS - Oh, no, sir.

Q - The next morning, when you found the twelve table-spoons ready for you to go on with, were they stamped?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes.

Q - You know the hall stamp, do not you, when you examine it?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes.

Q - Now, the day after that, did you leave your home the day after Mr. Wintle was apprehended?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes, on the Saturday night I did.

Q - By whose desire?

THOMAS DICKENS - By James Wintle 's desire.

COURT - That is the son, is it not?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes.

MR. GURNEY - His father being in custody, you left your home on the Saturday night, and you staid out of the way?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes, until I was found.

Q - Before you went out of the way had you seen Mr. France, the clerk of the stamps?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes.

Q - Did you know that you should be wanted as a witness?

THOMAS DICKENS - Yes.

_______________


Q - I believe you are the weigher at Goldsmiths hall?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - Yes.

Q - Is it your duty to receive the plate which comes from the manufacturer to be stamped?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - Yes; I enter such plate in the books at the time I receive them, and the name of the manufacturer.

Q - You have two books, the one in which you enter large work, and another that you enter small work?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - Yes. I only keep one in the small work.

COURT - When plate is brought to you, if it is to be stamped with the hall stamp, do you always make an entry in that book?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - When it is sent to be stamped then we make the entry. We do not take it in if it comes without a ticket.

MR. GURNEY - He makes the entry before it is marked, it passes to another man to be marked; is that so?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - It is.

Q - Now, look at your book of the smaller work.

BENJAMIN PRESTON - This is the book for small articles only, not a book for the table-spoons. October 15, there is no work from the house of George Wintle ; no, none, on the 15th. There was no small work sent on the 15th, nor any on the 16th.

COURT - Preston, does small work include silver forks?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - No, nor table-spoons.

_______________


Q - I believe you are the weigher at Goldsmiths hall?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - Yes.

Q - Is it your duty to receive the plate which comes from the manufacturer to be stamped?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - Yes; I enter such plate in the books at the time I receive them, and the name of the manufacturer.

Q - You have two books, the one in which you enter large work, and another that you enter small work?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - Yes. I only keep one in the small work.

Q - When plate is brought to you, if it is to be stamped with the hall stamp, do you always make an entry in that book?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - When it is sent to be stamped then we make the entry. We do not take it in if it comes without a ticket.

Q - He makes the entry before it is marked, it passes to another man to be marked; is that so?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - It is.

Q - Now, look at your book of the smaller work?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - This is the book for small articles only, not a book for the table-spoons. October 15, there is no work from the house of George Wintle; no, none, on the 15th. There was no small work sent on the 15th, nor any on the 16th.

Q - Preston, does small work include silver forks?

BENJAMIN PRESTON - No, nor table-spoons.

_______________


Q - I believe you are the marker of silver plate at Goldsmiths hall?

GEORGE MILES - I am.

Q - When plate is sent by the manufacturer to the hall who receives it?

GEORGE MILES - Mr. Barrow, at that time, received it. It is delivered over by Barrow to Preston, or to Mr. Labor, who has large work, who weighs and enters it; it is then handed into another office, where I draw an assay of it.

Q - That is, you draw a small piece from each article to make an assay?

GEORGE MILES - The assay is made, and if found right it is marked by me.

Q - I believe all plate that comes from the manufacturer must have the initials of that manufacturer?

GEORGE MILES - It must, sir. We receive from every manufacturer the impression of his own stamp.

Q - Produce the impression you have of the prisoner's stamp.

GEORGE MILES - Yes, this is it.

Q - Now, sir, have you examined the punches which the officer found in the prisoner's house?

GEORGE MILES - I have; two of them correspond with the mark I have.

Q - The genuine stamp of the hall is, first the lion, then the leopard's head, the variable letter, which is changed every year, and then the King's head, that is the duty mark. You receive the duty at Goldsmiths Hall, and pay it over to the commissioners of the stamps?

GEORGE MILES - We do.

Q - Look at that stamp upon these nine tablespoons?

GEORGE MILES - I have examined them all before.

Q - On each piece of plate the officers found at his house, do you find the prisoner's own stamp?

GEORGE MILES - I do.

Q - Do you find anything upon them to represent the hall stamp; the four ones that we have mentioned; that is, the lion, the leopard's head, the variable letter, and the King's head?

GEORGE MILES - I find the same.

Q - Is that stamp you find representing the hall mark, genuine or forged?

GEORGE MILES - It is forged on these nine table-spoons.

Q - Look at the three other table-spoons, is there the prisoner's initial mark upon them?

GEORGE MILES - There is, and they all apparently have the hall stamps. They appear to be the same forged stamp.

Q - Look at these two gravy spoons.

GEORGE MILES - The two gravy-spoons are a forgery, and the third I believe to be a forgery. There is on them a mark to represent the hall mark. They are every one of them forged.

Q - Now, the forks are the prisoner's initials upon them?

GEORGE MILES - There are, and they all have the hall stamps upon them apparently. They appear to be the same forged stamp.

Q - Now, look at these salt-spoons?

GEORGE MILES - These I am confident, are forgery. They have the whole of them the prisoner's mark as the manufacturer.

Q - Look at these dozen of spoons that are unpolished?

GEORGE MILES - These are genuine; the twelve teaspoons that are not polished, they are genuine.

Q - Look at these tea-spoons?

GEORGE MILES - The whole of these are forgeries, containing the prisoner's mark, and the salt-ladles, the whole of these are forgeries, containing the prisoner's mark.

Q - Now, look at these found in the accompting-house, one tea-spoon and a number of salt spoons?

GEORGE MILES - The whole of these are forgeries. Every thing there is marked by the manufacturer the prisoner.

Q - Now, can you recollect the circumstance of the prisoner being taken up on the 16th of October?

GEORGE MILES - Yes.

Q - I believe you were spoken to before he was taken up ?

GEORGE MILES - I was.

Q - Are you able to say that none of the goods came from the prisoner either on the day he was taken up or the day before?

GEORGE MILES - I am.

Q - You have the hall impression and stamp in your pocket?

GEORGE MILES - I have.

Q - Give me the impression. You are the marker with the genuine stamp?

GEORGE MILES - I am, and I am confident that no one of these have been impressed with the genuine stamp. When the prisoner was committed I took an impression of the stamp; the whole four is made by one blow.

COURT - Miles, did you see a fly in the prisoner's possession?

GEORGE MILES - I did.

Q - Would the fly have enabled the forged die to have given the impression on silver plate?

GEORGE MILES - It would, and without a great deal of noise. The fly is a thing used by the trade.

_______________


Q - Are you the chief engraver of his Majesty's mark the Kings head, denoting the duty?

LEWIS PINGO - I am.

Q - Have the goodness to look at that stamp, the die; is that your impression?

LEWIS PINGO - Yes, it is the King's head. I only engrave that.

Q - Look at this plate, and see whether the King's head is a genuine stamp or a forged one?

LEWIS PINGO - It is forged. I have seen the plate before. They are all forged marks.

Q - You are the die sinker of the King's Head?

LEWIS PINGO - I am.

Q - In that die, or any other die, will not the constant use and application make an alteration in the die?

LEWIS PINGO - The parts will appear more blunt; they will not appear so sharp and striking.

_______________


Q - You told me the letter varied every year?

GEORGE MILES - Yes.

Q - What is the letter for the present year?

GEORGE MILES - The letter R. Our year commences on the 30th of May.

Q - Then that was the proper letter in October last?

GEORGE MILES - It was.

Q - And that stamp only had been used from the 30th of May?

GEORGE MILES - No. It appears quite perfect now.

Q - And this is the impression you have made after the prisoner was taken?

GEORGE MILES - Yes.

COURT - Upon looking at that stamp, is it done so as to impose on people?

GEORGE MILES - Yes, any person almost, except they are very much used to it.

_______________


Q - Are you engraver to the Goldsmith's company?

MR. SMITH - I am.

Q - Did you engrave the lion, the leopard's head, and the letter, upon that stamp?

MR. SMITH - I did.

Q - Are the impression of the lion, the leopard's head, and the letter, upon that plate made from your die?

MR. SMITH - No, they are forged.

_______________


Q - You make the entries of all the large work you receive?

MR. LABOR - Yes.

Q - Look in your book, and see whether you received any large of Wintle after the 8th of October?

MR. LABOR - No, there is none.

_______________


Q - Is this all wrought plate of English manufacture?

GEORGE MILES - It is.
END TESTIMONY

Prisoner's Defense

I do most solemnly declare I am in no ways guilty of what I am charged with. For the last three years and a half I mostly resided in the country; my business has been left to my son and my servants. I do declare, if any forgery has been committed, it has been done without my knowledge.

Verdict

NOT GUILTY

London jury, before Mr. Justice Bailey.

Character Backgrounds and Order of Procedure

by Trevor Downes

The Cast:

George Wintle (Grimwade 923-6) - Entered his first mark as a plateworker on 2 January 1787. He was predominately a spoonmaker. He went on to enter eleven marks over a period of thirty six years.

James Wintle (Grimwade 1750, 1860) - The son of George Wintle, he entered his first mark as a spoonmaker on 19 October 1812. He entered eleven marks over a period of twenty six years.

John Lacey Hawkins (Grimwade 1389) - Entered his first mark as a spoonmaker on 2 November 1802. He was a former apprentice to Stephen Adams.

Benjamin Preston - Smallwork Weigher at Goldsmiths Hall, also father of Benjamin Preston (Grimwade 206) who at the time of the trial was apprenticed to Edward Barnard.

Mr. Labor - Largework Weigher at Goldsmiths Hall.

Lewis Pingo (1743-1830) - Chief Engraver to the Royal Mint and a famous medallist.

Mr. Smith - Engraver to the Company of Goldsmiths.

George Miles - Inspector and Marker of Silver Plate at Goldsmiths Hall at the time of this trial. Appointed Senior Assayer at Goldsmiths Hall in 1824. Miles had previously been apprenticed to Charles Halsey Johnson as a Refiner for two years, then to William Holmes (Grimwade 3161-2, 3176, 3526) he completed his apprenticeship in 1804 and unsuccessfully sought a position at Goldsmiths Hall. Undeterred he set up business in Clerkenwell, and in 1810 his wish was granted, when he was appointed 4th Drawer and in 1822 3rd Assayer. He died in 1837.


Observations:

This trial is intriguing not only for what it does reveal, but also for what it does not.
The date on the first line of the transcript is probably an error from the original recording and should be 16 October.
The events surrounding the trial happened very quickly:
  • 14 October 1812 - George Wintle moves to new premises at 3 Bell Savage Yard, Ludgate Hill
  • 16 October 1812 - Officers from Goldsmiths Hall raid Wintle's workshops.
  • 19 October 1812 - James Wintle enters his first mark.
  • 6 November 1812 - James Wintle officially moves in.
  • 17 February 1813 - The trial.
  • 5 June 1813 - James Wintle moves out.
But much seems to have happened in the meantime, from other trials we know that James Wintle was incarcerated in Clerkenwell Prison for three weeks before getting bail.
The trial proves undoubtedly that forgeries were being produced at the Wintle Workshops and George Wintle as the owner and registered silversmith would have to take responsibility.
It would appear that the entering of James Wintle's mark three days after the raid was an attempt to protect the business should George Wintle be found guilty, but then James was imprisoned, presumably charged with same offence.
The trial starts and the outcome appears to be obvious, then ends somewhat abruptly with a surprising not guilty verdict.
I suspect with the trial going badly for his father and perhaps a trial for himself coming up, James decided to come clean, thus saving his father and allowing the Commissioner of Stamps to use his skills to catch other offenders.
This arrangement would neatly explain George Wintle being found not guilty and James Wintle's unexpected appointment as Inspector for the Commissioner of Stamps, whilst continuing with his own career as a silversmith.
The inclusion of John Lacey Hawkins in the raid would have been for his knowledge of spoon manufacture.
The positive identification of the Thomas Dickens tally mark, I'm sure will be of great interest of spoon collectors.

Gleanings from the transcript on the Order of Procedure for Hallmarking:
  1. Work is taken to Goldsmiths Hall, unfinished, but marked with the makers stamp and accompanied with an identifying ticket. It is received by, in this case, Mr. Barrow who presumably decides whether it it small or large work.
  2. Mr. Barrow hands it over to the appropriate weigher.
  3. Ticket is checked, work weighed, details entered into appropriate book.
  4. Work passed onto assay office, where assay is made and if good, it is marked.
  5. All four marks are engraved on a single diestamp enabling the set of hallmarks to be punched with a single blow.
    (note: on this diestamp; Lion Passant, Leopard's Head and Date Letter engraved by Mr. Smith - King's Head engraved by Lewis Pingo.)


Source:
The Whole Proceedings On the King's Commission of the Peace Oyer and Terminer,
and Gaol Delivery for the City of London,
and also the Gaol Delivery for the County of Middlesex.
Held at Justice-Hall, in the Old Bailey, On Wednesday the 17th of February, 1813
and following Days;
Being the Third Session in the Mayoralty of The Right Honourable George Scholey, Lord-Mayor of the City of London.


Taken in Shorthand by Job Sibly,
No. 4, Carthusian-Street, Aldersgate-Street
London:
Printed and Published (By The Authority of the Corporation of the City of London,)
By R. Butters, No. 22, Fetter-Lane, Fleet-Street
oldbaileyonline.org



• • •

Looking to do further research? Have a mark you can't identify? Join the forum.



transcription & page design © 2007 - 2009
925-1000.com
all rights reserved