This information has been updated with many thanks to Miles Harrison, who has recently published a new book "Exeter and West Country silver 1700-1900".  This is an extremely comprehensive book and can be bought directly from Miles - simply click HERE

William Pearce was actually a Plymouth maker.  His first record of work sent for assay was in 1774.  He was last mentioned on 2nd February 1797. These tongs are a well made pair of flared, bright cut tongs. The shape of the duty mark dates the tongs between 1786 and 1796. The first pair of these William Pearce tongs are exciting because they show the profiled duty mark, this is believed to have only been used between July and August 1797, enabling the tongs to be very accurately dated.

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1797

c1790