This pair of tongs are very unusual. They have the date letter "E", representing 1800/1801. Thomas Northcote died in 1798, so how can he have still been making tongs after his death?

The likely answer is that his widow, Hannah Northcote did not send these tongs to the Assay office until some 2 years after his death. Maker's marks were punched onto items of silver-ware when the item was made. The hallmarks were not punched until the item was sent to the Assay office.

This is quite interesting as Hannah Northcote was making her own items by this time - perhaps these tongs had been lying in the back of a cupboard somewhere!!

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