John Clifton

John, son of John Clifton of Snitterton, Derbyshire, gentleman, was apprenticed to the specialist spoonmaker John King for seven years from Christmas 1676. becoming free by service on 28 July 1686. To serve an apprenticeship of nearly ten years was unusual at this period and it seems that, while continuing to work for John King, he struck his own mark on the 1682 Mark Plate. It is in column 3, with 'neighbours' that were free in 1684 or earlier. Clifton does not appear to have been fined during the seventeenth century for substandard wares. He bound an apprentice, John Lee, in 1688 but was seemingly neither assessed for the 1692 Poll Tax nor the 4s Aid in 1694. Further, he was not a signatory to the Declaration of Loyalty to William III in 1697 and did not register a mark for the Britannia Standard in that year. He may have been working abroad or in partnership in London with another silversmith. Nevertheless, Kent writes that, 'Grimwade records a New Standard mark for John Clifton, entered on 21 October 17o8, but this was no doubt a regularisation of the status quo, as the mark has been noted on a spoon of 1702. Further, the mark has a strong family resemblance to the marks of John King and his apprentice.