ASCAS Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver



Article # 235 by David Mckinley

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The Pantins were one of the important families of silversmiths who dominated the craft in Rouen in the 17th century. In common with many, if not most, Huguenot families of the time there were several branches of the family each of which produced members who came to London and the following is the result of a comprehensive programme of research into this family which played an important part in the production of silver plate in London in the 18th century.
Many of the French Protestant (Huguenot) goldsmiths who migrated to England in the 17th century came from Rouen in northern France. Rouen was the largest centre for the craft outside Paris and in the year 1679 there were no fewer than 85 goldsmiths practising their craft in that city of whom 60 were Huguenots (note 1). The famous Huguenot silversmith, Simon Pantin, came from one of these families and it was from his family that the first recorded Huguenot goldsmith in London came.
In his tome "London Goldsmiths 1697-1837 Their Marks And Lives" the late Arthur Grimwade recorded that a Huguenot goldsmith by the name of Esaie Pontin or Pantin was in London as early as 1658 since the records "The French Church" Threadneedle Street show that he was married there in that year (note 2).

The earliest reference to the Pantin family so far recorded dates to the 16th century and is to Jacob Pantin who was born in the parish of Saint Nicolas in 1569 and died at the age of 94 in 1663. he had a sister, Marie, who was born in the parish of Saint Candé le Jeune in 1564 (note 3). There is no record of their parentage. Jacob is recorded as Maître orfevre à Rouen bourgeois de Rouen but as with his parentage there is no record of his apprenticeship. He married Catherine, daughter of Etienne Perrot, somewhen before 1593 and they had eleven children of whom five were surviving boys:
Jacob (Maître orfevre) born 1595
Guillaume (Maître orfevre) born 1597
Nicolas (Maître orfevre) born 1598
Esaye (Maître orfevre) born 1601
Abraham (Maître orfevre) born 1606
Abraham was baptised at "the temple" Quevilly, the large octagonal Huguenot church which was consecrated in 1601 following the relaxation of the rules governing Protestants at the issuing of the Edict of Nantes in 1598. After this consecration all Huguenot religious activities in Rouen took place at Quevilly.

The descendants of Guillaume, Nicolas, Esaie and Abraham all left France during the 17th century and came to London. The first was Esaie's son Esaie and this is the Esaie who married Elizabeth Maubert at the French church Threadneedle Street on 3rd October 1658 (note 4), and as a widower, married Marie Bouquet on 20th June 1666 (note 5) Esaie (suggested translations; Isaiah) was born in c1630 and although there is no extant record of his apprenticeship he was almost certainly a silversmith as his father was and the common practice in the Huguenot community was for a father to pass his trade skills on to his sons. This Esaie was the famous Simon Pantin's uncle. There is no record of his activities or of where he and Elizabeth lived but it is known that they had at least three children; Esaie born in 1660, Elizabeth, born in 1663 (note 6) and Marie, born 1664 (note 7). Esaie II was named after his father as was the common practice in the Huguenot community, indicating that he was their firstborn son surviving. Grimwade suggests that this son was the Esaie Pantin, goldsmith of St. James's Westminster recorded by Heal for 1709 (note 8). He had a son, Esaie born c1686 who married Elizabeth Sebire on 4th October 1707 (note 9), and a daughter, Judith, who on 5th February 1709 married Peter Courtauld, (note 10) a silversmith who had been apprenticed to her cousin Simon Pantin. Peter was the son of Augustine Courtauld and was also a Huguenot.
Esaie senior and his second wife, Marie Bouquet, had two children; Susanne, born 1667 (note 11) and Marc, born 1672 (note 12).

The persecution of the Huguenots that culminated in the revocation of "The Edict Of Nantes" in 1685 did not start until about 1660 so the reason for the exodus of any silversmiths from France before that date was probably to some extent occasioned by the difficulty they were having in obtaining the raw material for their craft. The continuous wars in which France was engaged at that time together with the enormous cost of the building, or rather the extending, of the palace of Versailles drained Louis XIV's treasury and this drove him to using all the available silver in France for minting into coin.

Grimwade surmised that the Simon Pantin who was apprenticed to Pierre Harache the elder later in the 17th century was descended from this Esaie Pantin and in the absence of any better information he further deduced that Simon took out his indentures in c1694 since the records clearly show his freedom as 4th June 1701 and the usual period of apprenticeship was seven years. It is now believed that Simon was Esaie's nephew since his father was Esaie's brother and his family is now known to have come to London.

A Simon Pantin (Pontin, Pantain), goldsmith, together with his wife and two children was in receipt of bounty between 1682, when he received '2/- for a pair of child's shoes', and 1684 (note 2). He was presumably the Simon who was the husband of Jeanne Pantin of Rouen who together with her daughter Esther, had presented témoignages on 14th March 1681 (note 14). He was born in 1631 so that he would have been in his fifties when in England and this probably explains why he was no longer a practicing goldsmith. He married Jeanne Maubert and they had twelve children two of whom came to London with them; their daughter Esther was born c1665. Simon was denizened on 16th December 1687 (note 15). These entries strongly suggest that Simon's family had only just arrived in London in c1681 as his brother Abraham had done (note 16).

The second child mentioned in the bounty list was a son who in accordance with Huguenot practice was named Simon after his father. There is some controversy about his date of birth since the "myheritage" website records his baptismal date in Rouen as 1st February 1666 (note 17) so that he would have been about 16 years of age in 1682 when his father was granted money for child's shoes, far too old for "child's" shoes. As, in fact, Peter Harache I took Simon Pantin as his apprentice on 30th September 1686 and as the usual age for taking out indentures was 14 then his date of birth is much more likely to have been c1672 making him about 9 years of age when his family came to this country. The apprenticeship records show that he was the son of Simon "Pontaine" goldsmith, of the parish of St. Giles in the Fields. He was made free as a large worker on 4th June 1701 and entered his first mark on the 23rd of June of that year giving his address as: St. Martins Lane. According to the freedom records Simon Pantin appears to have served an apprenticeship of fifteen years although his indentures record a period of seven years. The explanation is probably to do with the cost of setting up a workshop. He almost certainly served a normal term of apprenticeship and then worked in the Harache workshop as a journeyman until he could raise the funds to set up on his own at St. Martins Lane.

As Simon I was not a practicing silversmith in this country his son Simon II could not be apprenticed to him in accordance with custom and this must be why he was apprenticed to the famous Pierre Harache senior. He went on to produce some fine silver plate as would be expected of a pupil of Pierre Harache and, as well as his own son, he took Augustine Courtauld junior and his half brother Peter Courtauld as his apprentices in 1701 and 1705 respectively.
In his paper on "Foreign Snuff Box Makers in 18th Century London", on page 51 of the 2002 edition of The Silver Society Journal, the late Brian Beet made the following statement: "Campbell (in The London Tradesman) reckoned that it required between £20 and £100 to set oneself up as a snuff box maker". The cost of setting up a large worker's workshop would undoubtedly have been considerably more than this so that it is virtually certain that Pantin would not have been in a position to do so on completion of his apprenticeship and it is now known that the Haraches worked as a Company so that they would have needed several workers in their workshop.
Although there is no record that Pantin did continue to work for the Harache Company as a journeyman there can be little doubt that this is what did happen and this explains the gap of eight years between the completion of his apprenticeship and his freedom of the Goldsmiths' Company. Simon II married Marthe Joncourt in 1697 and they had six children including a daughter, Elizabeth, born c1700, a son, Simon, born c1703 and a son, Lewis born 1708 (note 18).

Simon III is recorded as having been apprenticed to his father on 22nd May 1717 and made free somewhen before 4th February 1729 when he entered his first mark as "Citizen and Goldsmith". (Grimwade 2607) (note 19). He married Mary Mallandain in1727 (note 20) and they had a son, Simon, who was born in 1732 (note 21) but about whom nothing more is known. Mary took over Simon's workshop after his death in 1733.
Strangely Lewis Pantin is not recorded as having been bound apprentice to his father although he is recorded as a silversmith.

Elizabeth Pantin married the silversmith Abraham Buteux in 1720. Buteux died in 1731 and Elizabeth took over his workshop and entered her own mark (Grimwade 534). A year later she married the silversmith Benjamin Godfrey but she outlived him and when he died in 1741 she again took over the workshop and entered a new mark in her own name (Grimwade 591). Simon Pantin II was Abraham's Godfather so there was a close relationship between these two families.

Simon's sister Esther married Samuel Laserre on 3rd November 1687 (note 22) and they had a daughter, Anne, who was born in 1695 (note 23).

In England when an apprentice had finished his term he would usually continue to work for his master as a journeyman until he had accumulated sufficient funds to set up on his own, commonly at least two years. His experience was thus restricted to the skills he had acquired during his apprenticeship. On the continent, on the other hand, a young man who had gained freedom following apprenticeship would travel to another part of the country, sometimes even going to a new country, to work as a journeyman for a new master. In Germany this was known as the wanderjahre which literally translates as 'wander year' and in our modern world of academia is not unlike the gap year. He thus picked up new skills and new ideas, widening his experience. The continental silversmith therefore had a much wider repertory than his English counterpart and as the Huguenot ethos was to produce work not for worldly considerations but to the glory of God, their work was of the highest standard and much sought after.

As recorded above Simon II's second son, Lewis, was born in 1708. There is no record of his apprenticeship or freedom which is odd since, as stated above, in accordance with tradition he would be expected to have been apprenticed to his father, who was a Freeman of the Goldsmiths' Company, as his brother Simon was. Notwithstanding this he registered his first maker's mark at Goldsmiths' Hall in 1734 (Grimwade 1956) although the mark has been identified on earlier plate. He was a largeworker who produced some fine work and in 1738 provided plate to Frederick Prince of Wales through the royal goldsmith George Wicks (note 24). He married Elizabeth Hathaway somewhen before 1739 and they had seven children including a son whom they named Lewis in accordance with Huguenot practice. Lewis I died in 1748 (note 25).

Lewis Pantin I, mark entered 1734
Lewis Pantin I, 21.3.1734 (Grimwade 1956)
Castle Street, near Leicester Fields

Lewis II was born in 1739 (note 26) and must be the Lewis Pantin who was apprenticed to John Passavant, a smallworker, in 1753 (note 27). He was made free of the Goldsmiths' Company by redemption in 1767 and entered his first mark at the Hall in 1768 as a smallworker giving his address as 45, Fleet Street. He married Jane Lambert in 1769 and they had nine children including a son, born in 1770 (note 28), whom they named Lewis (note 29). Lewis II was in financial difficulties in 1781 and was made bankrupt in 1787. However the Goldsmiths' Company made him their Beadle in that year with a salary and the "Beadle's usual dwelling and Perquisites" (note 30). He continued to get into debt however and in 1789 was dismissed from his post but was given a pension of £60 per annum. He died in 1806.
Lewis Pantin II, mark entered 1768
Lewis Pantin II, 28.7.1768
45 Fleet Street

Lewis Pantin III must have been apprenticed to his father, as was the custom, when he reached the age of 14 in 1784 but must have been "turned over" to another goldsmith in 1787 since his father was declared bankrupt in that year and no longer a practicing goldsmith. He was made free of the Goldsmiths' Company as "goldsmith" by patrimony in 1799 giving his address as St. Martin's Le Grand (note 31) the address of Lewis Pantin junior in 1798. He married Grace Catterson in 1793 and they had three sons including a Lewis born in 1796. Lewis III died in 1803 (note 32).
Lewis Pantin III, mark entered 1798
Lewis Pantin III, 20.12.1798
62 St Martins-le-Grand

Lewis IV married Rose Mouillebert in 1818 (note 33) but there appears no record that he followed his father and became a goldsmith. Nothing more is known of him.

Somewhen before Simon Pantin arrived in London, c1681, his cousin Samuel made the journey from France. He was Nicolas's son who was born in Rouen in 1647. There is no record of his apprenticeship or of exactly when he came to England but he must have done so soon after finishing his term of apprenticeship as he was here by the time he was 24 years of age and the records at Threadneedle Street church show that on 23rd April 1671 he married Louyse Blondeau (note 34). He and Louyse had a son whom they named Samuel in accordance with tradition and he was baptised on 28th February 1672 (note 35). There is no record so far found of where Samuel and Louyse lived or where he worked while here but neither is his name on the bounty list. It is possible that his stay in London was short lived as his name appears in the records of the Cork Guild of Goldsmiths in Ireland in 1678 when he was appointed Warden suggesting that he was well established in the Guild by that date. He was Master in 1679 and 1686 (note 36). As 1686 is the last date on which Samuel's name is recorded it is probably the date of his death.

There is no further record of Louyse and neither does Samuel junior's name appear in the records in Ireland whereas in 1686 he would have been 14 years of age and expecting to start an apprenticeship. This strongly suggests that his mother considered it expedient to return to London and have him bound to a fellow Huguenot in that City although no record of such an apprenticeship has yet come to light. If he did take out indentures with a silversmith in London in either 1686 or 1687 his expected date of freedom would be 1693 or 1694 so that it is surprising that no record of this appears to exist. He certainly did not enter a mark in 1701 as claimed by Jackson (note 37).
It seems however that he must have practiced as a silversmith and in his case a mark must be attributed to him. In spite of Grimwade's misgivings a mark (Fig I) appears on plate dated 1705, as recorded by Jackson (note 38), which is not the mark registered by Simon Pantin in 1701 (Fig II) but does however incorporate the motif of a peacock and is exactly like the mark entered by Simon in 1717.
Simon Pantin, mark London 1732 Simon Pantin, mark London 1732
Simon Pantin, mark entered 30.6.1720, Castle Street
The symbol of the peacock is similar to that used in 1717 mark (with letters PA instead of SP)

This mark strongly suggests that Samuel's workshop was at the sign of the peacock, Castle Street which is where Simon Pantin was after 1717 when he used the same mark. The above hypothesis is based on Jackson's finding that there was a P A mark, in use at least twelve years before Simon Pantin entered it, which is different from the mark he entered in 1701. It does however leave many unanswered questions not the least of which is; why is there no record of Samuel Pantin in this country other than the date of his baptism?

spoon in which the marks have been struck twice by London Assay Office spoon in which the marks have been struck twice by London Assay Office
Fig I (left) 1705 mark by Samuel Pantin
Fig II (right) 1701 mark as entered by Simon Pantin

Both Guillaume and Abraham had sons whom they named Esaie. Guillaume's son Esaie, married Jeanne Le Challour and they in turn had a son whom they named Esaie who was born in 1658 (note 39). Both Abraham's son Esaie, born 1662 (note 40), and Guillaume's grandson Esaie, born 1658, arrived in London in 1681 and presented their témoignages on the 21st October of that year (note 41). They had been denizened on 8th March 1681 (note 42). Abraham's son Esaie married Ester Allais and they had two children in this country. Marie Marthe, who married Andre Mayeffere (note 43), was born in 1688 (note 44) and Jean, of whom nothing more is known, was born in 1689 (note 45).

Guillaume's grandson Esaie married Marthe Meynier and they had four surviving daughters; Judith born 1685, Marguerite born 1686, Elizabeth born 1688 and Marie Marthe born 1694. All four made their Reconnaisance in London in 1699 (note 46).
Although Simon's brother Abraham and the two Esaies appear in the records in 1681 none has yet been shown to have practiced the craft of the silversmith here and no marks have as yet been identified as theirs but as they don't appear on the bounty lists they must have done so in order to support themselves and their families. The explanation is probably that the Goldsmiths' Company was unwilling to accept foreigners at this time although a year later, in July 1682, the famous Huguenot silversmith Pierre Harache was granted freedom of the Company.

A Lewis Pantin registered a maker's mark at Goldsmiths Hall in 1782 (note 47) as a "goldworker" giving his address as 36, Southampton Street thus establishing that this address was a workshop and not a domestic property owned by the Goldsmiths' Company. This is reinforced by the fact that Pantin took out an insurance policy on this property in the same year (note 48). Heal records that he was there in 1784. A Lewis Pantin registered a maker's mark at the Hall as a "goldworker" (note 49) in 1788 signing himself 'junior' (note 50) and giving the Southampton Street address. This strongly suggests that he was the son of the man who was at that address in 1782.
Thus the Lewis Pantin who was acting as Beadle in 1788 and occupying the Beadle's dwelling could not possibly have been the Lewis Pantin who entered his mark at Goldsmiths' Hall in that year giving his address as Southampton Street and described as a "goldworker" rather than as a smallworker. Neither could he have been Lewis Pantin III who was not born until 1770 making him too young in 1788 to enter a mark as a practicing silversmith. The implication from the foregoing is that these two Lewis Pantins, father and son, came from another branch of the family and the only possibility known at this time is that they were descendants of Simon Pantin III. To date however there is no evidence to support this hypothesis. It is, of course, possible, though somewhat unlikely, that Lewis II moved from Fleet Street to Southampton Street in 1782 following his financial difficulties and it was he who entered a mark in that year but this leaves open the question: Who was Lewis junior?

It would appear that the Lewis Pantin senior in this family had several sons at St. Paul's school at the end of the 18th century: Henry was admitted in 1785 aged 11, George in 1787 aged 9 and Frederick in 1788 aged 8. The address given for all these boys was the Southampton street address and their father was described as a goldsmith. Two further Pantin boys joined the school, both in 1795: Matthew aged 11 and Charles aged 10. The address given for Matthew was Grafton Street so that it is not clear which branch of the family they came from. There were two foundations governing entry to the school at that time. One was fee-paying and the other non fee-paying. All the Pantin boys were admitted to the school under the non fee-paying foundation (note 51) so that the father of the last two could have been Lewis II if the Beadle's accommodation was at Grafton Street but this seems unlikely.

Several Pantins appear in the records who cannot at this time be associated directly with those members recorded here. A Simon Pantin was born in 1622, married Renee Roux in c1642 and died in 1682 (note 52). The following presented témoignages (note 53): Estien & his wife from Leyde (n?), Judith from St. Quentin both in1681, Jean & Margaret Le Fevre from Amsterdam in 1718, Nicolas & Susanne de la Mare from Amsterdam in 1719, Jean son of Jean from Hanau in 1720, Simon in 1727, Jean aged 15 in 1729, Michael aged 18 in 1734 and Michael & his wife in 1753.
Joic Pantin senior & junior were denizened on 23rd. September 1723 (note 54).
Susanne Pentain (Pantin) was married to Michael De La Mare (note 55).

The last recorded mark entry at Goldsmiths' Hall is dated 1802 so that it will be seen from this that there were members of the family practicing as silversmiths throughout the 18th century and into the 19th. Lewis Pantin IV died in 1862.

Glossary of terms
témoignage: A document signed by a Pastor and two church Elders testifying that the holder had "attended church services, received Holy communion and committed no scandal". It was given to a Protestant who had professed Catholicism in order to keep his or her possessions.
Reconnaisance: A ceremony welcoming a pseudo Catholic back into the church.
Turned over: the term used when an apprentice had, for some reason, to leave his master craftsman and finish his apprenticeship under a new master.


1  Denis Vatinel-Dictionaire des familles protestantes Normandie. Dhantier No 0421 p 5
2  Arthur Grimwade-London Goldsmiths 1697-1837. Their Marks and Lives. P613
3  Denis Vatinel- Op Cit p 1
4  Huguenot Society Quarto Series (hereafter HSQS) 16 p40t
5  HSQS 13 p48(c)
6  HSQS 13 p169 (l)
7  HSQS 13 p176 (h)
8  Arthur Grimwade OP Cit p 613
9  HSQS 29 p12
10 HSQS 29 p14
11 HSQS 13 p184 (u)
12 HSQS 13 p203 (v)
13 HSQS 49 page 150
14 HSQS. 21 page 211
15 HSQS 18 p201
16 HSQS 21
18 Ibid (this website gives Simon III's date of birth as 1698 but it is likely that this Simon died before 1703)
19 Grimwade Op Cit p 613
21 Ibid
22 HSQS 25 p126
23 HSQS29 p54
24 Lewis Pantin-Ewer and Basin-Royal Collection Trust.
26 Ibid
27 Grimwade Op Cit p761
28 Ibid
30 Ibid
31 Grimwade Op Cit p613
33 Ibid
34 HSQS 13 p49k
35 HSQS p202k
36 Sir Charles Jackson. English Goldsmiths And Their Marks (Dover edition) p694
37 Op Cit p 160
38 Ibid
39 Denis Vatinel-Dictionaire des familles protestantes Normandie. Dhantier No 0421 p3
40 Op Cit p2
41 HSQS 21
42 HSQS18 p153
43 HSQS 29 p14
44 HSQS 31 p3
45 Op Cit p,4
46 Op Cit p55
47 Op Cit p612
48 Op Cit p761
49 Op Cit p613
50 Eleni Bide- Librarian to the Goldsmiths' Company

David Mckinley
- 2018 -

David McKinley devotes much of his time to researching the history of silversmithing in England with particular reference to hallmarking at the London office. He writes for both The Silver Spoon Club of Great Britain and The Silver Society.

David McKinley is the author of the book THE FIRST HUGUENOT SILVERSMITHS OF LONDON
Information about the content of this book and the discounted price applied to members of ASCAS is available in September 2011 Newsletter