Cloth Seal, Clothier's Seal, Tiverton / Wellington, Thomas Were & Sons

Cloth Seal, Clothier's Seal, Tiverton, Thomas Were & Sons, Image by Mike Patrick, Held by Topsham Museum Cloth Seal, Clothier's Seal, Tiverton / Wellington, Thomas Were & Sons, Image by Mike Patrick, Held by Topsham Museum.
Purchased in the Netherlands, 23mm.

OP / 22 / GO, THOS WERE & SONS around // Foot privy mark with S-F at base, SAML BURRIDGE.TIVERTON around

A seal from the Tiverton / Wellington clothier Thomas Were & Sons, Evans Type 6.6.1.*(with OP above the 22). Example of this type of seal without the OP are recorded as Nos.85-89 Fig.8 p.410, Maunder, P., Tiverton Cloth: The Story of the Town's Woollen Trade 1475 - 1815 and as BSG.CS.00977. It is now held in Topisham Museum - Object Number 10704(7).

"Wellington lies just over the Devon border in Somerset, about thirteen miles (20km) north-east of Tiverton. Thomas Were, from a family of sergemakers, trained as a clerk to George Osmond, later supplying him and others in Tiverton. Following Osmand's death in 1744, the Weres branched out on their own, although still using Tiverton seals as well as the initials WRE first used in the 1690s by Peter Were. Their first export was in October 1745. In 1751 these stamps were in use: mermaid, clover, foot. In 1754 following the death of Robert Were, the firm was renamed Thos Were & Sons." p.411, Maunder, P., Tiverton Cloth: The Story of the Town's Woollen Trade 1475 - 1815.

"Samuel Burridge (1679-1734), trading 1717-1731 (bankrupt). Samuel Burridge was the grandson of Samuel Foote. He came of age in 1700 and probably then became a partner with his father Robert. He inherited the business completely on Robert's deathin 1717. None of his seals have been recorded so far, but there must have been seals stamped with 22 on one disc and on the other disc SAML.BURRIDGE.TIVERTON around, with Foot mark and SF under. All those so far recorded date to a time after Samuel's bankruptcy in 1731 when the stamp with the Foot mark and SF was acquired by George Osmand who qualified the grade 22 by adding his initials GO below. After Osmand's death, Oliver Peard took over the same stamp, adding his initials OP above the 22 over GO. By 1754 other merchants such as Enchmarch & Com [and Thomas Wrighton] were using the "Saml Burridge Foot" stamp and its use continued throughout the eighteenth century not only on seals for cloth produced by Tiverton merchants but also for cloth produced at Wellington by Thomas Were & Sons (Type 6.1.) through to Thomas Fox (Type 6.2.)" p.401, Maunder, P., Tiverton Cloth: The Story of the Town's Woollen Trade 1475 - 1815.

*A helpful classification system for these seals, devised by Jane Evans, can be found as an appendix to Peter Maunder’s comprehensive history of the Tiverton cloth trade.

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