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  1. #1
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    Default William Pontifex, copper plate maker

    I just made an interesting discovery about an ancestor of mine, William Pontifex, a coppersmith and copper plate maker.

    In November 1781, William Pontifex, son of William Pontifex of Iver, Bucks, was apprenticed to Richard Jones of the Armourers' and Braziers' Company, London. In 1789 he was a master of the Armourers' and Braziers' Company and was taking apprentices of his own.

    Richard Jones was the inventor of a machine for polishing copper plates, used for printing, and had a shop in Shoe Lane, Holborn. Jones died in about 1788 and William Pontifex continued the business as Jones and Pontifex at 47 Shoe Lane. In 1803 this was called Wm. Pontifex, Goldwin, and Co. Manufacturers, No 46 and 45, Shoe Lane. In 1809 to 1813 it was William Pontifex, Russell Pontifex and Company at 46, 47 & 48 Shoe Lane. Russell Pontifex was William's brother. In 1815 it was Pontifex and Co. coppersmiths, in Shoe Lane.

    I have just found one example William Pontifex's work. In William Blake's "Europe, A Prophecy", first published in 1794, the maker's mark can be found on the copper plate. This mark is normally obscured, but is partially legible in one copy of "Europe". It reads “Jones and Pontifex No 47 Shoe Lane London”.

  2. #2
    Geoffers
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    There's a nice find to add yo your body of research. You seem to be in luck with a family of this name - searching TNA shows a lot of records relaing to this family in various record offices.

    For those not available online, you now just need a few cheap day-returns from your part of the world to view them all.

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    William Pontifex was a relative of mine as well. My sister has compiled quite a history of the Pontifex family. You can view her web page at
    http://
    charsbrokenbranches.com/
    Hope to share some family history with you.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vance Mead View Post
    I just made an interesting discovery about an ancestor of mine, William Pontifex, a coppersmith and copper plate maker.
    Hi Vance - I have a couple of copper plate printers (rather than makers) in my tree. They lived and worked in Merton in the silk industry, possibly in the Liberty factory but I have never managed to prove that.
    Sue

    Wilfully squandering my children's inheritance

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