Puritan spoons are not uncommon survivors in English silver but, for reasons still largely unknown, Scottish examples are very rare. To date, only nine hallmarked or provincial examples are known.
Of these, the so-called Barncleuch spoon, seen at Lyon & Turnbull Auctioneers of Edinburgh’s recent auction is the earliest.
Due to its rarity the auction price fetched was £27,000.00
Struck for the Edinburgh smith George Cleghorne, 1653-55 and for the assay master Deacon Andrew Burrell it is typically plain save three V cut notches to the terminal and the owners’ initials QH / MD engraved to the reverse of the bowl.
Given that the spoon was reputedly found in the terraced gardens of Barncleuch House, it appears that the upper initials QH stand for Quintin Hamilton of Barncleuch whose grandfather John Hamilton, Commissary of Hamilton and Campsie, built the house in 1583. The lower MD must be for Marion Denham, his wife.