by Arthur Frost

The spoon is designed with the Salter's coat of arms and the latin motto “ Sal Sappit Omnia “ which means – Salt Flavours All. It was made in London by the silversmiths J B Carrington (1901).  The Salters Company was one of the oldest London Guilds.

The spoon also  has a date on the back  of 12th May 1853. The archivist at Salters tells me that this was the date on which the lease of the Salters Company Irish estate expired. On this date the company assumed full ownership of the estate. ( The Irish estate was sold a long time ago )

 The decision to commemorate this important date was not made until 5 years later in 1858 when the spoons were first commissioned. The spoons were presented to a new member of the company on or near to the day on which he was “made free” of the company ie. the day when he completed his apprenticeship which normally lasted 7 years, thus he became a freeman or 'member of the company'.

 J B Carringtons made a number of spoons for the Salters company but the archivist was unable to tell me why this particular spoon was made as late as 1901. Probably they just ran out of stock and asked for some more.

Spoon is 15cms (6") and weighs 51 gms

From the Salter's Guild website
London Livery Companies, originally craft guilds, had their origins in Medieval times. They decided who could trade and dictated prices and wages, working conditions and welfare.
Each Company, like the Salters, was governed by a Master and one or more Wardens who were elected by the Court of Assistants, of which Morgan Aubrey was one.
In return for a trade monopoly, guilds set standards, controlled quality and carried out inspections and would mete out punishment for poor workmanship.
The term ‘Livery Company’ came with the custom of wearing of a uniform and over the years, each guild jockeyed for economic and political power. Inevitably, acrimonious disputes arose. Finally, in 1515, the Court of Aldermen settled the order of precedence of the forty-eight Livery Companies in existence at the time, according to company wealth.
The most important and prestigious companies were known as the ‘Great Twelve’ and in pride of place at the top was the Worshipful Company of Mercers or general merchants.
The family of Joan Vaux, Morgan Aubrey’s wife, came from the sixth ranking Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors. The seventh-ranked Skinners or fur traders disputed the position that had been accorded them, so the Merchant Taylors and the Skinners agreed to alternate positions every year. This is said to be the origin of the phrase ‘to be at sixes and sevens’.
The Worshipful Company of Salters ranked ninth and included individuals whose trades involved the usage of salts and the preparation of chemical mixtures for use in food. Guilds would ensure that members were decently buried, and provided a special pall cloth for the occasion. They looked after their members who were ill and unable to work, and cared for their ‘poore widowes’.
Wives of Salters benefited from the £100 that Morgan Aubrey’s widow Joan left to ‘the Master Wardens and Comynalty of the Art or Mystery of the Salters’ in her will she wrote in 1612. Joan Aubrey left money for ‘fifty poore women’ to have a gown to wear at her funeral and to give ‘the saide Company of Salters’ a dinner on that day.
Five centuries later, like many other Livery Companies, the Salters’ Company has lost its direct connection with its original trade, but it still retains its Latin motto: Sal Sapit Omnia – Salt Seasons Everything

Return to Spoon exhibit index