Click on the letter you want to date or on a date letter cycle (column) in the table below to see a larger view:
Although a Guild of Goldsmiths existed in Chester in medieval times it seems that there was no regular assay with town mark and date letter until 1 February 1686/7. This tabulation starts with the assay year 1700/01 when Chester was established by Act of Parliament as an official assay town. From the early 1700s new date letter punches were introduced in July each year. Between 1839 and 1889 the change-over date was moved to 5th August and then in 1889 it changed again to 1st July.
It may be noted that the cursive characters used in the cycle 1726 to 1750 were also used in the cycle 1901 to 1925. This should not be a cause for confusion because of the differences in the other assay marks for the two cycles, namely the different form of the town mark and the lack of a crowned leopard's head in the latter cycle.
The Chester Assay Office closed on 24th August 1962.