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#602499 09/08/21 11:32 AM
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New member here. I own numerous double barrel shotguns and consider myself somewhat knowledgeable but found myself stumped. I found a gun case at my Dad's house who passed away several years ago. In it was an engraved Colt 1878 double and a James Ashton & Son double. The latter is highly engraved with an English style straight stock. I can't find any information on this and from looking it over briefly last night I didn't even see a serial number off hand to include under the barrels. Any help in just identifying it is appreciated.
Not sure how to post pictures.

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Most everything you’ll want to know about the Ashton & Son double will be told on the barrel & action flats. The proof marks will give an indication on where and when the gun was produced. The other stuff like where the maker was from, if they were an actual maker of guns or retailer, etc will be a little more difficult to pin down. I’m sure someone will be along shortly with some information on the makers.

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Looking over it more tonight the barrels are marked James Ashton & Sons Huntingdon. On the receiver flat is a GB with crown proof,
a V with Crown, P with crown, 13 on one side, and 12B and 14M along with NOT FOR BALL.
Has absolutely beautiful engraving on it.

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Those proof marks are indicative of the dates of proof of 1875 until 1887. I suspect that James Ashton & Sons, Huntingdon were what the British call iron mongers (here we would say hardware store owners) and the gun was purchased by them from a Birmingham gunmakers who directed that the James Ashton name be engraved upon the gun in the actual gunmakers instructions to the engraver (common practice in the gun trade). Nigel Brown in his Vol 2 book page 159 references a gun tradesman Thomas James Ashton in Whittal street, Birmingham in the 1870's; but it appears that this Thomas James Ashton did not make complete guns.

Both Authors, Boothroyd and Brown in their books record a firm of Ashton & Brown in York Street, Birmingham circa 1870 as gunmakers---this firm does not seem connected to your gun.

Maybe someone here has a directory of iron mongers of the time frame and can comment on whether James Ashton & Sons were such a firm.

Last edited by bushveld; 09/08/21 06:05 PM.
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I had a quick search and find that there is still an Ashton & Sons listed as builders at St. Ives near Huntingdon. Maybe a family connection from a bit back as I suspect like bushveld that it will be a 'Hardwear Shop' type gun. Nothing wrong in that as it was quite common practice for rural hardwear shops to advertise guns with their names on that were made in the Birmingham trade and that makes them a devil of a job to research. St. Ives is very close by and hardwear trade to building trade is not such a giant leap. Another useful source for information of this kind and one that I have often used is the local museums. Huntingdon has one but called the Cromwell Museum because of Oliver Cromwell's association with the town but they will cover most general stuff and have street directories from way back that should provide a clue. I have always found them most obliging. Try https://www.cromwellmuseum.org/ Good luck. Lagopus.....

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H, Blackmore in his book Gunmakers of London records the Ashton fanily of gunmakers active1628- -1858. Blackmore also states that this family also used the name Asheton & ASton.The Aston Name suggests a Birmingham connection .Could this be an example of a Birmingham maker resurecting an old family name?

Last edited by Roy Hebbes; 09/15/21 01:27 PM. Reason: typo

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