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York was the most important English provincial city in the Middle Ages and was appointed by an Act of Parliament of 1423 to have its own "touch" or assay mark. The city mark was described in 1560 as half leopard's head and half fleur-de-lis. At about this time a date letter was added to the city mark and was probably used until provincial assay offices were temporarily suspended in 1696. The assay office was re-established by Act of Parliament in 1701 when the city mark became the arms of York, a cross with 5 lions passant. The city mark was omitted, more frequently than not, from hallmarks.
The assaying of plate at York ceased in 1716 and restarted, probably in 1776 when demand from local goldsmiths increased. By 1858, however, there was only one remaining goldsmith and the assay office closed due to lack of business.