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c.1750 James Shears was born in about 1750, the son of Thomas Shears (1709-1778) and Sarah Towers ( -1766).
He was baptised at All Saint's Church, Ockham, Surrey on 2 September 1750.
He entered the copper trade at the age of about 12, probably in the workshop of the coppersmith William Gore. Gore first appears in London directories in 1768 with premises at Fleet-ditch (an earlier name for Fleet Market). In 1770 the first mention occurs of William Gore at 67 Fleet-market, the address at which the company was to remain until at least 1822. By 1779 Gore had taken James Shears into partnership and the firm became Gore and Shears.
James Shears was married to Ann Pitcher on 16 June 1772 at St Giles, Cripplegate, London.
In about 1785 Gore either retired or died and Shears continued the business in his name alone. Both Gore and Shears were members of the London livery company, the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers.
In 1799 he was elected to the Corporation of the City of London as Councillor for the ward of Farringdon Without.
In 1810 Shears and his sons still appear to have been resident in the Fleet Market premises at Fleet Market, but at the time of his death James Shears had a house at The Oval, Kennington.
His death on 25 June 1820 at the age of 70 is recorded in the Morning Chronicle, 26 June 1820.