Articles of Clerkship 1756 – 1874

Articles of Clerkship 1756 – 1874

I’ve just been looking at the Articles of Clerkship dataset that has recently been released on the genealogy website and it looks as if it will be of great interest for those who have solicitors in their family history.

What are Articles of Clerkship? articles were legal agreements between an apprentice clerk who wanted to advance to become a solicitor and a solicitor who was willing to train him. As with most apprenticeships of this time period (1756 – 1874) the contract was entered into by the father on behalf of his son and often lasted between five and seven years although some only lasted a matter of months.

What can you expect to find in Articles of Clerkship?

There are two kinds of documents in this dataset. The first are the affidavits that are sworn when the apprenticeship has been completed they generally will include ….

  • Date
  • Term in years of the clerkship
  • The clerks name, parish, father’s name
  • Name of the solicitor who had been the apprentices master
  • Name of person swearing the affidavit, often an assistant to the solicitor

The second set are registers recording the details of the articles of clerkship. They have similar details to the affidavits, but some details may be different and there may also be additional information. They usually have ….

  • Dates of when article sworn, filed and read in court
  • The clerks name, parish, father’s name and his residence
  • Name of the solicitor and residence
  • Name of person swearing the affidavit

Where can the Articles of Clerkship be consulted?

The originals can be viewed at The National Archives, Kew, Surrey. They are referenced there as “Court of King’s Bench: Plea Side: Affidavits of Due Execution of Articles of Clerkship, Series I, II, III” and “Registers of Articles of Clerkship and Affidavits of Due Execution” and come under series CP71 – see below for The National Archives link. have scanned and indexed the two sets of documents and now offer them online to subscribers.


I have been working for a client on a familyAn image of the Court of Kings Bench. The original picture was by Thomas Rowlandson; J. Bluck later engraved the picture. Source WikiMedia Commons. who were involved in the legal profession, we had tried, without success, to link the London family to a family of the same name in Dorset. A search of this dataset turned up an affidavit that named one of the London family, an attorney of His Majesty’s Court of Kings Bench at Westminster, as taking as his articled clerk his nephew who was name and described as of Shaftesbury, Dorset. This has opened up a new line of research that may prove to confirm the link.

This dataset will be of great value to those with family connections to the legal profession.


Speak Your Mind