London Livery Companies 1400 – 1900

The Institute of Historical Studies have placed online a searchable database of Apprentices and Freemen in the City of London Livery Companies between 1400 and 1900. The database is a work in progress and is a collaboration between The Centre for London Livery Companies 1400   1900Metropolitan History, The Clothworkers’ Company, The Drapers’ Company, The Goldsmiths’ Company and The Mercers’ Company.

The database at the time of this post contains information from The Clothworkers’ Company 1545 – 1908 and The Drapers’ Company 1400 – 1900 and a sample of the data from the The Goldsmiths’ Company 1600 – 1700. More data will be added this later year.

A search for the name Pottinger in the records of the Clothworkers’ Company yielded 32 results. As an example one of the entries in the list of Pottingers gave the following information.

Year of event 1736
Name Eliza Pottinger
Gender Female
Occupation Sawyer
Location Facing The Vine Tavern, Holborn
Company Archive Clothworker
Event Apprenticeship
Role Master
Status Widow

As can be seen quite a lot of useful information can be found just from the index. No doubt further details can be found on application to the Livery Company Archives.

FindMyPast has an Index of Apprenticeship Taxes that has been compiled by the Society of Genealogists. It’s not all that easy to use, be prepared to work through several pages before you hit the surname you require. Below is an example of what you can expect to find.

58/191 – 1772 POTTINGER, Geo to Jn Morbey of Banbury, Oxon tay £5

The original taxation documents are held at the National Archives.

It is worth running a surname search through the A2A website as some Apprenticeship papers show up there with details of where the originals can be found. The index alone gives quite a lot of useful information. An example

Apprenticeship agreement between John Hill of Stratford upon Avon and William George Morris of Stratford upon Avon, scrivener, for a term of 5 years. 1801. The agreement also attests that John Rowden Westbury [the guardian of John Hill] shall provide clothes and wearing apparel.

Ancestry has the Freedom of the City of LondonLondon Livery Companies 1400   1900 Admission Papers, 1681-1925 which would be worth searching as many apprenticeship papers are included in the collection plus many apprentices went onto become Freeman of the City. The information that can be found is

  • Surname
  • Date of indenture
  • Parent or guardian’s name
  • County of residence
  • Master’s name

\With this collection you get to see a scan of the original papers which is always preferable to an index or transcript.

Finally should you find an apprentice or master in one of the databases it is always worth looking at their websites, some links below. The sites usually give excellent histories of the company as well as insights into their present work.

http://www.history.ac.uk/cmh/main

http://www.londonroll.org/home

http://www.clothworkers.co.uk/

http://www.thedrapers.co.uk/

http://www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk/

http://www.mercers.co.uk/

http://www.findmypast.co.uk

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a

www.ancestry.co.uk

Do search for Apprentices and Masters in your genealogy, the results can be most rewarding!

 

 

 

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