The Doric Columns
The time of his Indenture completed, the Apprentice graduated into the ranks of the Journeymen, becoming thereby a Fellow of the Craft, i.e., entitled to its liberties and privileges on equal terms with all others. This passing to a higher grade was signalized by some proof of his skill a "masterpiece" in many cases or an examination before the Wardens. (Wardens were known as "Deacons" in Scotland) A Journeyman (sometimes called Yoeman for "young man") hired himself out to some Master for 2 or 3 years at wages and then, with a little money of his own, set up in his own shop, hired Journeymen, Indentured Apprentices and became a Master.
These indexes cover from 1797 to 1878, and are intended as a guide. The 1st 2 sets include the date, name of apprentice, name of who he was apprenticed to, the Trade and the Cautioners (those who were intended as Guarantors should the Apprentice fail to keep up the terms of his Indenture). The 3rd shows the date, the name of the Apprentice, and the Trade.
Each index shows the page number of the original volume, in which further information may be found. The volumes are held in the Town House office
An Act of Parliament in Queen Anne's reign (8 Anne, cap. 5) ruled that from 1 May 1710 a tax was to be paid on all Apprenticeship Indentures excepting those where the fee was less than 1 shilling or those arranged by Parish or Public Charities. Trades which had not existed in 1563 when the Statute of Apprentices became Law were also not liable to the tax. The most notable example of this was the Cotton Industry. A later Act (9 Anne, cap. 21) made the tax permanent, but it was abolished in 1804. The last tardy payments continued to trickle in until January 1811.
The tax, paid by the Master not more than 1 year after the end of the Apprenticeship, was at the rate of 6d (2½ pence in today's terms) in the pound on agreements of £50 or less, plus1 shilling (5p) for every £1 above that sum. The payment of tax was to be entered on the reverse of the Indenture, which was void without this payment. Evasion, however, was common in certain areas such as the Woollen Industry. The Apprentice Tax paid was recorded in Books, or Registers. These are divided into 'town' and country but the town volumes include Indentures from outside.
Date & Name
Cautioner : James Cooper (Hatter)
NB (“the said David Robertson having previously served James Matthews, Shoemaker from 19th July 1813”)
Most sums are rounded to the shilling or sixpence; however, there are some very odd values (particularly with Scottish Indentures): amounts as £30 6s 8d are unsurprising, since 6/8 is 1/3 of a pound, we have sums like £36-18s 5¼d and £30-18s 6-2/3d. The amount 2/2 2/3 is perhaps explicable – it is 1/9 of a pound – and maybe 11/1 1/3 (5/9ths), but the others are more difficult to understand.
The genealogical value of these records is great. They cover a span of nearly 100 years roughly corresponding to the 18th century. Up to about 1745–1750, the name, occupation and place of origin of the father (designated 'deceased' where appropriate), guardian or widowed mother of the apprentice is usually given. The name, occupation and place of work of the master are given throughout the series. It shows the children of Tradesmen, skilled Artisans, Yeomen Farmers and even minor gentry learning occupations other than those of their fathers. A young Artisan may pop up in a Marriage Register or other large commercial centre, but no trace can be found of his origins.
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