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18 January 2007

Apprentices introduction

Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History; 2
The British book trades 1710-1777: an index of masters and apprentices. Introduction

Introduction (revised from 1983)

In about 1973 in Guildhall Library I began an entry by entry check of the 7,800 page typescript index to the Inland Revenue apprentice registers which was compiled for the Society of Genealogists in the 1920s and 1930s. The reason for this was originally linked to the history of clockmaking and this task was transferred to someone else before completion.

I had however taken the opportunity of noting book trade entries during my search and, after leaving Guildhall Library for Exeter in 1977, I paid a number of visits to complete the extraction of book trade material. The resulting list, which was arranged alphabetically by apprentice in two sequences, one covering the period 1710 to 1762 and the other 1763 to 1775, was then sorted by master, and the entries for apprentices bound through the Stationers' Company were checked against Stationers' Company apprentices 1701-1800 edited by D.F.McKenzie (Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1978).

A number of inconsistencies, was well as other entries needing clarification were noted at this stage, and these were checked against the original records, which form class IR 1 at the Public record Office, Kew. The opportunity was taken during these visits to extend the indexing into 1777. Unfortunately time was not available to cover the last 34 years. Indexes to place and names of apprentices were then added and the results published in duplicated typescript in 1983. In 2001 the task of transferring the data into HTML format was begun. As a database now underlies the web pages the data will be amenable to more extensive analysis.

The compilation suffers from the shortcoming of not having been based directly on the original records. However the indexers of the Society of Genealogists and their typists were generally accurate and the present listing is sufficiently reliable to be of considerable use to book trade historians. The complete index of over 300,000 entries is a formidable achievement, and to the tireless labours of the unnamed indexers I am most grateful.

Also to be thanked are Guildhall Library for suffering my frequent returns to consult their copy of the index, the Public record Office, whose attendants cheerfully shifted abut half a ton on the bulky ledgers so that I could verify dubious entries, Devon County Council for allowing the data to be mounted on their web site and my family for their continued forbearance.



In 1709 the act of Parliament 8 Anne cap. 5 levied a tax on candles. Of greater relevance to our present purpose however are sections 40 et seq. of the same act which levied as tax on the premium paid when an apprenticeship was entered into. The tax, which was at the rate of 6d in the pound for £50 and under and 1/- in the pound for premiums above £50 was to be paid by the master. Parish and public charities paying a premium were exempted from the provision of the act. The indentures were invalid unless the fact that the tax had been paid was endorsed on them. The act was confirmed and made perpetual by the act of Parliament 9 Anne cap. 21, sect. 7.

The registers of payments were maintained in massive vellum bound ledgers 51cm by 37cm in size, mostly with 200 leaves or more. The following information was given for each entry, which extended across both pages of an opening:

1. The date of receipt of duty
2. A running number
3. The master's name, address and trade
4. The apprentice's name, with the parent's name, address and trade
5. The date of the indentures
6. The type of indentures presented
7. The term of the apprenticeship
8. Amount of premium, if £50 or under
9. Amount of duty at 6d in the pound
10. Amount of premium, if over £50
11. Amount of duty at 1/- in the pound

From the 1730s details of the parent's trade and address become scarcer, and after about 1752 the parent's name is rarely given. At the end of the century details become even sparser, but indexing was not extended that far. In the present index items 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, and 11 are not included for each entry.

The registers are in two sequences, "town" normally including bindings made within fifty miles of the limits of the London Bills of Maortality, but also including many apprentices bound outside this area, and "country", containing payments made to local collectors in the provinces and forwarded to the London Stamp Office in batches or "warrants" every few months for the indentures to be stamped. The town series is complete from 1752 and the county series from 1750.

The table below indicates the volumes which have been included in the present index. A few later names have been added from Paper mills and paper makers in England, 1495-1800 by A.H.Shorter (Paper Publications Society, 1957). Premiums are not given for these entries, as they are not quoted by Shorter.

Town seriesCountry series
MissingMay 171041May 1710
1Oct 171142Jan 1711
2Nov 1712
3Apr 171443Jul 1713
4May 171544Apr 1715
5Aug 1716
6Nov 171745May 1717
7Jun 171946May 1719
8Sep 1720MissingFeb 1720
MissingAug 172147
9Jan 1722Dec 1720
10May 172448Jun 1723
11Aug 1725MissingJan 1725
MissingMar 1726
Missing? 1727
12Mar 172949Nov 1728
13Nov 1731MissingNov 1731
MissingAug 1733
14Apr 1735Missing? 1734
15Dec 1736
MissingOct 1738Missing? 1737
16Oct 1740
17Jun 174350Apr 1741
18Nov 1746MissingDec 1745
MissingJan 174951Oct 1750
19May 1752
20Aug 175452Aug 1754
21Sep 175753May 1757
22Apr 1759
23Jul 176154Aug 1760
24Dec 176355Sep 1763
25Jul 176656Jul 1766
26Dec 176857Jun 1769
27Mar 177158Oct 1771
28Nov 177359Apr 1774
29May 177660Oct 1776
to fo 86end Mar 1777to fo 65end Jul 1777
The following registers in the series have not been indexed:
Town seriesCountry series
30Aug 177861Feb 1779
31Jan 178162Aug 1781
32Jun 178363Aug 1784
33Feb 178664Aug 1786
34Aug 178865Mar 1789
35Mar 179166Sep 1791-Jan 1794
67Aug 1790-Feb 1796
36Jun 179368Feb 1796-Jul 1798
37Feb 179669Jul 1798-Sep 1800
38Mar 179970Aug 1799-May 1803
39Jun 180271May 1803-Sep 1808
40Oct 1804-Oct 181072Dec 1804-Sep 1808
731799-1802 Ledger duties paid
74Index of masters vol 22-25
75Index of masters vol 26-27
76Index of masters vol 28-29
77Index of masters vol 30-31
78Index of masters vol 36 part
79Index of masters vol 38 Part

The typescript indexes to these records are entitled:

The apprentices of Great Britain 1710-1762 extracted from thee Inland Revenue books at the Public Record Office, London, for the Society of Genealogists 1921-1923. Four copies were made. xii,6559p, approx 255,360 entries. The apprentices of Great Britain (2nd series) 1763-1774. Four copies were made. x,1280p, approx 61,000 entries from books 24-28 and 55-58.

The book trades index
The master sequence is arranged alphabetically by master with apprentices listed chronologically. Typical entries read as follows:

Stidolph, William, Penshurst, KEN, PP. 1762: IR/1/23/101 £010/00/00 Bostock, Samuel.
Stiles Edward, LON, C&S. 1713: IR/1/02/175 (McK 4133) £020/00/00 Stiles, Edward. [son app to John Hook C&S]
Stiles Edward, LON, C&S. 17250907: IR/1/11/013 (McK 7883) £007/00/00 Powell, Thomas, parent: William of Southwark

In expanded form this gives the following information:
Vol. 23, folio 101 of the Inland Revenue registers includes the apprenticeship in 1762 of Samuel Bostock, parent not named, to William Stidolph of Penshurst, Kent, papermaker, for a £10 premium.
Vol. 2, folio 175 of the Inland Revenue registers includes the apprenticeship in 1713 of Edward Stiles, son of Edward, citizen and Stationer, to John Hook, citizen and Stationer of London for a £20 premium. This is entry 4133 in D.F.McKenzie's Stationers' Company apprentices, 1701 to 1800. This entry also appears in the listing of John Hook's apprentices.
Vol. 11, folio 13 of the Inland Revenue registers includes the apprenticeship on 7 September 1762 of Thomas Powell, son of William of Southwark to Edward Stiles, citizen and Stationer of London for a £7 premium. This is entry 7883 in D.F.McKenzie's Stationers' Company apprentices, 1701 to 1800. The full date indicates that this entry has been checked against the original records.

The apprentice sequence is arranged alphabetically by apprentice. The same details are given in each entry but in a different order.

The main details given for each entry are:

For the master:

Master's name. In instances where there was no serious doubt, variant forms of the same name have been standardised without comment, for example Eddows appears as Eldows in the original registers. In instances where identity was not certain cross-references have been made, for example Peitre/Peltro. Care should be taken over variant forms of surnames e.g. Eliot/Elliot.

Address. The form of the place-name has normally been standardised and the county indicated using the abbreviations originally devised for the British Book Trade Index project. See the separate key to abbreviations. London (LON) is normally used for continuously built-up area, approximately corresponding to the area covered by the Bills of Mortality, and is not confined to the square mile of the City of London, which is more strictly accurate in that period.

Trade. The coverage of the trades includes papermakers, paper stainers and engravers. Abbreviations originally used were those devised for the British Book Trade Index project, althiough these have now largely been expanded. See the separate key to abbreviations for any remaining abbreviated trades. Some individuals may not be connected with the book or paper trades but were given the benefit of the doubt when the trade was not described in sufficient detail. Thus cardmakers (CA) could be connected with the wool trade and engravers (EN) with a range of metal and other trades, such as seal engravers, watch engravers etc. For example Anthony Vere, engraver, is listed by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker in their Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler as a medallist and gem engraver. Only a minority of the persons listed in the present index as engravers are listed by Thieme and Becker. This is particularly true of the large concentration of engravers in Birmingham, an indication that not all of them were copperplate engravers. The designation C&S (citizen and Stationer) indicates that the master was a member of the Stationers' Company of London. His address was normally, but not invariably, London and his trade could be any of the book trades, or on occasion he could have followed some completely different occupation. For example Marmaduke Smith was a haberdasher.

For the apprentice:

Date. This is normally the date of the binding. It would appear that on occasion the indexers of the Society of Genealogists indexed the date of the receipt of the tax which, especailly with the country payments, could sometimes be several years later. Where the date is given simply as the year (e.g. 1744) it indicates that the information has been taken simply from the typescript index prepared by the Society of Genealogsts. A fuller date in the form 17700206 (6 Febraury 1770) indicates that the entry is derived in whole or in part from the original registers. Where checked, the dates have been converted into the new style, starting the year on 1 January. In the original records and normally, apparently, in the typescript index, the old style dating, starting the year on 25 March, is used. The clerk's use of inst. ult. ditto and last makes many dates unclear.

Apprentice's name. No attempt has been made to standardise surnames. Sometimes the apprentice may be the son of the book trade member, apprenticed to a third person, not necessarily within the book trades. Apprenticeships of children of book trade members to masters outside the book trades were not specifically searched for and are included only when they were noticed in passing.

Premium. Guineas are converted into pounds and shillings, as are the unusual Scottish sums (e.g. £2/12/6.66, £5/11/1.33, £11/2/2.66, £22/4/5.33) which are based on the monetary units marks, punds and shillings. The highest premium noted was £350 for Richard Harris and there are several at five shillings.

IR. Volume and folio numbers of the Inland Revenue registers at the Public Record Office (record group I.R.1)

McK. For Stationer's Company apprentices the number in D.F.McKenzie's Stationers' Company apprentices, 1701 to 1800. Where the master is described as citizen and Stationer but there is no entry in McKenzie, the number is given as (McK----). Normally the details as given in thwe Inland Revenue registers have not been amended with reference to McKenzie.

The parent's name, address and trade. Place-names have not been checked and are not always standardised. Most parents are resident in Britain but there are a few overseas addresses. In some instances other information is given at this point, for example if the apprentice is the child of the person named as the book trade master, the name of the person he was apprenticed to, if other than his father is given. A description such as cit & girdler indicates that the father was a freeman of the London livery company of that name.

Some notes on the value of the records
The Inland Revenue registers are not exhaustive. Not only do they omit apprentices on which no premium was paid, but there are also lacunae in the surviving records. Twenty-nine volumes survive to 1752, but perhaps thirteen volumes have disappeared. There are no gaps after 1752, but unfortunately this is the period when fewer details are given in the entries.

The proportion of apprentices upon which no premium was paid is difficult to assess. Working from a duplicate set of Stationers' Company apprentice registers, which was all that was available during World War 2, Ellic Howe in The London compositor (Bibliographical Society, 1947) counted 5625 apprenticeships between 1730 and 1805, on 2299 of which premiums were paid. McKenzie, who worked from the full range of archives, does not provide tabulations for the 9225 entries he assembled for the period 1701 to 1800, and in any case Company records provide few details in the early years of the eighteenth century. There is little therefore to contradict Howe's figure of about forty per cent of Stationers' Company apprentices on which premiums were paid.

The situation in the provinces is more difficult to estimate. Many towns have apprenticeship records, some very full, but few are easiy accessible for the eighteenth century. Exeter has two very incomplete series, one for the period 1626 to 1718, and the second for the years 1721 to 1770. Only one book trade apprentice is recorded, that of John Sampson, son of Elizabeth, widow, bound to Barnabas Thorne, bookseller and stationer for seven years on 22 December 1750. This should be included in volume 51 of the Inland Revenue registers, but no entry has been traced. The freedom records of the City of Exeter provide an indication of a number of additional apprenticeships. The following persons were made free of the City between 1717 and 1785 after serving an apprenticeship in the book trades:

Date of freedomNameMasterTradeComments
17220813Potbury, GeorgePotbury, EdwardbooksellerNot in I. R.
17230701Lipscombe, JamesScore, EdwardbooksellerNot in I. R.
17270731Bartlett, DanielYeo, PhilipbooksellerGap in I. R?
17270731Stephens, JohnMay, RobertbooksellerGap in I. R?
17340506Portbury ,EdwardPortbury, EdwardbookbinderGap in I. R?
17400616Thorne, Barnabas Thorne, NathanielbooksellerGap in I. R?
17760817Williams, ThomasBrice, AndrewprinterEntry 0215b
17761102Sampson, JohnThorne, BarnabasbookbinderSee above
17761109Green, JamesNot namedbookbinderNot in I. R.
17800904Floyde, GeorgeThorne, BarnabasprinterNot in I. R.
17840124Portbury, Henryhis father GeorgebookbinderNot in I. R.
17840403Hoxland, EdwardThorne, BarnabasprinterNot in I. R.
Many apprenticeship indentures included a clause that the freedom of the City should be taken out when the apprenticeship was completed, but even where this was done there was often a considerable delay, so that the absence of a particular apprenticeship from the Inland Revenue records cannot be neatly tied in with a gap in the series of registers. Whatever the reason, the fact that only one of the twelve apprenticeships listed above has been traced in the Inland Revenue registers indicates that a search of provincial apprenticeship records could provide much additional information.

Nevertheless there is much useful detail im the 3,150 or so apprenticeships listed here. Even in London unfamiliar names can be found, for example the printer John Williams of st. Bartholomew the Great who bound an apprentice in 1770 and is not recorded by McKenzie, Plomer or Maxted. It is also fortunate that the period when the detail in the Inland Revenue registers is fullest coincides with the period up to about 1717 when the information in the Statfoners' Company records is at its sparsest. Thus details of parent­age and premium can in many instances be added to McKenzie's entries.

The West End of London boasted many book trade members not in the Stationers' Company. For these, as well as for provincial members and persons in such fields as papermaking and engraving, this index can be of use in providing a guide to a small section of the complex network of professional relation­ships through which the book trades developed.

It is to be hoped that others will continue the indexing of the Inland Revenue records from 1777 to 1810 and add information from provincial records. It is a necessary step towards the eventual aim of a consolidated directory of the British book trades, which becomes a practical possibility with the completion' of the short-t1tle catalogues up to 1800. [Since this was first written the British Book Trade Index has gone a long way towards providing such a directory.]

This page last updated 7 Jan 2007
© Ian Maxted, 2003.