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A Calendar of the Registers of Apprentices of the City of Gloucester, 1700-1834

Jill Barlow

(Volume 25, 2011)

This edition concludes the sequence begun by Jill Barlow's earlier Volume 14, which covered Gloucester apprentices in the years 1595-1700. During the 18th century, free trade sentiment led to erosion of some of the old restrictions inherent in the apprenticeship system, and the numbers registered gradually declined. However, in Gloucester as elsewhere a completed apprenticeship remained a significant route to achieving the freedom of the borough. Freedom conferred many privileges: the right to pursue a trade or craft, the right to vote, eligibility for civic office and access to benefits from certain charities.

The city therefore continued to keep a record of those who were apprenticed. A note of each new indenture, and often of the assignment of an apprentice to a new master, was entered in a register by the Clerk. For each apprentice the registers record the date of the indenture, the names of the apprentice and of his parents (usually the father) with occupation and place of residence, the names of the master and his wife, the term of years for which the apprentice was bound, and the trade to be learnt.

Comparison with the earlier volume reveals distinct changes in the trades learned by Gloucester apprentices. In the 18th century, traditional callings such as cordwainer, blacksmith, tailor and butcher, while not extinct, increasingly yield to others more fashionable and free of guild ties. We now find bankers, confectioners, booksellers, perukemakers. Meanwhile, distinctive Gloucester trades such as pinmaking maintain a steady presence in the registers. This volume provides a calendar of almost 2,200 indentures registered between 1700 and 1834, and held in the GBR C10 series at the Gloucestershire Archives. To fill a gap in the surviving Gloucester records between 1742 and 1765, the editor has made abstracts from Stamp Duty records in the IR/1 series at the National Archives, which give comparable detail, identifying some 260 further apprentices. This volume, with the companion Vol. 14, complements the Calendar of the Registers of the Freemen of the City of Gloucester, 1641-1838 (Gloucestershire Record Series Volume 4).

Like its predecessor, the calendar is a valuable source for urban social and economic historians, a particularly rich quarry for family historians and a key document for the history of Gloucester. A full introduction describes the nature of apprenticeship in Gloucester during the period, with a statistical analysis of changes and trends. There are full indexes of persons, places, trades and occupations, and selected subjects.

xviii + 200 pages, ISBN 97809001977724

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