Advice on apprenticeship ages and chronology

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Advice on apprenticeship ages and chronology

Postby descartes46 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:36 pm

Hello forum,

I have the following information on my direct ancestor Henry BAKER (d.1757) who was a silversmith in Lichfield in the 18th Century. I wanted to ask a question about his apprenticeship and the age he would have been when he finished it. It seems strange that he had had FOUR children already by the time he'd finished his apprenticeship in 1753. Can anybody advise if this is usual? Thanks, Darren.


1746 Birth of first Son Henry Baker(1746–), Aug 1746 • Saint Mary, Lichfield, Stafford, England
1748 Birth of Son JOHN BAKER(1748–1822), 1748 • Lichfield, England, United Kingdom
1749 Birth of Daughter Bettie Baker(1749–), Lichfield
1753 Birth of Son William Baker(1753–), 1753 • Lichfield
1753 Employment, 12 Nov 1753 • Lichfield - Sworn in to the Company of Smiths, Goldsmiths, Cardmakers, Ironmongers, Plumbers, Braziers, Pewterers, Cutlers, Nailors and Spurriers
1753 Employment, 13 November 1753 • Lichfield - states that: Henry was a goldsmith of the City of Lichfield, having served 7 years as an apprentice of that trade. He was sworn in as a Freeman before the bailiffs of the City.
1753 Birth of Son George Baker(1755–), 1755 • Lichfield, Staffordshire, England
1755 Residence, 1755 • Bird Street , Lichfield, Freeman and occupier (taken from a poll book of 1755)
1755 Birth of Daughter Catherine Baker(1757–), 1757 • Lichfield
1757 Death, Aug 1757 • Lichfield, Staffordshire, England
1757 Burial 11 August 1757 • Lichfield, Staffordshire, England - Occupation: Silversmith
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Re: Advice on apprenticeship ages and chronology

Postby peterd » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:42 pm

usually about 7 years for an apprenticeship once you signed into it you couldn't get out of it
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Re: Advice on apprenticeship ages and chronology

Postby sp1 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:55 am

I think you are correct Pete, but think there is a bit more to it than that. My understanding is that it would be MOST unusual for an apprentice to be allowed to marry.
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Re: Advice on apprenticeship ages and chronology

Postby SRD » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:08 am

I may well be wrong, but I think some trades required the payment of a final sum to finish an apprenticeship, or to join the guild that then allowed you to trade under your own name. Until that sum was paid technically one was still an apprentice. I understand that some employers would pay that sum themselves as it suited them to have a master craftsman working for them but others may not have done so.
I think the matter of marriage (and the concomitant fatherhood) during an apprenticeship was only sometimes dealt with in the apprenticeship agreement otherwise it was a matter between master and apprentice on an ad hoc basis.

Much of my knowledge is gleaned from the literature of the day rather than documentary proof, maybe an approach to the Guild of Goldsmiths would turn up more precise info.
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Re: Advice on apprenticeship ages and chronology

Postby descartes46 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:43 pm

SRD wrote:I may well be wrong, but I think some trades required the payment of a final sum to finish an apprenticeship, or to join the guild that then allowed you to trade under your own name. Until that sum was paid technically one was still an apprentice. I understand that some employers would pay that sum themselves as it suited them to have a master craftsman working for them but others may not have done so.
I think the matter of marriage (and the concomitant fatherhood) during an apprenticeship was only sometimes dealt with in the apprenticeship agreement otherwise it was a matter between master and apprentice on an ad hoc basis.

Much of my knowledge is gleaned from the literature of the day rather than documentary proof, maybe an approach to the Guild of Goldsmiths would turn up more precise info.


Thanks SRD. Your feedback is much appreciated. I will definitely contact the Guild of Goldsmiths :)
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