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A new set of records has come online at FindMyPast called Britain, Country Apprentices 1710-1808:

What was your family trade? Discover your ancestor in the registers from the Board of Stamps. The registers recorded the tax paid for each indenture for an apprentice. The average apprenticeship was seven years. That is seven years of family history you can reveal through these records, as well as your ancestor’s parent’s name, his/her master and the profession they chose. The registers record apprenticeships from the whole of Great Britain.

I suspect that a number of my ancestors are awaiting my discovery in them.

I maintain a list of occupations uncovered for my ancestors and which ancestors were engaged in each (and when) and I plan to go through them systematically.

Is there a definitive list of occupations for which apprenticeship records can be found in the aforementioned set of records?

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General information about apprenticeships can be found on the National Archives website: Looking for records of an apprentice or master.

This index on FindMyPast was derived from the Stamp Duty registers, held by the National Archives in series IR 1. The images from which the index was derived can be viewed for free on the National Archives website, by browsing the Discovery catalogue to the relevant year and piece. Note that the same records have been indexed on Ancestry.co.uk since 2011, and Ancestry.co.uk includes both an index and images.

I doubt there is a definitive list of occupations.

In a research paper titled Apprenticeship and Occupations in Southern England, 1710-1760, using the Stamp Duty registers (IR 1) as their source, the author analyzes the number of each occupation for three counties (Surrey, Sussex, and Wiltshire). The data can be viewed on pages 16-17. The list from this paper includes all occupations from these three counties that occurred in these records 5 or more times. I have put the list in alphabetical order:

Apothecary
Attorney
Basketmaker
Baker
Barber
Blacksmith
Bodicemaker
Brazier
Bricklayer
Broadweaver
Butcher
Cabinet-maker
Carpenter
Chandler
Clockmaker
Clothier
Clothworker
Collarmaker
Cooper
Cordwainer
Currier
Cutler
Draper
Druggett-maker
Dyer
Farrier
Fellmonger
Feltmaker
Flaxdresser
Gardener
Glazier
Glazier-plumber
Glover
Grocer
Gunsmith
Hatter
House-carpenter
Housewife
Innholder
Ironmonger
Joiner
Kersey-weaver
Knacker
Linen weaver
Linen-draper
Maltster
Mantua-maker
Mason
Mercer
Merchant-tailor
Miller
Milliner
Millwright
Needlemaker
Painter
Parchment maker
Pattenmaker
Periwig-maker
Pipemaker
Plumber
Ropemaker
Saddler
Sailor
Sawyer
Seamstress
Sergemaker
Shearmaker
Shipwright
Shoemaker
Shopkeeper
Soap-maker
Spinster
Staymaker
Stone mason
Surgeon
Tailor
Tallow chandler
Tanner
Turner
Upholsterer
Victualler
Watchmaker
Waterman
Weaver
Wheelwright
Woolcomber
Woollen draper
Woolstapler
Writing master

Also, on the Guildhall Library website is one list of companies in London, and includes most of the major occupations that would be apprenticed:

Apothecaries, Armourers and Brasiers

Bakers, Barbers (ca. 1540-1745 Barber Surgeons), Basketmakers, Blacksmiths, Bowyers, Brewers, Broderers, Butchers

Carmen, Carpenters, Clockmakers, Coach and Coach Harness Makers, Combmakers, Cooks, Coopers, Cordwainers, Curriers, Cutlers

Distillers, Dyers

Fanmakers, Farriers, Fellowship Porters, Feltmakers, Fishmongers, Fletchers, Founders, Framework Knitters, Fruiterers

Gardeners, Girdlers, Glass Sellers, Glaziers, Glovers, Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, Grocers, Gunmakers

Haberdashers, Horners

Innholders, Ironmongers

Joiners and Ceilers

Longbowstringmakers, Loriners

Masons, Merchant Taylors#, Musicians

Needlemakers

Painter Stainers, Parish Clerks, Pattenmakers, Paviors, Pewterers, Pinmakers, Plaisterers, Playing Card Makers, Plumbers, Poulters

Saddlers (some only, see paragraph 3), Scriveners, Shipwrights, Skinners, Spectacemakers

Tacklehouse and Ticket Porters, Tallow Chandlers, Tin Plate Workers, Tobacco Pipe Makers, Turners, Tylers and Bricklayers

Upholders

Vintners

Watermen and Lightermen, Wax Chandlers, Weavers

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  • Thanks - that's exactly the sort of list(s) that I was looking for. I have a World Ancestry subscription along with my UK FindMyPast but had not connected that these were the same record set. Still it will do me no harm to go through them in a new way, and more systematically.
    – PolyGeo
    May 9 '15 at 0:03
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The Statute of Apprentices of 1563 made it illegal for anyone to enter specified trades without having served an apprenticeship. I use the word "specified" here, as one of the reasons for the eventual decline of the apprenticeship system under the 1563 rules was the emergence of trades outside the scope of the 1563 Act - which implies there was a specific scope.

See the FamilySearch Wiki on apprenticeships, itself taken from an Anthony Camp article.

The 1563 Act is apparently also known as the Statute of Artificers and the closest I have been able to find to a paraphrase of it, is an article on Elizabethan apprenticeships, which does have a list of trades - though how accurate and comprehensive it might be, I can't tell without the text of the original.

There are several caveats:

  • Apprenticeships arranged by the Parish under the Poor Law did not pay duty, so will not appear in those IR1 registers on Ancestry, FindMyPast or the TNA downloads;
  • Apprenticeships of son to father (etc.) will similarly not appear as the father is unlikely to pay himself to take on his son as an apprentice! Hence no duty was payable;
  • The prohibition is against entering a trade without serving an apprenticeship - or, to try to be clearer, you can't trade as an X without serving an apprenticeship. If you're not in business for yourself, the prohibition does not apply. The example I always quote is from Dundee (in Scotland so not under the same Act), where it took 7 years to serve an apprenticeship as a weaver but only about 6 or 7 weeks to be trained to work a hand-loom. The 6 or 7 week weaver could only ever work for someone else and be paid for their labour, never for the product itself.
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    The relevant sections of the Statute of Artificers begin at section 31, full text here: books.google.com/…
    – Harry V.
    May 11 '15 at 20:06
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    I hope I'm right in saying that the apprenticeship requirement only applies if you're in business as an X. It's certainly true in that case for Dundee - just hope the different legal system isn't muddying the waters. If I think of textile towns in England then there are lots of weavers' cottages built for doing home-based work - I can't believe each of those cottages contained a weaver who'd served a 7y apprenticeship. How could such industries expand so quickly?
    – AdrianB38
    May 12 '15 at 9:42
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    From what I've read people were rarely prosecuted for breaking this law. My understanding is that the law only technically appied not if someone called themselves a weaver, but if they acted in the capacity of a master (employing other apprentices or employees). This is an interesting take on the question so thanks for bringing it up.
    – Harry V.
    May 12 '15 at 10:32
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    Prosecution may depend on where you were. 3G-GF's father-in-law from his 2nd marriage was "prosecuted" by the Merchants' Guild of Dundee in 1808 - presumably for trading as a Merchant. He was a Master of the Hammerman's Guild (as a jeweller) but, so far as I can see, only a Merchant could buy in work from others and sell it on. (Buying in work and commissioning others to do work are not the same thing. Ownership of the goods does not change in the 2nd case). However, at this stage, the whole Guild process was starting to break down in Dundee and it appears nothing came of the case.
    – AdrianB38
    May 12 '15 at 15:30

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