Distillers' Company apprenticeships

The Company was founded in 1638 and received its livery in 1672. The records of this company are deposited at the Guildhall Library.

There were apprenticeship registers for this company from 1694, but Guildhall Library Ms 6212/1 covering 1694-1764 has been missing since 1971. Entries for 1765-1811 (after 1811 the register no longer gives the fathers' names) have been taken from GL Ms 6212/2 which continues to 1862. However, extra details are given in the court minutes (GL Mss 6207/1B and 6207/2) of some entries and these have been silently added here. There are however a series of court minutes, albeit incomplete, which start earlier than the registers of apprenticeships and which in the main give the details of apprenticeships in their period. GL Ms 6208/1-4 cover the periods 1663-64, 1665-70, 1675-83 and 1693-1706. GL Ms 6207/1 covers 1714-30, GL Ms 6207/1A 1731-56 and GL Ms 6207/1B 1756-81. GL Ms 6214 is described in the Guildhall Library catalogue, rather misleadingly, as an index to apprenticeships 1659-1709. It proves to contain a fairly full record of apprenticeships during its period, arranged in alphabetical sections under masters' names. It helps fill in several gaps in the court minutes, but because some entries only appear in one or another, both court minutes and this 'index' have been searched for this period. However, this record has its limitations: it has at some point lost (suggesting it was originally kept on unbound sheets) references to apprenticeships to masters with surnames beginning with 'Q' and 'Y'. Furthermore, while in the early years only an occasional extra entry appears in the court minutes, after about 1700 it has a smaller and smaller proportion of the entries that can be so recovered from the court minutes. There is no discernable pattern in these 'lost' entries, and it is impossible to know how many are lost from the periods when no court minutes survive. In particular, however, it would seem highly likely that our record of apprenticeships for the last part of 1706, and 1707-09 (a period when court minutes do not survive) are likely to be very far from complete. Entries between the two records have been conflated without differentiation into one sequence in this index, except for a few where differences are sufficient to make it necessary to note.

The combination of these records means that details of Distillers' apprenticeships survive from only just over twenty years from their foundation. The loss of GL Ms 6212/1 only results in apprenticeships between 1710 and 1713 being lost. Of these a few, no doubt, might be recovered from the general indexes to Apprenticeships at the Society of Genealogists mentioned above.

The records of 1,713 Distillers' apprenticeships have been abstracted.