Tylers' & Bricklayers' Company apprenticeships

In some of the later entries street addresses are given for the apprentices (or their fathers); these have been omitted in the abstracts, just the parish given. Also omitted are the parish of the master, sometimes given in later records, unless it is outside the central London area. Further omissions, again given in later entries, are the 'consideration', or the premium paid to apprentice the child, and the person or organisation which is occasionally named as paying it, unless there it is by a relation or possible relation.

A very wide range of social class is represented in the fathers of the apprentices to the Company. There are many labourers and equally many gentlemen and the occasional esquire. After the mid-eighteenth century many freemen did not follow the occupation denoted by their company name; where this is clear from the manuscript it has been given in brackets after the master's name. However, many did, and before 1750 the large majority were apprenticed to working bricklayers. It may be that the apprentices from more prosperous backgrounds often took up such occupations as building development in later life, or it may simply be that with primogeniture in force in most cases, younger children had to find a paying occupation, even if it was of a much humbler status than that of their parents. Also, in an era when life expectancy was much lower, and families much larger than now, children might be left in straitened circumstances by the death of the father. For a possible example, see an interesting entry of 1792 (George Gregory), where the son of a (deceased) gentleman was apprenticed to a master termed 'esquire' to learn the 'art and mystery of a bricklayer'.

It is noticeable that a number of masters are related to their apprentices, even where not the father. Apprenticeship to brothers, brothers-in-law and uncles are common, and, of course, many relatives do not share a surname. Researchers should certainly investigate the possibility of such a relationship. This possibility can also be used in reverse; masters would often take apprentices (related or not) from the geographical area they themselves had come from. This can be important, either where the master was not made free by servitude, or where for some other reason there is no clue to his origins from the record of his own apprenticeship.

A brief article on geographical origins based on the first apprenticeship register appeared in Genealogists' Magazine volume 25 no. 5, March 1996. Suffice it to say here that there appears to be a very substantial over-representation of the counties of the south Midlands, especially Northamptonshire and Leicestershire as the origins of apprentices in the 1612-44 period. Equally, the West Country, East Anglia, and, to some extent, Surrey, Sussex and Kent appear under-represented. This may reflect something peculiar to this company, an unexpected but actual population distribution of the time, or a real bias in the geographical origins of Londoners of the time. Only further research will tell.

The records of 3,728 Tylers' & Bricklayers' apprenticeships have been abstracted.