23 Apr 2017

Thomas Squire's apprenticeship

Mary Squire's Almshouses

This is the seventh post in my series reporting my research of Mary Squire's Almshouses in Walthamstow, London, formerly in the county of Essex (the Squire's Almshouses); and of Mary Squire herself.

I believe that the Squire siblings moved away from Walthamstow after their parents died in 1742 and 1744.  In terms of their occupations, William named himself a boxmaker in his 1763 will and I found the original apprenticeship indenture for Thomas.

Again this is incredibly exciting - I believe that not all that many of these parchment apprenticeship certificates survived.

The certificate reads, in part:

This indenture witnesseth that Thomas Squire Son of William Squire late of Walthamstow in the County of Essex Farmer dec'd

doth put himself Apprentice to William Hatch Citizen and Wheelwright of London, to learn his Art...
... serve for seven years...
And the said Master (in consideration of Fifty Pounds of Mr. Pennoyer's Gift paid by the Worship[ful] Comp[any] of Drapers being the money given with said Apprentice). [etc]

2 August 1743

The reference of the apprenticeship records at LMA containing Thomas's indenture is:
X109/005 - 1734-1752
The letter 'S' against Thomas's name in the index stands for 'servitude' and means he served an apprenticeship.  Other references were 'P' for patrimony, when someone could apprentice because their father was a member of a worshipful company, and also 'R' but  unfortunately I can't think what this stands for (could it be renumeration?).

This date confirms that the burial record dated 14 May 1742 is most likely that of Thomas and William's father, and not of Thomas's brother William (which would scupper the idea that William was Mary's husband. So phew!).

1743 was the year after William Sr died, and one year before Elizabeth Squire died - so I feel that this was likely the mother's burial and not that of their sister.

Starting an apprenticeship meant that Thomas moved away from Walthamstow to likely live with William Hatch and his family to carry out the seven years' contract.  I know from the apprenticeship indenture of Thomas's own son that Thomas did become a wheelwright.

I found out a little more about apprenticeships.  Boys, and some girls too, would commit themselves (or I should say their fathers committed them) to serving an apprenticeship of seven years under a master or mistress.  This was the normal, standard length of time.

Some apprentices had a really bad rep: they would go drinking and carousing and form street gangs that made a nuisance of themselves and could even be dangerous.  I suspect that the vast majority of apprentices were nothing of the sort.  I may write more about 18th Century apprenticeships at some future point but this post is already long enough, so I won't add to it just now.

An apprenticeship could also be quite a harsh regime, depending on the master.  Some apprentices were horribly exploited and abused.  Most would probably have experienced a more middle of the road apprenticeship.  I hope Thomas did.

The last point of interest of this apprenticeship indenture is where the money came from: apparently not from the Squire family (did their father's death leave them in financial straits?) but the Company of Drapers seems to have procured a charity payment from something called Mr Pennoyer's Gift.
I found out more about that, and (think that I) learnt a context that makes it even stranger that Thomas would have had help from this quarter - more about that in another post.

© Company of Drapers
I must say that I don't understand why the Company of Drapers got involved (it is lucky for Thomas that they did. Who helped him by putting the Squire family in touch with the drapers?  Was someone at the Company of Drapers a mentor for young Thomas?). Thomas's son William did an apprenticeship to become a haberdasher, which is a lot closer to what drapers did (wool and cloth merchants) - but a wheelwright?  Maybe this is just the apprenticeship they could find for him, maybe it was just luck of the draw.  I must emphasise that I have not found out who helped Thomas get the charity payment, and unfortunately I am unable to answer any of the other questions that occurred to me.  Such a shame.

Most apprentices would start their apprenticeship at 14, I reckon that Thomas was 15 and a half, a bit late in starting.  Was this because of possible financial problems at home?  Where was his older brother William at this time?  William would have been 18 in 1742 at the time of his father's death and 20 when his mother died.  Was there no farm to inherit from his father?  Did he perhaps not want to work as a farmer, or did they lose the farm without their father around because William Sr may have been a tenant farmer?

The late apprenticeship start by Thomas could point towards them giving up farm life in 1743 or 1744 when their mother died.  I have the feeling that this is when William moved to the city - but I have not been able to find an apprenticeship record for him to become the boxmaker his will names him to be in 1763.

If you are wondering why I am writing about Mary Squire's Almshouses then have a look at this first blog post.

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3 Apr 2017

Mary's parents-in-law

Mary Squire's Almshouses

This is the sixth post in my series reporting my research into Mary Squire's Almshouses in Walthamstow, London, formerly in the county of Essex; and of Mary Squire herself. Official name: The Squire's Almshouses.

To complete the St Mary parish register records that I found at the Walthamstow Local Archive I'll next write about Mary's parents-in-law.

I found either four or even six children baptised at St Mary's Walthamstow whose oldest son looks to be William Squire who went on to marry Mary (all my research points to William being the right man, I have not found any contradiction).  The children were baptised, and probably born, between 1724 and 1731.

I then looked for the marriage of William's parents, i.e. Mary's parents-in-law.

It wasn't very surprising that this marriage was not to be found in the parish register of St Mary's Walthamstow.  People back in those days usually got married in the bride's parish, and if the bride wasn't from the same place as her husband-to-be, then that could be anywhere.

I looked at Essex parishes to begin with, because the village of Walthamstow was in the county of Essex in the 18th Century.  In family history research terms that might be called casting your net widely.  Thankfully I got lucky!

© Society of Genealogists

I went to the Society of Genealogists for their excellent collection of records. The SoG and its library is at 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA - just around the corner from  Barbican tube station.  To use the library you can either buy access time on the day or become a member (pdf form), which I can recommend.  The SoG has some records that are unique to them so this library is a great resource to check out. Have a look at the online catalogue SoGCAT to see what they have. The membership page gives more information on their holdings.

At the time of writing, their current fees are £5, £10 or £18 for 2 hours, 4 hours, or a day pass respectively. The annual subscription of £54 (plus a one-off joining fee of £10) is very good value. If you expect to go more often than three days in a year then being a member really pays off.

I found a marriage record that mentions Walthamstow as the parish of origin for William (and Elizabeth too!), so it is likely to be the correct marriage.  Mary herself did not mention anyone named Stubbing but then she didn't much refer to her husband's family in her will either.  She does list a nephew-in-law, and his sister.  More on them in a later post.

This marriage is at exactly the right time: a year before the oldest son William (Mary's future husband) was baptised in Walthamstow, and in roughly the right place, Essex.  Thaxted (Great Dunmow) is a village located a little North-East of Stansted Airport.  It is 37 miles from Walthamstow.

I don't recall how I found this specific marriage, I may have checked Boyd's Marriage Index, or just gone through all the Essex parishes.  The SoG has very good books on many Essex parishes that contain typed entries presumably transcribed from parish registers.

The marriage information is as follows (not verbatim):

Marriage on 11 Aug 1723 of William Squire and Elizabeth Stubbing - Thaxted, Essex, both of the parish of Walthamstow

Now it is a bit strange that they are both listed as 'of the parish of Walthamstow'.  Because of this phrasing, William must have lived there prior to marrying (I haven't found his origins yet: he wasn't baptised in Walthamstow, his children were), and I am fairly certain that Elizabeth Stubbing was not born in Walthamstow either.  At the London Metropolitan Archives I found a record of her baptism in Thaxted:

Baptism 13 Sep 1698 Elzabeth daughter of Richard and Frances Stubbing

The LMA reference is: ES/R 136 BAP 1660-1812
ES/R 72 also lists their marriage: 11 Aug 1723 William Squire & Elizabeth Stubbin
The family name is usually spelled Stubbings in Thaxted records and occasionally Stubbin.
In the handwritten ES/R 135 volume her name is also given as Stubbin but her first name is even more mangled as: ‘Elzabelh’. Go figure.

The reference to them both being of the parish of Walthamstow must mean that Elizabeth also lived in Walthamstow before she married William Squire Sr.  Thaxted was where she was from and I imagine that they married in Thaxted so her family could attend the wedding.

The marriage in 1723 took place before Elizabeth's 25th birthday (if she was also born in September when her baptism took place).  25 is quite an average age to marry even back then.

I have not found William Squire Sr's baptism.  It looks like he was not originally from Walthamstow and I am still looking for a sign of him and the two cousins I could identify: Henry (Croydon) and Thomas (boxmaker in the City of London). I may have found Thomas's father John who was a fruiterer.  No sign yet of William or Henry's parents.

I found records of two burials in the St Mary Walthamstow register:

William Squire buried 14 May 1742:

I believe that this must be Mary's father-in-law.  If this was William his son then he can't have been Mary's husband because he died in 1763 when he left a will leaving everything to Mary.  I am going with the father-in-law.  It makes sense too.

And Elizabeth Squire buried 23 Sep 1744:

Now this could be husband-to-be William's sister Elizabeth.  That this Elizabeth was not named a widow could potentially point to that.  I don't know if women were only referred to as widows if they had lived by themselves without family.  After her husband's death two years earlier, Elizabeth née Stubbings would have still lived in Walthamstow with her surviving children.  I believe this is the entry of her burial.  I can't know for sure though.

I believe that William moved to gthe city of London after his parents' death but I have not been able to find information on this, let alone when it happened or if any of his siblings moved with him.  He was 20 years old in 1744.

I do know that in 1743 his brother Thomas started an apprenticeship at 15 (a year later than usual) and this is what I'll write about next.

If you are wondering why I am writing about Mary Squire's Almshouses then have a look at this first blog post.

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1 Apr 2017

William Squire's family in Walthamstow

Mary Squire's Almshouses

This is the fifth post in my series reporting my research into Mary Squire's Almshouses in Walthamstow, London, formerly in the county of Essex; and Mary Squire herself. Official name: The Squire's Almshouses.

I last wrote about Mary's will, which mentions her Almshouses in Walthamstow (yay, it's the correct will!), and lists all the people she left money to.  But her will didn't mention her husband's name. I wanted to find the record of their marriage next - but didn't find it until a few weeks ago (in 2017).

I knew that her husband died before 1797 because both her will and the plaque on the Squire's Almshouses name her as widow.  I later found a 1782 entry in a sewage rate book for Queens Row, Walworth that also shows her as a widow.  But what was his first name?

At this point I must admit that I committed a logical leap in who he was and where he was from.

I wanted to find out where the money came from that she used to fund the almshouses (plus the long list of her legacies) and felt it more likely to have come to her from her husband (any money or property a bride brought into a marriage became the husband's in those days anyway) and quite possibly from his family to him.  I think this turned out to be the case for Mary and William.

So committing this leap of faith, I went to Walthamstow, for no other reason than the location of the almshouses, and looked into any Squires family history at the local archive (more info at the National Archives website, or here).  The Walthamstow Local Archive is housed on the top floor of the beautiful Vestry House Museum.  The building used to be the workhouse of the parish of St Mary Walthamstow and can't have been as nice a place back then as it is today.

Back then I was able to look at microfilm of the parish registers for St Mary the Virgin, the mother parish of Walthamstow (today you get to look at digital records), - and found a family of potentially the right ages at the right time. At this time I couldn't know that this is the right family, but I believe so: her husband's name was confirmed as William in his will which I finally found three years later.

The baptism record for William Squire shows the date as 23 Aug 1724:

Wm is indeed short for William

William's younger brother Thomas, baptised on 17 Jan 1727/8.  The reason for the funny year representation is that back in those days January and February were counted as belonging to the year before (here 1727) with the end of the year in March.  By the modern way of considering a year to start in January, this would be Jan 1728:

Given their mother's name, their younger sister was Elizabeth who was baptised on 9 Jan 1729/30:

And the youngest Squire daughter was Anne, baptised on 10 Dec 1731:

This leaves a curious gap between William, the oldest child and son, and Thomas.  It is quite possibly that their mother had miscarriages during those years.

Or perhaps something else that's quite odd happened.  Because I couldn't find any strong sign of a second Squire family in Walthamstow at this time.

Let's just look at this baptism record on 7 Sep 1726 for the moment and consider the name of the child as well as that of both parents:

Hunh. There was a child named Susannah whose father was also named William Squire, just like the father for William (Mary's husband), Thomas, Elizabethe and Anne.  Curious!

Curious and curiouser, the mother's name here is given as 'Susannah' as well, just like the little girl. Is it possible that whoever entered the record into the parish register got distracted and repeated the same female name for the mother that he had just jotted down for the child?

It is not just possible, I reckon that's what happened.

Little Susannah unfortunately died within a few months*.  And just look what the parish register for her burial dated 27 Dec 1726 says about the parents names:


It is still potentially possible that there was a second Squire family, also headed by a William (wouldn't that be quite the coincidence?), but where the wife was named Susannah.  On the other hand I did not find any other record for an adult Susannah Squire who could have been little Susannah's mother so don't find the idea of another family persuasive.

This burial was definitely for an infant.  It doesn't say so explicitly but I believe that when small children died they were always listed as son or daughter of... in the record. Just like here.

Plus, where did the Susannah Squire come from who was buried in Dec 1726?  There is no other baptism record for a Susannah whose mother was Elizabeth.  Therefore I conclude that the Baptism entry is not correct and should have said Elizabeth instead.

That fills up the gap between William and Thomas a little bit.  Then that set me thinking: there is still enough time for another child.  What if this baptism on 24 Oct 1727 is another son?

This time it is the father's name that's the problem.  The vicar or curate who repeated the girl child's name for the mother, could have done the same again here: repeating the boy child's name of George in place of the father's name.

By modern reckoning that gives the following list of baptism dates:

23 Aug 1724  William Squire
 7 Sep 1726     Susannah Squire
24 Oct 1727   George Squire (?)
17 Jan 1728   Thomas Squire
 9 Jan 1730    Elizabeth Squire
10 Dec 1731   Anne Squire

It looks like it is very much possible that William and Elizabeth (the elder) had six children.  Little Susannah could have been poorly when she born and not be expected to survive long.  This might be the reason why she was not given her mother's name but the next daughter got the name instead.

I should add now that I have not found further records for three of these children: George, Elizabeth and Anne.  I will keep on the look-out for any marriages and burials but they could have died relatively young, in highly likely a different parish than St Mary Walthamstow.  Double-checking the Walthamstow burial records did not turn up any by 1750, and I think I checked further than that the first time around.

I suspected that sisters Elizabeth and Anne had moved with William (Mary's husband-to-be) to the City of London but I also never found evidence for when William made the move, nor an indication that the sisters lived there.  It is notoriously difficult to find females if there are no apprenticeship records nor recognisable marriages for them.  I will continue to look.  I had disregarded George, I don't know that he is a brother.  I also never found him mentioned again so far.

The next blog post should be shorter:  the marriage of William and Elizabeth senior, i.e. Mary Squire's parents-in-law, as well as what is probably their respective dates of burial.

There is one more thing of note, regarding the * mark: back in those days birth dates were usually not noted.  These are church records that are concerned with church rites: baptisms, marriages and burials.  You can find some registers that will list a date of birth and perhaps a date of death for baptism and burial records but most of the time they don't.  Marriage records from the 18th Century also don't list any further dates for bride and groom, nor their parents names.  Where gravestones survied and are still legible they also don't give the DOB or DOD dates as a matter of course.

The birth date could have been a very short while before (not usually the same day unless baptised privately at home when the child was not expected to survive) or even a long time before. Some siblings who were born a year apart could have been baptised on the same day when parents didn't want to take too much time out of their lives if they had to travel long distances, or for other economic reasons.

The big reason why I wrote about these baptism records at such length is that I hope this may be helpful to someone else out there who is not finding the father's or mother's day they expected: human error is something you need to keep in mind as a possible explanation.

Another tip that I came across that I'd like to pass on: whenever you research your ancestors, do make sure to always 'kill' them off.  What the experts mean by that is that looking for a record of burial or death is a big help to avoid a genealogical pitfall:  you found a person who could be your ancestor but if you overlook that they died when young (too young to have had children themselves) then you waste a lot of time on the wrong person.

If you are wondering why I am writing about Mary Squire's Almshouses then have a look at this first blog post.

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