Brewers' Company apprenticeships

The records of the Brewers' Society contain detailed apprenticeship records from 1531. Though the actual register of apprenticeships of this company does not begin until 1685 (it is preserved as Guildhall Library Ms 5450) records of apprenticeship prior this date appear in the Court Minutes of the Society - though from the 1660s and 1670s these do not generally give details such as the name and parish of the father. There are also other volumes of Brewers' apprenticeships beginning in 1694, but these only record the bare names of the apprentices and their payment of the tax on apprenticeship imposed in that year.

The early series of Court Minutes from which most of the earlier entries in the database were taken consist of a series of annual reports, mainly August to August. These have been bound up into a series of volumes. This has led to some years being omitted, and some being in other ways misbound.

The Brewers' Wardens' Accounts books begin as early as 1501. However, they do not provide a detailed record, containing the names of the parties and in some years the exact date. They have been used here to add entries after the start of the detailed apprenticeship records of the company in 1531. The first account book (GL Ms 5442/1) contains the accounts for 1501/2-1507/8 and 1541/2-1545/6. The second volume (GL Ms 5442/2) contains the accounts from the years missing above. However, this book has clearly been made up from loose sheets, and many years are misplaced and jumbled. The third book of accounts (GL Ms 5442/3 contains accounts 1546/7-1561/2, the fourth (GL Ms 5442/4) accounts for 1563-81 and the fifth (GL Ms 5442/5) covers 1582-1616. There are two sets of accounts for 1546-7; there are minor differences between the two set which have not been fully collated. All these volumes have been used silently to fill in gaps in the Court Minutes.

The first Brewers' Company Court Minute Book (GL Ms 5445/1) is labelled 1531 to 1584, however this is clearly due to a misreading as it begins on 5 Oct 1531 and ends in 1554, From 1531 the minutes run for a year. There is then a gap from 5 Sep 1532 to 22 Oct 1538. There are further gaps after 4 Sep 1539 until 7 Oct 1544 and from after 9 Aug 1552 until 4 Sep 1553.

The second volume of Court Minutes (GL Ms 5445/2) begins 23 Sep 1557 and ends in 1563. The third volume runs from 1563 to Aug 1568, but the minutes are missing from Aug 1566 to Aug 1567. The fourth volume begins in Sep 1568 and ends in Aug 1573. The fifth volume begins in Sep 1573 and ends in Aug 1578. The apprenticeships in the sixth volume start in Sep 1578 and end in Aug 1582. The seventh volume began in Aug 1582 and ends Aug 1586. The eighth volume begins in Aug 1586 and ends in Aug 1589. The ninth begins in Sep 1590 (i.e. there is a year missing) and ends in Aug 1596. Ms 5445/10 begins in Sep 1597, so again there is a gap. There is also a most peculiar problem in the Wardens' Accounts: there is a section headed 1596, but it contains the apprenticeships of 1591! The volume is very badly misbound, but a section for the missing period was found, eventually, though not headed. GL Ms 5445/10 ends in Aug 1600. Again, there is a gap until GL Ms 5445/11 starts in Sep 1601.

GL Ms 5445/11 ends in Jul 1603, and GL Ms 5445/12 does not begin until Sep 1604, again a gap which has been made partially good by the warden's accounts. GL Ms 5445/12 is itself misbound in places, with the minutes from the beginning of Dec 1604 to 11 Apr 1605 following those for Sep 1605, an error made even more confusing by a minute on the first page of the misbound section being dated (in error) Dec 1603. One result of this is that Reynold Scoles was apparently discharged from his apprenticeship before he was apprenticed! This register ends in Aug 1612, and GL Ms 5445/13 begins in the same month. It ends in Aug 1620, when GL Ms 5445/14 begins. This volume is misbound Oct-Dec 1621 being placed after May 1622. It ends in Aug 1628 when GL Ms 5445/15 begins. This in turn ends in Aug 1634 and GL Ms 5445/16 starts. This register ends in Aug 1642.

GL Ms 5445/17 starts in Sep 1642. In this volume most of year 1646/7 has been bound in upside down and there are two copies of 1651-2 and the record ends in Aug 1652. In GL Ms 5445/18 starting in Sep 1652 there are two copies of 1652-3, 1653-4, 1654-5 and 1655-6. It ends in Aug 1659. GL Ms 5445/19 starts in Sep 1659 and ends in Aug 1665. The next volume (GL Ms 5445/20) does not start until Sep 1666.

In GL Ms 5450 the apprentices' fathers' parishes and occupation are usually (but not invariably) given. In a few cases after about 1760 more precise places (such as streets) are sometimes given; they have been omitted from these abstracts. In a few records the person paying the fee has been noted by name; where this is not the father it has been noted. Where the father is noted as dead this has been denoted in the text by "deceased" against their occupation or status (or parish in the few cases where the occupation is not given).

Later in the eighteenth century fewer and fewer masters actually practised the trade of brewing; in cases where a master's actual trade is given, this will be found in brackets after his name. Sometimes also in the later records a place is given for the master. This has been omitted except where it is not (as it almost invariably is) within the old London County Council area. Also omitted has been 'considerations', the fees paid by apprentices (or rather their parents, etc.) to the master for the apprenticeship.

The records of 5858 Brewers' apprenticeships have been abstracted.