ESSEX-UK-L ArchivesArchiver > ESSEX-UK > 1998-11 > 0911846090
From: Joanne J. Hughes< >
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 10:34:50 -0800 (PST)
"I have very kindly been sent a transcript of the Indenture of William
Burtwell to his father Henry, in 1781 and was fascinated to see that the
young apprentice (16 years old) was specifically barred from fornication
and marriage. I assume this was standard practice rather than Henry
being puritanical! Does anybody know the reason, something to do with
money I suppose?"
I quickly learned the value of checking at least a few years past the date
of birth of a forebear to find the marriage certificate of his parents.
Like you I reasoned that the chances of a young man passing the prime of his
life in celiabacy were fairly low.
He was not only expected to remain celibate, but to abstain from any other
form of social entertainment, even the theatre!
I would guess that abstaining from fornication was on religious grounds and
marriage on economic grounds.
His apprenticeship contract provided for his room and board, but that would
not include the supporting of a wife, and possibly children.
My husband's grandfather was apprenticed to a carpenter in North Walsham
NFK. His master made arrangements for him to take a room in a nearby
village. (rather unusual)
My husband's grandfather said that he got up a dawn, had breakfast, then
walked several miles to his master's establishment. He worked until dusk,
then walked back.
He said that by the time he got back to his room he was often to tired to
eat his dinner, and fell asleep on his bed fully clothed.
His grandfather fathered two children while serving his apprenticeship.
After his apprenticeship came to an end, he opened up a small shop, and he
married the mother of his two children. Their forty one years marriage
lasted until his wife died in 1908.
I have researched many such cases and found that the percentage of those who
legalized their relationships was very high.
Trev and Joanne
|Apprenticeships by Joanne J. Hughes< >|