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Apprentices of Robert Paddon, draper of New Brentford

This research was sparked by Lorrane Dicksee, whose ancestry includes Wood of New Brentford, in the late 18th and first part of the 19th century.

John Woods was apprenticed to Robert Paddon, draper of New Brentford, in 1790.

This page looks at all four of the apprentices Robert Paddon took on. Other pages look at his own apprenticeship and those of his sons. The aim is to get an idea of the typical age and location of apprentices in relation to where their master worked in this very small sample. Online records of apprenticeship used in this research are noted separately.

Apprentices taken on by Robert Paddon

As Robert Paddon is a relatively unusual name and he is known to have lived in New Brentford, it is straightforward identifying his apprentices.

These records were all found on the Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices' Indentures, 1710-1811 by searching for Robert Paddon (see sources page for more information).

9 May 1770: apprentice Jno Charman; fee 105; 5 years apprenticeship from 8 May 1770

16 Aug 1777: apprentice George Charman; fee 90; 6 years from 3 Feb last

23 Dec 1789: apprentice Sophia D Price to 'Robt Paddon & Co.' It is assumed this is the same Robert Paddon, although no address or trade was recorded. There is a note by the entry:
NB No. 4 was Stampt
without being Comptd

Sophia was "No. 4" on the page. Paddon's fee was only 4 and there is no start date or term completed as is usually the case: it seems Sophia did not start her apprenticeship (was she a parish apprentice?). In any case, John Woods, started with Paddon eight months later:

25 Aug 1790: apprentice Jno Woods; fee 150, for 5 years from 25 Aug 1790. The entry is shown in full below, the entry spans two pages in the register and Woods is the third apprentice recorded.

Register of Duties Paid, showing first half of entry for Jno Woods
Register of Duties Paid, showing second half of entry for Jno Woods

More about the four apprentices

John and George Charman

Charman is an unusual surname, and the first two apprentices may be brothers, or cousins. Their baptism dates, if available, will indicate the age when they started their apprenticeships.

Searches for Charman baptisms within 50 miles of New Brentford (Findmypast):
John Charman baptisms 1750-1760

  • 18 Dec 1753 son of John & Mary Midhurst, Sussex
  • 29 Sep 1754 John & Sarah Climping, Sussex (buried 17 Feb 1755)
  • 10 Mar 1756 John & Sarah of Thakeham, at West Thorney, Sussex
  • 27 Mar 1758 William Richmond, Surrey (Sharman)

George Charman baptisms 1757-1767:

  • 11 Nov 1759 John & Sarah Climping, Sussex (buried 13 Jan, 1760/1 transcripts vary)
  • 7 Apr 1762 John & Mary Midhurst, Sussex
  • 27 Jan 1765 Francis & Catherine London (Sharman)

The two baptisms at Midhurst look promising, and, assuming the baptisms were within weeks or months of birth, then both John and George started their apprenticeships at 15.

Ancestry has a family tree that includes George Charman, baptised 1762 Midhurst. The compiler has linked George to the 1777 apprenticeship to Paddon. He notes that at marriage in 1790, George Charman had lived in Midhurst parish for four years: he returned to his home parish in 1785 or 1786, after completing his apprenticeship.

The same Ancestry tree includes John Charman, baptised in 1753 at Midhurst, and links him to the apprenticeship with Robert Paddon in 1770. John Charman married at Chichester, Sussex, in 1792.

Summing up: another researcher has concluded brothers born in Midhurst were apprenticed to Robert Paddon in New Brentford in 1770 and 1777; they were around 15 years old; after completing their apprenticeships both returned to Sussex where they married and worked as drapers.

It is around 40 miles as the crow flies from Midhurst to New Brentford, which raises questions about how the apprenticeship opportunity was known of.

The next apprenticeship did not go ahead and the fee was unusually low. Perhaps Sophia D Price was being apprenticed by the poor law guardians of her home parish?

The following notes arise from research into Sophia D Price and are not relevant to Robert Paddon or his apprentices; skip these and continue with apprentice four: Jno Woods.

Sophia D Price

The middle initial 'D' is distinctive. FamilySearch has one baptism between 1770 and 1778, at St Andrew, Holborn, that may be her, although her forenames are transposed.

Dorothy Sophia Price, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Price, of Robinhood Court, was baptised 16 Jan 1774 at St Andrew Holborn (original parish register entry, Ancestry). A marriage of Henry Price, bachelor of St Andrew Holborn to Elizabeth Ambler, spinster, of the same parish, at St Andrew 11 Oct 1764 is likely to be that of her parents.

There are other Sophia Price baptisms without the middle initial that have not been followed up.

If the Holborn baptism is the Sophia D found in apprenticeship records, then she was coming up to 16 when her apprenticeship was due to start.

The Shoreditch Settlement Papers (part of London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930 Ancestry) has the following Examination of Dorothy Sophia Price in 1797. This is most likely the person baptised at Holborn in 1774: her double forenames are distinctive and the father of her baby was living in St Andrew Holborn, the parish where Dorothy Sophia was baptised.

The Voluntary Information and Examination of Dorothy Sophia Price of the parish of St Leonard Shoreditch ... singlewoman, Taken on Oath before me Patrick Colquhoun Esqr One of his majesty's Justices of the Peace ... 18th day of March 1797 Who on Oath saith that she is with Child and that the Child or Children with which she now goeth and is pregnant is or are likely to be born a Bastard or Bastards and to become chargeable to the Parish of Saint Leonard Shoreditch aforesaid And that one William Drew of the Parish of St Andrew Holborn London Farrier hath frequently had sexual knowledge of her Body and is the Natural Father of the Bastard Child or Children with which she now goeth and is pregnant as aforesaid

Taken & Sworn the Day and Year above written

Signed A Colquhoun D S Price

This next piece of evidence appears to be the same Sophia as it relates to her son William Price, born around 1797.
On 13 Aug 1808 the churchwardens and overseers of St Mary Whitechapel prepared a removal order for William Price, aged 11 years, the illegitimate child of Sophia Harsent, widow of John Harsent deceased, to send him back to his parish of settlement, St Leonard, Shoreditch. The document notes Sophia Harsent now lives No. 5 Castle Street Whitechapel, was servant to Mrs Robinson 13 years ago near 3 years opposite Mr Rentons Gardens Hoxton her son was born in the House & the Father has been Dead 8 years.

There is a gnomic annotation 'pauper Deaf x belongs Black.
Mr Black To Inquire of the Mother - Direction as above where the Child was Born who is the Fa(the)r & if to be found- and a warrant Argsd (arranged/organised?) Town'

It seems Sophia had worked for Mrs Robinson from around 1795 until her son William was born and she later married John Harsent. The father of her child, William Drew, had died around 1800. It suggests William was born in Shoreditch.

Can any of the details from the records be verified?

Findmypast has records of two marriages that fit the events above:

  • Sophia Price to John Harsent 1 Oct 1802, Stepney
  • Dorothy Sophia Harsent to Joseph Southern 2 Jul 1810, Bethnal Green.

Returning to Robert Paddon and his apprentices, the last apprentice he took on started around eight months after Sophia D Price failed to start.

Jno Woods

John began his apprenticeship 25 Aug 1790. His common name makes it difficult to find his baptism. If he was 15 at the time (as two, possibly three of Paddon's apprentices were) then he was born 1774/1775. He was not necessarily local to the area: the Charman brothers were born in Sussex. Upon completion of his apprenticeship around 1795 he may have returned to his home area, as the Charman brothers did.

However, perhaps he did stay in Brentford as there is a burial at St Lawrence's, New Brentford, of John Wood (not Woods), 18 Feb 1818, age 41. If his age is correct (and it may be, as '41' is specific, unlike '40' which could be an estimate) then he was born between later Feb 1776 and early Feb 1777, which would mean his apprenticeship started at 13 to 14.

Summing up: Paddon's last two apprentices are more difficult to pin down: very little is known from the apprenticeship records about either individual. The baptism of Dorothy Sophia Price may be the Sophia D Price who was due to start her apprenticeship in 1789; it seems her forenames were interchangeable as later records show her recorded as Sophia rather than Dorothy.

The burial of a John Wood in New Brentford in 1818 may be that of the apprentice taken on as John Woods in 1790.

Page published July 2021