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Not Brentford

Robert Paddon, draper of New Brentford (ca 1740-1800)

Robert Paddon took on Jno Woods as an apprentice in 1790 and Lorraine Dicksee has a Woods family in New Brentford that may include the same John; she has contributed to the findings that follow.

Robert Paddon has an unusual name and can be traced with reasonable confidence; he lived in New Brentford for several decades in the late 1700s and left a will in 1800 that mentions family members and also residents of Brentford.

Earlier life, marriage and children

Robert Paddon was born around 1740, according to his age at death.

Family trees on Ancestry show he was a son of Robert Paddon (1710-1755), of Ham, parish of Kingston upon Thames, but no baptism of Robert has been found. Fortunately there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to link Robert junior to Robert senior: in Robert senior's will of 1755 he refers to his daughters Mary, Elizabeth and Sarah (there are matching baptisms at Kingston upon Thames in 1736, 1738 and 1744) and a son Robert; Robert fits neatly between the births of Elizabeth and Sarah. Also Robert Paddon, draper of Brentford, mentions copyhold property in Ham in his will.

There is an apprenticeship record for Robert Paddon dated 24 March 1756 that is likely to be relevant, as his master was a draper:

He was apprenticed to William Haydon of Guildford, Surrey, draper for a fee of £150 for 7 years from 23 March 1756.

Guildford is around 20 miles south of Richmond and a similar distance north of Midhurst, home of Robert Paddon's first two apprentices, the Charman brothers (read more about them).

William Haydon took on a total of four apprentices between 1752 and 1775, each for a term of seven years and for fees increasing from £105 to £210. He also established Haydon, Smallpiece & Company, a private bank, in Guildford in 1765 (British Banking: A Guide to Historical Records, by John Orbell).

Robert Paddon completed his apprenticeship in 1763 and married Mary Ranyard by licence on 10 Apr 1766 at St Magnus the Martyr, City of London. He was a bachelor of St Magnus, Mary a spinster of Kingston upon Thames Surrey and the marriage was witnessed by Ann Savage, Sarah Padden (his sister?) and Ray M...winter. Robert and his wife had settled in New Brentford by 1767, according to Land Tax records.

Robert and Mary Paddon had three sons who survived to adulthood, Benjamin, Jacob and Samuel, all baptised at St Lawrence New Brentford between 1768 and 1777, also a daughter named Elizabeth. The sons were too young to work in the drapery business until around 1780 and this is probably why Robert took on the Charman brothers as apprentices in 1770 and 1777. Robert took on another apprentice in 1790 (plans for an apprenticeship in 1789 seem to have not gone ahead); has more details of his apprentices.

As well as building up his drapery business, LondonLives website offers some insights into his community work: in June 1780 Robert was appointed as a High Constable for the Hundred of Elthorne, the hundred covering the western part of Middlesex, including New Brentford. Three years later he asked to be replaced: 'the said Office is very Irksome to Your Petitioner and a great hindrance to his business'. Paddon provided a list of candidates to serve in place of him:

  • Mr William Jones, maltster
  • Mr Thomas Miles, poulterer
  • Mr William Piper, butcher
  • Mr William Batt, plumber
  • Mr Jno Frost, draper
  • Mr Thomas Whitehead, rectifier
William Piper was chosen in December 1783.

During the 1780s Robert arranged apprenticeships for his three sons.

Apprenticeships of Robert Paddon's sons

Benjamin Paddon, eldest son

Robert's eldest son, Benjamin Paddon, baptised 2 Jun 1768, was apprenticed in 1782 to Jacob Wrench, who may have been a brother-in-law of Robert Paddon. The following record is from Allegations for Marriage Licences issued by the Commissary Court of Surrey available online, free
8 May, 1760. Jacob Wrench of St. Magnus, London, abode several years, seedman, bachelor, 21, and Elizabeth Paddon of Kingston-upon-Thames, abode several years, spinster ; at Kingston

Details fit the circumstances of Robert's sister Elizabeth: she would have been around 22 at marriage and the family was of Kingston upon Thames. Robert married at St Magnus three years later. Perhaps Robert's son, Jacob, was named after Robert's brother-in-law.

So it is possible that Benjamin was apprenticed to his uncle through marriage, although one odd detail is that Jacob was a seedsman - a seller of seeds to market gardeners - not a draper, although he was a member of the Company of Drapers. Completely irrelevant, but worth a few minutes - the British Museum has a magnificent trade card for Jacob Wrench - if you have 5 minutes look at the amazing list of seed varieties -mainly fruit and veg.

So the apprenticeship to a seedsman is a little odd, but moving on...

The exact date the apprenticeship started in 1782 is not recorded, so Benjamin may have been 13 or 14 at the time, at which point George Charman was in the final year of his apprenticeship with Robert Paddon.

Benjamin completed his apprenticeship and gained his freedom in 1789; he was a member of the Company of Drapers, like his father.

It seems likely that Benjamin returned to Brentford at some point between completing his apprenticeship in 1789 and 1800, when Robert died; he was appointed as the executor of his father's will and lived in the family home following his father's death in 1800; he may have worked with his father in the 1790s.

Jacob Paddon, second son

Jacob Paddon, was born 3 March 1773 and baptised on 27 March. He served his apprenticeship in a different trade: an indenture dated 14 Oct 1791 for a Jacob Paddon to William Wyatt, tanner of Halstead Essex, survives (TheGenealogist). He entered into his apprenticeship at the age of 18 and a fee of £75 was paid to Wyatt; the term was 7 years.

A tree on Ancestry links the apprenticeship record to Jacob son of Robert Paddon (and, supporting this conclusion, searches found no other Jacob Paddon baptism in Essex or nearby that could be the tanner's apprentice).

The baptism of a child of Susanna Argent and Jacob Paddon at Halstead, Essex in 1795 is a good match to the apprentice and may have resulted in the early termination of his apprenticeship.

Online, the Robert Paddon family page (link below notes):
In 1796, Robert bought a tannery and premises at Batterdale in Hatfield from George Walby, a local butcher and apparently gave it to his sons, Jacob and Samuel. In 1798 Jacob, a 'tanner' of Hatfield was granted a licence to kill game (Herts Quarter Sessions Records) and Samuel, using his Hatfield qualifications, cast his vote for the local candidate in July 1802 (Herts Poll Book). The property was sold in 1803.

There is more information online about Jacob Paddon's marriage and children, see link below.

Samuel Paddon, youngest son

Son Samuel Paddon was baptised 27 Feb 1777. He entered into a seven-year apprenticeship on 26 May 1791 with Benjamin Paddon, 'Citizen and Draper of London'. He was 14 when he started his apprenticeship and gained his freedom in 1802. He was also a member of the Company of Drapers. The apprenticeship with Benjamin Paddon may have been arranged as Robert was too occupied with the drapery business to train up his son; or perhaps Benjamin was more receptive to learn from a relative other than his father; or it may have been concluded Benjamin would gain more valuable experience in London than Brentford.

It is likely that his master, Benjamin Paddon, was related to Robert Paddon.

There is more about Samuel Paddon online, see link below.

It seems both of Robert's younger sons settled in Hatfield, Herts.

Summing up, of five drapery apprenticeships starting between 1770 and 1791, two to Robert Paddon and those of his three sons, one apprentice started at 13 or 14, another at 14 and three were 15. The apprenticeship to a tanner started when Jacob Paddon was 18 (you needed to be stronger for this type of work).


A useful summary of Robert Paddon and his family
Online apprenticeship records used in this research.
Robert Paddon's apprentices who started between 1770 and 1790.

Page published July 2021