Coat of ArmsThe Worshipful Company of SaddlersThe Saddlers Company
Arms of the Saddlers' Company

The Company receives many requests from individuals researching their family history. Unfortunately, because of the loss of so many records in 1940, the information that we can provide is limited.

If your ancestor worked as a saddler within the 'square mile' of the City of London, especially before 1850, there is a possibility that he may have been a freeman of the Company. The 'square mile' extends from Fleet Street and Holborn in the west to Aldgate in the east and from the Thames to the Barbican and Liverpool Street Station in the north.

The relevant records are the records of admission to the freedom, and apprenticeship admission:

Freedom Admissions
We have a consolidated index of Members of the Company (see above) from the medieval period onwards, which will give the date of admission to the Freedom, and details of an individual's advancement within the Company. In some cases we have additional information, such as an address, or the note of a will.

Apprenticeship Admissions
The Company had the authority to control saddlery apprenticeships within the City, and until the 15th Century these were recorded in the City Letter Books, held at the London Metropolitan Archives (www.lma.gov.uk).

Thereafter, the records are unfortunately very sparse until the 19th Century. Some early 17th Century apprenticeships are recorded in the first Court Minute Book. The Record of Bindings gives details of apprentices bound under the Company's Apprenticing Charity from 1800-1962. In practice there were very few and only a small proportion of the apprentices listed eventually became Members of the Company. The details recorded are the date of binding, name of apprentice, name and residence of father, master's name, place of business, term of apprenticeship, and premium.

Apprenticeship indentures were private documents, and if they survive at all, they will normally be in private hands. A few stray indentures are sometimes found in local record offices. There was no national register of saddlers, or of apprenticeships. However, between 1710 and 1811, a duty was levied on apprenticeship premiums and records of payment of it form the apprenticeship books amongst the archives of the Inland Revenue in The National Archives. These are indexed and The National Archives and The Guildhall Library (see above for access details) hold copies of the index.

The Company does not have comprehensive information about saddlers throughout the country. We may be able to help identify a saddler trading under his own name from information extracted from Trade Directories, but such information will be very limited.

 

Saddle making in Walsall
Saddle making in Walsall