This is the certificate for the apprenticship of William Hopkins the younger to his father, William Hopkins the elder, in the Vintners Company of London. It is the original document, and is signed by William (probably the elder). The date of the certificate is 3 Nov 1686, when William the younger would have been sixteen, a usual age for an apprenticship to begin. William the younger was given the freedom of the city in June 1695 (City Freedom Admission Papers Index, 1681-1700).
This is the certificate giving Benjamin Hopkins the freedom of the city and membership in the Vintners Company. It was dated 14 May 1705, and signed by Robert Pate, carpenter, who was a friend of William Hopkins and mentioned in his will. William died in July of that year. Benjamin was admitted to the Vintners by Patrimony, rather than apprenticship, because his father was a member. The date of his admission in the City Freedom Admission Papers Index, 1701-1713 is October 1705.
In the Quaker records, William the younger is said to be a shopkeeper, while Benjamin and William the elder are said to be Vintners and gardeners. William the younger lived in Wooburn, Buckinghamshire after his marriage. I spoke with one of the reference librarians at the Guildhall Library, who said that the guilds were losing their former power during this time period, and sometimes admitted people to membership who didn't intend to follow that trade. He also said that people sometimes paid a fee to join a guild for social or other reasons. I checked the records of the Gardeners Company, but didn't find either William or Benjamin Hopkins in them.
The records I've found for freedom admissions in the Vintners Company records are in this pdf file. I found no record that was clearly for William Hopkins the elder. If he paid a fee for admission, then the records for 1661 could be his, but there is no proof for this. The record for 4 Octor. 1721 might be for William, son of William the younger, who was apprenticed in 1715 (see below).
There are records of apprenticeships from the Vintners Company records in this pdf file. The one for William Hopkins, son of William, draper of Wooburn, Buckinghamshire, is the one of primary interest. This record is interesting because it identifies the father as being in Wooburn, where William the younger lived, and because it gives his occupation as draper, not shopkeeper. A draper was a cloth merchant, so the two terms are not inconsistent.
I tried to get a copy of the 1715 apprenticeship certificate for William Hopkins, but it was missing from the bundle at the Metropolitan Archives. They said they would search for it, and hopefully they will find it and let me know. If so, I'll add it to this page. These old documents are in wonderful condition, and are included in the digitization program at the Archives, so more information may become available online through this program.
This file was last updated on 8/7/2011.