Timothy Roberts (trading c1693 – 1749)
Timothy Roberts, son of Richard, citizen & blacksmith, was born c1673, and apprenticed to William Taylor in the Blacksmiths’ Company on 3rd Mar 1686/7, so would have been qualified around 1694. At that time most London scalemakers were members of the Blacksmiths’ Company, one of the Livery Companies of the City of London.
Timothy Roberts was ‘at the Hand and Scales, next ye corner of Queens Street, in Watling Street, London’ c1740 per Heal’s ‘Signboards of Old London’, and his labels say 'Makes and Sells all sorts of scales, weights, stillards, and cocks’.
By 1760 John Wood was at 'ye Angel & Scales, ye corner of Queen Street in Watling Street, London', and his labels also say 'Makes & Sells all sorts of scales & weights & steellards, & cocks’. [Note the different sign, as well as slight differences in punctuation and spelling]
Were Wood’s premises those of his master Timothy Roberts? We know from the Drapers’ Company records that the premises later occupied by Wood were in Roberts' time leased to first John Davenport and then Thomas Moor (or Thomas Moore), and we have found no connection to Timothy Roberts. In addition, Timothy was working with his son Richard from 1731 to 1744, and Richard traded on his own from 1744 to 1749, the business then being taken over by Thomas Harrison.
Over his long time as a scalemaker, Timothy took at least 11 apprentices, three of whom were sons of woolcombers from Cirencester, including John Wood, indicating a strong connection to that place.
Several of his apprentices were from well known London scalemaking families, including John Sangster and Mathew Partridge, and the two turned over to him were both previously with well known scalemakers, Thomas Pollard (trading 1692 - 1695) and Joseph Lynd (or Lind) (trading 1700 – 1730).
Others went on to trade on their own account, Thomas Pell (trading 1703 – 1718), Silas Jennings I (trading 1720 – 1761) and William Whitemarsh (trading 1731 – 1748).
The full list of Timothy Roberts' apprentices is as follows:
Thomas Pell, son of Thomas, citizen and leatherseller, who was turned over from Thomas Pollard on 8th September 1701.
Thomas Holliday, son of Thomas of All Hallows Bread Street, a citizen and clothworker, on 5th November 1702.
Robert Lovell, son of Henry of Wells, Somerset, who was turned over from Joseph Lynd on 13th July 1708.
Silas Jennings, son of Silas of Wokingham, Berkshire, a husbandman, on 3rd September 1713.
Thomas Smith, son of John of St Giles Cripplegate, a silver spinner on 28th October 1718.
John Hawse, son of John of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, a woolcomber, on 2nd June 1720.
William Whitemarsh, son of John of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, a woolcomber, on 4th June 1724.
John Wood, son of John, of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, a woolcomber, on 1st September 1726, so finished his apprenticeship in 1733.
His son Robert Roberts on 23rd April 1729.
Mathew Partridge, son of Mathew of Chesham, Buckinghamshire, a labourer, on 1st February 1732/3.
John Sangster, son of James of Lambeth, Surrey, a carpenter, on 4th November 1736.
Thanks to Diana Crawforth-Hitchins, a member of ISASC Europe for much of this information, and we acknowledge ‘London Livery Company Apprenticeship Records Vol. 41 Blacksmiths’ Company 1605 – 1800’ abstracted by Cliff Webb for information taken from that source.