ALFRED CHARLES SOLE
An Apprentice Blacksmith
This article was originally published in the December 2011 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
Alfred was the grandfather of Eric Kennett who has been a society member since 2005 and regularly attends our annual gatherings. Eric has Alfred’s blacksmith Apprentice Indenture from when he was 15. Extracts of this document, written in heavy legal jargon, give some idea of the commitment entered into by a young man of the time for which he received a small wage for working long hours.
Alfred Sole in Later Life
‘This Indenture made the twenty ninth day of January One thousand eight hundred and eighty nine, Between William Dixon of Woodnesborough in the county of Kent, Blacksmith of the first part, Alfred Charles Sole son of Henry Sole of Woodnesborough, Labourer of the second part and the said Henry Sole of the third part.
Witnesseth that in consideration of the promises and also in consideration of the services of the said Alfred Charles Sole to be done or performed to or for the said William Dixon . . . . . He the said William Dixon . . . . . Doth hereby . . . . . Covenant and agree . . . . . will take and receive the said Alfred Charles Sole as his Apprentice . . . . . for the term of Five Years and also will during the said term to the best of his power, knowledge and ability instruct the said Alfred Charles Sole in the trade or business of a Blacksmith . . . . And further that the said William Dixon . . . . shall not require the said Alfred Charles Sole to attend to the business or affairs of the said William Dixon . . . . for a longer period than eleven hours in each day unless the said Alfred Charles Sole shall unavoidably be longer engaged by an extreme and unusual pressure of business.
And further that the said William Dixon shall find and pay unto the said apprentice during the said term the sum of One shilling and sixpence (£7 in today’s money) during the first year Two shillings (£10) during the second year Three shillings (£14) per week during the third year Four shillings (£19) per week during the fourth year and Five shillings (£25) per week during the fifth year of the said term.
And in consideration of the Covenants and Agreements [of] William Dixon . . . . Henry Sole doth hereby place and bind Alfred Charles and Alfred Sole with the consent of Henry Sole doth hereby place and bind himself with William Dixon . . . . [to] faithfully honestly and diligently serve him . . . . and obey and perform all his reasonable commands and requirements and shall not do any damage or injury to the said William Dixon or knowingly suffer the same to be done . . . . but shall in all things conduct and acquit himself as an honest and faithful Apprentice ought to do.
And . . . . the said Henry Sole shall and will find and provide the said Alfred Charles Sole with all proper and necessary Clothing Washing Medicines and Medical attendance and also lodging providing the said Henry Sole shall during the term aforesaid reside within reasonable distance of the said William Dixon’s Forge or Workshop namely two miles of the said premises.
Signed Sealed and Delivered . . William Dixon, Alfred Charles Sole, Henry Sole (his mark).