KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 66 - 1953  page 99

dates covered by the contents of the books themselves (as opposed to the dates when the books were deposited) are 1737 and 1855, but the bulk of the books concern the years 1820 to 1845. The books and papers of approximately 540 insolvent debtors have survived. For many of them only one or two books were deposited, but for some half a dozen or a dozen are found, and in one case forty-five. There are thus well over a thousand books. The papers are far fewer and consist of conveyances, leases, copies of wills, assignments of property for the benefit of creditors, bills, letters and odd memoranda.
   Most of the books and some of the papers were endorsed, presumably by the lawyer acting for the debtor, with the name of the debtor, the prison where he was lodged, the number of books and papers deposited and the name of the lawyer. Some lawyers also added the date when the documents were filed with the clerk of the peace. The bulk of the books are also marked with a serial number, which, with some exceptions, corresponds to the chronological order in which they were deposited. There are, however, some books and papers to which no serial number has been given, and some which have no endorsement at all.
   No detailed examination of all this material has yet been attempted, nor is it possible in a short article to do more than indicate a few points of interest which even a cursory examination has revealed and to mention a few of the more 

interesting items found in the collection. The five hundred and more debtors in question were engaged in many different trades, but as might be expected the number of traders engaged in the more common trades who became insolvent, is greater than the number of those engaged in the less usual ones. There are many bakers, grocers, butchers, tailors, cobblers, carpenters, builders, carriers, and horse-dealers to be found, though the largest number of tradesmen engaged in any one trade who became insolvent at this date were decorators cum glaziers cum plumbers elm carpenters. The number of publicans is also high. The relaxation of the licencing laws in 1828 and 1830 may have encouraged a sudden increase in the number of innkeepers and many evidently fell into debt. A number of traders were engaged in more than one trade at the same time. One man appears to have been both a coal merchant and a builder and joiner; a certain baker and grocer also kept and trained gun dogs. Several publicans had an additional occupation, one for instance as a cobbler, another as a cobbler and brushmaker and hirer of horses and chaises. Letting lodgings was also an extra source of income to some of these debtors.
   Some of the account books give the names and addresses of customers and thus afford information of over how wide an area a particular tradesman carried on his trade. In many cases this was over a radius

Page 99

Previous page          Back to Page Listings          Next page      

For details about the advantages of membership of the Kent Archaeological Society   click here

Back to Contents Page    Back to Arch. Cant. List   Back to Publications On-line  Back to Research Page  To Homepage

Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
Kent Archaeological Society December 2004     

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs. Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so
 that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details too