Differentiation within the artisan sector in Saffron Walden in the eighteenth century

Walker, Hilary (2014) Differentiation within the artisan sector in Saffron Walden in the eighteenth century. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Saffron Walden has an excellent town archive. There are also other good primary sources. The argument of this thesis arose from these circumstances. The purpose of this study became an investigation of whether the artisan segment of society in a small English market town of the eighteenth century constituted a homogeneous group or whether marked differentiation occurred within that segment.
The nature of the artisan segment of the town is examined from the perspectives of the economic, religious and social structures found there. Due consideration is also given to the way in which the town was governed and to the importance of its charitable organisations. The roles of literacy and the ability to be able to afford the security granted by fire insurance in the latter part of the century also turned out to be of critical importance. Life-course analysis for a number of artisans was also carried out permitting a prosopographical approach to be adopted where relevant.
It is concluded that for an artisan in the eighteenth century in Saffron Walden a number of factors were vital in determining whether he would be successful. These included his initial family background and position within that family, the trade to which he was apprenticed, his likelihood of gaining patronage and thus access to the benefits that the town’s charitable institutions could provide, including a place at the Charity School, and his religious persuasion, particularly if he was a nonconformist or a Quaker. A man favoured in these ways might gain the appellation of ‘gentleman’. A less fortunate artisan might end his days as a pauper.
Differentiation within the artisan segment in eighteenth century Saffron Walden indeed existed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Stacey Armes
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2014 15:11
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2014 15:11
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48813


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