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The Notebook of Thomas Shakshaft – Part One

1700 - 1850 (c.)

Notebook of
Thomas Shakshaft
of Middleton, Warwickshire
Lived 1731 – 1821
(Written during the period 1751 – 1765)

Summary

Thomas Shakeshaft or Shakshaft (1731-1821) was a carpenter who lived in Middleton, Warwickshire. His notebook in Birmingham City Archives is a very rare example of written record produced by a skilled working man in the late eighteenth century. A selection of images with transcripts by Bob Whorwood, a descendant of Thomas Shakeshaft has been placed on the Revolutionary Players website. A limited edition of the notebook has been published. It contains detailed introductory material by Bob Whorwood based on research into Thomas Shakeshaft’s life. The text below is selected from this material.

—- —- —-

The Notebook was donated to Birmingham City Archives in 1944 by Mr. E. T. Griffiths, manager of the Ritz Cinema in Cheltenham, and was rebound in 1946. This front sheet was clearly written at that time. The Birmingham Library accession number is 55664711R41.

Two points arise. Firstly the spelling of the name here does not have a central ‘e’. There is an inconsistency in this regard in what Thomas wrote as he included this ‘e’ rather erratically. However, there seems to be total consistency elsewhere. The tombstone of his son Robert junior, a tapestry produced by his granddaughter Elizabeth, parish and census records as well as records of work for the Middleton Estate all use the central ‘e’. Further, records of Thomas’s father Robert, also a carpenter of Middleton and his grandfather John predating this notebook by many years, consistently show use of the middle ‘e’. It seems reasonable to assume that we should do so now and use the name Shakeshaft. Thomas himself signed his name with the central ‘e’ when he was a witness to a marriage in October 1764.

The dates on the frontispiece, obviously inserted in 1946 during rebinding, are misleading. Certainly entries in the book cover the period 1751 to 1828 but Thomas died in 1821 and entries after that date are not in his handwriting. These “rogue” entries represent less than 5% of the whole so the title given is quite valid. Thomas was baptised on 30th August 1731 and died in February 1821. Estimates made of the age of Thomas in the following pages assume he was born about 6-weeks before baptism. The book was started in 1751 and the last entry by Thomas was in 1765. There is nothing after that date except for the .rejected material which is dated 1827 & 1828 long after the death of Thomas.

Very probably further notebooks were written by Thomas over the 56 years he was yet to live after 1765 but presumably they are lost. It seems implausible that he wrote no more after the age of 34 when he achieved almost three times that age.

————————————————————

Notebook of

Thomas Shakshaft

of Middleton, Warwickshire

Lived 1731 – 1821

(Written during the period 1751 – 1765)

Summary

Thomas Shakeshaft or Shakshaft (1731-1821) was a carpenter who lived in Middleton, Warwickshire. His notebook in Birmingham City Archives is a very rare example of written record produced by a skilled working man in the late eighteenth century. A selection of images with transcripts by Bob Whorwood, a descendant of Thomas Shakeshaft has been placed on the Revolutionary Players website. A limited edition of the notebook has been published. It contains detailed introductory material by Bob Whorwood based on research into Thomas Shakeshaft’s life. The text below is selected from this material.

—- —- —-

Young woman if you will draw
near a while ill sing you a Ditty
Will make you to Smile and
you that have covetous parents
draw nere this story as true ever you hear
as in fair London city there lived of late
a miser that had worldly riches so great
he had a fair daughter that all did adore
but he kept her single for the sake of his store

A charm sator

for a mad dog ` arepo

to be writ on tenet

cheese or bread opera

and given the rotas

Friday after

Thay be bit

Thomas Shakshaft

Receved of peter pittifull

the Sum of five pounds ? Say

Recieved by me John owin

the 7 day of july in a 1751

Right

Received the 7th of july 1751 of mr.

Charles Took five hundred pounds on Accompt

£500 – – mary at mr Renolds at

living in hoopton Street

in Cleary market*

in Cleary market*

For

mrs mary Vincent living at Mr. Renolds

in hoopton Street in Cleary Market*

with London

* Cleary Market might be Cherry Market

Note: This page is difficult both to read and interpret. There are three ways of spelling received in the first 25 words. Thomas was very near his 20th birthday (7th July could have been his birthday as he was baptised on 30th August) so sums of money such as on this page seem incredible. Was this an inheritance due on becoming 20? This seems most unlikely but must be a possibility. There was an affluent Shakeshaft family in Shenstone, a few miles away, leaving numerous sums of money of a similar size but no evidence of a relationship has been found. Thomas certainly visited Shenstone on a number of occasions but apparently to do work though not for the Shakeshafts. Perhaps Charles Took was a lawyer?

A Barn at Sautley

Bread – 800 – – 6 pound loaves

Beef – 2600 – – pound wt

peas – 28 – – bushels

Beer – 20 – – hogsheads

the prisnirs Consumd Every day at

Winchester

Thrashing Floor

Note: Was this at Saltley now a part of Birmingham?

The field gate

A gardin

gate

Tew days at thomas regerses 0 – 2 – 0

1 day at judleys 0 – 1 – 0

1 day at Mr Firkins

Note: The sketch at the bottom is probably of Middleton Hall where Thomas seems to have worked for about a quarter of his time. No date is given but he seems to have found work at I/- a day whereas his pay as a skilled craftsman was more generally Is. 4d. a day. Presumably Thomas Regeres and Judley were yeoman whereas Mr. Firkins was a gentleman.

September the 30 in a 1751

bought at Fasley (Fazeley? ) Fair — s – d.

a Shirt Cloth 3 yards & 3 quowters — 5 – 0

A hat — 2 – 0

A handkitcher (handkerchief) — 1 – 10

and 3 stocks (socks?) — 1 – 5

a pair of bockels (buckles?) — 0 – 10

& a pennife — 0 – 3

Bought at Tamworth Fair

A Cote Cloth — 9 – 0

Cloth for a wastcote — 5 – 9

bought at Fasley Fair 1752

A pair of brichis — 5 – 9

& a Cote Cloth 4 yards and a _ — 14 – 0

Note: Thomas was aged 20 years and three months at the date given at the top of the page (assuming he was baptised six weeks after birth). We know his baptism date but not the date of birth. The column of figures probably refers to a list lengths of timber in stock as similar lists do elsewhere and possibly is a jotting made some years later.

Mr. Robt Alldridg his Bill Thomas Shakshaft 1751

july the 8th I begun and was all the week

——————————————– £ – s – d

only I went of one day at 3 a Clock — 0 – 5 – 0

2 more days — 0 – 2 – 0

3 more days — 0 – 3 – 0

my father receved ten shillings 6d for rent

2 half days — 0 – 1 – 0

And one wole day — 0 – 1 – 0

& one day more hay making — 0 – 1 – 0

4 days a reaping — 0 – 4 – 0

5 days more a reaping and this — 0 – 5 – 0

And one day I went off at ten of the clock

Another day reaping — 0 – 1 – 0

4 days & a half a baging peas — 0 – 4 – 6

5 days a Car[y]ing barley & baging peas — 0 – 5 – 0

2 days more — 0 – 2 – 0

1 day more Car[y]ing harvest home — 0 – 1 – 0

About 14 foot & a half and — 1 – 5 – 6

in my Great Box

It comes to 3s. 6d. at 3d. a foot

Note: Even highly skilled craftsmen had to labour in the fields

John Keeling his bill

Thomas

Shakeshaft

I was 5 days the first week — 0 – 4 – 0

& 4’/2 days the next week — 0 – 4 – 0

and 5 days the next week — 0 – 4 – 0

and 5 days the next week — 0 – 4 – 0

and 6 days the next week — 0 – 4 – 0

and 6 days the next week — 0 – 4 – 0

Another week — 0 – 4 – 0

and 5 days the next week — 0 – 4 – 0

Another week — 0 – 4 – 0

and 5 days the next week — 0 – 4 – 0

and 3 days the next week — 0 – 2 – 0

Another week — 0 – 4 – 0

Another week — 2 -14 – 0 — 0 – 4 – 0

Another week — 0 – 4 – 0

————————- £ — s — d

received April the 23 — 0 – 8 – 0

received May the 9 — 0 -10- 0

receved in may — 0 – 0 – 6

Receved in may — 0 – 2 – 0

receved in June — 0- 1 – 0

receved the 23 of June — 0-12 – 6

receved july the 1st one shilling

and lent Tom sixpence — 1- 14- 0

receved Ten shillings the 14th July 1751

There is an unreadable item on the top edge of the paper

The shoemaker’s bill

I paid for making & mending — 6 – 6

then I had a pair of pumps — 4 – 10

& A pair of shues in harvest — 5 – 0

november 20 a pair of shues sol[e]d

and hele peest — 1 – 6

the begining of April 1752 A pair of shoes sol[e]d

A pair of Shoes in may 1752

A pair of pomp soles & hole peest

A pair of pumps pd for — 5 – 0

Clark — 0 – 1 – 0

Spent — 0 – 0 – 2

Shoes — 0 – 1 – 3

Ax — 0 – 2 – 9

Pipe (?} — 0 – 0 – 3

Tobacko — 0 – 0 – 3

4} 48 (12 Another Sort this

7) 56 (8 for Eight days

6) 54 (9 8) 96

19 8) 60-6 )72

7) 56

30

Note: These calculations clearly have something to do with clocks and are similar to calculations elsewhere in the notebook

96 of these teeth in

Barrall

8) 96 ( 12 a Weel 8 In & _

8) 60 (_ minuets Deamiter

7) 56 ( 8 seconds 6 ) 72 hour Weel )

(30) Crown Weell

A piece of Clock work of Eight Days Shows

Minutes & Seconds

8)96

8)60-48)48 -6)72

7)56

30

Note: The column of 7s simply says 9 x 7 = 63 so there must be more to it than that!

Obviously various calculations in connection with clocks following on from the previous page.

“Clearly a 31 day calendar for one month.

Presumably it was usable in any month if one knew which month it was and also which day of the week was the first day of that month. The calendar then showed the days for the whole month. Very rarely does Thomas name the day of the week. He gives the month and the number of the day of the month and sometimes, but not always, the year. He often does not record the date at all. It is very easy to forget that he was writing for himself at that time and not for later generations 250 years later.

for a Good Salve

black-pitch, black-Resin;

bees-wax fresh May butter

of Each an Eaquall quantity

boyld altogether about half

a quarter of an hour and

scumd if accation

(This item is upside down)

Astma or Shortness of breath

Take of Turmeric, Liquorice

brimstone & Elecampain Roots

of each – 2 penny worth mix them

with treacle or rather honey

Swollow some morning and night


“In 1470 George Negil Brother to the Earl

of Warwick Archbishop of York made A

prodigious feast for the nobility clergy & gentry

in his Dioosis Wherein he spent

300 quarters of wheat 330 tons of Ale

104 tons of wine

1 pipe of spiced wine

80 fat oxen 6 wild bulls

1004 sheep 300 fat hogs 3000 Calves

3000 Geese 2000 Capons 300 pigs

100 peacocks 200 Cranes 200 kids

2000 Chickins 4000 pigeons

4000 Rabbitts 204 Bittours 4000 ducks

400 herons 200 pheasants 500 partridge

4000 woodcocks 400 plovers 100 Curlews

100 quails 1000 Egrets 200 kees above

400 bucks does & Roe bucks

1056 hot Venison pastys 400 Cold ones

5000 dishes of jelly 6000 Custards

300 pik[e]s 300 Breams & Seals

4 porpasses & 400 tarts

1000 Sarvitors – 62 Cooks – 519 Scullions

Thos Shakshaft

Note: George Negil above should read George Neville (1433 – 1476) so Thomas clearly made a mistake here.

Canting Words

Abram-love – naked or poor man

Autem Church, – also married

Bass – kisse or the lower [lip]

Bayen – to bark

Beam – a wood also a Child

Bely-cheat – an apron

Bener nar – better

Betty – an instrument to open doors

Bing awast – go away

Bint – bound

Bate – a cheat also to steal

Blot the Skrip – enter into bond

Bluffer – an host or landlord

Bellen – Swelted

bounsing

Note: Why does the list end here? Presumably the task of going on to Z seemed too daunting to carry on!

A is the bellfry

B is the beams

C is the lacis that go from the pillers to the beams

D is the pillers

it is a belfry at Notingham

Note: The other main seat of Lord Middleton was at Woollaton in Nottingham but no evidence has yet been found that Thomas ever did any work in Nottingham except for this notebook entry.

John Shakshafts bill

2 days at mr butlers making a table 0 – 1 – 8

1 lent him Sixpence for ale 0 – 0 – 6

1 days work at mr parkers house at Sutton 0 – 1 – 0

A Coat he had on me 0 – 3 – 6

due to????? more left impair 0 – 1 – 6

3 days more at mr farins 0 – 2 – 6

half day more 0 – 0 – 5

one day a making bedsteds 0 – 0 – 10

I lent him sixpence at booths 0 – 0 – 6

1 days work William Greenhods 0 – 0 – 10

November the 20, 1753

4 days and a Half at greenhoods 0 – 3 – 9

I have Two yards of linen at 18d the yard 0 – 3 – 0

a pound of black wool at 8d the pd 0 – 0 – 8

Note: John Shakeshaft, the elder brother of Thomas, was also a carpenter. It seems that Thomas is doing work on behalf of John for several customers of John. Thomas was about 22_ years old. John was seven years older and will have established a customer base whereas Thomas is just out of his apprenticeship. Mostly, Thomas worked with his father Robert and brother John is rarely mentioned. The last two items in the bill seem to be domestic giving credibility to the assumption that this is an internal family financial transaction.

For Measuring Timber boards

Let There be A board 8

Foot Long 9 Inchis broad. Set

8 the Length to the upper Senter

12 then Look against 9 and you

will find 6 upon the Slide whitch is

the Content of Such a board in feet

For Flooring 10 is the center

Let there be A Floor 16 foot

Long and 5 foot wide, Set 16 to the

upper 10 then Look against 5 and you

have 8 uppon the Slide whitch is

the Content of such a floor in feet

J Is The Center for paving, plastering

or winscot Let there be a room –

plastared of 18 foot Long & 4 foot high

Set 18 to the Center – g – u – Look

Against and you ? uppon the Slide

Whitch is the content in yards

November the 19 1753

Thomas Keeling bil (at mr Gibson’s hovil)

2 days and a half 0 – 2 – 1

John Shakeshaft his bill 1754

2 days Croscuting

1 day more 0 – 4 – 2

2 days A making A Corner Cobard

6 days. at Charles Rotherams 0 – 5 – 0

5 days and _ more 0 – 4 – 7

4 days framing kings 0 – 3 – 4

Receved — 0 – 2 – 6

3 days at John hosfords 0 – 2 – 6

1 day more 0 – 0 – 10

1 day at Charles 0 – 0 – 10

1 day at the barn 0 – 0 – 10

3 more days at Charles 0 – 2 – 6

1 day a making a box 0 – 0 – 10

1 day at Mr Terres 0 – 0 – 10

Note: At this time pay was 10d a day. It is to be noted that no monetary value is attached to the time spent on the comer cupboard. This may have been for Thomas himself and possibly is the cupboard known to have been made by Thomas still in the possession of his descendants. Again, Thomas seems to have been working for the customers of his elder brother John as possibly h e was also doing on 20th November

Sunday November – the 13 = 1757

Set streaght with Joseph Short

Set Streaght with Joseph Short

due to Joseph Short 0 – 1 – 0

November ye 21st

A pair of shouse 0 – 5 – 4

A fomentation for a Sweling

to aswage it = Rosemary = Wormwood = Chickweed = Elder-buds =

all boyld together in Some

ale Grounds

Note: The use of = seems rather odd both here and elsewhere. It appears to be no more than a dash or a comma

Mr John Gilbirds bill

3 days and a half work 0 – 3 – 6

I receved one shilling out of it

An Account of Charles (Rotharams)

Barn

John Heafeilds Bill

I lent him 1-shilling at Wittington Races = 1 = 0

6d one Dancing Night at Booths 0 – 0 – 6

Something at tamworth 0 – 0 – 4

2s Left unpaid for ye Dresser 0 – 2 – 0

for a Box 0 – 8 – 0

for making a Box 0 – 2 – 0

For Crying the Sale at Wisshaw 0 – 0 – 4

Note: Thomas was obviously a man of many interests and talents. This entry indicates that acting as a ‘town crier’ was among them.

November the 20th 1751

on Wednisday night I dreamed of

A beast with seven heads

April ye 1 in a 1752 Ann Biddle dreamed of

Seing hir decesed father all in wite who said

do not greve for there will be 2 or 3 of

you with me in a Little Time

Barley-flower, white salt

Honey and Vinegar mingled

Together: taketh away the Itch

Speedily and Certainly

The powder of Celandine root

laid uppon an acking hollow tooth

will cause it to fall out

Friendly Planets

Sol is a Friend to Jupiter & venus

Luna is a Fr[iend] to Jup = venus & Saturn

mars is a Fr[iend] to venus

mercury is a Fr[iend] to Jupiter venus & Saturn

To fire paper with phosphorus

Five days for Thos Keeling

Note: The two lower lines seem to be headings under which more was to be written but never was. The two columns of figures add up correctly to 81 & 74 as given.

How to make a plane A hollow or

a round with the compasses

according to the bigniss as sopose

it is an inch set ye Compasses an inch

and make a ring as below, devide it

into six parts take one of them to make

a hollow & the same to make a round

Likewise defines for hips

Note: Thomas was clearly much interested in ensuration

particularly as it affected carpentry and building.

It was of course his job but the interest seemed to be

greater than that and was a cultural as well as a practical matter to Thomas.

I begun to larn to dance in Aprill

I gave a Shilling Entrance and 3′ a night after

I have been 5 nights I have spent 8d — 2 – 11 (The sum)

1 night more I spent 1d and 1d

for candle 5

1 night more I spent 2d 5

1 night more ? ? ? ? 3

I have been about 4 nights more and spent & danct about 16

Names of Dances

The fox hunters jig hands a Cros on a round

and back again down the middle and Cros over and figer up right and left

Trip the hereford Set 3 and tourn with the woman

then with man Cros over and figer right and left

The bottle congarar the man casts off behind the man & turns his partner the woman the same then Cros Over and figer right and Left

Bottle Conjerar

For Womens Sore Legs or Legg

Make her a tea of Each of

those hearbs or simples, brucklime,

plantine & Elder buds red nettle buds

& let her take there of night and

morning

Then outwardly She must Get

2 quarts of Smyth Walter & Strain

it and biyle therein a handfull

of Common malloss & a handfull

of plantine and a handfull of

Checkweed & a halfpenny worth of

alume and when well boyld Let

her wash her Grevvence therein

Night & Morning

Pro batum East

Mr. Vyse his Bill 1757

for making too moulds for Casting

Pinions 0 – 5 – 0

for Glewing & mending 2 tables 0 – 1 – 0

for falling & Croscuting of Crabtree 3 0

for Loading of the Crabtree 0 – 1 – 0

Shekel of the Sanctuary

Containing 20 Gerahs

Every Garah Worth three-half pence

The Common Shekel

was but ten Gerahs

the first Containing 2s – 6d

the Second Containing 1s – 3d

Note: There was an iron works in Middleton owned by Lord Middleton and

perhaps Mr. Vyse was the manager or maybe he was a tenant. The word

‘too’ is presumably a misspelling and should be ‘two’ . Pattern making

for metal casting has always been (and still is) a skill near the pinnacle

of wood working skills.

The Shekel was originally a Jewish unit of weight (1/30 of a mina

or 1/3000 of a talent) and later a coin of the same weight. The light

shekel weighed 210 grains and the heavy shekel twice that much

corresponding to 1s. 4_d and 2s. 9d in English silver. The Hebrews

divided the Shekel into 20 parts called gerah. See articles in Ency. Bibl.

Samuel Walkers bill

June the 2d ye 4 ye 5 ye 6 ye 7 0 – 01 – 0

Receved 2s and a Neck of mutton

6 days more I receved 3d from my father

I was 3 days at harvist work 0 – 3 – 0

John Walkers bill

My Self and father one day

a falling a tree and mending

of Gates 0 – 2 – 0

One Day Each amending

of Gates & Sacking 2 beds 0 – 2 – 0

My Self half a day a Cording

& mending the fellows bed 0 – 0 – 6

one day Each a Croscuting

2 stomps and seting them &

hanging the Gate 0 – 2 – 0

The Names of Dances

The 29 of may Hands a Cros and

and back again Cros over F – R & L

Feet Lass S. 3 & turn C over f-R & L

The merry dancers S 4 R & L half round

L & R & L Back again hands a C & back again

C-over & F-R&L

The Rebells march o’er the moon

hands a C & back again hands Round

& backagain Cast off & Cupple Lead up Cast off R & L

A box for tomas at Owins 0 = 6 = 4

Middleton, Birmingham

Monsfield (Monkspath), Boxstreet (Box Trees), Packwood

Lapworth, Henley, Walls Uton (Wootton Wawen)

Stratford, Auscut (?), Alderminster

Sir Harry Parker of talken

New Vaul upon Sour (Newbold upon Stour), Hawford (Halford), Strefenton (Tredington), Shipstone (Shipston), Barstone (Barcheston), Abington (Wellington), Long Compton, Little Rowidrake

(Little Rollright),

Lord Archer

Llckstone (Lidstone), henstone (Enstone), Woodstock, Oxford

Hath 20 Colleges, 13 Churches, 6 Halls

Weatley (Wheatley), Tatsworth (Tetsworth), Dostcum (Postcombe)

Stoken Church, West Wickam (Wycombe), Sir

Frances Dashwood, High Wickam (Wycombe), Loudewater (Loudwater), Holsston Common, Uxbridge, Hillinton (Hillingdon), Southan (Southall) Starts Green, Shaperds (Shepherds) Bush

London, August ye 17

Note: (modern names in brackets)

Elsewhere he writes that he left Middleton on Wednesday August 13th 1755. Hence his journey took 5 days including the days of departure and arrival and follows the road now known as the A34 as far as Oxford and the A40 after that. Presumably he took a stage coach. He lists the names of three titled persons among the places he passed through and it is puzzling why he did so. Certainly Sir Francis Dashwood was very prominent at that time as a leading member of the Dilettanti Society and founder of the Hellfire Club. The other two names are now obscure and possibly they were names of Inns and not people.. Why did he go to London? As a young furniture maker did he go to visit Chippendale who had published his book of furniture designs in 1754? Did he do some work in the Chippendale workshops? He certainly worked somewhere in London for a period presumably to gain experience The few pieces he made still extant show his work was of a very high standard indeed Some of his designs are shown in his notebook. He was within a week or two of his 24th birthday.

For Thos Keeling at Langley

April ye 25

My Self and father

one day each — 0 – 2 – 8

May ye 2d

My Self 5 days and half — 0 – 6 – 8

My father 4 days and half — 0 -13 – 4

May ye 9th

My Self 3 days

My father 2 days — 0 – 6 – 8

An Experement betwects

the English and french by – 10

110111000001100111101000100110

2 1 3 5 2 2 4 11 0 1 2 2 1

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Note: An attempt has been made to delete the sum of 6s. 8d. on 2nd May as the correct amount for 10 man days at 1s. 4d a day is 13s. 4d. as shown.

Modem digital transmission was patented in 1937 by Dr. Alec Reeves (an Englishman working in the Paris laboratory of a U.S. company) and is based upon the use of series of ‘1′ and ‘0’ to represent values rather than use the values themselves. It is fanciful to wonder if Thomas’ mind was working somewhat on the same idea almost 200 years before.

It is worthy of note that Alec Reeves was also responsible for the OBOE system which was introduced in 1942 enabling the RAF to bomb targets accurately for the first time. Clearly a genius without recognition

January the 2d

What it Lies us in in the year

1758

A Strike of blencorn — £0 – 6s – 0d

Spent — 0 – 1 – 3

Spent — 0 – 0 – 4

Wort — 0 – 0 – 3

Spent — 0 – 0 – 8

Sope & thrid — 0 – 0 – 23/4

Cheese — 0 – 4 – 6

Gin — 0 – 0 – 2

Oyls — 0 – 0 – 3

Wort — 0 – 0 – 3

Shuger — 0 – 0 – 2_

Beef — 0 – l – 2

Bread — 0 – 0 – 8

Spent — 0 – 0 – 10

Quartern of soap — 0 – 0 – 13/4

Manna & Spanish juse — 0 – 0 – 1_

Oatmeal — 0 – 0 – 2

Wort — 0 – 0 – 3

Salt — 0 – 0 – 3_

Candles —0 – 0 – 2

A Strik of blencorn — 0

Note: A Strike = 2 Bushells = 16 Gallons

No Ft In — Ft In

1 – 18 – 11 — 18 – 11

2 – 25 – 8 —- 25 – 8

3 – 28 – 2 —- 28 – 2

4 – 29 – 4 —- 34 – 10

5 – 14 – 7 —- 29 – 4

6 – 15 – 10 — 14 – 7

7 – 22 – 4 —- 15 – 10

8 – 29 – 9 —- 22 – 4

9 – 23 – 1 —- 29 – 9

10 – 24 – 2 —- 23 – 1

11 ————- 24 – 2

12 ————- 20 –

13 ————- 25 – 5

14 ————- 27 – 4

15 ————- 41 – 10

16 ————- 23 – 11

The sum of ———- 405 – 2

Mrs. Aldridges

Allder at

Shenstone ———– at 4 pence per foot

5 – 0 – 0

1 – 0 – 0

0 – 10 – 0

0 – 3 – 4

0 – 1 – 8

6 – 15 – 0

Note: The right hand columns list some lengths of wood provided to Mrs. Aldridge in Shenstone. The total length is 405 feet and 2 inches so 405 feet is probably near enough. At 4d per foot the total cost of 405 feet comes to £6 – 15 – 0 as shown. The left hand column is not really understood as it merely contains some of the lengths in the right hand column.

To Cure the Worms

1- peneworth of the Scraping

of pewter boyld in a quart of ale

till it comes to a pint and drink

a tea-dish full Night & morning

Last and first

To Cure the tooth acke

Take a Little Alegor* & A

pane of glass heate it in

the fire put it in the

alegor til it be hot Wash

your Mouth till it be Cold

Over & over

* Sour ale or malt vinegar

“William Booths bill

Croscuting and drawing one day — 0 – 1 – 0

Takeing down a summer* and

putting up a new one — 0 – 1 – 0

2 days and a half about the chimney — 0 – 3 – 0

I received one shilling

October ye 12 we borded the klin*and

Laid the grise and bords in the malthouse — 0 – 2 – 0

November the 25 1763

Mending the pump —- 0 – 2 – 6

December the 11 1764

for opening the Well and

putting a bucket Leather

and Clack -0 – 3 – 0 june the 4 – 1765 My Self

and father taking the pump up — 0 – 3 – 0

ye 6 from before 3 o’clock to 6

at night Laying the Well — 0 – 3 – 9

for Setting ye pump Down — 0 – 3 – 0

* Note: A summer is a key floor joist and a klin is probably a mis-spelt kiln

Thomas Bamtons bill

October

1) one day we made 2 door Cases

and a window frame

2) The next day wee made 2 Window

frames and one door Case

4) We made 2 door cases & 1 window

8) Wee made 1 door Case & 1 window

11) Wee was drawing timber half day

and made a mantletree after

13) Wee framd summer and gise 170 foot

and made 2 frames for the Chimney

Wee framd the other summer

and gise – 142 2 = 2 Coberd frames

Door Cases at one shilling Each

Making the front Door Case 1s 6d

Window frames at 6p the Light

Note: We are given the month and the days of the month but no indication of the year. It is clear what was earned on the first four days listed but not on the other days. The vertical writing on the right hand side merely repeats the last three lines above.

We Set out of Middleton

for London on Wednesday August the 13 1755

first we went to Birmingham

next to monsfield (Monkspath) next Box Street (Box

Trees) packwood then Lapworth Next to henley.

Note: This, and the next page, are essentially a repeat of page 10 . There is no point in repeating it excepting that the odd word is to be found in. one version and not the other. This might prove useful. An example is the giving above of the day of week, in this case Wednesday. Thomas is not very good at recording dates and very rarely notes the day of the week. This and the next page seem faded so perhaps they were written in pencil and must have been very faint at the outset even in Thomas’s time as he has tried to overwrite in black ink. The faint and large writing suggests it was possibly written on the move and perhaps are notes made in the stagecoach while passing through places of interest. Writing in a stagecoach on rough roads must have been very difficult.

In effect a blank page.

See note on previous page and also page 30.

My Aunts Cheast drawing Birmingham

3 foot 1 inch and _ the fase of the cheast long

19 Inchis Back within – a – 8*

16 Inchis High

The Lenth and Width and Hight of ye frame

A Large Box

2 foot – 7 Inches – _ Long

1 foot – 6 Inches – _ Wide

Note: For centuries English carpenters used what we would now call a binary system for fractions i.e. a half, a quarter, an eighth, a sixteenth and so on. Possibly the term “”within a – 8″” meant within an eighth (of an inch)..

Square yards in a Acre

of land 12 ) 4840 ( 43

48

40

36

4

15 – 0 – 0

1 – 0 – 0

0 -13- 4

4840 yards at one — 3 – 6 – 8

peney ye yard — 0 – 3 – 4

Comes to — 20 – 3 – 4

Thos Hall

May ye 1 st 1762 he had a popler

board of me 6 foot Long

18 Inches broad at 2d per foot — – 1 – 6

August ye 3rd one popler

board 8_ Long 17 Ins broad — – 2 – 0

& dale dito 9 foot Long

11 Ins broad — 0 – 2 – 7

Note: It seems that Thomas was an occasional timber supplier as well as user. Many years later, after his death, his son Robert seems to have dealt in wood and was described as a woodman

Mrs. Aldridg[e]

January the 22d – 1762

I went to Shenstone for Mrs

Aldridge —- £0 – ls – 6d

27th Myself & father

Making Doors for Shenstone —- 0 – 2 – 0

28th both of us mending Gates —- – 2 – 0

29th both about 3 hours Nailing

boards on ye barn end

at heafields —- 0 – 0 – 6

Febr ye 10 we went to Shenstone

and was there 4 days —- 0 – 8 – 0

17th both of us parting ye

fold at home and mending Gates —- 2 – 0

March ye 17th both of us half day

mendingt Cribs at home

& Doors heafield —- 0 – 1 – 0

23d father mending the

Ston’d hors Stable —- 0 – 0 – 6

Aprill ye 3d Making a Door

at kerby’s and Stoping I window —- – 2 – 0

2 foot _ of popler to Stop

the Window —- 0 – 0 – 2

the 5th both of us half day

finishing at Kerby’s & mending

Gates at ye home farm —- 0 = 1 = 0

the 6th a New Warming pan

Stale & putting a foot in

a bench —- 0 = 0 = 6

14th I went to hill* to Look

at the house & went Shenstone

to Look at ye Alders for Spars —- 1 = 0

ye 16th Wee went to Measure

the Alders —- 0 = 1 = 0

ye 21st My Self Mending the

Role and Gates —- 0 = 1 = 0

May ye 9th My father half

Day Making a Stile —- 0 = 0 = 6

My father two days at —- 0 = 2 = 0

Shenston drawing alder

25th both of us finishing

at Shenston 5 days

Early & Late —- 0 =12= 0

* hill is part of Sutton Coldfield on the Shenstone side

Note: Mostly there is no customer named for any of these entries yet they may be guessed at. “”home farm”” implies Middleton Hall while Shenstone probably means Capt. Aldridge or Mrs. Aldridge was the customer. Shenstone was several miles away from Middleton so the Shakeshafts seem to have stayed for a number of days.

june 3’d both of us at hill

4 days from 3 O’clock to 8 —- 0 = 12 = 0

4 days More both of us

putting up Spars and Making

Doors —- 0 = 12 = 0

Augst 11th My father half day

mending ye Rick Frame —- 0 = 0 = 6

September 27th father 4 days and

My Self 1 day & half

Mending Gates and

at heafields —- 0 = 5 = 6

October 23rd Wee Maid

a Coffin for Old Sarah

bromley price —- 0 = 8 = 0

Mr. Owin Overseer of the poor then*

March ye 7 1762 Receved of £ — s — d

Mrs Aldridge ye Sum of —– 0 = 10 = 0

* then what?

Note: This line is so close to the entry of the coffin price that some connection looks likely. If the coffin was being paid for by the Parish was the Overseer of the Poor, Mr. Owin, objecting to the price.?

All the Overseer of the Poor accounts pre 1800 are lost so we shall never know.

Cost me After I Got Work at London

Note: Thomas Shakeshaft went to London in 1755 but why he did so is a matter for speculation. This notebook entry is the only indication that he went for work. It would not be the case that he needed work as he already had that in Middleton. It must be that his motive was self improvement and to increase his skills by working in a more sophisticated environment.

Thomas Chippendale (1718 – 1779) was a cabinet maker who made very little and employed others to actually make the furniture. He headed a large firm of cabinet makers in London and published designs in his “”The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director”” in 1754. A second edition was published a year later when Thomas Shakeshaft went to London.

Was Thomas attracted to work for Chippendale because of this book? Is this why Thomas went to London? Perhaps so as his writing comes across as that of an ambitious young man. He was then 24 years old. An informed opinion at an auction house has been expressed that the Shakeshaft work is very Chippendale like. On the other hand according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, contrary to present assumption, Chippendale was not the leading furniture maker of his day and his posthumous reputation is attributed to his book containing designs many of which were the work of employees such as Copland and Lock and not that of himself. Thomas may well have worked not for Chippendale but for one of the other fashionable London cabinet makers of the time in St. Martin’s Lane.

Given on this page is a list of 31 small sums of money ranging from a farthing up to one shilling and three pence, with a total of nine shillings, one penny and three farthings. There is no indication of what the money was spent upon.

Charges going to London — s – d

Note: A further list of 19 small sums of money totaling £1 – 9 – 9_ is given with no indication what each sum was for. Presumably the list was produced just as the list on the previous page was in 1755. It is obvious that some years later this page was over written.

25 Long bars, 2 Short ones

4 backs, 6 heads

4 hanging posts

2 Short ones

The 3rd Daughter of

Thos and Sarah Shakeshaft

born on Monday the 13th

of December betwext

8 and 9 Oclock at Night

the 26 day of the moon

Note: This was Ann who was baptised on Wednesday, 28th January, 1753. It is recorded here that she was born on Monday, 13th December, 1762 which gives an interval between birth and baptism of 6 weeks.

The Maid at Fivteen

Of all my Experience how was An

since Fivteen Long winters is fair lying

Was Ever poor Damsel so Sadly betray’d

To Live to these years and yet Still been

Still be a maid to Live to De

Ye Heros Trihumphant by Land and sea

Sworn Votaires to Love but unMindful

of Prowess approv’d of no Danger of

Can you Stand by Like Dastards and

Me a Maid & etc

Ye Coanselors Sage who with Eloquence

Carl Do what you Please both with Right

and with Rong

Can it be by Law or by Equity Said

That a comely young girl ought

To Die an old Maid & etc

Du an

Note: The edge of the paper is very frayed and fragments of the writing are missing. The missing fragments make interpretation of the poetry very difficult.

Learned Shisisions whose Excelent n

?ill Can Slave or Demolish can

?? or can Kill. To a poor

forlorn Damsel Contribute you

? who is Sick Very Sick of Rem??

? or a Maid &..

??haps I Invoke not To List to my

??ng Who answer no End and to

?? Sex belong, ye Echo of Echos

& Shadow of Shades for if I

?? you I may Still be a

???d

Note: The left hand 8mm of the paper has rotted away so it is quite impossible to read it. Going to the original notebook does not help in this case.


People:
Image courtesy of: Archives, Birmingham Central Library
Donor ref: 556647IIR41
Text by: R W Whorwood
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