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Patsy Kensit

Patsy Kensit - how we did it

Great-great-great-great-grandfather: Joseph Kensit


Patsy visited the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in the City to see if they had any information about Joseph and his craft as a gold beater. The company is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London.

Step 1

The livery companies are a good starting place to find out if an ancestor with a trade or craft was apprenticed to a particular guild. Many of these companies keep records which can help chart an ancestor's career. If you are not sure which livery company your ancestor may have been affiliated to, the Guildhall Library is a good starting point, and it also holds livery records. The first place to look is in the Apprenticeship Book. Apprentices would normally serve a period of seven years in order to learn their trade. We found Joseph recorded as an apprentice in the Goldsmiths' Company Apprenticeship Book.

Step 2

If a craftsman was successful in completing his apprenticeship he would qualify as a Freeman of the City of London and gain many special privileges, such as being free to set up his own business. To find out if Joseph qualified as a Freeman we looked up his name in the Freedom Book and found that he had gained his freedom seven years after his apprenticeship.

Step 3

Sons of Freemen could apply to the livery company to inherit the honour and privileges of a Freeman. Joseph's son Thomas, the walking stick maker, was listed in the Freedom book as having this title. However, whilst reading through this book we unexpectedly encountered some information about Joseph's son Thomas, which unravelled a further, rather poignant document trail.

Step 4

The Goldsmiths' Company also hold applications made to the company for financial aid, which are found in the Petitioners’ Book. If a Freeman had fallen on hard times he was entitled to make an appeal for funds. The Beadle was sent out to assess the applicant's financial situation and reported the findings in this book. Thomas Kensit was listed as making several applications for financial assistance, notably at the very same time he stopped advertising in the Post Office Directories. These reports helped to build a complete profile as to what happened to his walking stick business.

Step 5

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David Beasley explains the job of a gold beater

The Goldsmiths' Company have a number of pensions allocated each year, and these are recorded in the Pensioners' Book. Thomas Kensit was elected by members of the company to receive a pension. This entry identified the father of Thomas Kensit's wife as the Reverend James Mayne, a curate of St. Matthew's Church in Bethnal Green for 40 years.

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