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Joseph Ward, Master Cutler 1790

Joseph Ward
Apprenticeship indenture for Joseph Ward 1757

The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire was created in 1624 by an Act of Parliament. It ordered that “all persons using to make Knives, Blades, Scissers, Sheeres, Sickles, Cutlery wares, and all other wares and manufactures made or wrought of yren and steele, dwelling or inhabiting within the said Lordship and Liberty of Hallamshire, or within sixe miles compasse of the same, be from henceforth, and hereafter may be in deed and in name one body politique, perpetuall, and incorporate of one Master, two Wardens, sixe Searchers, and foure and twenty Assistants a comminalty of the said Company of Cutlers, of the Lordship of Hallamshire, in the County of Yorke.”

A boy could become a cutler if he was the son of a freeman of the Cutlers' Co, or if he served an apprenticeship of at least seven years with a master (until he was 21 years old).

Each cutler was issued with a mark to identify their work which enabled the wardens and searchers to trace and fine a cutler for inferior workmanship. Later such marks became individual 'trademarks' for quality. The Company's aim was to preserve the reputation of goods produced in Sheffield but they also protected the cutlery trade.


This indenture made the 24th Day of December in the 31st Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King George the Second, in the Year of our Lord, 1757 BETWEEN Joseph the Son of Thomas Ward late of Sheffield in the County of York, Cutler deceased of the one Part and Samuel Broomhead of Sheffield aforesaid Cutler of the other Part.
Witnesseth, that the said Joseph Ward for further Instructions in the said Trade of his own good liking, and by and with the Consent of his Friends, hath put and bound, and by these Presents doth put and bind himself Servant and Apprentice to and with the said Samuel Broomhead in the Trade or Occupation of a Cutler to be taught and instructed, and with him as an Apprentice to dwell, serve and abide from the twenty sixth day of November last for, during and until the full End and Term of Eight years from thence next ensuing, and fully to be compleat and ended; during which Time, he the said Joseph Ward the Apprentice shall and will take him the said Samuel Broomhead for his Master, and him well and truly serve, and in all his Commands; lawful and honest obey; his lawful Secrets he shall keep; the Goods, Chattels and Money of his said Master, or of any others wherewith he shall be put in Trust, by Reason of his Service, he shall not mispend or waste, nor them lend or trust without his said Master's Consent; Fornication he shall not commit, nor Matrimony contract; Taverns and Ale-Houses he shall not frequent; at any unlawful Game he shall not play, nor absent himself from his Master's Service by Day or Night, without the Consent of his said Master, but in all Things as a good and faithfull Apprentice and servant, shall gently and dutifully demean and behave himself during the said Term.

AND, the said Master doth, for himself, his Executors and Administrators covenant and agree to and with the said Apprentice, that he and they shall and will teach and instruct him, or cause him to be taught and instructed, according to the best of his Skill, in the said Trade or Occupation of a Cutler within the Limits of the Corporation.
AND ALSO, That he will, at all Times, during the said Term, find and provide for the said Apprentice, good, wholesome, and sufficient Meat, Drink, Washing, and Lodging, and all Apparel and at the End of the said Term double Apparel throughout fitting and meet for such an Apprentice.
AND ALSO, That he will pay him for Wages, Sixteen-Pence yearly, during the said Term.
IN WITNESS whereof, The Parties abovesaid have hereto, interchangeably, set their Hands and Seals the Day and Year first above-written.
SEALED and DELIVERED in the Presence of
John Wilson
Joseph Ibberson
Joseph Ward

Joseph Ward's admission to Cutlers' Co 1769

Joseph Ward the son of Thomas Ward and Apprentice of Samuel Broomhead of Shefield, Cutler was admitted by the Master, Wardens, Searchers, and Assistants of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire in the County of York the twenty-ninth day of July in the ninth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the third by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King defender of the Faith and so forth, and in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Nine in the Time of Thomas Beely Master of the same society, and entered in the Great Paper Book under the Title of ADMISSIONS OF FREEMAN.
Memorandum; That the Day and Year abovesaid the Mark Stampt on the Margin and impressed on the lead to these presents anexed, was assigned according to the Form of the statute, by the Master, Wardens, and Searchers of the said Society, to the aforesaid Joseph Ward to mark his wares by him to be made TO HOLD to him during his life, paying therefore yearly to the said Master Warden and Searchers and their successors during the said term, for the use of the said Society, the sum of Two Pence at the Feast of Pentecost only.

Invitation to the Master Cutler's Feast 1790
Invitation to the Mistress Cutler's Feast 1790

The Cutlers' Feast

Since 1682 on the first Thursday in September, a dinner is given in the Cutlers' Hall to the nobility, gentry and the principal inhabitants of Sheffield. In 1771 the Cutlers' Feast was observed as a great holiday, the gentlemen were entertained on the first day, the ladies on the second, and servants and workmen also had a treat on the third day. Bells were kept constantly ringing during the three days, booths were erected in the streets for the sale of spices, fruit, etc and all business was generally suspended.

In 1790 Master Cutler, Joseph Ward, invited 390 gentlemen to the Feast. As the capacity of the rooms could only accommodate 260 guests, a large margin was allowed for refusals, nevertheless “guests were seated at the table an hour or two before dinner was served, for fear they should not get a good seat. There was a lack of elbow room and one rejoiced if he could obtain an inferior piece of venison.” The guest list was headed by the Duke of Devonshire who according to tradition would send a gift of venison.

The following day “an entertainment equally hospitable and elegant” was given by the Mistress Cutler for the ladies (340 invited). Fourteen gentlemen (of whom etiquette decreed that eight must be unmarried – The Peculiar Favourites of Fortune) were given “the honour of carving on this delightful occasion, for the illustrious bevy of beauty, taste and fashion.” Twenty year old Samuel Broomhead Ward was among the lucky ones.

The invoices for Joseph Ward's Feast of 1790 show purchases of; lobsters, ham, legs of mutton, rump of beef, loin of veal, fowls, turkeys, geese and ducks. There were also such delicacies as calves head and feet, tongues and udders. Vegetables included cabbages, tatoes, turnips, carrots, peas, celery, horseradish and hartychoaks. Fruit was cherries, raspberries, currants and preserved apricots.

These lavish feasts costing between £200-300 per year, combined with a reduction of the Company's income depleted the coffers so that between 1809 - 1811 diners were charges 15 shillings to attend and the ladies' feast was not held, much to the despair of Sheffield milliners, however, the tradition of the Cutlers' Feast continues to this day.


Genealogy for Joseph Ward

1.  THOMAS WARD  married MARY BIRKINSHAW. Mary BIRKINSHAW’S second husband was Samuel BROOMHEAD (m. 1747) who died 1786    


2.                i.    HANNAH WARD, d. February 20, 1812.

3.               ii.    JOSEPH WARD, b. 1745; d. April 15, 1820, Sheffield. Principal heir to his step-father Samuel Broomhead.


Generation No. 2

2.  HANNAH WARD died February 20, 1812.  She married BENJAMIN PLANT, of Sheffield Moor, bellows maker. In his will he left property to his nephew, Samuel Broomhead Ward. Buried January 08, 1806, Sheffield.      


                   i.    MARY WARD PLANT, b. 1768; d. November 18, 1812; m. (1) SAMUEL SAMPSON, July 21, 1788, Sheffield; m. (2) TIMOTHY HANCOCK, June 16, 1802, Sheffield.


3.  JOSEPH WARD was born 1745, and died April 15, 1820 in Sheffield.  He married (1) ANN LINFIT January 14, 1768, daughter of JOHN LINFIT and HELEN BROOMHEAD.  He married (2) SARAH ASLINE July 30, 1780, daughter of WILLIAM ASLINE and MARY YOUNGE.      


                   i.    SAMUEL BROOMHEAD WARD, b. May 24, 1770; d. July 27, 1849, Ecclesall, Sheffield, Yorkshire; m. (1) HANNAH WATKINSON, December 25, 1791; m. (2) GRACE MARTINDALE, February 09, 1809, Masham.


Children of JOSEPH WARD and SARAH ASLINE are:

                  ii.    THOMAS ASLINE WARD, b. July 06, 1781; d. November 26, 1871; m. ANN LEWIN, 1814.

                 iii.    MARY WARD, b. November 23, 1783; d. November 23, 1858; m. WILLIAM WALLIS MASON, July 05, 1805.

                 iv.    SARAH WARD, b. March 04, 1786; d. October 24, 1865; m. (1) JOHN BROWN, April 26, 1809.

                  v.    JOHN WARD, b. January 20, 1801; d. May 23, 1868; m. ELIZABETH SARAH BRIDDON, 1826.

His approaching advent caused his mother, then well advanced in life, some natural apprehensions - happily not realised, as she lived until 1829. Anticipating that she might not recover from her forthcoming "hazard", Mrs Ward wrote to her husband a long letter, in which, amid wifely love and sagacious counsel as to the upbringing of their children, we get an illuminating inventory of the wardrobe and possessions of a well-endowed citizeness of the period. After cautioning her husband to be careful to alter his will so that the younger children may not suffer great hardship through the eldest son (S.B. Ward, by a former wife) getting over much, she requests her clothes and jewellery to be disposed of amongst her daughters, giving my maids some common things that will be proper (from Peeps into the Past).



The archives of the Cutlers' Company P8/I. Copies of documents supplied by Julie MacDonald, Archivist at the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. 

Leader R.E. The History of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, 1909.

Hunter J. Hunter's Hallamshire, 1819.

Bell A.B. and Leader R.E. Peeps into the Past -being the diary of Thomas Asline Ward London; W.C. Leng, 1909.

Binfield C. and Hey D. (ed) Mesters to Masters Oxford University Press, 1997.

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