Gazetteer of Plasterers - N

NEWMAN, William (fl. 1619-61)

A Plasterer who was apprenticed to Robert Burton (27 April 1612) but turned over to John Langford after Burton’s death in 1613 (12 February 1613/14) and freed on 23 May 1619. When Burton made his will on 7 October 1613 he gave his apprentices, Newman and Robert Langley, one year off the terms of their indentures. He also bequeathed the remainder of their apprenticeships to William North, with whom they should dwell. Although he was not apprenticed to North (who had other apprentices at the time), Newman may have lived with him as he was the brother of Alice Newman, a servant to North, who bequeathed him 10s and the suit of apparel that he usually wore on Sundays, to be delivered when Newman’s apprenticeship was completed. It would appear that Newman married the daughter of John Langford, Marthe, as the administration of Langford’s will was granted to Marthe Langford@Newman in 1621-2. Newman’s career provides an unusually clear example of the way in which complex networks between plasterers could be established.

Newman paid his beadleship fine (19 October 1621) and was fined for taking over Marmaduke Freeman, apprentice of Mr Ratcliffe, without the consent of the Company (29 March 1622). His numerous apprentices were: Thomas Norman, son of a Northamptonshire carpenter, for 8 years (9 September 1631); Alexander Hutchinson, son of a Lincolnshire plasterer, for 8 years (3 July 1635; freed 25 July 1646); John Stone, son of a Middlesex tailor, for 8 years (13 September 1647); John Parker, son of a Northamptonshire dyer, for 8 years (11 November 1651); Walter Francis, son of a London yeoman, for 7 years (2 September 1659. From 1621 to at least 1659 Newman succeeded John Langford as the Inner Temple’s plasterer. Small payments were made to him for routine repairs in July, September and October 1621.[1] On 17 July 1622 a contract was drawn up for the new building in Fig Tree Court between Sir Thomas Coventry (the Treasurer of Inner Temple at the time) and the builder, carpenter, glazier and plasterer who were to be employed.[2] William Newman was to be paid £86 in four instalments as the work progressed, for plastering the inside and out of the new range and clearing all rubble and dust left after pulling down old ceilings and partitions or making up of new, all materials to be supplied by him. The final payment was made on 21 December 1622. Throughout the 1630s, 40s and 50s Newman was frequently employed on smaller plastering jobs on various buildings belonging to the Inner Temple, including the summer house in the garden, the library, the cloisters, the hall and the Temple Church.[3] Newman retained his position despite fault being found with his work there by the Company on several occasions. He was fined for insufficient work at the Temple (4 September 1623); for bad work (25 July 1646, 4 September 1652); for bad work in Vine Court and Hare Court in Inner Temple (26 July 1658); for bad work at the Temple (25 July 1659). As responsibility for the Temple Church was shared between Inner and  Middle Temple, it is not surprising to find Newman also employed there on the latter’s behalf in October 1637.[4] Newman was last recorded paying arrearage of quarterage on 3 April 1661.

NICHOLLS (NICHOLE), William I (fl. 1599-1603)

A Plasterer who was apprenticed to William Bottom on 6 November 1590. Bottom died in 1592, leaving all his working tools and scaffolding belonging to his occupation, to be equally divided between his two apprentices, Nicholls and Darby Moore. There is no record of Nicholls’ new master but he was freed on 2 November 1599. On 30 November he paid the fine in lieu of serving one year as a journeyman. His beadleship fine was paid on 1 August 1601. Nicholles made an undated will which was proved on 17 November 1603.[5] His parents were living in Barton, Oxfordshire; he left clothing and ‘all my sheepe’ to his father, Thomas, and a mourning gown and a white cotton petticoat to his mother. His son Thomas was to inherit the lease of his house and all his goods, except for one pair of fine sheets that were left with Aunt Buckley for the use of his son. In the case of Thomas’s death, the lease was to go to William’s brother Owen. The sole executor was his father and Mr [Hugh] Capp (Master of the Plasterers’ Company at the time) was appointed overseer.

NICHOLLS (NICOLLS, NICKOLES), William II (fl. 1616-55)

A Plasterer presented by Richard Browne I (8 June 1608), who was freed and paid his abling fine (27 May 1616). He was able to put his signature, rather than a mark, to a Company memorandum concerning apprentices (23 February 1616/17). He presented John Howett, son of a Nottinghamshire labourer, for 8 years (9 September 1631) but is otherwise only recorded intermittently paying arrearage of quarterage until 25 January 1654/5.

NODEN (NODIN), Thomas (fl. 1597-1624)

A Plasterer who paid his abling fine on 8 September 1597, who must have been one of the many apprentices presented anonymously by their masters. On 20 November 1598 John Pitcher was fined for misusing Thomas Noden and ‘strickinge of him’ but Thomas himself was fined for misrule on 23 February 1598/9. Noden’s first apprentice was Thomas Ireland, son of a Derbyshire smith, for 8 years (5 May 1603); he was followed by Richard Bickerton (22 February 1604/5); Tobie Archer (25 January 1605/6); Edward Eeles, son of an Oxfordshire husbandman, for 7 years (13 April 1614); William Smith, son of a Hertford pewterer, for 7 years (25 July 1615; turned over to John Humphrey on 30 May 1616); he paid to have Thomas Grove turned over to him (29 April 1618). Noden was one of the numerous plasterers employed at the Charterhouse under Kelham Roades but only worked for one day in August-September 1614, earning 2s.[6] Noden was fined twice: once for ill work in Fenchurch Street (31 August 1609); and once for allowing his apprentice, Archer, one year off his time without consent (12 February 1613/14). He was one of those who made his mark agreeing to a Company memorandum concerning apprentices (23 February 1616/17) and his name continued to appear in the Quarterage Accounts until it was crossed through in 1625.

NORTH, William (fl. 1600-17)

A Plasterer presented by Robert Cusack (21 June 1593) who became free on 25 July 1600. He paid the fine in lieu of serving one year as a journeyman in instalments (13 October 1600; 26 January 1600/1) and then his beadleship fine (14 August 1601). Early in his career North was one of those selected to enter the Livery (7 September 1604). On 26 Feb 1607 he was addressed as Mr North and this may reflect his appointment as City Plasterer, a post he held until his death.[7] On 15 December 1607 North received £5 in compensation from George West, a Mercer, who had struck him on the head, leading to loss of work and a surgeon’s bill.[8] North’s relations with the Company were not always harmonious. On 16 September 1613 he petitioned the Court of Aldermen, claiming that by order of precedence in the Livery he should have been chosen as Younger Warden instead of Paul Sleigh. It was decided that either the Company should hold another election or North be allowed to have two apprentices as though he had been elected.[9] The Company capitulated and North was sworn in as Junior Warden on 29 September 1613. Perhaps there had been friction for some time as North’s fines for ill work seem excessive for someone holding the post of City Plasterer. North was fined for ill or bad work: in Paternoster Row (12 December 1600); in Carter Lane (26 July 1601); and evil speeches (3 September 1601);  in Shoreditch (1 March 1601/2); at Lamberd Hill (12 November 1602); for evil words and other misdemeanours (25 March 1606); for evil work by the Guildhall gate (26 February 1606/7); for ‘doinge a peece of work in tholde Jewrye contrary to thorder’ (28 August 1607); for evil work (27 August 1608); in Paul’s Churchyard (27 October 1608); in Bishopsgate Street (28 July 1609);  in White Fryars and in St John’s Parish [?], Dowgate (11 August 1609); in Red Cross Street (12 March 1609/10); at Half Moon Street and Mr Foxe’s, both in Bishopsgate Street, and in the Minories (30 April and 30 July 1610); for lateness (13 October 1612); for ill work at the King’s Head, Bishopsgate and at Blackwell Hall (21 May 1613); at Leadenhall (6 May 1614); in the Old Bailey (2 August 1615). On 17 July 1614 the Company paid wages to Warden North’s man for one day’s work on repairs to the Hall. The Company borrowed £100 from the Chamberlain of London, for which the new Master and Wardens, Robert Saunders and William North stood bound in recognizance (11 November 1614). North last appeared in the Company records when he put his mark to a Company memorandum concerning apprentices (23 February 1616/17).

North presented William Eyre as his apprentice on 1 August 1605, when he was fined for setting him to work and keeping him unbound for a year. John Page III, son of a husbandman, was apprenticed for 8 years (8 July 1613); Robert Langley was turned over to him from Robert Burton, who had died in October 1613 (15 November 1613). When Burton made his will on 7 October, he left to William North two painted cloths, one which is about the hall ‘now in his owne occupacon’ and the other ‘about the chamber wherein I now lye’. North’s wife Johane was left one green curtain, hanging in the aforesaid hall. Burton also bequeathed the remainder of the terms of his two apprentices, William Newman and Robert Langley, to North, ‘with whom they should dwell’. Langley became his apprentice but not Newman; but North’s own will suggests that Newman was living with him at the time it was made on 3 July 1617. North was a parishioner of St Botolph without Bishopsgate who left all his goods, chattels and possessions to be divided into three equal portions, after appraisal, according to the Custom of London. One third was left to his wife and executrix, Joane; another third to his children; and the final third was made up of bequests of his own choice. 30s was left to the Plasterers’ Company for a drink after accompanying him to his burial. His uncle and namesake was left 20s and his kinsman, Robert North, 10s. The complications resulting from the re-marriages that took place after one or other of a couple died are evident from the provisions made by North with regard to children. His daughter Joane North had married Thomas Freeman and each of their children was to receive 10s; while Freeman’s other children were to share the £4 that he owed to North, who forgave Freeman the debt. North’s sister Grace Chapman was also in debt to him, amounting to £5, which was to be forgiven and shared amongst her children. His servant Alice Newman was left 20s and a black cloak lined with baize. Although North had apprentices at the time they are not mentioned; but Alice’s brother, William Newman, was bequeathed 10s and the suit of apparel North usually wore on Sundays, once his apprenticeship was completed. Anything remaining after these bequests was to be shared between his wife and children. The copyhold lands that North held in Wellingborough were left to his son, John, according to the Custom of the Manor there. The witnesses to the will included Randall Clarkson, who made his mark. The will was proved on 21 August 1617.[10]


[1] Bodleian Library MS 39679: Papers of Sir Thomas Coventry as Treasurer of Inner Temple, 1618-24, ff. 66r, 67v, 68r.

[2] Worcester Record Office: Croome Estate Archive. Fig Tree Court, 1622 Envelope; Bodleian Library MS 39679, ff. 69v and 71v.

[3] F A Inderwick, QC (ed), A Calendar of the The Inner Temple Records, London (1898), Vol II 1603-60, passim.

[4] Middle Temple Treasurer’s Account Book, 1637-38, p. 5.

[5] LMA DL/C/B/004/MS 09171/019, f. 455.

[6] LMA ACC/1876/F/09/48.

[7] LMA COL/CA/01/037, f. 136.

[8] LMA COL/CA/01/031, f. 139.

[9] LMA COL/CA/01/034, f. 161.

[10] LMA DL/C/B/004/MS 09171/023, f. 109.