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The Bristol Burgess Books detail every person admitted to the Liberties [freedom] of the City of Bristol between 5 Oct 1557 and 19 May 1995. The mayor, sheriff, aldermen and all the councillors of the town were chosen from their ranks. No one could become a burgess until he was twenty one. They had a number of keenly valued judicial and commercial privileges and were exempt from dues and other exactions imposed on strangers or foreigners bringing merchandise to the town.

Date Burgess's Name Burgess's Trade Patron's Name Patron's Trade Mode Other Info vol/ page/ no
1571 Mar 9 Simon or Symonds Stirrye or Sturye Whittawer Clement Cradock Whittawer A   1/49.2/3
#1611 Nov 14 James Sterry Sail Maker John Clement   A   2/39/6
#1670 May 6 William Sterry Seaman James Sterry   F   3b/131/7
+1809 Mar 24 William Sterry Mariner Lawrence Bowsher Cabinet Maker M Mary Ann D/O Deceased 17/228/51

A whittawer is a saddler or harness maker

The means by which the individual qualified for being admitted as a Freeman:

  • F by virtue of the individual’s Father being (or having been) a freeman,
  • A by having served at least seven years Apprenticeship to a freeman,
  • M by having Married the daughter or widow of a freeman (the latter usually also involving a £2 fine), or
  • V by a Vote of the Mayor, Aldermen and Councillors of the City, usually also involving a ‘fine’, i.e. the payment of a large sum of money, hence the alternative name for this particular route, “Redemption”.

If there is some doubt about a particular surname, either because of problems with legibility or because of contemporary aliases, this is indicated by the use of “or” and “als” respectively.

Other info
This may be the spouse’s name if the mode is M, or an indication of whether the patron is deceased if the Mode is A, F or M, or an indication of the date on which the Council Vote took place if the Mode is V, or an indication that one of the parties was a Quaker, or indeed almost any other form of note or additional information.

Index to the Bristol Burgess Books Vols 1 to 21, 1557 - 1995, Bristol & Avon Family History Society. Originals of Bristol Burgess Books at Bristol Record Office.

# = Ruardean, Gloucestershire, UK line
+ = Longhope, Gloucestershire, UK line