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Mary Reynolds (fl. 1694 – 1720)

Mary Reynolds was a member of the Mercers’ Company, working as a milliner in the City of London in the early eighteenth century. She was the daughter of William Reynolds, a gentleman from Canterbury in Kent and was apprenticed to a widow named Susanna Bolt on 28 September 1694. After she was admitted free of the Mercers’ Company via servitude on 16 January 1701/2, she bound several female apprentices. The six apprentices bound through the Mercers’ Company are included in Table 1 below.[1]

Table 1
6 Feb 1701/2Hannah CopeNorfolkUnknown
15 Jan 1702/3Elizabeth CopeNorfolkUnknown
20 Jul 1705Elizabeth BillioEssexUnknown
1710Margaret SmartfordHerefordshire£25
11 Oct 1717Martha HarrisonWiltshire£25
23 Oct 1720Sarah Anne GilleyUnknown£26

These apprentices travelled to London in order to undertake occupational training. Though premiums (the fee paid on commencing an apprenticeship) were not recorded systematically before 1709/10, it appears that Mary Reynolds usually charged around £25, which is the modern equivalent of approximately £2,600.

There are two other records for apprentices bound to Reynolds in 1716, though these young women were not included in the Mercers’ Company binding books. Stamp Duty Assessments show that on 9 May 1716, Jane Cotton, the daughter of Rowland Cotton of Warminster in Wiltshire was bound to ‘Mary Reynolds of London Milliner’ for £20. Likewise, Elizabeth Webb, the daughter of Thomas Webb, a factor from ‘Aldermanbury’ was bound to Mary Reynolds ‘Spinster Cit. & Mercer’ for £25 on 27 June 1716.[2]

Figure 1
DRAFT Trade card of Mary Reynolds, milliner, Banks,86.87
© 2020 Trustees of the British Museum

Figure 1 depicts a trade card from the British Museum, which could potentially relate to Mary Reynolds of the Mercers’ Company. This would place her shop on ‘Princes Street near the Mansion House’, though without further details, it would be difficult to definitively confirm this attribution.

Mary Reynolds did not bind any further apprentices after 1720 suggesting that she married and changed her name.


[1] ‘Mercers’ Company, Mary Reynolds’ on ROLLCO:, accessed 12 February 2020.

[2] The National Archives (TNA) IR1/4 Board of Stamps: Apprenticeship Books, f. 165v. & f. 191v.


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