James Child and Edmund Halsey: owner 1693-1696

  • Posted on: 21 September 2009
  • By: David Thrale

Edmund Halsey had come to London from his birthplace in Hertfordshire. How he came to the brewhouse can only be a matter of conjecture, but it is known that the families of Halsey and Child were related.

Halsey's was one of the most spectacular success stories in brewing. He was the son of a St Albans miller who had come to seek his fortune in London after quarrelling with his father. He started at Southwark as a brewhouse 'Broomstick Clerk', the term for the lowly employee who swept the yard and performed other menial jobs. He later rose to be Chief Clerk.

Possibly, James Child, much preoccupied with his shipping interests, regarded the brewery as just a useful diversification and was glad of the services of young Edmund Halsey to take the routine work off his hands?

In 1692 he was receiving 20/- a week, half the salary of his master; and within 20 months had become a partner. There is no evidence that he purchased his partnership and, as the deed was drawn up on the 6th November, 1693, only ten days before his marriage to one of James Child's daughters - Anne. It might well have been his wife's dowry.

Child had a deep affection towards Halsey, describing him as…

my loving son-in-law.

From the date of the partnership, Halsey ran the business, and very efficiently, as the Cash Bulletin for the years 1693 to 1702 shows regular sums of upto £100 per week, large amounts in those days, were paid in excise duty; and in May, 1695, both he and Child drew £400 each in profits. In his cash book, he records that, apart from his normal salary, he also received a further weekly sum as brewer, kept a…

rideing horse at the Livery Stables chargeable to the brewery

and, in June, 1697, received £52…

as by consent of Mo: Child for manageing the trade last year.

Child died in September, 1696, and, by his will, directed that his estate be equally divided into three, one-third being left to Anne Child nee Minnie, his wife, and the remaining two-thirds to his daughters under the age of 21 years…

the rest of my children having had their portions already.

His widow retained her husband's interest in the brewhouse, Halsey paying her a weekly sum until her death in 1701.

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