On this day in 1703, Thomas Foster signed an agreement with Samuel Jones for Foster to rig the Rising Sun.
This is one of the manuscripts in Thomas Bowrey’s papers that throws light on the early eighteenth century world. Foster has reasonable handwriting (although far from the best) and most of his spelling conforms to modern standards. The exception is the name of the ship he is to rig which he wrote as rising soum. The agreement is written on a small scrap of paper.
There are many similar scraps of paper in Bowrey’s archive demonstrating that it was becoming common for tradesmen to require written agreements. Occasionally, these agreements utilised printed forms but most were written out by hand like today’s document. To me, this indicates that this was a time of transition from an age of verbal agreements to one of written contracts.