Apprentice Scrivener


Lambert's the Attorney

1st July 1767 - 14th April 1770

Aprenticeship Indentures Thomas ChattertonJPG

Chatterton entered his apprenticeship on the 1st July 1767, for 'the Term of SEVEN Years next ensuing.' However, after just two years, 9 Months & 13 Days, Lambert, in a panic, cancelled the indenture when he discovered a 'Will' written by Chatterton on the office desk. Scroll to read the original 'Will' in Chatterton's handwriting, which is further down the page - well it was his last act at Lambert's.

To read more on Chatterton's time at Lambert's, see John Ingram's 'The True Chatterton,' the link takes you directly to the apprenticeship chapter.

Alternatively go to the 'Biographies & Works' page, where you will find links to almost all of the biographies of Chatterton from 1780 onwards. 


Chatterton wrote more than 160 works while 'working' at Lambert's. According to his sister, he had only 2 hours of work each day, leaving plenty of time to write his poems and create his other works.

Lambert's Office & Bristol Bridge

Lambert's office was on Corne Street (these days known as Corn St). It is shown below on Millerd's map from 'F' to 'E' (the left arm of the crossroads). The Old Bristol Bridge can be seen at the bottom of the map, complete with houses and workshops. The replacement of such an important bridge, in 1768, was a major event in Bristol, and inspired Chatterton to write what became his first published Rowlean Work.



Lambert's Office, Corne St. 


 Millerd's Map of Bristol 1671 

bristol_bridge small.jpg

Bristol Bridge in Olden Times 

Bristol Bridge Rebuilt 1768

The New Bridge 1768 

On the 1st of October 1768 an anonymous article appeared in:

 Felix Farley's Bristol Journal.

The Mayor's First Passing Over the Old Bridge

Taken from an Old Manuscript


Dunhelmus Bristoliensis*

*One of Chatterton's Pen Names.

It was a momentous occasion for Chatterton.

The First time in Print of one of his Rowlean Works.

Early Transcript of the Bridge Narrative

The article about Bristol Bridge created quite a stir.

It was to bring Chatterton, Catcott, & Barrett, the main players in the Chatterton-Rowley story, together for the first time. It was the catalyst that would affect their lives more than they could have imagined. 

When they first met,

 Chatterton was not yet 16,  Barrett was 35, & Catcott was 39

The big question is:

How much of a role did they individually (or jointly) play in the creation, development and afterlife of the Rowley phenomenon?

Read more on this subject: Biographies of Chatterton

Chatterton's Last Act at Lambert's

b7 This is the Last Will reduced.jpg

Chatterton needed a way out of his suffocating and demeaning apprenticeship, so he wrote his own (mock) Last Will & Testament and left it on his desk for Lambert to find.  Chatterton was a good judge of character, he was sure that it would frighten Lambert enough to get his freedom. He had read Lambert perfectly, for when Lambert found the Will he was so shocked he dismissed Chatterton immediately. This was on or about the 14th April 1770 - Chatterton was now free to make his own way in the world.

Chatterton's Works at Lambert's 

NOTE: Manuscripts are large images and really must be viewed on a laptop.

You might try viewing them on a tablet, but do avoid viewing on a mobile.