Thomas Jefferys - Sword-cutter

Thomas Jefferys

Biography: 

Notes on identification: The Director of the Hand in Hand Fire Office, and the cutler/metal worker, is almost certainly the same. A Thomas Jefferys last appears as a metal worker (gold smith) on Cockspur Street in a directory from 1777, and in 1779 a Thomas Jefferys of Cockspur Street appears in the directories as director of the Fire Office, elected on November 15, 1778. He appears as a member of the Society of Arts from ca. 1791 until 1800.

Married (1767) to a Miss Coles.1

Listed in the trade directories of the time as toy man, toy making(m/s) cutler, cutlery/surgical instrument making(m).2 He went bankrupt in November, 1766, but this seemed to be a frequent occurence for many tradesmen at the time, and he featured in the directories both before and after this time, at least as late as 1777.3 In 1778 he was even listed as a Director of the Hand in Hand Fire Office,4 a position to which he was re-elected at least as late as 1793.5 Boswell described him as sword-cutter to his majesty.

Thomas Jefferys' nephew, Nathaniel Jefferys (ca. 1758-1810), at some point served as an apprentice in the shop. He later became Goldsmith and Jeweller to the Prince of Wales (1789), and a Member of Parliament for Coventry (1796-1802/3).6

Life with Boswell: 

Boswell describes how, on December 1, 1762, he managed to get store credit from Mr. Jefferys when he got a sword in Jefferys' shop, having forgotten most of his money at home.

The identification of Mr. Jefferys as Thomas Jefferys was made by the editors of Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763. It should be noted, however, that Thomas Jefferys' brother, Nathaniel, was also a cutler, and was sworn in on September 19, 1743 as "Cutler in Ordinary to His Majesty". There also seems to be some confusion in various sources about whether Nathaniel's brother Thomas was the cutler described in this biography, or the famous Thomas Jefferys (1719-1771), a cartographer known as "Geographer to King George III".