set on work

1) To employ, give work to.

This phrase was used in the earliest surviving Orders of the Hallamshire cutlers: 1590 no person … shall … sett on worke in the said science or occupacon anye jurnyman … under the age of twentye yeres. It was part of the traditional language of the guilds, repeated at regular intervals: 1690 No maker of knives, shears … or other cutlery wares … to employ or set on work any foreigner.

places Hallamshire
dates 1590 1690

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