Though his poetical tastes were early developed, his father apprenticed him to a jeweller.
At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to a clothier in London, but he appears to have early addicted himself to the "contention, novelties, opposition of government, and I The Span.
Under Turkish rule it was impossible to obtain a liberal education in Bulgaria, and young Stambolov, after attending the communal school in his native town, was apprenticed to a tailor.
While apprenticed to a cabinet-maker he picked up a Chinese grammar written in Latin, and after mastering the latter tongue made such good progress with the former, that in 1846 James Legge engaged him to superintend the London Missionary Society's press at Shanghai.
At 12 years he served for six months on a fishing smack, was afterwards apprenticed to a bootmaker and then joined the Royal Navy.