Below is a copy of an Indenture for a Nantwich apprentice in 1423, found in one the charters held in the British Museum. I found this in an article in the Cheshire Sheaf in 1944. For anyone interested in Cheshire history, I’d thoroughly recommend this publication, you can buy a double CD of “local gleanings” from Cheshire Archives.
1423, Tuesday before Michaelmas (Sep. 28). At Nantwich.
Indenture between Thomas de Ruyle and Janyn le Mercer witnessing that Janyn has placed himself as a faithful apprentice with Thomas for his art and mystery, and to serve him for seven years. He will conceal the secrets and counsel of his master, will do no damage to him, nor see any done, but will hinder it as far as he can or warn him of it. His master’s goods and chattels he will not waste nor lend them to anyone, nor will he trade with his own goods and chattels or with anyone except on his master’s business. Well and faithfully will he serve, and will use no scales, measure or shop through which his master would incur damage or dishonour. Common taverns he will not frequent unless for trading or his master’s advantage. He will not commit adultery with his master’s wife, daughter or maidservant under pain of a double term of apprenticeship. From his master’s service he will not illegally withdraw, nor will he be absent day or night, nor will he marry any woman or become affianced to her without his master’s consent.
And the said Thomas de Ruyle will instruct and inform Janyn in all the art and skill which he knows in the best way and diligently without any concealment, and will find him in food and drink, woollen and linen clothes, shoes and bed as befits such an apprentice.
And to keep the above undertakings on the part of the master and to observe them in all things he takes on oath to the apprentice .and they each put a seal to these indentures.
Witnesses – John de Ruyle, Ric le Wrighte, Will le Wruyte, Rog de Lee, Will. Jeykyn.