A Somerset Apprentice Indenture

One of the Apprentice Indentures which were seen at the Somerset Record Office was copied in part only. The Royal Shield and the stamp could be copied in reasonable form and the signatures at the bottom were capable of being copied too. The text of the Indenture is typed in here with the handwritten parts put in italics. We hope it gives some idea of the legal document which was attached to such Apprentice Indentures. The Shield is encircled with a capital T, the cross top section curling around to join the letters in stylised form "his Indenture". We will start the text of with the full word for readability purposed.

This Indenture, made this Eighth Day of January in the twenty ninth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second by the Grace of God, of Great-Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, and so forth; and in the Year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and fifty six, Witnesseth That Thomas Harvard and William Thomas Church-Wardens of the Parish of Muchelney in the County of Somerset And John Stuckey and Phillip Lork Overseers of the Poor of the said Parish, by and with the Consent of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said County whose names are hereunto subscribed, have put and placed, and by these Present do put and place George Turker aged seven Years a poor Child of the said Parish, Apprentice to Thomas Emmory Occupier of the Estate of Walter Long Esquire with him to dwell and serve from the Day of the Date of these presents, until the said Apprentice shall accomplish his full Age of twenty four Years according to the Statute in that Case made and provided. During all which Term the said Apprentice his said Master faithfully shall in all lawful Business, according to his Power, Wit, and Ability; and honestly, orderly and obediently, in all Things demean and behave himself towards his said Master and all his during the said Term. And the said Thomas Emmory for himself, his Executors and Administrators doth Covenant and Grant to and with the said Church-Wardens and Overseers, and every of them, their and every of their Executors and Administrators, and their every of their Successors, for the Time being, by these Presents, That the said Thomas Emmory the said Apprentice in the Art of Husbandry shall and will teach and instruct or cause to be taught and instructed And shall and will, during the Term aforesaid, find, provide, and allow unto the said Apprentice, meet, competent and sufficient meat, Drink and Apparel, Lodging, Washing, and other Things necessary and fit for an Apprentice. And also shall and will so provide for the said Apprentice, that he be not any way a Charge to the said Parish, or Parishioners of the same; but of and from all Charge shall and will save the said Parish and Parishioners harmless and indemnified during the said Term. (A sentence is crossed out here as apparently not applicable.)
In witness whereof, the Parties abovesaid to these present Indentures interchangeably have put their Hands and Seals the Day and Year above-written.

The document was signed on the left by Francis Gaylard. The two Justices of the Peace who signed the Indenture were J. Hows and J. Strangways. The signature to the left of the seal is Thos. Emery, an interesting departure from the spelling in the text of the Indenture.

One is left wondering what the poor little seven year old George Turker (or maybe Tucker) was doing and feeling during this handover operation. There is no indication of whether there were parents present or whether he was an orphan. Looking back over one hundred and forty years, one can still feel a pang of sympathy and sorrow for the little one. No other information has been found to show how he got on under the supervision of Master Thomas Emery. It is possible to wonder if Thomas was as rough as his signed Emery name would sound or whether it was really Emmory!

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Prepared from a photographic record of the Indenture and handwritten copy by John L. Symonds on 10 November 1997.