Two Apprenticeship Agreements for Weavers, c. 1250 [Arras and Marseilles]
Two apprenticeship contracts, one for Arras, and one for Marseilles, show the
customary arrangements made in the case of apprenticeship to a weaver. In the one case
food and clothing are given to the youth, in the other, shelter only.
Be it known to present and future aldermen that Ouede Ferconne apprentices Michael, her
son, to Matthew Haimart on security of her house, her person, and her chattels, and the
share that Michael ought to have in them, so that Matthew Haimart will teach him to weave
in four years, and that he (Michael) will have shelter, and learn his trade there without
board. And if there should be reason within two years for Michael to default she will
return him, and Ouede Ferconne, his mother, guarantees this on the security of her person
and goods. And if she should wish to purchase his freedom for the last two years she may
do so for thirty-three solidi, and will pledge for that all that has been stated. And if
he should not free himself of the last two years let him return, and Ouede Ferconne, his
mother, pledges this with her person and her goods. And the said Ouede pledges that if
Matthew Haimart suffers either loss or damage through Michael, her son, she will restore
the loss and damage on the security of herself and all her goods, should Michael do wrong.
April the ninth. I, Peter Borre, in good faith and without guile, place with you, Peter
Feissac, weaver, my son Stephen, for the purpose of learning the trade or craft of
weaving, to live at your house, and to do work for you from the feast of Easter next for
four continuous years, promising you by this agreement to take care that my son does the
said work, and that he will be faithful and trustworthy in all that he does, and that he
will neither steal nor take anything away from you, nor flee nor depart from you for any
reason, until he has completed his apprenticeship. And I promise you by this agreement
that I will reimburse you for all damages or losses that you incur or sustain on my
behalf, pledging all my goods, etc.; renouncing the benefit of all laws, etc. And I, the
said Peter Feissac, promise you, Peter Borre, that I will teach your son faithfully and
will provide food and clothing for him. Done at Marseilles, near the tables of the
money-changers. Witnesses, etc.
From: G. Espinas & H. Pirenne, eds., Recueil de Documents Relatifs a l'Histoire
de l'lndustrie Drapière en Flandre, (Brussels: Académie Royale de Belgique, 1906),
Tome I, p. 121; L. Blancard, ed., Documents Inédits sur le Commerce de Marseille au
Moyen Age, (Marseilles: Barlatier-Feissat, Pere et Fils, 1884), Vol. II, p. 33;
reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval
Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York:
Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp.256-257.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998