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Medieval Sourcebook:
Apprenticeship Agreements:
To a Barber, 1248

Apprenticeship was the recognized way of entering a craft and was a method of ensuring proper training. It likewise prevented overcrowding of the trade. The average contract stated the term of years, salary, and promises of faithful work. An apprenticeship of two years' duration was uncommonly short, the usual period being four or seven years.

April the thirteenth, in the year of the Lord 1248.

I, William, barber of Sestri, in good faith and without equivocation, place my self in your service and engage myself to work for you, Armand the barber, making my home with you, for learning the art or craft of barbering for a period of two years, at the salary or wage of forty solidi in the mixed money now current in Marseilles, promising to be faithful to you in all things, not to rob you, or take anything away from you, and not to leave you for a greater or less wage for any reason whatsoever, and to give you in good faith whatever money I am able to take, to tell you the truth, and to bear faith to you in all that I do.

I also promise to reimburse you for all expenses you incur on my behalf; and I promise to do all these things by agreement, and under pledge of one hundred solidi in royal crowns, the pledge being forfeited when the agreement is broken. For greater security I swear upon the Holy Gospels, touching them with my hand. And I pledge all my goods, etc., and renounce the benefit of all laws, etc.

And, I, the said Armand, admit all the foregoing, and promise by this agreement to give to you, the said William, forty solidi every year as your wage, and to provide for you, in sickness or in health, food and clothing for two complete years. Pledging all my goods, etc., renouncing the benefit of all laws, etc.

Witnesses, etc.


From: L. Blancard, ed, Documents Inédits sur le Commerce de Marseille au Moyen Age, (Marseilles: Barlatier-Feissat, Pere et Fils, 1884), Vol. II, p. 60, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p. 249.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, September 1998