Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Apprentice, a species of servant. An apprentice is bound by indenture usually for a term of years to serve his master, who on his part agrees to maintain and instruct him during such period. This binding is generally to persons of trade in order to learn their art and mystery. And by a provision which remained in force until modern times, it was in general required that every person who could exercise a trade in England must have previously served as apprentice to it for seven years. But later, all enactments, customs, and bye-laws which had the effect of prohibiting trades and occupations to persons who had not served therein as apprentices were abolished. It is, however, to be observed that in the City of London the customs and bye-laws on this subject remain as before. Apprentices are usually infants bound out by their friends, though their own consent (testified by their executing the indentures) is essential to the validity of the transaction. But there is a class called Parish Apprentices, who are bound under different conditions, for the children of parents unable to maintain them may be apprenticed till the age of twenty-one to such persons as shall be thought fitting to receive them by the guardians or overseers of the parish, and this without their own consent or becoming parties to the indentures; and the persons selected as their masters were formerly also compellable to take them. But the reception of a parish apprentice is no longer made compulsory. The Employers and Workmen Act, 1875, provides that any dispute between an apprentice to whom such statute applies and his master, arising out of or incidental to their relations as such, may be heard and determined by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, and that such Court shall have the same powers as if the dispute was between an employer and a workman, and moreover may make an order directing the apprentice to perform his duties; on the other hand, the Court (if it thinks fit) may rescind the instrument of apprenticeship and require the whole or any part of the premium paid on the binding of the apprentice to be refunded; and if the apprentice shall disobey an order made that he is to perform his duties, the Court may cause him to be imprisoned for a period not exceeding fourteen days. In Scotland the system of apprenticeship has never had the same importance as it has had in England.