The Statute of Apprentices in 1563 made it illegal for anyone to enter a trade if they had not first served an apprenticeship. This statute was modified by subsequent Acts of Parliament and by legal judgments and it remained on the statute book until 1814. An apprenticeship indenture was a legal document whereby a master, in exchange for a sum of money (the 'premium'), agreed to instruct the apprentice in his trade for a set term of years. The premium would vary, possibly according to the demand to be trained in a particular trade and the master’s standing in his trade or community. The starting age of an apprentices could be as low as ten but more commonly thirteen or fourteen. Click here to see research guidance from the National Archives regarding apprentices and their masters.
Apprenticeship indentures were enforceable in the courts. Occasionally apprentices would abscond from their place of work. Thomas Walker Sedman was charged with absconding from the service of Mr. J. Skelton, tailor, of Malton to whom he was bound apprentice for five years. He was ordered to return to his master's service, the master to deduct £1 from his wages for loss of time; and to pay 4s costs . Henry Allen, apprenticed to Ralph Yates, foundry man and millwright, was charged with 'running away from his apprenticeship in January last, and absconding to Leeds.' He was ordered by the North Riding bench to play £1 9s costs and go back to his service, or go to prison . Masters would place advertisements in the press, describing absconding apprentices, sometimes offering a reward for information, and threatening prosecution of anybody who subsequently engaged them.
 Yorkshire Gazette, 15 September 1866
 Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 2 March 1874
The Guardians of the Poor Law Union had an interest in reducing the number of poor requiring support. One way of doing this was to help find apprenticeships for youths. One such youth was Geo. Hodgeson, and in 1839 'the board directed …… that Geo. Hodgeson, belonging to New Malton, should be bound an apprentice to Mr. Thos. Lucas, of New Malton, pipe manufacturer, until twenty years old.' 
 Yorkshire Gazette, 26 January 1839
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