24 January 1425 ***
Manner of enrolment and admission of apprentices

From this time onwards anyone, whether merchant or craftsman, shall during the first year [of the apprenticeship] bring his apprentice to the gildhall before the mayor and common clerk, so that he [i.e. the apprentice's name] may be enrolled – just as merchants have been accustomed to do since ancient times. As was the case in ancient times, the common clerk shall be paid [by the master] 4d. for the enrolment. After the completion of at least seven years [of apprenticeship], or the term specified in the indenture [of apprenticeship], the craftsman or his executor shall bring back the apprentice to the gildhall before mayor and common clerk, so that he shall be issued by the clerk with a written record that he is free to practice his craft, without paying any fee, until he has reached the age of twenty-one. If, upon reaching that age, he is found through interrogation of reliable witnesses to be free-born, well behaved, and able to bear the burdens of a member of the community, then he will be admitted into the franchise according to ancient custom. With the proviso that no-one shall be admitted to the franchise unless he has faithfully completed the [apprenticeship] term of at least seven years.

[The key feature of this was that craftsmen's apprentices were to receive the same treatment at those of merchants, who had long been entitled upon graduation to enter the franchise without admission fee. This concession must have been hotly debated, and we are told that a speaker for the craftsmen, Robert Brod, put forward the egalitarian argument "quod est una libertas in villa, unum iuramentum et unum finem [sic]" ("that there is one franchise in the town, one oath and one fee"). The record of this ordinance was inserted in the Hall Book on a separate sheet (schedule) immediately before the folio recording Brod's declaration. The interrogation of the apprentice, before grant of the franchise, also required the right answers to the questions: whether the apprenticeship term had been properly completed; and whether the apprentice had bought or sold anything for his own profit since completing the apprenticeship. If the graduated apprentice did not take up the franchise before embarking on a career, he lost the exemption from an entrance fee.]