Some Shropshire Indentured Apprentices

The system of Indentured Apprenticeship, of which so much was said in the outcry against “Chinese Slavery” in S. Africa is of long standing in our Colonial History. The following is a copy of the conditions under which some men from Lydbury North under the headship of a Ludlow gentleman went out to the sugar plantations of Barbadoes in the time of Charles I. Thomas Hale, the owner of the estate, was a cousin of Humphrey Walcot of Walcot, and this explains his attraction for the men of Lydbury North. The family of Sherman was of long standing in Ludlow. When the Registers of Lydbury North are printed it would be easy to ascertain the ages of these ‘Apprentices’, and also whether they came back to their native village. John Shipman was Bailiff to Humphrey Walcot. The original deed is still in existence. Cromwell did actually sell many Royalists as slaves to the West Indies.

J. R. Burton.
“This Indenture wittnesseth That John Sherman sonne of John Sherman of Ludlow in the county of Salop gent. William Home John Williams Thomas Higgs John Reynolds and Samuell Clee of the parish of Lidbury North in the said County of Salop doe covenante promise and agree with Thomas Hayle gent. Forthwith (by God’s assistance) to passe over with him into the Isle of Barbadoes and to serve him the said Thomas Hayle as his Apprentices or servants from the day of their arrival there for and duringe the termes and tymes hereafter expressed videlt. the said John Sherman for fower yeres William Home John Williams Thomas Higgs John Reynolds and Samuell Clee for five yeares a peece And the said Thomas Haile in consideration of their severall service to be done for him doth covenante promise and agree with them and every of them to find and mayntaine his said servants during the severall termes aforesaid with competent and necessary meate drink and apparel and at the end of their severall termes afore mencioned to pay and deliver to each of them the somme of Ten pounds a peece of current english money or the value thereof in Goodes accordinge to the custome of the said Island. In witness whereof the said Thomas Hayle and his said servants have hereunto put their hands and seales the tenth daie of November in the xxiijth yere of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Charles by the grace of God of England Scotland Fraunce and Ireland King Defender of the faith &c. Anno Dni. 1647.”
THO. HAYLE [L.S.]
Sealed and delivered in the presence and sight of
JOHN SHIPMAN
SAM. REYNOLDS
RICH BOWEN
EDWARD EYTON
Source: Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society 4th Series Vol. V.