__NOTOC__An Indenture is a legal contract between two parties, particularly for indentured labour or a term of apprenticeship but also for certain land transactions. The term comes from the medieval English "indenture of retainer"cite book|last=Morgan|first=Kenneth O.|title=The Oxford History of Britain|publisher=Oxford University Press|location=Oxford, England|date=2001|pages=p126|chapter=The Early Middle Ages] — a legal contract written in duplicate on the same sheet, with the copies separated by cutting along a jagged (toothed, hence the term "in"dent"ure") line so that the teeth of the two parts could later be refitted to confirm authenticity. [See for example Brown, M.P., "A Guide To Western Historical Scripts From Antiquity to 1600", British Library, 1990, pp. 78-9.] Each party to the deed would then retain a part. When the agreement was made before a court of law a "tripartite" indenture was made, with the third piece kept at the court. The term is used for any kind of deed executed by more than one party, in contrast to a deed poll which is made by one individual. In the case of bonds, the indenture shows the pledge, promises, representations and covenants of the issuing party.

In England the earliest surviving examples are from the thirteenth century. These are agreements for military service, proving that a paid, contract army was then in existence, although other evidence indicates that the method had already been in use for at least two hundred years. Exchequer records of Henry V's French campaign of 1415 (the "Agincourt" campaign), including the indentures of all the captains of the army agreeing to provide specified numbers of men and at what cost, may still be read. [cite book
last = Barker
first = Juliet
authorlink = Juliet Barker
coauthors =
title = Agincourt: the King the Campaign the Battle
publisher = Little Brown
date = 2005
location = London
pages =
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doi =
id =
isbn = 0316726486
] An Indenture was commonly used as a form of sealed contract or agreement for land and buildings. An example of such a use can be found in the National Archives, where an indenture from ca. 1401 recording the transfer of the manor of Pinley, Warwickshire, is held. [cite web
last =
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title = Catalogue
work = Item details SC 8/333/E1104
publisher = National Archives
date =
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accessdate = 2008-03-28

In the early history of the United States, many European immigrants served a period of indentured labour in order to pay the cost of their transportation. This practice was common during the 17th and 18th centuries, where over half of immigrants worked off an average of three years servitude.

Modern usage

Bond Indenture (also trust indenture or deed of trust) is a legal document issued to lenders and describes the interest rate, maturity date, convertibility, pledge, promises, representations, covenants, and other terms of the bond offering. [ [ What is a Bond Indenture?] ]


ee also

*Capital markets
* Prospectus
*Securities law
*Indentured servant

External links

* [ English property indenture from 1804]
* [ Example of Bond Indenture]
* [ Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authorities Revenue bonds]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • indenture — in·den·ture /in den chər/ n [Old French endenture an indented document, from endenter to indent (divide a document into sections with irregular edges that can be matched for authentication), from en thoroughly + dent tooth] 1: a document stating… …   Law dictionary

  • Indenture — In*den ture, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Indentured}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Indenturing}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To indent; to make hollows, notches, or wrinkles in; to furrow. [1913 Webster] Though age may creep on, and indenture the brow. Woty. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • indenture — Any deed, written contract or sealed agreement. (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) Under Title 11 U.S.C. Section 101: (28) The term indenture means mortgage, deed of trust, or indenture, under which there is outstanding a security, other… …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • indenture — (n.) contract for services, late 14c., from Anglo Fr. endenture, O.Fr. endenteure indentation, from endenter (see INDENT (Cf. indent)). Such contracts (especially between master craftsmen and apprentices) were written in full identical versions… …   Etymology dictionary

  • indenture — ► NOUN 1) a formal agreement, contract, or list, formerly one of which copies with indented edges were made for the contracting parties. 2) an agreement binding an apprentice to a master. 3) historical a contract by which a person agreed to work… …   English terms dictionary

  • indenture — [in den′chər] n. [ME endenture < OFr & < ML indentura: see INDENT1: now used also as if < INDENT2] 1. Now Rare INDENTATION 2. a written contract or agreement: originally, it was in duplicate, the two copies having correspondingly notched …   English World dictionary

  • Indenture — In*den ture (?; 135), n. [OE. endenture, OF. endenture, LL. indentura a deed in duplicate, with indented edges. See the Note below. See {Indent}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act of indenting, or state of being indented. [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) A… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Indenture — In*den ture, v. i. To run or wind in and out; to be cut or notched; to indent. Heywood. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • indenture — /indentyar/ In business financing, a written agreement under which bonds and debentures are issued, setting forth form of bond, maturity date, amount of issue, description of pledged assets, interest rate, and other terms. Typically, the contract …   Black's law dictionary

  • indenture — /indentyar/ In business financing, a written agreement under which bonds and debentures are issued, setting forth form of bond, maturity date, amount of issue, description of pledged assets, interest rate, and other terms. Typically, the contract …   Black's law dictionary