There is no doubt left about the existence of compagnons’ associations during the 16th century. From 1514 and up to the 1580s in Lyons and Geneva, the printer compagnons were organised in defence associations, travelled, went on strike, had reception ceremonies and used secret greetings. They are the earliest known rites.
In 1540, a compagnon shoemaker from Tours was arrested in Dijon. He declared he was heading for an inn he called ‘chez la Mère’.
In 1583, in Troyes and Bourges, the archives mention formalised leave-taking processions accompanying compagnons on their departure from one city to the next.