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Trades of Scotland
By Alastair McIntyre


The Incoporated Trades of the City of Edinburgh:

The Incorporation of Chirurgeons (and Barbouris)
IN conformity with the custom of the Continental nations of Europe, the chirurgeons, or surgeons, were, in Edinburgh, originally united with the barbers. Their charter, or seal of cause, granted by the Town Council, is dated the 1st day of July 1505, being about eight years previous to the battle of Flodden.

The Incorporation of Hammermen
THE Incorporation of Hammermen is a very old civic Corporation in Edinburgh. Although its records go no further back than 1582, it is nevertheless true that the hammermen were at first created into a Society or Incorporation by a "seal of cause" or charter from the Town Council of Edinburgh, on the 2d day of May 1483.

See our page about the Mammermen

The Incorporation of Goldsmythis
THE Goldsmiths were originally included in the Incorporation of Hammermen. At what time they became separated from that body is not now known, as there seems to be no authentic record of the occurrence. It is likely, however, to have been a short time before they obtained from the Town Council a Seal of Cause in their own favour, on the 20th day of August 1581. The Seal of Cause granted to the Hammermen, was at so early a period as 1483, being ninety-eight years previous to that of the Goldsmiths.

The Incorporation of Baxters
The origin and history of the Incorporation of Baxters, or Bakers, very little is known in the present day. but it is thought that they were formed around 1443.

The Incorporation of Fleschouris
The origin of this trade appears to pre-date 1483

The Incorporation of Mary's Chapel
THE Incorporation of Mary's Chapel, which at first included only the Wrights and Masons, is at the present time the strongest, most important and most flourishing of all the civic organisations of former days. Its seal of cause dates back to the 15th October 1475. After that time the trade of the Coopers was added on 26th August 1489.

The Incorporation of Skinners and Furriers
THE Skinners (which included the crafts of the Furriers and the Glovers) would appear to have taken precedence of most, if not of all, of the other Trades Incorporations. The first record of their existence is to be found in a document written in mediaeval Latin of date the 12th January 1450.

The Incorporation of Cordwainers (Cordiners)
THE word Cordwainer (or Cordiner, as it was eventually called) was derived from the word Cordovan, a kind of leather made of goats' skins in the city of Cordova, in Spain. The Cordiners were, according to Maitland, at first erected into a fraternity or Incorporation, by a Charter from the Town Council of Edinburgh, on the 28th July 1449.

The Incorporation of Talzouris
THE charter of tlie Incorporation of Talzouris or Taylors (now Tailors), dates so far back as the 26th day of August 1500. Nevertheless, there is abundant evidence to prove that its existence as a Society was antecedent to that date.

The Incorporation of Wobstaris
THE Websters, or Weavers, of the City of Edinburgh, having, in the year 1475, petitioned the Magistrates and Town Council to erect them into an Incorporation, their request was at once granted.

The Incorporation of Waekaris
THE Members of the Craft of Waekeris, or Waulkers, as they are now called, on the 20th day of August 1500, obtained a Seal of Cause from the Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of the period. The business of the Waulkers might be said to consist chiefly in the dressing of cloths,  the working-in of wool, or of fur, to make felt, etc. Hence the Craft of Sheermen (Scissorsmen) was engrafted upon it. And on the 13th September 1672, the fraternity of Hatters became incorporated with the Waulkers. In the Council Register of the City, there is a Seal of Cause to the Hatters on 18th February 1473.

The Incorporation of Bonnet-makers
THE Bonnet-makers, whose Craft was originally included in the fraternity of the Waulkers, on the 31st of March 1530, petitioned the Town Council of Edinburgh to give them a separate Charter of Incorporation. This the Civic Corporation readily consented to do.

The above information was taken from the book, "The Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh", by James Colston published in 1891.

I intend to compile a list of antiquarian books that can be obtained through the Internet Archive and will add to this as time permits. You should note that in some of these book are extensive records mostly written in the Old Scots language.

"History of the Incorporation of Cordiners in Glasgow" by William Campbell 1883

"The Baxter Books of St. Andrews".

"Burgh Laws of Dundee with the History, Statutes and Proceedings of the Guild of Merchants and Fraternities of Craftsmen" by Alex. J. Warden 1872.

"The Weavers' Craft being a History of the Weavers' Incorporation in Dunfermline" by Daniel Thomson 1903.

"Paisley Weavers or Other Days, The "Pen' Folk", by David Gilmour 1876.

"Old Glasgow Weavers", by Deacon Robt. D. M'Ewan 1908.

"The Perth Hammermen book" (1518 to 1568) by Colin A. Hunt 1889

"The Hammermen of Edinburgh and their altar in St. Giles Church; being extracts from the records of the Incorporation of Hammermen of Edinburgh, 1494 to 1558" by John Smith 1908.

"History of the Hammermen of Glasgow; a study typical of Scottish craft life and organisation" by A Gardiner 1912.


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