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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
"History of the Incorporation of Cordiners in Glasgow" by William
"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.
"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
"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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