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Merchant and Craft Guilds
A History of the Aberdeen Incorporated Trades
Part III. Chapter XI - The Shoemaker Trade

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SHOEMAKERS [18th November, 1681].— Gules, a shoemaker's shaping knife fessways, with the edge turned towards the chief, the blade proper and hafted argent; over the same a crown or ; and in the dexter canton a tower of Aberdeen. Motto: Lord crown us with Glory.

THE shoemakers, long known as cordwainers or cordiners (from cordonnier [f.], a worker of leather), were early associated under a deacon. They had evidently taken advantage of the Act of 1424 authorising craftsmen to elect "ane wise man of the craft," and the following entry in the Council Register shows that even as early as 1484 the Magistrates had come into conflict with them regarding their deacon :-

27th May, 1484.—The same day the alderman, baillies, and counsall, because thai have fundin n ete faute in the craft of the cordinaris, at this tyme thai have put down the deacons of the said craft, annulland all powaris that thai gif to thaim of befor, and will fra hynce furth tak the correction of thaim all in tyme to cum, and to puniss thaim after thair demerits that sal be committit in tyme command.—Council Register, vol. vi., p. 848.

This arrangement, however, by which the Magistrates were to take the correction of the work of the cordiners into their own hands, does not seem to have worked well, for we find from an entry, a few years after, that two visitors were appointed with the same powers and functions as the deacons of the other crafts. These men were, no doubt, members of the cordiner craft, and the powers conferred on them are similar to those conferred by the formal Seals of Cause granted about thirty years afterwards to most of the craftsmen in Aberdeen :-

31st September, 1495.—The saide day the Alderman and diuerss of the counsall and communitie present for the tyme thought it expedient for ye commone proffit, for the correction of evil werk maid be ye cordinaris and cersing and reforming of it yat William Tamsone and Thomas Meldrum sal vesie, consider, and understand ye craftsmen of thar craft within this burghe, yat yai werk diligentlie, and to correct evil werk, and insufficint stuff as the vyss is of uyiris burrowis, and gif ony dissobeis the saidis William and Thomas, heirintill, in contrar to the common profit, yai sal present ye falt to ye alderman and balzeis, quhilkis sal punis them efter ye laws of ye realme, and consuetude of uyiris burrowis.—Council Register, vol. vii. p. 663.

In 1501 a more explicit order was issued by the Magistrates, with consent of the cordiners, for the appointment of "tua mene of thar craft to serce ande consider ye wirk of thar craft," a warrant that may be regarded as the first formal Seal of Cause that was granted to this craft, a Seal of Cause being, as has already been pointed out, a recognition or confirmation granted to a particular craft of the right to elect a deacon. The powers of the deacons were more specifically set forth in the Seals of Cause of certain crafts than in others ; but once the right was conferred on a particular body of craftsmen, they considered themselves entitled to make and pass by-laws for carrying on all the affairs of their craft or society. The right to choose a deacon was originally acquired in virtue of Royal Charters and Acts of Parliament; all that was afterwards required was a recognition of that right by the local Town Council, whose consent had to be obtained.

In 1520 a more formal Seal of Cause was granted to the shoemakers, the original of which was written in Latin, and on that account seems to have escaped notice, and led to the belief that the shoemakers did not possess anything in the nature of a Seal of Cause. The Seals of Cause granted to some of the other Trades about ten years after are more specific, but the recognition by the Council of the powers of the cordiners to elect a deacon and to make by-laws is as legally confirmed as in the case of the other crafts.

The following is a translation of the grant formally constituting the shoemakers into a corporation;—

13th June, 1520.—Which day all and sundry the artificers and masters of the cordoner craft of the burgh of Aberdeen, viz.:—John Wishart, [A son of this John Wishart's met with an untimely end. It is recorded that on 18th March, 1583, "Johne Wyschert, cordonar, was slain be James Paterson, hangman, who was hanged for the crime and his herd fixed on the justice Port thairfor." The mention of hanging recalls the fact that the last man who paid the full penalty of the law at GallowhiIls was a member of the Wright and Cooper Trade named Morrison, who was hung In 1776 for the murder of his wife.] William ling, Thomas Brodie, John Malcolm, John Cooper, alias Common, Alex. JulIidiff', John Coutts, James Baker, John Green, Alex. Michilson, and Patrick Baxter, burgesses of Aberdeen, being assembled in the principal chamber of John Wishart, convened for the purpose of electing new deacons and office-bearers in the said craft, and of rectifying and amending all and sundry defects existing at the time in the forsaid craft, and forwith they unanimously continued the said John Wishart in his office of deacon as before for the ensuing year, and of new elected as deacon coadjutor and consort an honest and worthy man William King, and associated him with the said John in the exercise and discharge of the deacon's office. They also elected Alexander Yulidiff and Patrick Baxter as overseers in the said craft to examine and inspect the work of all the cordiners whatever, both intranears and extranears, whether the same be sufficient or not, and to intimate and make known to the said deacons defects of workmanship existing at the time in the forenamed craft. They afterwards appointed James Dow as beadle to the said craft, in which office he shall have two pence for his trouble from every master of the said craft ; moreover, thereafter they determined to establish a box into which they may collect or cause to be collected every week from the several masters for payment of the just and customary stipend of the chaplain of the altar, of the martyrs, Crispin and Crispian, one penny in the week from every master of the said craft, and from each servant, apprentice, and domestic, one halfpenny only, for the collecting of which they constituted John Cooper alias Common and Thomas Brodie, honest and trustworthy men, as collectors, out of which contributions they shall really pay, and effectually satisfy, to the chaplain for the time being, without any dispute, delay, strife, or process of law, at the two terms of the year, viz. :Martinmas and Whitsunday, the sum of 32 Shillings by equal portions according to ancient practice, at each term aforenamed 16 Shillings; and if the craft aforesaid shall prosper, and the contributions accumulate and multiply, the chaplain's stipend shall be augmented nearly to the amount of the contributions, and the accumulating surplus shall be reserved in the box for the repairs of the altar and other necessary furniture thereof, shall pass and be applied to the upholding and repairs of the altar as aforesaid, and this they ordained to be infallibly and inviolably kept and to be preserved by their successors for ever ; moreover, if any one shall fail in the payment of the said pence and halfpence, and if any shall be found disobedient to their masters, then shall it be lawful to the deacons with the other masters of the said craft to punish the offenders according to the degree of his offence, and whosoever shall harbour the rebellious and disobedient person for the purpose of executing any work pertaining to the cordiners after notification has been given to the masters, or shall give out to the rebellious and disobedient person any work to be performed by him with out his workshop, and receive the same without the consent and assent of the deacons, shall really pay and effectually satisfy to the box eight shillings unforgiven towards the repair and upholding of the said altar and ornaments thereof ; and in the same manner shall be punished whoever shall act against the craft or the ordinances of the craft ; and a rebellious person shall not be admitted to any work among the masters of the cordoner craft, until, having asked and obtained permission from the deacons and masters, he with humility present himself to an assembly of the said craft and penitently confess his fault. And every master shall be answerable for the inmates and servants in his workshop every week on Saturday for the receipt of the said pence and halfpence from his domestics and servants, and shall deduct them from their wages: moreover, Thomas Brodie straightway in presence of the deacons and others promised to the box 32 pence which he had received long since, nearly two years ago from his servants for their delinquencies, and which he was bound to pay in wax to the altar aforesaid, which 32 pence the craft with one consent intended to give, bestow, and apply to the repairing the base of the chalice, and this faithfully by touch of hands of the notary, their chaplain, the deacons, and masters, their hands mutually touched in token of faithful intention, all fraud and guile apart, they decreed and determined respectively to maintain the premises for ever.—Council Register, vol. x., p. 264.

In 1523, the Aberdeen shoemakers applied to the Edinburgh craftsmen for a copy of their regulations, and obtained the following document, which is to be found annexed to a Latin copy of the grant of 1820, in possession of the Trade :—

10th June, 1523.—Item, yis is ye wyss maner and constitution ordanit amang ye haile body of ye craift of ye cordonaris of Edinburg, maide be ye haile maisters of ye craift. In ye first as for upsettin of ane buythe tua markis.

Item, suchen yat tak ane prentis yai suld give ane hauff mark to ye repacione of ye altir.

Item, alsua ye haile body of ye craift sail excers yat na mane bald na buythe na zit to sueir (swear) na mane to work, but giff he beis suffycient maister and mak quid sufficient stuyff to serue ye kingi legis, ye quhilk we have actit in oure burt, undir oure seile of causs ; Alsua, at ye maisteris of ye craift, ilk mann giffis ilk oulk ane penny to ye altir, and ye seruandis siklyke sail pey ane excep prenteiss quo salbe frie quhill yair termes be gane.

Alsua, ane certainne of ye maisteris sail excers ye mercatt to se gill it be sufficient stuyff to serue ye Kingis legis, at stuyff yat is not sufficient yat yai sele yair, to be gewin to ye Kirk Wark without remissioune. Thir ar statuts and ordinances sende oute of Edinburt, to ye maisteris of ye Cordonar craift of Abirdein yat yai mai vse sic lyk according to ressoune.

The rigorous supervision which had to be exercised over the cordiners with regard to the price and quality of shoes sold at the "schone mercat" may have been a reason why the Magistrates were chary in delegating too much power to the craft, and this fact may have led to their Seal of Cause being so meagre. The following entry in the Council Register will give an indication of the strictness with which the cordiners were looked after by the Council :--

27th October, 1541.*—The said day John Herkill, Malcolm lierkill, Jno. Germond, Patre Cults, John Donald, James Dowe, James Prestonne, Alexr. Robertsonn, Gawane Wishert, Wm. Ing;rm, Hare Robtson, Sande ,Nlechelsonn, and David Reidheid, cordonars, thai and ilk ane of thame war convikit be the sworne assiss aboune wrytine for the braking of commond ordinans and statutis of this gud tour of the warkmaschip, in selling of insufficient schoine and mekill darrar than the statutis maid obefoir propertes, agaves the commond weill, quharfor thai war and ilk ane of thame in amerciament of court to ferbeir in tyme cuming, and amend as law, and that was bewin for dome. And becaus it was considerit be the prowest, ballies, and counsel, that the ledder is darrar nor it hed wont to be, thai haf dispensit with the said craftismen, and hes lycent thaim to sell thair schoine, quhill thai be forther awysit, of the prycis efter following : that is to say, the best dowbill solit schoine thai can mak for men for xxviii. d. at the hiast, uthets for xxvi. d. or twa schillinuis, efter the qualite and quantitie of the person that byis, and the

The following extract from an heirship inventory will give an idea of the plenishing of a eordiner about this period :-

17th Februar., 1541.—Heir foIlowis the airschip gudis that William Ingram, asks at Jonat Bissit the relict of umquhill Cristofer Ingram, my broder freman of this burghe of Abirdeine, and at Robert Barbour, now hir husband, for his entries, as I that is seruit as narrrst and lauchful air to hym.

Item, in the first, ane gowne of scottis blak, lynit with blak-gray.
Item, ane sakot, coytt and doublait ; ane Sark, a pair of hoiss, a hat, a bonat. Item, ane swerde and quhanger, ane leyth aix, ane jak, and ane Steil bonat.
Item, ane standan bed, ane flop bed, a pair of scheittis, tua blankittis, and ane covering to the bed.
Item, ane press, ane almery, a pot, a pan, a playte, a dische, a salsar, a chandelir of brace, a tane s, a spyt, with ane lanterene, ane brew fatt, ane kymmeoun, ane geil fatt, ane stand and ane buckat.
Item, ane standard buird with trestis buirdelayeth, tua formic, ane their, ane quart, ane poynt and ane choppin.
Item, ane schaiping knyff, ane schawing irne, ane pair of buyt treis, ane scherping buird, ane trink aild with the steil to scberp the sebawing irne.
Item, ane kyst, lokit fast, ane scherp rak for ledder, ane blunt rak, 'tua Bettis with feit necessar thairto.
Item, ane blek tub furneyst, ane oil barrel, with ane oil choppin.
Item, ane resp, ane turcas, and fouir cuschin nails of irne.
Item, ane traschor, ane stuffyn slyise with ane yeiruing slyise, ane cone, ane camoll with ane obiuse—(currier s tools).
Item, ane kestrel, ane hand-leddar with ane elison, ane pryce with ane turning staf.
Item, soils examplis (patterns), over led Jar examplis, with a wanpa for a buytt—(vamp for a ' boot).
Item, ane pair of greite lastis, ane myddil pair of lastis, and ane less pair of lastis.
Item, ane stark to work the leddar vpon with thair feitt, ane clock, &c., &c.—and thin guidis following belangis to the kirk-yaird.
Item, ane flesching buird with ane fuytt and ane flesching irne.
Item, ane cleik, and bramsLin of leddar with ane bark pok.
Item, ane skep, ane schod—schnillis with ane lyme tub.

best singill solit schoine thai can mak for xx. d., and uthers for xviii. d. and xvi. d. ; the best doubill scholit for women thai can mak for xx. d., xviii. d., or xvi., efter their qualite and quantite that byis, and their singill scholit for xiii. d., xii. d., and uthirs for x. d. : item, barnis schone within xii. yeir aid for x. d., uthirs for viii. d. or v. d., efter the eild and qualitie of the barne. And this act to remane induring the touns will : and quhat craftisman that braks the samyn, the rest of his wrought ledder to be escheitt, and furthyr to be punyst as law will.—Council Register, vol. xvii., p. 19.

The price of shoes was fixed at frequent intervals after the following fashion :-

7th October, 1586.—It is statut and ordanit that na cordonar within yis burght, or without the samen, sell ony schone darrer nor of ye pryces following :—That is to say the best single soillet schone for men, vi, ss. ; secundar, v. ss.; wemen schone, iiii. ss.; bairnis schone, xxx. d.; ii. ss. and twenty pennies haueing consideration of ye aige of ye barne and ye best pair of buitis for xxx. ss. ; secundar, xxviii. ss., and xxvi. ss. viii. d., and sail not be lessum to na cordinar within this burght to sell ony schone or buitis but of thair awin making vnder ye pane escheiting yairof haueing consideratioun the best barket hyd 1. ss. ; the secundar, xlvi. ss. viii. d., and xl. ss. ; and yat na cordonar nor saidlar bark ony ledder in tyme cuming or zit by ony roch hydis heirefter, or sell ony barkit ledder to extranearis or onfremen vnder ye pane of confiscation yairof, and and gif yai be thryss convict for ye braking of ye statut the contrauener to be dischargit of his fredome and to bruik na preuilege within yis burght heirefter.—Council Register, vol. xxxii. p. 119.

In regard to the "schone mercatt" it vas enacted, in 1619, that one of the baillies should attend the market and "tak with him ye deacone of ye cordinaris, and sail serche and try ye haill schone presented to ye mercat gif ony of thame be insufficient, and sic as sail be found spilt, rottin, and insufficient, or yet be of hors ledder, sail presentlie be confiscat and dealt to ye poore."

The shoemakers, like the rest of the craftsmen who came to the "mercat" to sell their wares, were exceedingly jealous of their privileges being encroached upon by strangers, and numerous cases are recorded of fines being imposed both by the Magistrates and by the Trade for such offences. The following may be given as examples :-

9th May, 1695.—I, James Leslie, lawfull sonne to Patrick Leslie, merchant in Auld Meldrum, for saemeikle as I am apprehendit in buying and transporting aboutt twentie five peare of maid shoois from Edinburt to Abirdene to sell and retaill, in prejudice of the Shoomakertraid in Abirdene, quho peyes Scott and Lott within the said Burghe. Thairfoir be order of the Counsall of Abirdene and Robert Davidsone, present deane of gild of the said burghe, and the said James Leslie faithfulie binds and obleidgis me not only to absteine and forbeire from sic ane transgressioune in tyme couming, But als not to buy and sell any maid shoone which I have now or sail hapen to buy within the towne or shyre of Abirdeneexcept I buy the said shoois from Friemenn Shoomakeris, burgess of the said burghe of Abirdene. And that under the failzie of ane hundreth merkis Scots money, to be peyit to the Boxmaster of the said Shoomaker Traide for the uss of the puir of the said Incorporatione, in caice I be fund to contraveine the premisess ; and consents to the registratioune heirof in the bukis of Counsall and Sessioune Sherrif Commiseare or burghe court bukis of A birdene To have the strength of ane decreit that letters of horning and uytheris may pass heiron.—Shoemakers' Records.

Att Aberdein, the 28th November, 1698.—The traid, in presence of William Duckieson, deacone, ordained George Cruickshank in Old Aberdein, to be poynded for selling of shoone in common mercats, contrair to the laws and custome, and this to be ane Warrant.—Shoemakers' Records.

As an illustration of how keenly the shoemakers resented encroachments by unfreemen, we give the text of a petition which was presented to the Town Council on 6th September, 1665, by "Archibald Hog, deacone of the cordoneres, for him selffe and in name and behalffe of the maisters and friemen of the said traid."

That whairas the petitioner, having supplicat your Honours laitlie ffor certifieing of some enormities and Brack of good order committed by severall, both of frie and unfrie, of the cordoner calling; and, in particular, against unfriemen who keipes publick shopes on the heighe streit, and againest such friemen as slights and contemnes the deacone, ther meitings, and gives no obedience according to ther oath, the tyme of ther admissione or for certifieing of servants' fies, conforme to the antient custome, unto which supplicatione [may it please] your honours to grant ane gratious and acceptable answer, by ordeanning the supplicant to give in ane list of the persons delinquents, and therafter to give furder answer to the rest of the supplicatioune as the samen with your honours' answer as the end therof beares, and the supplicant holding it his deutie to render your honours ane accompt, according to your ordinance. Primo, it is represented that Johne Smythe is ane frieman, and yet ane dispyser and contraveiner of his deacone, and al ordinancecs, meitings, and deficient in all duetie; and that ther ar certaine personnes who hes no enterest to leive in this place, rather by tounne, trade, birth, nor breeding, and bes all chopes upon the foirstreitt to the prejudice of the calling contrair to the antient practise, and sells old shoos with new Leddar, coft out the merchandis chopes, vizt., James Johnstonne, George Smyth, Alexander Black-hall, who als is ain unfree breddar; David Keith, who hes ane number of bairnes, and by all appearance will be burthenable to the toune; Patrick Watsone, who contemnes the publick meitings and does nae duetie ; John Darge, who hede never ony leirning, and is nothing concernit in toune, trade, birth, nor breeding ; Johne Beith, who contemnes the meitings, and does ooe deutie ; Williame Moir, who belongs naither to toune, nor trade by birth nor breading; James Castill, who hes ane number of bairnes, and by all appearance may be burthenable, and belongs naither to the toune nor trade, by birth nor breeding ; Alexander Urquhart, ane strainger, and belongs nothing to toune nor trade ; Williame Michie, who wes never brede bot, takin up the trade at his awin hands and hes no interest naither in toune nor trade. Secundo, as to any bygane neglects of friemen in ther trade deutie—your honours lait ordinance being intimat unto thame—they have promised due performance with all conveinencie without further heiring which (if done) ther sail be no publick heiring any furder. Tertio, as to seruands fies it is desyrit and expectit that the deacone and maisteres may have power to regulat the samen according to the ancient custome and pryce of victualls for the tyme since they are best accustimnat heirwith. It is therfoir humblie desyred that your honours will be pleased to conteinew to counteinance us in manteining of our friedome and liberties, first by tacking course with the said John Smyth as he shall be found in error; secundo by tacking course to discharge the saides unfriemen from keiping chopes on the heighe streittis, and that selle no shois with new leddar coft out of the Burgh, bot with such as beis brought them by ther imployeres (and that the deacone and the trade put pryce vpon ther work least peiple shud be extortiounat). And that all be discharged the toune who have not enterest nather in toune nor trade by birth or breeding, and that the deacone and maisteris may have power to regulat ther servandis fies as accords. Wherin your honours favor humblie is attendit.

In response to the petition the Council appointed Baillies Mollesone, Gilbert Daly, and "Capitaine" D1elvill to make full inquiry into the "haill particulars above wreitin," and to give what redress was deemed necessary.

The traffic in hides and bark was for a long period regulated by the Shoemaker craft. Any person detected bringing rough hides into the city without having made the deacon acquainted with the fact rendered himself liable to a substantial fine. And for the purpose of detecting and preventing infringements on the acts made anent the importation of hides, the deacon and masters of the craft, each in his turn, were posted every. Saturday at the ports of the town to watch and apprehend such as attempted to infringe the statutes. From the following act of the craft, passed in 1640, it would appear that the craftsmen were at times somewhat lax in the performance of this duty :-

10th October, 1610.—The said day ye haill nichtbouris and bretherene of ye calling being conveint this daye thay al, with ane voyce and consent be thir present act, that thay sail dewlie keip sic portis of this burghe as thay sail be injoinit upon be ye dekyn, foir apprehending and taking bak againe roche hydis transportit furthe of this burgh be extraneans. And quha beis absent sail pey to ye weill of ye craft vi. schillings and audit pennies monie, toties quotes. And quha beis absent that promises to cum, be thair dekyn and be the officiar, thair Setterdaye aboutte, sail pay 40s. monie toties quotaes. And to be poyndit preceislie thairfoir, quharupon thai desyreit act to be maid.

Bark, as well as hides, [Many of the shoemakers, it must be remembered, were also curriers, and made their own leather.] was a commodity which no merchant burgess could bring into the town, and sell without first making intimation to the Dean of Guild and deacon of the craft, who, when informed of its arrival, examined the quality, noted the quantity, and fixed the price at which it was to be sold. Frequently the deacon, for behoof of the freemen of the craft, made the first purchase; the remainder, after the freemen were served, being disposed of by public roup.

The barkmill with its multures, and "any uyther dewtie bygane or to cum," was renounced in favour of the Shoemaker craft in 1605 by David Cargill, for the sum of one hundred pounds Scots.

The following is a statute enacted "anent ane bargane of barkis, coft be ye dekyn ,foir hymselff and in name of ye craft ":—

10th October, 1540.—The said day forsameikle as ye said James Hall, decain, hafing coft ane bargane of barkis fra Alex. Fraser, merchant, Inverneiss, amounting to ane hundrethe boxis or thairby, to ye weill of ye said calling and ye said decain, payable betwixt and ye 15th day of Januar nixt, on ye shoar of Aberdeen, winde and wedder servand, ye saplin barkis at four pundis ye Bowe, ye birk barkis at thrie pundis vis. viiid, ye bowe, and that of ye weicht contenit in ye standard maid thairanent, and thairfor willit ye nichtbouris of ye said craft to tak their pairts of of his hands, and relieve him of ye pryces thereof at the merchant's hand, qlk. they willinglie imbracit, as ye maist of thair names taken thairon on ane paiper beans, quhairupon ye said detain tuik act of curt and instrument.

The craft feeling themselves "molestit and wronged" in the common market by "contriemen anent selling of barks in seiks," they "to prevent both townsmen and countrymen being altogeddar frusterat and wronged" in the matter, got the Council to ordain the Dean of Guild to "cause mak ane sufficient firlot, with ane peck for measuring such barks as sail be brocht to the mercatt of this burgh in ty ine cuming." The market was open at "aucht houres" A.M. in the summer, and at "nyn houres" in the winter time. But notwithstanding these precautions a good deal of smuggling went on. In particular, in 1679, "Jon Cowper and Andro Galloway did at their awin hands buy roch hydes cuming heir be sea, baith from the south and north, as als barks, and did inhanse and monopoleiss the samen without offering the samen to the Deine of Gild, quhairby the said shoomaker traid, quho ought to haf hade the first offer of the samen as belanging to their tred, wes now sistit to buy the said comodities fra thame at the second or third hand, att ane deare and great rait, quhilk maid thame unabill to leive be their callings for maintenance of their families, and beireing of burdens with their nichbouris, and to mak and sel their handiwork at the rates and pryces thay formerlie used to doe." Cowper and Galloway had bought "ane parsill of hydes of about fyfteen pound sterling worth of pryce," on the last day of March, and the Trade petitioned to have them ordained to give the said complainers "ane pairt of the said parsill of hydes at the samen pryce thay boucht the samen thameselffis." The Council accordingly ordained that half the hides should be given to the Trade at the price paid by the purchasers and half the expenses they had been at, to which Cowper and Galloway agreed.

At an early period the shoemakers appointed one of their number to act as "clerk to the flesh market," his chief duty being to visit the market every Wednesday and Friday, between the hours of ten and twelve in the forenoon, in order to see that the hides "beis free fra cutting, scoreing, or gashing in the slaying thereof." Previous to 1698, the boxmaster acted as inspector, but in that year the two offices were separated, a salary ranging from ten to two pounds ten shillings Scots being paid to the clerk of the flesh market. Strangers and unfreemen paid a penny for each hide inspected, and freemen a halfpenny, the proceeds going to the poor of the Trade. This impost frequently led to serious contentions and disputes betwixt the fleshers and the Shoemaker Incorporation. The fleshers petitioned the Magistrates to have the custom abolished, and in so far as the amount imposed was concerned the Magistrates gave judgment in their favour by reducing the tax by one half, viz., for freemen, one farthing • per hide, and for strangers or unfreemen, one halfpenny, but all the other clauses in the Act were allowed to remain in full force during the pleasure of the Council.

The records of the Shoemaker Trade are more than ordinarily voluminous.[Some years ago Mr. James Downie, a member of the Trade, transcribed the greater part of the records, but found them too voluminous to put in book form. His MS. has proved of great assistance to me in preparing this notice of the Shoemaker Trade.—E.B.] The regular freemen were frequently at law with the cobblers and unfreemen in the neighbourhood of -the town, who came to the market to sell their wares, and . these disputes are almost all recorded at length; and they also contain interesting information about the hide trade, the barking and buying of leather, and the difficulties the craft had in preventing the importing of boots and shoes manufactured in the south. The oldest minute-book which contains the acts and statutes of the Trade has the following preface :-

This bulk perteinis to ye Cordoner Craft friemen burgess of Aberdene • beginine upon ye twentie twa day of Januar, 1634, wharin is conteened sindrie acts and statutes maid be ye deacones and maisteris of ye said craft to be obeseruit and trewlie keepit be ye haill members and bretberne of ye said craft in all tyme comyn be yair gryte aithis sworue to yat effect. Trewlie extracted and drawn furthe of thair auld court buikis of the said craft be Johnne Donaldson, notar court clerk, at command of the said craft.

"The Lord is the portion of our inheritance."

The following are the principal acts and statutes:--

ANENT KEEPING THE SABBATH.

Imprimus, it is statut and ordanit foir ye glorie of God yat ye Lordis Sabbothe beis sainctefeit, and yat ye severill houris of prayer and preaching be precieslie keipit be maisteris, seruandis, prentises, of ye said craft, and na worke to be wrocht, nor buithe dore oppin, efter ye prayer bell ceiss in ye morning, and na vaiging nor drynking. And quha brakis thir present ordinance salt pay as followis, viz., ye maister vij. s., ye seruand iii. s. ij. d., and ye prenteis to be punishit in his personne at ye will of ye dekyn and maisteris. And ye maister of ye said seruand to be comptabill yairfor, efter lauchful tryall and heirupon maid act.

ANENT OBEDIENCE TO THE DEACON.

Item, it is statut and ordanit yat ye haill brethrene sail give dew obedience to ye deacone of ye said craft, baithe in court, comand, and ordinance, and nave dissobey nor contradict ye said deacone nor ye lauchfull ordinances of ye said craft sett downe be thair ancient predicessouris, and quha brackis yis ordinance sail be condingIie punischeit at ye will and discretioune of ye deacone and maisteris f oir ye tyme.

ANENT SERVANTS AND APPRENTICES.

Item, it is statut and ordanit yat it sail not be leasum to no maister to receave ony servand or prenteis to work in yair buithe without yai cum first befoir ye deacone for ye tyme, and mak ye said deacone acquaint yairwith, and quha bracks yis present ordinance shall pey to ye box for ye use of ye poore ye sowme of thretie shillings Scottis.

Item, it salt not be leasom to na frieman heiroff to accep of ane uthers seruand undischargit of his former maister, and hes leife askit and gewin, and quha does in ye contrar of yis present act sail pey to the collecktor ye sowine of 40s. monie to be peyit and unforgewin.

Item, giff ony sail be fund to inteiss or withdraw ane other manes seruand without leive and consent of his awin maister, ye contraveinar sail pey in 4 pundis to ye said craftis box, totes quoties.

Item, it is statut and ordanit yat giff it hapens ony personn to give in ane complent againis ony frieman heirof for not doing of dewtie to yair seruandis and apprenteiss undir yair chairge, and giff it happens ye maister to have failzeit in his pairt, he sal be amerciat and punishitt in ane unlaw of sic monies as ye deacone and maisteris sail modifie according to ye grauvitie of ye faulte.

ANENT "MADE" WORK.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that it sail not be leasum to no frieman of ye said craft to bringe Name frae ony pairt within this kingdome ony maid work to top or sell ye samyn within this burghe, or at landwart mercatts, and quha contravenes heirintill sail pey fyve markis moiiie, to ye cocoon box for helping of ye poore.

ANENT BUYING WITHOUT THE DEACON'S CONSENT.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that it sall not be leasum to no frieman heirof to buy ony merchandice belanging to thair craft fra extraneans to his awin vse, bot that ye samyn sail be coft be ye decain of ye said craft to ye use of ye haill brethrene. Twa—that it sail not be leasom to no pryvate man to buy sic comodities to his awin use bot consent of ye decain, as said is, and quha contraveines heirintill sail pey ye sowme of 40 shillings monie.

ANENT DISMISSING SERVANTS.

Item, it is statut and ordanit, that in caice it sail fall out that any maister of ye craft offer ony injurie offensive to his servandis: in that caice it sail not be leasum to ye servand offendit to remuve fra his maisteris worke vnless he beis compelit be his maister to remuve, and in caice he be so remuvit that he immediatelie thairefter cum to ye deacone and mak him• foirseine thairof, vtherwayis the said servand to pay to ye vse of ye poore ye sowme of iij. shilling and 2d., and his remaining in his maisteris service efter he has recivit injurie sail not be prejudicall to him seiking justice, quhilk sall be ministratt to him, quhan and at quhat tyme ye pairtie offendit sail sute for the samyen.

ANENT PROFANITY, CURSING, AND BANNING.

Item, forsameikill as ye deacone and maisteris understanding in thair conventioune throw laik of punishments in tyme past, ye name of God is prophanlie spokin of be rasche aithes, taking his blissit name in vane, and be cursing and banning; for remeade thairof it is statut and ordauit be voyce of ye haill calling, that quhasoever sail contravene this Act, that everie persone how oft he happens to transgress sail pey to ye persone quha happens to be collector aucht pennies scotis, toties quoties, for helping of ye poor.

ANENT DRINKING AND LOOSE BEHAVIOUR ON THE LORD'S DAY.

Item, foirsameikill, siclyke, as ye dekyn and maisteris haveing perfyt intelligence of ye lowsniss of ye seruand boyis of ye craft, and of yair skandelous behaviour in vaiging and drynking on the Lordis Sabbothe, contempending God and His ordinances, and neglekting of yair maisteris and behaviour towardis yame. For remede yairof, yat it is statut and ordanit yat everie seruand repare to ye kirk on ye Lordis Sabbothe, afoir and efter nune, with yair maisteris, and heir Godis wird, and yat yay cum oute of ye kirk recompaneing yair maisteris. It sail be askit gif yay cum not, and ane count to be takin on Monondai of yair maisteris, and yair aithis takin yairon gif ye seruandis hes obeyit ye said ordinance. And ye maister of ye seruand contravening without ony lauchful taus, for ilk brak salt pay iii. shillings, quhilk ye maister salbe answerabill for, and he to haue releiff of ye seruandis vaigis.

ANENT OFFENSIVE SPEECHES.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that if it happens ony frieman heirof to offend ane uyther be offensive or scandleous speiches ayther in his awin presence or behind his back, or dois any uyther molestation, ye doar thairof sail pay to ye comone box ye sowme of fouir pundis by and attour sateisfactione to ye pairtie griveit at ye will and discretione of ye deacone.

ANENT WORKING ON THE SABBATH DAY.

Item, it is statut and ordanit for ye glorie of God yat quhosoever beis fund on ye Sabbothe day efter ye prayer bell stanis ringin ayer maister or seruand in yair buithes salbe punishitt as followis, viz., gif ye seruand beis working at new schoone, ye saidis to be iubrocht to ye craftis vse ; and gif he beis fund mending auld shoois ye seruand to pey fouir schillingis yairfor to ye collector, or than to tak awaye ye schoone yat beis mendit. And ordains visitoris to be appoyntit for yat effect. And yis act is bot prejudice of ye foirsaid act—anent keiping of ye kirk on ye Sabbothe.

ANENT FEEING APPRENTICES,

Item, it is statut and ordanit yat it sail not be leasom to no frieman. heirof to fee nor conduce with ony prenteis to serve for fewir yeirs yan fyve zeirs as prenteis, and acne zeir yair-efter for meit and fie, and _quhan he hes servit furthe his haill prtnteisschipp, sail serve yair-efter in his progress for uyther thrie zeirs ; quhane he may find best sichte and his comoditie. And that the prenteis beis nowayes acceptit in ye craft as ane frieman or his bill be harde, quntill he have servit completelie ye haill nyu zeirs, and yis act to strik againe thame yat is in present service or to serve heirefter.

ANENT BOOKING APPRENTICES.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that ilk flail yat happins to cum and serve ony of ye friemen heirof, sail pay to ye collector of ye craft twentie shillings monie scottis togedder with four shillings to ye clerk foir buiking him. And ilk prenteis to be receavit heirefter be indenture sail pey to ye said collector foir defrayeing of ye craftis adyce the sowme of fourtie shillings scottis nionie togidder with four shillings to ye clerk foir buiking ye samen. And sic Tyke it is statut and ordanit yat quhatsomever prenteis yat hes servit furthe ye haill zeirs of his prenteischippe, and gif he enter as ane journeyman with ony maister sail pey to ye said collector twentie shillings with four shillings foir buiking ye samen : swa yat he sail pey als aft as he enters with ony maister ; and yat be reasone of craftis with in ye samen have hichtit yair servands and prenteisses entries.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that ye clarke of ye said craft sail mak all indentures betwixt maister and prenteis, and that it sail not be leasum to no maister to give, grant, or subscryve ony back band for fewir yeirs yan is contenit in his indentur —and quha contraveines herintill sail pey x. pundis be ane unlaw; to be takin upp and not for-given—and als it is statut and ordanit yat gif it happens ony prenteis of ye said craft do comitt fornicatioune or adultrie wt-in ye yeirs of his prenteis-schip, in that caice, eftir tryall and prowen yairof, he sail beginne of new againe and serve over ye haill yeirs and paiues conteinit in his indentur.

ANENT ENTRY MONEY.

Item, forsameikle as ye deacone and maisteris with consent of ye haill brethrene of ye said craft understanding ye chaipness of intrant friemen creiping in amongst yame for ye compositioune or banquet siller verie far prejudicall to thair comon box and enritching thairof, quhairas uthyer craftis verie far extendis thair compositiounes or banquet siller ; for remeid yairof the deacone and maisteris with consent of ye said craft as liaveing power to augment ye saids compositiounes have statut and ordanit yat sic interants yat beis admittit friemen auiongst thame in tyme cuming sail pey ye compositiounes following, vizt., the prenteis yat hes servit within yis burt, ye sowme of fourty poundis. And ye extranear or servand yat hes not bein prenteis sail pey ane hundred merks and mair according to ye deacone and maisteris will, by and attour ye regular dewis usit and wont, togidder with twentie shillings peyable be ye new intrant to be given in to ye *deacone conveinars box according to ane ordinance maid yairanent. Nayer sail it be leasom to ma brethreine of ye said craft to speik in favors of ye intrant for ony mitigatione he wes undir ye pain of ye craftis unlaw. [This act was ratified in 'September, 1684.]

23rd January, 1695.—The traid by voyce of court did stricktlie statute and ordain that, in all tyme coming, no prenteis shall be admitted freeman of the said incorporatione for less banquet siller than ane hundreth markes Scots money, and no extranean for less banquet silver than six score and ten markes foirsaid. And that to be payed in readie money, or then the deacone and boxmaister for the tyme to be lyable therefor. And also it is ordained that the bill money and sey mony be allowed in pairt of payment of the above written. And that the new entrant shall, in all tyme coming, be quit and free of all expences for drink (except at the three tymes under mentioned), vizt.—first when the entrant puts in his bill, secondly, when the sey is halff perfited, and thirdly, when the sey is past and the haill traid present. And ordains that freemen's chyldring be admitted conforme to the ancient custom and laudable Acts made there-anent. And that no freeman contraveen thir presents, nor come in the contrair hereof in all tyme comeing.

ANENT WEARING HATS AT BURIALS.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that quasomever yat ar in use to weir hattis sail adres them selffis theirwith, orderlie to all burialls as yei happin to be warnit yairto. And quha beis absent frome ye said burialls being warnit laulie yairto sail pey iiijs. to ye deacone of ye craft for ye tyme. And quha brakis yis present ordinance sail pey sex s. viijd. toties quotes.

ANENT SPOILING NEW WORK.

Item, it is statut and ordanit yat gif ony frieman heirof spyle ony new wark to ony personne quhatsumever, and gill ye complaint cums in befoir ye deacone and maisteris, and thay find ye samen vnsufficient, ye pairtie defendand sail pey ane unlaw to ye craft at ye will and discretioune of the deacone and maisters for ye tyme, by and attour sateisfactioune to ye pairtie complainane. [On 3rd December, 1633, this act "was ratiftt and approvit be voyce of court."]

ANENT FOREIGN SHOES.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that no friemane of ye said craft sail tak vpon hand to tak or receave frae ony person quhatsomever ony Inglis schoone, Frenshe schoon, buittis, panterneil, or stripingis, to sell ye samen in culloirs of his awin maidwork, and quha contraveins this present act sal pey xi. s. movie, toties quoties. And that nane buy nor sell new work that is maid outwith this burgh under ye paine foirsaid.

ANENT THE DEACON.

Item, it is statut and ordanit yat ye craft sail choiss about Michealmass, zerlie, ane detain amarigis ye sex maisteris, ye maist wysest and vndirstandin manne, yat hes unctioune and pouer to gowerne ye said calling.

ANENT THE TRADES HOSPITAL.

Item, it is statut and ordanit yat quhasomever of ye said craft wilfullie withholds his help of his meains from ye craftis hospitall sail have no pairt nor portionne of ye mortefeit monies dedicat for yat effect, nayer to have vote in ye choising of ye deacone and maisteris of ye said craft, or admissionne in ye said houss of any frieman.

ANENT BRIBERY.

Item, it is statut and ordanit yat quhasumevir of ye said craft convocats yame selffis for choising of ye deacone befoir ye day of electiounne, or suvornes ony vythir to geirsst [To oust or throw out.] ony mane, befoir ye said daye, the doar yairof, quhasumevir he be, sail be convictit in six pundis money, to be inbrocht to ye deacone convenirs box, and giff he have na monies, to be debarit of al vote in ony meiting quhatsumevir—and sic lyke quha peys not yair quarterlie stagis, entries, and convictiounes, sail haue nae vote in ony tym heireftir in choising of ye deacone.

ANENT MEETINGS OF THE CRAFT.

Item, it is statute and ordanit that quhatsomever deacone of yis present craft conveins in his awin houss ayer with his haill craft or with his haill maisteris, to hauld court or meetings anent any affairs of ye craft, and conveines not formlie in yiar convyening houss of ye Trinities—in yat caice ye deacone contraveining of yis present ordinance sail pey to ye deacone conveneris box ye sowme of sex pundis monie toties quoties. And yat he pey ye samen within fourtie-aucht houris yairefter, and failyeing yairof sail pey ye doubill of ye sowme, and to be poynit yairfor.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that at quhatsumever court beis halden aytber generall or particular within the said conveining house, the court being ante fencit, quhasoever thairefter speikis without leave askit and given sail pay sex shillings money toties quoties, and if he refuse salbe presentlie poyndit thairfor, to be inbrocht to the craftis awin box, and gif ony beis refractur to be defraudit of his vote at ony meeting of court till ye samen be obeyit.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that quhasoever persone beis lauchfullie warnit to ony meiting or court quhatsumever, and cumes not at the hour appoyntit, sail pay iiij shillings money, toties quoties, to be inbrocht to the deacone's and maisteris' uses. And sic lyke quha pays not thair quarterlie stagis, entriess, and convictiounes sail have no vote at ony tyme heirefter in choising of the deacone.

ANENT ATTENDING THE "SHOONE MERCAT."

Item, it is statut and ordanit according to auld use and wont that ye deacone of ye said craft sail go ilk setterdaye with ane of ye maisteris to ye comon shoone mercat for ye trying of all unsufficient work repairing yairto. And if ony beis fund in ye said mercat (with concurrance of ye-magistrates), to escheat and inbring ye samen to ye use of ye craft, conform to ane ordinance maid yairupon be ye provost, baillies, and counsell of ye samen in favors of ye said craft.

ANENT "MAISTERSTICKS."

Item, forder, it is statut and ordanit that quhasumever presumes to receave the benifyte of ane frieman sail have twa sey maisteris to awaitt on hym quhill his maisterstick be maid, and to mak ane pair buitta, twa pair shoone, and ane pair slipperis, suffycient work.

ANENT SELLING TO UNFREEMEN.

Item, it is statut and ordanit that quhasumeyer frieman sells to vnfrieman ony sollis, heills, boords, or ony sorte of new leddar, ye contraveneir sail pey to ye weil of ye craft ij shillings, toties quoties, as ye samen beis prowin and qualifiet.

ANENT INSUFFICIENT BARKIT LEATHER.

Item, it is statute and ordanit that quhasomever of ye said craft sells to any of ye brethrene insufficient barkit ledder ye contraveiner yairof sail pay to ye weil of ye calling ye sowme of iiij pundis monie toties quoties by and attour satisfactionne to ye pairties. And yis act to strik als weil againes yame yat sellis insufficient barkit leddar in common mercats and fairs as within yis burght.

ANENT WEARING HATS AT HEAD COURTS.

Item, it is statute and ordainit vat quhasomever are in vse to weir hattis on yair heids sail adress yame selflis yairwith to all heid courtis formalie. And quha contraveines sail pay 6 shillings and 8d. toties quoties.

ANENT SERVANTS BARKING LEATHER.

Item, it is statut and ordainit that no servaud sail have ony fordder libertie in barking, yeirlie, during his abyding with his maister, bot onlie ane hyde and ane skyn, and quha contravenes heirintill salbe lyabill for ye craftis vnlaw, to be weyit by thame, bothe ye maister and servand to pay the vnlaw equallie betwixt thame, in respek ye maister suld not give way to ony fordder than his deu.

ANENT WAGES.

It is statute and ordanit that it sail not be leasom to no frieman heirof to give to ony servand for his wark mair nor sextein pennies scots, excep he beis trainit up in forran countreyeis. And quha brakis thir ordinance sail pey to ye collector in name of ye craft ye sowme of x. markis monie, toties quoties, and that ye said servand sail be removit fra that maister and sail go to ane nyther as ye will of ye deacone and maisteris that will keip this present ordinance, qlk act wes maid be consent of ye haill calling.

ANENT OUTSIDE WORKING.

Item, it is statute and ordainit yat it sail not be leasom to no frieman heirof to mak new wark in merchandis' houss, nor work leddar there, bot onlie in friemen's buithis, and quha brakis this present ordinance tha sail be vnlawit and convictit in x. pundis monie, toties quoties. And this ordinance to strik agains al inhabitants that resydis in ye toune.

ANENT APPLICATION FOR THE FREEDOM.

Item, it sail not be leasom to no prenteis that lies servit within this burght to seik the benefite to be friemen unto the tyme he serve within this burgh the space of thrie yeirs imniediatlie efter the entering of his prenteishipe, and this to stand perpetuallie in all tyme curving.

Item, siclyke it is statute and ordanit that na extranear sal be receavit as freeman within this burghe unto the tyme he serve the nichtbouris of the tredd be the space of thrie yeirs.

ANENT THE PRICE FOR MAKING SHOES.

Item, it is statute and ordainit that no freemen give mair to ther journeymen and flails bot only fyve shillings for the pair of menis shooue, and four shillings for the pair of womenis', without any bouutie or other benefitis, under quhatsomevir name, cullor, or pretext., and this act to have effect in all tyme to come after Pashe nix, 1664. And quba sail contraveine and do in the contrair, sail pay thrie pounds toties quoties for the use of the poore.

ANENT COBBLERS.

Item, it is statute and ordanit that no frieman give out ony worke of quhatsomever sort to ony cobbler or vther unfrieman without their awin buithes at ony tym heerefter, under ye pane of fouir pundis scottis, toti,es quoties, to be peyit in to ye collector's box be ye persons contraveneing.

7th February, 1698.—The traid ordains that in all tyme hereafter no cobler be admitted within the burgh except the supplicant give in ane bill to the court, and that the court get ane voyce thereanent. And this to be observed in all tyme coming.

ANENT FREEMEN DWELLING IN THE SPITTAL.

8th February_, 167.—Item, it is statute and ordanit be voyce of court that ilk freeman of the said traid that dwalls in the Spithill, Old Aberdeen, or any territories about the toune of Aberdeen, shall acquaint the deacon of the craft befoir they fee or conduce aither prenteiss or ball : and shall be obligit to pay entry-money and quarterlie pennie als freelie in all respects as ane other freeman that resides or dwalls within the toune off Aberdeen conforme to the laudabill lawe and custom. And this to be observed in all tyme comeing, and quha brakis this act to pay 30 shillings toties quoties.

ANENT JOURNEYMEN.

30th November, 1696.—The said day the traid did statut and ordain that no journeymen of the said calling sall in tyme comeing mak ony new work within the hous he dwalls in, but onlie in his maisteris schope, excep he have ane relevant excuse, and in caice he beis caught working ony new work contrair to this Act, the said new work sail be attatchit for the vse of the comone box and confiscat therto.

ANENT A PHYSICIAN TO THE INCORPORATIONS.

4th March, 1786.—The said day the trade having taken under their consideration a proposal from Dr. James Davidson, a son of Convener Davidson, relative to his proposal of attending the several Incorporations, their families and servants, and providing them in medicines; they approve of the plan and agree to make trial of it for one year, and to contribute from the funds of their society three pounds sterling for one year, for paying Mr. Davidson for his attendance, and grant warrant to the boxmaster to pay him accordingly when the other trades do, and agree also to pay what medicines shall be provided by him for the sick.

16th February, 1787.—The trade having heard the proposal anent having a dispensary physician to the trades, they appoint the deacon and boxmaster as a committee to wait on Dr. Davidson, with the committee from other trades, to hear the plan proposed, that the same may be laid before the trade. [As nothing further is reported touching the above subject, it seems the matter ended here, and that no appointment was made.]

ANENT THE ELECTION DINNER.

16th October, 1792.—The trade, by a very great majority of votes, agree that, in time coming, there shall be no election supper or dinner to be paid by the boxmaster from the trade's funds, it being their opinion that, the money so expended may be more properly applied for the support' of the poor of the trade, and in future no boxmaster shall be allowed more than ten shillings for incidents with the tenants at receiving their rents. [At the passing of this Act, the deacon (Alex. Hutcheon) became indignant and left the chair, refusing at the same time to sign the minute after it had been inserted in the book, and during the time the clerk was reading the Act he left the ball. Twenty-five remained, who elected George Strachan preses, whom they empowered to sign the same. However, when the boxmaster presented his accounts and wag discharged, Hutcheon was again in the chair as deacon, and signed the accounts.]

A fruitful source of trouble to the cordiners was the importation of boots and shoes into the town from the south. In 1662 a petition was presented to the Magistrates complaining of boots and shoes being brought from Edinburgh and other places, and that "thereby they wer not able to undergoe the public burdens of this burgh nor to interteine themselves nor mantein their severall families, without remeid wer provydit be the Counsell for that effect." The Council appointed and ordained " that no merchant within the Burghe bring to the samen from Edinburgh or any other place within this King-. doin to sell, top, or exchange in their booths or otherways any boots or shoes nor any maid work tending to the prejudice of the forsaid Traid. But that the forsaid Traid injoy and possess the samen, and commoditie redounding thereby, as ther libertie and freedom, with certification to any who sail contraveen to be punishit at the Counsell's pleasure, the freemen of the said traid always furnishing the inhabitants of the Burgh as they sail be imployit with sufficient shoes, boots, and other maid work needful of good and sufficient leather within competent time efter advertisement, at the ordinar pryce and rates set downe yeirly thereanent be the Counsell, wherin if they or any of them be found to contraveene and be deficient the for-said Act to be void and null and of no effect in all tyme therafter, and the merchants to have libertie to bring home and sell shoes or other maid work for the use of the towne as they sail have occasione, and declaring it to be always leasome to the merchants to bring home boots and shoes for their own particular uses allenerly and no further except in caice forsaid."—Council Register, vol. liv., p. 373.

A strict line of distinction was always drawn between the cobblers and regular shoemakers. The cobblers, while recognised by the craft and permitted to share in its benevolent funds on payment of certain small annual contributions, were not made freemen or admitted to full membership. They were allowed to have stalls in the public places of the town, but they were prohibited from erecting sign-boards, and were otherwise strictly restricted to a certain class of work. From time to time, however, serious disputes arose, and at last, in 1731, the Trade passed the following statute :-

19th January, 1731.—The trade taking to their consideration the great loss by the freemen of this trade through the great number of cobblers in this burgh, and that their keeping of shops to the open street, and also that the number of them is daily increasing, whereby they enhance a great part of the work that should be wrought by freemen, they therefor unanimously Statute and Ordain in all tyme coming, such as are already admitted cobblers in this burgh shall pay yearly of quarter-pennies to the boxmaster, for the use of the trade, sixteen shillings, Scots money. And also the trade hereby prohibit and discourage the said cobblers or any of them from having any shops in any public street of this burgh, and from putting up signs at their shops, the same being so highly prejudicial to the free members of this trade. And the trade do also hereby statute that no person shall be admitted as a cobbler within this burgh or liberties thereof on any pretext whatsomever unless such, allanerly, as have served apprenticeship to a freeman of this trade, and that such as have served apprenticeship as aforesaid shall pay to the trade for the liberty to be cobblers such a sum as the trade shall think proper.

This action on the part of the freemen led the cobblers to take steps for forming themselves into a separate corporation, with a'deacon, boxmaster, clerk, and other office-bearers; but the Magistrates, on being appealed to for an interdict by the Shoemaker Incorporation, declared "that the cobblers of this burgh are a subordinate part of the society of the Shoemaker Trade, and depend upon them, and found that it was illegal and unwarrantable in the cobblers to put up signs or to erect themselves in a separate society, or have a deacon, boxmaster, clerk, or public box, and therefore discharged all practices in tyme coming under all highest pains that the Majestrates should think fit, and ordained the papers, which they have by way of records, to be destroyed, and appointed the three shillings and sixpence sterling money of their public stock to be distributed among the poor cobblers by the present deacon of the shoemakers; but found that it has been the practice of this and other cities that cobblers have stalls in public places, for working therein at the ordinary work competent to cobblers, and found that the contributions formerly in use to be paid by the cobblers to the boxmaster of the Shoemaker Trade is eight shillings eight pennies Scots per annum, and that the voluntary contributions agreed to be paid among themselves is eight shillings Scots per annum, which would be more properly lodged in the hands of the boxmaster of the Shoemaker Trade, and therefor found it just and reasonable that each cobbler should pay in and contribute yearly sixteen shillings Scots money to the boxmaster of the Shoemaker Trade, and that in lieu thereof the said cobblers, when they became old and unable to work, they shall be entituled to the charity of the Shoemaker Trade, and that the trade shall be burdened with the expenses of burying them when they have no effects for that purpose, and found it just and reasonable that none should be admitted cobblers in time coming but such as are, or shall be, apprentices, or serve as journeymen to some of the Shoemaker Trade, and that each cobbler of quality aforesaid ought to pay of composition at his entry ten merks Scots money, and that the cobblers ought to keep themselves within due bounds, and not encroach upon the freemen. And for effectuating the premises and securing both parties in the above terms, they ordain that an Act should be passed by the Incorporation to that effect, with certification thereof, before the next term of Martinmas, and the Incorporation failing thereof, then the cobblers shall be free of paying any new contributions but only the foresaid eight shillings and eight pennies Scots yearly."—Trades Papers.

There were also a class of men known as "Spitalmen" residents in the Spital portion of Old Aberdeen—who had to make an annual contribution to the funds of the Trade; and residents in the following district were also made to pay Well o' Spa, Futtie, Garden Nook, Hardweird, Loanhead, Rubislaw, Hazelhead, Couparstoun, Ruthrieston, Hard gate, Pitmuxton, and Bridge of Dee. These men paid their dues at Candlemas, Ruid-day, Hallow-day, and Lammas Court, and on these occasions they appear to have been hospitably entertained, "Att receiving the spitalmen money 1 15s. 4d."; and "with several spitalmen and single soled men 8s.," being common entries in the books. These men came into the market to sell their shoes, and it was mainly for this privilege that they were obliged to pay dues to the Trade.

The essays prescribed in this craft varied in accordance with the class of shoes that the applicant made. There were men for making single soled shoes and double soled shoes, and no craftsman was permitted to make any kind of shoes except of the description which had been prescribed to him for his essay. The following was the form of entry with regard to the admission of a freeman :-

12th September, 1692.—At Aberdeen the twalt day of September, Jaj, vi c., and ny my twa yeiris. In presence of William Strachan, deacone, Alexander Ogilvie gave in his sey: To witt, a pair of single soiled shoon and a pair of single pumps with sex pounds scots, of sey money, and gave band to the traid that he should work no other work but single work conform to his sey, and that he should not intyse no frieman's servands to work to him. Whereupon his sey was past, and 100 pounds of faiizie to be putt in his band; and he payit the boxmaister fyve markes in compleet payment of his compositione.

Curriers, who were not at the same time shoemakers, have been admitted to the Shoemaker Trade, the essay prescribed being as follows :-

27th Apryll, 1691.—The said day John Denoon gave in his sey to be currier, with sex pundis scots of sey movie, and did offer to be serviceable to the traid, and presented ane cowe hyde, and ane ox hyde, weil dressit, to the contentment of the traid, wherupone his qualificatione wes ordanit to be reported to the Couusell.

In a dispute which arose between the master shoemakers and their journeymen, in 1668, regarding the rate of pay for making boots and shoes, the Magistrates fixed the rate for "ilk pair. of best shoes. wrocht be them for men, fyve shillings Scots movie. Item, the second sort of men's shoes wrocht be them, ilk pair four shilling sex pennies money foresaid. Item, for ilk pair of best shoes for women, three shilling sex pennies money foresaid. Item, for ilk pair of weemen's shoes of the third sort, two shilling sex pennies money foresaid. Being all good and sufficient work, and which are all to be payed after completeina of the said work respectivlie. And anent that part of the supplicatione relating to restraining of the said journeymen mending and cobbling of shoes within ther owin houss, statutes and ordains that the said journeymen sail begine to ther work with ther imployers at sex houres in the morning and continue untill sex houres in the afternoon, usual and convenient tyme being allowit to them at nyne and twelve houres in the forenoon for refreshment."—Council Register, vol. lv., p. 107.

The account books of this Trade have been much better preserved than some of the others. From entries that occur in the earlier accounts it is evident that the old books had originally consisted of loose and unruled paper. One quire of paper was all that the Trade purchased at a time, and when filled up another was procured until a certain number had accumulated of sufficient bulk to form a book for binding. In 1694 one of these quires cost the Trade eight shillings Scots (eightpence sterling), and the cost of binding one pound four shillings Scots (two shillings sterling). The following are a few entries taken at random from the accounts :—

The wife of a journeyman shoemaker was thus rewarded for bringing forth triplets in 1784:--

29th June, 1184.—The said day John Forbes represented that David M'Allan's wife had brought furth three children at one birth. The trade, on account of said David being Mr. Forbes's principal servant, grant warrant to the Boxmaster to give him one pound sterling.

The entry for which in the boxmaster's accounts is as follows :-

Paid David M`Allan, journeyman, on account of his wife having three children at one birth, 1.

Forbes afterwards entered the Trade in the year 1792, and died in 1821.

At a very early date the cordiners formed a connection with the church. As already mentioned, they had, prior to the Reformation, a special chaplain for their altar in St. Nicholas Kirk, and when the change of religion took place the craft fitted up "dasks," first in St. Nicholas, and then in Trinity Kirk. In 1741 they fitted up a new "dask," the cost of which is set forth in the boxmaster's accounts as follows :—

During the execution of the above work the Hammerinen Trade gave in a representation to the Magistrates relative to the armorial bearings which the Shoemakers were having executed for the purpose of being put up and fixed upon the front of their newly-erected desk. The Hammermen considered that the Shoemakers had no right to have a crown upon their armorial bearings, but on a reference to the patent granted by the Lyon King at Arms, it was found that the Shoemakers were as much entitled to the crown as the Hammermen.

In 1854 the Shoemakers obtained a private Act of Parliament to confirm their titles and conveyances, and to regulate the administration of the funds and affairs of the craft. It is drawn in similar terms to the Acts obtained by the Hammermen and the Bakers. For a long time the Shoemaker craft was in very straitened circumstances. Much of its annual revenue was spent in litigation and protecting its exclusive privileges; but about a century ago matters improved financially, and the Trade are now proprietors of part of the lands of Ferryhill, Drywell Park (now Watson Street), Clay Croft (Gilcomston), Well Croft, and part of DSarywell Croft, Lochfield Croft, part of Hardweird Croft, part of Queen Street, West North Street, and Shoe Lane; and Dirty Riggs. This last mentioned piece of ground was afterwards called "The Broad Rig and Yaird," and it now forms the North Lodge grounds. In the year 1723 it belonged to Alexander Fraser of Powis, in which year he sold it. It was again sold in 1731 and in 1732; and in 1734 it was purchased by Francis Laflesh, who sold it to the Shoemaker Trade in 1737.
On the panel bearing the arms of the Shoemaker Trade is the following acrostic :—


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