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Merchant and Craft Guilds
A History of the Aberdeen Incorporated Trades
Appendix - Common Indenture, 1587 - Dr. Guild's Mortification, 1633 Decreet of Declarator, 1803


AT Aberdene the seventh day of July the zier of God ane thousand five hundred fourscore and seven years, we Alexander Cullane, David Menzies, baillies of the burght of Aberdene, and Alexander Forbes, burgess of the said burght, commissionars electit, and nominate be the provost, baillies, council, brethren of gild of the said burght, on the ane part, and George Elphinston, deacon-conveneer, Alexander Ronaldson, baxter, John Duncan, tailor, commissionars chosen, electit, and nominate be the haiil craftismen, freemen of the said burght, on the uther part, and Dlaister Alexander Cheyne, parson of Snaw and commissar of Aberdene, odman and oTman, equally chosen by the saids commissionars anent the decision of the controversy afterspecifit betwixt the saids commissionars for the saids parties ; that is to say, Forsameikleas the saids commissionars havaud sufficient power of baith the parties foresaid are finally appointit and agreet upon all and sundry the heads after following; and first, to take away all differences whilk hitherto resultit upon the admission of freemen of craft, and for the establishing of ane perpetual ordor yairanent, we ordane and decerns all persons willing to be made free and incorporate to the fraternity of ony craft, that they sail first present themselffs to the provost, baillies, and council, to be made free burgesses of the said burght ; and gif they mean to Leif by their said craft, the said provost, baillies, and council and dean of gild, before ony furder proceeding, sail remit the entrant be their testimonial to the deacon and maisters of the craft profest be the said entrant, to be examint by them; and being examint, and not found qualifyt, sail be repellt baith frae the suit of burgess-ship and freemanship of the craft foresaid; but be the contrar, gif they be found qualifyt be the said deacon and freemen of the said craft, reportand to the provost, baillies, council, and dean of gild, ane sufficient testimonial upon their conscience of the entrant's qualification and hability: that then and in that case they sail be admittit, as eeand for the freedom of the burgess-ship according to the antient use and laudable consuetude of the said burgh; providing that this clause, viz., secumdem libertate;n sue art is, or sicklike words, signifiand odius restrictions, be not insert in their testimonial, but that the same be done adriissus in burgensem tanticmmodo ; and thereafter, notwithstanding of the whilk admission the said entrant sail not have place to work, nor exercise his craft, unto the time he report his testimonial of the said provost, baillies, and dean of gild, under the subscription of the town clark, that he is admitted to be burgess, and present the same to the deacon and maisters of that craft, who thereafter sail compone with the entrant for the freedom and free licence to exercise the craft : And be reason sume doubts resulted amang the said commissionars concerning the composition of the entrants, it is finally agreet by the saids commissionars and decernt by them, that the said compositions and blankates be made after the auld use and custum, and not after the will of the entrant; bot because consideration aught to be had diversly after the estait and condition of diverse persons suitars of the freedom ; to wit, giffe the entrant be the eldest son of ane free burgess, or zit the eldest son of ane free craftisman that lies past their prenticeship within the said burgh of Aberdene, he sail be free with the craft for the bancate only ; bot the rest of merchants sons, or free craftismens sons that hes past their prenticeship within the said burgh of Aberdene, sail pay forty shilling orhead, with the bancate befoir, allenarly ; and all prentices learning within the said town, and zet being ane forane, or born out of the said town, as also they that are not freemens sons, suppose they be born within the town, sail pay ten marks overhead with the bancate, for their freedums, to the deacon and brethren of their craft; sicklike outlands craftismen that are notht born burgesses sons or freemans sons of the said burgh, neither lies past preuticeship within the same, but has learnt their craft in ony uther place not within the town, they sail pay to the deacon and maisters of their craft for their freedom, at the least twenty marks money foresaid with the bancate as said is ; and decerns the composition of the money foresaid for the freedum, as is above expreamt, to be delivert and payt to the deacon of the craft, he to be answerable for the twa part of the same to the dean of gild and to deliver the same to him for to be wared and bestowt upon the aid, support, and help of the common charges of the town, according to the directions to be given be the provost, baillies, and council of the said burgh to him there-anent ; and the third part of the said composition, with the bankates fore-said, to be distributit an bestowt at the pleasure of the deacons of the craftis and their brethren freemen aforesaid : And sicklike the twa part of the composition of the entress of every prentice (whilk is the sum of twenty shilling) the twa part thereof to be delivert to the dean of gild, and the third part to the deacons and maisters of craftis, to be usit in manner and to the effect above expreamt. Secondly, we the saids commissionars for baith the said parties, hinc fade, decerns and ordains that the saids craftismen sail not meddle with na kind of foreane nor oversea wares, but to have their shair of timber conform to use and wont, and of salt sa meikle as serve thair houses allenarly; and as concerning the bearing of offices of magistrates, sic as to be provost, baillies, deans of gild, and thesaurers, we decern that na craftismen sail aspyre thereto unto the time that they be promotit to be bretheren of gild ; bot prejudice always that it sail be liesom to the said craftismen to choise sax persons of their awin number zierly, to be upon lyitis of whom the concil sail choise twa thereof zeirly, who sail- have place with the rest of the ordinary auditors to hear and see all and sundry the town's comets, baith of property and casualitys. Thirdly, in respect that gryt contraversies hes been at all times betwixt the said parties concerning the using of the traffique and exercise of all kinds of merchandise in general or in special, premisable or notht premisable to the craftismen, where anent we the saids commissionars for the provost, baillies, and brethren of gild, willing all matters debatable to be rattled and put to rest, are content to grant the saids craftismen, likens be the tenor hereof grants to them, the free use and traffique of barking of ledder, buying of buttir, victual, cheese, sheep, and nolt, Lyme, coals, carsays, plaiding, raw claith, hiland grays, mantlings, and linen claith, and to sell and tope the same in all parts within the realm of Scotland as freely as merchants bretheren of gild does; and forder, permitts to them the traffiquing of little claith whilk is maid within their awin house allenarly, and na utherways: Of the whilk specialls, grantit in manner forsaid, the said craftismen notht being contentit, in respect of the same was not sufficient recompense, as they alleg't to them, for their refusal of all kind of oversea and forrane merchandries, likeas be the tenor of thir presents we the commisionars for the saids craftismen refuses the same, with divers uther privileges grantit to us and the remnant craftismen be our soveraign lord's disposition, under his Majesty's gryt seal, so that we the saids craftismen and our successors mighten juiss free liberties to traffique only with all kind of Scotis wares; but stop or impediment to be maid to us be the saids provost, baillies, and bretheren of gild in times cuming; and forder, contention appearing for to ensew to the inquetness of the commoun wealth of the said burgh, the provost, baillies, council, and brether of gild, being mov't with natural pity for to put the saids craftismen, being members of their awin commoun wealth, frae forder trouble, on the ane part ; and the said craftismen, as neighbors, willing with detfull reverence to obey their said magistrates, ware content on the uther part to referr the samyne to us commissionars hint inde respective forsaid, with power to us, in case of discord, to chise an oversman to discern thereanent as he should think expedient ; and after lang reasoning maid hint inde thereupon, we the said commissionars, having power and command of baith tha said parties in manner forsaid, hes reffert, likens be the tenor of thir presents referrs the decision of the said controversy, formit as after-follows, to Mr. Alexander Cheyne, parson of Snaw, and Commissar of Aberdene, according to the tenor of the designation within written : viz. Quhidder giff besides the former things agreet and grantit to the saids craftismen, &c., the council and bretheren of gild sail grant the liberty of Scotis wares be nomination of some specialls, and excluding the craftismen from the rest ; or gill they sail grant to the saids craftismen the liberty of all Scotis wares in general, reservand certain specialls to themselffes ; and I the said Maister Alexander Cheyne, after the acceptation of the samen, having herd and considert the reassonis and allegationis maid be the said commissionars hint rode for baith the parties forsaids, the name of the Lord callt, to whom I maun be answerable this day and the day of judgement, findis, that forsameikleas the merchants and bretheren of gild has the prerogative and dignity far abone the raids craitismen, in sic sort as they have power to call and accuse, and cause them be convictit and correctit for the transgression of all and sundry the points of every thing, either grantit or notht grantit to them, wharebe the contrair the saids craftismen has notht the like power at all to call, accuse, or pursew the saids merchants bretheren of gild for buying, selling, or toping aither of oversea and forrane wares, or zit of Scottis wares, guides, or geir, considering that all kind of merchandeis whatsumever is free to the said bretheren of gild without question and contraversy ; but namely, because the saids craftismen hes consentit and agreet to give and deliver the twa part of all the compositions, as is before expreamt, maid and given to them for the admission of all freemen and receiving of all prentices to their craftis respectively forsaid to the dean of gild, for to be bestowt be him upon the common charges of the town, as is abone rehearst ; wharebe the contrair the saids craftismen might have employed the samen to their awn particular uses, as they had wont to do in times past ; and therefoir I the said Master Alexander Cheyne, with consent and assent of the saids commissionars electit and chosen for baith the saids parties, pronounces and decerns, that the council sall grant, likens be the tenor hereof grants to the saids craftismen and their successors, the general liberty of all Scottis wares, by and attour the things grantit them, as said is, to buy and sell the samen universally within the realm of Scotland, as they sall think expedient, reservand the specials to the saids bretheren of gild themselffs; and specially the heads, wares, and form thereof, as after follows, secludand the saids craftsmen and their forsaids therefrae for ever ; viz. That it sail notht be leisom to ony of the saids craftismen or their foresaids to have the handling of ony stappil guides, whidder the same be Scottis or forrane wares ; but that the only use of handling of the samen, that is to say, packing and peiling of fish, hydes, skin, and woll, sail properly appertain unto the merchants bretheren of gild allenarly, but prejudice always to the said craftismen that they be not stopit to buy and sell the said wares in smalls in ony part within the realm, as said is; and the saids craftismen in speciall to buy, sell, and tope sameikle wool as they sail cause be wrought respective in their houses; and sicklike reserves to the said bretheren of gild, to have the only power to transport Scottis wares in schipps boats, either be sea or be land, in forrane countries, there to traffique therewith, and the saids craftismen notht to have power to do the same, neither directly nor indirectly ; providing always that it prejudge notht the saids craftismen and their foresaids to traffique, buy, sell, and tope all manner of Scottis wares in general (excepting as is befoir excepted) within the realm of Scotland, and they never to be callt, accust, nor convictit for the samen, bot to be free thereto, as said is ; and but prejudice of the privilege of ledder barkers in buying of rough hydes in all parts within the realm, and barking and selling of the samen, as said is ; and privilege of coupars according to auld use and wont: Providing also that gif it sail chance the said craftismen and their successors to be teachit and learnt in making of woolens, sautings, silks, taflities, or ony kind of stuff that hes notht been maid of auld within the realm of Scotland, bot of lait throw the incoming of strangars within the country, that it sail not be leisum to the craftismen to sell the samen, except it be their awin handy wark, and that in haill pieces, (dispensand always with them to sell and tope in small or gryt their said handy wark of seyis, worsetts, linings, and single sergis, but stop or impediment:) And anent the transgression of the said points, or any of them above rehearst, giff it sail happen ony of the saids craftismen and their foresaids, in times cuming, to be callt and accust for the transgressing of the heads and points afore inhibits to them, as is abone expreampt, they being convictit therefoir, to be unlawt according to the antient laws of this said burgh : Providing always, that it sail notht be leisum to condemn the alleagt contraveener upon ane bare suspicion in ony sort, bot be sufficient tryal maid and had be witnesses unsuspectit and undefamt, either merchant or craftisman, purging themselffs be their corporal aith of partial counsell. And finally, it is ordaint, that baith the said parties, merchants and craftismen, present and to cume, inviolably observe, fulfill, and keep this present appointment and decreet of every head, clause, and article therein contain, likeas we the saids commissionars and oversman foresaid ordains them to do the same, and the practique and execution thereof to be and begin the day and dait of thir presents, and to continue as an perpetual law in all times coming: And for the better observing, keeping, and fulfilling of the premises, we the saids commissionars and oversman are content and consents that the designation written on the uther side hereof, and this present decreet, be insert and registered in the buikes of council of Aberdene, as also in the commissary buikes of Aberdene, alswell ad perpetuam rei memoriam, as also to have the strength of ane confest act and judicial decreet, with executorials of poinding and horning the one, bot prejudice of the other to pass thereon upon ane single charge of four days warning: And forder ordains, that the procuratorys and mandates given to the saids commissionars be registrate in the said commissar's buikes in like manner, ad perpetuam re i memoriam; and giff need bees, consents that ane act of parliament sail be procurit for ratification and approbation of this present appointment and decreet for to stand as ane perpetual law betwixt the parties foresaid and their successores respectively for ever, and to that effect constitutes and ordains discreet men, &c., and ilk ane of them conjunctly and severally our lauchfull and undoubted procurators, to compear for us and in our name before the said commissar, provost, and baillies forsaid, as also in presence of the lords of parliament, to the effect forsaid, promitten, de rata, arc.

In witness of the whilk we the said commissionars and Orman, in sign and taken and fortification of our decreet and appointment foresaid, hes subscrivt the samen as after follows, day, year, and place foresaid, before thir witnesses:

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