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

UNDER the general designation of Hammermen or Smiths, various, and to some extent distinct, crafts were associated under one organisation. The use of the hammer, and generally, tools for working iron and other metals, appears to have been the main requisite for craftsmen who came within the jurisdiction of the Trade. The fact that skinners, glovers, and saddlers were members of this craft would appear to favour a wider qualification, but it has to be borne in mind that the gloves of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries bore little likeness to the dainty articles in use nowadays; while originally the saddlers made the iron as well as the leather parts of the harness. In the days of the pageants and religious processions on church festival days, the number of crafts embraced under the name of Hammermen varied considerably, and the frequent mention of disputes about their exact position in the processions, would indicate that they had no fixed number of crafts in their society. As time wore on, and as new branches of industry were established, such as watchmakers, coppersmiths, white-iron smiths, and others, where the use of iron tools was a leading characteristic, these new branches of industry were placed by the Magistrates under the supervision of the deacon of the Hammermen Trade. It is not quite certain that the tinsmiths or white-iron workers were ever fully admitted into the craft; so far as appears from the records they were simply granted "a tolerance" in order to bring them within the jurisdiction of the deacon, and render them amenable to the ordinances of the craft.

The title-page of the oldest existing minute-book of the Hammermen Trade bears that it belongs to the "Hamermen Craft, freimen burgesses of Aberdeen, namely—Goldsmyths,

Hammermen [15th May, 1682].- Gules, a dexter arm issuing from the sinister flank fessways, the hand hearing a smith's hammer proper hafted argent, and over it a crown or; in the dexter nombril a smith's anvil of the second, and above the same in chief a tower of Aberdeen [triple-towered argent]. Motto: Finis coronat opus.

blacksmyths, skynaris, pewteraris, glasiers, wrichtis, potteris, armeraris, and saidlers," a classification that existed about 1590, although it is difficult to discover how the wrights came to be mentioned, as there is no evidence in the records that any members of that craft were at any time associated with the Hammermen. In course of time the area was extended until there were at least a dozen distinct branches, viz.—Cutlers, pewterers, glovers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, saddlers, armourers, braziers, hookmakers, glaziers, and engineers.

Armourers, pewterers, and glovers bulked largely in the Hammermen Trade in early times, but by the end of the seventeenth century they disappeared almost entirely as working craftsmen. The gunsmiths of the present day cannot be looked upon as the descendants of the old armourers, as they were admitted under a distinct essay at the same time that armourers were being admitted. Hookmaking was also an important branch of industry, but this handicraft has also disappeared, although not until about half a century ago. The hookmakers, as appears from their essay, were also general wire workers, and made the wire windows and guards that were common while glass was a luxury enjoyed by the few. From the frequent mention of glovers in the records it is evident that the manufacture of leather gloves must have been carried on to a very considerable extent. In early times gloves were much used as pledges of friendship, as tokens of loyalty and devotion, and as tenures by which estates were held. An instance of this is recorded in the case of the lands of Balnacraig, in the parish of Lumphanan, "which were to be held by Robert de Camera or Chalmers of the Earl of Moray, for a pair of white gloves, to be rendered yearly at the manor of Caskieben, the residence of Garvieaugh." The presentation of white gloves at maiden circuits is a survival of the ancient custom of using gloves for gifts and presentations.

Although watchmakers were not admitted to full membership until the beginning of the present century, the Hammer-men as far back as 1699 claimed jurisdiction over them. In that year the Town Council had accepted Charles Anderson, watchmaker, as a burgess sua ante, entitling him to carry on business without joining any of the regular incorporations. The Hammermen protested on the ground that he "made use of hammer and forge," and their deacon was instructed "to pursue for damage and for remeid of law and justice." They do not appear to have been successful, as Anderson's name does not appear in the minutes or in any list of members.

It was not until 1805 that full control over watchmakers was obtained. In that year an Edinburgh lawyer was consulted as to the general practice, and he informed the Aberdeen Hammermen that "although the invention of watches was much later and was originally an art, yet the watch and clock-making business has long ago become a trade by the makers taking apprentices and employing journeymen, and in almost every town has been joined to the Hammermen craft as not being exempt by any law in favour of manufacturers and artists." Accompanying this opinion was a somewhat characteristic communication from John Begg, an Edinburgh watchmaker, who held that his trade, being an art, should be above the jurisdiction of any trade, and not be shackled by any incorporated body. As to the question in dispute, Mr. Begg confidently asserted—"I believe there are few living that is better acquainted with the issue of the already trade monopoly of the Hammermen Incorporation, arrogating to themselves a right of hypothec in consequence of their charter to force and compel watchmakers to join them, or prohibit such from following their business as watchmakers within burghs, than I am." He then goes on to point out how the watchmaking business was kept out of the country in consequence of the heavy dues exacted by the incorporations, and how the business was driven into the hands of those who were not trained to the business. "There is," he adds, "scarcely a cloth shop, hardware shop, jeweller's shop, pedlar, taylor, cobbler, but sells and takes watches to repair, although they know no more about a watch than—to make use of a homely fraise—a cow does of a new coined shilling." [This "homely fraise" of the Edinburgh watchmaker has a somewhat different rendering In Aberdeen. "He kens nae mair aboot. it than a coo kens aboot chemistry," is the more alliterative local rendering.] Fortified with a knowledge of the custom elsewhere, the Aberdeen Hammermen Trade was ultimately successful in bringing watchmakers within its jurisdiction.

From 1595 skinners came to be classed among the Ham-mermen, although the shoemakers also claimed to exercise a certain amount of jurisdiction over them. By the following minute of Council, however, it will be seen that the Town Council recognised the claim of the Deacon of the Hammer-men to look after them :-

15th April, 1595.—The said day the prouest, baillies, and counsall with consent of George Elphin, toun, saidler, dekyn of the Hammermen, grantit ane licence and onsicht to Willeam Gardin, skynner, to work within the burght and vse his said craft and occupation quhill Witsonday in the year of God 1597 yeiris, quhill thay have a prui$ of his workmanship and worthiness, and that be reason of the necessitie of the said craft within this burght.—Council Register, vol. xxxii., p. 175.

The only explicit reference to tinsmiths, or "white iron men," occurs in a minute of the trade dated 30th January, 1694, which states that "the traid having considered Patrik Morgan, whyt iron man, his supplication, they did accept him as ane journeyman for payment of eight shillings Scots money of quarterly penny, and to bear and maintain him in the pairt possession of his trade upon his own expenses, he always making himself freeman when he is able to pay the traid their banquet siller, and both parties to abide at their promises and required act and instrument."

The records of this Trade afford interesting illustrations of how handicrafts arise, flourish for a time, and then die out, or become transferred to other parts of the country. It is almost certain that the art of sword making was introduced into Aberdeen from the Continent at an early period in the town's history, and reached its highest prosperity during the troubled periods of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when masters and workmen alike had to furnish themselves with weapons of one kind or other. The extensive orders given by the Town Council from time to time also show that an extensive armoury was kept up; and the frequency with which we find armourers mentioned as office-bearers in the Hammermen craft adds another evidence that the "sweird slippers" were men of substance and standing in the town.

Then, again, there is a curious illustration of displacement in the case of the pewterers. At one time pewter and "tiinmer" utensils were in almost universal use, but gradually "white iron men" and silversmiths arose and the pewterers disappeared. The manufacture of cutlery by machinery has also left few of that craft in Scotch towns; and as for those interesting classes of craftsmen—the glovers and the hookmakers —they have entirely disappeared from our midst. It is interesting to mark how handicrafts come and go in a community, and still the means of livelihood develop and multiply as the needs of the population increase.

Two Seals of Cause were granted to the Hammermen, one in 1519, and another of a more extensive character in 1532. The following are the full texts of both:—

17th September, 1519.—The said day the provost, bailzies, and conseill, being present for the tyme, with aviss, conseill, assent and consent of the nytbours being present for the tyme, gaf grantiet and concedit to yar evil belouit nytbours and servands David Bruce, William Wallace, William Loremer, and Androw Smith, deckinss of the hamirmen craft for this instant yeir, and to utheriss quhatsomever yair successours, deckinss of the said craft, yar full pouer and licence to resaif, uptak, and iuhring of everie brother of the said craft yat uptakis or haldis of new bouthe or forge to wyrk within this burgh for his entry siller half ane mark at his first beginyn. Secondly, of ilk master yat takis an prenteis at his begining half a mark. Thirdly, of every feit man yat wirkis for mait and fee ane pound of wax yeirly. Fordly, of ilk master man of the craft every ouk a d. of offerand to yar patroune Sanct Elen ; and attour, the saids prouest, bailzies, and consail hes gevin, grantit, and assignit, and, be thir presents, gevis, grants and assignis to yar said deckins and yar successours yar full, plain, and express auctorite and pouer to amend, puniss, and correct all manner of trespassours and failtars of yar said craft, for all trespasses and faltis commitit be yam, concerning yar said craft, and all uther small faltis doune amang yamself, outaking bluid, week and dait. The quhilkis deweties, yat is to say entry Biller, prenteiss siller offerand of masters lb. of wax of feit servandis, togidder with the correctionis of the faits forsaid, salbe applyit all the mest proffect it may be to the honour, utilitie, and profeit of yar said patroness alter and uphald of the chaplain of the sainen as yai will answer to God and yar said patron, be the aviss, sycht and consideration of all the maisters of the said craft; quilk masters, and ilk ane of yam sail zeirlie uphald and finde ane honest candill of ane pund of wax of yar awne expenss, and sua yai sail God willene decore and dote yar said altar with vestments, bukis, touellis, chandelairs, ymages, and all other ornaments according to the honour of God and yar said patroue.-Council Register, vol. x., P. 112.

6th February, 1632.—Be it kend till all men be thir present lettres us provest, bailzies, counsale, and communitie of Aberdene, our commond weill of ye same, in yat part, hard sem considerit, and understand be us to have gevin, grantit, and committit, and be ye tenor herof, gevis, grantis, and committis to our lovit nytbours Walter Hay, goldsmyth, deacon of ye craft of ye smyths and hainmermen of ye said burgh, and to his successors deaconis of ye same, for us and our successors, in all tymes to cum, our full, fre, and plane pouar and auchoritie upon all and sundry occupears and exercers of ye said craft within ye fredome, to correct and puneiss ye trespassers thir unlaw amerciaments and mendis devisit be ye said deacone and his successors to uptak and inbring to the commond weill of ye said craft, blind and blay being exceptit to us and our punicioun. Secondlie, we ratifie and affirmes yat na freman sal be maid of ye said craft until he be exeminit be ye said decane and his successors of ye said craft, and yat yai be fundin be yame, sufficient craftsmen, and made his masterstick of wark, and yat he be proven worthy, be his wark, to be ane maister, and admittit be yame, and presentit to us as ane abill person to be maid freman of ye said craft: and yat nave be sufferit to bald nor uptak with nor forge of his awin until he be freman and admittit be us and ye said decane, as said is. Thirdlie, yat it sal be liesume to ye said decane and his successors, with the aviss and consale of ye principale nytbours of ye said craft to mak statutes and ordinances to the honor of God, and ye patrounn Sanct Elene, and commond weill of ye guid town and craft for-said. And to be observing and keeping of all thir premissis in form and effect, as said is gevin and grantit to the said Walter Hay and his successors, decanis of the said craft, present and to cum, for ever, all pouar and privilege afore grantit to yis writ, for us and our successors, to yam, thir decanis, and craft, present and to cum ; the said decanis and his successors being obligit to answere to us and our successors for all and sundry thair nytbours, maisters, servandis, and prentisses of ye said craft for all faits yat lyis under thair correctioun, gif he or his successors levis ony sic faltis unpunishit; and to do justice to all the occupears of the said craft at all tymes when thay are requirit, but feid or favour. And gif ony occupear of the said craft disobeiss and contempiris ye said decane or his successors, yat thay complain to us or our successors, and we sail caues be obeitt conform to thir pouar. Providine alwais yat ye said craft cheis not ane decane in tymes cumine bot he yat be responsable to answer ye toun, conform to yis pouar. And we ye saidis provest, bailzies, consale, and communitie, and our successors, sail varrane, keep, and defend all and sundry ye premisses to ye said decane and his successors be yis writ gevin under our commond seill at Aberdene, ye saxt day of Februar, ye yeir of God ane hundret and thretty and two yeirs.—Council Register, vol. xiv., p. 109.

In the year 1556 the deacon James Huntar exceeded his powers by deciding in some cases of debt that came before him, all such cases having been expressly excluded by the second Seal of Cause from his jurisdiction. The deacon was tried before the magistrates [12th June] who pronounced the following judgment :-

Yat ye said James [Huntar] had wrangit in holding of ye saidis courtis in maner forsaid quharfor he was in amerciament of court to forbeir in time cuming.—Council Register, vol. xxii., p. 339.

There does not appear to have ever been a sufficient number of goldsmiths in Aberdeen to form a separate incorporation, to enable them to take advantage of the Act of 1457, which provided that " there shall be ordained in each burgh where goldsmiths work ane understanding and cunning man of good conscience who shall be deacon of the craft; and when work is brought to the goldsmith and it be gold, he shall give it forth again in work no more than twenty grains and silver eleven grains fine, and he shall take his work to the deacon of his craft that he may examine that it may be fine as above written, and the said deacon shall set his mark and token thereto together with the said goldsmiths; and when there is no goldsmith but one in the town he shall show that work tokened with his own mark to the head officers of the town, which shall have a mark in like manner ordained therefore, and shall be set to the said work." And, again, in 1483 it was enacted " that henceforth there be in each burgh of the realm where goldsmiths are, one deacon and one searcher of the craft, and that each goldsmith's work be marked with his own mark, the deacon's mark, and the mark of the town, silver of the pureness of eleven penny fine, and gold of twenty-two carats fine."

The appointment of a "tryar of gold and silver" seems, however, to have been found requisite in Aberdeen, for we find that in 1649 the Town Council passed the following ordinance, selecting a goldsmith who was evidently a man of some standing, as he had been elected deacon of the Hammer-men craft no fewer than five times between 1636 to 1655 :—

7th November, 1649.—The said day, the counsall, taking to thair consideratioun the insufiiciencie of silver work maid within this burghe, have nominat and appointit, and be the tennour heirof nominatis and appointis William Andersone, goldsmyth, to be tryar of all gold and silver wark to be maid within the said burghe for the yeir to cum, and being sufficient and markit with the prob to put on the towne's mark, and for that effect nominatis and appointis the said William Andersone keeper of the towne's mark for this present yeir ; the said William Andersone being personallie present, acceptit the said office, and gave aith de ,deli administratione, and obliest him that all wark that sowld pass his mark and the towne's mark sail be elewin pennie fyne ; and if thair be ony wark fund of less walew markit as said is, he sail be lyable for the samen according to the ordinar rait. Sic. subr• William Andersone.—Council Register, vol. liii., p. 243.

The oldest minute book of the Hammermen Trade opens with the following preface :-

This buik pertenis to ye hamermen craft frieman burgesses of the Burgbe of Aberdeen, namely, Goldsmyths, Blacksmyths, Skynaris, Pewteraris, Glasiers, Wrichtis, Potteris, Armoraris, and Saidleris, according to the privilege granted to the saidis crafts the seat Februar, ane thousand six hundred thirty and twa years; Walter Hay, Goldsmyth, then Deacon for the tyme.

Quharin is contained certain auld and new actis and ordinances made obefoir be ye deacon and maisters of the said crafts, extracted and drawn furth of thair Couirt buiks be ane notar publick, Conveener-Court Clerk, to be in all tyme coming observet and keepit be the haill members of the said calling, as their lawes and constitution amongst them, grounded upon reason and conscience.

Whilk the haill crafts above written are all bound and incorporate in ane fraternity, and has given their gryt solemn aiths to maintain the liberties of saidis crafts, and to observe and keep the haill Acts, statutes, and ordinances, insert in this present book at their utter power, during all the days of their life tymes.

In addition to the old Acts, a list of deacons from 1568 has been preserved, and also the names and signatures of members who could write, from the year that this book was commenced (1633). Among the members is an offshoot of the Gladstone family—George Gladstaines. (See page 106.)

It is impossible to say how many members there might have been at a given period, as the names of new members were simply added to the roll, while no indication is given, except in a few instances, when members died. Among the Acts and statutes which follow, a number are undated, these having evidently been copied from the old register :--


Imprimis, it is statute and ordained for the glorie of God and the weall of the said craft, that the haill friemen thereof, with their prentisses and servants, under thair charge, keep the hollie Sabbath Day in tyme of divine service both forenoon and afternoon at their awin kirks, and that Wane of them wilfully absent themselves thairfra under the pains following, namely, ilk maister six and eightpence toties quoties; ilk servant three and fourpence; and ilk prentiss twa shillings toties quoties all to be collected to the poore ; and gif the prentiss lies not money, to be punishit in his person at the discretion of the court and maisters of the saids craft.

Item, it is statute and ordained that it salt not be liesum to no servant nor prentiss to absent themselves from the kirk on Sabbath Day at divine service, and to come with their maisters orderlie, and that they be not out of the kirk at nyne hours and eleven ilk Sabbath, and wha beis absent sallpay four shillings tones quoties.

4th February, 1677.—This said day, it is statute and ordained unanimously be the haill traid that no journeyman, prentiss, nor servant to any of the incorporation, presume to sit nor enter the hammermen's loft at sermons and preachings, and if the officer suffer them, to be fynd for the samen toties quoties, according to the will of the craft. [In the loft set apart for the freemen of the craft the deacon and office-bearers occupied the front form. The journeymen and prentices had to seat themselves in another part of the church.]


Item, it is statute and ordained that na occupear of the said craft sail contemn nor disobey the Deacon of the saidis craft and his successors in office nor commands; and whasomever does contrair the same sail pay to the common box fourty shillings money, or ane greater sum, according to the evidence, to be modefeit and sett down be the deacon and maisters, and to mak ane publick amends by and attour the said unlaw. [The following instance is recorded of a member being punished for a breach of the above statute :- 26th August, 1633.—The said day William Cook, being desired be the deacon to call ane young boy to compear before him, it being only so far as the Trinity door,*he not only contrair to the Act of the book denied obedience to the said deacon, but did in ane fenced court swear, "God damn him If he would go down staires either for deacon or maisters," and (lid speak other indecenit speeches in ane fencit court; in respect whereof the Court ordained him to be removed from their Court, and not to be received at Court or meeting until he pay fourty shillings Scots, conform to the Act of the book ; as also that he bill the Court, and crave the deacon and uwembers' pardon for his uncivil carriage.

9th September, 1693.—Be It known to all men, be thir presents, me, William Cook, blacksmith, burgess of Aberdeen, forsamukle as I am attached and Incarcerate in the burgh tolbooth of Aberdeen, at the order of `Patrick Whyt, deacon of the Hammermen Trade, and his assessors for my misdemeanours, and cursing and swearing in ane fencit Court in the Trinities, and now being sensible of my transgression, and willing to submit to the traid for my misdemeanours, and being resolved (by the grace of God) to carry more decentlie amongst my brethren and neigbbours in tym cuming, conform to the laudable acts and ordinances made anent our court and convention as the same are booked and recorded in our court books, and my oath judicially given for that effect, therefore I bind and oblige me not only to carry and behave as becomes at meetings and conventions of the said traid in tym cuming, but also to pay and deliver to the present boxmaster and his successors in his said office, for the use, utility, and beboof of the said incorporation, the sum of a hundred pounds Scots money as ane penaltie imposed upon me be the said deacon and maisters for my bypast transgressions, and that at what tym and whensomever the boxmaster sail require the same. Item, there is ane cautioner for William Cook his performance and registration.]


Item, it is statute that forsameikle as the gryt abuse among the prentisses of the saidis crafts, and anent the many complaints given in obefoir in presence of the deacons and maisters, declaring that they debore at nicht be visiting and drinking, neglecting their due tym to cum to thair wark, and to ryse early in the morning for entering thereto, intollerabill to be sufferit in ane civil burgh: For remeid thereof, it is condescendit that ilk servant and prentiss of the saidis craftis keep their ordinar dyet of intermediate, and go to their beyds at ten hours at night (except otherwise they be employed in thair maister's business), and -,vha bees drinking or waigering in other men's houses or on the streets of the get aifter ten hours at night, the contraveners sail pay to the crafts box the pains following, namely:—The servants six shillings and eightpence toties quoties, and prentises three shillings and fourpence, and if he have not monies to be punishit at the will of the deacon and maisters. [It is worthy of note that in many of the Acts all apprentices who are unable to pay the fine are to receive corporal punishment at the hands or will of the deacon.]


Item, it is statute and ordained that no servant nor prentiss of the saidis crafts be found at ony tyme hereafter playing on the Sabbath day in the tyme of divine service at golff, fute ball, kyills, bowllis, cairts, or dyce, or other pastimes whatsomever ; but that thay and everie ane of tham keep precislie sermons with thair maisters under the pains above written, and that thair maisters sail reveal upon the contravener to the deacon to the effect ordour may be taken therewith as effeirs.


Item, it is statute and ordained that it salt not be liesum to no maister of the saidis calling to play at no pastyme upon any work day with no servant of any of the saidis craftis, and what maister happens to contravene herentill sail pay to the common box the sum of fourtie shillings toties quoties ; and gif it happens the servants be found playing on the work day, in that case he sail tyre his half-year's fee, except he get goodwill of his maister.


Item, it is statute and ordained that nave occupear of the saidis craftis sail keip to work therein as ane maister until the tyme he be examined be the deacon and principals of the saidis craftis and founden worthy thereto, mackand ane maisterstick of work of his awin occupation to be set down to hvm be the deacon and maisters of the saidis craftis; and gif the intrant beis fund qualifiet to be admitted frieman for sik composition to be paid be hym to the common box according to the crafts ordinance, providing always the iutrant give content to the towne of his composition to thame accordingly.


Item, it is statute and ordained that whasomever myndes to come in amongst the saidis craft to be frieman amongst them sail mak and present two pieces of work for his maisterstick sufficiently made and wrocht according to that calling he myndis to lyve be. To witt, the saidleirs ane man's stock and ane woman's stock of ane saiddell ; the armourers, ane mounted buckler sword, together with ane rapier mounted; the gunaris, ane pistol with ane hagbute; the smythis sail mak twa pieces of wark of sik as is wrocht in the toune; the pewterraris, ane bassin with ane stoup, and so furth ; the rest of the callings accordinglie according to thair calling, so that every entrant sall keep true with his awin calling, and not middle with any other man's wark.

Item, it is statute and ordained that all skynneris that beis received and incorporate hereaifter amongst the saidis craft sail come in orderlie be form of say and trying of their gratification as becometh, and to pay thair composition or banquet siller conform to the craftis ordinance, and to mak ane essay as follows—Ane pair of gluffs for ane man and ane plain chevring to ane woman.


Item, it is statute and ordained that na occupiar of the saidis craftis salt receive or tak ane uther occupiar's wark out of his boothe except he spille the samen, and known be the deacon and principals of the saidis craftis as spilt wark under the onlaw of twentie shillings; and, furdder, it salt be leisom to ane other maister gif so he is to work the same wark on the spilleir's expenses, and that for eschewing of slander to the guid craft.


Item, it is statute and ordained that no maister of the saidis craftis indent nor conduce with ane prentiss himself for less years than six years as prentiss, and ane year for meat and fee. And the clerk of the samen sail make all fit indentures; and the maisters to present all such indentures publicly in presence of the deacon and maisters for the time thereof, and wha contravenes hereintill sail pay ane onlaw of fourtie shillings money to be inbrocht to their awin box.

Item, it is statute and ordained that it salt not be liesum to no freman of the saidis craftis to fee nor conduce ony servant or prentiss until the tym he cum to be deacon of the craft and acquaint hym therewith, and of the form of their agreement under the pain of forty shillings to be paid be the contravener to the convener box.


Item, it is statute and ordained that whasomever of the said crafts beis warned be the officiar of the said crafts to convoy any man or woraau depairted either of Chair craft or ony other craft within this burt, the person or persons that beis absent, being in the toune, sail pay six shillings toties quoties, and to be poynded therefor, and that all freemen that are in use to weir hatis that thay so address themselves therewith.


Item, it is statute and ordained for keeping of concord amongst the saidis crafts in tyme cuming that it sail not be liesom to nane of the members thereof, directly or indirectly, to offend others in word, work, nor deed, tending to their honesty and credit, and wha happens to do the same and lawfully proven, sail be convicit in ane onlaw of four shillings usual money of Scotland, to be uplifted and unforgiven for helping of the poore of the saidis crafts.


19th August, 1699.—The said day the said Hammermen Traid taking to consideration the damage and prejudice that both the said traid, as also the inhabitants, sustain by opening of locks with crooked irons, and the mala famas and bad reports raised upon the blacksmiths thereanent, have unanimously strictly statute and ordained, that no person or persons presume, nor take upon hand, to directly or indirectly, of the said traid at any tyme heirafter to open any locks whatsomever with crooked irons or any of the lyke instruments (except with the keys of the said locks).


16th December, 1699.—The said day it was strictly statute and ordained that without prejudice of former laudible acts made anent due observance of the Sabbath Day, that in all tyme coming no person or persons of the said Hammermen Traid sail presume in tyme of divine service, and within the loft and desks therein, directly or indirectly to speak audibly, indecently, or about worldly affairs, to molest any of thir neighbours in hearing or attending the word preached, and whoever contravens, after being found guilty, to pay to the boxmaster for the use of the poore, six shillings Scots toties quoties by and attour any other censure the court sail please impose upon the transgressors.


8th October, 1670.--The said day the haill skinners freemen of the incorporation unanimously did enact and oblige themselves that in all tyme hereafter none of themselves nor any of their prentisses, journeymen, or servants, sail directly or indirectly goe and work to any brother of gild as his hyrling or servant in any manner of way, and that under the failzie of ten pounds Scots toties quoties, to be precisely 'uptaken and given in to the boxmaster for the use of the incorporation.

4th January, 1689.—The said day the deacon, maisters, and members of the said Hammermen Traid ordained that no glover nor skynner within the said burgh should work to any burgess of gild within the same upon any pretence whatsoever, nor pluck, peal, nor alme ony skin to ony person or persons, nor work no other manner of work under pain of being deprived of his freedom of the traid.


15th February, 1673.—The said day it is statute and ordained that whatever freman and member of the traid sail supplicat the calling for supplie and charitie and receives support from the craft, that he sail not be charged thereafter to any court or meetings until he refund to the traid all such charitable supplies advanced to him, and to have no vote in court until the same be repayit.


21st August, 1675.—The said day it is statute and ordained unanimously be the haill craft that there sail be no election of ane deacon in all tyme hereafter upon that week that Cowan fair stands, or any other great public mercat about that tyme whilk the skinners are necessitat to be absent and thereby wanting their voyces in the election, but when there sail be ane compleet meeting of the haill incorporation.


24th December, 1681.—The said day it is statute and strictly ordained be the deacon and maisters of the said calling that in all tym cuming the journeymen and prentisses of the said calling is to compear before the deacon of the Hallow Court for receiving their respective injunctions from the said deacon, conform to the compleents that sail happen to be given in against them.

5th September, 1691.—The said day it is statute and ordained that all prentisses and halls sail compear at their master's command or at command of the deacon, and enter themselves and pay their entry money, as also give their oath of fidelity when required; and in case they do in the contrair it is unanimously statute and ordained that the person or persons contravenirs sail not be repute or holden prentiss or journeyman until they give satisfaction, and in case they offer to bill [apply] as freemen, to be rejected until they give satisfaction.


6th November, 1694.—The said day the traid strictly statutes and ordained that in all tyme heirafter, in case any person or persons sail happen to supplicate the Hammermen Traid to be incorporate as ane white irou worker, as Peter Dlurisone hath done laitly, that they nor either of them sail not be received unless they pay the full composition that other friemen of the said Hammermen Traid is in use to pay for the tyme; and whatsoever frieman of the said traid sail take the supplicant's pairt in prejudice of the traid and of this present act, sail pay fourty shillings Scots money by and attour what other amerciament the deacon and maisters sail impose upon him.


Item, it is statute and ordained that no frieman of the said craft sail take upon his band to sell himself or gif to any unfrieman, or outlandish-man ony smiddie coil under the pain of forty shillings the first fault, the second fault doubill onlaw, and so furth accordingly as the samen beis proven.

13th July, 1695.—The said day it is statute and ordained be voice of court that no frieman of the blacksmith art buy smiddie coal out of shippes or boattes, but that only the present deacon for the tyme buy the same, and make pryce thereupon, for the common good of that arte.


22nd January, 1696.--The said day it is statute and ordained that in all tyme coming no frieman of the brasier traid be admitted frieman of the said Hammermen Traid except he pay the full composition to the traid, conform to the act of the book as other friemen in the said traid ordinarlie pay at their entry, conform to the act in the book.


Item, it is statute and ordained for good order in tyme cuming betwixt armourers and cutlers, to wit, that ilk ane of the saidis calling sail hauld thamselves content with thair awn calling, and that nane of thame mix with others calling, nor mak use thereof to no persone or persones neither to burgh nor landward under the pain of fourty shillings Scots.


Item, it is statute and ordained that it sail not be liesum to the skynneris incorporat to buy any sheep skynes, or any other sort of skins whatsomever, on the mercat day until it be strucken nine hours in the day, and wha contravenes hereuntill sail pay fourty shillings money tot es quoties to the common box.


25th May, 1692.—The said day the haill blacksmiths of the incorporation enacts and obliges them noways to work any wark belonging to the gunsmith traid, but to keep themselves at their awin wark conform to the old act.


27th February, 1729.—The court hereby statute and ordain that in all tyme coming no man shall be admitted as a frieman in this corporation until two years after expiring of his apprenticeship, and serving for that space as journeyman either in this burgh or somewhere else.


14th February, 1704.—The said day the court ordained that no man sail enter as founder, but sail pay the full banqueting money as ane extranean for the said traid, whereupon William Aberdour, founder, with consent of the traid, took instruments in the traids hands.

On account of the similarity of the handicrafts embraced in the Hammermen Trade, there was continual overlapping among the different classes of craftsmen, and numerous convictions are recorded for contravening the ordinance compelling each man to confine himself to his own craft. With the view of more strictly defining the work of each craftsman, the essays were in some cases made very specific, and strict injunctions were imposed that only certain kinds of work were to be performed. The following are the essays that were usually prescribed :-

Blacksmiths.—Ane bigg lock with pipe and six cross marks, and ane pair of bands (hinges) with five joints.

Hookmakers.—Fish hooks, hooks and eyes of several sizes, with three tinning heats, and ane wire window.

Skinners and Glovers.—First, ane pair of men's gloves, doe leather, prick drawen three seams about the thumb, four seams, each point to be coloured both collours and topped; second, ane pair women's gloves, kid or lamb leather, the thumb seemed round drawn with two prick seams about it, the points to be round seams in the middle, and two prick seams without the two round seams, the rest of the seams to be single prick seam coloured a light cloath collour, evenly; third, ane purse of haill leather with two welted lugs and two dyce knaps about the lugs, and twelve single knaps about the mouth, two bye purses with twenty drawers of three platts; two single knaps and ane dyced knap on each drawer, the drawers to be dyed reed, the purse to be purple (?), and all the knaps to be mounted with gilded leather, and the hinger to have ane knap.

Plumbers.—A sheet of lead twelve feet long and three feet broad equally wrocht, half a stone of shot, and ane eln of burnt pipe to be wrocht with his ain hand.

Coppersmiths. -- Ane brass tee kettle and broath pott tinned.

Watchmakers.—Ane eight day clock to be made and perfected be himself and wrocht with his own hand.

Card or Reedmakers.—Ane pair of stock cards, ane pair of wool cards, and ane pair of tow cards.

Pewterers.—Ane posset can of pewter with two stoups, and two handles, and ane church cup of pewter.

Armourers.—Furbishing ane flahilt for a broad sword, and a broad blade, rough ground, and furbished with ane small sword blade, also rough ground and furbished and both points broken off and the broad sword ground on buff point, and both mounted with fashionable scabbards, to be perfected with his own hand.

Goldsmiths.—A tea pot and stone ring to be wrocht by him with his own hand.

Saddlers.—Ane man's stock, and ane woman's stock of ane saiddell.

The Town Council does not appear to have regulated the price of goods manufactured by members of the Hammermen Trade to any great extent. On the 16th October, 1580, the Magistrates "statut and ordainit that the blak smyth sail tak and receive for the gang of the grytest horss schone six s. viiid.; smaller horss and neggis four s.; and the contravenir heirof to pay fourtie s. unforgiven." The skinners were also interdicted in 1507 from washing " clethis, hidis, skynnis, nor vyther stuf, in the comon riuolis, loche, nor w atteris; and that nay red fische, quhit fische, claythis, nor vyther stuff that may infect the wvatter, be cassin nor weschin in it."

In 1852 the Hammerman Trade obtained an Act of Parliament "to confirm, amend, and regulate the administration of the estates and affairs of the said Society; and for other purposes relating to the Society." This Act confirms the titles of the properties acquired by the Trade since 1694; and also confirms the regulations which had been adopted in 1714 for establishing a Mortification, and subsequent alterations made in 1811. This Mortification, which was instituted by William Lindsay, goldsmith, and which is in the nature of a capital accumulating fund, has proved of great advantage to the Trade, and been one of the chief instruments in their financial prosperity.

The chief properties acquired by the Hammermen Trade since 1694 are the Craibstone rig, on the north side of the Bow Bridge; the baulk rig of Hazninerfield; the lands of Hammer-field; the croft of Futtiesmyre, near the Links; Tohnie's Croft, "in the territories of Footie;" the Sow Croft, near the Heading Hill; the Dean's Croft, Old Aberdeen; Longland's Croft, on the King's highway leading to the Bridge of Dee;" Dunn's Croft, "near the Crabestone;" Windmill Croft; Greathead Croft, Dee Street; part of Clayhills; piece of ground on the west side of Union Terrace; part of Poynernook, &c.

On the emblazoned panel belonging to this Trade are given the arms (patent 15th May, 1682) a list of acting members, and the following eulogy in verse of the different branches of the craft :—

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