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

TRADITION gives the weavers and bakers priority among all handicrafts, and not without some show of reason. In the natural order of things, food and clothing are the two first requisites of man, in whatever condition he is found, and so it has happened that in newly-formed communities weavers and bakers came to be established earlier than the other crafts less necessary to civilised life. In Scotland this has been the case with the bakers more so than in many other countries, notably in England, where the baking of bread was carried on more in the household than in the bakehouse. In Aberdeen down to the middle of the last century the baking of oat cakes was far more common among the males than the females, the special privilege of baking "ait kakis" being as jealously guarded by the craftsmen bakers in Aberdeen as any other branch of their business. It is a curious fact that this branch of baking is rapidly returning again to ordinary bakehouses; while, unfortunately, the knowledge of the art is rapidly dying out among modern housewives. In Scotland, too, the baking of loaves and biscuits has been more strictly confined to the male sex than in other countries. In England, for instance, almost every housewife bakes a considerable proportion of the loaf bread required for the household; but in Scotland, and notably in Aberdeen, the baking of loaf and biscuit bread has been preserved as a strict monopoly for the men bakers. According to the acts and ordinances of the Baker craft in Aberdeen, women were not allowed to bake any bread, pastry, or pies to be sold in the streets or in shops, a restriction which was maintained until the abolition of trading privileges in 1846.

The Magistrates in Aberdeen began at an early date—as soon, in fact, as we have any mention of Magistrates in the

BAKERS [15th May, 1682].—Or, two baker's peels in saltire gules, each charged with three loaves in pale argent, between a tower of Aberdeen in chief, and a millrind in base of the third [!] Motto: Floreant Pistores.

public records—to take cognisance of the Baker craft. In 1398 the bakers are dealt with in their collective capacity, and for the better regulation of the Trade a system of marks was instituted for the different makers of bread in the town The following is the minute in the Council Register for the year 1457, vol. v., p. 337, the different marks being rudely drawn opposite each name:--

This ar ye baxteris of bred whilkis sal visit the craft and na oythers in the first:—

The price and weight of bread seem to have been matters as carefully looked after in the early history of the town as it is to-day. On 8th October, 1507, the Council ordained that "all baxteris sail have breid of quheit sufficient, gud and clene stuff, penny breid and tua penny breid," and on 21st October, 1544, the "bailyeis commandit and ordinit all four the officiaris, in jugment, to pas throcht all the rewis and streitis of the toune, als oft as neid beis, and vesy and seik all caik baxteris that bakis ony cakis to sell, and tak all thair girdilis thai apprehend baikand siklik cakis, and present the said girdilis to thame, and verefy that thai tuik the same fray caik baxteris, baikand caikis to sell, and thai sail haue the said escheit to thaim for thair travell ; and causit the officiaris suer the gryt aith to exerce the same lelilie and trewlie, without feid or fauour, and to present the saidis girdilis as oft as thai culd apprehend thaine."
On 8th April of the following year " Sandi Kemp," baxter, was " convictit be the counsale for the offering of the France capitane of tone dosoun of iij d. braid of quhit, for the boll of quhit, contrair the cominond weill of the town, and hindering the proffeit thairof, and he and all wther baxteris of the guid toun ordinit to decest fra doyng of sic thingis in tylnes cumyng, vnder the pane of expelling of thame of thair craft within the said burgh, for yeir and day, and paying of xl s. to Sanct Nicholace wark vnforgevin. And als ordinit the said Sanderes to pay viij s. to the sustentatioune of the seik folkis, for the falt big and unforgevin." [It would appear from the following entry in the Council Register that there had been several other unruly members among the craft 15th April, 1484.—In the court haldin be the ballies of Abirdene, in the tolbuithc, the xv day of Aprile forsaid, it was ordanit be ane assise, a d forbidd%n that, in tyme comming, Johne the Rosse, baxter, sail bore na wauppynis vnder nicht, sic as ane swerd, or vthir fensabil wauppynnis, for certain causes considerit be thaim, vndir the pain of tynsale of his fredom, but gif he be chargit be the ofhciars. And for the said John the Rosse, William Futhes is becumin law burgh that William Vmfray salbe vnscathit in tym cumin, vtherwayes than as law will. And the said William Vmfray gas fundin Thom. Sympson law bergb for him, that the said Johne the Rosse salbe scathles in likewise. Attour the assise lies ordanit that gif it happynnis the said Jobne the Rosse, in tyme tocum, to forfaute aoanis William Vmfra, or his broudre Maistre William, like as he has done of before, that he sail pay v. merkis to Sanct Nicholace wark, and that he sail do alsmekil sted and seruice to thaw, as he has done them grevans, &c." —Council Register, vol. vi., p. 839.]

The following extracts from the Council Register furnish interesting information as to the price of wheat and bread, and also the kind of bread that was baked at the different periods

9th August, 1549.—The said day, it is statut and ordinit be the prouest, bailzies, and counsale, present for the tyme, in presens of the maist pairt of the baxsteris of this guid tovnu, havand respect to the prices that the quhit Bevis for the tyme in this tovnn, viz., xxxij s., or xxxiiij s. at the maist, that thair be na manner of iiij d. breid bakin within this tovun frathinfurth, vnder the pane of eachaeting of the same, but allanerly tua penny breid and peony breid, that be guid stuf, frosche, veill boutcit, and without mixtiour, and ueill bakin ; the prise of the tua penny breid xiij voce, and penny breid vij vuces ; and gif ony breid beis fundin incontrar heiruf quhen it is weyt be the bailzic, thane and in that caise it salbe lesum to the said bailzeis that apprehendit it to eschait and daill the same to the purale for thair contentioun, without ony fonder calling, accusing, or connuikit of thame ; and als tha statut and ordinit that all manner of flower, quhit, ry, and ry meill that hapnis to cum to the tovii frathinfurth one of the avin auentour, that the baxsteris of this guid tovne sail haue the same, of the same price the towne hapnis to by the same, sa far as tha ma loise amaugis thame, and pay the fremmit men thankfully, and na wther man to haue ony part tharof quhill the said baxsteris refuise it.—Council Register, vol. xx., p. 274.

16th December, 1549.—The said day, Alexr. Jaffray, John Foullis, Charle Dauesoun, Duncane Colle, George Anderson, and Jonat Ancroft, baxstaris, tha and ilk ane of thame is conuikit be the some assise aboun writin for the brakiu of command ordinance and statutis of this guid tovne, in selling of breid of quhit of less prise thane the statutis maid thairwpoun, and of insufficient stuf, quherfor ilk ane of them is in ane amerciament of the court, and that is gevin for dovme. And the bailzies ordinit the officiaris to pas incontinent and pund every ane of theme therfor, and cals thame all in iugment to keip the said statutis, and to baik and sell xiiij vnce of guid, clein, dry, and veill bakin fresche stuf for ij d., and to haue breid rady at all tyme to serue the tovne sa lang as tha haue stuf, vnder the pane of eschaeting of the haill braid fundin with thame for the tyme.—CounezZ Register, vol. xx., p. 330.

12th August, 1555.—The said day, AIexr. Jeffray, Duncane Fraser, 'Villiame Congiltoun, Dauid Saidlar, Johnne Fowlis, Charles Dauidsone, Reche Myln, Alexr. Kemp elder, Alexr. Kemp youngar, Alexr. Kay, and Duncane Colly, baxteris, and ilkane of thame were conuickit in judgement, and put in amerciament of court, for the braking of the commound ordinance and statutis of this guid toune of selling of quhyt breid of less messour and price nor wes gewin and dewisit be the counsell to thame of befoir to obserf and fulfill; quhairfor thai war in amerciament of court to forbeir in tyme cumyng and amend as law vill, and that wes gewin for dome, and the baillies continewit thair vulawis to be modift be thame eftirwart.

The said day, the haill counsell statut and ordanit that the baxteris of this guid touue sail balk and sell twenty tua vnce of quhyt breid, sufficient stuf, and weill bakin, for four penneis, and tuenty-aucht vnce of ry breid, sufficient stuf, and weill bakin, for four d.; and that na breid be sauld be thame quhill thai be considdlerit and vestit be ane of the baillies; and quhowsone the breid beis takin out of the owne, that ane of the baillies salbe aduertist and requirit to do the same; and that na baxter sail baik ony breid vpone Settirday befoir tua eftir none; and quha beis fundin cumand in the contrar heirof, the hail baikin stuf beand fundin and gottin in his possessioune to be escheit and delt; and gyf ony baxter hawand stuf beis fundin wantand baikin breid, and nocht vsand his craft to serf the toune and nightbouris therof in contemptioune of this ordinance, the same beand knawin and vnderstand, the haill victuall and stuf beand fuudiu in his possessioune to be eseheit and delt to the puir folkis. And this statut to induir and haf stryntht quhill the fest of Michaelmes nixt cumis, and further induiring the counsellis will.—Council Register, vol. xxii,, p. 124.

4th October, 1555.—Item, it is statut and ordanit, with consent of the haill baxteris, beand convenit, that nane of thame pass in the contray to by quhit, of darrer prices bot as tha ma keip and obserf the statut and by ordinance gewin thame be the counsale for this present yeir; and alse that nane of the saidis baxsteris by quhit attour his nychtbouris heyd : that is to say, where his nychtbour hes bene to mak ony hying or bergane of quhyt, and bidden ony money thairfor, that his nychtbour. bid na mair nor is offerit, nor mak him to by thair, wnder the pane of fourty s. for the first falt, and tynsell of fredome for yeir and day for the secund falt, gif he beis convickit for the same.—Council Register, vol. xxii., p. 165.

The Bakers were granted a Seal of Cause [The Bakers have for a long time been under the impression that they had no formal Seal of Cause. Kennedy (Annals, vol. II., p. 225) says lie was unable to discover it in the registers of the Town Council; but the present writer fortunately discovered an authenticated copy in the Records of the Trade.] in 1534, but for a considerable time prior to that date they were in the habit of electing deacons, and reporting their election to the Magistrates and Town Council. Although briefer than some of the others, the Bakers' Seal of Cause is more comprehensive and explicit than the most of these local charters. It is as follows :---

Be it kend till all men be thir presents, We, the Provost, Baillies, Counsell, and communitie of the burght of Aberdeen, the commonweall of the same in that pairt having seen, considered, and understood be advyce, and we being rightly advysit thairupon, to have grantit, given, and committit, and be the tenor hereof grants, gives, and commits to our lovittits neigbouris, John Bannerman, and Alexander Marr, baxteris, deconis of the craftis of baxteris of the said burght for the tyme, and to their successors in all tyme to come, ane full, free, and plane power, and authoritie upon all and sundrie occupiaris and exerciseres of the said craft, within the said burght, and freedom of the samen: To correct and punish the trespassers thair unlaws, amerciaments, and escheats to be advysit and modified be the saidis deacons and their successors; to uptak and inbring to the commonweall and utilitie of the said craft (blood and blae being excepted) to the punitioun of us and our successors. Also we ratify that no freeman sail be maid of the same craft until he be examined be the saidis deacons or their successors—deacons of the saidis Craft for the time—and that he be found be them ane sufficient craftsman and mak his maisterstick of work, and that he be proven worthie be his work to be ane maister and admittit be the said deacons for the tyme and presented to us as ane able person to be made freeman. Sicklik it sail be liesum to the saidis deacons and their successors with the advice and counsell of the principal neighbouris of the said Craft to mak statutes and ordinances for the commonweall of the said Craft and honour of the said burght; give and granted to the saidis deacons and their successors, deacons of the saidis craft fra us and our foresaids all power and privileges obefoir written for us, the said deacons and their successors answering to us and our successors for all and sundrie, the neighbouris, maisters, servants, prentisses, and occuparis of the said Craft for all faults that lies under their correction, gif they leave any such faults unpunishit, or punish thame otherwise nor they ought to do of law and good conscience, and that they do justice to all occuparis of the said Craft at all tymes when they are required without fear or favour, and gif any occupier of the said Craft disobeys or contemns the saidis deacons or their successors deacons for the tyme that they complain to us and our successors, and we cause them be obeyed conform to their power; providing always that saidis craft choose no deacon in tyme coming but them that be responsible to the town, conform to their power, and that they answer to us and our successors for the haill craft, and all things concerning them and their craft whatsomever they be requirit thereto. And we, the saidis provost, baillies, counsell, and communtie, sall warrant, keep, and defend all and sundrie the proruisses to the saidis deacons and their successors as said is be this writ, and attour we will and ordain that it sall not be liesum to the one deacon of the deacons above written to do or statute any thing above written concerning the weal of the saidis craft, particularlie by himself, but that they sail both agree and concur togidder in all tymes they have to do, touching the said craft, and siklyke their successors in tyme coming ; in witnessing those present powers and privileges, we causit appense our common seal, the twenty-fifth day of April, the year of God ane thousand fyve hundreth thretee and four years.

The old Acts and Ordinances of the craft were carefully copied from the old registers into a minute book, commenced in 1632, which also contains a list of deacons from 1572. The preface runs—"Thir followes the good and laudabill actes and statutes of the Baxter craft of Aberdeen, being ye second craft within ye samyn, to be keipit and observit in all tymn cuming." The mention here of the Bakers being the second craft recalls the fact that when the Wrights and Coopers claimed possession of the second window in the old Trinity Chapel the Bakers raised an action at law to have it declared that they were the second craft in the order of precedence, and being successful, no further attempt was made to disturb the existing arrangement.

On the fly leaves of the oldest minute book—which, by the way, is ornamented here and there with red capitals—are a number of moral and pious extracts such as

Wealth may take wings and riches flee away,
But God's a rock that ne'er will decay.

Behold the staitt of all the sones of men
That live to die, but knowis not how nor quhen,
How grass like they do whither and decay,
flow Boone death doeth mawe them down lyk hay;
How vain a thing of all things is man,
For, loe, his lyf is measured by a span;
How he is borne with plentis, brocht with pain,
And how with grief he gois to grave againe.

Then follow the acts and statutes, a number of which, as in the case of the other Trades, are undated :—


Item, it is statute and ordained at Aberdeen the twentie-ane day of February, 1634 years, George Leslie, baiter, being deacon, that ilk freemen hereof, baith servants and prentices sail keep the holy Sabbath Day precisely at sermone beforenone and afternoone, and sail nowayse absent thaim selffis thairfra (health of bodie servin) under the pain of six shillings Scots ilk person toties quoties, as they happen to contravene thir present ordinance ; And ilk servant and prentices of the said craft [that] is vagaboundis on ye Sabbath and strayer heir and there be playing at lynks, kyillies, bou'lls, and other unlawful games, so that they neglect their dewtie towards God and their masters. Thairfor it is strictly statute and ordainit that gif ony of there beis found brakeries of the said Sabbath Day at any tyme hereafter, ye contravenaris hereof shall pay to the collectour for helping of the poore of their craft four shillings Scots toties quoties for thair absence from the service ; and if they be found playing at the forsaids pastymes on the said Sabbath Day sall pay six shillings and eightpence toties quoties, and to be punished in thair person otherwise ; or otherwise reported to the session that they may tak ordour therewith as appertenis.


Item, it is statute and ordainit that ilk freeman hereintill sall have no power to scheill quheat at the flour mill within this burgh, but twa birne quheat at ane scheilling, and everie ane to have his rowme about, and ony quantitie ground as neid requires, and wha does in the contrair hereof sall pay six shillings toties quoties.


Item, it is statute and ordainit that gif ony servants or prentisses beis found drinking and debauching in hous on the Sabbath night, or drinking in tyme of divine service, the contravener thereof sail pay to the collectour for helping of the poore six shillings toties quoties.


Item, it is statute and ordainit that it sail not be leasom to no servant nor prentiss to wear upon him either whinger or durk or dagger, but ane big knyff for eating of his meat, laiking a poynt, or either he be going to landward in his master's service, and wha contravenes hereintill sail pay six shillings toties quoties.


Item, it is statute and ordainit that no prentiss nor servant sall baik any buiis or pyes to sell in tyme currying under the pain of confiscation thereof beside and attour ane unlaw to the poore of the craft.


Item, it is statute and ordainit that it sail not be leasom to no prentiss within his prentissship to marie nor spouse hym to ane wyff, nayer to commit fornication nor adulterie within their prentissship, and wha contravenis hereintill to begin of new again and serve over the whole years contained in his indenture. Otherwyse, in case of refusal, naways to receive the benefit of ane freeman.


Item, it is statute and ordanit that ilk freeman hereof that has hattes, or in use to wear any, sall come with thair hattes on thair heads to all burials they happen to be warned unto, and that nane absent thameselffs theirfra. And wha contravenes hereinn sail pay six shillings toties quoties for helping of the poor of the craft. And nane appoint in the contrair.

10th August, 1636.—The day and dait of the Act within written, ane Act and ordinance is ratified and approven as all freemen of the said craft that wears hattes on their heids on the Sabbthe day, sail come lykewise decentlie on Tysday and Thursday at sermones as occasion offers, and wha contravenes hereintill sail pay to the poore of the craft six shillings and eightpence toties quoties.


Item, it is statute and ordainit that no freeman hereof sail have jurnayboyes in thair baikhous ; but that everie maister have them either feed prenties or servant with thame, and wha contravenes hereintill sail pay six shillings toties quoties to the collectour for helping the poore.


Item, it is statute and ordained that no freeman sail be maid at no tyme hereaf ter without he serve lawfully prentice within the samyn be the space of six years fullie togidder as prentice and servant, and gif the master depart this present lyff within the years of his prenticeship, it is considered and concluded be the saidis deacon and maisters that he shall serve ane other maister of this craft the rest of the years that are not outrun, so that it sail nowyse be leisom to the said prentice to attain to the benefit as ane freeman hereof while unto the time he obtemper this present ordinance.

Item, it is statute and ordained that no freeman hereof presume nor tak upon hand to accept or receive either prentice or boyes in thair service unto the time they come duly to the court and pay their entry to the collectour in presence of the deacon and maisters, and wha contravenes hereintill sail pay six shillings toties quoties for helping of the poor.

Item, it is statute and ordaint that no freeman hereof sail have two prentises servin him at one tyme, and who contravenes hereintill sail pay to the collectour of the craft for helping of their poor ten merks toties quoties. And nane appoint in ye contrair.

Item, it is statute and ordained that na indenture betwixt maister and prentiss sail be presented before the deacon and maisters except it be under the subscription of the clerk of our own court under the pain of six shillings to be paid to the collectour be the breaker of this ordinance.

Item, it is statute and ordained that ilk maister sail present and exhibit before the haill calling their prentisses indentures sic as they happen to conduce with, to the effect the same may be tryed whether or not thay be orderlie accepted, and wha contravenes hereintill sail pay six shillings toties quoties to the collectour of the craft.

Item, it is statute that na new admittit frieman hereof sail accept nor conduce with ane prentiss untill he be past three yeirs as ane frieman, and wha contravines herintill sail pay ten pounds money.

Item, that no frieman sail take ane other callants aff off their hand until he give satisfaction for bygone rests.


Item, it is statute and ordained that ilk master of this craft admitted freeman sail put and deliver at ilk quarter court their quarter stage [penny] with their servants and prentices, and that for helping of the poor of the craft, and everie dues astrictit furth thereof. And the maister to answer for their prentices and servants, and pay conform but [without] ony postponis or firstings, under the pain of 13 shillings toties quoties by and attour thair quarter stages for disobedience.


Item, it is statute and ordanit that it sail nowyse be leasome to no freeman hereof to buy any quheat or buy he himselff frae ane extraniar, or any other merchant within this burgh arriving thereat. Bot ye same stuff sail be coft [bought] be the Deacon of this craft in name, and to the utilitie of the hail bretheren hereof. And quha contravenes herintill sail pay to the collectour in name of the craft twentie shillings Scots for ilk brak thereof.

Forsaemikle as the bretherne being informed that certain of the brither of gild of this burgh frequents to landward south and north and buys without to their ain selves, thinking thereby that the baxters will buy the same aff of thair hands to the great prejudice of the craft for remeid, whereof it is statute and ordained that whasomever of the said craft buys any of the said quheat so coft in smalls in landward sail pay four pounds money toties quoties as they happen to contraven.

15th August, 1637.—The said day it is statute and ordained be the deacon and maisters of the said calling (for exchewing of scandal to the said craft) that it sail not be lesum to no freeman of the said calling to buy ony quheat meall on mercat dayes that happen to come into the mercat to be sauld, neither in smalls nor greats, and wha contravenes hereintill shall pay fortie shillings on ilk boll thereof toties quoties for helping of the poore of the craft, and this act and statute to be intimate to the whole craft that they pretend no ignorance thereof, with special provision always that they that buys quheat small aforehand to be inbrocht to this burgh on mercat days then always to be free of this ordinance and no otherwise.


8th August, 1636.—The said day it is statute and ordained that gif ony frieman of the said calling buy ony new quheat be himselff at ony tym hereafter the same being about four bolls, in that case the buyer sail distribute two bolls thereof to the nicbbours gif they require the same for mixing of old quheat therewith.


Item, it is statute and ordaint that whatever frieman, prentice, or servant, beis found out of thair ain house at ten hours at night, or found in any unlawful place, sail pay six shillings and eightpennies toties quoties for helping of the poore of ye same.


Item, it is statute and ordained that whatsomever person or persons of this calling sail be found to sell any flour, in greaties or smallies to unfriemen, or sail happen to gif flour to their servants for thair service sail in that case pay six shillings money of this realm toties quoties how oft the same be tryit be witness or aith of pairties. As also that no frieman permit nor suffer any unfree person to bake buns in their baik hous in tyme cuming under the lyke pains.


Item, it is statute and ordained forsameikill as the great leniency that entered freemen here had anent their composition or banquet either, whereas other crafts within the same taks twies als mutch, to remedy whereof the deacon and maisters have ane statute and ordinance that whatsomever sail enter in amongst them as friemen sail pay forty pounds of composition to the craft for their part by and attour sic devotie as belongs to the toun, so that the entrant sail save the craft thereanent at the toun's hands, and nane appoint to the contrair.


Item, it is statute and ordained, forsameikill as the most pairt of the freemen within this burgh having given in thair several contributions be thamselves to the Trinitie Hospital founded by the Rev. pastor Doctor William Guild, and to the effect the said hospital and convening house thereof may be the better maintinit, therefor it is statute and ordanit be advice of deacon and maisters and whole craft convenit that ilk new admittit frieman that be received hereafter in this incorporation sail give in their talent to the said use within yeir and day after their admission and this according to thair descrition and habilitie.

Item, it is statute and ordained that whosoever of this craft withholding his help from the hospital of the said crafts sail have no pairt nor portion of the mortifiet moneys dedicat to that use ; neither to have vote in choosing of the deacon and masters of their craft or admission of the said hous of any frieman.


Item, it is statute and ordained that whosoever of this craft convocates themselves for choising of the deacon obefoir the day of election or subornes any others to choir any man before the said day, the doer, whasoever he be, sail be convict in six pounds money to be paid into the deacon-convener's box, and gif he have no monies to be debared of all vote in any meeting whatsomever and sicklike wha pays not their quarter stages, either prentice or servant, entries, uniaws, and convictions given in against them sail have no vote in choosing of the deacon in tyme cuming.


Item, it is statute and ordained that whasomever deacon convenes in their ain house either with his haill craft or with their haill maisters to hold court or meetings anent any affairs of the craft and convene not formally in their convening hous of the Trinities the deacon sail pay to the Deacon-Conveener's box six pounds money toties quoties, and that he sail pay the same within forty-aucht houris thereafter under the pain of doubling thereof and poinding therefor.


Item, it is statute and ordained that whasomever court beis holden either general or particular within the said convening hous, the court ante being fencit, and whosoever thereafter speikes without leve askit and given sail pay six shillings toties quoties, and if he refuse sail be presently poinded therefor. And gif ony be refracter to be defraudit of thair vote or any benefit of court till the same be obeyit.


Item, it is statute and ordained that whatsomever frieman hereof that slanders and villipendes the actis and ordinances of their present buik and disobeys the same sail not bruik office as deacon or master thereof in no tyme cuming without he make ane lawful satisfaction to the haill craft and to exact from him five pounds without any mitigation for his ignorance.

Item, forsameikill as certaine nichtbouries of this craft, at lawings and other societies, and offendis thair nichbours be offensive speeches against all civil ordour or Christainitie and to the effect there may be ane solid ordour in tyme cuming and such matteris and wrongs suppressed thairfor and ordained that whosoever of the saidis craft offendis ane other publicly or privately in any pairt whatsomever be offensive and scandalous speeches the doer sail be convictit and unlawed for four pounds toties quoties as the same beis proven either be witness or aith of parties and that to be inbrocht to the weall of the craft and nane appoynt in the contrair.


Item, it is statute and ordained that no man's second soune, frieman of this craft, sail be maide frie nor injoy the benefit hereof except he be ane prentiss and indenture made thereon according to the form.


Item, it is statute and ordained that no forrin flour be coft be no nichtbour of this craft fra any whatsomever, under the pain of forty shillings to the craft ; and forder, that no flour be baiken chaiper nor four shillings the peck, under the pain of six shillings and eight pennies ilk peck that beis baiken better chaip.


Item, it is statute and ordained that no master of the craft tak upon band to baik any burges' flour in burges' ovens, nor to baik better chaip the burges man's flour nor four shillings the peck, conform to the above written act, and wha contravenes hereintill sail pay eight shillings to the collect-our for helping of the poore.


Item, forsameikle as the servants and prentisses of their incorporation hes the whole credit of thair maister's stuff and everie guid and gear, and thereby may harm thaim many wayis behind thair backs to thair hurt and prejudice, thairfor it is statute and ordained gif ony of the said servants and prentisses wrangs or skaithes thair maisters directly or indirectly at ony tyme hereafter be away taken of thair stuff, moneys, or thair guids, the doer thereof sail be expelled out of all service and baikhouses, and never to receive the benefit of the craft as friemen in ony tyme thereafter, and to be punishit in his person at the will of the maisters.


Item, it is statute and ordained that it shall not be leasom to no freeman to buy, receive, or intak in thar house or baikhous ony aittmeal on Setterday or Weddinsday mercat dayss till the same be put in the common mercat of this burght under the pain of twentie shillings money totie8 quoties, and gif it happens the magistrates attache any of the said freemen hereof for buying of meal unlawfullie the transgressor to free the whole of the craft of the toun's unlaws.


Item, it is statute and ordained that it sail not be leasum to prentiss nor servant to put violent hands in others be way of deuty, but that everie servant and prentiss complain to the maister to the effect he may tak ordour therewith as appertains, and wha lifts his hands or feet to his nichtbour in baikhous or elsewhere sail pay to the collectour for helping, of the poor of the craft twenty-nine shillings money toties quoties by and attour amends to the pairty at the will and discretioun of the Deacon and maisters.


6th November, 1634.—The said day it is ordained that ilk twelf penny quheat loaf sall contain ten ounces of sufficient weall bakin bread and the twa shilling loaf to be conform, and in the meantime ordains every neighbour of the calling to have his stamp on his bread, and that the sufficiency or insufficiency of the said bread or lacking of the stamp be tried by the deacon or ony of his maisters whom he pleases with him until Candlemas next 1635, and who contravenes this present ordnance sail pay six shillings money toties quoties to the craft. [Numerous instances are recorded of members being punished for breach of this statute.]


23rd February, 1665.—The said day it is statute and ordainit be unanimous consent of the haill trade, that Alexander Innes, baiter, shall not goe through the street crying with pyes, nor no other of the said traid, and if they be found to do in the contrair, the contraveneer sail pay to the boxmaster four pounds Scots for the use of the poor of the said traid. [Alexander Innes, being the youngest member of the trade, was officer at the time he committed this offence.]


8th December, 1676.—The said day it is strictly statute and ordainit that no neighbour of the traid sail in any ways, directly or indirectly, baik nor work to any neighbour's customer, until first he have payt his former baiker of all bygane rests [debts], and who sail contravene herein to pay into the box the summe of four pounds Scots money for the use of the poore tot es quoties; and also that the contravenirs sail pay to the former baxter such compt as sail be restand to him be his former customer, and this to be observed in all time coming.


15th August, 1683.—The said day it is statute and ordained of unanimous consent of the haill baxter traid that whosomever of whatsomever rank or quality shall be admittit frieman of the said traid and received in their incorporations shall liberat and free the deacon, boxmaster, and remanent members of the said vocation at the hands of the Dean of Gild and counsell, as also at the hands of the Deacon-Conveener and members of his court anent all wyne arms and other public dues, due and payable upon the said entrant his accompt; and this act to be observed for all tyme coming without any opposition or contradiction.


9th June, 1663.—The said day it is statute and ordained be the deacon with unanimous consent of the haill maisters and friemen of the baxter traid within this burgh that none of their prentisses nor servants be absent from their maister's service be the space of ane full hour together without leave askit and given unless they can instruct ane reasonabill cause for their absence which shall be allowed be the deacon and traid, and sic lyke that none of their prentisses and servants be out of their maister's house after nine hours at night without leave of their said maisters or ane reasonabill excuse to be shown to the said deacon and traid as said is, and if any of the saidis prentisses and servants contravene and come in the contrair of this present ordinance, it is statute and ordained that the persons so transgressing shall pay into the boxmaster of the said traid threttie shillings Scots money for the use of the poore, totiis quoties, so oft as they or any of them shall be found absent from his service, or absent from his maister's house at nine hours at nyght as said is.


15th October, 1666.—This said day the haill trade and all in ane voce declires and ordains that everie twa shilling loaf of white bread to be baikin hereafter shall be of weight twenty-seven ounces of raw douche and leaven, and the contravener to be censured at the discretion of the trade. The said day ordains that everie aucht penny loaffe of oat bread shall be of weight nynteen ounces of leaven, the contravener to be at the discretion of the traid.


21st May, 1667.—The said day it is enacted, statute, and ordained be the deacon and hail traid that no frieman of the traid baik nor sell any biskit bread at any time hereafter under the pain of forty shillings tones quoties to be paid be the delinquent to the boxmaster for use of the poore of the traid ; and siclyk statute and ordain be the deacon and traid that no servant or unfrieman baik nor sell ony bread neither in private nor in public in prejudice of the freiman and maisters with certification that any servant or unfrieman that contravenes this statute shall be utterlie debarred from any service or societie amongst the bakeris in this burgh in all time thereafter.


23rd November, 1669.—Item, it is statute and ordained that ilk wheat halfpenny loaff sall weigh fifteen ounces, and ilk eight penny oat loaff twentie ounces, and ilk two shillings wheat loaff to weigh thirty ounces.


14th January, 1669.—The said day it is enacted and ordained be the haill traid that none who sail hereafter enter friemen of the traid sail come in friemen thereof unless he first give and find a sufficient cautioner for his composition and other things incumbent to him to doe, and that before he supplicate the trade for the said effect, or then to pay and deliver ready money for his said composition.


14th January, 1669.—The said day it is statute and ordained that in all tyme cuming there sail tuo of the traid go through the haill traid weeklie, visiting time about, and notiss and tak inspection of the unsufficiuce of bread, and if any of the traid be found guilty theirin to report the same to the deacon and maisters of the traid.


21st February, 1671.—The said day the haill trade unanimously statute and ordained that in all tyme hereafter there sail be no banquets nor feasts exacted off of ony entrant frieman, but the said feast to be converted into money according to the modification of the traid, and to be given into the boxmaster for the use of the craft and the poore thereof. And this to be observit in all tyme to cum without alteration. [This act soon fell into desuetude.]


1st August, 1672.—The said day it is statute and ordained that no frieman of the calling give to any of their prentisses or boys any flour of their wheat baiking nor give them libertie to baik any rolls, biskettis, or wastalls for their awin use to sell through the touu, and that under the pain of forty shillings Scots to be paid to the boxmaster be ilk contravener hereof toties quoties, for the use of the poore.


12th February, 1691.—The said day, by pluralitie of voyces, it is statute and ordained that it sail be noways leasome nor lawful to any frieman of the said traid to buy any wheat or rye be himselff from any extraniner or any other merchant within the said burgh arriving thereat, but the same stuff shall be bocht be the deacon of the craft for the tyme in name and to the utilitie of the haill brethren thereof except the deacon refuse, and that under the failzie of twenty shillings Scots for ilk boll that shall be bocht to be paid to the boxmaster of the said baxter traid for the tym for his contravention without exemption, and this to stand unalterable in all tyme cuming.


25th November, 1678.—The said day the traid statute and ordained that none of the craft baik plack bannaks of oatmeal or pairings under the failzie of four pounds toties quoties, and that none suffer the same to be baikin within their baikhouses under the said failzie.


24th November, 1685.—The said day it is strictly statute and ordained that whatsomever frieman of the baxter traid that has more stocks or shops than ane, and that sells breed in ane place more than what by the calling sail be called ane stock or shop, the person guilty sail pay to the boxmaster of the craft four pounds Scots for the first fault, and so to be double the toties quoties, and this to stand unalterable in all tyme cuming. [This act was repeatedly re-enacted for the purpose evidently of providing openings for new members.]


18th July, 1694.—The traid ordains that no frieman sail baik pyes or taarts or pudens for less than forty pennies or three shillings, and wha contravenes to pay into ther box fortie shillings Scots toties quoties, and this to stand unalterable.


4th April, 1716.—The said day the baxter traid by ane voice nem. con. enacted and ordained that in all tyme cuming no members of this incorporation, either by themselves, servants, or others whomsoever in their or either of their names, presume to sell ony bisckit through the town, or any other sort of bread whatsomever in tyme cuming under the failizie tones quoties of four pounds Scots besides confiscation of the bread so offered to be sold, and this to remain unalterable in all tyme cuming.


5th February, 1717.—The said day the traid taking to serious consideration the great abuses that hath been committed many years bygane by extraordinary drinking on entrants, for the remeede of which in tyme cuming doe hereby statute and ordain that no say maister chosen by the said traid shall have liberty to drink upon any entrant in any tyme thereafter under the penalty of ten merks Scots money.


12th April, 172G.—The said day the baxter traid taking to their consideration the great loss sustained by this traid through several women within this town thus working in their own houses plum cake, seid cake, sugar biscuit, and other pastry, and bringing the same to the several bakehouses of the freemen of this traid to be by them fired, and which pastry they thereafter sell and vend through the town, for remeid whereof for the future, the said traid hereby statutes and ordains that no freeman of this traid in time coming shall give the use of his oven for firing the above pastrie so wrocht as aforesaid being for sale, and that under the penalty of ten merks Scots.


17th July, 1732.— Abstract—That no master have serving him more than three apprentices at one and the same time; no member to take a second until three years of the former apprentice's time be expired; that no member take in an apprentice until he (the master) has been five years a freeman.


11th May, 1738.—Abstract—It was statute and ordained that in all time to cum any member or members of the corporation who shall be admitted burgesses of Guild shall notwithstanding their being so admitted Burgesses of Guild be entitled to, and have the full exercise of their trade and employment without the least molestation. [This Act was cancelled by order of the Magistrates.]


27th October, 1772.—The said day the traid taking under their consideration a practice which has of late prevailed among the members thereof in regard to the way and manner practised by them in disposing upon and selling of bread, by allowing to their customers and others who purchased from them at the rate of thirteen for the dozen of small bread, and so on in proportion, it is hereby statute and ordained that any member doing so shall be declared incapable of holding office, &c.


18th August, 1777.—Abstract—It is ordained that all members of the craft charge their customers and others who may employ them one penny sterling for each roast, tart, pudding, and pye that shall be roasted, fired, and prepared in their oven ; one penny halfpenny sterling the dozen for dry bread, and four pennies sterling for casting and firing the pound weight of seed cake, and the one half of the said sum when only fired, and they do hereby abolish their former practice of complimenting their customers with sweetie loaves or any kind of loaves whatsoever at Christmas or at any other time of the year. [All the members present –eighteen in number—signed this Act.]

From an entry in the Council Register in 1674, it would appear as if the Aberdeen bakers had not been giving satisfaction to the inhabitants. In that year "Alexander Bruce, baker in Edinburgh, was allowed to supply the inhabitants with bread, and admitted a burgess on account of the bakers of the town being deficient in making good bread."

The price of wheat and flour was fixed by the Trade at intervals when a change was deemed necessary, and the deacon had also power to regulate the quantities that were to be allocated to each master baker. In 1634, the Trade assumed the function of ordering each baker to have a separate mark for his bread, and two of the members were appointed to "go through the town to tak imposition of insufficient bread." The following are a number of entries as to the prices :—

6th May, 1665.—No flour to be sold under auchteen shillings the peck.

18th September, 1666.—No wheat to be bought higher than ten merks the boll, "unless that the pryce rise."

12th September, 1667.—No wheat to be bought above seven pounds the boll.

23rd November, 1669.—No wheat to be purchased above ten merks the boll, and no flour to be sold under sixteen shillings ilk peck.

13th December, 1670.—No wheat to be purchased above seven pounds Scots the boll, and no flour to be sold under eighteen shillings ilk peck.

7th November, 1671.—No wheat to be sold above seven pounds ilk boll.

4th February, 1673.—No flour to be sold under sixteen shillings ilk peck.

20th November, 1673.—No wheat to be bought above six pounds the boll, and rye four pounds ten shillings the boll.

12th May, 1674.—Flour not to be sold under twenty shillings Scots ilk peck.

11th September, 1719.—No wheat to be bought above six pounds Scots each boll, and rye four pounds and half a merk per boll.

An arrangement was entered into in 1711 under which a monthly inspection was to take place, the bakers agreeing to it in the following minute :-

6th February, 1711.—The deacon gave in ane act of the Town Council anent the weight of bread, and appointing him to survey the sufficiencie of the barters' bread monthly, and to report to the magistrates under the respective failizie therein contained as the said extract of the said act under the hand of the town-clerk, dated the 16th day of Nay, 1705, and the traid considering the benefit and justice of the said they hereby ratify and homologat and confirm the same in the whole circumstances thereof.

The essays which were prescribed at different periods for entrant bakers give a good indication of the various kinds of work performed by bakers. Previous to 1669 it is merely stated that the entrant shall "mak ane sufficient essay," but after that date the articles to be made were, as will be seen from the following extracts, specifically described :—

14th January, 1669.—The said day it is statute and ordained that all those who sail enter frieman of the said traid hereafter sail have for his say, first to peit the oven, and his say to be ane ait bakin, and a wheat baikin, with ane pye with six corners, and ane coffine of ane wheat pye with six houssis with ane bannack of six two shilling quheat bread.

10th February, 1714.—Appoints the petitioner to peet the oven the night before working, his say is to be to take ane boll of wheat of the growth of the shire of Aberdeen, and to mill the same, and that for taking off the heit of the oven, to baik ane batch of oat loaves, as also ane batch of white loaves, consisting of half ane boll of flour with ane ry consisting of half ane peck of flour formally wrocht, and ane dish of minced pyes consisting of nynteen in number; and that he sail tak an exact course of the oven so that the bread baiken may be baised ; and that he sail tak up so much watter to each batch as may fully serve without addition ; all this to be performed in the deacon's baikhous.

14th September, 1719.—Appoints the say to be as follows :—Ane boll of wheat of the growth of the shire of Aberdeen to be milled and dressed be himself : half ane boll of flour thereof to be boutted and baiken be him in white loaves well baken, baised, and crusted with ane bannock of six two shilling loaves; and also ane batch of oat loaves consisting of half ane boll of meal, and ane pye, consisting of eight houses, containing six or eight fowls; and ane large pudding to fill ane six pound plate; all to be formally wrocht, and to peet the oven before working the same.

17th July, 1781.—Appoints the essay to be ane boll of wheat to be dressed by himself, ane half thereof to be baked in loaves well baked, and crusted with a bannock of nine two penny loaves; six pecks of meal in oat loaves; a florentine of fowls; a florentine of beef; and a dish of tarts, seventeen in the dish of preserves and prunes, two feet diameter, the whole to be formally wrocht, well baked, and seasoned with his own hand the liquor and seasoning to be taken up at once without any addition, which essay to be wrocht in the deacon's bakehouse, the meat to be seasoned and the oven peated the night before working.

8th March, 1796.—The essay appointed to be a bannock of eighteen two penny loaves from a batch to be well crusted and the seasoning and liquor to be taken up at once ; to make a dish of seventeen tarts prunes and preserves two feet diameter; two florentines of eight hens in two plates; two apple pies and two florentines of mutton; two dozen of cheese cakes, to be wrocht in the deacon's bakehouse.

9th November, 1808.—Essay appointed be six two penny loaves from a batch to be well crusted and the seasoning and liquor to be taken at once, which he obliges himself to execute with his own hands.

It was the custom in the Baker Trade to make a meal of the essay after it had been duly inspected and found sufficient. The essay at present prescribed is similar to the one last mentioned.

If the number of convictions recorded in the books of this Trade is to be taken as a criterion of the general conduct of the bakers, it must be acknowledged that strict adherence to the letter of the law could not have been a cardinal virtue among them in olden days. The craft met for the transaction of business far more frequently than any of the others—once or twice a week as a rule, the principal business being to fix the price of bread and to punish offenders. Their meetings appear to have been of a statutory character, as not unfrequently the minute runs—"The said day the court met and adjourned." The following are a few out of the numerous convictions recorded :—

12th February, 1691.—The said day the boys and prentisses under subscribend enacted themselves not to play at dyce nor cards, nor to keep uncivil and begarly company in tyme hereafter, under the failzie of forty shillings, toties quoties. [Follow the names of a number of boys.]

4th April, 1694.—The said John Marishall, prentiss to James Douglass, was amerciat in twentie shillings, to be payt to the boxmaster, for his playing at the cairts, and was ordained to pay other fortie shillings in case he be found in the like transgression which he hereby adheres to.

28th January, 1697.—The said day John Buchan and William Donald was amerciat ilk ane of them in twentie shillings Scots for abusing ane another in presence of the deacon, and both of them oblige themselves not to abuse ane anither either be word or deed under the failzie of four pounds Scots, to be payt for the use of the poore in case any contravene their presents by and attour what other censure the craft shall put on them.

17th September, 1634.—The said day Andrew Thomson, prentiss to Alexander Williamsone, baxter, is convicit in ane unlaw of ane rex dollar, to be payt by him to the craft, for nicht walking, shouting, and debording on the nicht when people wess in their beddes, as was clearly proven, and whilk he could not deny, and gif he be found doing the like hereafter sail doubill unlaw.

17th October, 1717.—The said day George Watson, servant to John Kelly, enacted himself to attend upon the public worship profest be the Protestant religion upon the Lord's day when able to goe thereto, and noe ways to be found vaging or straying either alone or in company on the Sabbath dayes in tym hereafter in tyme of divine service, and that under what penalty the baxter traid of this place for the tyme shall be pleased to impose.—(Signed) GEORGE WATSON.

18th February, 1729.--The same day David Lindsay, gave in a complaint to the traid that David Moncrieff, contrary to the oath taken at his admission, had revealed some of the secrets of this trade ; as also that the said David Moncrieff has aspersed the said David Lindsay by saying that when any meal was given in to him to be bakin the said David Lindsay took by two pecks thereof for his own use, upon which the said David Moncrieff being examined, he absolutely refused that ever he uttered any such expression. In testimony whereof he hath signed hereto—(Signed) DAVID MONCRIEFF.

19th December, 1766.—The traide having met and taken into their serious consideration the dangerous and audacious riot and tumult which happened in this burgh upon the night betwixt Thursday last and this morning, which tends not only to the subversion of all good order and the danger and hurt of all the inhabitants, but also threatens this burgh with a real scarcity of provisions by deterring the farmers and others dealing in victual from bringing meal into the mercat, which has hitherto, by the great care and vigilance of the magistrates and corporations, been more plentifully supplied, and at a lower price than most other parts in Britain, and though some of those who are present at these lawless insurrections may not be active therein, yet by their presence they increase the disorder, therefore, they unanimously resolved that such of their apprentices, journeymen, or servants as shall be found in any mob or tumult within this burgh or neighbourhood shall be deprived of the libertie of entering freemen, and they further resolved that no person so offending shall at any time hereafter be employed by any freeman of Aberdeen, and that each of the masters will do their utmost to discover and inform upon such of their servants as shall be concerned in any riots or tumults hereafter, that they may be convicted and punished according to the law.

In addition to maintaining a "dask" or loft in one of the city churches, as well as in the Trinity Chapel, the bakers, as will be seen from the following minute, erected a seat in the old St. Paul's Chapel (Episcopalian) :—

17th February, 1725.—The said day the baxter traid taking to their consideration that this traid mostly are hearers of the Word of God in St Paul's Chappell in Aberdeen, and that the said traid have no place for their accommodation in the said chappell, they hereby authorise and empower their present deacon and masters to agree with a sufficient workman for building a seat for the said traid in the said chappell upon the public charge of the baxter traid, for which this shall be warrant.

The estate of Kincorth, Nellfield Cemetery, Garden Neuk, Gilcomston; Butts of Footdee, and feu-duties in Tannery Street are the principal properties belonging to this Incorporation.

Underneath the emblazoned arms of the Baker Trade painted on their "brod," in the Hall, is the following panegyric on the craft :—

When from the shades of Night and Chaos came,
This vast round Globe, and Heav'n's all beauteous frame,
The same dread Word that stretch'd the ample sky,
And bad bright Orbs in myriads rowl on high,
Commanded from the fertile womb of Earth,
The vegetable kinds to take their Birth;
Each various fruit: and chief the gen'rous grain,
The favour'd race of Mankind to sustain.
Obedient at his call each springing field,
Verdant with Life abundant Harvests yield,
Which, ev'n tho' ripe, were crude in some degree,
For Heav'n provides, but man the cook must be:
By careful art, and all-correcting fire,
Refin'd and Bak'd, they answer'd each desire;
Diffusing strength thro' all the human frame,
And aiding, with glad-warmth, the vital flame.
Hence comes the swain's brisk mein and healthful air,
And that gay bloom that crowns the sprightly fair;
Then, let the BAKER with due praise be crown'd,
And Floreant Pistores echo round
So old, so universal is our Trade,
So useful, that the staff of life is Bread
And, what immediately does life sustain,
Of ev'ry art the precedence should gain.
In various forms we work the yielding paste,
To strength adapt it, and to curious taste
And while we rev'rence Heav'n's Omnific Pow'r,
We imitate His works in miniature;
As from the formless chaos of the paste,
Which, with fermenting fluids we conjest,
Loves rise, like worlds, from our creating hand,
And various figures rise at our command.
O'er our fair Labours, artful we diffuse,
Choice cordial sweets, and rich ambrosial dews,
Consign'd to the deep oven's glowing cell,
They, in their mimic Purgatory, dwell,
Till time suffice, then forth they come releas'd,
Fragrant to smell and grateful to the taste.
In mathematick form the pye we rear,
Which, like some sumptuous castle does appear,
Beasts, fowls, and fruits, the Magazines supply,
Which round the crusted walls we fortify.
Magnificently roof'd it stands in state,
Till scal'd and plunder'd by some potentate.
Without our aid, what regal table's spread?
What Hero fights without the strength of Bread?
Round the wide world, our labour still is dear,
To soldier, sailer, peasant, prince, and peer.
The priest and lawyer's vocal lungs we aid,
And help the merchant to pursue his trade.
What Nymph so lovely, or of birth so high,
But will to pastry her soft hands apply;
And who the occupation shall despise,
Which ev'n the fair disdain not to practise.
But higher yet, our honours we pursue,
Angels ate bread, and angels bak'd it too
Abram, the friend of God, in Mamre's plain,
Three angels once did kindly entertain.
Fine flour his princely spouse did knead and bake,
And social they, of human food partake.
And once Elijah, wand'ring in the wild,
By haughty Iezebel's proud threats exil'd,
As stretch'd beneath a juniper he lay,
Slumbring and faint, and far from human way,
An angel, Heav'y-descended, form'd a cake,
And to divine refreshment bid him wake.
Tho' we have angel's sanction, yet our cause
Fresh lawrels from the prince of angels draws;
When, here on earth, he taught us how to pray,
Give us our daily Bread he bid us say;
Nor is it foreign to our honour'd trade,
That with five loaves, five thousand souls He fed.
He too, the mystick presence did consign
Of his own flesh and blood, to bread and wine,
Ev'n He, by whom the numerous worlds were made,
Partook on Earth the sustenance of Bread;
And after his ascention from the grave;
When to the twelve He his third presence gave,
Them fishing on Tiberian waves, He call'd,
And to the shore, their loaded netts they haul'd;
When to a fire, and bread thereon prepar'd
By His own hands, which He amongst them shard.
While thus with noblest Trades we boast our part,
Nor yield to any in the sphere of Art,
May He, the Sun of Righteousness, display,
On all our actions his celestial ray;
May we in peace our daily bread possess,
And smiling Providence our labours bless;
Contented may we live, and die resign'd,
And, in the skies, a crown of glory find.

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