A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2005.
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Like other corporate towns, Chester had a system of craft guilds or companies through which urban manufacturing and retailing were regulated in the later Middle Ages and the early modern period. Their names and the composition of each by different occupations underwent many changes. The companies were closely connected with the corporation, not least because the freedom of the city and membership of a guild went hand in hand. The guilds staged Chester's civic pageants, both the medieval 'mystery plays' and the secularized processions and events which succeeded them after the Reformation. In most other towns craft guilds atrophied and disappeared in the earlier 18th century with the ending of civic involvement in economic regulation. At Chester, however, the guilds survived, turning themselves into a type of social club and focusing on the convivial side of their activities which had been present from the start.
Associations of craftsmen existed in Chester by the early 14th century, a time when the unitary guild merchant, in theory representing all the city's trades, still flourished. (fn. 1) The Shoemakers' company later claimed to have been established as the guild of St. Martin before 1285–6 (though later still it alleged a 12th-century origin), (fn. 2) while in the 1410s the Tailors asserted a less precise claim to have existed since ancient times, (fn. 3) and certainly had some form of collective identity soon after 1300, when they made a small annual payment to the earl of Chester to ensure that no-one 'communed' with them on 3 September (the feast of the Translation of St. Gregory the Great). (fn. 4) Both companies may have emerged from what were originally religious guilds formed by groups of craftsmen following the same trade, since they alone of all the companies were called guilds before 1500, when the preferred terms were art (ars), craft (artificium), or simply the occupational name. (fn. 5)
From the 1360s the Tanners and the Shoemakers enjoyed exclusive and collective privileges in the leather-dressing trade, (fn. 6) and during the earlier 15th century many other craft fellowships emerged as corporate bodies which participated in the Corpus Christi festival and could be represented in the city courts by their stewards. Probably most were in being by the 1420s, perhaps crystallized by what was apparently a reorganization and elaboration of the Corpus Christi play shortly before 1422. (fn. 7) The earliest documented references to individual guilds stretched over a long period. The Bakers, Glovers, Weavers, Fletchers, Coopers, Barbers, Goldsmiths, Ironmongers, Carpenters (or Wrights), and Smiths certainly existed by the 1420s; (fn. 8) the Fishmongers, Drapers, Masons, Mercers, and Drawers of Dee (fishermen) were first noticed by name in the 1430s; (fn. 9) the Saddlers and Skinners in the 1440s; the Butchers in the 1450s; the Cooks in the 1460s; (fn. 10) the Dyers in the 1470s; (fn. 11) the Painters in the 1480s; (fn. 12) and the Vintners and the Tapsters and Hostellers c. 1500. (fn. 13) Some of the larger trades also had separate organizations of journeymen: bakers, shoemakers, and tailors by the 1420s, (fn. 14) weavers by the 1440s, (fn. 15) and glovers by the 1490s. (fn. 16)
Nineteen guilds agreed their entry fees in 1475–6 under the supervision of the mayor, (fn. 17) but six others not party to the agreement clearly existed by then. By c. 1500 the 24 parts of the Corpus Christi play were staged by probably 26 craft guilds and the Worshipful Wives, evidently a religious guild. Of the companies known to have existed before c. 1500, only the Painters did not participate. (fn. 18)
Organization Before 1700
Most guilds initially covered a single craft or a number of closely allied trades. The Smiths' company, for example, included locksmiths, farriers, and cutlers, (fn. 19) while the Weavers, Walkers (fullers of cloth), and Chaloners (blanket weavers) evidently formed a single entity. (fn. 20) In 1488 the Cooks' company also included innkeepers. (fn. 21) Already by the 1420s some trades were collaborating with others in order to stage a Corpus Christi pageant: the Fletchers, Bowyers, and Stringers with the Coopers and Turners, for instance, and the Weavers, Walkers, and Chaloners with the Shearmen. (fn. 22) Sharing of costs continued later: in 1521 the Smiths agreed with the Founders and Pewterers to continue their joint contributions. (fn. 23) Some of the pageant groupings resulted in the formation of guilds which combined men following disparate trades, but others were simply ad hoc, if long-lasting, arrangements between what always remained separate companies. The Masons and Goldsmiths, for example, put on a pageant together by the 1430s but were distinct guilds, (fn. 24) as were the Cappers and Mercers c. 1520. (fn. 25) Some crafts which were either wholly new or newly prominent after the mid 15th century never formed a guild of their own: makers of felt caps were part of the Skinners' company by 1489, (fn. 26) and glaziers belonged to the Painters' company by 1482. (fn. 27)
Changes in the arrangements of the pageants between c. 1500 and the Reformation precipitated a restructuring of certain guilds. Three guilds (the Tanners; the Cappers and Pinners; and the Painters, Glaziers, Embroiderers, and Stationers) put on their own pageants for the first time. Conversely the Cooks' guild merged with that of the Tapsters and Hostellers to put on a single play, and the Ironmongers similarly collaborated with the Fletchers and Coopers. The last arrangement, however, did not lead to permanent union in a single guild, perhaps because at the Reformation they separated again in order to replace the pageant previously put on by the Worshipful Wives. (fn. 28)
Only two companies were chartered by the city before 1500: the Bakers in 1463 and the Fletchers and Bowyers in 1468. Both charters simply reaffirmed the guild's own regulations. The Fletchers' rules probably represented common practice, for example in regulating entry fees and the length of apprenticeships, forbidding master craftsmen from taking work from their fellows, setting a limit to the length of the working day, and punishing infringements by a monetary fine. (fn. 29) Standardized regulations made it easier for the guilds to control their members, but the courts of the city and even the palatinate were a further resort. (fn. 30) In 1475–6 twelve companies fixed their entry fees at 6s. 8d. for apprentices and 13s. 4d. for strangers, three at 6s. 8d. and 10s., and one at 3s. 4d. and 6s. 8d., while three others left the matter to be determined by the mayor and his brethren. (fn. 31) From the 15th century guild members were also required to pay annual dues. (fn. 32)
The size of individual guilds before 1500 is difficult to determine. Nineteen men witnessed the Fletchers and Bowyers' charter in 1468, (fn. 33) and in the 1490s both the Bakers and the Butchers had a membership of c. 18. (fn. 34) About 1576 the Cappers and Dyers had 6 members each, the Saddlers, Fishmongers, and Goldsmiths 9, the Skinners 10, the Barbers and Mercers 15 each, the Fletchers and Weavers 19 each, the Joiners 21, the Butchers 23, the Drapers 26, and the Smiths 33. (fn. 35) Women were not eligible for permanent membership, but by c. 1490 some widows were allowed to join certain guilds, notably the Butchers' and Bakers' companies, after their husbands' deaths; their membership seems to have been permitted only until such time as a male relative replaced them at the head of the family business. (fn. 36) About 1575 there were five widows in the Smiths' guild and one in each of the Fishmongers' and Butchers'. (fn. 37)
From the 1530s more guilds sought to strengthen their powers by obtaining charters. Only the Barbers' charters of 1540 and 1550 (from the Assembly), (fn. 38) and the Bakers' of 1552 (a royal inspeximus of the monopoly conferred by Arthur, prince of Wales, as earl of Chester in 1495) (fn. 39) were not explicitly charters of incorporation. Existing companies which were newly incorporated included the Weavers in 1583, (fn. 40) the Wrights, Carpenters, Slaters, and Sawyers in 1584, (fn. 41) and the Brewers in 1607, (fn. 42) all by the mayor, and the Merchant Drapers and Hosiers in 1577, by the Crown. (fn. 43)
The Assembly also created new guilds, in part by formally incorporating groups of trades which had long co-operated in the Whitsun and Midsummer pageants, like the Painters, Glaziers, Embroiderers, and Stationers in 1534, (fn. 44) the Innholders, Victuallers, and Cooks in 1583, (fn. 45) and the Mercers and Ironmongers in 1605. (fn. 46) The Drawers of Dee and Waterleaders petitioned the Assembly for a similar charter in 1578, apparently in vain, and in 1603 united without one. (fn. 47) The Assembly also created wholly new guilds for the Linendrapers in 1552 (fn. 48) and the Joiners, Carvers, and Turners in 1566, (fn. 49) and incorporated the city's curriers into the Saddlers' company in 1639. (fn. 50) In 1725 it refused to incorporate a group of 10 apothecaries as a separate company, insisting that they remain part of the Mercers and Ironmongers' guild with which they had long been associated. (fn. 51) The charters placed the guilds on a firmer legal footing and emphasized their dependence on the city authorities. The Assembly was wary of royal charters, which usually granted wider privileges, for example to the Merchant Drapers in 1577 and the Brewers in 1634. Other guilds revised their constitutions and ordinances to strengthen control over members. (fn. 52) Record keeping also became more systematic, at least 15 company books apparently starting between 1580 and 1660. (fn. 53)
In the early 1420s the title of master was sometimes given to officers representing a guild or the light which it maintained for devotional purposes, (fn. 54) but in nonreligious contexts guild officers were invariably called aldermen and stewards. (fn. 55) The working officials were the stewards, two in number, whose election possibly always took place on the feast day of the company's patron saint. (fn. 56) Most companies also had two aldermen, though there were some variations. In 1472 the Saddlers had four, (fn. 57) and a few companies managed with only one at various times, including the Bakers in the late 15th century and the earlier 16th, (fn. 58) the Linendrapers under their charter of 1552, (fn. 59) and the Drawers of Dee in 1572. (fn. 60) The Merchant Drapers switched to a master and two wardens under their charter of 1577, (fn. 61) followed in 1607 by the Brewers, under an Assembly charter (master and two stewards) varied by a royal charter of 1634 (master and two wardens), (fn. 62) and in 1679 by the Bricklayers when they became a separate company; the last, however, went back to an alderman and two stewards c. 1826 and two aldermen and two stewards in 1832. (fn. 63)
Stewards or wardens usually served for two years each, the aldermen or masters for longer. In combined guilds there were rules to ensure that no single occupation monopolized the offices. The aldermen and masters conducted the meetings held quarterly or more frequently; the stewards and wardens kept records, enforced attendance, and supervised finances. Income was derived from admission fees, fines for the breach of ordinances, and quarterly dues, called quarterage and usually between 3d. and 6d. a head. Admission fees in the 16th and 17th centuries varied from under £1 to £12 or even more, with a dinner in addition or an extra fee in lieu. Regular expenditure included the amounts spent on feasting and drinking at meetings or special occasions; the expenses of litigation or any other unforeseen demands had to be met by special levies. (fn. 64)
Eventually each company had a set of ordinances, similar for all guilds and subject to Assembly approval. (fn. 65) They included rules about secrecy, the wearing of livery, and attendance at brother guildsmen's funerals, but more significantly covered working, trading, and employment practices. An apprenticeship of seven years was normally required, (fn. 66) but certain guilds demanded more: the Barbers twelve years, the Drapers nine, and the Shoemakers eight. At different dates the Butchers, the Joiners, Turners, and Carvers, and the Tanners all obliged newly qualified apprentices to serve as journeymen before they could join the company. From the later 16th century some guilds restricted entry by imposing a high fee or insisting on a qualifying period before a new member could take apprentices. Guilds also controlled the numbers of journeymen employed and limited the scope of their work. In 1599 the Assembly prohibited associations of journeymen, a ban ignored apparently with impunity by journeymen shoemakers who retained their own fraternity until the 1630s or later. (fn. 67)
The guilds were also concerned from the 15th century to preserve their monopoly against outsiders and against residents within the liberties who worked without belonging to the relevant company. (fn. 68) Those dwelling on the castle demesne or within the abbey precinct were immune, and in the late 14th and early 15th century non-freemen could work elsewhere in the city on payment of a small annual fine, though the practice died out between the late 1420s and c. 1450 as the guilds grew stronger. (fn. 69) In the earlier 16th century, with the support of the Assembly, some guilds became more active in enforcing their monopolies. The Tailors, for example, seem to have brought at least two or three cases every year between 1500 and 1550, and the Carpenters, Dyers, Skinners, Tanners, and Smiths were also assiduous in hounding 'foreign' traders, 'foreign' clearly meaning anyone not a freeman of Chester. (fn. 70) Even at the height of the guild system in the later 16th and earlier 17th century, however, the guilds did not find it easy to enforce their rights against unqualified competitors in Gloverstone and the cathedral precincts, or from the countryside. By the 1630s Gloverstone in particular was crowded with non-guild traders and craftsmen who claimed the right to sell their wares in the city's markets without hindrance. (fn. 71)
During the first third of the 18th century at least some guilds were still active in economic regulation, passing and sometimes enforcing rules about the number of apprentices who might be taken on and the length of apprenticeships, (fn. 72) and restraining members who tried to entice journeymen away from other masters by offering higher wages. (fn. 73) Some still tried to control access to their raw materials, (fn. 74) notably the Tanners in the 1710s. (fn. 75) Most effort, however, was directed towards preventing non-members from trading in the city. The Feltcappers frequently took action, though it took two costly lawsuits over 10 years before they finally put a non-member working from Boughton out of business in 1740. (fn. 76) The Shoemakers were vigorous in making prosecutions in the 1720s and 1730s, (fn. 77) and the Bricklayers in 1737 fined members who sold bricks to unfree journeymen working on their own account. (fn. 78) Such efforts gradually petered out after the 1730s, (fn. 79) and by 1750 they had all but stopped. The Brewers frequently asserted their monopoly before 1761, but not at all afterwards, and they last regulated the price of ale in 1762. (fn. 80)
By then the support of the city authorities had ebbed away. Already by the 1720s they were normally willing to grant the freedom to men who had not served a full apprenticeship locally. (fn. 81) Complaints about non-freemen making and retailing goods continued in the 1730s and 1740s, and the Assembly still occasionally ordered fines, which had to be sued for in the portmote court, and even closed a few illegal shops. (fn. 82) Its increasingly half-hearted policy was finally undermined after it sued a grocer trading in Gloverstone in 1758. After prolonged legal manoeuvres a ruling was given in 1766 that the city was not entitled to sue unfree traders in its own court, since the freemen jurors there had a vested interest in the case. (fn. 83)
The one exception to the collapse of the guilds' regulatory powers was the Goldsmiths' company, which, paradoxically, had not enjoyed any such role in the 16th century, when local goldsmiths had been subject to the London livery company. (fn. 84) In the earlier 17th century London craftsmen dominated the provincial market to such an extent that the trade almost ceased in Chester, its guild kept alive during the Civil War and Interregnum by a single member. In the 1660s new demand for church plate led to a revival, especially after the guild decided c. 1663 to admit watchmakers. (fn. 85) By 1687 there were eight members, sufficiently selfconfident to set up an assay office which kept a register of makers' marks and certified the fineness of all silver and gold offered for sale in Chester. (fn. 86) The office was closed under an Act of 1697 but reopened under the Plate Assay Act of 1700, which made Chester an official assay town, incorporated the goldsmiths and silversmiths under two wardens, and re-established the office of assay master, to be elected by the company. (fn. 87) The Chester assay office continued until 1962, when the premises in Goss Street, dating from 1749, were closed and its responsibilities were transferred to Birmingham. (fn. 88)
Religious and Ceremonial Role Before 1700
The guilds were social and until the Reformation religious organizations as much as economic ones, with concerns which focused on burial of the dead and camaraderie with the living. Members of the Smiths' company, for example, were fined in 1501 for failing to attend a brother's funeral. (fn. 89) Their religious concerns probably pre-dated their role as craft regulators, and were still well to the fore in the early 15th century, when craft organizations were commonly termed fraternities. (fn. 90) At least some maintained a light on an altar in one of the city's churches, among them the Carpenters in the Carmelite church, and the Tanners on the altar of St. Mary Calvercroft at St. John's. (fn. 91) Several bore the name of the patron saint on whose festival the officers were elected, including the Shoemakers that of St. Martin, the Smiths St. Eligius (Loy), and the Weavers the Blessed Virgin. (fn. 92)
Above all the guilds played a crucial role in the civic ceremonial of Chester, (fn. 93) taking part in the Corpus Christi procession and play, in the Whitsun pageants which succeeded them c. 1500 and were staged until the 1570s, and in the Midsummer show from its beginnings perhaps in the late 1490s until its demise in 1678. In each the companies processed or performed in a set order probably first assigned by the mayor. The order did not reflect their relative social or economic standing, and there were only a few obvious connexions between the subject of a pageant and the business of the guild which performed it, with the Drawers of Dee putting on Noah's Flood, the Carpenters the Nativity, the Bakers the Last Supper, and the Ironmongers the Crucifixion, while the Mercers, richest of all the guilds, staged the Gifts of the Magi. A few companies had other, particular roles in the annual round of customs: the Butchers' and Bakers' guilds provided the bull which was baited when a new mayor took office, and the Drapers, Saddlers, and Shoemakers participated in the Shrove Tuesday festival. The Corpus Christi play in particular made large demands upon the guilds and their members: in 1437, for example, the Masons paid 3s. a head. (fn. 94) The high cost of putting together an elaborate spectacle was a factor in the stability of the guilds after the 1420s, and certainly affected the combination of separate trades into united guilds. (fn. 95)
Such ceremonial activities encouraged other forms of solidarity among guild members. Fellow guildsmen regularly supported each other in court, loaned one another money, witnessed the admission of craft associates to the franchise, and acted as executors to each other's wills. (fn. 96)
Activities and Organization After 1700
In the later 18th century the Assembly sometimes still had occasion to deal with the guilds over matters concerned with their corporate economic activities. For instance in the 1760s and 1770s it prevented the Bakers' company from storing firing for its members' ovens on the Gorse Stacks, and dealt with both the Glovers and the Skinners over the tenancy of the Little Roodee, which had been used since the 1710s for drying skins (Fig. 67, p. 120). (fn. 97) Membership of the guilds, however, was falling sharply in the mid 18th century: the Cordwainers dropped from c. 45 in the early 1730s to c. 25 by the 1750s, (fn. 98) the Skinners from c. 25 in the late 1720s to 10 in 1760, (fn. 99) and the Tailors from c. 40 in the 1730s to fewer than 10 in the early 1750s. (fn. 100) One of the 26 companies went out of existence altogether: the Drawers of Dee wound up in or soon after 1746, in part apparently because they had been unable to prevent non-members from fishing in the Dee. (fn. 101) The others survived principally because they were beneficiaries of the Owen Jones charity, a modest affair used to benefit poor guildsmen until the 1750s, when it began to generate large sums of money from the royalties on lead worked under its land at Minera in Denbighshire. (fn. 102) The annual income, which until 1808 was divided strictly among the guilds in annual rotation, in the order in which they had processed at the Whitsun and Midsummer shows, exceeded £300 in the 1770s and £400 in the 1790s. Although after 1785 the Assembly required recipients to swear to their poverty before receiving a share, that did not stop all 26 members of the Barbers' company receiving £15 1s. apiece in 1792, or all 19 members of the Smiths', including the mayor and his son, £19 10s. each in 1797. (fn. 103) The abuse of the charity was ended only after 1808. Its existence preserved the guilds. The only new guild created, the Bricklayers (incorporated in 1683), took its place in the order of precedence after the company from which it separated, the Cappers, and the two divided one full share of the charity between them. (fn. 104)
With the decline of economic regulation in the earlier 18th century the guilds were already turning themselves into private dining clubs. The dinner traditionally held after the annual meeting became more important than the meeting itself, and typically sociable rules such as fining members for swearing were kept up or introduced. (fn. 105) Until the late 18th or early 19th century the guilds also joined in the civic celebrations held on Oak Apple Day (marking the restoration of Charles II, 29 May), 5 November, coronation days, when war was declared, (fn. 106) and when the bounds of the liberties were beaten. (fn. 107) Throughout the 18th century they contributed towards a prize for the St. George's Day horse race. (fn. 108)
From the mid 18th century admission fees fluctuated wildly, and in particular were raised to as much as £20 in some companies as their turn for the Owen Jones charity approached. Such large sums, and indeed ordinary revenues, were spent on a dinner, the residue being divided up equally among the members each year. From c. 1830, however, entry fees were forced down to 3s. 4d. by a legal ruling. While some companies took care to keep numbers low, a handful in the late 18th and early 19th century were still forcing men to join, (fn. 109) though any residual claim to stop nonfreemen from trading was destroyed when a prosecution failed in 1825. (fn. 110)
The stimulus given to the guilds by the Owen Jones charity clearly began to fail after 1808, and two companies, the Fishmongers and the Dyers, became extinct apparently between 1794 and 1815. (fn. 111) The 23 which survived in 1835 had an average of 17 members, but numbers varied widely from the Innkeepers' 64 and the Bakers' 42 to those of four guilds which had only two or three. (fn. 112) Several guilds almost disappeared later in the 19th century or early in the 20th: the Skinners, for example, never had more than five members between 1812 and 1914, (fn. 113) the Barbers fell to only one or two between 1901 and 1911, (fn. 114) and the Butchers were believed in 1918 to have failed altogether. (fn. 115) Even by 1835 many guilds had lost their seals and charters, though all but two kept a banner for display at their annual dinner. (fn. 116)
The guilds revived from the late 19th century. Some local historians were showing an interest in them in the 1890s, (fn. 117) and by the 1900s Frank Simpson had begun to study their records. (fn. 118) In 1890, in response to a further reorganization of the Owen Jones charity, the guilds united in order to lobby for the right to appoint representatives as trustees of the charity. (fn. 119) A new body, the Freemen and Guilds of the City of Chester, had its own officers, but each guild continued to exist under a single steward. (fn. 120) Gradually the guilds became more active socially and charitably. A thrift club to support sick members was formed c. 1903, (fn. 121) and in 1910 Simpson tracked down enough members to stage a version of the Midsummer Show as part of the Chester Historical Pageant, wearing gowns designed by himself. (fn. 122)
The guilds then continued as a series of male social clubs, some more active than others, with a further revival of interest from the 1950s which gathered pace after the Freemen and Guilds acquired the redundant Holy Trinity church, in use as a guildhall from 1967. (fn. 123) Most of the guilds had their own annual round of social activities, especially dinners and dances; they had a say in distributing small annual sums from the charities of Owen Jones, John Lancaster, and Sir Thomas White; (fn. 124) and from 1968 a number gave annual prizes for day-release students in appropriate subjects. (fn. 125) By the 1970s there were c. 500 freemen of the city, all eligible to apply for admission to a guild. After women were allowed to become freemen in 1992 (fn. 126) (over 200, mostly daughters of existing freemen, were admitted in the first two years), (fn. 127) the council left it to individual guilds to decide whether to admit women to membership; at least some did so immediately. (fn. 128)
Although there were no guildhalls by that name in Chester, permanent meeting places for the guilds emerged by the late 16th century, such as the house belonging to the Tailors' company near the Newgate which was demolished in 1596. (fn. 129) The other meeting places mostly belonged to the city. Several companies met in the Phoenix Tower, which the corporation was leasing before 1600 jointly to the Painters and the Barbers, who used the upper room themselves and sublet the lower room to other guilds. The two principal companies surrendered their lease in 1773. (fn. 130) The other towers in use were the Water Tower, which the Bakers may have rented in the 1630s (fn. 131) and the Grocers were certainly using in 1772, (fn. 132) and the Saddlers' Tower, in use by the company of that name by the mid 16th century and until 1774. (fn. 133) The old common hall in Commonhall Street was leased by 1592 to the Smiths' company, which bought the building in 1700 and sublet to several other guilds, but the building was disused by 1768. (fn. 134) The Skinners' hall stood by the city walls at the end of Duke Street in the 1740s, (fn. 135) and was possibly distinct from the Glovers' meeting place, also in Duke Street, which they rebuilt in 1713, sublet to other guilds, and sold c. 1797. (fn. 136) Both the Weavers and the Shoemakers occupied houses in St. John's churchyard in the 18th century, the Weavers apparently ceasing to use theirs between 1755 and 1775. (fn. 137) By 1835 all but two guilds were meeting at inns, (fn. 138) the exceptions being the Skinners, who used the new common hall (St. Nicholas's chapel), and the Innholders, who met at the Exchange. (fn. 139)
List of Craft Guilds (fn. 140)
The variant forms of guild names given here are not comprehensive, but an attempt has been made to include every separate craft which was ever acknowledged as being part of a guild. The 23 guilds surviving in 2000 are named in bold.
Bakers. Earliest record c. 1422. (fn. 141) Called Bakers and Millers 1550s and later 16th cent. Pageant: Last Supper.
Barbers, Surgeons, Wax and Tallow Chandlers. Earliest record of Barbers c. 1423. (fn. 142) Called Barbers and Chandlers (sometimes specifying Wax, or Tallow, or both) or Barbers, Chandlers, and Leeches mid and later 16th cent.; Barber-Surgeons and Tallow Chandlers earlier 17th cent.; Barbers and Chandlers (or Tallow Chandlers) 18th cent.; Barbers, Surgeons, Wax and Tallow Chandlers 19th cent. Pageant: Abraham and Isaac.
Brewers. Incorporated by Assembly as Beerbrewers 1607 and by Crown as Brewers 1634. (fn. 143) Collaborated with Drawers of Dee and Waterleaders for pageant in earlier 17th cent. (fn. 144) and later replaced Drawers of Dee in order of guilds.
Bricklayers. Collaborated with Cappers, Pinners, Wiredrawers, and Linendrapers for pageant before 1603. Separated by Assembly from that guild 1619. (fn. 145) Incorporated as separate guild by Assembly 1683. (fn. 146)
Cappers, Pinners, Wiredrawers, and Linendrapers. Cappers' guild emerged after c. 1500. (fn. 149) Called Cappers and Pinners early 16th cent.; Cappers, Wiredrawers, and Pinners 1550s and later 16th cent. Linendrapers, then Bricklayers joined to assist with pageant before 1603. (fn. 150) Called Cappers, Pinners, Wiredrawers, Bricklayers, and Linendrapers early 17th cent. Bricklayers separated 1619. (fn. 151) Afterwards called Cappers, Pinners, Wiredrawers, and Linendrapers. Pageant: Balaam and Balaak.
Cooks. Earliest record 1460. (fn. 152) Still a separate guild c. 1500, afterwards merged with Tapsters and Hostellers to form Cooks, Tapsters, and Hostellers.
Cooks, Tapsters, and Hostellers. Evidently an amalgamation in early 16th cent. of two guilds: Cooks, and Tapsters and Hostellers. Called Cooks, or Cooks and Hostellers earlier 16th cent.; Cooks and Tapsters 1550s; Cooks, Tapsters, and Hostellers, or Cooks, Tapsters, Hostellers, and Innkeepers later 16th cent. Part of amalgamated guild from 1583 (see Innholders, Cooks, and Victuallers). Pageant: Harrowing of Hell.
Coopers and Turners. Earliest record 1422, when already collaborating for pageant with Fletchers, Bowyers, and Stringers. (fn. 153) Called Coopers 1475–6. (fn. 154) Later merged in Fletchers, Bowyers, Coopers, and Stringers.
Cordwainers and Shoemakers. Earliest record 1364. Called Tawyers (alutarii) and Shoemakers (sutores) 1360s; (fn. 155) Corvisers 15th and earlier 16th cent. and 1550s; Corvisers or Shoemakers later 16th cent.; Cordwainers (or Shoemakers) earlier 17th cent.; (fn. 156) Cordwainers 18th, 19th, and sometimes 20th cent. Pageant: Entry into Jerusalem.
Drawers of Dee. Earliest record 1438, as Fishermen (piscatores). Called Drawers of Dee (occasionally Drawers in Dee) 15th and 16th cent.; Owners and Drawers of Dee Water later 16th cent. (fn. 157) Collaborated for pageant with Waterleaders from 16th cent. or earlier; amalgamated with them 1603. Disbanded in or soon after 1746, certainly before 1757. (fn. 158) Pageant: Noah's Flood. Brewers were associated with them for pageant in earlier 17th cent. and later replaced them in order of guilds.
Dyers. Earliest record 1475–6, as Hewsters. (fn. 159) Called Hewsters or Dyers 16th cent.; (fn. 160) Dyers and Hewsters earlier 17th cent.; Dyers 18th cent. Bellfounders collaborated for pageant later 16th cent. but probably not part of guild. Disappeared probably between 1794 and 1815. Pageant: Antichrist.
Fishmongers. Earliest record 1434. (fn. 161) Disappeared apparently between 1794 and 1815. Pageant: Pentecost.
Fletchers, Bowyers, and Stringers. Earliest record 1422, when already collaborating for pageant with Coopers and Turners. (fn. 162) Chartered as Fletchers and Bowyers 1468. (fn. 163) Called Bowyers and Fletchers 1475–6. (fn. 164) Later merged in Fletchers, Bowyers, Coopers, and Stringers.
Fletchers, Bowyers, Coopers, and Stringers. Probably an amalgamation in later 15th cent. of two guilds: Fletchers, Bowyers, and Stringers; and Coopers and Turners. Called Fletchers and Coopers c. 1500; Fletchers, Bowyers, and Coopers (or Fletchers, Bowyers, Coopers, and Stringers) earlier 16th cent.; Fletchers, Bowyers, Stringers, Coopers, and Turners (order of crafts varies) later 16th cent. Turners removed to Joiners, Carvers, and Turners' guild 1566. Afterwards called Fletchers, Bowyers, Coopers, and Stringers. Sometimes called Coopers in later 20th cent. Pageant: Flagellation, closely connected with Ironmongers' pageant (Crucifixion).
Founders and Pewterers. Earliest record 1521. Already collaborating for pageant with Smiths, (fn. 165) and soon merged with them.
Goldsmiths. Earliest record 1422. (fn. 166) Incorporated by Act of Parliament 1700. (fn. 167) Called Goldsmiths and Clockmakers 18th and early 19th cent. Pageant: Massacre of the Innocents, jointly with Masons.
Innholders, Cooks, and Victuallers. Incorporated by Assembly as Innholders, Victuallers, and Cooks 1583 (fn. 168) (previously two guilds: see Cooks, Tapsters, and Hostellers; Vintners). Called Cooks, Innholders, and Victuallers earlier 17th cent.; Vintners, Innholders, Cooks, and Victuallers late 18th cent.
Ironmongers. Earliest record 1422. (fn. 169) Called Ironmongers and Ropers 1550s and later 16th cent.; Ironmongers and Grocers earlier 17th cent. Part of amalgamated guild from 1605 (see Mercers, Grocers, Ironmongers, and Apothecaries). Pageant: Crucifixion, closely connected with Fletchers' pageant (Flagellation). Separate Midsummer pageant even after amalgamation.
Joiners, Carvers, and Turners. Incorporated by Assembly 1566. (fn. 170) Turners had previously been associated with Fletchers, Bowyers, Coopers, and Stringers; Joiners and Carvers with Wrights and Slaters.
Linendrapers. Incorporated by Assembly 1552. (fn. 171) Merged with Cappers, Pinners, and Wiredrawers later 16th cent., definitive from 1603.
Masons. Earliest record 1436. (fn. 172) Incorporated by Assembly with Plasterers 1705. (fn. 173) Called Clothworkers, Walkers, and Masons (or Clothworkers and Masons) 18th and early 19th cent.; Masons 20th cent. Pageant: Massacre of the Innocents, jointly with Goldsmiths.
Mercers. Earliest record 1437–8. (fn. 174) Called Mercers and Spicers 1550s and later 16th cent.; Mercers and Apothecaries earlier 17th cent. Part of amalgamated guild from 1605 (see Mercers, Grocers, Ironmongers, and Apothecaries). Pageant: Gifts of the Magi. Separate pageant even after amalgamation.
Mercers, Grocers, Ironmongers, and Apothecaries. Incorporated by Assembly as Mercers and Ironmongers 1605 (fn. 175) (previously two guilds: see Ironmongers; Mercers). Called Mercers, Grocers, Ironmongers, and Apothecaries (occasionally Grocers, Ironmongers, Mercers, and Apothecaries) by 1757.
Merchant Taylors. Earliest record of Tailors 1302. (fn. 178) Called Tailors until early 19th cent.; Merchant Tailors 1835; Merchant Taylors late 20th cent. Pageant: Ascension.
Painters, Glaziers, Embroiderers, and Stationers. Earliest record of Painters and Glaziers 1482–3. (fn. 179) Embroiderers and Stationers collaborated for pageant earlier 16th cent. Incorporated by Assembly as Painters, Glaziers, Embroiderers, and Stationers 1534. (fn. 180) Pageant: Shepherds.
Shearmen. Earliest record 1429, when perhaps part of Weavers' guild. (fn. 183) Separate guild by 1467. (fn. 184) Called Shearmen 16th cent.; (fn. 185) Shearmen and Walkers 1550s; Clothworkers and Walkers, or Walkers and Shearmen early 17th cent. (fn. 186) Not recorded as a guild later, but see Masons (whose guild included Clothworkers). Pageant: Prophets of Antichrist and Doomsday.
Skinners and Feltmakers. Earliest record of Skinners 1449. (fn. 187) Called Skinners 15th cent.; Skinners and Feltcappers later 15th cent.; (fn. 188) Skinners and Hatmakers, or Skinners, Cardmakers, and Hatters 1550s; Skinners, Cardmakers, Hatters, Pointers, and Girdlers (or omitting Hatters) or Skinners and Haberdashers (fn. 189) later 16th cent.; Feltmakers, (fn. 190) or Skinners and Feltmakers early 17th cent.; Feltmakers and Skinners 18th and early 19th cent. Pageant: Resurrection.
Smiths, Cutlers, and Plumbers. Earliest record of Smiths 1427. (fn. 191) Merged with Founders and Pewterers after 1521. (fn. 192) Called Smiths earlier 16th cent.; Smiths, Furbers (or Furbishers, or Cutlers), and Pewterers 1550s and later 16th cent.; Smiths, Pewterers, Girdlers, Plumbers, Cardmakers, and Furbers c. 1576; (fn. 193) Smiths, Cutlers, Pewterers, Cardmakers, and Plumbers earlier 17th, 18th, and early 19th cent. (sometimes adding Spurriers, Girdlers, and Headmakers earlier 17th cent.); Smiths, Cutlers, Cardmakers, and Plumbers 1835. Pageant: (pre-Reformation) Purification; (postReformation) Christ in the Temple.
Tanners. Earliest record 1361. (fn. 194) Called Barkers later 15th cent.; Barkers and Tanners later 16th cent.; Tanners 1550s and from early 17th cent. Pageant: Creation and Fall of Lucifer.
Tapsters and Hostellers. Earliest record c. 1500, (fn. 195) afterwards merged with Cooks to form Cooks, Tapsters, and Hostellers.
Vintners. Earliest record c. 1500. (fn. 196) Connected with Merchants (not a craft guild) 1550s and collaborated with them for pageant later 16th cent. Part of amalgamated guild from 1583 (see Innholders, Cooks, and Victuallers). Pageant: Three Kings.
Weavers. Earliest record 1422. (fn. 199) Called Weavers, Walkers, and Chaloners (or Weavers and Walkers (or Fullers) or Weavers and Chaloners) 15th cent. (fn. 200) Evidently included Shearmen 1429 but not 1467. (fn. 201) Called Weavers and Walkers 16th cent.; Weavers 1550s. Incorporated by Assembly as Weavers 1583. (fn. 202) Called themselves Weavers and Silkweavers 1633 or 1634; (fn. 203) Weavers 18th cent. and later. Pageant: Judgement Day.
Wet and Dry Glovers. Earliest record of Glovers 1422. (fn. 204) Called themselves Glovers, Pursers, Bagmakers, and Pointers 1556. (fn. 205) Also called Glovers and Parchment Makers 1550s and later 16th cent. Called Wet and Dry Glovers occasionally earlier 17th cent., regularly 19th and 20th cent. Pageant: Raising of Lazarus.
Wrights and Slaters. Earliest record of Wrights (alias Carpenters) 1422. (fn. 206) Called Wrights and Slaters earlier 16th cent.; Wrights, or Wrights, Slaters, and Tilers 1550s; Wrights, Slaters, Tilers, Daubers, and Thatchers later 16th cent.; Joiners, Wrights, Carvers, and Slaters c. 1576. (fn. 207) Incorporated by Assembly as Wrights, Carpenters, Slaters, and Sawyers 1584. (fn. 208) Pageant: Nativity.