The Rise and Decline of Guilds, with particular reference to The Guilds of Tylers and Bricklayers in Great Britain and Ireland

An account of the growth and decline of Guilds from the reign of Henry 1 to the Municipal Corporation Act of 1835 when almost all the guilds in the country were required to surrender the last remaining areas of control they still exerted over trade and industry. The paper uses Tilers and Bricklayers as a specific example, and references are drawn from all over the country.

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My objective in writing this paper has been to review the origins and development (including both the rise and the decline) of guilds, particularly of the many companies of Tylers & Bricklayers, throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

Here in the City of London there are so many richly endowed livery halls to remind us of the long and illustrious histories of so many London guilds that we can be forgiven for forgetting, or perhaps even being unaware, of the vast network of guilds that once existed throughout the country.

I have chosen the title “The Rise and Decline of Guilds in Great Britain and Ireland” because those guilds still in existence are mere shadows of their former selves. More significantly, the vast majority of guilds, thousands of them, have disappeared altogether, with little now known about them other than the odd footnote in some academic papers published by county historical or archaeological societies.

I have taken this opportunity also to look at:-

  • the ranking of Tylers and Bricklayers in terms of precedence amongst the crafts in various towns,
  • the numbers of Tylers and Bricklayers practising their trade in those towns,
  • the period of apprenticeship,
  • the price paid by apprentices for their indentures,
  • their earnings once they became masters of their craft,
  • the role of women,
  • the background from which the apprenticed Tylers and Bricklayers came,
  • the coats of arms of the various Tylers and Bricklayers’ companies in different parts of the country, and
  • the role of Tylers and Bricklayers in the Corpus Christi plays.

The Origins of Guilds.

The origins of guilds go back to Saxon times when, during the reign of King Canute there were Frith Gilds or peace guilds established to maintain peace among individuals, and Monks Gilds, and there were social-religious fraternities which flourished at Abbotsbury, Cambridge, Exeter and Woodbury; there were also Cnihts or Cnighten Gilds in some towns sometime after the 9th century to which the senior burgesses belonged[1]. Then we find Domesday Book referring to two guilds in Canterbury: one for the burgesses and one for the clergy; and by the Middle Ages, we find that merchant and craft guilds as well as religious and social guilds had been established in cities, towns and villages throughout the country. Religious guilds existed for a range of purposes, such as to build churches, as at Cambridge; to repair churches, as at Winchester; to help those wishing to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land or to Rome, as at Lincoln; to build almshouses for their own members or for the poor, as at Stratford or Birmingham; to perform religious plays, as at Dunstable; or to provide candles for the church as at Stratford-upon-Avon. Whilst most guilds, particularly the religious guilds, had at least one chaplain, there was one guild, the Gild of the Annunciation, founded in Cambridge in 1379, which expressly forbade any priest from entering the guild. Social guilds existed to build bridges, as at Stamford; to repair walls and bridges, as at Worcester; to found schools, as at Basingstoke; or to help those who had encountered great misfortune, as at Ludlow.[2] The Guild of Garlekhith, founded in 1375 in Vintry Ward (the Ward which I represent on the Court of Common Council) was one of more than 60 religious guilds established within the City of London before the end of the 14th century, and this particular guild afforded weekly help to all members of seven years’ standing, in old age and in sickness.[3] Some guilds, which originally had only religious objectives, eventually became the ruling body of the town, as was the case in Litchfield, Norwich, Stratford-on-Avon and Wisbech.

The earliest mention of a merchant gild is during the reign of Henry I when one was established during the early part of the 12th century in Leicester, and others were soon established in Great Yarmouth, Preston, Wallingford, Winchester and Worcester, to which all the merchants and traders who conducted business in the town belonged.[4] During the same reign the earliest craft guilds were established, most notably the Weavers of Huntingdon, London, Lincoln, Oxford, and Winchester, the Cordwainers of Oxford, and the Fullers of Winchester[5]. By the 13th century almost every town had a merchant gild, and by the 14th century virtually all the crafts had their own guilds, to which all the craftsmen of the town belonged; indeed in the provinces as well as in London properly organized guilds were established long before their ordinances were registered with the civic authorities. The members of each craft guild lived in the same quarter of the town, dined together on feast days, marched together in the town’s pageant, acted together in the Corpus Christi plays, cared for the welfare of one another, and attended the funerals of their deceased brethren. This aspect of the guild was known as the fraternity; the occupational aspect was known as the mystery. By the middle of the 14th century the customs established by the guilds of the City of London had influenced the guilds in many provincial towns. By the end of the 14th century a number of the most prominent guilds in London and in the provinces, such as the Drapers, the Fishmongers, the Goldsmiths, and the Vintners of London, and the Weavers of Lincoln and Barbers of Shrewsbury had received royal charters by which the King granted them special powers. It has been suggested that these guilds obtained royal charters from Edward III under a smoke screen that they were providing relief for the poor, when in fact they were protecting their control over their respective trades.[6] Already in 1423 there were 111 trade and craft guilds in London. Yet, by 1531, little more than one hundred years later, there were only 60 of these left, of which less than half were incorporated.[7] For comparison we find that in York, by the later Middle Ages, there were 56 different craft guilds with recorded ordinances.[8]

The Tylers and Bricklayers of London did not obtain the first of their royal charters until 1568, and their area of search officially extended only within a radius of 15 miles of London, which enabled many other guilds of tylers and bricklayers to develop elsewhere throughout the country.

John Stow’s references to the Tylers and Bricklayers in his Survey of London.

Of the Tylers and Bricklayers of the City of London, John Stow wrote in his Survey of London first published in 1598: “The Company of Tylers and Brick-layers, or Brick-layers and Tylers, notwithstanding their antiquity, were first incorporated in the tenth yeere of the Reigne of Queene Elizabeth, and confirmed againe in the second yeere of the Reigne of King James”[9]. In his chapter on Aldgate Ward he adds: “The…Ward within the Wals on the East part, is called Ealdgate Ward, as taking name of the same Gate. The principall street of this Ward beginneth at Ealdgate, stretching West to sometime a faire Well, where now a Pumpe is placed. From thence (the way being divided into twaine) the first and principall street, (called Aldgate-street) runneth on the South side to Lime Street corner, and halofe that street downe on the left hand, is also of that Ward. In the mid way on that South side, betwixt Ealdgate and Lime Street, is Hart-horne Alley, a way that goeth thorow into Fen-Church Street, over against Northumberland House. Then have ye Brick-layers Hall, and another Alley, called Sprinkle Alley, now named Sugar-loafe Alley, of the like signe”[10]

The emergence of many guilds throughout the U.K. and Ireland

Professor Derek Keene of London University has estimated that London in the 14th century had a population of some 60,000 compared with around 15,000 in York, 8,000 in Norwich, Bristol, and Lincoln, and at least 2,000 in another 40 towns, twelve of which had possibly each more than 5,000 inhabitants. Thus, not just in London but in towns and villages throughout the country, small guilds were formed, including guilds of tilers and eventually of bricklayers also.

More than 200 trades and crafts were represented in the merchant and craft guilds throughout the length and breadth of the country, but in different places the same or a similar trade or craft would be known by a very different name. Thus, in Norwich the tanners were known as barkers, the butchers as bochers, the tallow chandlers as rafmen, the ironmongers as ferrous, the innholders as ostelers, and the skinners as pelterers; in Newcastle-upon-Tyne the plasterers were known as dawbers and the musicians as waits, whereas in York the musicians were known as minstrels; and in Scotland the butchers were known as fleshers, the fishmongers as feschers, the bakers as baxters, the brewers as brousters, and the weavers as websters.

Provincial craft guilds would be very much smaller than their counterparts in London. Not only was there far greater wealth in London, but the wealthy London merchants spread themselves amongst the major London guilds. The leading provincial guilds were patronized in a similar manner by those with wealth and influence, so that some of these craft guilds changed from societies for the protection of labour into societies of capitalists[11]; indeed kings and princes who had joined some of the major London guilds, became members of some of some of the major provincial guilds also; thus, for example, both Henry IV and Henry VI were members of the Gild of the Trinity in Coventry, and Prince George of Denmark was a member of the Gild of Merchants in Winchester.[12]

The Company of Tylers & Bricklayers in London was not one to attract wealthy or influential merchants for it was a guild for craftsmen, not one for merchants; the same was the case with the guilds of tilers elsewhere in the country. We have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that these tilers worked better with their hands than with their head, which had a significant impact upon their guild. As a result we find in the records of the London Tylers and Bricklayers’ Company that “Mr. Slaughter being chosen Renter Warden, the Court in regards that he cannot write nor read, allowed him the help of the Clerk in keeping his accounts for the year.”[13]

Unsurprisingly Mr. Slaughter never progressed to the Master’s chair. Another consequence, we find, is that our guilds of tilers and bricklayers, as was the case with many other minor craft guilds, were not as adept as the merchant guilds in managing any wealth that was bequeathed to them, which accounts for the fact that the London Company of Tylers & Bricklayers succeeded in losing its first Hall located near Fenchurch Street and its second Hall located on London Wall, and it has always remained a relatively poor Company. Elsewhere throughout the country they declined in a similar manner but even more quickly.

Many guilds had registered their ordinances with the civic authorities by the end of the 14th century; thus in York most of the crafts had registered their ordinances between 1380 and 1400[14] and in 1436-7 Parliament passed legislation making it mandatory for all guilds throughout the land to do so. These ordinances regulated the guilds to the minutest degree, prescribing the quality and value of the work, and the hours of work. The wardens and a quorum of the guild brethren formed a Court, which enforced the ordinances, punished disobedience with fines, raised a common fund through subscriptions from its members, and appointed searchers to inspect the work done by its members. The tilers’ “searcher” is almost as mysterious a title as the butchers’ “flesh taster” – a somewhat cannibalistic title, or the brewers’ “ale conner” – which sounds more redolent of a fraudster than a weights and measures officer. The power of search was finally abolished by Act of Parliament in 1828.

Of the fines for disobedience we find in London that, Humphrey Bridges, a London tiler, was fined 6/8d “for giving our Master indecent language, saying that our Master was partial”[15] and in Exeter we find at a guild dinner that a certain Richard Mason, having refused to drink the loving cup after Mr. John Alsopp, the newly elected Master, excused himself by asserting that he thought the Master had smallpox, and further hinted that Mr. Alsopp had been indicted as a cheat, for which he was fined 4/-d. Apparently this Richard Mason was a perpetual thorn in the flesh of the Company. In 1612 he was elected Master, which kept him quiet for a year![16]

In addition to supervising the laying of tiles and bricks, a statute from Henry VII’s reign empowered the London Company’s officers to inspect the production and sale of tiles, bricks, sand, and lime up to fifteen miles beyond the City’s limits. The Tylers and Bricklayers’ powers of search within a radius of 15 miles around London was not as extensive as some others such as the Horners who had a radius of 24 miles, or the Girdlers who in 1332 were found to be busy as far away as the Wye fair,[17] or the Goldsmiths and the Pewterers whose area of search covered the whole of England. Suffice it to say that the wider the area of search the more difficult must have been its enforcement. In 1828, the powers of search were finally abolished.

The quality of tile manufacture throughout the land was regulated by Act of Parliament as early as 1477, during the reign of Edward IV, when November 1 was fixed as the date by which the clay must be dug or cast, thereafter it was to be stirred or turned before the beginning of February, and it was not to be made into tiles before March 1; this was to ensure that the material was properly seasoned. Care had to be taken by the tile-makers to avoid any mixture of chalk, marl or stones, and the Act fixed statutory dimensions for tiles. The records of their searches demonstrate that their duties took them across London and throughout the south eastern counties. They collected fines from suppliers as far away from London as Lewisham in Kent, Kentish Town in Middlesex, and the manor of Havering in Essex, as well as from those in other places such as Bridewell.[18]

The Tylers and Bricklayers’ Company’s early 17th century search and quarterage lists reveal that members’ workmanship was sometimes lamentably poor. “Of 23 tilers and bricklayers fined, at least 17 (74 per cent) were quarterage-paying members of the Company. An especially embarrassing case took place in October 1606, when the officers fined three company members who had built a wall near Billingsgate that company officers found to be very insufficiently done to the discredit of the company which was scoffed at by the plasterers and therefore worthy of a great fine.”[19] Defective workmanship could be a danger to the public as well as a discredit and an embarrassment to both the trade in general and the guild in particular.

In each town there was a regular amount of work for the building crafts, particularly the masons, the carpenters, and the tilers. The masons would of course be responsible for building the foundations, the cellars and the lower courses, the carpenters would erect the main structure, and the tilers would build the chimneys, brick walls, and put on the roofs. Tilers and carpenters between them undertook most of the building work, and as stone was gradually replaced by brick or ‘wall tile’ so the tilers gained more work at the expense of the masons. Yet, in contrast with other artisans, all these craftsmen who were engaged in the building trade in Oxford, Shrewsbury, Winchester, York and every other town, were curiously amongst the least well off[20]. And if the Tylers and Bricklayers managed to retain any advantage up to the Great Fire of London in 1666, this was most certainly wiped out by the Rebuilding Act of 1667 which allowed craftsmen from outside London to gain employment in the massive rebuilding of the City of London.

Very rarely did tilers make tiles, since these had to be made in places where substantial amounts of clay could be found; although “like certain tilemakers of Havering, they were not above digging up the public highway to get the raw materials they needed”[21].

Roof tiles were known as “thakketyles”, and bricks were known as “waltyles”. In due course, because of their fire-resistant quality, bricks were used for the backs of fireplaces, before being used generally in building. The terms “brick” and “bricklayer” did not come into widespread use until the middle of the 15th century, from which point separate guilds of bricklayers emerged. Paving tiles fell into yet another category, these being of finer quality than roof tiles, and fetching a higher price; they were largely used for the floors of churches and monastic buildings, early examples of which are to be found in the Chapter House at Westminster Abbey.

Other names by which the Tilers or Bricklayers may have been known outside London.

Tilers or tylers were sometimes also known in London as tyleres, tylars. tylors or tygheleres, in Lincoln as poyntours, in Cheltenham some tilers were also known as helliers or, in Exeter, as hellyers, and in parts of Gloucestershire (such as at Castle Eaton) they were sometimes known as slatters or, in Durham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Dundee, as slaters, although Newcastle-upon-Tyne had a Guild of Slaters and Tylers, slaters and tilers both being kinds of roofer. In Dublin the slaters were better known as heliers. The Smiths’ or Hammermen’s Guild very occasionally included tilers (as at Ludlow and at Youghal). The hammermen were normally smiths who worked with hammer and metal, so it was fairly unusual, though as we have already seen not impossible, to find tilers, slaters, heliers, squaremen, or bricklayers as members of the Guilds of Hammermen. However in Edinburgh the slaters were members of the Incorporation of Wrights, but in Brechin where a Society of Wrights did not exist, we find them sitting with the Hammermen.

Some kinds of bricklayers, bricklaiers, bricklayars or bryckelayers may also have been known as wallers in some of the northern cities, and may sometimes have been members of a Guild of Wallers; although there are instances of guilds, as at Durham which included tilers, bricklayers, wallers and masons, as at Kingston-upon-Hull which included tilers, bricklayers and wallers, and as at Newcastle-upon-Tyne which included bricklayers and wallers.

A wright was usually a skilled carpenter, but sometimes also included a general workman, and in Chester the Guild of Wrights also included slaters, tilers, daubers and thatchers. As has already been noted, in Edinburgh the slaters belonged to the Incorporation of Wrights.

In Scotland, especially, a Craft of Squaremen sometimes also included tilers, slaters (as in Dumfries), wrights, masons, and builders (as in Elgin) and ex hypothesi possibly even bricklayers.

The Places in which there is evidence that Tilers and Bricklayers established themselves within distinct Guilds.

In England I have been able to trace records of the existence of guilds of Tylers and/or Bricklayers outside London in the Thames Valley at Kingston upon Thames, in the West Country at Bristol and Exeter, in Kent at Canterbury, in Essex at Ipswich, in Norfolk at Norwich, in Lincolnshire at both Holbeach and at Lincoln, in Warwickshire at Coventry, in Worcestershire at Worcester, in Shropshire at both Shrewsbury and at Ludlow, in Yorkshire at Hull, at Leeds and at York, then further north at, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead and at Durham.

In Scotland I have found such craftsmen in guilds (albeit sometimes under a different name), in Aberdeen, Arbroath, Brechin, Dumbarton, Dumfries, Dundee, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Elgin, Glasgow, Irvine, Kirkcudbright, Montrose, Perth, and Rutherglen. In Wales I have found one in Denbigh, and in Ireland I have found guilds of Tylers and/or Bricklayers in Dublin, Limerick and Youghal


Bristol. A Gild Merchant was established in Bristol in 1188 to which all of the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. In Bristol the Tylers of Bristol formed a guild jointly with the Plasterers in 1671 as one of a total of 26 guilds in Bristol.22 The Merchant Adventurers is the only Bristol guild still in existence.23

Canterbury. A Gild Merchant was established in Canterbury in 1097 to which all of the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. Canterbury had many medieval guilds, and in 1680 the Bricklayers together with the Joiners, Carpenters, Carvers, Masons, Coopers, Turners, Glaziers and Painters, were incorporated into one fraternity which usually held their dinners and meetings at the Guildhall. The various guilds and fraternities of Canterbury continued to exist until the middle of the eighteenth century, after which date they all became defunct.

Chester. The Sixth Earl of Chester gave the citizens of Chester a charter in 1200 AD granting them a Gild Merchant. The oldest guild in Chester is the company of Cordwainers, which was granted a charter in 1370 by the Black Prince. During the subsequent century many of the other Chester companies were formed, including a Guild of Bricklayers which, according to the Harleian MS 2150 f376, was part of the Guild of “Cappers, Pinners, Wyredrawers, Lynnen Drapers and Bricklayers” and which by 1602 was known as the Linen Drapers and Bricklayers’ Company. This curious combination of trades apparently arose owing to a bricklayer who at that time was Mayor of the City marrying a lady who was a linen draper, and thus the Linen Drapers became incorporated with the Bricklayers. Towards the end of the 17th century various differences appear to have arisen between the members of these two trades; the Linen drapers appealed to the Mayor who, after hearing their complaints, decided in 1679 that the Lynen-Drapers should be separated from the Bricklayers, “the latter being troublesome and unserviceable to the former”. The Chester Bricklayers were incorporated by Elizabeth I in 1568, in the same year that the London Tylers & Bricklayers received their Charter, and the Chester Charter of Incorporation was similarly confirmed by James I.24 The Company, combined with the Linen Drapers, met at the Common Hall until the two trades separated in 1679, when the Bricklayers left. Subsequently, from 1689 until 1702, the Bricklayers met at the Smiths’ Hall. The Chester Tylers were in another guild formed jointly with the Wrights, Slaters, Daubers and Thatchers. Both companies are amongst 23 companies, established in the 14th and 15th centuries, which are still in existence today, the others being the Joiners, Carvers and Turners, the Bakers, the Barber-Surgeons, the Brewers, the Butchers, the Cordwainers and Shoemakers, the Fletchers, the Bowyers, Coopers and Stringers, the Goldsmiths, the Innkeepers, the Masons, the Mercers, Ironmongers, Grocers and Apothecaries, the Merchant Drapers, the Merchant Tailors, the Painters, Glaziers, Embroiderers and Stationers, the Saddlers and Curriers, the Skinners and Feltmakers, the Smiths, Cutlers, and Plumbers, the Tanners, the Weavers, and the Wet and Dry Glovers.25

Coventry. A Gild Merchant was established in Coventry in 1268 to which all of the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. The merchants of Coventry obtained a charter from Edward III in 1340 to form themselves into a guild to protect their trading interests. Over 30 other guilds were established during the 14th century, one of which was the Pinners’, Tilers’ and Coopers’ Company. The combination of these three companies uniting appears somewhat strange; however it has been suggested that the reason was that, being neither rich nor numerous, they could only when united support the burden of putting on a pageant at the Corpus Christi festival.26 In 1406 it was decreed that for the peace of the town there should be no more guilds or fraternities than those that existed as at that date. The Pinners’, Tilers’ and Coopers’ Company is not one of the 7 guilds still in existence today which are the Worsted or Woolstead Weavers, the Broad Weavers and Clothiers, the Cappers and Feltmakers, the Drapers, the Fullers, the Tanners, and the Mercers.27

Durham. A Gild Merchant was granted to Durham by Henry II to which all of the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. There were at one time as many as 20 guilds in Durham, one of which was the Society of Rough Masons, Wallers and Slaters, which was established in 1411 and received a charter from the Bishop of Durham in 1594. They had their bye-laws confirmed in 1609 styling them the Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Tylers, and Plaisterers. In 1638 they obtained another charter from the Bishop which styled them the Company, Society and Fellowship of Freemasons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers. It can therefore be seen that the Tylers dropped out and were replaced by the Bricklayers amongst others. This Company has died out, but there are nine other guilds which are still in existence, these being the Joiners, the Barbers, the Butchers, the Cordwainers, the Curriers, the Drapers, the Masons, the Plumbers, and the Tailors.28

Exeter. Exeter has been described as having been a city of guilds, for “every trade, calling, and craft in it was organized and incorporated into guilds, each with their wardens, hall, common seal, and arms”29 One of these was the Company of Coupers and Hellyers.30 In the 15th and 16th centuries the Exeter guilds’ feasts, like those of guilds in other major cities, increased in scale and magnificence. The tables were arrayed with gold and silver plate, of which the most magnificent object was the salt which was the medieval way of separating the Master, Wardens and distinguished guests from the other members of the Company. The most famous example is The Exeter Salt, standing 18 inches high and encrusted with 73 jewels, which was given by the City of Exeter to Charles II when he was restored to the throne in 1660, and which is part of the Crown collection at the Tower of London. The Company of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen is the only guild still in existence in Exeter.31

Gateshead. Seven trade companies once existed in Gateshead. The sixth of these companies, whose charter was confirmed by Bishop Cosin in 1671, contained some 17 trades, comprising the Tilers, the Bricklayers, and the Brickmakers,32 together with the Freemasons, Carvers, Stone Cutters, Sculptors, Glaziers, Painters, Stainers, Founders, Nailors, Pewterers, Millwrights, Saddlers, Bridlers, Trunkmakers, and Distillers.33

Holbeach. There were several religious guilds in Holbeach in Lincolnshire. One of these was known as the Gild of the Assumption or the Tilers Gild, the members of which were the tilers of the town who during the 13th or early 14th century formed a small fraternity to subscribe for a light to burn before the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.34

Ipswich. Many of the medieval guilds of Ipswich were consolidated, during the reign of Elizabeth I, into four companies, one of which was the Drapers Company which included “joiners, tailors, carpenters onnholders, ffremasons, bryckelayers, tylers, carriers, casketmakers, surgeons, clothiers” and five others.35 This consolidation of all trades into four companies shows that the guilds at this period were rapidly on the decline. Indeed it was said that “the mysteries of each could not be worthy of preservation, when coks and ffletchers mingled with merchants and printers, or casketmakers and surgeons with carriers and innholders.”36

Kingston-upon-Hull. A Gild Merchant was established in Kingston-upon-Hull in 1299 to which all the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. In due course some 17 merchant or craft guilds were established, one of which was a Company of Bricklayers, which also included Tilers, Wallers, Plasterers and Pavers37, which received its first Ordinances in 159838 and which a century later in 1692 held its meetings at the Coopers’ Hall in Hales’ Entry.39 Lambert comments that “Hull contains some of the earliest medieval brickwork in the United Kingdom. The absence of workable stone in the immediate neighbourhood, and the abundance of good clay, facilitated the manufacture of bricks, and the choir of Holy Trinity Church has long been famous for its fine work of this character.”40 None of the guilds, other than Trinity House, has survived.41

Kingston-upon-Thames. Kingston-upon-Thames’s early guild system included four trading companies. These were the Mercers’ Company, the Woollendrapers’ Company, the Butchers’ Company, and the Shoemakers’ Company. The Company of Shoemakers included, besides Shoemakers, all Tanners, Glovers, Curriers, Saddlers, and Collarmakers, as well as all Bricklayers, Carpenters, Joiners, Smiths, Ironmongers, Wheelwrights, Pewterers, Fletchers, Plumbers, Braziers, Girdlers, and Spurriers.[42]

Leeds. The Company of Bricklayers was one of 18 guilds known to have been in existence in Leeds during the 17th century.[43]

Lincoln. A Gild Merchant was granted to Lincoln by Henry II in 1157 to which all the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. A Guild of Tilers or Poyntours, also known as the Gild of Corpus Christi, was established in 1346 and it is believed that they met in St. Botolph’s Church. The Master of each of the Lincoln guilds was known as the Graceman. Along with most of the other guilds of Lincoln, the Guild of Tilers disappeared during the 17th century. The last guild to survive was the that of the Cordwainers, who had a royal charter and survived until 1786.

Ludlow. A Gild Merchant was established in Ludlow in 1461 to which all the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. By 1513 there were some 10 craft guilds, but by 1543 there were only 8 ‘crafts’ or ‘societies’; these being the Walkers and Shermen, the Corvisers, the Tanners, the Butchers, the Bakers, the Tailors, the Weavers, and the Smiths. By 1511 the Smiths had become known as the Society of Hammermen, and this guild included tilers, slaters, smiths, ironmongers, goldsmiths, carpenters and joiners, masons, plumbers, glaziers, fletchers, bowyers, cardmakers, saddlers, coopers, and cutlers.[44] All the Ludlow guilds were wound up in 1885.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne. A Gild Merchant was established in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1216 to which all the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. Subsequently there appear to have been as many as 36 guilds established in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 27 of which are still in existence; and amongst these is the Company of Bricklayers, Wallers and Plasterers which was incorporated in 1660. By 1711 this Company had acquired Nevil-Tower as their hall. A fraternity of Slaters was in existence in 1451 and, with the Bricklayers, was incorporated in 1579. The Slaters and Tylers were separated from the Bricklayers, Wallers and Dawbers, alias Plasterers, in 1677, and met at the Joiners’ Hall. By 1821 they had acquired Gunner Tower, situated to the south of Forth Lane, where their members met. This Company, however, is no longer in existence.[45]

The other gilds which are still in existence are the Merchant Adventurers or Merchants comprising the three branches of Drapers, Mercers and Boothmen, the Upholsterers, Tinplate Workers and Stationers, the Tanners or Barkers, the Paviors, the Colliers, Paviors, and Carriagemen, the Milners or Millers, the House Carpenters, Millwrights and Trunkmakers, the Cordwainers, the Weavers, the Joiners and Cabinet Makers, the Plumbers, Glaziers, Pewterers and Painters, now known just as the Plumbers and Glaziers, the Bakers and Brewers, the Society of Master Mariners, also called Trinity House, the Smiths, the Taylors, the Shipwrights, the Butchers, the Ropemakers, the Hostmen, the Barber-Surgeons and Wax and Tallow Chandlers, the Masons, the Coopers, the Curriers, Feltmakers and Armourers, the Goldsmiths, the Saddlers, the Sail Makers, the Skinners and Glovers, and the Scriveners.[46]

Norwich. A Gild Merchant was established in Norwich at an early date. Before 1548 the crafts were not only trade societies but also religious fraternities or guilds. In 1622 the Ordinances for Crafts enacted that the trades, mysteries and occupations used in the city should be divided into 12 Grand Companies, and one of these was the Merchants, tilers, dyers, worsted-shermen, calenderers, masons, and lime-burners. The others were the Mercers, scriveners, haberdashers of small wares, barbers, pin-makers and joiners; the Grocers, rafemen, reeders and reed-sellers, carters and porters, the Apothecaries, upholsterers, tanners, stationers, carpenters, painters and basket-makers, the Drapers, haberdashers of hats and caps, felt-makers, wool-chapmen, glovers, woollen-shermen, parchment-makers and point-makers, the Goldsmiths, ironmmongers, smiths, saddlers, pewterers, braziers, glaziers, cutlers, plumbers, clock-makers and bell-founders, the Worsted weavers, dornix-weavers, silk-weavers, linen-weavers and slay-makers, the Hosiers, twisterers and combers, the Tailors, skinners, body-makers, embroiderers and silk-rasers, the Brewers, bakers, coopers, keelmen, watermen and millers, the Inn-holders, fishmongers, fishermen, vintners, butchers and cooks, and the Cordwainers, curriers, knackers, whittawers, cobblers, coach-makers, trunk-makers and heel-makers.[47] None of these guilds remain in existence.

Shrewsbury. A Gild Merchant was established in Shrewsbury in 1209 to which all the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. There appear to have been at least 26 companies, most of which were formed during the 14th and 15th centuries. Amongst these were a Company of Carpenters and Tylers established in 1450, and a Company of Builders and Brickmakers. The others were the Barber-Chirurgeons , the Shoemakers, the Vintners, the Fishmongers, the Mercers and Goldsmiths, the Weavers, the Fletchers, Coopers and Bowyers, the Tailors and Skinners, the Drapers, the Millers, the Bakers, the Cooks, the Butchers, the Clothworkers and Shearmen, the Tanners, the Glovers, the Saddlers and Painters, the Glaziers, the Plumbers, the Curriers, the Smiths (which also included Armourers), the Cutlers, the Haberdashers, and the Tinmen. At a later date the Mercers and Goldsmiths added the Grocers and Ironmongers to their Guild, and the Saddlers and Painters added the Booksellers to theirs. None of the Shrewsbury guilds, other than the Drapers’ Company, has survived.[48]

Worcester. By 1577 Worcester had twelve principal companies, which were the Mercers, the Drapers and Tailors, the Tallow Chandlers, the Brewers, the Bakers, the Butchers and Vintners, the Shoemakers, the Fishmongers, the Smiths and Cutlers, the Tanners and Saddlers, the Glovers, and the Innkeepers and Victuallers. To these was added in 1598 the Ironmongers.[49] In addition to these there were some other companies in existence during the 18th century, including a Company of Bricklayers. The only Worcester company still in existence is the Clothiers’ Company[50]

York. A Gild Merchant was established in York in 1130 to which all the town’s traders and craftsmen belonged. There were 57 crafts in York by the 15th century, and in 1475 a Guild of Plasterers and Tylers was granted Ordinances by the civic authorities.51 In 1572, during the
47 Percy Millican: Register of Freemen of Norwich 1548-1713; Norwich 1934; p. xx. 48 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 20. 49 A.D. Dyer: The City of Worcester in the Sixteenth Century. Leicester University Press, Leicester 1973; p. 149. 50 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 21 51 Ordinances of the Plasterers and Tilers in The York Memorandum Book. Volume III. The Surtees Society, Durham 1973; Volume 186, pp. 183-190.
reign of Elizabeth I, this Company were joined by the Bricklayers, and new Ordinances were granted to a Guild of “Plaisterars, Tylars and Bricklayers”.52 By the end of the 16th century brick was increasingly being used at the expense of timber, and by 1592 bricklayers were trying to break away from the tilers’ guild.53 The York Cmopanies still in existence are the Merchant Adventurers, the Merchant Taylors, the Cordwainers, the Butchers, and the Guild of Building.54

Aberdeen. A Gild Merchant or Guildry was established in Aberdeen in 1222. The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, established in 1587, still exist today, and includes an Incorporation of Hammermen which obtained its first Seal of Cause in 1519,55 and an Incorporation of Wrights and Coopers. The other five incorporated trades are the Bakers, the Tailors, the Shoemakers, the Weavers, and the Fleshers.56

Arbroath. A Gild Merchant was established in Arbroath in 1599.The Wrights were one of the seven incorporated trades of Arbroath, the others being the Hammermen or Blacksmiths, the Glovers or Skinners, the Shoemakers, the Weavers, the Tailors, and the Bakers.

Brechin. A Gild Merchant was established in Brechin in 1601. By 1650 there were six incorporations these being, in order of precedence, the Hammermen, the Glovers, the Baxters, the Cordiners, the Websters, and the Tailyeours. Two trades, the Fleshers and the Bonnetmakers, never sought incorporation. There was never a Slaters’ Society or Incorporation in Brechin, and we are told that “in 1637 a slater was allowed only a seat in the Hammermen’s loft”.57

Dumbarton. A Guildry was established in Dumbarton in 1609, and a Craft of Hammermen once existed there too.

Dumfries. A Guildry was established in Dumfries in 1827. At one time there were at least 11 different crafts incorporated in Dumfries, of which the Incorporation of Smiths ranked first, after which came the Incorporation of Wrights and Masons, generally termed Squaremen, with whom the Slaters were associated 58. The other guilds were the Websters or Weavers, the Tailors, the Shoemakers or Cordwainers, the Skinners and Gauntlers or Glovers, and the Fleshers. At one time there were four other trades incorporated in the Burgh – the Lorimers or Armourers, the Pewterers or Tinsmiths, the Bonnetmakers, and the Litsters or Dyers – all of which became defunct, or were merged into the remaining seven

Dundee. Dundee has a Gild Merchant or Guildry which was established in 1249. There is also a Convenery with two separate Incorporations: the Nine Incorporated Trades and the Three United Trades. The Nine Incorporated Trades are still active and include the Hammermen, the Bonnetmakers, the Bakers or Baxters, the Fleshers, the Shoemakers or Cordiners, the Weavers, the Tailors, the Glovers, and the Fullers or Waulkers and Dyers or Litsters.59 The Three United Trades comprise the Slaters, the Wrights, and the Masons.

Dunfermline. A Gild Merchant was established in Dunfermline in 1395. There are eight Incorporated Trades of Dunfermline which, in order of precedence, are the Smiths or Hammermen, the Weavers, the Wrights, the Tailors, the Shoemakers, the Baxters, and the Fleshers.

Edinburgh. In Edinburgh the Slaters are members of the Incorporation of Wrights where the Masons also belong, and this is one of the twelve incorporated trades which are still in existence. The Incorporation of Wrights and Masons was first formed into a Society in 1475 by a Seal of Cause or Act of the Common Council of Edinburgh. The other Incorporations60 are the Hammermen, the Bonnetmakers and Dyers or Waulkers, the Skinners, the Furriers, the Fleshers, the Masons, the Tailors, the Bakers, the Cordiners, the Goldsmiths, and the Websters or Weavers.61 There is also a Company of Merchants.

Elgin. A Gild Merchant was established in Elgin by a Charter granted by Alexander II of Scotland in 1234. There are six incorporated trades in Elgin, all of them established between 1656 and 1658, and one of these is the Incorporation of Squaremen (which include Stone Masons, Wrights and Builders).62 The other incorporated trades still in existence are the Hammermen, the Glovers, the Tailors, the Shoemakers, and the Weavers. There is also a Merchant Guild. 63

Glasgow. In Glasgow, the Hammermen established in 1536, and the Wrights established in 1057 by Royal Charter granted by Malcolm III of Scotland, accounted for two of the fourteen craft incorporations which together comprise the Trades House of Glasgow which was founded in 1605, the others being64 the Skinners and Furriers, the Tailors, the Weavers, the Masons, the Bakers, the Cordiners, the Coopers, the Fleshers, the Bonnetmakers and Dyers, the Surgeons and Barbers, the Maltmen, the Gardeners, and the Mariners and Fishers.65 There is also a Merchants’ House still in existence.

Irvine. A Gild Merchant was granted to Irvine in 1371. The Hammermen, the Wrights, and the Squaremen, accounted for three of the Incorporated Trades of Irvine established in 1646. They and the other incorporated trades comprising the Weavers, the Tailors, the Cordiners, and the Skinners, are still in existence.66

Kirkcudbright. The Incorporated Trades of Kirkcudbright was established in 1681, and the Hammermen and the Squaremen were two of the six incorporated trades. The Clothiers, the
Weavers, the Tailors, the Hammermen and Glovers, the Squaremen, and the Shoemakers are still in existence.67

Montrose. A Gild Merchant was established in Montrose in 1372, and in due course there was also an Incorporation of Smiths and Hammermen there.68

Perth. A Gild Merchant or Guildry was established in Perth in 1165. The Hammermen and the Wrights accounted for two of the eight incorporations of Perth. The other Incorporations were the Glovers, the Bakers, the Shoemakers, the Tailors, the Fleshers, and the Weavers.

Rutherglen. A Gild Merchant was granted to Rutherglen in 1617. The Smiths and the Wrights accounted for two of the incorporations of Rutherglen, the others being the Masons and Wrights, the Tailors, the Smiths, and the Weavers. The Incorporation of Tailors is the only company still in existence in Rutherglen.69


Denbigh. A Gild Merchant was established in Denbigh in 1333, and this was evidenced by a Charter in 1401. There was a Company of Hammermen “which is believed to have included all master-artificers in metal, if not wrights and masons”.70


Dublin. A Gild Merchant was granted to the citizens of Dublin in 1192 by Prince John, son of Henry II, and for many centuries thereafter it was very closely associated with the Common Council of the city. During the 13th century more than fifty different trades were represented amongst the members of the Gild Merchant. By the 15th century the growth in craftsmen led to their organization into individual craft guilds.71 The Calendar of the Ancient Records of Dublin refers to 17 different craft guilds by the end of the 16th century, one of which was the Guild of Carpenters, Masons, Heliers, and Joiners which was established by royal charter granted by Henry VII in 1508. This guild ranked 7th in order of precedence.It met at Carpenters’ Hall in St. Audoen’s Lane until 1565 when the Hall seems to have been demolished, after which date they met at Tailors’ Hall in Winetavern Street until 1593. Thereafter they met near Blakeney’s Inns in St. Audoen’s Parish. During the 18th century they met at New Hall in Keyzar’s Lane, which became known as Carpenters’ Hall. From 1783 until 1841 the guild met in St. Audoen’s Arch.

The Guild of Bricklayers and Plasterers was established in 1670, by a royal charter granted by Charles II, and ranked 20th in order of precedence, out of a total of 25 guilds then existing, the ranking being determined by the antiquity of the guilds.72 Before 1670 bricklayers and plasterers were members of the Guild of Carpenters, Masons, Heliers, and Joiners. Towards the end of the 18th century the Guild of Bricklayers and Plasterers met in St. Audoen’s Arch, and from 1834 until 1841 it met in Merchants’ Hall at 41 Wellington Quay. Both guilds became defunct in 1841 as a consequence of the Municipal Corporation Reform Act 1840.73 The Company of Goldsmiths is the only one of the Dublin trade guilds which continued to function after 1841, and which still exists today.

Limerick. By the 18th century Limerick had a number of guilds, one of which was a Guild of Masons, Bricklayers, Slaters, Plasterers, Painters, Pavours, and Limeburners.74

Youghal. The Charter of the City of Youghal granted by James I permitted the establishment of guilds. One of these was the Company of Hammermen, incorporated in 1657, which included Tilers, as well as Goldsmiths, Blacksmiths, Pewterers, Shipwrights, House Carpenters, Joiners, Coopers, Masons, Cutlers, Braziers, and Glaziers.75

Elsewhere in Europe we know that there was a system of guilds similar to that which existed in Great Britain and Ireland. It is beyond the scope of this article to elaborate, other than to observe that preliminary research has revealed guilds of tylers and bricklayers to have existed in the following places 76:

Amsterdam had a Guild of Bricklayers. The oldest surviving gatehouse in Amsterdam, known as the Waag, was built in 1488. This building was converted in 1617 to a weighhouse, and the upstairs rooms were used as meeting places by the local guilds. The 17th century entrance at the north corner of the building is distinguished by a bricklayer’s head and tools, and this entrance leads to the Bricklayers’ Guild room77; Workum also had a Guild of Bricklayers.

Berne had a Guild of Roofers; Zurich had a Guild of Carpenters and Builders.


The German historian Lujo Brentano, in his writings towards the end of the nineteenth century, commented that: “England must be regarded as the birthplace of gilds and London, perhaps, as their cradle.” However, a glance at Dr. Beena Jain’s book on “Guild Organization in Northern India” reveals guilds of stone workers and carpenters in existence there in the Mauryan Period (400BC-200BC) and guilds of bricklayers and plasterers in the Sunga-Saka-Satavahana Period (200BC-300AD)78, and the historical records of China which have now come to light reveal the existence there of a developed system of guilds at an even earlier date79.

The Ranking of Tilers and Bricklayers in terms of Precedence amongst the Crafts.

Precedence has always been a matter of importance to the guilds.

In London it was never based upon age, for how else would the Weavers, who were granted a licence by Henry I in 1184, have ended up as 42nd from amongst 65 London companies that established a ranking amongst themselves in 1488. The fact of the matter is that those with the greatest wealth and influence secured their places at the top of the list. Wrestling between the crafts at Blackheath is thought to have given rise to the Twelve Great Companies in London80 and the Fullers and Shearers had to join with the Clothworkers to secure the last place amongst the Great Twelve81 when in 1515 the Lord Mayor and Aldermen drew up the definitive list, placing the Mercers first, and the Tylers and Bricklayers 37th.

In Dublin the order of precedence of the guilds, in connection with the riding the franchises in 1767, appears to have been determined by the antiquity of the guilds. The six most senior guilds were the Merchants, Tailors, Smiths, Barber-Surgeons, Bakers, and Butchers, in that order. The Guild of Bricklayers and Plasterers ranked 20th and the Apothecaries came last at 25th. The Goldsmiths which is the only Dublin guild still in existence ranked 16th.82

In Chester the order of precedence placed the Bricklayers’ Company in the top six, the first being the Tanners, followec by the Brewers, barber-Surgeons, Merchant Drapers, Cappers, and then the Bricklayers. The Golsmiths were 10th, the Mercers were 17th, and last of all were the Weavers at 23rd.83

In Norwich in 1449 we find the Mercers ranking 1st, followed by the Grocers, Drapers, Golsmiths, Dyers, and worsted Weavers. The Tilers, at this early date, do not seem to have found a place at all, unless you class them under their cousins, the Thatchers, who in Norwich were known as Reders; the Reders ranked last at 30th.84

In Ludlow in 1368 we find similarly that the Tilers are conspicuously absent from the list of crafts and their order of precedence. There in Ludlow the list was headed by the Merchants, followed by the Drapers, Skinners, Tailors, Corvisers, and Fullers. The Weavers ranked 7th, and last of all were the Millwards at 14th.85

Numbers of Tilers and Bricklayers practising their Trade in various Cities.

In Bristol the Company of Tylers and Plasterers, formed in 1671, grew to a total of 68 members over the period to 1709, but only 38 more joined between 1709 and 1750; thereafter the membership appears to have declined further.[86]

In Coventry, during the period 1781-1806, we find evidence of 26 bricklayers’ apprentices, two of whom were apprenticed to masters who were also master tylers.[87]

In Gloucester during the second half of the 17th century, we find 6 apprenticed bricklayers obtaining their freedom, and during the whole of the 18th century a total of 76 apprentice bricklayers obtaining their freedom. Apprentice tilers, by comparison, number 3 during the second half of the 17th century, and 28 during the whole of the 18th century.[88]

In London we find that there are as many as 79 liverymen of the Company according to the “Lists of the Liveries of the Fifty Six Companies in the City of London” published in 1700. There were obviously a great many more freemen of the company who were able to practise their craft.

In Ludlow we find between the years 1534 and 1583 that 16 tilers had joined the Society of Hammermen.[89]

In Newcastle we find that during the early 19th century the Company of Bricklayers, Wallers and Plasterers had some 113 members, whereas the Company of Slaters and Tylers had barely 35 members.[90]

In Norwich we find, as early as the reign of Edward IV, a tiler obtaining his freedom of the City of Norwich. During the reign of Henry VI we find evidence of another couple of tilers likewise obtaining their freedom.[91] Thus it seems to have continued through the first half of the 16th century, during the reign of Henry VIII, when only a couple of tilers are found to have obtained their freedom. However, throughout the second half of the 16th century, during the reign of Elizabeth I, we see a total of 11 tilers obtaining their freedom, and thereafter 17 during the whole of the 17th century.[92] This increase in numbers coincided with the establishment of the 12 Grand Companies in Norwich, one of which, as we have already noted, included the tilers (along with merchants, dyers, worsted-shermen, calenderers, masons, and lime-burners). By comparison, only 4 bricklayers obtained their freedom during the second half of the 16th century, and 7 during the whole of the 17th century.[93] Turning to the 18th and 19th centuries we find, in the Norwich Poll of 1710, 1 tiler and 3 bricklayers recorded,[94] and in the Norwich Poll of 1806, no tilers, but 32 bricklayers recorded.[95]

The Period of Apprenticeship, and the Number of Apprentices that a Master could take.

The training given during the period of apprenticeship ensured that apprentices became skilled and capable workmen, and as such able to take an interest in, and to derive pleasure from their work. The period of apprenticeship was variable until Parliament sought to apply some standard period by enacting the Statute of Artificers in 1563 which established 7 years for apprenticeships.

In Gloucester an analysis of the registers of freemen at the end of the 17th century and during the early part of the 18th century shows masters each taking quite a number of apprentices whose 7 year apprenticeships sometimes seemed to overlap. Abraham Meadway, a master bricklayer in that city, took as his first apprentice Abraham Archer, who obtained his freedom in 1693; next he took William Stiles who obtained his freedom in 1695; then he took Ephraim Higgins as the third who obtained his freedom in 1698; and in 1700 his fourth apprentice, William Dix alias Diss, obtained his freedom. Thus, within 7 years he had been served by four apprentices. The first of those apprentices, Abraham Archer, in turn when he had become a master bricklayer, took as the first of his apprentices William Freeman, who obtained his freedom in 1706; he was followed by two more apprentices, John Archer and Samuel Brotherton, who obtained their freedom in 1713; followed two years later by John Fryer; thus Abraham Archer had, similarly taken four apprentices within a period of 7 years. Finally, Abraham Archer’s two sons, Thomas Archer and John Archer, obtained their freedom by patrimony in 1720. During the first part of the 19th century another master bricklayer, Daniel Spencer, can be seen to have similarly taken a number of apprentices, the first two of whom, William Cullis and James Daw, obtained their freedom in 1805; the third, Joseph Holtham, obtained his freedom in 1812; the fourth, Robert Sutton Deighton, obtained his freedom in 1820; and the fifth and last apprentice, Thomas Roberts obtained his freedom some 10 years later in 1830[96].

Similarly amongst tilers we find comparable examples during the early part of the 18th century in Gloucester. Thus John Benson, a master tiler and plasterer, took another John Benson (not his son) as an apprentice, the latter obtaining his freedom in 1705. His next two apprentices were Samuel Perkins and Joseph Mitchell, both of whom obtained their freedom in 1713. Thomas Fuller was his fourth apprentice, obtaining his freedom in 1720; and finally, in 1731, his son, John Benson, obtained his freedom by patrimony[97].

In Kingston-upon-Hull the general period of apprenticeship was 8 years until 1649, after which date the period was reduced to 7 years “for the lawes and statutes of this lande doth not require any to be bounds for above seven years”. Notwithstanding this, however, towards the end of the 17th century apprenticeships of 8 years were again prevalent.[98] The Ordinances dated 1599 of the Company of Bricklayers, Tilers, Wallers, Plaisterers and Pavers of Kingston-upon-Hull permitted a master to have no more than two apprentices at any one time, and the first apprentice must have served 4 years before he could take a second apprentice.[99]

In Newcastle-upon-Tyne during the 15th century the Slaters could take an apprentice, who had to serve the usual 7 year apprenticeship; and his master could not take a second apprentice until the first had served 6 years. During the 17th century the Bricklayers similarly took apprentices for 7 years, but could take a second apprentice once the first had served 3 years.

In Southampton a survey of all Southampton apprenticeships during the ten year period 1610-1620 shows that, notwithstanding the Statute of Artificers, only 52% were for 7 years in compliance with the law. Of the balance, 22% were for 8 years, 17% for 9 years, 7% for 10 years, 1% over 10 years, 1% unstated.[100] This discrepancy can perhaps be accounted for because many provincial guilds insisted that their members should not take apprentices below a certain age, usually fourteen, but sometimes as young as twelve or as old as sixteen. As apprenticeships commonly commenced at age 14 and, under the Statute of Artificers 1563, could not end before the age of 24, so many apprenticeships would effectively run on beyond 7 years, unless the statute was not observed.[101]

In Dublin, as a result of a bye-law passed in 1551, the taking of apprentices under the age of sixteen was prohibited[102].

The Price paid by Apprentices for their Indentures.

An analysis of the 18th century records of the counties of Warwickshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire shows a fairly similar pattern of premium paid for indentures as an apprentice bricklayer. The amount was usually between £4 and £10, whereas the premium for an apprentice tiler was rather wider: ranging between £1 and £12. Thus, in Warwickshire, we find that the premium paid in 1755 by Sarah Saunders, for her apprenticeship to George Copage, a master bricklayer in Solihull, was £7.[103] In Hampshire the premium paid in 1730 by John Chalk to William Mountford in Hale was £5, whereas the premium by Thomas Pearson to Edmund Richmond of Rockbourne was £4.4.0d. In Wiltshire, Adam Bassett paid £10 in 1721 to John West in Devizes, although 7 years later, in 1728, Thomas Blandford paid Robert West only £5 in the same town, whereas in Dorset in the same year, John Clark paid Andrew Coney a premium of £8 in Cranborne. In Salisbury some 28 years later, in 1756, James Mills paid William Fry £5.5.0d for his apprenticeship indenture to train as a bricklayer.[104]

The premium for an apprentice tiler could be as little as £1 (in Bitton, Gloucestershire), £3 (in Atford, Wiltshire) or as much as £12 in Bristol.[105]

Their Earnings once they became Masters.

In 1212 master tilers, like masons and carpenters, were paid 3d per day, and received food in addition, or 1½d instead.[106]

Almost 150 years later we find that the London tiler has either become twice as valuable, or else inflation has impacted on his rate. Thus, In 1359, for repairing a house in Cornhill in London a tiler was paid for two days 14d, his man 10d, and for their drink 2d; whilst carpenters worked for 7d a day, i.e. for a similar rate.[107]

The Role of Women.

Women were members of the early frith gilds, but they never took part in the administration or the governance of these guilds.[108] There was a Maiden’s Gild at Croscombe, and a guild by the name of Our Lady’s Maidens at Stratton in Cornwall, both of which were guilds exclusively for young girls.[109] In only five out of 500 guilds existing in the 14th century were women excluded.[110] Although tiling and bricklaying have always been predominantly heavy work better suited to men, women too could be master tylers or bricklayers. Indeed women were members of guilds of tilers as they could be members of other craft guilds, although most usually this resulted from a woman married to a tiler continuing his business after his death. However, this was not always the case. In May 1796 we find that Thomas Burdett was apprenticed to a husband and wife team of Coventry bricklayers by the name of John and Rebecca Cheshire. A year later, in 1797, we find another example in Coventry, where Joseph Bassett, who had been apprenticed to Mary Cotton, was assigned by her to Joseph Cotton, another master bricklayer in Coventry[111]. Similarly in Solihull there are records showing that women, such as Sarah Saunders in 1755, became master bricklayers[112]. There is no evidence of women holding office in any guilds, at least not until we reach the twentieth century, and then only in a few of the modern London guilds.

The Backgrounds from which the Apprenticed Tilers and Bricklayers came.

As one would expect, there is much evidence of tilers and bricklayers taking their sons as apprentices into their respective trades. The greater interest, however, is to see from what other backgrounds the apprentices came. Thus, for example, in Norwich[113] of the apprenticed tilers: Gregorius Fayerman’s father was a worsted weaver/sherman, Andreas Gyles’s father was a worsted weaver; in Chippenham, Gabriel Barnes’s father was a husbandman; in Gloucester[114], Stephen Steel’s father was a carpenter, and Joseph Lewis’s father was a pinmaker.

Of the apprenticed bricklayers: in Norwich[115], Henry Armyger’s father was a woollen draper, Francis Wantlop’s father was a glover; in Coventry[116], Thomas Burdett’s father was a weaver, William Kimberley’s father was a weaver, John Taylor’s father was a silk weaver, Joseph Bassett’s father was a collar maker, William Burman’s father was a mason, and William Cheatley’s and John Payne’s fathers were both labourers; in Gloucester[117], Benjamin Wilkes’s father was a wiredrawer, William Dix’s father was a porter, Luke Holford’s father was a labourer; in Shrewsbury, Thomas Wadley’s father was a hairdresser; in London[118], Thomas Pace’s father was a cordwainer, Charles Adey’s father was a tailor, John Reeve’s father was a combmaker, and Sam Jasper Selwyn’s father was a whitesmith.

Some Tilers’ and Bricklayers’ Sons did better than their Fathers.

Many sons joined their fathers as apprenticed tilers or bricklayers but, surprisingly, a large number thought that they could do better than their fathers. Thus, of the sons of Coventry[119] tilers, John Calvert and, John Powell became weavers, Francis Chaplin became a worsted weaver, and Charles Fletcher became a tailor[120]; in Devizes[121] William Overton became a drugget maker; in Gloucester[122], Thomas Lewis became a tailor, his brother John Lewis became a pargeter, and their eldest brother Joseph became a gentleman in Herefordshire.

Of the sons of Coventry[123] bricklayers, John Arden became an engraver, John Beazley Dowell and William and Thomas Shenstone all became weavers, and Wale Windsor became a plumber and glazier; in Gloucester[124] Simon Smith became a farrier, James King became a carpenter, Richard Ford became a barber, Richard Welch became a private in the 11th Light Dragoons, William Welch became a private in the 2nd Dragoon Guards, and Giles King became a corporal in the 15th Light Dragoons, Charles Pace became an apothecary, William Henry Cullis became a butcher, John Baker and Sam King both became cordwainers, and Sam Doggett and Joseph Lake both became labourers; in Salisbury[125] William Waters became a clothier; in Somerset[126] James King became an upholsterer; in London[127] James Ward became a farrier, Richard Clark became a clerk in Serjeant’s Inn, and Richard Barton became a coach harness-maker.

The Coats of Arms of the Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ Companies.

I have found descriptions of the coats of arms of the Tylers and Bricklayers Companies in Chester, Gateshead, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and these all closely resemble that of the London Tylers and Bricklayers’ Company. They all have a gold chevron on a blue background with a silver fleur de lys between two gold brick-axes, and in the base a bundle of laths. The mottos of all four are very similar: “In the Lord is all our trust” or “Our trust is in God.”

In London the Tylers’ and Bricklayers’ Coat of Arms is: “Shield: Azure (Blue) on which is a Gold Chevron, In Chief (on top of the Shield or in the top part of the Shield) there is a Fleur-delys Argent (Silver) and on either side of the Fleur-de-lys are two Gold Bric-axes in a vertical position. In base (or in the lower part of the Shield) there is a Gold Brush. Crest: On a Wreath Gold and Blue there is a right arm bent showing a sleeve half of which is coloured Gold half of which is coloured Red and in the hand there is a Gold Brick-axe. The Mantling is of two colours Argent (silver) and Red. Motto: In God is all our trust let us never be confounded.”[128]

In Chester the Coat of Arms of the Company of Bricklayers is similar to that of the London company shown above.[129]

In Gateshead the Coat of Arms is: “Shield: Azure a chevron or in between in chief a fleur de lys argent between two brick-axes or, in base a bundle of laths or. Motto: In the Lord is all our trust.”[130]

In Newcastle-upon-Tyne the Bricklayers’ Coat of Arms is: “Shield: Azure, a Chevron Or; In Chief a Fleur-de-lis Argent, between two Brick-axes, Palewise, of the second; in base a Bundle of Laths of the last. Crest: A Dexter Arm embowed, vested per Pale or, and Azure, cuffed Argent, holding in the hand proper, a Brick-axe Or. Motto: In God is all our trust.”[131]

The Slaters’ and Tylers’ Coat of Arms was “Shield: Azure, a Chevron between three Lathing-hammers Argent, Handled Or. Crest: A dexter hand couped at the wrist, holding a trowel, all proper. Motto: Our trust is in God.”[132]

The Miracle Plays.

Throughout the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries there is continuous evidence of Miracle Plays being performed regularly, not just in major centres such as Cambridge, Chester, Coventry, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Norwich, Reading, Shrewsbury, Tewkesbury, and York, but in at least thirty English towns and villages.[133]

The plays were originally acted in churches, then they moved to the churchyards, and eventually they developed into processions which moved through the town, giving performances on the decorated scaffolds which were erected at various points along the route. The guilds had a long connection with these Miracle Plays, such that when cities prospered and new guilds were created, then the original plays would have to be subdivided to give them a share in the performance; and when cities and guilds were on the decline then two or more plays would be run together.[134]

Before the Reformation the tableaux were generally of a biblical nature; but after the 16th century they were usually mythological or historical. In Shrewsbury “the Bricklayers, for some strange reason, considered themselves adequately represented by bluff King Hal.”[135]

The Pageants performed by the Tylers and Bricklayers in the Corpus Christi Plays.

Curiously, there appear to be much fuller accounts of the Corpus Christi plays in the records of Chester, Newcastle, Norwich and York, than in the records of London.

In Newcastle-upon-Tyne the Guild of Bricklayers, Wallers and Plasterers were required by an Ordinance of 1454 to enact two scenes in the Corpus Christi procession: “The Creation of Adam” and “The Flying of our Lady into Egypte”.136 The Guild of Slaters and Tylers were required by an Ordinance of 1451 to participate in the Corpus Christi procession and to perform “The Offering of Isaac by Abraham”.[137]

In Norwich in the 1449 Corpus Christi procession the Tylers along with the Tailors, Broderers and Reders enacted the scene of “Abraham and Isaac”. In examining the procession it is clearly evident that the most junior guilds led the procession, with the more senior ones, such as the Goldsmiths, Drapers, Grocers, and Mercers at the back, and followed ultimately by the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen. It is interesting therefore to note that in 1449 the first and most junior guild leading the procession is that of the Reders who were thatchers or roofers. After the procession had made its way with each craft parading its banner, there followed the various pageants. Here we need not be surprised to find that the Tylers and Reders are together, but it is interesting to find that the foursome also includes the Taillours and the Broderers. The Broderers, like the Tylers, were not represented in the earlier procession, whereas the Taillours were not only in the earlier procession but were well to the rear, preceding the Lord Mayor. [138]

In York there were 48 pageants of the typical Corpus Christi plays of the 14th and 15th centuries, and these follow the Bible narrative fairly closely.[139] In the 1415 York Corpus Christi procession the Tylers, at number fourteen, towards the front of the procession, enacted “Mary, Joseph, a mid-wife; the Child born, lying in a manger betwixt an ox and an ass, and an angel speaking to the shepherds, and to the players in the next pageant”, and the Tilemakers, at number twenty-three, midway in the procession, enacted “Jesus, Pilate, Caiaphas, Annas, six soldiers carrying spears and ensigns, and four others leading Jesus from Herod, desiring Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be crucified, and then binding and scourging him, placing a crown of thorns upon his head; three soldiers casting lots for the vest of Jesus”. It is no surprise to find that last and hence most senior of all, at number fortyeight in the procession, are the Mercers.[140]

In Ludlow where there is a record of a Corpus Christi procession as early as 1368 we again find the more important trades at the end of the procession, and the Merchants last of all at number fourteen, although the logic behind the precise order is difficult to understand. Neither the Tilers, nor the Smiths to which they were attached in the early days, feature anywhere in the procession. However, the Sellers (Saddlers) who were also attached to the Smiths, do appear in the procession at number five, i.e. towards the front.[141]

The beginning of the end of the Corpus Christi procession came with the Reformation when it was shorn of its splendour, and then ceased altogether when Edward VI plundered the guilds.[142]


The influence of the London guilds on those in the provinces was significant. As can be seen in the example of the London Tylers and Bricklayers’ coat of arms, theirs was copied by the provincial companies of tilers and bricklayers. The Statute of Artificers 1563 required that the custom of London regarding apprenticeships should be observed throughout the realm. The establishment of schools and almshouses by the London companies encouraged philanthropy elsewhere in the country. However, one of the greatest handicaps under which the English provincial guilds suffered, was that London guild membership gave exemption from tolls elsewhere in the country.

Over the centuries the guilds had come in for regular criticism. In the early medieval period, Gerald of Wales wrote about the mischief resulting from the popular religious gilds. “The clergy, he says, get up feastings and potations by subscription, by occasion of which men and women promiscuously assemble and misbehave themselves; such meetings are called speciously fraternities. Even though the result of such unions be more masses, prayers and psalms for the living and dead still, he urges, this does not counterbalance the evil of these gild-potations.”[143]

Over time other arguments were put forward that guild monopoly hampered freedom of trade, that prices were manipulated for personal gain and against the common good144 and that a closed shop or protected trade was the cause of significant exploitation.145 Even in the 21st century, here in the City of London, we still find vestiges of the early exploitation of communal power with the livery companies reserving to themselves alone the right to elect the Lord Mayor. At least during the 16th and 17th centuries some 75% of all men working in the City were members of livery companies, whereas today perhaps only 1% are liverymen. Contrast this with the provinces where the Mayor or Lord Mayor is elected by the whole body of citizens directly or indirectly through their elected representatives.

The Sovereign too was well and truly implicated in the plot in the early days, for it was Edward IV who prohibited imported goods in order to keep out competition.146 Monopoly and the opportunity for exploitation inevitably also gave rise to corruption and fraud, so it is not surprising that we find the Haberdashers of Shrewsbury accused of corruption, the Brewers of London accused of bribery147 and the Litsters of Edinburgh, in conjunction with the Weavers and Walkers of that City accused of fraud to the almost ruin of the woollen manufacturers of Edinburgh.[148]

In 1436-7 a petition was presented by the House of Commons to Henry VI declaring that craft guilds throughout the land had abused their privileges, and this gave rise to enactments to limit the powers and privileges of the guilds.

Little more than a century later the young King Edward VI, the only son of Henry VIII by his marriage to Jane Seymour, was to play a major part in the destruction of the guilds, following on from his father’s infamous dissolution of the monasteries. Edward VI came to the throne at the age of 10 and died five years later of what was believed to be a combination of tuberculosis and measles. He is credited with humility and intelligence, and in his short reign he founded, together with the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London the great foundations of Christ’s Hospital and Bridewell Hospital, as well as other educational foundations in Bath, Birmingham, Bury St. Edmund’s, Chelmsford, Lichfield, Louth and Southampton. Yet in 1547 this same King, seized the possessions of the guilds. The provisions of the Act of Parliament secured the practical annihilation of all the guilds except those of the merchant and municipal classes.

The provincial guilds were not quite extinguished by this same Act. Some of them at least continued to hold their meetings for purposes of conviviality and mutual support. In his History of Norfolk, Blomefield mentions several that survived – one of these in a Norfolk village, whose lands were seized, retained their Guildhall until 1650, when the effects were sold. These included 30 lbs of pewter vessels; 92 lbs of lead; 4 spits weighing 169 lbs; a metal pot weighing 44 lbs; 2 pots of brass weighing 89 lbs; and a brass pan weighing 9 lbs, – clear proof of the festive proceedings of the guilds.[149]

The final nail in the coffin came with the Municipal Corporations’ Act 1835 when almost all the guilds throughout the country were required to surrender whatever vestiges of control they still retained over trade and industry. Thus many if not most of the guilds had disappeared completely by the middle of the 19th century and all the guilds of Tylers and Bricklayers, except for the Company of Tylers and Bricklayers in the City of London, had become extinct. In the case of the London Company, the financial and business ineptitude of so many Masters and Wardens of the Company resulted in the Company losing two Halls and a large proportion of its other assets in the course of 500 years. This Company, like most of the other surviving guilds in the provinces and in London, now exists predominantly as a social and charitable institution.


See PDF for the following Appendixes 


















1 Prof. George Unwin: The Gilds and Companies of London. Frank Cass, London 4th Edition 1963; pp. xxiixxv.
2 H. F. Westlake: The Parish Gilds of Medieval England. SPCK, London 1919.
3 Cornelius Walford: Gilds – their Origin, Consitution, Objects and Later History. London 1879; p. 38.
4 Dr. Charles. Gross: The Gild Merchant. Oxford University Press 1890.
5 Thomas Madox: Firma Burgi. William Bowyer, London 1726; p.26.
6 Unwin p. 160.
7 Unwin pp. 166-168.
8 Heather Swanson: Medieval Artisans – An Urban Class in Late Medieval England. Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1989; p. 111.
9 John Stow: Survey of London 1598. Revised Edition 1633, p. 634.
10 Ibid . p. 144.
Bricklayers’ Hall in Leadenhall Street
11 Brentano: English Gilds p. cxxxvii and Walford op. cit. p. 18.
12 Walford op. cit. pp. 11 and 46.
13 Walter G.Bell: A Short History of the Worshipful Company of Tylers & Bricklayers. London 1938; p. 42-43.
14 Heather Swanson: Medieval Artisans – An Urban Class in Late Medieval England. Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1989; p. 112.
15 Bell p. 43.
16 Beatrix F. Cresswell: A Short History of the Worshipful Company of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen of the City and County of Exeter. Exeter 1930; pp. 52-53.
17 Elspeth M. Veale: The English Fur Trade in the later Middle Ages. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1966; p. 119.
18 Joseph P. Ward: Metropolitan Communities. Trade Guilds, Identity, and Change in Early Modern London. Stanford University Press 1997; pp. 36-37.
19 Ibid p. 49.
20 Ibid pp. 84-87.
21 Ibid p. 89.
22 Jonathan Barry: The Cultural Life of Bristol 1640-1775. University of Oxford D.Phil. Thesis 1985. 23 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 3.
24 F. Simpson: The City Guilds of Chester – The Bricklayers’ Company. Journal of the Chester and North Wales Archaeological and Historical Society; New Series 1918, Volume XXII, pp. 55-58.
25 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, pp. 4-7.
26 Mary Dormer Harris: Life in an Old English Town: A History of Coventry from Earliest Times compiled from Official Records; London 1898, p. 261.
27 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, pp. 7-9
28 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 9.
29 The Revd F. J. Chanter: The Exeter Goldsmiths’ Gild. Transactions of the Devonshire Association 1912; Volume XLIV, pp. 438-479.
30 William Cotton: Some Account of the Ancient Guilds of the City of Exeter. Transactions of the Devonshire Association 1872; Volume V, pp. 117-138.
31 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, pp. 9-10.
32W. H. D. Longstaffe: The Trade Companies of Gateshead; The Gentleman’s Magazine, London 1862, pp. 164-166.
33 G.N. Drinkwater: Gateshead Charters and Companies; Archaeologia Aeliana 1958, 4th Series, Volume XXXVI, pp. 165-206.
34 H. F. Westlake: The Parish Gilds of Mediaeval England; London 1919, pp. 23 and 165
35 John Wodderspoon: Memorials of the Ancient Town of Ipswich in the County of Suffolk. Pawsey, Ipswich; and J.R. Smith, London 1850; p. 174.
36 Ibid p. 175.
37 W.F.W. : Order Book of the Brotherhood of Bricklayers, Tilers, Wallers, Plasterers & Pavers of Kingstonupon-Hull 1598-1743. East Riding Antiquarian Society; Volume XXIX, p. 49.
38 Rev. J. M. Lambert: Two Thousand Years of Gild Life; Hull 1891. Bricklayers’ Composition of 1598 on pp. 272-281.
39 Ibid p. 299.
40 Ibid p. 269.
41 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 10.
42 Anne Daly: Kingston upon Thames Register of Apprentices 1563-1713. Surrey Record Society 1974; Volume XXVIII, p. 160.
43 James Wardell: The Municipal History of the Borough of Leeds; 1846.
44 Michael Faraday: Ludlow 1085-1660. A Social, Economic and Political History; Chichester 1991; pp. 129131.
45 J. Walker and M. A. Richardson: The Armorial bearings of the Several Incorporated Companies of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Newcastle 1824, pp. 39-40 and 49-50.
46 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, pp. 10-17 and R. F. Walker: The Institutions and History of the Freemen of Newcastle upon Tyne. Stewards’ Committee of the Freemen of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne , 1996.

52 Ordinances of the Plasterers, Tilers and Bricklayers in The York Memorandum Book. Volume III. The Surtees Society, Durham 1973; Volume 186, pp. 284-287.
53 D. M. Palliser: The Trade Guilds of Tudor York. In Clark and Slack: Crisis and Order in English Towns 1500-1700. Kegan Paul, London 1972; p. 98.
54 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, pp. 21-24.
55 Ebenezer Bain: Merchant & Craft Guilds. A History of the Aberdeen Incorporated Trades; Aberdeen 1887; pp. 115-116.
56 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 25.
57 David G. Adams: The Brechin Hammermen’s Incorporation, 1600-1762, and Later Fine Metal Craftsmen to c. 1850. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 2000; Volume 130, pp. 776.
58 William McDowall: History of the Burgh of Dumfries; Edinburgh 1867.
59 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, pp. 26-27.
60 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, pp. 27-28.
61 William Maitland: The History of Edinburgh from its foundation to the Present Time; Edinburgh 1753, p. 280.
62 E. D. Dunbar: Social Life in Former Days, chiefly in the Province of Moray; Edinburgh 1865.
63 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 29.
64 Ibid pp. 30-32.
65 John Gibson: The History of Glasgow from the Earliest Accounts to the Present Time; Glasgow 1777.
66 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 33.
67 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 33.
68 [Anon]: Book of the Montrose Smiths’ and Hammermen’s Incorporation 1725-64. Manuscript in the Angus Council Archives, Montrose Library, Montrose.
69 Robert F. Lane: The Outwith London Gilds of Great Britain; 1994, p. 33.
70 J. Williams: Ancient and Modern Denbigh 1856; p. 129
71 John Webb:The Guilds of Dublin, 1929; pp. 10-11.
72 Ibid pp. 177-178
73 Mary Clark and Raymond Refaussé: Directory of Historic Dublin Guilds; Dublin Public Libraries 1993.
74 Robert Herbert: The Trade Guilds of Limerick. North Munster Antiquarian Journal (of the Thomond Archaeological Society) 1941; Volume II, No. 3, p. 128.
75 H. H. Cotterell and M. S. D. Westropp: Irish Pewterers, in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 1918; Volume 47, p. 48.
76 David Wickham: The Livery Company World. A Provisional Gazeteer. London 1997; 189 pages.
77 D. E. Wickham: The Livery Company World – A Provisional Gazetteer 1997, p. 136.
78 Dr. Beena Jain: Guild Organization in Northern India – From Earliest Times to 1200BC. Pratibha Prakashan, Delhi 1990; p. 192.
79 Hosea Gallou Morse: The Gilds of China. Longmans Green, London 1909; 92 pages.
80 William Herbert: The History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of London. William Herbert, London; 1836-7. Volume 1 p. 36.
81 Prof. George Unwin: The Gilds and Companies of London. Frank Cass, London 4th Edition 1963; p. 168.
82 Appendix 10.
83 Appendix 11.
84 Appendicx 12.
85 Appendix 14.
86 Jonathan Barry: The Cultural Life of Bristol 1640-1775; Univ. of Oxford D.Phil. thesis 1985.
87 Appendix 5.
88 Appendix 8.
89 Michael Faraday: Ludlow 1085-1660. A Social, Economic and Political History; Chichester 1991; pp. 129131.
90 Percy Millican: Register of Freemen of Norwich 1548-1713; Norwich 1934, p. xx.
91 Appendix 1.
92 Appendix 4. 93 Ibid. 94 Appendix 2. 95 Appendix 3. 96 Appendix 10.

97 Appendix 10.
98 Rev. J. M. Lambert: “Two Thousand Years of Gild Life”; Hull 1891, p. 174.
99 Rev. J. M. Lambert: “Two Thousand Years of Gild Life”; Hull 1891, p. 278.
100 A. J. Willis and A. L. Merson: A Calendar of Southampton Apprenticeship Registers 1609-1740. Southampton Record Society 1968; Volume XII, p. xix.
101 Ibid p. viii.
102 John J. Webb: The Guilds of Dublin; London 1929, pp. 120-121.
103 Appendix 6.
104 Appendix 7.
105 Appendix 7.
106 Mary Bateson: Mediaeval England 1066-1350; London 1903, p. 268.
107 107 Rev. J. M. Lambert: Two Thousand Years of Gild Life; Hull 1891, p. 270.
108 Walford p. 8.
109 Westlake p. 60.
110 Walford p. 20.
111 Appendix 5.
112 Appendix 6.
113 Appendix 4.
114 Appendix 8.
115 Appendix 4.
116 Appendix 5.
117 Appendix 8.
118 Ibid. 119 Appendix 5.
120 Appendix 6.
121 Appendix 7.
122 Appendix 8.
123 Appendix 5.
124 Appendix 8.
125 Appendix 7.
126 Appendix 8.
127 Ibid.
128 Modern interpretation dated 17th June 1965 by The Lord Sinclair, York Herald, of the Grant of Arms dated 3rd February 1569.
129 F. Simpson: The City Guilds of Chester – The Bricklayers’ Company. Journal of the Chester and North Wales Archaeological and Historical Society; New Series 1918, Volume XXII, p. 79.
130 G.N. Drinkwater: Gateshead Charters and Companies. Archaeologia Aeliana 1958, 4th Series, Volume XXXVI; p. 194.
131 J. Walker and M. A. Richardson: The Armorial bearings of the Several Incorporated Companies of Newcastle-uopn-Tyne; Newcastle 1824, p. 50.
132 Ibid pp. 40-41.
133 Alfred W. Pollard: English Miracle Plays, Moralities and Interludes – specimens of the Pre-Elizabethan Drama; Oxford 1890, pp. xxi-xxiii.
134 Ibid, p. xxx.
135 F.A. Hibbert: The Influence and Development of English Craft Guilds, as illustrated by the Craft Guilds of Shrewsbury. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1891. pp. 117-118.
136 J. Walker and M. A. Richardson: The Armorial bearings of the Several Incorporated Companies of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Newcastle 1824, p. 49
137 J. Walker and M. A. Richardson: The Armorial bearings of the Several Incorporated Companies of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Newcastle 1824, p. 39.
138 Appendix 12.
139 Appendix 13.
140 Appendix 13.
141 Appendix 14
142 F.A. Hibbert: The Influence and Development of English Craft Guilds, as illustrated by the Craft Guilds of Shrewsbury. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1891. Reprinted by Augustus M. Kelley, New York, USA 1970, p. 118
143 Mary Bateson: Medieval England 1066-1350. Fisher Unwin, 1903; p. 267.
144 Stella Kramer: The English Craft Gilds and the Government : An examination of the accepted theory regarding the decay of the craft gilds. Batoche Books, Kitchener, Canada 2000; pp. 34 and 98-99.
145 D. M. Palliser: The Trade Gilds of Tudor York (pp. 86-116). In Clark and Slack (Editors) “Crisis and Order in English Towns 1500-1700”. Kegan Paul, London 1972; p. 97.
146 Kramer ibid p. 45.
147 Prof. George Unwin: The Gilds and Companies of London. Frank Cass, London 4th Edition 1963; pp. 232235.
148 William Maitland: The History of Edinburgh from its foundation to the Present Time; Edinburgh 1753, p. 316. 149 Walford p. 52.
150 John L’Estrange: The Calendar of the Freemen of Norwich 1317-1603; London 1888.
151 Percy Millican: The Register of Freemen of Norwich 1548-1713; Norwich 1934, pp. 22 and 145-146.
152 Joan Lane: Coventry Apprentices and their Masters 1781-1806; The Dugdale Society, Stratford-upon-Avon 1983.
153 K. J. Smith: Warwickshire Apprentices and their Masters 1710-1760; Dugdale Society 1975, Volume XXIX.
154 Christabel Dale: Wiltshire Apprentices and their Masters 1710-1760; Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society Records Branch, Devizes 1961.

156 Appendix to Volume XI of Gilbert’s Calendar of Ancient Records of Dublin, 1889/1944.
157 R. H. Mottram: Success to the Mayor. A Narrative of the Development of Local Self-Government in a Provincial Centre (Norwich) during Eight Centuries; London 1937, pp. 147-148.
158 Alfred W. Pollard: English Miracle Plays, Moralities and Interludes – specimens of the Pre-Elizabethan Drama; Oxford 1890, pp. xxxi-xxxv
159 Michael Faraday: Ludlow 1085-1660. A Social, Economic and Political History; Chichester 1991; p. 127.

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