The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-maker …

Tuesday 3 May 2016
Blacksmith Mihai Cocris delves into the Hammermen book
Blacksmith Mihai Cocris delves into the Hammermen book (msDA890.S1H2)

Well, butcher, baker and blacksmith at least!  Three local craftsmen, masters of their trades, will be taking part in a free event on Saturday 7th May in the Supper Room of St Andrews Town Hall. Throughout the day, from 11.00 to 16.30, there will be displays and activities inspired by the earliest historic records of the activities of the old St Andrews trades equivalents of the butcher (Flesher), baker (Baxter) and metalworker (Hammerman) crafts.

The day is part of the Craftsmen of St Andrews Past and Present, a project inspired by the early modern craft books held within the University of St Andrews Library. These books record the meetings of the craft guilds active in St Andrews from the 1550s up to the 1800s, and are an incredibly rich source for the history of St Andrews. Seven craft organisations were established in pre-reformation St Andrews: the hammermen, wrights, baxters, tailors, cordiners, weavers and fleshers.

Records of the Cordiners
Records of the Cordiners (msDA890.S1C7)

These manuscript craft books have been the focus of a recent transcription and indexing project funded by the Burnwynd Trust. Dr Claire Hawes of the School of History will be on hand on Saturday to bring the lives of the St Andrews craftsmen of the 1600s to life.

11.30 – 12.15pm: Stuart Minick of Minick’s Butchers, Ladybank and St Andrews will explain the ancient flesher’s trade and will joint a sheep carcass – not for the squeamish – but an opportunity to watch a very interesting display of the butcher’s work which is rarely seen.

13.15 – 14.00pm The Hammerman: The Ancient Art of Riveting.  Local blacksmith Mihai Cocris who has created some wonderful metalwork around the town, will talk about the art and science of joining metal, and how it has changed over the centuries.

15.30 – 16.15pm The Baxter: The Perfect Bannock.  Murray Barnett will be talking about the baker’s craft, past and present, and demonstrate the art of making the perfect bannock.

Print your own bag or scarf using woodblocks cut with the laser cutter!  The workshop runs from 14.30 -15.15. There are only 20 places available, so book now!

Records of the Maltmen
Records of the Maltmen (B65/17/3)

There will be an exhibition of photographs of local craftspeople at work, organised by the St Andrews Photographic Society, and a poster competition will be running during the day, with prizes awarded at the end of the afternoon.

Stuart and Meg Minick, of Minick’s Artisan Butchers, with the Fleshers book
Stuart and Meg Minick, of Minick’s Artisan Butchers, with the Fleshers book (msDA890.S1F6; ms1746)

You could try your hand at reading the old handwriting at a palaeography workshop based on the original craft books which will be on display – the first Baxters book which dates from before the reformation (1548-1861), the Flesher’s book 1610-1844 and the impressive Hammermen’s book (1553-1792).

Murray Barnett, of Barnett’s bakery takes a look at the the first volume of the Baxters book
Murray Barnett, of Barnett’s bakery takes a look at the the first volume of the Baxters book (msDA890.S1B2; ms1811)

So do drop in to the Town Hall on Saturday 7th and get a sense of the living history of our town. An outreach and impact event of the School of History, with support from the AHRC in partnership with the University Library’s Special Collections.

There is further information about the event here:


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