Incorporated Companies
Merchant Adventurers

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Eneas Mackenzie

Year published

1827

Pages

662-670

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'Incorporated Companies: Merchant Adventurers', Historical Account of Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Including the Borough of Gateshead (1827), pp. 662-670. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43401 Date accessed: 30 October 2014.


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THE INCORPORATED COMPANIES.

MERCANTILE societies, anciently called Guilds (fn. 1) or fraternities, are thought to have been founded in Europe near the latter end of the 11th century. They seem to have been borrowed by the Saxons from the free cities of Italy, and adopted and extended by the Normans. Merchant guilds were established in all the early residences of trade and manufactures. Indeed, the security and prosperity of trade and commerce, during those turbulent times, were mainly owing to the successive formation of trading companies, and fraternities of mechanics. In Newcastle, the Incorporated Companies still constitute the very ground-work of the other parts and offices of the corporation. But these companies have survived the period of their utility, and "are, in general, so tied up by excessive fines and illegal fees of admission, and clogged with such a number of useless, not to say pernicious bye-laws, as threaten in a little time almost to annihilate them; the number of meeting brethren being reduced in almost every company, some so few as scarce to deserve the name of a society, and others are already extinct." (fn. 2) The restrictive, monopolizing maxims and rules of old times, are quite incompatible with the spirit of the present age; and it would certainly be wise in the Free Companies to confine their operations to the discharge of their duties, and the protection of their rights, as members of the general corporate body. The cases which will be noticed in the subsequent pages, must demonstrate that the laws are essentially opposed against every attempt to fetter the freedom of internal trade, or to injure "the common profit of the people." (fn. 3)

The Free Incorporated Companies of Newcastle consist of the Twelve Mysteries, (fn. 4) and the Fifteen Bye-trades; besides Ten Companies, not privileged to assist in the elections of mayors, &c. Nine Companies are extinct, respecting which little but the names are known.

MERCHANT ADVENTURERS, COMPRISING THE THREE BRANCHES OF DRAPERS, MERCERS, AND BOOTHMEN.

The borough of Newcastle upon Tyne, distinguished by some privileges in former charters, was honoured very early in the reign of King John, with new franchises and more extensive immunities. It was not, however, till his 17th year, A. D. 1215, (fn. 5) that he constituted therein a society of free merchants, the members of which he exempted from pleading any where without its walls to any plea, but that concerning foreign tenures: he released them also from the duties of toll, lastage, pontage, and passage in all the sea-ports of his dominions at home and abroad, empowering the mayor of Newcastle, or sheriff of Northumberland, to give them reparation for whatever injury they might sustain. The above charter was confirmed to the merchants of Newcastle by the succeeding sovereigns, Henry III. Edward II. and Edward III. with the addition of new privileges.

In 1281, an Italian merchant occurs making large shipments of wool and leather at Newcastle, a privilege not granted to the guild of Merchants. In 1343, they complained that the other burgesses of the town were permitted to purchase merchandise at prime cost, for their private use, out of all ships in the port, which was an infringement of their immunities. In 1353, Edward III. removed the staple of English wool from the Flemings to England, when Newcastle became one of the nine staple towns; (fn. 6) and in 1397, Richard II. granted leave to the Newcastle Merchants to carry woolfels, and other commodities, to any other foreign port, besides Calais, on paying custom and subsidy. This licence was, in after reigns, often repealed and renewed, just as the Merchants succeeded in bribing the crown. A considerable trade, at this time, seems to have been carried on between Newcastle and the ports of the Baltic.

In the year 1480, the society of Merchants of Newcastle subscribed a written agreement for the better government of that body, which was to remain in force for six years. They bind themselves to meet and hold their courts at the Maison Dieu Hall, on the Sandhill, on the last Thursday of every month; their head meeting (called a guild) to be on the Thursday next after "Mid-fast" Sunday. Apprentices to serve seven years. The society are to go in procession on Corpus Christi Day, when they are to appear in the meal market, by seven o'clock in the morning. (By an after insertion, the time is altered till "after high mass be done.") Those persons of the society who, for the time being, shall be mayor, sheriff, or aldermen, to attend, with their officers and servants, upon the holy sacrament, and according to seniority of office, are to be principal in the said solemn procession, in which the latest made burgess is to walk foremost. The name of the play they acted was "Hogmagog." Many entries occur in their books concerning the expenses of the above procession and play.

December 4, 1504, a licence was granted by King Henry VII. to the governor and merchants of the Merchant Guild of Newcastle upon Tyne, empowering them, till the 1st of August next, to buy any wools or woolfels of the growth of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, Allerton, and Richmondshires, and ship them from Newcastle to any part of Flanders, Brabant, Holland, Zealand, or any foreign parts, at two shippings, paying for every sack of wool 10s. and the like sum for every 240 woolfels. December 11, 1509, King Henry VIII. renewed the above grant: and, in 1517, he made an exemplification of former grants to the merchants of Newcastle. The exports of this society, about the year 1520, appear to have been canvas, sheep skins, lamb-fels, lead, grindstones, coals, and rough-tanned leather. (fn. 7)

A. D. 1546, King Edward VI. granted the charter under which the present company of Merchant Adventurers took their corporate title of "The Governor, Assistants, Wardens, and Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne," which is their present name of incorporation. Previous to this time, they were styled "Merchant Venturers in the Ports of Brabant beyond the Seas." By this charter, it was directed that a governor, twelve assistants, and two wardens, should be elected, and sworn on the 9th day of October in every year; that the company should have a perpetual succession; power to sue and be sued, &c. a seal, a clerk, and beadle; power to purchase lands, to take recognizances, to make bye-laws, to buy and ship to foreign parts, &c. as before by Henry VII.

The following are the names of the original officers of the company, inserted in the charter, viz.—Henry Anderson, Governor; Robert Brandling, Robert Lewen, George Davell, Mark Shaftoe, Cuthbert Ellison, Robert Brigham, William Carr, Bartholomew Bee, Roger Mitford, Thomas Bewicke, Bertram Anderson, and Oswald Chapman, Assistants; Bertram Bewicke and John Rawe,. Wardens. Charters of confirmation were subsequently granted by Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and King James I. (fn. 8)

All the members of this company seem to have been eligible to become Merchant Adventurers of England, and subsequently to join the Russian Company and Eastland Company of Merchants. In 1556, two ships of war conveyed the fleet of the Newcastle Merchants to Zealand. In 1622, an order was made by this society to restrain the secret transportation of money, gold, plate, or bullion, or any foreign gold or money, more than was barely requisite for necessary expenses, tolls, &c. by the brethren of their fellowship, on pain of disfranchisement.

William Warmouth, Esq. Merchant Adventurer, thrice mayor of Newcastle, and who died July 22, 1642, aged 83, by his last will, dated the day of his death, gave £100 to the common council of that town, to be lent for three years, without interest, to a young merchant. His son, Henry Warmouth, Esq. by his last will, dated April 8, 1654, left £100 to the common council of Newcastle, to be disposed of at their discretion, to ancient decayed merchants.

William Carr, by will, dated April 11, 1660, bequeathed to this society £200, to be lent in £50 shares for five years; and Thomas Davison, by will, dated November 25, 1675, bequeathed £7, 10s. being part of the rents of lands in the Leazes, to the widows and children of poor merchants. On August 10, 1681, this society, for an annual rent of £13, payable by the corporation, sold them this land, consisting of 94 ridges in the Castle Field. John Rumney, by will, dated February 3, 1694, gave this company £100, to be lent a young brother for three years; and Timothy Davison, by will, made four days afterwards, gave £200, the interest to be paid to the poor brethren and widows of the company. Joseph Atkinson left by will, in 1712, £100, to be lent to a young trading member for five years without interest. In 1755, Thomas Davison, Esq. sunk £500 in the corporation of Newcastle, the interest of which, when amounting to £50, to be given to a young member, to assist him in beginning business. The yearly revenue of the company being found inadequate to defray the necessary expenditure, it was agreed, June 4, 1760, that each member should pay 5s. annually. This society has often voted loyal addresses.

This company, as before observed, consists of three branches:—

1. Drapers, or Merchants in Woollen Cloth. They first occur as one of the Twelve Mysteries in the ordinance for the government of Newcastle upon Tyne, which was confirmed by King Edward III. October 20, 1342. The oldest ordinary of this society, the original of which, having affixed to it many seals and skin-marks, with the names of the brethren, is dated June 1, 1512, and is still preserved in their archives. About the year 1650, a violent dissension arose between this company and the Merchant Adventurers, the latter claiming the sole privilege of being styled Merchant Drapers, and of choosing two electors, and calling the former by the nickname Cappers, meaning a sort of people who traded in making up caps. Influence prevailed; and on September 29, 1652, the Merchant Adventurers procured an ordinary, by which the true society was excluded from the privilege of choosing electors and auditors. Brand mentions a Mr. Rutter, an attorney, who, in his day, was almost the sole representative of the old company.

2. Mercers, or Merchants of Silk. (fn. 9) —No ordinary or other record of the society of Mercers, as a distinct fellowship, is now to be found. A copy of their oath, (fn. 10) on admission, dated 1517, is preserved in the books of the Merchant Adventurers.

3. Boothmen, or Merchants of Corn.—Of this society, considered as a separate Mystery, no record, prior in date to their incorporation as one of the branches of the company of Merchant Adventurers, has been transmitted; a few scattered memorials preserved in the books of that society excepted.

The company of Merchant Adventurers, as thus constituted, consists, at present, of 44 resident, and 36 non-resident members. The annual revenue of the company, derived from their property, from the annual contribution of 5s. by each member of the company, from the payment of £1, 2s. 6d. on the enrollment of an apprentice, on the admission to the freedom of the company, when obtained by patrimony, of £1, 18s. 4d. or by servitude, of £1, 15s. 4d. with fines, and other sources, averages from £60 to £70 per annum. Their ancient hall or court, above the Maison Dieu on the Sandhill, was pulled down in 1823, and has been rebuilt in an elegant and substantial style. The company agreed to contribute to the expense a sum equal to their proportion of the estimated cost of making the old court secure by rebuilding the south wall. (See page 217.) The following are the present officers of the company:—

Governor, The Right Worshipful Sir Matthew White Ridley, Bart. Assistants, The Right Worshipful Archibald Reed, Esq. mayor; Robert Clayton, Thomas Clennell, Isaac Cookson, jun. Benjamin Sorsbie, Aubone Surtees, Robert Bell, William Wright, Esquires and aldermen; Mr. John Cookson, Mr. Thomas Cookson, Mr. George Shadforth, Mr. Christopher Cookson. Wardens, Mr. Ralph Naters, Mr. William Armstrong. Secretary, Mr. John Clayton. Beadle, Mr. Edward Scaife. Auditors, Mr. Henry Deer Griffith, Mr. Peregrine George Ellison, Mr. William Clayton, Mr. Edward Bulman, Mr. Matthew Clayton, Mr. Edward John Jackson, Mr. James Pollard, Mr. John Brandling. Serjeant, Mr. Thomas Forsyth.

Footnotes

1 "In England, the word gild is of Anglo-Saxon birth; and signified a company, society, brotherhood; and sometimes the privileges or free customs belonging to such company. In former times there were many guilds in England; some of them religious, others secular. The religious gilds were founded chiefly for devotion and alms deeds; the secular, chiefly for trade and alms deeds."—Madox's Firma Burgi, p. 23, &c.
2 Newcastle Freeman's Pocket Companion, page 98.
3 The following clause of the 22d Henry VIII. cap. 4, on the admission of apprentices into certain fraternities, is, according to the late Lord Kenyon, yet in force:—"Prayen the commons in this present parliament assembled, that where it was established and enacted, in the 19th year of our late sovereign lord King Henry VII. that no master, wardens, and fellowship of crafts, or any of them, nor any rulers of guilds or fraternities, take upon them to make any acts or ordinances, nor to execute any acts or ordinances by them heretofore made, or hereafter to be made, in disinheritance, or diminution of the prerogative of the king, nor of other, nor against the common profit of the people; but if the same act or ordinances be examined or approved by the chancellor, treasurer of England, or chief justice of either bench, or three of them, or before the justices of assize in their circuit or progress, in the shire where such acts or ordinances be made, upon pain of forfeiture of £40 for every time that they do the contrary, as more plainly in the said act doth appear. Sith which time divers wardens and, fellowships have made acts and ordinances, that every prentice shall pay at his first entry in their common hall, to the wardens of the same fellowship, 40s. some 30s. some 20s. some 13s. 4d. some 6s. 8d. some 3s. 4d. after their own sinister mind and pleasure, contrary to the meaning of the act aforesaid, and to the great hurt of the king's true subjects putting their child to be prentice. Be it therefore ordained, established, and enacted, by the king our sovereign lord, by advice of the lords spiritual and temporal, and of the commons in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that no master, wardens, or fellowship of crafts, or masters, or any of them, nor any rulers of fraternities, take from henceforth of any prentice, or any other person or persons, for the entry of any prentice into their said fellowship, above the sum of 2s. 6d. nor. for his admission when his years and term is expired and ended, above 3s. 4d. upon pain of forfeiture of £40 for every time that they do to the contrary; the one half to the king our sovereign lord, the other half to the party that therefore shall sue by action of debt, information, or otherwise; and that in the action aforesaid no protection or essoin shall be allowed." See also 28 Henry VIII. c. 5, and 19 Henry VII. c. 7.
4 This term has no relation to the Greek Musnpiov or Latin Mysterium, which are always applied to things sacred, religious, or ceremonious; but comes from the Romanick word mestiere, mistera, or misterea, in modern French, metier, a trade.—Madox' Firma Burga, p. 32.
5 This was the year before the grant to the merchants of London.
6 A royal licence, dated November 25, 1356, was granted to Thomas Grey, then a prisoner in Scotland, a circumstance to which, probably, he owed the indulgence to ship an hundred sacks of his wool at Berwick upon Tweed for Flanders, without carrying them to the port of Newcastle upon Tyne, where of right they ought to have been shipped. All wools the growth of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, and Richmondshire, were commanded to be shipped at Newcastle.
7 From the circumstance of coal and grindstones being found in their list of exports, it has been inferred that the Hostmen were originally a branch of this fellowship. In fact, "Ostmen money" often occurs in their old books; and the names of the Hostmen, incorporated as a distinct society 42 Elizabeth, occur as brethren of the Merchants' Company.
8 The charters and records of this company, together with all their original orders, correspondence, accounts, &c. are in a perfect state of preservation, and we find enrolled amongst its members the ancestors of nearly all the principal families now settled in the adjoining counties. The following curious extracts are selected from the journals of the company:—
Apprentices were originally bound to serve ten years. "An act for the apperell of the apryntices, made in November, 1554, Mr. Cuthber Ellyson then beyng governour." After inveighing as follows against the vices and excesses of the times, "What dyseng, cardeng, and mummyng, what typling, daunseng and brasenge of harlots! what garded cotes, jagged hose lyned with silke and cutt shoes! what use of gitternes by nyght, what wearynge of berds! what daggers ys by them worne crosse overthwarte their backs, that theis theire dooings are more cumlye and decent for rageng ruffians than seemlie for honest apprentizes!" the act proceeds to forbid apprentices "to daunse, dyse, carde, or mum, or use any gytternes; to wear any cut hose, cut shoes or pounced jerkens, or any berds; to weare none other hoses than sloppes of course clothe wherof the yarde do not excede 12d.—their shoes and cotes to be of course clothe, and housewifes making—they are to wear no straite hoose, but playn without cutts, pounsyng or gards."—The apprentices of mayors, sheriffs, and aldermen, are excepted in the dress articles of this very humiliating order.
"Anno dio 1563 the xix daye of Auguste—It is orderyde, lycencyde assentyd and ggree this xix of Auguste Ao 1563 by the Governor assystaunce and Hole Fellyshipe that Cuthbert Carre beinge Apprentyce to Mayster Cuthbert Ellysonne that he shall be lycensyde to Marye at his pleasure his Indenture Bonde Covenant act or Statutt made in this House without breking or infrenging anny of the same."—Fol. 51.
An act was made in 1564, prohibiting any person born in Tyndale, Tiddesdale, or such like places, to be admitted apprentice. "The parties there brought up are known either by education or nature not to be of honest conversation;" they "commit frequent thefts and other felonys proceeding from such lewde and wicked progenitors." This act was not repealed till the year 1771.
"A Certificate from ye Governor Wardens & dated 16 March in ye 7th year of ye Reign of Queen Eliza: anno Dei 1564 certifying that Cuthbert Bewick on ye 13 oct 1558 was convicted of Perjury and was immediately expelled and banished the Fellowship as not worthy to remain a member thereof."—At ye end of ye Old Book of Acts, f. 55.
A licence was granted, 1595, by the queen's patentee, to Mr. Francis Anderson, a brother of the Merchant Adventurers of Newcastle upon Tyne, to have the sole brewing of ale and beer, for making beer, vinegar, beeragar, and alegar, within that town and its liberties.
By a bye-law, dated November 10, 1603, the apprentices are forbidden to "daunce, dice, carde, mum, or use any musick either by nyght or by day in the streetes." Their apparel of cloth to be under 10s. a yard, or of fustian, of or under 3s. per yard. They are not "to weare any velvat or lace on their apparell, neither any silke garters, silke or velvet girdles, silke pointes, worsted or Jersey stockings, shoe strings of sylk, pumpes, pantofles, or corke shoes, hats lyned with velvet, nor double cypress hat-bands, or silke strings, nor clokes and daggers, neither any ruffled bands but falling bands, plaine without laice, stiche or any kind of sowen work, neither shall they weare their haire longe nor locks at their ears like ruffians." A special gaol or prison was provided, for the punishment of the refractory and disobedient, in the West-gate of the town, to which a gaoler was appointed, with a salary of 40s. per annum.
"19 Jan. 1642. Sir John Marley Mayor and deputy Governor having declared in Guild that by means of ye Disappointment of ye Counties of Northland & Bprick in their promise of assistance to bear part of ye Charges of this Garrison he knew not how to continue the Garrison unless ye Town afforded him a new and Liberal supply (the money he had formerly raised being expended) & having moved all the Companies in Town it was agreed by this Company to Raise £500 by contributions for a Loan the Mayor promising the Royal Faith for repayment."
"22 May 1645. Agreed to send half a Tun of French Wine for a present to Sir James Lumsdon Governor."
"The Brethren of this Comp condescend to repair the Walls betwixt Sandgate and the Carpenters Tower."
"5 June 1645. The last mentd order for repairing ye walls by ye Comp betwn Sandgate and Carpenters Tower disannulled & another course taken for building them."
"1 Dec. 1646 Mabell Errington having fallen into poverty petitioned for Relief for herself and her three Children, ordered that the Wardens should give her Three Pounds, but if she be a Papist nothing!"
"24 Jan 1649 Matthew Commendall petitioned for Charity, Twenty Nobles were Ordered to be given him."
Another sumptuary bye-law was made in 1649, that every apprentice should "cut his haire from the crowne of his heade, keepe his foreheade bare, his lokes, if any, shall not reatch below the lap of his eare, and the same length to be observed behind: and if in caise any be sicke, he shall weare a linnen cap and no other, and that without lace. And they shall weare no beaver hatts, nor castors, if their hattes be blacke they shall have blacke bands, if gray hatts their bands suitable: but neither gold nor silver woorke in any of them; neither fancies nor ribbins at their hatbands: the cloth for their apparell shall not exceed 14 or 15 shillings the yerde: they shall weare no stuff of silke or cammell haire; their clothes shall be made plaine up without lace or any other trimminges except buttons; and them only in places needfull—and no better than of silke. Their bands shall be plaine without lace or scallopes. They shall wear no cutts, boot-hos-tops or culloured showes or showes of Spanish lether, long neb'd showes or bootes: noe silke garters at all nor show strings better than ferret or cotton ribbin, no gloves but plaine, nor bootes but when they ride."
At a court held October 5, 1649, nine of the apprentices refused to conform to the above order, and were allowed till the 7th of December next to consider of it, when three of them "shewing themselves disobedient and very obstinate, were first in open court (where a dish is said to have been kept, by the edge of which their hair was cut round) made exemplary by shortninge their hayre, and taking from their clothes superfluous ribbining: and for their wilfull obstinacy were committed to prison, where each was allowed no more than two-pence in breade and one quarte of table beare per diem." After eleven days confinement they petitioned the governor and fellowship, and desire their worships "to passe by and be oblivious of all their misdemeanors," promising also to conform on their enlargement, which was granted them.
"Thos. Swan a Brother of this Fellowship was complained of for Jeering some of the App: whose Hair was cut according to the Companys Act calling them 'the Companys Coued Tupps.'—This offence to be taken into Consn the next court day."
"29 April 1650. Mr. Thos Bonner who upon petition to the Company at a Court holden 22 Augt 1649. (he being then mayor) was admitted to his Personal Freedom, did this day in Court present the Company with three Large Silver Cups with Covers double Gilt manifesting thereby his Thankfullness for his aforesaid Favour which worthy Presentation was well accepted of by the Company and the Governor in the name & on behalf of the Fellowship did return Thanks for the same."
"31 Dec. 1650. A letter from ye Company at Hamburg was presented directed to the Right Worshipful the Famous Fellowship of Merchants Adventurers of England residing in Ncastle which was voted to be read.—N B it appears in this Letter that ye Comp at Hamburg were accustomed to choose Assistants out of several Residencies for the service of their Court, for in the above letter they say they have chosen Mr. John Emmerson (who was then a Brother and Assistant of their Court) for Sinx or Mart next ensueing & enclosed him a letter of Sum requesting the same might be carefully delivered to him."
"It appears by a letter written to ye Comp. at Hamburg (who had demanded some new impositions on admitting a Brother of this Comp: agst this letter remonstrated) that the Custom of ye Comp: at Newcastle was to send Appr. to Hamburgh to inroll & when they were intitled to their Freedom to send over a Certificate with them."
"10 Dec. 1651. John Shadforth Son of Thos Shadforth of Eppleton com Durham Gent: App. to John Bowes, was enrolled afterwds Crossed the Books for committing Fornication within ye term of his Apprenticeship, absenting himself from his masters Service."
"19 May 1654. Mr Henry Marley coming to Court having been disfranchised by an Ordinance of Parliament, and by the Common Council of this Town was dismissed."
"Henry Forster Appd to Henry Thompson enrolled 28 July 1654 committed Fornication within his term and confessed it to Mr Governor."
"An acte that no man shall lett no Houses nor Seellers to no Londyners nor non other Straungers to laye no Merchandize nor other Goodes in."—At ye end of ye old Book, fol. 13.
"An Acte that no man shall bye no Manere off Wayres of no Londyners nore of none other Merchauntes Straungers."—Fol. 14.
"No Batchelors to take an Apprentice."—Old Book of Acts, fol. 4.
"26 Oct. 1655. Ordered that every Apprentice who shall commit fornication during his apprenticeship shall lose all the time he hath served otherwise to pay £100."
In 1656, an order was made by this society concerning the religion of their apprentices, the curious preamble whereof runs as follows:—"Whereas in these late tymes, wherein iniquity abounds, wee find by wooful experience a great apostacy and falling off from the truth to popery, quakerisme and all manner of heresy and unheard-of blasphemy and profaneness."—"It then proceeds to enact, "that no Popish recusant, Quaker, or any who shall not attend duely on his maister at the public ordinances, or any who is base begotten, crooked, or lame, or any other way deformed," be taken apprentice on pain of being fined 100 marks.
"30 June 1658. Cuthbert Wilkinson was this day admitted & at the same Court for Fornication fined £13, 6s. 8d. which he accordingly paid."
By a bye-law of this society, made A. D. 1658, it was ordered, that if any brother should refuse to carry the corpse of any brother or sister to church, he should be fined 3s. 4d. for every such offence.
"22 June 1659. At this Court was taken into considn the small salary allowed to the Secretary being only £3, 6s. 8d. and ordered by General Consent that the Secretary should have yearly paid him by the Wardens the sum of ten pounds."
"8 Jan 1661. Ordered that the new Oaths should be cut out of the new Book of Acts & the good old Oaths taken by the Governor, Wardens Secretary &c. should be writ instead thereof."
"27 Nov. 1661. Mr. Richard Wright coming into court in a coat (contrary to the Act) paid his fine of 5s. but by favour of Court he had 4s. restored him & the other 12d. was put into the poor Box."
"14 Nov. 1667. The Wardens (at the instance of Mr. Mayor) moved that the Comp: would freely contribute towards the Building of the correction House, whereupon it was ordered that the present Wardens should wait upon Mr. Mayor & let his Worship know that this Fellowship hath freely given towards the said work £50 of that Hundred Pounds they lent the Town, when the other £50 is paid in by the Town to the Wardens."
"3 Nov. 1669. Mr. Govr acquainted the Comp that the Mayor of Durham had been with him & had complained to him of Mr. Mattw Jefferson for selling goods at Brancepeth to the prejudice of the Grocers Comp: in Durham for which at the next Court holden 24 Nov 1669. he was fined £26 being for 13 weeks at 40s. per week according to the Acts of this Company."
"27 March 1672. The Companys Charter granted by King James was produced being delivered to the Governor by Mr. Alderman Brabant who received it from Mr. William Christian declaring it was found in the Streets of London & conceived to be blown out of a window of a House there blown up with Gunpowder, and by his care preserved whereupon Alderman Brabant was desired to tender Mr. Christian the Thanks of the Company for his care and to gratify his Servant with 40s. for securing the same."
"16 Oct. 1673. A petition was presented from the Company of Beer Brewers humbly desiring the assistance of this Society towards carrying on a suit agst one Orring, who set up a Brewhouse at Shields to the great prejudice of the Burgesses of this Town, upon which this Company granted them £20."
"4 Nov. 1678. The Govr desired to consult Sir Robt Shaftoe how to suppress those persons who keep Booths upon the Sandhill contrary to the Statute of 1 & 2 of Philip & Mary."
"15 Nov. 1678. The opinion of Sir Robt communicated in consequence of which it was ordered to seize the Goods of 4 or 5 of them. A Petition to the Company signed by 14 of the Chapmen who keep Booths on the Sandhill was read and considered when it was resolved that as they had by their petition submitted to the Company & humbly requested to be restored to their former Stations, the Comp: would grant them that liberty provided they would give their respective Bonds not to entrench upon the Companys privileges (as formerly they had) by selling of merchandize."
"13 March 1678. The Committee reported that had agreed that the Pedlers or Chapmen should give their respective Bonds of £10 to the Govr & be allowed to sit upon the Sandhill & sell such goods as should be inserted in a Schedule annexed to the Bond but the Comp: considering the pedlers slighting their proposals by not consenting thereto, it was ordered the same committee should consider of & be fully empowered to settle the difference between the Comp. & the pedlers & give their report next Court."
November 24, 1697, there is an arder of this society, forbidding the apprentices to go to dancing or fencing schools, to music houses, lotteries, or play-houses—to keep horses—dogs for hunting, or fighting cocks, till they had served seven of their ten years. They are to use no gold or silver trimming in their apparel or hats, nor to line any garment with any sort of silk—to wear no point lace, nor any embroidery at all—no ruffles at their breasts, necks, or sleeves—and, lastly, no long wigs, nor any short ones above the value of 15s.
"30 May 1733. The Gov: received a letter from Wm Midford setting forth the Hardships they (the Quakers) suffer by reason of the Act of the Co. of 100 marks penalty on any who take a Quaker an appren: desiring the said act may be abrogated.—Co. to consider of the same."
9 At the Christmas guild in 1797, John Brandling, apprentice to Aubone Surtees the younger, Merchant Adventurer and mercer, had his guild stopped by one of the stewards; because, 1st, his master was merely a banker in partnership with Aubone Surtees the elder and Rowland Burdon, Esq. and he was only employed as entering clerk upon the notes, a business altogether foreign to that of a Merchant Adventurer. 2d, Because he had, during his apprenticeship, entered into a co-partnership with his master, by the voluntary joint purchase of a ship. The common council having taken off the stop, Mr. Brandling's guild was called a second time, and again stopped, when the stewards applied for legal advice. On behalf of the apprentice, it was argued, that he was regularly bound; that his master dealt in lead, in which business he assisted; and that he was not to receive any profit from the ship, until the expiration of his apprenticeship. The Hon. Thomas Erskine and Edward Christian, Esq. agreed that an apprentice having property in a ship, even in partnership with his master, does not destroy the civil relation of apprentice. The latter quoted good authorities to prove that bankers, and such as deal by exchange, are properly Merchant Adventurers; for the balance of exchanges produces the exportation and importation of the precious metals. Mr. Erskine admitted there was strong evidence of colour; but still the apprentice had been bound de facto to a Merchant Adventurer, and did actually serve an apprenticeship. Under this advice, the opposition ceased.
10 "This here ye maister of this feloship and wardens of the craft of Mercers that I shall lely and trewly observe and kepe all good rewles and acts made or shal be made by the said maister and wardens and of the moost part of the felowship of Mercers &c. So help me God and holy dom and by the contents of this booke."