The bearing of the Baxters’ banner


This excerpt from the Baxters book is dated 28 October 1558, less than two years before the Scottish Reformation. The Reformation had a great impact on the crafts, as it dramatically changed their religious activities. Before 1560 each craft sponsored its own altar in the church – the Baxters had an altar to St Tobert – and engaged in religious pageantry.

This entry records that John Myllar was admitted as apprentice to Thomas Steyne, baxter and citiner [citizen] of St Andrews, and that Myllar gave the traditional offering of a pound of wax for the altar. This was done in the presence of the craftsmen, who met in the gallow lake, an area at the north end of what is now the Scores.

The chaplain of the altar, Peter Lawson, acted as scribe during this period, and in this entry he saw fit to record that the craftsmen were gathered ‘for the bearing of the banner’, giving a rare glimpse into this aspect of guild life. This suggests that the craft were preparing to process through the town with their regalia after the meeting, and that it was expedient to admit John Myllar as apprentice while they were all together.

Following the Reformation, and a four-year gap in the records, Peter Lawson no longer styled himself as ‘chaplain’, instead using simply ‘master’.


The quhilk day Jone Myller is admyttit lawful prentis to Thomas Steyne, baxter, citiner of this cite santandros, hes pait his pund of wax to the alter of Sanct Tobert, resavit be David Mylis positor, and 6s 8d to Jone Wilson at command of James Browne elder, decane, in presens of the craft in gallowlayk congregat, and that for the baring of the banar, the quhilk Jone Miller is wrytyne in this buke be me, maister Peter Lawson, chaplane of the alter forsayd.


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