Health and Safety by the Fleshers

Fleshers-health-and-safety

The first two acts on this page of the Fleshers book deal with the storing of animal flesh – an important concern in a city the size of seventeenth-century St Andrews.

It was forbidden for a brother of the craft to hang flesh up on any stair, or to lay it under any stair, east of the market cross. Anyone who broke this rule would be fined forty shillings each time he did so. Brothers were also not allowed to hang sheep flesh on the common. Instead, they could do so at any freeman’s door, with his leave, or on a fleck. This was a special stand for the display of meat or cheese.

Any Flesher who bought a sick or diseased beast, and attempted to sell it at the market, would be fined ten merks. There were also strict rules about where meat could be sold – brothers were not allowed to use any booth in the marketplace except their own. Allowing an unfreeman to slay an animal in a freeman’s booth was also punishable.

By maintaining these standards the craft also preserved their reputation for producing quality goods. It was the deacon of the craft who was responsible for enforcing the rules. He therefore had to be both a skilled craftsman, and a man of good local standing.

Transcription:

Item it is ordanit withe the consent of the hail breither of craft that na brother of craft, at ony tyme heireftir, upon the merkatt day, hyng thair flesche upon ony staire or lay thair flesche under ony stair be eist the cross under the paine of xl s ilk tyme.
Item it is voted and ordanit with the consent of the hail breither upon the hill that na brether hing thair flesche sheip at the comoun, nor at Androw Dewingis staire, nor na stair exceptit be at ane freimans dur, with his leife, and na uthir wayis or upon the fleckis, under the paine of foure ls ilk tyme ony sall do the lyk.

 

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