Craftsmen Past and Present in the Town Hall!

Last Saturday saw the culmination of our project, as The Craftsmen of St Andrews Past and Present gathered in St Andrews Town Hall.

The Baxters, Fleshers and Hammermen books on display.

The Baxters, Fleshers and Hammermen books on display.

Trying your hand at calligraphy.

Trying your hand at calligraphy.

Our staff from Special Collections were there, with the Baxters’, Fleshers’ and Hammermen’s books and a fantastic variety of palaeography (old handwriting) and calligraphy tasks for people to try out.

MakLab were also on site, to showcase the crafts of the future. They brought a 3D printer, laser cutter, a vinyl cutter and a heat press, so that our visitors could see this exciting equipment close up, and try it out for themselves.

Learning about the laser cutter.

Learning about the laser cutter.

The 3D printer in action, making a vase.

The 3D printer in action, making a vase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first demo of the day was by Stuart Minick, of Minick’s Artisan Butchers, and his colleague James Lothian. This was a fascinating insight into the skills required to ‘bust down a lamb’, with Stuart talking us through his work, from sourcing meat to producing haggis.

James Lothian, of Minick's Artisan Butchers, demonstrates his craft.

James Lothian, of Minick’s Artisan Butchers, demonstrates his craft.

He underlined how important it is to buy local produce, and talked about the years of training needed to become a flesher, while James prepared half a lamb according to traditional methods, and the other half using modern techniques.

The old and new butchery techniques shown side-by-side.

The old and new butchery techniques shown side-by-side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon blacksmith Mihai Cocris talked us through the properties of various metals, letting us see, and hear, the differences between them. He showed us the ways that metal could be joined, and talked about how the techniques had changed over the years, demonstrating different tools along the way.

Blacksmith Mihai Cocris demonstrating the craft of the Hammerman.

Blacksmith Mihai Cocris demonstrating the craft of the Hammerman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At two o’clock, Graeme Nicol awarded the prizes for our photography competition. Graeme is a former Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, and was kind enough to say a few words about his organisation before he awarded the prizes.

Graeme Nicol (centre) with competition winners Frank Riddell and Emily Noakes.

Graeme Nicol (centre) with competition winners Frank Riddell and Emily Noakes.

The photographs were the result of a challenge set to St Andrews Photographic Society, to capture the craftspeople of North East Fife in action. Congratulations to Frank Riddell, Emily Noakes and Chris Reekie who all won prizes.

MakLab's Delphine Dallison explains how to use the printing blocks.

MakLab’s Delphine Dallison explains how to use the printing blocks.

After this, MakLab ran a workshop where participants could print their own design onto a tote bag. First they had to cut out their printing blocks on the laser-cutter, before using the ink to create their finished product. Messy but fun!

Some of the trades-based designs from the workshop participants.

Some of the trades-based designs from the workshop participants.

The last demo of the day came from Murray Barnett, of G H Barnett & Son bakery. Murray talked us through the process of making bannocks, as well as the different techniques and skills that bakers have to learn.

Murray Barnett showing how to make the perfect bannock.

Murray Barnett showing how to make the perfect bannock.

The bannocks in the pan. Delicious!

The bannocks in the pan. Delicious!

He told us a bit about the history of his company, how long it takes to train as a baker and how science and art combine in the baker’s craft.

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the comments that our visitors left about the day:

rsz_laser_printing_lady

rsz_beautiful_bannocks rsz_liked_the_blacksmith rsz_only_buying_haggis_from_minick_now

rsz_ancient_and_modern_combo_was_fascinating rsz_old_books_the_best

 

Thank you to all the project partners, volunteers and visitors who made our event so enjoyable!

See the craft books for yourself!

Mat image

Special Collections has now made the digitised versions of the books available online. You can see them here.

The originals will be on display at our event this Saturday, 7 May, in St Andrews Town Hall. They will be accompanied by our experts from Special Collections, who will be able to answer any questions you might have.

Bakers

This is a rare opportunity to see these books up close, so don’t miss it!

With thanks to Mathew Schwartz for the beautiful images.

 

 

Did you know…

That early modern scribes had ways of correcting mistakes in their texts?

Baxters insertion

This excerpt from the Baxters book, dated 28 October 1558, records that William Sagis was admitted as an apprentice to Duncan Kenloquhy, and that he paid 6s 8d to the altar of St Tobert, as was traditional. In the sixth line from the top, you can see that the Baxters’ scribe, chaplain Peter Lawson, forgot to record that Sagis also gave a pound of wax to the altar, and so added a column of three small circles in the appropriate place in the sentence, to mark where this information should have been included. He then wrote ‘and ane pund of vax’ in the margin, following a corresponding set of three circles there.

This form of insertion was common, and can be found in the other craft books as well. In the seventeenth century, the Hammermen’s scribe used a caret (^) instead of three circles to perform the same function.

The bearing of the Baxters’ banner

Baxters-bearing-of-the-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’.

Transcription:

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.