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.

Did you know…

That in the early modern period the Hammermen were the largest and most prestigious craft in St Andrews? Hammermen were metalworkers, and in St Andrews the craft included silversmiths, goldsmiths, armourers, blacksmiths, wheel-wrights, cutlers and pewterers, saddlers and lorimers (who made metal horse-trappings). Much of their business came from the many religious institutions in St Andrews.

The composition of the Hammermen craft varied between towns. In Edinburgh the craft included locksmiths, while in Aberdeen it even included skinners and glovers, presumably because they were too few to warrant a craft of their own.