In old Glasgow, boots, jerkins and
other leather goods were provided by a group of tanners, curriers,
barkers and souters. They adopted the single title of Cordiners
(from "Cordoba - workers", i.e. those who worked with the best
Spanish shoe-leather) while in due course their ranks were
augmented by craftsmen from the Netherlands and France to replace
those "slane in the wars".
Following a series of Acts of the
Scottish Parliament the crafts gradually acquired greater control
of their own affairs and the Cordiners' Minute of Michaelmas 1550
refers to the election by the craftsmen "after the auld wise and
consuetude" " of a "Dekin " Auditories, Cersaris of the mercat" and
an "Officiar" to regulate their affairs, a situation further
regularised by an incorporating Seal of Cause from the Town Council
confirmed by the Archbishop as feudal superior of the Burgh in 1558
just before his hurried departure as a result of the Reformation.
Seals of Cause confirmed a Craft's power to control entry to the
Craft by apprenticeship, the exclusive right to trade in a Burgh
and responsibility for the quality of the goods offered for sale as
well as the allocation of booths in the market. In 1919 the
Incorporation was honoured to receive a Royal Charter. Today it
sends 6 representatives to the Trades House.
When the exclusive privileges of
trade and burgh election were abolished under the Reform Acts in
the last century the Incorporation gave up operative trade
membership as a condition of entry. It continues to assist the
leatherworking craft where appropriate. It also concentrates on
charitable assistance to members and their families, to employees
in the trade and to non-state-aided charities.
Scottish Charity no: