Articles of the Cordwainers, 1375

(This version is extracted from London Letter-Book H, fol. xxvi, in Riley, H.T. ed, Memorials of London and London Life, II, London: s.l., 1868,  391-392.)


(Presented to the Mayor of London and the Aldermen on the Monday after the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle)

To the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London pray the good folks of the trade of Cordwainers of the same city, that it may please you to grant unto them the articles that follow, for the profit of the common people; that so, what is good and right may be done unto all manner of folks, for saving the honor of the city and lawfully governing the said trade.

In the first place, that if any one of the trade shall sell to any person shoes of bazen as being cordwain, or of calf-leather for ox-leather in deceit of the common people, and to the scandal of the trade, he shall pay to the Chamber of the Guildhall, the first time that he shall be convicted thereof, forty pence; the second time, half a mark; and the third time the same, and further, at the discretion of the mayor and aldermen.

Also, that no one of the trade shall keep house within the franchise if he not be free of the city and one knowing his trade, and that no one shall be admitted to the freedom without the presence of the wardens of the trade bearing witness to his standing on the pain aforesaid.

Also, if any one of the trade shall be found offending touching the trade, or rebellious against the wardens therof, such person shall not make complaint to any one of another trade, by reason of the discord or dissension that may have arisen between them ; but he shall be ruled by the good folks of his own trade. And if he shall differ from them as acting against them, then let the offensebe adjudged upon before the mayor and the aldermen; and if he be found rebellious against the ordinance, let him pay to the Chamber the sum above mentioned.

Also that no one of the trade shall entice or purloin the servant of another from the service of his master by paying him more than is ordained by the trade, on the pain aforesaid.

Also, that no one shall carry out of his house any wares connected with his trade for sale in market or elsewhere except only at a certain place between Soperslane and the Conduit; and that at a certain time of day, that is to say, between Prime and Noon. And that no shoes shall exceed the measure of seven inches, so that the wares may be surveyed by the good folks of the trade, because of the deceit upon the common people that might ensue and the scandal on the trade, on the pain aforesaid.

Also, that no one shall expose his wares openly for sale in market on Sundays at any place, but only within his own dwelling, to serve the common people, one the pain aforesaid.

Also, that if any one sells old shoes, he shall not mix new shoes among the old in deceit of the common people and to the scandal of the trade, on the pain aforesaid.