|Activity||The power to grant incorporated status to trades rested with the magistrates of royal burghs. An incorporated trade was granted the right to monopolise and control their trade within the burgh. They set strict guidelines controlling workmanship within the Incorporation. They protected work for the craft within the burghs against outsiders, prevented apprentices from being drawn away from their masters and stopped irregularities and irresponsible craftsmanship amongst their members.An entry fee had to be paid to gain admission to the Incorporation. The son of a burgess paid the lowest fee, the son-in-law of a burgess paid more and a stranger paid the highest fee. Their names would be recorded in the minute books.Trades Incorporations were governed by a Deacon with the aid of a Boxmaster and a council of craftsmen who were elected annually. This group fixed wages, prices, set rules of conduct for the members of the Incorporation and governed the training and the conduct of apprentices. They held a court which could fine craftsmen for contravening the rules and held the ultimate penalty of expulsion. The Industrial Revolution made the incorporations redundant and they were officially abolished in 1846, although some continued as friendly societies after that date. |
Brechin Hammermen appear to have been re-established as one of the 6 incorporations of Brechin c 1650. The other incorporations were the golvers, the baxters, the cordiners, the websters and the tailors. It had sixteen founding members composed of saddlers, blacksmiths, cutlers, gunsmiths, armourers, pewterers and swordslippers. Apprenticeships under the regulation of the members varied in length from 5-7 years and were undertaken at the age of 14. It was relatively common for sons to follow their fathers or other familly members into a craft.