Aberdeen Baker Incorporation – Term Tea

Factor Duncan Love giving his Term Tea talk

Held on the 15th of May, this date holds historic value to the Trades and the Incorporated Trades as a whole…

In Scotland there are two legal terms, the 15th of May (Whitsunday) and the 11th of November (Martinmas). These dates mark the terms of the legal year in Scotland. They were historically used as the days when contracts and leases would begin and end, servants would be hired or dismissed, and rent, interest on loans, and ministers’ stipends would become due.

The terms have historically been significant for the Trades and Trinity Hall because Feu Duty used to be payable twice a year on these dates. The use of term days is now virtually obsolete, and any reference to them tends to be historical or ceremonial.

Feu Duty came to be a major source of income for those Trades who had sold land. Payment was collected on the term dates and historically when the Hall was on Union Street, there would be queues of people along the street waiting to enter the Hall and proceed to the relevant Trade table. These tables would be manned by the Deacon, Boxmaster, Factor (and perhaps a Clerk) and they would tick off all the payments to ensure that Feu Duty was fully paid. The Feu Duty lunch which is now an evening meal began as a means of providing a lunchtime break to those officials who were involved in collection of the duties.

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Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society Heritage Group Evening

We were delighted to be asked along to showcase and to speak about both the history and the present day activities of The Seven Incorporated Trades and The Trades Widows’ Fund Charity.

Ex Deacon Convener David N. Parkinson gave a brief history of the Trades and the Trades Hospital we once had (see pictures for more information).

The evening was to celebrate the contribution of Volunteers to Healthcare and the 100 year anniversary of when Professor Matthew Hay demitted his position of Medical Officer of Health for the City of Aberdeen – he was a Pioneer of medical education and public health.

Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society Heritage Group Evening

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Old Trinity Hall, Union Street, Aberdeen

After being constructed in 1846, the second Trinity Hall and home of The Seven Incorporated Trades was unveiled in 1847.

Being a Tudor-gothic style granite structure, the building earned the architect, John Smith, his nickname of “Tudor Johnnie”. With Trinity Hall attracting the attention of many, including Prince Albert, John Smith was given the job of designing the new Balmoral Castle in 1848.

The main entrance had grand glass doors, an ornate marble staircase and inside, wood panelled ceilings with golden chandeliers, which can still be seen there today. …

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50th Anniversary – 28th October 2017

The Big Five-Oh!

While a fiftieth birthday has a large significance in the short live of individuals, this is less so in the life of an organisation 430 years old. It remains nevertheless well worth marking. Our present Trinity Hall celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its official opening ceremony on Saturday 28th October 2017, the official opening itself having been also on a Saturday, 28th October 1967. To mark this noteworthy event we enjoyed a small series of events.

On Friday 22nd September our own Clerk and Assessor, Craig Pike, along with wife Sophie, mother Eileen, and friends Amanda Massie and Alastair Corbett, treated us to a wonderful and varied concert of music popular in the 1960’s. Our sincere thanks to them for a great evening.

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Toast by Professor Robert I. Frost, FBA


Toast given at the Convenor Court Election Dinner 2016 by:

Professor Robert I. Frost, FBA
Burnett Fletcher Chair in History,
University of Aberdeen,
Department of History,
Crombie Annexe,
Meston Walk,
Aberdeen AB24 3FX


Deacon Convener, Patron, Master of Trades Hospital, Lord Provost, Lord Dean of Guild, Members of the Convener Court, fellow guests.

It is a signal honour for me to be invited to propose the toast to the Convener Court of this great institution this evening. I hope that my background will not put you off. I am an Edinburgh boy by upbringing and that most unpractical of trades by profession—a University teacher. Even worse, although my family was in trade, my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before me were members of the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, and I am aware that relations between merchant companies and the incorporated trades of the Scottish burghs were not always marked by the Bon Accord that is the motto of this great city. Furthermore, had I entered the family business of soft furnishings, I note that under Alexander II’s Charter of 1222 to the city of Aberdeen, I would have been classed as a ‘stranger merchant’, and would not have been permitted to cut my cloth for sale in the market of Aberdeen, ‘save from the day of the Ascension of our Lord to the Feast of St Peter in Chains’: that is between May and early June (depending on the date of Easter) and August 1. I also note that according to this charter, the ‘waulkers and weavers’ were specifically excluded from the Merchant’s Guild of Aberdeen, which indicates the nature of the relations between the two bodies: the very incorporation of the trades in the Scottish burghs reflected the necessity of banding together to fight for the privileges of the craft guilds against the encroachments of the predatory merchants. …

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Incorporation of Tailors of Aberdeen v Coutts

In 1823, the trustees of the Incorporation of Tailors of Aberdeen decided to feu the land at Crabeston at a public sale.  This formed Bon Accord Square and a number of detailed feuing conditions were stipulated; the Incorporated Tailors maintained that Adam Coutts, Advocate, Aberdeen and his heirs were obliged to conform to all the details of the Feu Charter, specifically the construction of a pavement, iron railing and a dwarf wall in Bon Accord Square.  With some complications regarding the nature of the tenure and counter claims by the superior that ‘under cover of night’ Coutts had made connection to the main sewer, together with appeals, the case was only resolved in 1840 when Lord Brougham delivered the Lords’ judgement that there was a real burden upon the property in question and is binding of the defender Coutts.  The Aberdeen Tailors Incorporation hold the original paperwork involved with the case and this has now been put on display within the Library at Trinity Hall.

In 2003 the importance of these papers was recognised by Sheriff Douglas Cusine. It was thought appropriate to make a number of copies so that the originals could be preserved whilst the information therein could continue be used by future legal scholars. …

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