ShoemakersArms-150x150With the motto ‘Lord crown us with glory’, the shoemakers belong to a trade steeped in tradition. Their patron saints are the St Crispian and St Crispinian – brothers said to have settled in the 3rd Century to preach the gospel and who, according to legend, worked as shoemakers by night.

It has been said that the angels supplied St Crispian and St Crispinian with materials for their work – with French shoemakers naming their tools of the trade in their honour. October 25, the date on which they were martyred, remains a special anniversary for the trade across the world.

Commonly known as cordiners, the shoemakers were among the earliest members of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen in 1484 and today maintain their place at the heart of the modern organisation whilst never losing sight of their heritage.

Current Role of Members and Date Joined:


Lewis L. Stuart1984Albert Thomson2004Graeme Cheyne2016
John M. Bruce1992Brian Scott2006Iain Hunter2016
Mervyn R. Donald1992David A. Suttie2009Barney Crockett2017
Richard J. Harwood1993James A. Graham2012Francis Kiernan2020
J. Alastair Milne1994Alastair D. Hunter2012Stuart Cordiner2020
Christopher E. M. Watson1996Graeme Cursiter2013Graham Findlay2020
Robert J. C. Bain2000David A. Ross2013Miss Sarah Machray2021
Brian D. Donald2003Mark McCue2015 Mark Campbell2021
Graeme McKenzie2003Alastair Walker2015  


Shoemakers Summer Ball

On the 25th of June 2022, the Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation celebrated their summer ball. Over £2000 was raised for the charity “Mental Health Aberdeen”.  The evening consisted of a 5 course meal, piano by Jack Rathbone and after dinner entertainment by Graham Geddes Music. A great time was had by all.

Shoemakers Summer Ball

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Shoemakers Annual Riding of the Marches – 21st June 2022

On Summer Solstice, The Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation held the annual riding of the Marches – an ancient tradition of the Trade. They Visited Aberdeen Football Club and were kindly given an excellent tour by Allan McKimmie.

The Trade then headed to Watson Lane next to Rosemount Place to ‘doup’  their new members David Ross, Sarah Machray, Mark Campbell and Graham Findlay on the March stone.

Douping is the traditional method of ‘introducing’ new members to the Shoemakers Trade.

In old Scots the “doup” is the bottom of anything, including the buttocks. Annually, the Shoemakers Incorporation ‘rode’ the marches or visited the property and land they owned. If a new member was present, he was douped on one of the march stones. The method being that he was lifted by the other members and placed three times on his doup on the stone.


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Ex Deacon Donald Law – 70 Year Anniversary as a Member 12th June 2021

Ex Deacon Donald Law recently celebrated an amazing 70 years as a member of the Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation and of The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen and is our longest standing member – ever!  What an incredible amount of time and a wonderful achievement.

Deacon Brian Donald presented Ex Deacon Donald Law with 12 bottles of wine (although only 1 in the photo!)

Company of Cordwainers of York’s Charter Weekend

Photograph of the attendees of Company of Cordwainers of York's Charter WeekendThe Deacon Convenor and Deacon of The Aberdeen Hammermen Incorporation were delighted to attend the Company of Cordwainers of York’s Charter Weekend. The tour of York Minster was magnificent and Mike the Tour Guide was very knowledgeable. The Annual Livery Dinner in the fantastic Merchant Adventurers Hall, was excellent and pleased to celebrate the election of their new Master, Mrs Anne Reid MBE. …

Admissions of Burgess of Trade

On the 5th March 2018 at a meeting of the commencement of a full council meeting at Aberdeen’s Towns House, Graeme Cheyne and Iain Hunter of the Shoemakers Incorporation and Peter Murray of the Weavers Incorporation were admitted as Burgesses of Trade.  In the absence of the Deacon Convener George Esson, Ex Deacon Convener David N Parkinson proposed all for full membership.  Having met the requirements laid down and paid the appropriate dues to the Lord Provost they confirmed to abide by the rules and responsibilities of a city Burgess.

York Cordwainers Dinner – May 2016

York & AberdeenFor a number of years the Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades has been invited as a guest to the Election of the Master Cordwainer of York. Along with the Deacon of the Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation, Mervyn Donald and his wife Margaret, the Deacon Convener was represented by Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson and his wife Margaret.

After travelling down on the Friday, an invitation was extended to attend an evening meal at the Grange Hotel with the Masters and Clerks of the London Livery Companies associated with the leather industry, along with the Master Elect, Clerk and Dinner Convener of Cordwainers of York. In all, 39 people sat down to an informal dinner.

After the meal, a surprise was sprung on the Masters and Convenors to each give a piece of advice to the new Master Elect from their personal experience, thinking on your feet did not seem to unduly worry those present.

Burgesses of Trade of the Burgh of Aberdeen

On Wednesday August 19th 2015,  the two new members of the Shoemakers Incorporation, Alastair Walker and Mark McCue were installed as Burgesses of Trade at a ceremony held during a full council meeting at the Aberdeens Towns House.  Both Gentlemen were admitted as members of the Shoemakers Incorporation in April.

The Late Deacon Convener, David N Parkinson, standing in for Deacon Convener Sandy McKinnon, presented the applicant to the Provost and Council for admission as a Free Burgess of the Burgh of Aberdeen of his own Craft only.

Traditionally new members only had the right to vote at Trade meetings once they had been accepted as a Trade Burgess.

Shoemaker Alastair Walker and Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson                        Shoemaker Mark McCue and Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson

Pictured with Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson are Alastair Walker (left) and Mark McCue (right)

Meet our Members – Shoemakers John E. Harwood

The eldest member of the Shoemakers Incorporation is John Edward Harwood, who was born in Nigg on 8th April 1921.  John served in the Second World War and was awarded the 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, Palestine Medal, 1935-45 Medal and the Territorial Efficiency Medal.

He is registered in the members of the Shoemakers Incorporation as having entered the Trade on 10th December 1974, made a Burgess of Trade of the City of Aberdeen in February 1975 and Burgess of Guild the same year.

John was elected as Boxmaster of the Trade in 1986 and 1984.  Thereafter, he was elected as Deacon in 1985, 1986 and 1999.

John worked as a Retail Manager and Company Director of John Dunn Shoes in Aberdeen.

What is less known, is that John is also a poet and was a regular contributor to Leopard Magazine including ‘Souter…..How it was’: …

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