The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset
by John Hutchins:

(3rd Edition published 1868)

Transcribed by Michael Russell OPC for Dorchester - May 2010



Company of Freemen- Pages 338-339

In the seventeenth century the merchants and tradesmen, &c. of the borough were enrolled into a company entitled the Governor, Assistants, and Freemen of the Borough of Dorchester, and the following list will be interesting as showing the different trades then existing in the borough: many are now obsolete :—

At the speciall court of the governour, assistants, and freemen of the borough aforesaid, there held the 24th day of Sept. 1630, before Mr. John Longe, governour of the company of freemen of the said borough, and Mr. William Derby, Mr. Dennis Bond, and Mr. John Hill, capitall burgesses of the said borough, and of Mr. Joseph Paty and Mr. John Cope, assistants of the said governor. It is agreed by the court that the tradesmen and handicraftsmen of this borough shall be divided into five severall companies, as they are hereafter written, viz:-

1. Company of Merchants.

    1.  Merchantes. (Merchants)
    2.  Mercers.
    3.  Grocers.
    4.  Haberdashers of small wares
    5.  Lynnen drapers. wares.
    6.  Apothecaries.
    7.  Bookesellers.
    8.  Upholsters.
    9.  Button makers.
    10. Barber surgeons.
2. Company of Clothiers.

    1. Clothiers.
    2.  Woolen Drapers.
    3.  Haberdashers of hatts.
    4.  Weavers.
    5.  Diers.
    6.  Tailers. (Taylors)
    7.  Hosiers.
    8.  Feltmakers.
    9.  Clothworkers.
    10. Borlers
3. Company of Iremongers.
    1.  Iremongers.
    2.  Gouldsmythes.
    3.  Pewterers.
    4.  Smythes
    5.  Cutlers.
    6.  Plumbers.
    7.  Gunners.
    8.  Paynters.
    9.  Glasiers.
    10. Needle makers.
    11. Pynne makers.
    12. Carde makers.
    13. Clock makers.
    14. Brasioers.
    15. Tinkers.
4. Company of Fishmongers..
    1.  Brewers & 2. Maulters.
    3.  Bakers.
    4.  Inholders.
    5.  Alehouskeepers.
    6.  Joyners & 7. Carpenters.
    8. Vintners.
    9. Coopers.
    10. Butchers.
    11. Cookes.
    12. Masons.
    13. Helliers.
    14. Thatchers.
    15. Seviers.
    16. Milwrights.
    17. Wheeliers.
    18. Fishmongers.
    19. Fletchers
5. Company of Shoemakers and Skinners..
    1.  Shoemakers.
    2.  Tanners.
    3.  Glovers.
    4.  Chandlers.
    5.  Skynners.
    6.  Furriers.
    7.  Poyntmakers.
    8.  Parchment makers.
    9.  Sadlers.
    10. Curriers.
    11. Pursemakers.
    12. Coller makers.
    13. Ropers.
Each of the companies was governed by a warden.
In 1630, at a special meeting, the following were elected wardens of the five companies respectively :—

Mr. Henry Derby—Merchants.
Mr. Joseph Patye—Clothiers.
Mr. Robert Coker—Iremongers.
Matthew Banger—Fishmongers.
Robert Lawrence—Shoemakers and Skinners.

At the same meeting it was agreed on That the said Wardens shall give their attendance at every of the Governor's Courts held this whole yeere, and that they shall enquire of all oppressions and abuses in tradeing within the compasse of their warde, either by forraigners or by freemen, &c. to be submitted in writing to the Governor.
The admission to the freedom seems to have been by the payment of a fine, and it was also acquired by apprenticeship. There are a few instances of honorary admissions:-
25th Feb. 1627, The honourable Mr. Denzill Holles, second sonne of the Erle of Clare, is admitted a freeman of the said borough.
13th Sept. A.D. 1633, Mr. Dennis Bond did this day move to have his brother, Onesiphorous Bond, merchant, to bee admitted a freeman, and the court have promised to give him an answer in the next court.

At this period there seems to have been no foreign trade connected with the town of any importance. The following letter has some reference to this subject, but the occasion upon which it was written does not appear :—
    A Copy of a letter to the Maior (Mayor) of Exon.
    Worthy Sir,
    I have received your letter, and have with our company viewed the two copyes of the two letters which you sent. We confesse your charitable and ready endeavours, in a matter of soe greate importance, to be very requisite. As concerninge our merchants of this towne, none of them have any trading with Newfound Land, Virginia, or Spayne (save only Mr. John Blachford, who is now in London), and therefore cannot be soe forward therein as those whome it neerely concernes. But for the redeeming of the captives, when the breiffs come forth, wee shall bee as ready to doe what shall bee convenient for us as any other place. Thus, with remembrance of my hearty salutations, I rest,
    Your loving friend,
    ED. Dashwood, Maior.
    Dorchester, xx° Febr. 1632°.

Anno 1620, it appears by the recognizances then taken not to kill, dress, or suffer flesh to be eaten in Lent, that there were in this borough
    Inn keepers . . 15:     Ale-house keepers . . 9:     Butchers . . 11
A market is held here on Saturdays, which," says Hutchins, "is much lessened. Before 1730, during the winter, great quantities of barley were brought to this market. A double row of waggons laden with it filled the corn-market; and a single one extended down through the south street, and sometimes even into the fields. Here are two smaller markets on Wednesdays and Fridays. The fairs are four; and are kept on Candlemas Day, Trinity Monday, St. John Baptist's, and St. James's Day, O.S. At the three last great quantities of sheep and lambs are brought for sale."

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