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Early modern documents show the corporate regulations in London.
IS17th-century London traders were protective of their work, keeping a close eye on any intruders to their trade. In the early 1930s, a dispute arose between London carpenters and carpenters, and in my last column (June 2016, issue 225), I outlined the jobs that city councilors assigned to carpenters in an attempt to resolve this dispute. And the carpenters? They did not take the decision of the councilors while lying down, that’s for sure.
The councilors’ decision essentially ignores the main work of the carpenters, presuming perhaps that it is a fact that they frame the buildings. Instead they focused on furniture and small jobs. To start, carpenters get:
“All Drapers tables, all tables for Tavernes Victuallers Chandlers Compting house Tables and all other tables made of Deale Elme Oake Beeche or other wood assembled without glue except all types of framed or glued tables that can be moved.”
“Being mobile” is the key here: carpenters produce furniture, what we would now call furniture. The carpenters make the tables and counters built, therefore in effect “not mobile”. Still, small mobile stools for various uses (“Sesterne Stooles washing Stooles bucking Stooles”) went to carpenters, as long as they “did not become feete”. Forms (long benches) fall under similar guidelines with regards to joinery and turned elements.
Carpenters obtain the division of warehouses, chambers and other rooms, “unwalled and uncovered with crevices or entire trades or any other material except Wainscott and except for all grooved, glued, battened or framed pticons (partitions). ”
The carpenters had something to say about it and they weren’t shy. In a petition with the usual legal preamble, they put in writing their main works: “The construction and repair of all kinds of how and buildings of any type of wood”. It’s pretty clear: “all kinds of houses … whatever.”
Their petition is quite long and includes great details. Among their works are: “The framing and setting of all kinds of wooden windows … in howses built with stone or wood bricks … all kinds of stairs that must be made of wooden boards. wood or boards “.
Among many other works, they claim as themselves and not the carpenters “all sorts of pentovesi … of all sorts of posts and seats at the gates or Dores … the making of all the crates for the cesternes fence … all sorts of sheds and hovels. ”
Being a carpenter myself, I would be delighted for carpenters to receive larger jobs like “Wharves Camshedds Cranes & bridge of timber and piling and planckinge of foundacons for Wharves and Bridges”.
And what 17th-century document would be complete without some nice corporal punishment? Carpenters make “ladders, cages, cages and posts”.
Answer to carpenters
There are many other works listed in the full document, but beyond that the carpenters have also sent revisions to the carpenters’ work. The whole document becomes redundant, but one of the carpenters’ concerns is that “… there is hardly any carpenter who cares about being done but they can and do use the Iage (gauge?) And nails both in invented and invented. that Joyner is allowed to do all the carpenter’s work. And so we want that article to be so qualified and explained that Joyner won’t get in the way of carpenters’ work. ”
Out of town
It’s easy to read too much into these “guild” rules and city restrictions. One thing to keep in mind is that outside London, sometimes a few miles from there, it was easier to get away with crossing trade lines.
Further, we get some information about a carpenter’s repertoire. The book of records by Henry Best, a farmer from Elmswell, Yorkshire, shows an entry from April 1620 in which Best “agreed with Matthewe Carter, to pay the swyne sty with sawen ashe palles, to give him for his work 9d [per] yeardes, and he must saw them, and see the spokes and poles, put them in ground, and pin them in the beam above; also agreed with him to pale the knot, and hee is to sawe i rayles and postes, and to have 4d for yearde, for his work and for making the Howse in Austin. 20S.. ”
All that is good and good; carpenters should make pigs: which self-respecting carpenter will deign to do it? But in 1623, Best “bargained with Matthewe Carter and his son John Carter, by Greate Driffeylde, carpenters, to dig up a myne nut tree, and cut it into 2 ynch and a half board, and the rest of the bits into such pieces. is more suitable; and to make me two chayres, one for myself, and the other a minor, well turned and worked, and I must give them to do these things mentioned above, as a worker, 10S. in money, a bushell [8 gallons] of barley and a spout [2 gallons] of oatmeal and give them cash 3d for their godspenny. ”
So – carpenters who make a sty at some point, and then well crafted, turned walnut chairs. This is the whole spectrum of vintage woodworking in a nutshell. There is no need to apply any carpenter or turner.
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