Craftsmen of Crail

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The Burgh Arms of Crail show seven figures in a boat which are said to represent the seven Trades of Crail, similar to Guilds.

The Incorporation of the Crafts date back to the 16th Century and the Minute Books record the Deacons, Members and apprentices.

The Trades in Crail were the Weavers; the Squaremen, Wrights or Carpenters who worked in wood; the Hammermen who were mainly Blacksmiths and Coopers; the Tailors; the Cordiners or Shoemakers; the Baxters or Bakers and the Sailors.

Each of the Trades had its own loft or gallery in the Parish Church, embellished with an appropriate inscription for example for Shoemakers it was “How beautiful are thy feet in shoes”.

The exhibition includes their tools and examples of their work.

CRAIL WEAVERS

There were Handloom Weavers in Crail for about 300 years from the 15th Century. They were one of the seven proud Craft Incorporations of Crail.

Weaving a course linen cloth from locally grown flax, but by the 18th Century finer linens or “Hollands” were being made in Fife, due to the influence of Flemish weavers who had a reputation for high quality workmanship which was passed on to our apprentices. Crail weavers worked from many houses in different parts of the village, the houses having an outside stair, their dwelling being above and loom-shop below. The long line of the Kingo weavers plied their craft from houses on the south side of Marketgate, where a marriage lintel still remains. One member went to Denmark and became a tapestry weaver to the King of Denmark.


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