The Master Bakers of Coventry

The Blue Silk Cap (now faded) worn by the Master of the Company of Bakers in Processions.
Photo by kind permission of the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

On browsing through the minutes of the Coventry & District Master Bakers Association, which are kept in the City Archives, I found many interesting items relating to the bakery trade in the City.

The reading of the edicts shows what a highly protected trade baking was.

  • A Fellowship of Bakers was in existence nearly half a century before the Merchants Guilds
  • The Fellowship was formed in 1204.
  • In 1448 the Company of Bakers equipped 19 men for Military Service.
  • By 1460, when Edmund Brograve was Mayor, 19 bakers were supplied with armour to defend the City. One Jack each.
  • 1687. When King James came to Coventry, the Fellowship of  Bakers spent 12s in giving His Majesty a proper reception.
  • In order to preserve the dignity of the Craft, ex-Masters and wives of members were forbidden to carry bread about.
  • 1721. On August 28th it was agreed that no baker should give a huckster or victualling house or any other person any discounts for the selling of bread ‘under penalty of 20s good and lawful money’.

It is this the City of Coventry that no member of the said Fellowship shall give unto any of the brewers’ servants any money, by themselves or their servants, when they go or send for balm or yeast. And we whose names are here unto subscribed do promise to pay for 10s for every such offence, 5s for use of the Company and 5s for the informer.

  • 1808. “James Thompson was admitted a Freeman into the Company and Fellowship of Bakers, November 23rd, then Samuel Carter and William Sanderson, Masters, and paid for his Freedom. £10“
  • The Fellowship of the Company of Bakers ceased to exist at the close of 1808.
  • No records being found of election of members after that date.

The property of the Bakers’ Company can be found on this page.

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