Property of the Bakers Company

This staff belonged to the Bakers' Company of Coventry and has the Company's crest on it. It was carried by members of the Company in processions. The sword belonged to the Bakers' Company and was also carried in processions.
Photograph by kind permission of The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

(continued from the Master Bakers of Coventry)

The ‘property’ of the Bakers’ Company was handed over to the Corporation of Coventry by Mr Thomas Windridge, c.1908.

It consists of:

  • Three books of minutes and accounts, the oldest being the Black Book.
  • A banner or streamer of red silk, ending in two points with silk tassels and fringed white silk. The books state that the Company had a banner in 1660, but it is doubtful if this is the case.
  • Two Maces, each 29ins. In length with the Baker’s crest in metal.
  • A short sword which is rusted into its sheath. It was carried in the Godiva processions.
  • Silk badges bearing trade emblems.
  • A cap of blue silk, which was worn by the Master.
  • A number of parchment dockets.
  • A box which has always been used for the accommodation of the Company’s property.

Bakers were not allowed to bake or carry bread on the Sabbath Day. From the Leet Book it appears that the baking of Sunday dinners was not forbidden.

  • He was fined 6s 4d if proved to have been back biting or otherwise abusing another member of the craft.
  • If an employer engaged a servant without the consent of the Master of the Fellowship, he was fined 6s 8d, and any servant who left one master to work for another without permission was fined 3s 4d.
  • Men who had any sores on them were not allowed to work the dough.
  • A man who had been Master of the Company was not to deliver bread himself.
  • Payment of ‘Quarterages’
  • A ‘Quarter age’ was the quarterly payment towards the funds of the Company.
  • A Master was liable to a fine of 3s 4d if he did not attend the weddings and burials of other members of the craft, and all business meetings called by the Master.
  • If a loaf was not of the correct weight when sold, a piece of bread would be given to make up the difference, hence the term ‘makeweight’. The poor would wait outside bakeries and beg for the makeweights from customers.
  • Bread was divided according to status.
  • Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle and guests the top, or the ‘Upper Crust’.
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