Companies

Bakers

This company was one of the wealthiest of the medieval guilds in Chester and is also one of the oldest surviving companies. It was granted charters by the City in 1462-63 and 1552-53 and by Prince Arthur in 1495-96.

In Chester, the price of bread was fixed accordingly to the price of corn in the market by assessors working under the Mayor’s supervision. There are many examples of bakers refusing to comply with Assize of Bread or supplying bread deficient in weight or quality. In 1576, the bakers refusal to accept the Assize resulted in their mass committal to the Northgate gaol. Their stacking of gorse for their ovens was strictly regulated by the Assembly of Mayor, Aldermen and Common Councilmen so as to lessen the danger of fire and in 1729 the bakers petitioned to be allowed to build windmills on Hough Green because of complaints about charges at the Dee Mills.

In the 17th Century, the Guild rented a room for their meetings in the Phoenix Tower, later known as King Charles’ Tower, on the City walls. However, by 1835 their two meetings a year were held at inns. In that year, they were one of the largest companies with 42 members.