Companies

Mercers

An Ironmongers Company probably existed in 1422, when the ironmongers were in dispute with the carpenters over the Corpus Christi play. The ironmongers and mercers were separately listed in the Mayor’s book for 1475-76 and produced different mystery plays in the 16th century. The Mercers and Spicers appropriately produced “The Three Kings of Colon” and the Ironmongers and Ropers ‘The Crucifixion of Christ’. By the 17th century, the two companies were apparently known as the Mercers, Ironmongers, Grocers and Apothecaries. They were incorporated as one company by the Mayor and citizens in 1604, the year in which their Charter was granted. Later in the 17th century there was rivalry between the Mercers and the Linen Drapers because their trades were closely allied; the Assembly was called upon to arbitrate. In the second half of the 17th Century, this Company produced three of the City’s Members of Parliament. In 1725 the Apothecaries unsuccessfully petitioned to dissociate themselves from the Company. By 1835, the Company consisted of 14 members who met once a year in a Chester inn.