Companies

Smiths

The Smiths Company is amongst those listed in a Mayor’s book for 1475-76. In 1501, the cutlers, pewterers, founders, cardmakers, girdlers, [arrow] head makers, wierdrawers and spurries appear to be associated with the smiths in the same company, but in 1521 the founders and pewterers still had their own stewards who entered into an agreement with the stewards of the Smiths to combine for the Whitsun play, Corpus Christi procession and maintenance of the priest of St Loy’s Chapel. The plumbers were incorporated in the company in the early 17th century.

Relationships within the company were often strained, for example in 1626, when the Assembly was asked to arbitrate between members using each other’s trades and in 1681, when the pewterers unsuccessfully petitioned for separation.

In the Chester cycle of Mystery Plays, the smiths, furbers (polishers of weapons and armour) and pewterers produced ‘The Purification of Our Lady’.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Company had its own meeting house in Commonhall Lane. By 1835, however, the 10 remaining members held their annual meetings in an inn, their meeting house having been sold in 1778.

No charter to the company has survived, but the Smiths Company has a silver badge presented by Arthur, Prince of Wales, when he visited Chester in 1499.