Trades of Edinburgh – Incorporation of Baxters
The earliest records of the Incorporation of Baxters are mostly lost, but some traces of its early years are discoverable from other sources. According to one story, the minutes were burned by a 19th-century Boxmaster, who was unable to read the sixteenth-century handwriting and assumed that nobody else could do so either.
The town council minutes record that David Quhyte (White), Deacon of Baxters, sat on the town council with seven other Deacons of Crafts in 1492. It therefore follows that the Incorporation had already been granted a seal of cause by that date. The seal of cause which was granted in 1522 mentions that there had been a previous one, from which the seal had been removed and the document destroyed “in time of troubill”.
The Incorporation built its Main Barn (for the storage of the finest white flour for the making of what was termed “main bread”) on the north side of the Water of Leith a little upstream from the present Dean Bridge. A large stone with the Incorporation’s coat of arms was placed above the entrance and is carved with the date 1619. This stone was rescued when the barn was demolished in the 19th century and is now built into the wall of the old toll house at the south end of the Dean Bridge.
The old version of the coat of arms includes an hourglass and the peals for taking the bread out of the oven, but the principal elements of wheat sheaves and scales are still present in the modern arms.