Trades of Edinburgh – Incorporation of Furriers
The Incorporation of Furriers of Edinburgh was originally known as the Incorporation of Hatmakers, under which name it received its first seal of cause on 18th February 1473/4. At that time hats were made predominantly from fur and the tasks of the Hatmakers or Furriers were to prepare the fur and then to make hats and other articles of fur from them.
On 3rd October 1477 the Hatmakers were instructed to hold their open booths on market days together with those of the Skinners on the south side of the High Street. From then on a symbiotic relationship developed between the Skinners and the Furriers; they hold their meetings together and shared a common box, although each has preserved its right to elect its own deacon annually.
The Arms of the Furriers show an ermine field below a chief bearing three crowns, which is a close imitation of the arms of the Worshipful Company of Skinners in London.
Today the Incorporation of Furriers participates equally with the Skinners in their charitable activities and in promoting the welfare of their crafts in general.
A quite different group of hatmakers, who made hats mostly of felt rather than of fur, joined with the Incorporation of Waulkers in the seventeenth century and became the principal craft of that body.