Recommend to your Librarian

Request a Review Copy

Building Early Modern Edinburgh

A Social History of Craftwork and Incorporation

Aaron Allen

eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Craftwork, family and privilege in Edinburgh’s early modern building trades

Much like in the present day, building a house in the sixteenth century involved masons, carpenters and glaziers, among others, and in many cities such trades had separate companies to govern their own affairs. In Edinburgh, however, they banded together in a single body – the Edinburgh Incorporation of Mary’s Chapel.

Show more


List of Tables
List of Figures & Plates
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Incorporation and the Corporate Framework
1. Headship and Inclusion
2. Family, Household and Obligation
3. Craft and Kirk: Security, Status and Shelter
4. Craft and Burgh: Conflict or Partnership?
Conclusions: The Decline of Corporatism and the Rise of the Unfree

About the Author

Aaron Allen is currently a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of The Locksmith Craft in Early Modern Edinburgh (2007) and co-editor, with Cathryn Spence, of Edinburgh Housemails Taxation Book, 1634–1636 (2014).


Edinburgh’s history, long dominated by the story of its merchant elite and professions, is given extensive, new insights. The ten ‘arts’ in the ‘House’ of St Mary’s Incorporation, centred around the masons and wrights, were largely responsible for building the Old Town. A ground-breaking and definitive work of new research.

- Michael Lynch, Emeritus Professor, University of Edinburgh

This deeply researched book has a great deal to commend it, above all is its emphasis on the importance of corporatism. The author weaves the concept of corporatism through each chapter as he examines its social, political, religious and economic ramifications, and the result is a book that will most certainly find an important place in the growing field of the early modern history of work.

- James R. Farr, Purdue University

You might also like ...