New Deacon Convener of the Seven Trades

Recently Stuart Campbell of the Incorporation of Hammermen took over the mantle of Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Stirling. This is a role that can be traced back to the late 16th century. The Seven Incorporated Trades acted together when their rights were threatened by outside trades. They formed the Convener Court where the various Deacons or Conveners sat together to make decisions that affected the rights and welfare of all of the trades in Stirling under the watchful eye of the Deacon Convener. This strengthened the loose association of Trades that previously existed.

The post was previously held by Deacon of the Incorporation of Skinners, Stuart Forsyth

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Walking the Marches 2016

img_1877-2On Saturday in brilliant sunshine a recently created replica of Stirlings’ famous Blue Blanket was unfurled for the first time in over 100 years at the third Walking of the revived Marches. The Blue Blanket was created by the Embroiderers Guild from a template taken from the very fragile original which is stored in the Smith Museum. The tradition is that when Mary Queen of Scots granted the charter of privilege on 16th April 1556, to the Stirling Trades, she presented them with a banner made by herself and her maids of honour.

img_1873-2The Walk commenced at 11.00am, after the Captain of the Birlawmen and Deacon of the Hammermen Andrew McEwan declared to the Provost that the boundaries had all been marked the previous week and seen to be intact. Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades Stuart Campbell then introduced the Blue Blanket and said it was an “honour to recreate a historic event in Stirling that hasn’t been seen in the last 100 years”

The Walk then took its route through the Town Led by Captain of the Birlawmen with Council Officer Dan Doyle carrying Stirling Burgh Mace, Alloa Bowmar Pipe Band and the Blue Blanket carried by members of the Seven Trades. They stopped at the Smith Museum beside the March Stone where the Dean of Guild gave a Toast to the Marches. The walk continued after a tour through the Museum courtesy of Elspeth King. Numbers attending the Walk were considerably up from the previous year.

img_1946There was a good representation of the Seven Trades, the Guildry, the Embroiderers’ Guild and Council. There were also representatives from the Incorporated Trades of Linlithgow, Lanark and Irvine. Representatives of the Guides helped handing out leaflets with some dressing up in traditional costume displaying banners depicting the various Trades. Many members of the public and tourists joined in and enjoyed the event.

History was also recreated after the Walk with a Marches Lunch hosted by the Council, The Seven Incorporated Trades and the Guildry in the Golden Lion Hotel, the first for over 50 years.

The aim of the Walk is to recreate a major historic event that becomes a regular feature in the Stirling Calendar that both locals and tourists can participate in.

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A You Tube video is available courtesy of Barry Ferguson. The 2016 Walking of the Marches – see below:-

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2016 Hammermen Burns Supper

The Incorporation of Hammermen enjoyed a Burns Supper 229 years to the day the Bard stayed at the Golden Lion. It was an evening of songs, speeches and poems that he would have been proud of. Many often ask “why hold a Burns Supper in August?” A few years ago the Incorporation agreed to have a Burns Supper in recognition of his visit and meal to the Golden Lion (then called Wingate’s Inn) on 26th August 1787.

Deacon Andy McEwan started the night introducing the top table. After the haggis had been piped in by Shauna Shand and Douglas Lawson, Sandy Anderson gave a fine Address to the Haggis with Bailie Ken Johnston following on with Grace. After a good meal, the addresses were interspersed by songs from Delia Binney accompanied by her husband Tim. Ken Dow gave an outstanding Immortal memory the best many had heard with historical facts and light hearted humour intertwined. David Sibbald then recited a humorous poem followed by the Toast to the City of Stirling given by Bailie Lewis Allen.

The evening wouldn’t be complete without David giving his world famous rendition of Tam ‘O’ Shanter. The evening then concluded with Auld Lang Syne and a vote of thanks from Bailie Robin Mair.

Pictured below L-R Douglas Lawson, Bailie Lewis Allen, Deacon Andy McEwan, Ken Dow, Bailie Ken Johnston.


Some Pictures of the evening

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Glasgow Trades Hall visit

IMG_0869Recently members of the Hammermen spent an enjoyable morning at Trades Hall in Glasgow which is home of the Trades House of Glasgow established in 1605. Our tour was courtesy of Craig Bryce, Deacon of the Incorporation of Masons in Glasgow in 2013 and a Stirling Hammerman. Craig explained to the members that there were 14 incorporated crafts in the Trades House of Glasgow the oldest being the Masons which along with the Wrights and Coopers claim to have been first incorporated by King Malcolm III of Scotland in 1057.

IMG_0874 (3) Glasgow Trades House motto is Union is Strength and Craig explained that the symbol of
the 14 arrows was taken from the fact that  a few arrows can be easily broken but 14 together cannot. Trades Hall itself was designed and built from 1791-1794 by prominent Scottish architect Robert Adam. It is one of the oldest buildings in Glasgow still used for its original purpose. The hall is used by the trades for dinners and meetings but is also let out for functions, events and weddings. Trades House support many deserving causes and individuals across the City of Glasgow through general support and donations from the 14 Incorporated Crafts.

IMG_0881 (2)From the entrance hall Craig took us through many of the rooms including the main hall where functions are held which has a frieze of all the trades running along the wall together with boards showing all the Deacon Convenors since 1605. For the record, the Glasgow Hammermen were incorporated in 1536 with the first Hammerman Deacon Convenor not taking office until 1671.

IMG_0903Craig took his time to explain to the Hammermen the use of many of the rooms and the significance of the various artifacts on display. The final stop of the tour was in the musuem where there were many interesting artifacts showing the history of the trades. However it was interesting to note that the room had also been a Trades School in the days before schooling became compulsory. On the wall was the school rules and it would be interesting to see how today’s pupils would react to the wooden benches, slates and rules in force then. School on Saturday morning! Finally Deacon Andy thanked Craig for giving up his time and taking us on the very informative tour.


A full history can be found on their own web site

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Remembrance Sunday 2015

The Seven Incorporated Trades were represented at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony. They attended the Church of the Holy Rude service and then walked down to the refurbished war memorial where Deacon Stuart laid a wreath on behalf of the Incorporation of Hammermen.


In typical Scottish weather, the picture opposite shows Deacon Stuart Campbell  laying his wreath.

After the wreath laying ceremony, the Hammermen joined other guests for a reception in the Municipal Buildings courtesy of Stirling Council.

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Hammermen Elect a New Deacon

At the Annual General Meeting of the Incorporation of Hammermen, Baillie Andrew McEwan was elected as New Deacon. He thanked the Old Deacon Stuart Campbell for his invaluable contribution to both the revival of the Hammermen (now with 26 members) and also re- igniting the interest in the other six trades. He also thanked Stuart for the many projects he had instigated during his term.

The revival of the official Walking of the Marches, the erection of a new March stone (courtesy of Historic Scotland) at the Smith Museum and also the ongoing recreation of the Blue Blanket by the Embroiders Guild.

New DeaconPictured L-R New Deacon Andrew McEwan, Old Deacon Stuart Campbell

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Hammermen Annual Dinner 2015

The Incorporation of Hammermen held their Annual Dinner on Friday night in the
Allan Park Hotel. Guest speakers were Bruce Blanche and Michael Giannandrea.

Deacon Stuart Campbell introduced the meeting with a run through of the successes
of the year.

Hammermen funds had been used to present awards to the top Historic Scotland
students at Forth Valley College, a set of woodworking tools had also been
presented to local lad Rowen Baird, training to become a traditional joiner. On a
more social front, there was a successful Burns Supper thanks to David Sibbald, a
visit to Duncarron village, a whisky tasting thanks to Calum McMillan and a joint
ceildh night with Stirling and Caledonian Strathspey and Reel Society, raising £620
for Strathcarron Hospice at which a new reel composed by David Gardner was
played called “Hammermen of Stirling”.

On a more serious note, the highlight of the year had been the Walking of the
Marches where numbers were up by 25% with Historic Scotland agreeing to donate
three more March stones. Deacon Stuart reported that the new replacement Blue
Blanket has been started by the Embroiders Guild and will be ready for the 2016
walk. Finally members attended the Remembrance Sunday service at the Holy Rude
and a wreath was laid at the war memorial.

Master of ceremonies Bailie Andrew McEwan, then introduced the first Speaker,
Bruce Blanche who spoke about Camp 21, a “black” POW camp at Cultybraggan
where category A POW’s were held. They were mainly POW’s considered to be the
most committed and fanatical Nazi, mainly young Waffen-SS, Afrika Korp and U-boat
crew all policed by Polish guards. They had travelled mainly from Devises by bus and
train following the foiling of a mass breakout in 1944. Bruce told the audience of
tunnel building, the infamous murder of Wolfgang Rosterg but also touched on the
more creative side showing pictures of items prisoners made from wood. Following
the war, the camp became an army training camp up until it closed in 2004, where
Bruce himself once stayed as a reservist. The camp now listed by Historic Scotland is
owned by Comrie Development Trust and is a multipurpose venue with local
businesses, allotments and exhibitions about the camp itself.

On a complete change of subject the second speaker was Michael Giannandrea a 2 nd
generation Italian Scot. He charted the development of the Italian families in Stirling
including his own and how they had expanded throughout the town with their
businesses and shops. They had come to Scotland originally around the 1890’s as
their expanding families in Italy had small farms and were unable to support the next
generation. He charted the emigration of the Stirling families, where they had come
from briefly touching on their dislike of officialdom. They successfully integrated into
the local population and fought for King and Country with members being decorated
in both wars despite some of the families being interred in the Isle of Man during
WW2. Fascinating old Photos of Stirling were shown with shop locations bringing
back many memories to the locals amongst the audience. Both Bruce’s and Michael’s
talk were enthusiastically received by the Hammermen.

The meeting was rounded off by a vote of thanks from Bailie Robin Mair.

Pictured below L – R
Bailie Andrew McEwan, Bruce Blanche, Michael Giannandrea, Deacon Stuart
Hammermen Annual Dinner2015

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Burns Supper 2015

In the now familiar fashion, the Hammermen enjoyed a fabulous evenings entertainment at the Golden Lion on the Anniversary of Robert Burns visit to the Golden Lion in August 1787. Deacon Stuart Campbell chaired the proceedings with Baillie Andy McEwan setting the tone of the meeting by giving a rousing Address to the Haggis. Baillie Ken Johnston said Grace and after the meal Douglas Mulholland gave a very thoughtful, different but witty Immortal Memory. A musical interlude followed from local musician Dougal Thornton, who sang some famous songs penned by Burns. David Sibbald then went on to give a rendition of Tam ‘O’ Shanter followed by an amusing animated performance of The Touchstane by Ebenezer McIlwham, which he completed despite being taken completely off guard by the flash from the photographers camera at crucial part of the rendition. Deacon Stuart then rounded off the evening with a very unusual toast to the City of Stirling. Pictured (L-R) are David Sibbald, Douglas Mulholland, Deacon Stuart Campbell, Baillie Ken Johnston and Baillie Andy McEwan.
IMG_4032 (Copy)
Some Pictures of the evening

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Duncarron Visit

The Incorporation recently visited Duncarron Medieval Village deep in the Carron Valley Forest. This was one of Duncarron’s regular open days – Spirit of Duncarron 2015. As part of the open day, Saor Patrol played. They are the Trust’s band who both promote the Trust and put a percentage of their earnings toward the Duncarron project. Members watched many representations of 11th century life including the “Tavern” a timber building constructed in the traditional way. They saw a working blacksmith making weapons and armour, mock fighting, archery, wrestling, tugs of war, wood working and various forms of cooking. Ometlan, a traditional Aztec dance group were also present having just celebrated the summer solstice.
Duncarron village was started in 2000 on land leased from the Forestry Commission and is based on an 11th century Motte and Bailey design. Run by the Clanranald Trust for Scotland, it was not until 2008 that the first log of the palisade was put in place.

For more information on Duncarron visit

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Barry Ferguson posted some clips on You Tube and these can be accessed by following the links below:-

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Blue Blanket Unwrapped

A few members of the Hammermen and Embroiders Guild attended a very rare event courtesy of Elspeth King, Director, Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum where the Blue Blanket was unwrapped. This is rarely done due to its very poor condition but on this occasion permission was granted so that information could be gleaned for its possible recreation.

Pictures below show the Blue Blanket.

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History of the Blue Blanket

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