Nine Trades Archive Site

This is an archived version of the previous Nine Trades website. It has been retained due to the valuable historical research and documentation it contains.

A new site was developed in 2020 and is available at


Welcome to The Nine Incorporated Trades of Dundee website, an ongoing project to transcribe the records of the nine crafts. Providing a growing repository of documents and imagery that covers both the history and traditions associated with the Trades in Dundee. Included here are records of other public bodies in the burgh, with extracts from various books and charters, many in the original spelling and grammar.


The story of the Dundee trades is very similar to that of the Trades in the other Scottish Burghs. Sadly, the only old records of the Trades to be found today are those held in the Lockit Books. They are called that because they had hasps with a lock and are priceless.
They record everyone who was admitted as a Master to that Trade from the opening of the book to the present day. Also included are the Rules, Acts and Statutes of the trade. Some of the trades include their apprentices and some have a second book for their apprentices and journeymen only.


In the days of self-perpetuating councils the Nine Trades were the only body looking after the interests of the ordinary citizen. Bear in mind that this year’s council elected the members of next year’s council and you get some idea of the problems. The excesses of the council were a constant problem to the trades and they were regularly at odds with them protecting the interests of the ordinary people. As a body the Nine were very powerful indeed although as individual trades they were only interested in protecting their own rights and privileges. So much so that the Convener audited the Burgh Accounts and held a key to the Burgh Kist. No money could be borrowed without the trades approval.

So who were and are the trades, what is their purpose and how did it all begin? The answer to the last question is that no one knows. However we do know that in 1124, King David I framed Laws for the regulation of various trades and his Chamberlain made regular visits to ensure that they were enforced by the Bailies. These regulations required the trades to care for their poor and sick and laid down standards to control the price of the goods and the quality of the workmanship. Certainly from 1306, Robert I, James I, James IV and Mary Queen of Scots all recognised the trades as separate corporate bodies.

450th Anniversary Tour Of The Dundee Howff


Nine Trades’ Innes Duffus & the Dundee city archivist Iain Flett recently took The Courier on a special tour of the Howff cemetery to mark it’s 450 year anniversary.



The Baxters, now called the Bakers. Cordiners, or Shoemakers Skinners or Glovers, Tailors, Bonnetmakers, Fleshers, or Butchers, Hammermen, Brabaners or Websters or Weavers. The Waulkers or Fullers of cloth united with the Listers or Dyers in 1693 to become the Dyers. In addition to the Nine Trades, Dundee also had the Maltmen, the Fraternity of Masters & Seamen, the Incorporation of Barbers & Perrriewig makers and the Three United Trades. The Three United Trades were not chartered until 150 years after the Nine Trades and had no powers in the Burgh other than that of controlling their own affairs. They were the building trades, the Masons, Wrights and Slaters. The Wrights were the squarewrights, or cabinetmakers, Joiners, who were also responsible for Burials, and the Glaziers

The Nine Incorporated Trades Of Dundee
Scottish Charity Number: SC001673

See Also: The Three United Trades Of Dundee