Philobiblon: A demarcation dispute of 1601

Monday, January 23, 2006

A demarcation dispute of 1601

"House of Commons] On Saturday the 12th day of December [43 Eliz., 1601]. . . . An Act for redress of certain abuses used in Painting was read the third time."

Mr Heyward Townsend ... shewed, that in the statute of 25 Ed. 3 Cap. 3 Plaisterers were not then so called but Dawbers and Mudwall-Makers, who had for their Wages by the day three pence, and their Knave three half-pence (for so was his Labourer called) they so continued till King Henry the Sevenths time, who brought into England with him out of France certain men that used Plaister of Paris about the Kings Sieling and Walls, whose Statute Labourers these Dawbers were. These Statute Labourers learned in short time the use of Plaister of Paris, and did it for the King ...

... They renewed their Patent in King Henry the Eighths time, and called themselves Plaisterers aliàs Morter-Makers, for the use of Loam and Lyme.

... In all their Corporations at no time had they the word Colours, nor yet in their Ordinances. ... The Plaisterers never laid any Colour upon any of the Kings Houses, nor in the Sheriffs of London, but this Year. ... They have been suffered to lay Alehouse Colours as red Lead and Oaker with such like and now intrude themselves to all Colours; Thus they take not only their own work but Painting also, and leave nothing to do for the Painter."

Reading between the lines, it seems the debate in the lower house lapsed without agreement, the subject went to the Lords, who appointed a few members to try to mediate in the dispute. And people complain about modern-day regulation!

From Tudor Economic Documents: Being Select Documents Illustrating the Economic and Social History of Tudor England by (eds) Eileen Power, R. H. Tawney; Longmans, Green and Co., 1924, p. 136-39.


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