Smiths Company


Newcastle Upon Tyne

The Smiths Company of Newcastle

A whitesmith is a person who works with “white” or light-colored metals such as tin and pewter. While blacksmiths work mostly with hot metal, whitesmiths do the majority of their work on cold metal (although they might use a forge to shape their raw materials).

The term is also applied to metalworkers who do only finishing work such as filing or polishing on iron and other “black” metals.

Whitesmiths make things such as tin or pewter cups, water pitchers, forks, spoons, and candle holders.

Smiths in Newcastle

The oldest ordinary of this society, dated January 14th 1436, enjoined that they should go together in procession on the feast of Corpus Christi, and play their play at their own expense, attending at the hour appointed, on pain of forfeiting a pound of wax; that every brother should be at St. Nicholas’ church, at the setting forth of the procession, on St. Loy-day, on the like penalty; that no Scotsman born “should be taken apprentice, or suffered to work, on pain of the forfeiture of 40s. Half whereof to go to the chamber of the town, and the other half to the fellowship;” that no brother should sell “seyme and roff” by weight, under 3s. 4d. a hundred, on pain of forfeiting 6s. 8d.

Another ordinary, dated September 25th 1664, exhibits the society as consisting of the different branches of black-smiths and farriers, black-smiths or anchor-smiths, and lock-smiths or white-smiths.

Another dated August 17th 1677, empowered the fraternity to be a body politic in law, enjoined them to meet yearly on St. Loy-day, to choose four wardens, of which one at least was to be an anchor-smith; that the twelve of the company should consist of four anchor-smiths, four black-smiths and farriers and four lock-smiths; to choose four searchers; that apprentices should serve seven years; and that no brother should come to meetings, or attend the public guild of the town, with his apron on, but with a decent cloak or coat, on pain of forfeiting 6d. for each default.

Their meeting-house is in Black Friars, which once that of the chapel of the monastery, was the scene of a remarkable state transaction, being the room in which homage was done by the Scottish King, Baliol, to King Edward III. of England, for the Kingdom of Scotland. This hall was repaired in the years 1751 and 1770, and again was altered , repaired, and ornamented in 1823.

A stone above the entrance bears the date 1436. The old windows of the chapel are gone, but contains a beautiful mantle piece. The room is now known as Freemen’s Hall and is maintained by the City, it is used by several companies as their meeting room.

Most probable date of Incorporation: 1436


Senior Steward

Philip Bell 
22 Fairways Avenue 
Newcastle upon Tyne