The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside ballad entitled 'Worshipful Cordners'


This ballad begins: 'To the Worshipful, Cordners of the West-Port, / A humble PETITION is entered in Court, / For Apprentice Booys, who would fain take a Drink, / Be blyth like their Masters, but want ready clink.' This sheet was published on 8th May, probably in 1725, the original part of the sheet is missing. There is no publisher given for this piece though.

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers was given its first Ordinance, thus making it official, in 1272. They chose St Crispin as their patron saint due to his involvement in and association with shoemaking. This poem refers to the Saint and his day, October 25th. On this day a traditional holiday was declared for shoemakers, on which a festival was held. The apprentices on this day had a reputation for creating mayhem and making a nuisance of themselves.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1725   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(075)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Worshipful Cordners'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland