The Refounded Company
Events open to the Public
20th Century Past Masters of the Company
21st Century Past Masters of the Company
The Cordwainers and the 2010 Mystery Plays
The old Cordwainers Hall in Hungate
New Master 2011/2012
Charter Weekend 2010
Court of Assistants 2009 - 2010
Past Masters 1977 - 2000
As each generation moves on, it is all too easy to forget those who in the past have contributed so much to the Company of Cordwainers.
With this in mind in 2004, the Court of Assistants ordered the preparation of a photographic and biographic record of Past Masters to be placed in the York City Archive as part of the record of the Company’s achievements.
1977 - 78 & 1978 - 79 Percy L. Nutt
In 1977 Percy Nutt, who had Cox’s leather shop in the Shambles, persuaded Canon Jack Armstrong to call a meeting of “men and women connected with the Boot & Shoe trade, Repairers and those in shoe shops” who were interested in re-forming the Company of Cordwainers. This was the start of the present Company. Before his death in 1988 he contributed greatly to the Company and is commemorated in a window in Bedern Hall
1979 - 1980 C.C. Meadowcroft
Cyril Meadowcroft was one of the founding members of the Company.
He had been active in the York shoe trade being Secretary and then President of the York Boot Trade Association. Sadly he was taken ill and died in office early in 1980 and Percy Nutt completed his term.
1980 - 81 W.R. Preece
Bill Preece, Managing Director of A. Watkinson in Goodramgate, was one of the founding members of the Company and became its first Clerk, generously supporting the Company during a difficult period. He initiated negotiations to secure the Bedern Hall for use by the Three Guilds. It was during his term of office that the 6th race at the York August meeting, a 2 ½ furlong race for 3 year old colts and geldings, was entitled “The Cordwainers’ Stakes”. In 2004 Watkinson’s celebrated their centenary as a leading quality shoe shop in the City.
1981 - 82 P, Storey
Peter Storey, Managing Director of Clarks of York, was one of the founding members of the Company. It was during his Mastership that the first Joint Guild Service took place. It seems likely that the custom of processing to the Annual Church Service started at this time, as did the first reports of invitations to events of other York Guilds.
1982 -83 J.G. Bird
John Bird was an early member of the Company. His Mastership included the publication of the Cordwainers’ Records, a transcription of the ancient Company’s Ordinances, together with much of the fundraising to finance the Bedern Hall. He initiated links with the London Cordwainers’ College. In 1985, his bequest of the carved Cordwainers Coat of Arms, which hangs in the Bedern, was dedicated to his memory.
D. Bullock 1983 - 84
|Dennis Bullock, with his wife, Audrey, continued his father’s shoe repair and leather goods business for over 35 years – established in 1930; it survives today. During his Mastership the Foundation Stone of Bedern Hall was laid in October 1983
R. Stabler 1984 - 85
Bob Stabler, came from Hull where he was involved in shoe making and at one time produced clogs.
Mrs. K. Foster 1985-86
Kathleen Foster was the first lady to progress to Master in the re-founded Company, and possibly in the Guild movement as a whole. This was at a time when female office holders in the Guild movement were a rarity. She very effectively paved the way for the many lady Masters who have followed her. She acted as producer for all the Guilds Wagon Plays in both 1998 and 2002.
T.H. Atkinson 1986 - 87
Harry Atkinson, was a highly skilled craftsman who could not only repair but also make shoes. The leather covering of the Master’s Bench in Bedern Hall is an example of his work. He continued to serve the Company as not only Chamberlain, but also Dinner Clerk, until 2001, when he was presented with a garden seat. Harry was still an active member when he died in 2003
Mrs. E.M. Marshall 1987 - 88
| Elizabeth Marshall was a partner in the family shoe shop D. Webster & Son, in Goodramgate. As well as being Master in her own right, she represented her father who was one of the founding members of the Company. Her daughter Judith Williams, continues the family tradition as Master 2004 – 2005.
Noel Bakes, M.B.E. 1988 - 89
Noel Bakes continued to serve the Company as Beadle from 1989 until 2003, the longest serving Beadle in the reformed Company’s history. Noel was awarded the M.B.E. for services to the community in his home town of Hornsea in 2002. In 2005 he was awarded the French Legion of Honour for his war service. A long standing thespian he took part in the Company play in the 2002 Mystery Plays.
A.J. Harris 1989 - 90
H. Woodworth 1990 - 91
Harold Woodworth was introduced into the shoe repair business at an early age in his father’s business in Salford. Later he joined W.H. & B. Shoe Repair Machinery Manufacturers in Manchester, where he rose to manage their Glasgow and Leeds Branches. He continues as an active member of the Company
G.R. Burn 1991 - 92
Raymond Burn served as Clerk to the Company from 1983 – 1993. He maintained a high profile role during a period critical in the formation of the Bedern Hall Company and the establishment of the Bedern Hall for the Three Guilds. He was succeeded in the office of Clerk by his son, S. Mark Burn, shortly before his death in July 1993. He is commemorated in a stained glass window in the Bedern Hall, a project on which he had worked so hard to bring to fruition.
G.R. Best 1992 - 93
Gerry Best spent 39 years of his working life in the shoe industry finally retiring as Shoe Care Marketing Manager for Reckett & Colman. He was a Board Member of the Boot Trades Benevolent Society and originated the Marathon Walk which raised over £300,000 for shoe and leather charities.
Mrs. M. Pease 1993 - 94
Mona Pease was for a period Company Almoner and continues to serve on the Court of Assistants as an active Past Master
D. R. Sampson 1994 - 95
David Sampson is a farmer from Skipsea, who in the past was active in cattle production. Despite ill health, he continues to serve the Company as an active Past Master on the Court of Assistants.
Miss B. Milner 1995 - 96
Brenda Milner, a former Lady Mayoress of the City, represented the Company at the Induction of the Archbishop of York. In 1997 – 98 she served again as Joint Master with Jane Hatcher, due to an unexpected gap in the succession. She continues to serve the Company as Almoner.
Miss C.J. Hatcher 1996 - 97
Jane Hatcher renewed contact with the London Guilds, and served again as Joint Master with Brenda Milner during 1997 – 98.
Miss B. Milner & Miss C. J. Hatcher 1997 - 98
|Due to an unexpected gap in the succession Miss Milner and Miss Hatcher shared the Mastership in 1997 - 1998|
C.J.E. Bird 1998 - 99
Kit Bird, was the 2nd generation of his family to serve as Master. It was the first time this has occurred within the Company. He continued to serve the Company as Dinner Clerk until 2005. He took part in the 1998 Wagon Plays and is Treasurer of the Bedern Hall Company, through which the three Guilds administer the Bedern. The Company owes much to Kit’s enthusiasm and energy.
Canon J.H. Armstrong, M.B.E. O. St. J.
Canon Jack Armstrong and Percy Nutt were responsible for the re-founding of the Company in 1977. “Canon Jack” carried out significant research into the Company’s history and re-instituted many of its ancient traditions. He was Chaplain both to the Company and to all the York Guilds for many years.
Mrs. R. Parker 2000 - 2001
Ruth Parker, Master in the Millennium year, continues to serve the Company as an active Past Master on the Court of Assistants.