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The Emergence Of An Elite Craft: The Incorporation Of Surgeons Of Edinburgh, 1505-C.1680

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with an aspect of the social history of Edinburgh: the development of the Incorporation of Surgeons as an increasingly 'professional' body. Professions are an important aspect of urbanisation, since only large and sophisticated towns can support urban professions. The chapter spans the whole of the 'long sixteenth century', from the surgeons' Seal of Cause of 1505 until the later seventeenth century. While G. Gordon and B. Dicks' Scottish Urban History had dealt mainly with modern periods, Michael Lynch edited and contributed to The Scottish Medieval Town and The Early Modern Town in Scotland, which were pioneering works on the medieval and early modern periods. The chapter assesses the emergence and early development of the crafts - the barbers and surgeons. The more complex socio-economic structure and dynamics of the larger early modern town were an essential incubating factor for the elite craft groups as well as the embryonic professions.

Keywords: early modern Scotland; Edinburgh barbers; elite craft groups; Incorporation of Surgeons



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