Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Cordwainers and Cobblers by Sandra Masters

Cordwainers and Cobblers
A Brief History
Research by Sandra Masters, Regency Novelist, September 2018
Fabulous Shoes and Dancing Slippers

 On the Left:    Silk Shoes with Buckles,French, c. 1760's. @Bata Shoe Museum.
On the Right: Silk and Cordovan leather dancing slippers@Bata Shoe Museum

My Book Six, The Blue-Eyed Black-Hearted Duke, Book Six, Regency Fantasy Romance,
has a secondary character whose father is a Cordwainer Guild Merchant with factories/shops in England and France. My research into the fabulous dancing shoes for women and boots for both men and women became an epic project.

                                       How do you tempt a sinner?—Offer him a saint!

The release date is November 5, 2018 for this Regency Fantasy Romance, is available for pre-order for a limited time at:   Buy Link

Dark, dangerous, brooding and, in his opinion, unredeemable, Radolf, Duke of Wolferton, doesn’t fear death but welcomes it. Guilt-ridden because of his sinful past, the tormented hero of the Waterloo wars, honor-bound, believes he is undeserving of any woman’s love and closely guards his black heart.
            Powerfully drawn to him, Jaclyn Moreux, his ward, cannot deny his allure and the sizzling attraction that grows. She is lured by his seductive charm and the danger and passion in his embrace. But a treacherous villain sets about disparaging the duke to Jaclyn with lies and half-truths.
            Jaclyn vows to help Radolf conquer his demons and accept the supernatural powers that predestines their love.

            Back to the fabulous shoe wear, historically, there was a distinction between a cordwainer, who made luxury soft shoes and boots out of the finest leathers, and a cobbler, who repaired them. The word "cordwain," or "cordovan," represents the leather produced in C√≥rdoba, Spain. The term cordwainer (also "Corviser") has origins as early as 1100 AC in England.  Medieval cordovan leather not only was used for the highest quality shoes, but cordwainers also used domestically produced leathers and were not solely producers of luxury footwear.
            A cordwainer's trade contrasts with the cobbler's trade, according to a tradition in Britain that restricted cobblers to repairing shoes. The usage distinction is not universally observed, as the word cobbler is widely used for tradespersons who make or repair shoes. A major British dictionary says that the word cordwainer is archaic, "still used in the names of guilds, for example, the Cordwainers' Company," but its definition of cobbler mentions only mending reflecting the older distinction.

                               The above are examples of specialty shoes and slippers.

In the historic London guild system, the cobblers and cordwainers were separate guilds, and the cobblers were forbidden from working in new leather. Historically, cobblers also made shoes but only used old leather recovered from discarded or repaired shoes. 

                                          A cordwainer’s workstation in Capri, Italy

Today, many makers of bespoken shoes will also repair their work, but shoe repairers are not normally in a position to manufacture new footwear. In London, the historically controlled occupation of cordwainer became monitored by the Guild of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers. They were granted a royal charter of incorporation in 1439 but had received their first ordinance in 1272. The ward of the City of London named Cordwainer is where most cordwainers lived and worked in England.

            The shoe industry, cordwainers and cobblers, have a rich history, and a great deal of information is available via the internet. This snippet of research is to acquaint readers with this fascinating occupation.

Posted By: Sandra Masters
Email Address:
Newsletter sign up

Resources: Cordwainer, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia