Dundee's other Trades & Orgs

The Maltmen Incorporation of Dundee

The Maltmen were basically the brewers of the Burgh, and whose position in Dundee was extremely important to the Town Council, as taxes for the Burgh were levied and collected on the production of beer. The Maltmen Incorporation appears to have commenced in 1622. Following the sacking of Dundee by General Monck, there was a shortage of money, and the Maltmen assisted the Town by paying a tax on each measure of malt used in production. The maltmen also paid a fee to the Guildry to carry on their trade, and train apprentices.


These payments did not bring with them the privileges of the Guildry, and there were many fights over their official rights and privileges with the Guildry. Dundee’s financial position following Monck left the Town Council in a difficult position, and hence they stood by as they Maltmen Incorporation formed.


Indeed when in 1690, the Town needed more money, the Maltmen gained several concessions from the Council in return for their financial support. The Town Council effectively controlled the Guildry at this time.
The right to appoint a Deacon and boxmaster was granted by the Council despite this being in breach of an earlier Act of the Scottish Parliament.


In 1707, an argument over the payment of their share of minister stipends, saw the Guildry get Council backing to remove the maltmen’s right of appointing a Deacon or Boxmaster, and the past dues were collected and paid to the Guildry.
However, their position within the Guildry remained one of difficulty, culminating in 1740 in the setting up a new body to oversee the selling of ale. But the Guildry saw this overruled. Finally, after much more wrangling, the Maltmen were finally admitted as members of the Guildry with equal rights and obligations in 1820.
The Maltmen, like other Trades, had contributed and owned, and gained income from pews and seats in the East Church. This asset was handed over in 1852 to the Guildry in settlement of unpaid dues on minister’s stipends.
The Maltmen enjoyed a reasonable status in the Town’s history with one of the four directors elected from the Guildry to sit on the lunatic Asylum’s board. In addition, they sat as members of the Trustees of the Harbour Trust.


The Incorporation of Maltmen still flourishes in the City today. Their numbers remain strong and meet quarterly as a group, with annual donations to many of the City’s good causes.


As with other trade organisations, they are led by a Deacon, supported by a Boxmaster, as treasurer, with an administrative Clerk. They also have a Management Committee to aid their functioning.