The Haill Six Incorporated Trades of Kirkcudbright were established in the town in 1425. In this year it was enacted that ‘every craft in the town should choose a wise man’, a Deacon to ‘govern and assay’ all its handiwork. The Trades were set up in direct opposition to the Merchant Guilds which held disproportionate influence in the community and who had amassed enormous wealth.
Membership of the Trades was much sought after as it allowed in many cases, the right to be a sole trader in the town. The Government of the 15th century quickly realised that the powers enacted on the Trades conferred too much influence on the Deacons. Their duties were soon restricted to a fortnightly enquiry into the skill of its members and quality of work produced. The position of Deacon was summarily abolished. The Trades men refused to accept this and continued to elect Deacons, an act which was seditious.