Cordwainer Definition
Shoe Definitions  Shoes

Have you ever heard the term "cordwainer"?  This is not the type of work you hear everyday.  However, it does have significance in the footwear industry.

A cordwainer is a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather.

Is that any different than a shoe cobbler?

Originally the concept was the cordwainer would make new shoes & a cobbler would repair shoes.  However, cobblers actually make shoes as well as repair them.

In the historic London guild system, the cobblers and cordwainers were separate guilds, and the cobblers were forbidden from working in new leather.

The cordwainer's trade can be contrasted with the cobbler's trade, according to a tradition in Britain that restricted cobblers to repairing shoes. This usage distinction is not universally observed, as the word cobbler is widely used for tradespersons who make or repair shoes.

United Kingdom Cordwainer: In London, the occupation of cordwainer was historically controlled 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 historically where most cordwainers lived and worked.

United States Cordwainer: Cordwainers were among those who sailed to Virginia in 1607 to settle in Jamestown.

Canada Cordwainer: Cordwainers were also among the early settlers of Canada. On 14 June 1749, the newly appointed Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Edward Cornwallis, arrived off Chebucto Head, Nova Scotia in the sloop-of-war HMS Sphinx with the objective of establishing what is now Halifax. By 27 June, the thirteen transport ships following the Sphinx reached the harbour with the initial 2576 British settlers; among them were nineteen cordwainers.

The word cordwainer is possibly becoming a bit too outdated.  The term shoe cobbler is more commonly used.

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