382nd Master Cutler installed in Sheffield in historic ceremony delayed by a year
A new Master Cutler has been installed in a Sheffield tradition stretching back nearly 400 years - but was interrupted last year by the pandemic.
James Tear is the 382nd head of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire, in an unbroken line of succession dating back to 1635.
The ceremony at the opulent Cutlers’ Hall on Church Street was attended by several hundred Freemen (manufacturers) and Friends (supporting companies) of the Company.
In a speech, Mr Tear, who is chief executive of metals firm The Solpro Group, described himself as a ‘proud metal basher of this parish’.
He then led a procession of top-hatted Freemen to Sheffield Cathedral for a service, before returning to the Hall for lunch.
The event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic and outgoing Master Cutler, Nicholas Williams, served a two-year term.
The Cutler’s Company was founded in 1624 to ensure the proper training and treatment of apprentices, for registering marks and to devise regulations to ensure the quality of workmanship.
It is governed by an elected Master, who holds office for one year, two wardens, six searchers (who originally had the right to enter property and search out badly or illegally made goods) and 24 assistants.
These ‘members’ act as chairman and board of directors. Assisting them is a small permanent staff headed by the clerk, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of company business.
As the face of industry in the region since 1624, the Company promotes and supports local manufacturing with the Master Cutler acting as its ambassador.
The Solpro Group includes Thessco, a private, family-owned precious metal engineering business founded in 1760 and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of silver brazing and industrial silver alloys.
With its main manufacturing and sales facility in the traditional engineering heart of Sheffield, and a further sales and distribution centre in Paris, Thessco exports to more than 50 countries.
Mr Tear’s father, Paul Tear, was the 359th Master Cutler in 1997/8. His sister Jackie runs one of the few remaining cutlery and silverware factories in Sheffield, British Silverware.
Mr Tear and wife Jo are excited to support the charity, Cavendish Cancer Care, during their year in office through the Master Cutler’s Challenge and championing the fantastic work they do.