The requirement to be engaged in the cloth trade ceased in 1858 when members from other trades were admitted in order to keep the Incorporation alive.

Recently, in 2006, this changed again so that leaders or owners of non-trade businesses and organisations are eligible to become members. This is in recognition of the changing character of the independent businesses in trade and commerce in Exeter. 

Familiar businesses names whose owners are or were members of the Incorporation could be seen around Exeter, Devon and beyond.

Families of cloth wholesalers and outfitters were Browne, Dunsford, Cornish, Eveleigh and Gardner.

Parkin and Holladay were Iron Founders and you will see their names on gratings and manhole covers around the City’s streets and further afield.

Familiar names of building and property businesses Pratt, Devon Contractors (Murrin), Jacobs and Knapp. 

Paper and Printing businesses were led by Pitts, Baker, Townsend, Pollard, Wheaton, and Luce.

Retailers and Merchants – Rowe, Bruford, Kneel, Pring, Walton, McGahey, Marsh, Redfern, Maunder, Houndsell   

Some of these businesses continue but many have merged or closed as the world of commerce has change with less emphasis now on local family control.

Past Masters since 1945

  • S R E Snow
    1945 - 1946
  • A J Dunsford
    1946 - 1947
  • H F Pollard
    1947 - 1948
  • R J Rew
    1948 - 1949
  • K C H Rowe
    1949 - 1950
  • J H Wippell
    1950 - 1951
  • R W Townsend
    1951 - 1952
  • C R Browne
    1952 - 1953
  • K R W Eager
    1953 - 1954
  • R Row
    1954 - 1955
  • A H Holladay
    1955 - 1956
  • P Tighe
    1956 - 1957
  • E G Pitts
    1957 - 1958
  • J F Sutton
    1958 - 1959
  • W H C Bishop
    1959 - 1960
  • F W Cornish
    1960 - 1961
  • A D Bruford
    1961 - 1962
  • R G Rew
    1962 - 1963
  • J A C Kneel
    1963 - 1964
  • M J Pollard
    1964 - 1965
  • A J Wheaton
    1965 - 1966
  • W N Boorne
    1966 - 1967
  • K R Upright
    1967 - 1968
  • H E E Holladay
    1968 - 1969
  • R S Cornish
    1969 - 1970
  • T H Pring
    1970 - 1971
  • I G Walton-Turner
    1971 - 1972
  • K C H Rowe*
    1972 - 1973
  • A H Holladay*
    1973 - 1974
  • L Dunsford
    1974 - 1975
  • J Parkin
    1975 - 1976
  • E S Dowell
    1976 - 1977
  • E R Bruford-Davies
    1977 - 1978
  • J A C Kneel*
    1978 - 1979
  • J R Cornish
    1979 - 1980
  • A J Eveleigh
    1980 - 1981
  • B C Pratt
    1981 - 1982
  • E M McGahey
    1982 - 1983
  • E S Dowell*
    1983 - 1984
  • R Dunsford
    1984 - 1985
  • H E E Holladay*
    1985 - 1986
  • W H Rees
    1986 - 1987
  • E R Bruford-Davies*
    1987 - 1988
  • M T Baker
    1988 - 1989
  • D E Lopez
    1989 - 1990
  • K C H Rowe**
    1990 - 1991
  • M J Commin
    1991 - 1992
  • J R Cornish*
    1992 - 1993
  • J L Maunder
    1993 - 1994
  • M G Hounsell
    1994 - 1995
  • J D Cathcart
    1995 - 1996
  • R L Persey
    1996 - 1997
  • J Parkin*
    1997 - 1998
  • G D Murrin
    1998 - 1999
  • R Dunsford*
    1999 - 2000
  • I T Gardner
    2000 - 2001
  • M T Baker*
    2001 - 2002
  • TV Knapp
    2002 - 2003
  • M C P McGahey
    2003 - 2004
  • H R Parkin
    2004 - 2005
  • C A Redfern
    2005 - 2006
  • P J Dunsford
    2006 - 2007
  • R L Persey*
    2007 - 2008
  • S Marsh
    2008 - 2009
  • A King
    2009 - 2010
  • G D Murrin*
    2010 - 2011
  • H Luce
    2011 - 2012
  • R Jacobs
    2012 - 2013
  • P Kingdon
    2013 - 2014
  • T V Knapp*
    2014 - 2015
  • P Hilson
    2015 - 2016
  • J Gaisford            2016 - 2017
  • S Hindley OBE    2017 - 2018

         * Master previously