Master Cutler

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The Master Cutler is the head of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire established in 1624. Their role is to act as an ambassador of industry in Sheffield, England. The Master Cutler is elected by the freemen of the company on the first Monday of September of each year and the position taken in the first Tuesday of October. Despite the title, the Master Cutler does not have to be involved in the cutlery business, or even the steel industry, to be elected.

The first Master Cutler was Robert Sorsby (1577–1643). His son, Malin Sorsby, was Master Cutler in 1647, and in turn his son Robert Sorsby took the office in 1669. Another Robert Sorsby, a cousin of the first, held the post in 1628.[1]

The Installation of the new Master Cutler and Company follows the annual election of the new Company. In the early years of the Company, the Election, Installation, Church Service and celebratory meal (which eventually became the Cutlers’ Feast,) all happened on the same day. Now, only the Installation and Church Service, followed by lunch take place on the same day.

The Master Cutler for 2020 - 2021 is Nicholas D O Williams.[2]

List of Master Cutlers[edit]

Brass Plaque in Cutlers' Hall

Notable and recent Master Cutlers have included:[3][4]

The eponymous train[edit]

In 1947 at a meeting of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire Ronald Matthews, a former holder of the office and Chairman of the London and North Eastern Railway suggested that the 7.40 train from Sheffield Victoria to London Marylebone, returning at 18.15, should be named The Master Cutler. This was agreed by both the Company of Cutlers and the LNER. The then Master Cutler, A Balfour, later the 2nd Lord Riverdale, rode on the footplate of the inaugural train. It has since been a tradition that the Master Cutler ride with the driver of the train during their year of office.[11] The Master Cutler was introduced by the LNER on 6 October 1947, running on the Great Central Main Line route from Sheffield Victoria to London Marylebone calling at Nottingham Victoria and Leicester Central.[12][13] Upon nationalisation the following year, the service became the responsibility of the Eastern Region of British Railways. Known to staff simply as "The Cutler", the train carried a restaurant car and was generally hauled by a Gresley A3 Pacific.[13]


  1. ^ Binfield, Clyde; Hey, David (1997). Mesters to Masters: A History of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0198289979.
  2. ^ "The Master Cutler, 2020-2021". The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  3. ^ Plaque in Cutlers' Hall
  4. ^ The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire Archived 15 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Masters Cutler
  5. ^ "Cutlers' Feast". Sheffield Daily Telegraph: 5. 3 September 1880.
  6. ^ "Master Cutler′s Feast". The Times (36887). London. 1 October 1902. p. 4.
  7. ^ Master of industry, the Sheffield Star, 3 October 2007
  8. ^ "Historic date for first female Master Cutler". Sheffield Telegraph. Johnston Press. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  9. ^ "New Master Cutler: 'We should not undervalue Sheffield'". Sheffield Star. Sheffield. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Master Cutler". Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Company of Cutlers". Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Naming of LNER Master Cutler Express" Railway Gazette 10 October 1947 page 23
  13. ^ a b Mac Hawkins (1991). The Great Central then and now. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 10. ISBN 0-7153-9326-X.

Further reading[edit]

  • Clyde Binfield, David Hey (1997) Mesters to Masters: A History of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire (Oxford University Press) ISBN 0198289979

External links[edit]