Mary Tuke

The Rowntree factory strictly has its origins in the shop in Walmgate that was established by the Quaker Mary Tuke in 1725. She successfully rebelled against trading restrictions of the Merchant Adventurers Company which has become a classic case in company history.

Her nephew William joined her as an apprentice and took over the shop in 1752 dealing in tea and cocoa, but also manufacturing chocolate, and producing the successful ‘Tuke’s Superior Rock Cocoa’. The shop later moved to Castlegate. This was rebranded by Henry Isaac Rowntree as ‘Rowntree’s Prize Medal Rock Cocoa’ when he took over manufacture in 1862. Joseph Rowntree liked to joke of his competitors, using the biblical quotation, ‘Their rock is not as our rock’ (Deuteronomy 32:31).

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