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Livery Companies[edit | edit source]

108 livery companies have operated in London. Wikipedia maintains a list of The City Livery Companies, along with links to company websites.

Histories[edit | edit source]

Histories have been written on many London livery companies. The British Library has compiled a detailed list. Most of those published before 1923 are available for free online at Hathi TrustGoogle Books, or Internet Archive.

Medieval Londoners identifies several histories, as well as published records, available online.

Sources[edit | edit source]

A bibliography of original sources pertaining to London Livery Company members was published in 1982. It is available online.

A bibliography of surviving land records from each company was published in 1985.[1] The list is available online.

Apprenticeship records are one of the most valuable genealogical sources created by London livery companies. They often name the following information about an apprentice's father: name, residence, and occupation. Cliff Webb has abstracted the records of many companies:

Records from the following companies are included in Webb's abstracts: Apothecaries, Armourers and Brasiers, Basketmakers, Blacksmiths, Bowyers, Brewers, Broderers, Brown Bakers, Butchers, Carmen, Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers, Combmakers, Cooks, Curriers, Cutlers, Distillers, Dyers, Fan Makers, Farriers, Feltmakers, Fishmongers, Fletchers, Founders, Framework Knitters, Fruiterers, Gardeners, Glass-sellers, Glaziers, Glovers, Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, Grocers, Gunmakers, Horners, Innholders, Ironmongers, Longbowstring Makers, Loriners, Makers of Playing Cards, Masons, Musicians, Needlemakers, Painter-stainers, Pattenmakers, Paviors, Pewterers, Pinmakers, Plaisterers, Plumbers, Poulters, Saddlers, Spectaclemakers, Tallow Chandlers, Tinplate Workers, Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders, Turners, Tylers and Bricklayers, Upholders, Vintners, Waxchandlers, and Woolmen.[2]

The website Records of London's Livery Companies Online: Apprentices and Freemen 1400-1900 offers free indexes to The Bowyer's Company (1680-1900), The Clothworkers' Company (1545-1900), The Drapers' Company (c.1400-1900), The Girdlers' Company (1654-1900), The Goldsmith's Company (1600-1700), The Mercers' Company (1339-1900), and The Salters' Company (1599/1600, 1678-1900).[3]

For the period 1524-1553, a register of London freemen, created independently from the company records, has survived. Welch's abstracts are available online. He reports that other freemen records burned in a fire in 1786.

In 1641, a list of members of City Companies was compiled:

1641 Poll Tax of Drapers.

In 1651, signatures of members of 22 City Companies were taken:

  • London Citizens in 1651, Being a Transcript of Harleian MS. 4778. 1910. Digital version at Internet Archive - free.
22 companies are represented: Apothecaries, Armourers, Bowyers, Bricklayers, Butchers, Carpenters, Cordwainers, Chirurgeons, Cooks, Coopers, Curriers, Founders, Freemasons, Girdlers, Glasiers, Innholders, Painter-Stainers, Poulters, Sadlers, Tallow Chandlers, Turners, and Waxchandlers.
  • London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1930. Digital version at Ancestry.

In 1696, oaths from livery company members were recorded. This source acts as a census of liverymen:

77 companies are represented: Grocers, Mercers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Merchant Taylors, Haberdashers, Salters, Ironmongers, Vintners, Clothworkers, Dyers, Brewers, Leathersellers, Pewterers, Barbers, Cutlers, Bakers, Wax Chandlers, Tallow Chandlers,Armourers and Brasiers, Girdlers, Butchers, Saddlers, Carpenters, Cordwainers, Painter-Stainers, Curriers, Masons, Plumbers, Innholders, Founders, Poulters, Cooks, Coopers, Tylers and Bricklayers, Bowyers, Fletchers, Blacksmiths, Joiners and Ceilers, Weavers, Woolmen, Scriveners, Fruiterers, Plaisterers, Stationers, Broderers, Upholders, Musicians, Turners, Basketmakers, Glaziers, Horners, Farriers, Paviours, Lorimers, Apothecaries, Shipwrights, Spectaclemakers, Clockmakers, Glovers, Combmakers, Feltmakers, Frameworkknitters, Silk Throwers, Carmen, Pinmakers, Needlemakers, Gardeners, Soapmakers, Tinplateworkers, Wheelwrights, Distillers, Hatbandmakers, Pattenmakers, Glass-Sellers, Tobacco Pipemakers, Coachmakers, Watermen, Officers and Yeomen of Guard, Trinity House, Ordnance Office, Officers of Tower, Officers and builders of St Paul's, Heralds, Lutestring Company, Clergy: Archdeaconry of London, Clergy: Archdeaconry of Middlesex, London Dissenters.[4]

Original records of the Haberdashers and Ironmongers companies are online findmypast (£).

Abstracts of apprenticeship entry books for the Carpenter's Company (1654-1694) have been published online.

Original records of the Gunmakers' Company Freedoms and Admissions, 1656-1936 are online findmypast (£).

Walcot, Cynthia. 'Artists - 1823. A List of names and addresses of Artists in London,' The Hampshire Family Historian, vol. VIII, no.4 (Feb. 1982), 148-149, Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B27h

Inventories and information about the heirs of London freemen are included in Common Serjeant's Books at the London Metropolitan Archives. A partial index is available online.

Peter Wilson Coldham's index to Child Apprentices in America from Christ's Hospital, London, 1617-1778 is available on Ancestry. It lists orphans of citizens of London whose transportation to the colonies was paid for (£).

Physicians and Irregular Medical Practitioners in London 1550-1640 Database is online at British History Online.

The Clothworkers' Company Archive Catalogue is available online.

Clockmakers' apprentices online.

1631-1732 - "List of Members of the Clockmakers' Company of London" online

1518-present - Index to Fellows of Royal College of Physicians also known as Munk's Roll online.

1496-1515, 1547-1694 - "Skinners' Company: Apprenticeships," 'Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica,' Ser. 3, Vol. I (1896), communicated by G.E. Cokayne:

Guildhall Library[edit | edit source]

The original records of most London livery companies are deposited at the Guildhall Library. A guide to their collection is available online:

Manuscripts on Microfilm[edit | edit source]

Apprenticeship and Freedom Records Microfilmed by FamilySearch
Company Apprentice Years Freedom Years
Apothecaries 1694-1837 1694-1890
Armourers and Brasiers 1535-1826, 1835-1878 1535-1876
Bakers 1721-1730
Barber Surgeons 1672-1861 1522-1757
Basketmakers 1639-1844 1694-1766, 1808-1927
Blacksmiths 1631-1781 1728-1855
Bowyers 1723-1759, 1788-1865 1704-1722, 1760-1814
Brewers 1685-1906 1685-1824
Broderers 1694-1713, 1763-1878 1694-1728
Butchers 1654-1893 1658-1844
Carmens 1678-1853 1680-1942
Carpenters 1654-1892 1694-1856
Clockmakers 1686-1890 1712-1878
Coach and Coach Harness Makers 1722-1822 (1803-1893 index) 1803-1893
Cordwainers 1647-1965 1678-1961
Curriers 1658-1856 1678-1840
Cutlers 1575-1627, 1703-1848 1613-1863
Distillers 1765-1862 1638-1708, 1721-1899
Dyers 1706-1900 1650-1826
Farriers 1619-1862 1694-1739
Feltmakers 1694-1858 1755-1898
Fishmongers 1614-1860 1593-1870
Fletchers 1519-1602, 1732-1898
Founders 1643-1781 1681-1801
Framework Knitters 1694-1873 1713-1889
Fruiterers 1749-1903 1749-1938
Gardeners 1607-1658
Glass Sellers 1665-1853 1664-1913
Glaziers 1694-1854 1729-1794
Glovers 1694-1794 1735-1851
Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers 1731-1837 1693-1938
Grocers 1629-1896 1345-1652, 1686-1907
Gunmakers 1694-1902 1720-1745
Haberdashers 1583-1833 1526-1725
Horners 1694-1849 1847-1889
Innholders 1808-1919 1673-1921
Joiners 1641-1793, 1806-1866 1651-1804
Longbowstringmakers 1700-1785, 1794-1797
Loriners 1838-1909
Masons 1694-1856 1694-1795
Merchant Taylors 1583-1861 1530-1909 (index)
Musicians 1765-1877 1776-1881
Painter Stainers 1666-1950
Parish Clerks 1668-1943
Pattenmakers 1673-1883 1674-1899
Paviours 1565-1853, 1694-1862 1563-1853, 1694-1706, 1734-1822
Plaisterers 1763-1874
Plumbers 1696-1794
Poulters 1694-1860, 1872-1899 1694-1822
Saddlers 1800-1962 1697-1994
Scriveners 1392-1678, 1688-1704
Shipwrights 1727-1794, 1825-1875 1694-1894
Skinners 1496-1888 1496-1888
Spectaclemakers 1694-1860 1699-1873
Stationers 1555-1900 1555-1900
Tin Plate Workers 1824-1906
Turners 1604-1935 1604-1694, 1789
Tylers and Bricklayers 1612-1894 1676-1877
Upholders 1698-1947
Vintners 1563-1861 1428-1908
Watermen and Lightermens 1688-1908 1765-1904
Wax Chandlers 1596- 1694-1857
Weavers  ?Beg. 1681  ?Beg. 1681
White Bakers 1565-1860 1631-1935
Woolmens 1665-1892 1666-1898

Inns of Court[edit | edit source]

Lawyers from all over England and Wales were trained at London's four inns of court.

Main article: Lawyers in England and Wales

For a useful guide, see:

  • Brooks, Brian G.C. and Mark D. Herber. My Ancestor was a Lawyer. London: Society of Genealogists, c2006. FHL Book 942 D27bbg.

Notes on English Medieval Genealogy maintains a useful list of online Inns of Court records.

Gray's Inn[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Gray's Inn

go to See also Staple Inn, London Genealogy.

Inner Temple[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Inner Temple

Lincoln's Inn[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Lincoln's Inn

go to See also Thavie's Inn, London Genealogy.

Middle Temple[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Middle Temple

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 'Sources: London Livery Companies', A Survey of Documentary Sources for Property Holding in London before the Great Fire: London Record Society, 22 (1985), pp. 12-36. URL: Date accessed: 03 January 2012.
  2. About London Apprenticeship Abstracts 1442-1850 (Wayback Machine), British Origins, accessed 31 December 2011.
  3. Belinda Griffin, 'Records of London's Livery Companies Online,' Family Tree Magazine, 21 June 2012,, accessed 22 June 2012.
  4. Cliff Webb, "Association Oath Rolls - Background to the Documents" (Wayback Machine), British Origins, accessed 3 January 2012.
  5. Joseph Foster, The Register of Admissions to Gray's Inn, 1521-1889, Together with the Register of Marriages in Gray's Inn Chapel, 1695-1754 (London: The Hansard Publishing Union, Limited, 1889). Digitized by Google Books.
  6. The Records of the Honorable Society of Lincoln's Inn. Vol. I. Admissions from A.D. 1420 to A.D. 1799 (Lincoln's Inn, 1896). Digitized by Google Books.
  7. H.A.C. Sturgess, Register of Admissions to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple (from the Fifteenth Century to 1944). 3 vols. (Butterworth and Co., 1949).
  8. Charles Henry Hopwood, Middle Temple Records (London: Butterworth and Co., 1904). Digitized by Google Books.