Reference code(s): COL/CHD/CR
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
Title: CHAMBERLAIN'S DEPARTMENT: CHAMBERLAIN'S COURT
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 2.8 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London
The Chamber of a city is the place where the funds of the corporation are kept and where moneys due are received - a kind of treasury. The Chamber is run by the Chamberlain, an officer who receives the rents and revenues owed to the corporation. The origin of the Chamber of London is obscure, but as soon as the citizens were sufficiently united to hold lands and tenements in common an officer must have been appointed to collect rents and disburse income for public welfare. The Chamber is first mentioned in 1275 and in the following year Stephen de Mundene is named as City Chamberlain. At first the Chamberlain was chosen by the Mayor and Aldermen, but by 1319 elections were introduced and the officer was chosen by the liverymen in Common Hall.
The Chamberlain's duties combined municipal finance with public banking. His main duty was as treasurer or banker of the City of London with custody of the monies of the Corporation, called the City's Cash, and other funds. Former Chamberlains were able to keep for themselves profits derived from interest on the cash! The Chamberlain also collects the rents of all Corporation properties and makes payments on behalf of the Corporation including salaries and pensions. He also invests money, is responsible for insurance, the preparation of tax returns and production of reports and statistics.
Additionally, the Chamberlain was the Accountant General of the Court of Orphans (see CLA/002) and held all money belonging to the orphans on which he allowed interest. For this purpose the Chamberlain held a Common Seal, first mentioned in 1396. He was also the occasional collector of taxes for the London area, particularly those granted to the City by the monarchy in return for loans. The Coal Duty for reconstruction of public buildings after the Great Fire was paid into the Chamber, as was any money borrowed by the City. The Chamberlain was also treasurer of any charitable funds organised by the City.
The Chamberlain's Court administers applications and admissions to the City Freedom, liaises with the City Livery Companies and advises the Corporation, Livery Companies and correspondents on various aspects of the City Freedom, including precedent and custom. The Court was also responsible for the admission of apprentices, see COL/CHD/AP.
Scope and content/abstract:
Records of the Chamberlain's Department relating to the Chamberlain's Court, including notes, press cuttings, reports, correspondence, photographs, articles, certificates and office papers relating to Freedom applications and admissions including historical procedures and precedents, 1712-1993. Please note the majority of these records are closed.
ACCESS AND USE
Language/scripts of material: English
System of arrangement:
In sections according to catalogue.
Conditions governing access:
These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998
Conditions governing reproduction:
Copyright: City of London.
Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:
Immediate source of acquisition:
Corporation of London Records Office.
Existence and location of originals:
Existence and location of copies:
See also COL/CC/FDC: Freedom Committee (19th century), COL/CC/FAC: Freedom Applications Committee and COL/CHD/FR: Chamberlain's Department: Freedoms.
Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.
Date(s) of descriptions: February 2009