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Government of the Carpenters' Company

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2812 B
Held at: Carpenters' Company
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Full title: Government of the Carpenters' Company
Date(s): 1774-2003
Level of description: Sub-fonds of the Carpenters' Company
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Extent: 52 volumes; 5 boxes; 1 file
Name of creator(s): Carpenters' Company | Worshipful Company of Carpenters


Administrative/Biographical history:

The governing body of the Carpenters' Company is the Court of Assistants, with the Master, who holds office for one year, being the head of the Company. The Company's earliest ordinances of 1333 stated that the Brotherhood was to be governed by four wardens elected annually. The ordinances of 1455 were more specific: the Company was to be governed by a Master and three Wardens who were to be elected annually on the Feast of St Lawrence (10 August) and hold office for one year. In order to help them manage the Company's business, which had increased, particularly in attempting to control the carpentry trade, the Master and Wardens were permitted to appoint eight Assistants who formed the Court of Assistants. They were to be former Master or Wardens of the Company, or 'most honest persons', and the Court was to meet once a week on Fridays. The ordinances of 1455 and the election of Master and Wardens were confirmed by the Company's charter of 1477. The work of the Court covered two areas, as a committee of management dealing with ordinary Company business, managing property and organising regulations for its conduct, and as a judicial court dealing with breaches of regulations, overseeing differences between freemen of the Company, and settling trade disputes between freemen and their employers outside the Company. As the Company's control over the trade declined, the Court's role as a judicial court was also diminished, and the Court's principal role became that of the governing body of the Company. The Court now meets once a month. A number of Standing Committees comprising members of the Court and Liverymen report to the Court on a regular basis.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Carpenters' Company relating to the governing of the Company, 1774-2003, (note that the older records of these series, from 1533, are held at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts section, see Related material for details) comprising Court minute books, 1882-2003, recording elections of officers, freedom admissions, apprenticeship bindings, some quarterage payments and minutes (to 1926, only elections, admissions, bindings and quarterage are recorded, all other proceedings are entered in the report and order books); rough Court minute books, including agenda papers, notes, ballot papers, 1856-1877, 1880-1883, 1899-1944; report and order books, 1859-1926; rough report and order books, 1856-1877; Court agenda books, 1903-1928, 1950-1961; Court attendance register, 1883-1927; Court papers, 1774-1775, including poor lists; standing orders, 1939, 1951, 1967, 1980, 1993; minutes of the Master and Wardens' Committee, 1928-1981; minutes of the General Purposes Committee, 1926-2003.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in the scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Access to the archives is at the discretion of the Company. The records are available for consultation by prior appointment only. Contact the Archivist, Carpenters Hall, Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2N 2JJ.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies of material can be supplied, subject to copyright restrictions and suitability of the item for copying.

Finding aids:

Catalogue available at Carpenters' Hall.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Created by the Carpenters' Company. Some records were transferred to the Guildhall Library in 1948.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Records in the series held at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Aldermanbury, London, EC2P 2EJ: Court minute books, 1533-1594, 1600-1674, 1676-1689, 1691-1882, including a calendar of freedom admissions, 1544-1577 (from 1737 minutes etc are entered in the Report and Order books) (ref: 4329/1 - 4329/24); Report and Order books, 1739-1858 (ref: 4329c/1 - 4329c/5); rough Report and Order books, 1741-1754, 1830-1855 (ref: 4329b/1 - 4329b/2); Court papers, including agenda papers, petitions for the relief of the Company's poor, lists of fines, notes relating to apprentice bindings and freedom admissions, abstracts of covenants between members of the Company for binding purposes, mayoral precepts, papers relating to the Company's granaries, licences issued by the Chamberlain of London, memoranda concerning viewings of work and orders relating to faulty workmanship, sundry correspondence, 1600-1603, 1609-1616, 1619-29, 1631-1632 (ref: 7784/1 - 7784/15); Court papers, 1749-1752, giving details of fines received for apprenticeship bindings and freedom admissions, with names, 1749-1754, and lists of pensioners, with amounts paid, 1749-1750 (ref: 7782).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Printed transcript and index in Records of the Carpenters' Company, vol.III (Oxford University Press, 1915) for Court minutes 1533-1573; printed transcript and index in Records of the Carpenters' Company, vol.VI (Oxford University Press, 1939) for Court minutes 1573-1594.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: A History of the Carpenters' Company, Jasper Ridley (Carpenters' Company & Unicorn Press Ltd, 1995); Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters Vol III Court Book 1533-1573 (Oxford University Press, 1915).
Compiled by Julie Tancell and Alison Field as part of the London Signpost Survey Project.

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:
December 2003

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