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Membership records of the Carpenters' Company

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2812 C
Held at: Carpenters' Company
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Full title: Membership records of the Carpenters' Company
Date(s): [1533]-2003
Level of description: Sub-fonds of the Carpenters' Company
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Extent: 10 volumes, 3 boxes, 1 folder, 1 file, 12 index drawers
Name of creator(s): Carpenters' Company | Worshipful Company of Carpenters


Administrative/Biographical history:

The membership or freedom of the Company could be obtained in one of three ways: by apprenticeship (also called service or servitude) on completion of a term of apprenticeship to a freeman of the company, by patrimony, by being the legitimate child of a male freeman born after his admission to the freedom, or by redemption, which entailed the payment of a fee. The consent of the Masters and Wardens of the Company was required to become an apprentice carpenter, and the 1455 Ordinances stated the cost of becoming bound was to be 1 shilling. In 1508 this was increased to 3 shillings. If a carpenter had been apprenticed to a master carpenter of the City of London he could join the Carpenters' Company by servitude. Some apprentices did join the Company, but many did not. Once a member of the Company, freemen could be promoted to the livery, the next level of Company membership, which in turn could lead to membership of the Court of Assistants and the offices of wardens and Master. During the sixteenth century, the freemen of the Company not promoted to the livery were termed 'yeomen', being the less prosperous journeymen who worked for wealthier craftsmen (or members of the livery) for wages, but the term had fallen into disuse by the eighteenth century. Members of the livery were required to pay quarterly membership dues, known as 'quarterage', to the Company. Membership of the Company through patrimony no longer exists, having been removed as a method of admission in 2003.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Carpenters' Company relating to apprentices, members and officers of the Company, [1533]-2003, (note that records of these series, from 1654, are held at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, see Related material for details) comprising membership lists, namely biographical card index of names of members appearing in the Company records, [1533-1966], compiled 20th cent; Livery Lists and supplements, 1962-1975; lists of the Master, Wardens, Court of Assistants, livery and freemen (from 1993) with addresses, dates of admission to freedom and livery, and dates of election to Court, 1789-1842, 1873-1924, 1934-1981, 1984-2003; register of livery admissions, 1877-1924; records of admission, elections or resignations, comprising releases of livery, 1793-1915; registers of freedom admissions, including stamp duty paid, 1941-1949; declarations and oaths, comprising registers of Master and Wardens' oaths, 1869-2003; registers of Freemens' declarations, 1869-2003; quarterage books, 1757-1955; correspondence files, comprising Liverymens' files, 1939-2003; Freemen's files, 1940-2003; photographs of Masters of the Company, 1872-2003; photographs of Company Beadle, 1926; scrapbooks compiled by Masters, 1950-1951 (R Cecil Barnes), 1978-1979 (Douglas W M Eggleton).

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 at the discretion of the Archivist, subject to copyright restrictions and suitability of the item for copying.

Finding aids:

Catalogue and biographical card index of names of members. Searches can be undertaken on request.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Created by the Carpenters' Company. The card index was originally in two parts and was merged into one single series in 1958, when it was microfilmed for Guildhall Library and for general security. Previous liverymens' files were destroyed in May 1941, as was the first photographs album of the Masters of the Company. Some records in the series were transferred to the Guildhall Library in 1948.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also Court minutes and papers for admissions to the Freedom and apprenticeship bindings.

Records in the series held at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Aldermanbury, London, EC2P 2EJ: Livery Lists, 1746-1876 (some gaps) (ref: 4334/1 - 4334/2); register of apprentices, 1765-1892, giving apprentices' names, names and addresses of masters and their occupation (ref: 4338); register of members, 1673-1765, including names of freemen called to the livery 1673-1757 and list of freemen with dates of admission, 1676-1765 (ref: 4336); registers of freedom admissions, 1694-1856 (ref: 4335/1 - 4335/5); registers of apprenticeship bindings, 1654-1892 (some gaps), including accounts of Orphans' Duty paid into the Chamber of London from 1694 (ref: 4337); quarterage books, 1676, 1700-1757 (ref: 4330).
The earliest membership records - those of Freedom Admissions and Apprenticeship Bindings - are found in the Court minute books (section B) and Wardens' accounts (section D).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Printed transcript and index of registers of apprenticeship bindings in Records of the Carpenters' Company vol I Apprentices 1654-1694 (Oxford University Press, 1913)

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Guildhall Library Manuscripts Department website
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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