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Archives in London and the M25 area

WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF BLACKSMITHS

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/L/BD
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives - click here to see details of the physical location of collection
Full title: WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF BLACKSMITHS
Date(s): 1494-2006
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 104 production units
Name of creator(s): Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

The Blacksmiths' Company derived from the medieval Fraternity of St Eligius (alias Eloy). In 1571, the Company united with the Spurriers' Company and was granted its first charter. Their jurisdiction encompassed not only the blacksmiths' trade but also the manufacture of spurs and the pulling of teeth. In the 1620s, the Company struggled to exercise its powers over the clockmakers who had emerged from its ranks and eventually set out to found their own Company. The Hall stood in Lambeth Hill between 1494 and 1666. It was rebuilt after the Great Fire and the lease was eventually surrendered in 1785.

The Fraternity of St Eligius (alias St Loye) was established in April 1424 by members of the crafts of blacksmiths, farriers and loriners, and its first masters were representatives from each of the founding crafts. All three were by then well established: the loriners had first obtained ordinances in 1260/1, the farriers in 1356 and the blacksmiths in 1372. The ordinances of the Fraternity of St Eligius [in GL Ms 5535] indicate that it was predominantly a social and religious body with less emphasis on trade control. The Fraternity met at Grey Friars (the Franciscan monastery on Newgate Street) on the feast of St John the Baptist, and again at the church of St Thomas Apostle on St Andrew's day. Members were expected to offer a penny on each occasion. There was a 'common box' into which brethren paid 2d per quarter and sisters 1d. Foreigners had to pay 6s 8d to join the brotherhood. Members received the clothing after two years and were exhorted to keep it honestly 'and give it not away'. Impoverished members might receive a weekly allowance, and deaths were marked with a dirge and a mass. New masters and wardens were chosen at a feast on the Sunday following St Eligius' day (1 December). They had power to resolve disputes and correct defaults, and were required to keep accounts and care for the goods of the Fraternity.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, 1494-2006. Records include charters; ordinances; court minutes; financial accounts; apprentice bindings registers; freedom admission registers; and deeds relating to Company property. Please note no access is allowed to Ms 2881/27-40 without permission from the Company.

Collection also includes records of the Fraternity of St Eligius (MS 02883 and 05535, ca 1424 and 1496, 2 production units). An inventory of goods belonging to the Fraternity of St Loye at Blacksmiths' Hall dated 1496 survives in a volume of Blacksmiths' Company wardens' accounts [GL Ms 2883/1]. It includes three garlands [caps] bearing an image of St Eligius, which almost certainly were used to crown the incoming master and wardens. This is apparently the last documented reference to the Fraternity and its subsequent history is unknown.

Ms 5535 was deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library by the Farriers' Company in 1949. Ms 2883/1 was amongst records deposited by the Blacksmiths' Company in 1929 and 1946. Both volumes now form part of the archive of the Blacksmiths' Company Catalogued at various dates by members of Guildhall Library staff.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ACCESS: These records are stored at the Guildhall Library site rather than the LMA Clerkenwell site. Researchers wishing to access these records should do so at the Guildhall Library Rare Books table. The Library is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 16:45. Researchers will need to have an Archives History Card or a Library Readers Card. An archivist will be available at Guildhall Library on Thursday mornings to answer any queries.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English

System of arrangement:

The catalogue has been arranged in sections each with an archival classification code as follows: A Constitutional records, B Court records, C Membership records, D Financial records, G Charities and estates.

Conditions governing access:

Restricted access: please see staff.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ACCESS: These records are stored at the Guildhall Library site rather than the LMA Clerkenwell site. Researchers wishing to access these records should do so at the Guildhall Library Rare Books table. The Library is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 16:45. Researchers will need to have an Archives History Card or a Library Readers Card. An archivist will be available at Guildhall Library on Thursday mornings to answer any queries. For further information please see LMA Research Guide "Consulting Archives at Guildhall Library", available at http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/Visitor_information/free_information_leaflets.htm

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records of the Company have been deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library at various dates since 1929. The Manuscripts Section merged with London Metropolitan Archives in 2008. The records have been catalogued by various members of staff over many years.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For further information relating to Livery Companies, particularly using the company records for family history, please see Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section "Livery Company Membership Guide" and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section "Leaflet Guides to Records: Searching for Members or those apprenticed to Members of City of London Livery Companies" (both available online).

For a general introduction to the history of the City of London Livery Companies please see entry in The London Encyclopaedia, ed Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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:
Oct-09

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