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Archives in London and the M25 area

WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF FISHMONGERS

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/L/FE
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives - click here to see details of the physical location of collection
Full title: WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF FISHMONGERS
Date(s): 1328-1983
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1465 production units
Name of creator(s): Worshipful Company of Fishmongers

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

The guild of Fishmongers is first mentioned in 1154, but may well have been long established then. The Fishmongers were an important mediaeval company and are the fourth in precedence of the "Great Twelve" companies. The Stockfishmongers were a separate association, granted a charter in 1508, but the two companies were united in 1536. The site of the hall, between Thames Street and the river, was occupied by prominent fish merchants from the 14th century and was secured for the Company in 1444. The hall was destroyed in the Great Fire and a replacement, built in 1671 was demolished in1828 to allow for the rebuilding of London Bridge. It was rebuilt in 1834, damaged by bombing in 1940 and restored in 1951.

The Company's charities include Gresham's School at Holt, Norfolk, established in 1555 which is still largely run and supported by the Fishmongers; almshouses at Newington (St Peter's Hospital, now at Wandsworth), at Harrietsham, Kent and Bray, Berkshire (Jesus Hospital). The Company's estates include several properties around Thames Street in the City, an estate at Walworth, Southwark and an Irish estate in County Londonderry. There is still a strong connection with the fish trade and the Company has the right to inspect all fish sold at Billingsgate Market, as well as advising the fish and shellfish trade.

Sir John Gresham, later Lord Mayor of London, founded a school at Holt in Norfolk in 1555. It was established on a firmer footing by letters patent in 1562, with the Fishmongers' Company being appointed governors. The Company retains close links with the school. Gresham granted the school estates in London and Norfolk for its maintenance. The school was rebuilt in 1859, and again in 1903 when it expanded into new buildings on the edge of Holt. Until 1971 it was boys only, but it became fully co-educational in the 1980s. For more information see Rev CLS Linnell, Gresham School's History and Register, 1555-1954, Ipswich 1955.

Sir Thomas Hunt, by his will dated 1615, gave 20 a year to the Fishmongers' Company for the foundation and maintenance of a hospital. Licence to erect the hospital in Newington (to be called St Peter's Hospital) was granted in 1618 by letters patent of James I. There were 42 almspeople housed in the hospital in 1824.

Mark Quested (d. 1642), Citizen and Fishmonger, bequeathed his estate to the Fishmongers' Company for various charitable uses, including the building of 12 almshouses. The almshouses in Harrietsham, Kent, were completed in 1651. They were rebuilt by the company in 1770 and 1772.

In 1616 letters patent of James I licensed the Company to establish almshouses to be known as Jesus Hospital in Bray, Berkshire. They were to be maintained from the revenue of property in Bray, the parish of St Katharine Creechurch and elsewhere in the City of London, bequeathed by William Goddard in 1607 for that purpose. William Goddard had stipulated that that the hospital was to be made of brick and that there should be rooms with chimneys fit for 40 poor people. There should also be a chapel, and a kitchen and bakehouse. The Fishmongers Company were to be Governors of the hospital and should choose the poor people, six of which should be of the most aged and poorest decayed persons of the company. The remainder should come from the parish of Bray and should be 50 years old at least. No married couples were to be admitted. The brethren of the hospital had use of all the lands in Bray to be employed in keeping cows to give them milk, and to grow crops or to plant orchards for their own sustenance. The building was finished in 1628.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers. 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.

Title deeds of property in the City start from 1289, but apart from charities and estates records, most series date from the late 16th century: court minutes begin in 1592 while freedom admissions survive from 1593. Some series continue into the 20th century. Records include copies of charters and ordinances; Court minute books; Committee minute books and agendas; annual reports; livery lists; registers of members; registers of freedom admissions; papers relating to apprentice bindings; quarterage books; financial accounts; Clerk's papers including letter books; papers relating to property including rental books and maps and plans.

Also records of Sir John Gresham's Charity: The records comprise constitutional documents, minutes, reports, correspondence, pupil lists and estate papers. They were catalogued by members of Guildhall Library staff. See also Ms 5855/2.

Records of Saint Peter's Hospital: They comprise: lists of almspeople, ca. 1790-1840 (Ms 21543, pp. 19-21, 64-66); register of applicants, 1855-99 (Ms 21512); papers relating to administration and the conduct of the almspeople, 1629-1898 (Ms 07262); plans ca. 1850 (Ms 21539); and list of library books, 1897 (Ms 21513). Further references may be found in other Fishmongers' Company records such as minutes and accounts.

Records of Harrietsham Almshouses: They comprise: accounts, 1652-1896 (Ms 05831, 05832-3, 06365, 07291); relief books, 1790-1909 (Ms 05831A); lists of almspeople, ca. 1790-1839 (Ms 21543, pp. 33-5); register of applicants, ca. 1855-68 (Ms 21512); correspondence and miscellaneous papers, 1666-1836 (Ms 05851, 07293, 08342). Further references may be found in other Fishmongers' Company records such as minutes and accounts.

Records of Jesus Hospital: They comprise: copy of letters patent of James I and of William Goddard's will, rules and bye-laws, statutes, register of applicants, lists of almspeople, list of readers and chaplains, accounts, correspondence, plans and terriers of lands, and miscellaneous papers. Further references may be found in other Fishmongers' Company records such as minutes and accounts.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and Latin.

System of arrangement:

As the archive is large and complex, and to assist the user, the catalogue has been arranged in sections representing sub-groups each with an archival classification code as follows:
CLC/L/FE/A Constitutional records,
CLC/L/FE/B Court records,
CLC/L/FE/C Membership records,
CLC/L/FE/D Financial records,
CLC/L/FE/F Clerk's records,
CLC/L/FE/G Charities and estates.

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.

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 Company's records were largely deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library in 1949-52 and several subsequent deposits have been made. The Manuscripts Section merged with London Metropolitan Archives in 2008. The records were 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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