Company Comment. Sept. 2009

Company Comment
Master's Report

By John Bishop,                                                 

Fellow Freemen, welcome to another addition of Company Comment and the beginning of a new year for the Honourable Company. I am grateful to you all for your continued confidence in electing me to a second term.

Before tackling the tasks for this current year, it is with sadness that I must report the passing of Past Master Ronald Lister on July 21st, as the result of a lengthy battle with cancer. No service was held at Ron’s request. I have written to his widow Joan to pass on the condolences of the Court and Company.

I would like to reflect on the accomplishments of your Court during the last twelve months, which can be summarized here and will be addressed more fully in the following articles.

We have completed and launched the website, which has received many visits and is to be used exclusively for communications to our members. Yes, we do have members who will not be able to receive our electronic communications, and to those members we will continue to send information by mail. As you know, we incur a cost each month to maintain and keep our site current but the savings over traditional communication methods have made it very worthwhile.

We have continued to offer a varied selection of events, which continue to generate support from our members. However, we are constantly looking for other options and the Events Committee would welcome your suggestions via

This year saw the first AGM to be held independently of our Annual Dinner. nineteen members attended the AGM and a good discussion took place around a number of topics. Later in this issue you will find reports on the AGM.

In May we held our Annual Dinner, which was attended by more than seventy members and guests. Our guest speaker was His Excellency the British High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Anthony Cary who shared with us his knowledge of the City pf London and its role as the world’s financial centre.

In June we held our “Meet the Court” event at the home of the British Consul General, Mr. Jonathan Dart, in Toronto. As Jonathan was enjoying a very well earned vacation, the Acting Consul General, Mr. Ashley Prime, hosted the event. Whilst not only “meeting the Court”, we took the opportunity to induct Ashley as a new member of the Honourable Company.

Most recently, August 23rd, saw twenty four members and guests assemble on the veranda of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club for cocktails before sitting down to a delicious Buffet Dinner generously arranged by Immediate Past Master, Professor Michael Charles and his wife, Barbara.

We are now in the process of reviewing our methods of communicating our events and improving facilities for collection of funds, to make it easer for you all to book and pay for events.

Whilst we have continued to maintain our contribution to our Charitable Account from our events, our attendance numbers are not as high as we had hoped, which leads your Court to question the viability of some of the Company events going forward. I would hate to see a decline in the number of events, but would love to see greater membership participation and suggestions from our membership at large.

Continuing with the subject of Communications, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Warden Norman Morris as Chair of Communications and Editor of Company Comment. Norman was elected to the Court at our AGM in April.

And finally as I reflect, I am delighted to announce, six new members have joined us since the last issue of Company Comment. Their names will appear in the Membership Report later in this issue.

Membership is our lifeblood, without new members, we will not be able to offer the scope of events or other initiatives we have in the past. This year we want to establish a better way to recognize new members and to that end, we will continue to arrange a New Members Evening at which all new members will be formally introduced and welcomed. All new members will receive a City of London Freemen's pin and a new Membership Certificate, which is being developed as I write. Last year we welcomed ten new members, and this year I’d like to achieve at least this number and preferably more. I encourage all our members to consider introducing guests as potential new members, please contact our Membership Chairs at

And now to the objectives for this year:

• Improve events communications and sign-up
• Evaluate new events
• Consider an easier method of collecting fees for events
• Launch a new Membership Certificate
• Conduct a full inventory and insurance evaluation of all the Company Treasures

Your Court has three new members, with one departure. To our departing Warden, Nigel Napier Andrews, many thanks for your support and contributions over the years. Earlier I introduced Norman Morris; I would also like to introduce both Bill Motley and Ken Foxcroft who were elected to the Court in April. Both have already “volunteered” their services. Bill will very shortly assume the role of Honourable Clerk from Martin Walmsley who deserves a rest after his many years of service to the Court. Ken has agreed to join the Finance Committee and assist in both investments and audits. Thanks to these three new Court members, I look forward to your contributions over the next twelve months.

Your Events Committee is developing plans for several events before our AGM and Annual Dinner next year. The most important being on Wednesday, September 30 to welcome the Rt. Hon the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Ian Luder, who will be visiting Toronto for approximately 24 hours.

Fellow member, Brian Rose of Stikeman Elliot, has generously stepped forward to offer the facilities of Stikeman Elliot, at 5300 Commerce Court West, for the reception (tentatively scheduled to start at around 4:00 pm and end at 6:00 pm) to welcome Alderman Ian Luder.

Your events chair, John Smith, is working closely with Stickeman’s and the British Consulate to finalise the plans for the reception and once complete, we will relay to you all.

As this is a significant achievement for the Company, I want to ask as many of you as possible to attend what I believe will be a memorable event.

Other dates for your calendar:
Annual General Meeting
Date and time: Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 6:00pm
Details and Location: To be confirmed
Open to: Members and their spouses/partners

Annual Dinner
Date and time: Friday, May 7, 2010,
Reception 6:30pm, Dinner 7:30pm
Location: The National Club, 303 Bay Street
Details: To be confirmed
Dress: Black Tie or Business Suit

I would like to hear from our members with any thoughts and ideas to improve the quality of membership of The Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London of North America. You can do this in two ways, attend our AGM scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 or email your comments to me at

My very best wishes to you all.


Charity Report
September 2009               

In 2008 your Court approved a proposal to establish an annual scholarship at the University of Western Ontario in the amount of $5,000 per annum. The agreement with the University will last for five years.

The Agreement supports the Honourable Company’s objective of strengthening social, commercial and person linkages between the Honourable Company and the City of London England. At the same time, it supports the university’s objective of significantly increasing the number of Western students involved in exchange and study-abroad programs

The Charity Trustees accepted a proposal from the university that the scholarship should be centered in the University’s Department of Actuarial Sciences that already had an exchange agreement with the City University in London England.

The Master was pleased to announce at the Annual Dinner that David Cook from Pickering will be the first holder of the scholarship and will take up residency in London (England) in the fall.

David is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies, specializing in Finance and Administration. Appropriately, his fourth year will be spent on exchange at the City University in the City of London, England.

David’s accomplishments are not only academic. He is Vice President of the University Band and Songwriters’ Society and a member of the Audio Engineering Society.
On graduation next year, he hopes to find employment with a prominent financial services firm.

We wish David every success in The City and look forward to his report at next year’s Annual Dinner at which, we also hope to be able to announce next year’s Scholarship holder.

In conclusion, one of this would be possible without the considerable help and experience of staff in the Department of Alumni Relations at the University and in particular to Carol Stinson their Campaign Director.


Master’s Report to the Annual Dinner
Friday May 8th, 2009

I am privileged and honoured to have been elected your Master and to have served the Company for the last twelve months.

While this year did not get off to a great start with the sad loss of our Master Elect Robin Braithwaite, and then the resignation of our Honourable Treasurer and Honourable Clark in June, I have to say that it has ended very well.

I am indebted to Michael Charles and Martin Walmsley for filling the breach as Honourable Treasurer and Honourable Clerk respectively; I would also like particularly to thank John Smith for the support and encouragement he has given me over the last twelve months.

My gratitude and appreciation are also extended to the other members of the Court who have been very helpful in many different ways.

This year is to be the last for Warden Nigel Napier-Andrews who is retiring from business life and stepping down from the Court. Nigel will be missed. Through his good initiative we have gained access to the Performing Arts Lodge and have held events such as wine and beer tastings as well as our Court meetings in this location. Nigel regrettably cannot be with us this evening, but we wish him much happiness in his retirement.

At our recent AGM I outlined, the objectives I set, at the beginning of my term:

  1. Complete and launch the new Company Website.
  2. Continue to develop and improve attendance to the 7 or so events the Company holds each year.
  3. Improve communications to all our members.
  4. Ensure the Events we propose continue to contribute to our Charitable Fund to support our ongoing relationship with the University of Western Ontario.
  5. Ensure our membership continues to grow and look for new members who can assist on the Court in due course.

I am very happy to report that we are well on our way to completing all these objectives.

  1. The website has been live since last June.
  2. Attendance has held steady or improved at each of our events
  3. Communication with our Members and The Company Comment, is now handled via email and the website for all those members with on-line access and by hard copy to all those who are not. We are working towards a better means of Event Registration and hope to include a secure method of payment through our website.
  4. Our Events continue to raise monies for our Charitable Account
  5. We have attracted 12 new members in the last twelve months.

Regrettably we bade farewell to our Past Master Tim Sheeres who passed away in February of this year. While the Court had sent condolences to Tim's widow, Anne Sheeres, who is present with us this evening, out of respect for Tim as a Liveryman, a true gentleman and for his efforts on behalf of the Honourable Company, I now ask you all to observe a short period of silence.

At the AGM, our Honorary Treasurer reported our finances in both the Operating and Charity accounts were in excellent shape. The Charity account having increased by 31.5% during the previous year. One-time charges connected with the development of the web site had reduced our Operating account by 23.5%.

Martin Walmsley in his capacity as Chair of the Charitable Trust reported on the progress of identifying a recipient for The Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London Scholarship and I am delighted to announce the recipient is David Cook who is with us tonight as Martin’s guest. David, please stand and be acknowledged. We hope David will be able to join us this time next year to report on his first year at the City University in London, England.

And finally, with the exception of Nigel, three new Court Members – Ken Foxcroft, Bill Motley and Norman Morris, are joining all the other Court Members who have agreed to stand again, following the approval of the AGM. Gentlemen, thank you.

Fellow Freemen, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, this concludes my report.


Report On The Annual General Meeting
Held On
April 22, 2009 at 6:00pm

At a meeting held on March 11th 2009, the Court decided to hold the Annual general meeting of the Honourable Company before the Annual Dinner rather than at the Dinner. The Masters report and Investiture would continue to be held at the Dinner.

The Meeting complied with the terms of the Constitution of the Honourable Company in that adequate notice was given to all members and that a quorum was present as defined by The Constitution as follows “No business shall be transacted at any General Meeting of Members unless there are at least 10% of Regular Members Present. In this case 19 members attended from a total membership of 85. Notice of the meeting was given at least 21 days before the meeting.

The Meeting was held in the Performing Arts Lodge In Toronto by kind permission of the Management.

The Officers of the Company each presented reports that were approved by the meeting after discussion.

A copy of the Master’s Report to the Annual Dinner is attached to this notice.


Membership Report
by Neil Purcell                                               

Congratulations and welcome to the following new members of the Honourable Company:

Diane Bailey, Bill Motley, Ashley Prime, Brian Rose, John Laing and Derek Robinson.

New members are important to ensure the present and the future of the Honourable Company.

Please keep this in mind and invite your family, friends and colleagues to join us. The best way to encourage new members is to bring them as guests to our events.

For those members of the Honourable Company who are not yet Freemen, if you would like to apply for the Freedom, or, if you have any questions, please contact me. I would be delighted to assist you in obtaining the Freedom and I look forward to hearing from you.


Annual Dinner
by John S. Smith  

Once again more than 70 Liverymen, Freemen, Members and their guests gathered at the National Club for the Annual Dinner.

The annual meeting had taken place on an earlier date to enable everyone to enjoy the dinner with a minimum of business formalities.

The Honourable Company was pleased to welcome His Excellency the British High Commissioner, Mr. Anthony Cary and the recently arrived Consul General for Toronto Mr. Jonathan Dart, as our guests for the evening.

The National Club again provided us with an excellent menu with a rib eye steak highlighting the fine fare.

An innovation this year was music provided by classical guitarist Bozidar who entertained us during dinner.

Warden Hugh Pauwels was our Master of Ceremonies.

Past Master Neil Purcell did the grace and the Master, the toasts to Her Majesty the Queen and to the Office of the President of the United States.

The master also toasted the many guests who were present.

After dinner Past President John Smith did the toast to the Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London of North America and this was followed by the ceremony of the loving cup, always a popular part of the evening.

John Smith introduced his Excellency Mr. Anthony Cary who entertained us with his wide knowledge of London as the world’s foremost financial business centre in a very well received speech.

He was thanked by Freemen Geoffrey Berg, previously Consul General in Toronto.

The evening was rounded off with the Investiture of the re-elected Master, his supporting Officers and Wardens of the Court for the ensuing year.


Report On The Dinner Of The Honourable Company Of Freemen Of The City Of London Of North America Held At The Royal Canadian Yacht Club
Sunday August 23rd 2009

The Master John Bishop
& guests arriving

Once again we were royally entertained on the Toronto Islands at the world famous yacht club where past master Michael Charles and wife Barbara were our hosts.

An always popular event with our members.

After the heavy storms of the previous week the sun came out to welcome us as we disembarked from the 100 year old motor launch Kwasind.

We took cocktails on the balcony overlooking the Toronto harbour prior to dining on an expansive buffet dinner.

Master john bishop extended a welcome to members and their guests.

After dinner there was time for photographs of the spectacular Toronto night skyline before re-embarking for the short return trip to the dock.

Click here for more pictures of the event


The Painters Stainers Dinner

As a Liveryman and Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers Livery Company I usually plan my visits to England to coincide with Company events. The Painters Company was organized in 1283 and formed a union with the Stainers Company in 1502, and is 28th in the order of precedence of the 100 plus Livery companies.

The Company has many excellent events throughout the year, however, one of my two favourites is The Barnett Dinner. The dinner takes place each May under the provisions of the will of Liveryman William Davidson Barnett and is our only truly formal event of the year. The dress code for the evening is evening dress with white tie and tails or uniform, which makes the whole affair quite grand.

The Barnett Dinner this year was a very special occasion for the Company as it was held at Mansion House the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, (which is special in itself), for the first time in 48 years, the previous time being May 23rd, 1961. This was also the 100th anniversary of the first dinner. However, what made the evening extra special for most of us was the break with usual Livery dinners tradition. Because of the dinner being held at Mansion House and the historic nature of the event, Liverymen and their guests were invited to make the evening truly festive by having our ladies accompany us. What a wonderful sight, 350 of us, gentlemen in evening dress and uniforms and the ladies looking wonderful in their beautiful dresses was spectacular and made this an evening to remember.

As Livery dinners end at 10:30 and we were all dressed up with no place to go, my wife Livia and I decided to end a wonderful evening with champagne at The Ritz.

We truly enjoyed this elegant, festive and memorable evening.

The article below about the Barnett Dinner was written by Liveryman of the Painter-Stainers Martin Nicholls who is editor of Phoenix, the magazine of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.


By kind permission of the Right Honourable The Lord Mayor, Alderman Ian Luder, the 2009 Barnett Dinner, which marked the centenary of the first dinner in 1909, took place at Mansion House. Both the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress were present, together with Mr Sheriff George Gillon CC and his escort Ms Delva Patman.

The principal guest and speaker was Mr Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery and the Guard of Honour was provided by our affiliated Territorial Army Unit, 3(MI) Battalion (Volunteers).

Mansion House, was designed by the architect and Clerk of the City's Work, George Dance the Elder. The first stone was laid in 1739 and the work was finally completed in 1758. It is thus a Georgian town palace in London which is the home of the Lord Mayor of the City of London and contains living, working and entertainment space.

We entered via the Wallbrook Entrance (which was originally designed as an eight stall stable and coach house, although it has never been used for that purpose) and our champagne reception took place in the opulently decorated and furnished Salon, Long Parlour and Drawing rooms on the first floor. This accommodation also contains superb plasterwork and the celebrated Samuel Collection of 17th Century Dutch Old Master Paintings.

Dinner took place in The Great Egyptian Room. This has seating for 350 and was completely filled to capacity by Painter-Stainers and our guests, all of whom looked magnificent in white tie, black tie, evening dress or uniform and decorations. The architectural style of this room is similar to the style of the great Italian architect Andrea Palladio whose work can be seen all around Vicenza near Milan and is based on designs of Roman buildings in Egypt by the classical Roman architect, Vitruvius. The marble statues date from the mid nineteenth century and the colourful stained glass from 1868. Together with the lofty decorated ceiling, giant columns and impressive minstrel’s gallery, from which were entertained superbly by The London Banqueting Ensemble (whose rendition of the traditional Post Horn Gallop was most skilfully played) the event was provided with the perfect setting.

This was without doubt an evening of superlatives with excellent fare complimented by the best wines from our own cellar and informative and entertaining speeches from the Lord Mayor, Master, Past Master Roy Millard and our principal guest speaker, Mr Sandy Nairne.

We were reminded by the Lord Mayor that the last time the Barnett Dinner was held at Mansion House was on 23rd May 1961. He also spoke about his work as ambassador for the City in these difficult financial times, but wanted to assure us that the capital markets are still functioning and there are signs of recovery. He has made the Mansion House more accessible to the public and one can now go on City Guide tours. He thanked us for our contribution to the City through the Lynn Painters-Stainers’ Prize and our Art in the City exhibition and reminded us that in the will of William Davidson Barnett is a responsibility to maintain his grave.

The guests were warmly welcomed by Past Master Roy Millard who spoke affectionately of our military links and in particular our absent friends in HMS TALENT who were probably many fathoms under water in a far flung ocean somewhere many thousands of miles away.

Sandy Nairne spoke of his life at the National Portrait Gallery and in particular his pride in being able to hang the picture of William Shakespeare by John Taylor (1585-1651), a past Painter-Stainer, so prominently in the gallery. This portrait is one of the most famous of William Shakespeare and is believed to have been painted from life between 1600 and 1610. It was given to the National Portrait Gallery on its foundation in 1856 and it is listed as number one in its collection, being its first acquisition. Sandy Nairne also referred us to the William Morris view that there should be no division between the Arts and the Crafts and that our contribution to this fusion of the skills was something of which we can be justifiably proud.

The Master rounded off the evening. He gave gifts to the Lord Mayor and our principal speaker, thanked the Guard of Honour, the officials of the Company and caterers and reminded us that this year is the fifth year of the Lynn Painter-Stainers’ Prize.

As we departed Mansion House, all were in an elevated state of mind, having experienced an uplifting and most entertaining opportunity to renew our fellowship and warmth in an atmosphere of splendid luxury with magnificent fare amongst beautiful paintings and architecturally decorative interiors.

We shall be for ever grateful to William Davidson Barnett for his legacy and to Richard Martin, our Master for arranging the centenary dinner to be held in such a splendid location.


Meet the Court
by John S. Smith  

On a sunny July evening (one of the few) we were welcomed to the delightful residence of the British Consul General in Toronto, Mr. Jonathan Dart.

Mr. Dart was, at the time, taking a well deserved break with his family in the UK but we were very fortunate to have his Deputy and Acting Consul General, Mr. Ashley Prime host the proceedings.

This was billed as an evening to meet the new court and over 40 were in attendance.

It is always a pleasure to visit Forest Hill and many of us have happy memories of summers past, drinking Pimms on the well-manicured lawns.

Pimms was again a very popular choice as were the wonderful hors d’oeuvres provided by Elaine who would be leaving later in the week to take up residence in Vancouver. We will miss her.

The Master was delighted to induct Mr. Prime, a diplomat with an expansive library on the City of London its history and traditions, as a new member of the Honourable Company.

Our thanks to Jonathan Dart for providing the perfect setting for this annual event and to Ashley Prime for acting as a most gracious host.


An Abbreviated History of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers

In this issue, I will continue to follow the progression of the series of histories of the leather related companies of the City of London. Following the order of precedence, the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, at 25, is our next company in this series.

Early and Middle Years - 1100-1800.
There is a tradition that a Saddlers' guild existed in London in Anglo-Saxon times, before the Norman Conquest. Although there is now no documentary evidence to support this, it is quite possible that an earlier fraternity of saddlers did exist due to the importance of the horse as a means of transportation and the need for quality saddles and associated strong leather accoutrements. The earliest known document, which refers to the Saddlers of London, is a scrap of parchment now held in the library of Westminster Abbey. The parchment records the details of an agreement between the Church of St. Martin-le-Grand and the Guild of Saddlers, and has been variously dated between 1160 and 1193. The Saddlers had associated themselves with this Church from their earliest times and they were originally a Fraternity of St. Martin. The parchment was taken to Westminster Abbey following the dissolution of the Church of St. Martin-le-Grand in 1548.

In Sir Ernest Pooley’s book, the Guilds of the City of London, he states that “the Weavers and the Saddlers appear to have had the earliest characters that are known, in the reign of Henry I” (1100-1135) so it appear that some formal recognition of the Saddlers Guild goes back this far. However, grants of Liberty and Letters Patent, giving the Guild authority over the saddlery trade, date initially from Edward I in 1272 (although no trace of any document remains). The second grant was made by Edward III in 1363. However, the most significant Royal grant was the Incorporation Charter of Richard II in 1395. Subsequent supplementary Royal Charters confirmed and amplified these earlier documents.

Richard II's charter recognised the Saddlers as a body corporate, with the right to hold land in mortmain (the grant of land to a corporate body with a perpetual existence, therefore not liable to succession dues) as well as having control over the saddlery trade in London. This laid the foundations of the Company's prosperity. With a bequest from William de Lincolne, an Alderman of the Company, the first Saddlers' Hall was built at the western end of Cheapside soon after 1395. This was certainly befitted a company which was then ranked among the earlier Great Twelve companies.

By the 16th century, the economic balance of the City had moved from the craft companies to the merchant companies. So, when the City Court of Aldermen established the order of precedence of Livery Companies in 1515, the Saddlers - despite their seniority in terms of years - were relegated to 25th place.

The Charter of King James I
The Charter of King Charles II
The Charter of Queen Elizabeth II

The Crown also frequently used its grant of charters to raise money to fill its own coffers and to exert its control over the City and its Livery Companies. Thus, in 1684, when Charles II decided to bring the City of London under his direct control, he ordered a surrender of the City’s Charter, together with those of all the Livery Companies, under a writ of Quo Warranto; he then issued new charters of his own. The Saddlers' Company received its replacement Charter in 1684. This was abrogated after the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 and the 1607 Charter of James I was reinstated as the governing charter of the Company. The James I charter was finally replaced by Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II when she granted her Charter to the Company in 1995.

Control of the Trade
In the early Middle Ages, the Master and Wardens acquired jurisdiction over all saddlers working within a two-mile radius of the City: apprenticeships, admissions to the Freedom, wages, working conditions and the quality of goods offered for sale were among the most important matters which concerned the Court of Assistants.

Water-colour representation
of a Search by the wardens
c17th century

As with so many of the London livery companies, demarcation disputes with other companies and guilds were not infrequent. On occasions these degenerated into conflict and led to rioting The City authorities regularly intervened, executing summary justice on the offenders and imposed penalties on their companies and guilds. However, the leather livery companies seem to have been less aggressive towards each other than many of the other guilds. They also experienced less mergers, which were forced on other warring crafts by the City.

The chartered livery company system reached its zenith in London in the 16th century. This was eroded thereafter by the custom of the City to allowed any Freeman to follow any trade regardless of his original training, by the improvements in the transport systems, and by the inexorable advance of industrialisation.

In the 18th century, the Saddlers' plea to the Court of Common Council for support for the Company's rights over its trade went unheeded, and, in the aftermath of the Reform Act of 1832, all restrictions on the exercise of trade within the City were abolished. By then, however, much of the saddlery trade had migrated from the City elsewhere and to Walsall in the West Midlands, in particular.

Struggle for Survival 1801-2000
The 19th century saw the Saddlers' Company fortunes wane in both influence and membership. Along with the Corporation and other Livery Companies, much of this period was spent in fending off attempts by radical reformers and liberal administrations to abolish the ancient institutions of the City of London on the grounds that they were based on privilege and made no contribution to the community as a whole.

It was, as Wellington said of Waterloo, a damned close-run thing. Much credit for the survival of the Livery companies as a whole is owed to Sir Richmond Cotton, Master of the Saddlers' Company in 1880 and a subsequent Mayor of the City of London. However, it did inspire the Livery Companies to become more outward looking and become involved in projects such as the formation of the City & Guilds of London Institute and the Northampton Institute (now City University).

The Saddlers' Company was among the founders of both of these educational enterprises and, by the beginning of the 20th Century, was again taking steps to benefit its own craft - this time on a national rather than a local basis. In fact the Saddlers are more heavily involved in the support of the saddlery and equestrian industries than any of the early craft guilds with the exception of the Goldsmiths.

The saddlery trade, unlike so many of the skill and craft trades of earlier times, flourishes still due to the continuing growth of equestrianism in the UK and abroad. In support of its earlier mandate it continues to work in the pursuit of excellence in saddlery and leather-based horse accoutrements. In particular, it supports the activities of the Society of Master Saddlers. It presents many prizes in a variety of equestrian activities and events from the British Equestrian Trade Association’s Spring Fair, the British Equestrian Federation’s competitions and within the Armed Services competitions.

In the area of training, the Company launched the Millennium Apprenticeship Scheme to promote work-based training to the highest standard. A Trade Liaison Committee, working through the Saddlery Steering Group, is responsible for the allocation of income from the Apprenticing Charity Endowment. Through this mechanism, this maximizes the Company’s support of British saddlery training and is effected through collaboration with the City and Guilds of London Institute and the Society of Master Saddlers.

The Company maintains the National Register of Qualified Saddlers at the 4 levels of attainment – basic, intermediate, advanced and supervisory.

Company Affiliations
The Company’s affiliations with the military are extensive. Their involvement with mounted units of the Armed Services might be expected and this affiliation includes the two mounted units based in London: the King’s Troup, Royal Horse Artillery and the Mounted Regiment of the Household Cavalry. Beyond London, the affiliation extends to the Household Cavalry, which is an operational reconnaissance regiment of the British Army.

The Master presenting the prize for the best student on the Long Equitation Course,
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, December 2008


Less obvious in its historical relevance are affiliations with the RAF, the British Navy and London-based cadet forces:

1) Number 17 Squadron of the RAF, which is the Typhoon (Euro Fighter) operational evaluation unit. 2) HMS Nottingham, a type 42 anti-aircraft destroyer.
3) 106 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery (a Yeomanry regiment).
4) Middlesex and North West London Army Cadet Force.
5) London Area Sea Cadet Corps.
6) London Wing Air Training Corps.

The Company’s Arms
It is known that the Company had adopted a shield bearing the device of a chevron between three saddles before Richard III, in order to rationalise and control the heraldry of England, established the College of Arms in 1484.
Nevertheless, in 1585 the Company approached Robert Cooke, then Clarenceux King of Arms, for confirmation of the right to display arms. Approval was duly issued on 20th October 1585, together with the grant of crest and supporters.

The original grant was lost when the first Hall was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. However, in 1989, a reconstruction of the original grant was prepared by the College of Arms and validated by Garter Principal King of Arms, Sir Colin Cole and he formally presented it to the Master at a dinner in Saddlers' Hall.
The heraldic description is: 'A shield, azure a chevron between three saddles, furnished or. The crest, on a wreath of the colours a horse passant argent, bridled, saddled and trappings or, on its head a plume of three feathers carnation. Supporters, on either side a horse argent, hoofed and bridled or, on its head a plume of three feathers carnation.’
The saddles are the manege or warre saddles of medieval times, used for schooling war horses as well as for mounted combat.

The Company is possibly unique in that it has two different mottos: ‘Spes meo in Deo’ (Our Trust is in God) and ‘Hold Fast – Sit Sure’. The second is the most commonly used.

Saddlers' Company Crests –
the one on the right from the Master’s Chair

The Halls

The First Hall
William de Lincolne, who was one of the four Saddlers elected in 1362 to safeguard the ordinances of the Guild, bequeathed the sum of 10 marks in his will, proved in 1393, to the Saddlers of London on condition that they built a common hall for their use within three years of his bequest. Although the exact date is not known, it is likely that the building was completed at the time of the Incorporation Charter of 1395. Certainly, references to Saddlers' Hall appear from the early 1400s onwards.

The Hall stood on Westchepe - the western part of Cheapside - in an area known as "The Saddlery", between Cheapside and Gutter Lane. It stood there until 1666 when it was totally destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

The Second Hall
The second Hall was built on the same site in 1670, with much financial pain, fire insurance being then unknown. It too was destroyed by fire, in 1821, due to an accident in a nearby let building.

Saddler's Hall, Cheapside c1830.
Engraved by W Watkins

The Third Hall
The third Hall rose from the ashes in 1822, thanks to the insurance cover provided by the Royal Exchange and Hand-in-Hand insurance companies. It survived until 29th December 1940, when it was one of a number of Halls destroyed in the Blitz. Needless to say, each of these disasters caused long-term loss to the Company by the destruction of irreplaceable records and artifacts.

The Current Hall
At the end of the Second World War the Corporation of London carried out extensive replanning. As a result, the Saddlers' lost much of its original medieval freehold through compulsory purchase orders. With the loss of its former frontage on Cheapside, the new Hall had to be built on what remained of the Company's land. Nevertheless, the present Hall, built between 1956/58, still stands in part on the site of the first Saddlers' Hall, on a small portion of land between St Vedast's Church and Gutter Lane.

The Worshipful Company
of Saddlers (Main Entrance),
40 Gutter Lane,
London, EC2V 6BR
And the Great Hall (below)

Information on the Worshipful Company of Saddlers
Information about the Worshipful Company of Saddlers can be found on the website at The Clerk of the Company is Col. Nigel Lithgow CBE and the address is: 40 Gutter Lane, London EC2V 6BR. His email address is , and the Company’s phone number is +44 20 7726 8661.

This article has been prepared by Peter Leach (PM) from information found on the website of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, “The Guilds of the City of London” written by Sir Ernest Pooley K.C.V.O. published by William Collins of London in 1945, and from information on Wikipedia pertaining to the Worshipful Company of Saddlers and the Saddlers Company.


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