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  • William Cary, Lord High Sheriff & Mayor of Bristol (1550 - 1632)
    REFN: 4L1O-DJ BOOK P. 27. (XIV) WILLIAM CARY, ELDEST SON OF ROBERT CARY, WAS BORN OCTOBER 3, 1560. HE WAS SHERIFF OF BRISTOL IN 1599 AND MAYOR IN 1611. 1634-35-40 RESPECTIVELY.William Cary, merchan...
  • Sir William Roche Kt. (c.1478 - 1549)
    Family and Education b. by 1478, prob. s. of John Roche of Wickersley, Yorks. [This is incorrect. A Chancery suit states his father was William] m. (1) by 1520, Juliana (d.1526), 1s. 4da.; (2) 1531, ...
  • Thomas Callowhill (c.1635 - d.)
    Merchant in England. Why are his parents surnamed Acton and he's Callowhill?
  • John Brugge, MP, Lord Mayor of London (1470 - 1530)
    Family and Education b. by 1470, 2nd s. of Thomas Brydges of Dymock, Glos. by Maud, da. and h. of Thomas Henborow of Dymock. m. Agnes, da. of Thomas Ayloffe of Hornchurch, Essex, 3s. 4da. Kntd. 20 Ma...
  • Richard Archdale, of Cheping Wiscombe (bef.1598 - 1638)
    Richard ARCHDALE of Cheping Wiscombe was the son of Barnard & Anne FERNE Archdale, and h/o Judith THORPE (d/o Richard & Elizabeth BROOKE Thorpe of London ). (Visitation of London, 1633-4) See also reco...

Draper was originally a term for a retailer or wholesaler of cloth that was mainly for clothing. A draper may additionally operate as a cloth merchant or a haberdasher.

Drapers were an important trade guild during the medieval period, when the sellers of cloth operated out of draper's shops. However the original meaning of the term has now largely fallen out of use.

In 1724, Jonathan Swift wrote a series of satirical pamphlets in the guise of a draper called the Drapier's Letters.

Historical drapers

A number of notable people who have at one time or another worked as drapers include:

  • William Barley
  • Norman Birkett
  • Margaret Bondfield
  • Eleanor Coade (1733-1821), successful businesswoman with Coade stone
  • Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
  • John Spedan Lewis
  • Anthony Munday
  • H. G. Wells
  • Edward Whalley, regicide, cousin of Oliver Cromwell
  • George Williams, founder of the YMCA
  • John Woodward, geologist and physician to King Charles II

A draper is now defined as a highly skilled role within the fashion industry. The term is used within a fashion design or costume design studio for people tasked with creating garments or patterns by draping fabric over a dress form; draping uses a human form to physically position the cloth into a desired pattern. This is an alternative method to drafting, when the garment is initially worked out from measurements on paper.

Worshipful Company of Drapers, London

Until about 1800, an adult male practising a trade or craft in or around the City of London would almost certainly have been a member (freeman) of one of the City of London livery companies. He would probably have served an apprenticeship and been a member of a company corresponding with his occupation, almost all of which are known as the "Worshipful Company of..." their relevant trade, craft or profession.

The Worshipful Company of Drapers is one of the historic Great Twelve Livery Companies and was founded during the Middle Ages. Originally, the organisation was a trade association of wool and cloth merchants.

Tracing your Ancestors

If your ancestor was a Citizen and Draper of London he or she should appear in the Company’s membership records.

These records are available to search online via the Records of London's Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO), a freely accessible resource.

Please add apprentices and those who worked as drapers to this project.

Sources