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Worshipful Company of Mercers

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  • George Knightley of Frating (c.1529 - 1607)
    Died d.s.p. George Knightley was the last male of this branch of the family. A member of the Worshipful Company of Mercers. : The document below is the copy on the Close Rolls of a recognizance in the ...
  • Gerrard Winstanley (1609 - 1676)
    Gerrard Winstanley=* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Gerrard Winstanley (19 October 1609 – 10 September 1676) was an English Protestant religious reformer, political philosopher, and activist dur...
  • John Heron, of Bokenfield (b. - c.1514)
    Alive in 1487 as left some money in the will of Elizabeth [nee Heron] Kirkeby. She refers to him as John Heron of Bokynfeld [Bokenfield] to distinguish him from John Heron, Mercer of London. Elizabeth ...
  • Henry Danvers (c.1434 - c.1483)
    Henry DANVERS (fl.1469-1483) of London. Mercer.Son of John Danvers of Cothorpe(q.v.) and Joan Bruly. (E.D.B.p.150) m. Beatrice, daughter of Sir Ralph Verney(q.v.). (ibid.)===Timeline===14 Feb.1469 Invo...
  • Sir William Gardiner, 1st Baronet (c.1628 - 1691)
    Family and Education==b. 9 May 1628, 3rd but o. surv. s. of Robert Gardiner, Mercer, of London, being 2nd s. by 2nd w. Mary, da. of Robert Palmer, Grocer, of London, and Hill, Warden, Beds. educ. ?Magd...

The Worshipful Company of Mercers is the premier Livery Company of the City of London and ranks first in the order of precedence of the Companies. It is the first of the so-called 'Great Twelve City Livery Companies'.

History

The records of the Mercers’ Company date back to 1348 but the Company is certainly older than this for in that year new ordinances were drawn up for the conduct of its affairs. The Company was incorporated under a Royal Charter in 1394, the Company's earliest extant Charter.

The Company's aim was to act as a trade association for general merchants, and especially for exporters of wool and importers of velvet, silk and other luxurious fabrics (mercers). Although the individual members were all merchants the company exercised only moderate control over their activities.

The Company's links with the active trade died out over the centuries. This was mainly because admission to the Company was mainly possible by patrimony. In effect a member could become a member, because his father was a member, without necessarily practising the trade of mercery itself. The other form of admission to the Company was by an eight year apprenticeship. Apprenticeship had to be genuine, rather than token, but as links with an active trade declined this became difficult. By the 18th and 19th centuries apprentices were being bound to Masters who were no longer practising mercers. No more apprentices were bound after 1888.

Although the Company no longer has any trade to control, its modern life is busy and productive. Through the charitable trusts under its control, the Mercers' Company administers a large programme of charitable grant making.

The Company also provides housing for the elderly, wide ranging support for education and has active links with many churches.

Research

Within the Mercers’ Company archive, the main source of genealogical information is the lists which have been compiled from the Wardens’ Accounts, Acts of Court, Register of Freemen and Apprentice Registers. The information they contain is very basic, rarely giving more detail than the name of an individual and date of admission to the Company. The Register of Freemen and Apprentice Registers can be freely searched via the Records of London's Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO).

Further reading: Searching for members or those apprenticed to members of City of London livery companies

Please add apprentices, freemen, wardens, and masters of the Mercers' Company to this project.

Back to The Livery Companies of the City of London

Sources