Coat of ArmsThe Worshipful Company of SaddlersThe Saddlers Company

 Freedom of the Company

Conferment of the Freedom of the Saddlers' Company is the entry to membership of a guild whose records of Freemen go back over seven hundred years. The methods of entry differ, depending on individual circumstances. In every case admission to the Freedom is solely at the discretion of the Court of Assistants.

Patrimony
Men and women, aged 25 or more, may apply to the Court for admission by Patrimony if their father is, or has been, Free of the Company. The Charter of 1995 extended this (albeit not retrospectively) to the children of lady freemen.

Servitude
Originally the main route to membership of the Company, it is little used today. Entitlement to admission by Servitude is limited to those aged 21 or more who have completed a full working apprenticeship indentured to a Master Saddler who is both a member of the Company and a Freeman of the City of London.

Redemption of the Trade
Members of the saddlery trade and its allied trades who, in the opinion of the Court, have made a significant contribution to the craft, or who have achieved distinction within the trade, may be invited by the Court to apply for the Freedom. The minimum age for those in this category is 30.

Redemption
All other candidates for the Freedom fall into this category. Applications by an individual are not entertained; instead candidates are invited by the Court. Redemption candidates must be aged 30 or over.

Freedom of the City of London

One of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence today is the granting of the Freedom of the City of London. It is believed that the first Freedom was presented in 1237.

 History and origins
The medieval term ‘freeman’ meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord but enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land. Town dwellers who were protected by the charter of their town or city were often free – hence the term ‘freedom of the City.

From the Middle Ages and the Victorian era, the Freedom was the right to trade, enabling members of a Guild or Livery to carry out their trade or craft in the square mile.

A fee or fine would be charged and in return the Livery Companies would ensure that the goods and services provided would be of the highest possible standards. In 1835, the Freedom was widened to incorporate not just members of Livery Companies but also people living or working in the City or there was a strong London connection.

 Modern Freedom
Today most of the practical reasons for obtaining the Freedom of the City have disappeared. It nevertheless remains as a unique part of London’s history to which many people who have lived or worked in the City have been proud to be admitted.

Prior to 1996, the Freedom was only open to British or Commonwealth Citizens. Now, however, it has been extended globally and persons of any nationality may be admitted either through nomination or by being presented by a Livery Company. There is a long standing tradition of admitting women.

The City of London is keen to maintain the Freedom as a living tradition. The Freedom is open to all who are genuinely interested and invited or born to it. The City Freemen are a very broad cross-section of the population.

The Freedom in the City today is still closely associated with membership of the City Livery Companies.

 

 

St John's Gospel in Latin and English taken from the Company's Record Book
St John's Gospel in Latin and English taken from the Company's Record Book