Worshipful Company of Curriers

Worshipful Company of Curriers
Worshipful Company of Curriers
Spes Nostra Deus
The Curriers' Company Coat of Arms
Location: c/o Tallow Chandlers' Hall, Dowgate Hill, London
Date of formation: 1272
Company association: Leather industries
Order of precedence: 29th
Master of company: Richard Stewart LLB
Motto: Spes Nostra Deus
Website: www.curriers.co.uk

The Worshipful Company of Curriers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Curriers, or curers of leather, first formed an organisation in 1272. This organisation became a Company under a Royal Charter of incorporation in 1605. The Company now exists, as do most other Livery Companies, as a ceremonial and charitable institution, the traditional process of currying having been made more or less obsolete by technological advances. The Curriers, like other Livery Companies, support the work of the Lord Mayor, the City of London Corporation[1] and the Sheriffs.

The Company ranks twenty-ninth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies. The Company's motto is Spes Nostra Deus, Latin for Our Hope is in God.

The archives of the Curriers’ Company are mostly kept in Guildhall Library, since there is no Company archivist. A list of the Company's archives is to be found in "Source Material", Edward Mayer and Donald Adamson, The Curriers’ Company: A Modern History, 2000, pp. 505–511.



The Curriers' Company dates from 1272 when the Mistery of Curriers became a trade association. In the 14th century the Curriers constituted themselves into a guild and religious fraternity in association with the Carmelite Friars in Fleet Street. In 1415 they obtained their ordinances by an act of Common Council: these gave them full autonomy. By 1580 the Guild of Curriers was recognised as a Livery Company of the City of London. The Company became armigerous in 1583. However, not until 1605 did King James I grant the Curriers their first Charter of Incorporation. The Company ranks 29th in the order of precedence of Livery Companies of the City of London.

During the ensuing four centuries the Company built no less than six Curriers' Halls in the City. After the sale of its sixth and last hall in 1921 it moved in with its longstanding trade and Livery partner, the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, with whom it still enjoys a close relationship. Along with many other Livery Halls, Cordwainers' Hall in Cannon Street was itself destroyed by enemy action in 1941 and since then the Curriers' have been without their own Hall. However, from 1942 onwards the Company has been housed at Tallow Chandlers' Hall, where it holds its Court meetings.

Charitable activity

Like other Livery Companies, the Curriers' goes about its business quietly, and being relatively small numerically in membership its resources are limited. Nevertheless, its charitable giving is consistent with one of the original objects of the medieval guilds.

The Company donates to charities which benefit the young, the elderly, the disabled and the socially disadvantaged. It supports City of London charities and cultural organisations, general educational establishments and the training of young people in leathercraft.

The centres of excellence which it regularly assists are: the London College of Fashion; Capel Manor College Enfield, and The Leather Conservation Centre [2] at Northampton, which conserves and restores all forms of historic leather objects and materials.

In 2000 the Curriers' Millennium Healthcare Bursary was established.[3] This annual Primary Health Care bursary endows research or personal study to improve the health care of underprivileged sectors of the population of London and elsewhere. Though originally directed towards general practitioners, the scope of the bursary was widened in 2003, since when it has also attracted submissions from nurses, midwives, mental health workers, pharmacists and an ophthalmologist.

The Curriers' Company is affiliated to one Reserve and one Front Line Military Unit: 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment Explosive Ordnance Disposal;[4] and No. 7 Squadron RAF.[5]

Each newly elected Master of the Company designates a charity as the object of the Master’s Charitable Appeal for his year of office. The Company can make an initial donation to the nominated charity and Liverymen and Freemen are invited to donate to, and to undertake fundraising activities for, the Charitable Appeal.

Notable liverymen

Former halls

(1) In 1485 the Curriers’ Company had its hall in the parish of St Mary Axe, by London Wall in Aldgate Ward.

(2) Circa 1583 Curriers’ Hall was situated close to the site of the Boar’s Head, on a property which had been devised to the Company in 1516. It stood in the parish of St Alphage, on the south side of the street leading along London Wall; Boar’s Head Alley lay between Philip Lane and Little Wood Street. Curriers’ Hall was one of the 44 (out of 52) Livery Halls destroyed in the Great Fire of London early in September 1666.

(3) Curriers’ Hall in 1670 was perhaps the most attractive of the Company’s five halls on the Boar’s Head site.

(4) In 1820 a new and smaller hall was rebuilt to the east of the old one.

(5) The Curriers’ Hall begun in 1873 and completed in the following year was demolished in 1875 before it could even be furnished.

(6) Between 1874 and 1876 a new Curriers’ Hall was built in the French Gothic style. It abutted on London Wall. It was sold in 1921 and destroyed by enemy action on 29 December 1940.


The Arms of the Company are blazoned:-

Arms: Azure a cross engrailed or between four pairs of shaves in saltire argent handled or.

Crest: On a wreath or and azure out of the clouds proper two arms embowed carnation the shirt sleeves folded beneath the elbows argent in the hands a shave argent handled or.

Supporters: Dexter, an elk proper attired and unguled or; Sinister, a goat argent flashed sable.

These Arms were granted to the Curriers’ Company on 8 August 1583.

Further reading

Caroline M. Barron, “The Parish Fraternities of Medieval London”, in C.M. Barron and C. Harper-Bill (ed.), The Church in Pre-Reformation Society, 1985, pp. 13–37.

Caroline M. Barron, London in the Later Middle Ages: Government and People, 1200–1500, 2005.

John Bromley and Heather Child, The Armorial Bearings of the Guilds of London, 1960.

D.A. Farnie, John Rylands of Manchester, 1993.

Ian Gibson, The Erotomaniac: The Secret Life of Henry Spencer Ashbee, 2001.

Edward Mayer, The Curriers and the City of London. A History of the Worshipful Company of Curriers, 1968.

Edward Mayer and Donald Adamson, The Curriers’ Company: A Modern History, 2000.

Richard Pantall, George Jarvis (1704–1793) and his Notorious Charity, 1993.

John Strype, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster by John Stow, 1720.

Laura Wright, “The London Middle English Guild Certificates of 1388–9”, Nottingham Medieval Studies, 1995, pp. 108–145.


External links

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