© 2016 University of Chicago Library
Worshipful Company of Weavers. Charter
2 linear feet (1 box)
Special Collections Research Center
The Worshipful Company of Weavers is the older of the Livery Companies in the City of London, established by 1130. The Collection contains an official charter for the organization from 1707.
The collection is open for research.
When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Worshipful Company of Weavers. Charter, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
The Worshipful Company of Weavers dates back to at least 1130. This is known from a pipe roll containing a payment made on the Company’s behalf, but it is unknown when exactly it was established. The Company was officially incorporated by Royal Charter in 1150. Because of their involvement in the textile trade, the Company was one of the most powerful liveries. This eminence continued until the 14th century when a number of other merchant companies developed, such as the Drapers, the Haberdashers, and the Clothworkers. Immigration of skilled workers unassociated with the Weavers and continual deregulation of the protections of the guild led to a gradual decline in power as well.
As the Silk industry blossomed after the Napoleonic Wars, the Company’s membership fell below 1,000 from a high of 6,000. Throughout the 20th century, the Company, live many other guilds, underwent the transition from trade associations to charitable organizations. While the Company still maintains a presence in the textile industry, its own efforts are directed largely toward supporting social projects. Currently, the Company maintains the “Benevolent Fund,” a charitable grant which seeks to help ex-offenders and disadvantaged youth with innovative projects.
The Worshipful Company of Weavers Collection contains a single item: the 1707 charter of the guild. The charter is bound and consists of 6 leaves. The document is signed, possibly by James Cocks, a member of the 1st British Parliament. The charter outlines the powers granted to the guild and the restrictions under which they must operate.
The collection was previously part of the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection
Charter of Worshipful Company of Weavers, 1707