The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 2

Allen, Thomas
1828

Grocers.

Grocers.

Grocers' company

The Arms of the Company of Grocers are Ar. a chevron gu. between nine cloves sa, three, three and three. Crest. A camel passantproper, bridled gu. on his back a bale ar. corded gu. Supporters. Two griffins per fesse gu. and or. Motto. God grant grace. PATRON. St. Anthony.Granted 23 Hen. viii.

This company was incorporated by Edward the Third, in the year 1345, under the title of The Wardens and Commonalty of the Mystery of the Grocery of the City of London. The grocers, however, under their primitive name of Pepperers, existed as a company long previous to that period, perhaps for centuries; and so early as the 17th of Henry the Third, (anno 1232); a pepperer, named Andrew Buckerell, was chosen to fill the civic chair, and he retained his seat during six years. Several other pepperers were afterwards advanced to the same dignity, previous to the year 1328, when John Grauntham, another member of this company, was elected to the praetorian office, under the then modern appellation of grocer.

A pepperer was still, however, not unfrequently a distinct business; and continued so till as late a period as 1559. In that year a quantity of pepper, having been taken in a Spanish carrack, was purchased from the queen at a good price by certain exclusive dealers in that article. The grocers, however, endeavoured to undersell the pepperers by making other importations of their own, which caused the latter to petition her majesty, that no pepper might be imported for three years, which would enable them to keep their engagement with her majesty; and to induce her to do so, they promised not to raises the price of pepper above three shillings in the pound.

Starch was first sold by this company, which Stow says came into fashion about the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth.

The charter granted by Edward has been several times confirmed, with additional privileges; particularly by Henry VI. and Charles 1. Among their other privileges was the management of the king's beam, an office which appears to have been vested in the company time immemorially; they having had all along, says Ravenhill, the historian of the company,Who published an account of this company in 1689, in which he refers the origin of the society of grocers to Romans! the naming of the weight-master, and the naming, placing, removing, and governing, of the four porters attending that office, all to be elected out of their own company, and to be sworn at their own hall, a privilege allowed to them, as their undoubted and inseparable right, as ancient as that office itself used in the city. Amongst other privileges and ancient usages of this company, I find recorded also, that even as high as Edward the fourth's days, they had the power of inspection and correction of abuses and irregularities of all persons in the city or suburbs, any way using or exercising any kind of grocery, and also to assay the weights they bought or sold by; and to take notice of all defaults, and to return such to be fined at the discretion of this fellowship; and to take 4d. of every person for their labour herein: which usage was always continued; and, in the charter renewed to the company, the 15th of Charles I. this privilege is confirmed and expressed to extend to the distance of three miles from the city, as well within the liberties as without.

This company has had the honour to enrol in its fraternity no fewer than five monarchs, besides many princes, dukes, earls, viscounts, and barons; and so highly was it once regarded in the estimation of the citizens, that in the reign of Henry IV. twelve aldermen were members at the same time. It consists of a master, three wardens, fifty-two assistants, and an extensive livery; formerly the master was always an alderman. Stow says, that about the year 1429, this company had licence to purchase lands to the value of 500 marks.

Though the committee of parliament fixed upon Grocers' Hall for their place of sitting at the commencement of the unhappy disputes with Charles I. the company itself was distinguished for its steady attachment to that unfortunate sovereign; and it was probably on this account that Charles II. his profligate successor, became a member of it, when he accepted the freedom of the city in the year 1675, after having been sumptuously banquetted in Guildhall at the inauguration feast of sir Robert Vyner, goldsmith. In the two preceding years also, the civic dinner was honoured by the presence of the king; in 1673, when sir Robert Hanson, grocer, and in 1674, when sir William Hooker, grocer, took possession of the mayoralty. On all these occasions, the general splendour of the processional show was increased by much pageantry, &c. at the charge of the respective companies in which the lord mayors had taken up their freedoms.

Various free schools, alms-houses, exhibitions, &c. are supported by this company in different parts of England, and their expenditure for charitable purposes is upwards of 1,000l. yearly.

The hall of this company is situated on the north side of the Poultry, within an inclosed court. The site of this edifice with the building thereupon, was originally purchased by the company in the year 1411, for the sum of 320 marks, of the baron Robert Fitzwalter, hereditary castellan banneret, or standard bearer to the city of London.Brayley's London, ii. p. 359.

The Names of the Company of Grocers from the Record in the Chapter-house. Mr. LaxtonWillm. Butler Mr. AleynJohn Lyon Mr. Prest---300Richard Cull Mr. GybsonJohn Dunstall Mr. FfermorEdward Reste Mr. CrullHarry Barneys Mr. BodleyWillm. Mathew Mr. GimsonJames Apott Mr. LaneNichus Tycheborne Mr. LumnerRobt. Fabyane Mr. OsborneGeorge Betynson Mr. PosyerThomas Alsopp Mr. PynchesterEdward Moreton Mr. MeryWillm. Pratt Mr. BodnamWillm. Wyott Mr. MyllerThomas Onslowe Mr. BowyerJohn Core Mr. WodcokJohn Saunders Mr. WhelerEdmond Cokerell Mr. WolleyRobert Colte Mr. WendonWillm. Lyvers Mr. DeaneWillm. Rawlyns Mr. MorysHarry Chamley Mr. ChertseyJohn Malyn Willm. HuxleyWillm. Rest Ambrose BarkerGeorge Lytilcote Willm. TokerArthur Devonshire Henry HorneThomas Cunstable Robt. WolworthWillm. Pegham Phillip Yorke

 

The of the are a chevron between cloves , , and . A camel , bridled gu. on his back a bale corded . griffins per fesse and or. .

God grant grace.

PATRON. St. Anthony.

This company was incorporated by Edward the , in the year , under the title of

The Wardens and Commonalty of the Mystery of the Grocery of the City of London.

The grocers, however, under their primitive name of Pepperers, existed as a company long previous to that period, perhaps for centuries; and so early as the of Henry the , (anno ); a pepperer, named Andrew Buckerell, was chosen to fill the civic chair, and he retained his seat during years. Several other pepperers were afterwards advanced to the same dignity, previous to the year , when John Grauntham, another member of this company, was elected to the praetorian office, under the then modern appellation of grocer.

A pepperer was still, however, not unfrequently a distinct business; and continued so till as late a period as . In that year a quantity of pepper, having been taken in a Spanish carrack, was purchased from the queen at a good price by certain exclusive dealers in that article. The grocers, however, endeavoured to undersell the pepperers by making other importations of their own, which caused the latter to petition her majesty, that no pepper might be imported for years, which would enable them to keep their engagement with her majesty; and to induce her to do so, they promised not to raises the price of pepper above in the pound.

345

 

Starch was sold by this company, which Stow says came into fashion about the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth.

The charter granted by Edward has been several times confirmed, with additional privileges; particularly by Henry VI. and Charles . Among their other privileges was the management of the king's beam, an office which appears to have been vested in the company time immemorially; they

having had all along,

says Ravenhill, the historian of the company,

the naming of the weight-master, and the naming, placing, removing, and governing, of the

four

porters attending that office, all to be elected out of their own company, and to be sworn at their own hall, a privilege allowed to them, as their undoubted and inseparable right, as ancient as that office itself used in the city. Amongst other privileges and ancient usages of this company, I find recorded also, that even as high as Edward the

fourth

's days, they had the power of inspection and correction of abuses and irregularities of all persons in the city or suburbs, any way using or exercising any kind of grocery, and also to assay the weights they bought or sold by; and to take notice of all defaults, and to return such to be fined at the discretion of this fellowship; and to take

4d.

of every person for their labour herein: which usage was always continued; and, in the charter renewed to the company, the

15th

of Charles I. this privilege is confirmed and expressed to extend to the distance of

three

miles from the city, as well within the liberties as without.

This company has had the honour to enrol in its fraternity no fewer than monarchs, besides many princes, dukes, earls, viscounts, and barons; and so highly was it once regarded in the estimation of the citizens, that in the reign of Henry IV. aldermen were members at the same time. It consists of a master, wardens, assistants, and an extensive livery; formerly the master was always an alderman. Stow says, that about the year , this company had licence to purchase lands to the value of .

Though the committee of parliament fixed upon Grocers' Hall for their place of sitting at the commencement of the unhappy disputes with Charles I. the company itself was distinguished for its steady attachment to that unfortunate sovereign; and it was probably on this account that Charles II. his profligate successor, became a member of it, when he accepted the freedom of the city in the year , after having been sumptuously banquetted in at the inauguration feast of sir Robert Vyner, goldsmith. In the preceding years also, the civic dinner was honoured by the presence of the king; in , when sir Robert Hanson, grocer, and in , when sir William Hooker, grocer, took possession of the

346

mayoralty. On all these occasions, the general splendour of the processional show was increased by much pageantry, &c. at the charge of the respective companies in which the lord mayors had taken up their freedoms.

Various free schools, alms-houses, exhibitions, &c. are supported by this company in different parts of England, and their expenditure for charitable purposes is upwards of yearly.

The hall of this company is situated on the north side of the Poultry, within an inclosed court. The site of this edifice with the

building thereupon,

was originally purchased by the company in the year , for the sum of , of the baron Robert Fitzwalter, hereditary castellan banneret, or standard bearer to the city of London.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Granted 23 Hen. viii.

[] Who published an account of this company in 1689, in which he refers the origin of the society of grocers to Romans!

[] Brayley's London, ii. p. 359.

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 Title Page
 Dedication
 CHAPTER I: History of London, from the Accession of William and Mary, to the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER II: History of London during the reign of George the Second
 CHAPTER III: History of London from the Accession of George the Third, to the year 1780
 CHAPTER IV: History of London continued to the Union
 CHAPTER V: History of London from the Union to the Jubilee, 1809
 CHAPTER VI: History of London from the Jubilee to the Peace of 1814
 CHAPTER VII: History of London continued to the accession of George the Fourth
 CHAPTER VIII: Account of the Civil Government of the City by Portreves, Bailiffs, and Mayors, with a list of the latter...
 CHAPTER IX: An account of the Aldermen and Sheriffs, with a list of the latter
collapseCHAPTER X: Lists and brief Accounts of the various Officers and Courts within the City
collapseCHAPTER XI: Some account of the Ecclesiastical Government of the city of London, with a List and Biographical Notices of the Bishops of the see
collapseCHAPTER XII: Some Account of the Military Government of London, and the Artillery Company
collapseCHAPTER XIII: An Account of the twelve principal Companies of the City of London
collapseCHAPTER XIV: An Account of the Companies of the City of London, alphabetically arranged
 CHAPTER XV: An Account of the River Thames
collapseCHAPTER XVI: Historical and topographical account of London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and the Thames Tunnel
collapseCHAPTER XVII: Topographical and Historical Account of the Tower of London
This object is in collection:
Edwin C. Bolles papers
Subjects
London (England)--History
Antiquities
Permanent URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10427/44305
ID: tufts:UA069.005.DO.00067
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