Company Past & Present

History of the Company

The Loriner makes and sells bits, bridles, spurs, stirrups, saddle trees and the minor metal items of a horse's harness.

The Company's first Ordinances were granted in 1261, earlier than those of any other craft (except the Cappers, who were later absorbed by the Haberdashers). In 1393 new Ordinances were made, and again in 1489, 1714 and 1741, the last being those by which the Company is governed today.

By a Royal Charter of 1711, in the reign of Queen Anne, the Company achieved incorporation in the style of "The Master, Wardens, Assistants and the Commonalty of Loriners, London".

By the end of the nineteenth century the Company had almost no role in relation to its craft. However, if did have the reputation of being very attractive in its social aspects, as well as of being a great force in the public life of the City. Since 1858 there have been thirty-seven Loriner Lord Mayors and at least sixty-six Loriner Sheriffs.

In 1932 the Court of Aldermen fixed the number of Liverymen permitted to the Company at 500, the number today fluctuating around 450. Since 1989 ladies have been admitted to the Livery. The first two ladies elected through the Livery were installed as Master in 2010 and 2011.

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The first documentary evidence of the existence of the Company is provided by its Ordinances, granted in 1261 by the Mayor and other Barons of London, and earlier than those of any other craft. The Ordinances made provisions to ensure good workmanship, arranged conditions of work and required payments to be made to the Commonalty of London and to the alms box of the Guild by all those entering the craft. Four wardens were appointed to carry out these.

The Loriners, together with the Painters and the Fusters or Joiners, were trades subordinate to the Saddlers, who had been obliged to acquiesce in the formation of these independent organisations but remained hostile to them.

In 1320 the Saddlers took advantage of a period of revolution to persuade the Mayor, Hamo de Chigwell, to have the Loriners' Qrdinances publicly burned in Cheapside. But no sooner had Chigwell's mayoralty come to an end, in 1327, that we find the Joiners, the Painters and the Loriners in both iron and copper up in arms against the Saddlers.

On Ascension Day in that year there was an affray in Cheapside and Wood Street between the allied crafts and the Saddlers in which several were slain and many wounded. All the contestants were summoned to Guildhall, to explain themselves to the Mayor and Sheriffs.

The Loriners and their allies said that the battle had been started by the Saddlers, who owed various members of the crafts almost £300 and who wanted to compel the craftsmen to deal exclusively with them.

The Saddlers complained that the allied crafts had come to a joint agreement to stop work simultaneously if any member of one of them had a dispute with the Saddlers (an early example of secondary picketing), and went on to accuse the Loriners of having made an ordinance "out of their own heads" not to receive any outside workman until he had taken an oath to conceal their misdeeds.

The Mayor appointed six Aldermen to decide who was in the right. The first hearing was adjourned in some confusion, so many members of all the crafts having turned up. The next day the Aldermen decided the matter in favour of the Loriners and their allies, the Saddlers being obliged to promise to conspire no more against the three crafts, or else pay ten tuns of wine to the Commonalty of London.

In 1711, in the preamble to the Royal Charter, by which, in the reign of Queen Anne and after more than four and a half centuries of corporate existence, the Company achieved incorporation in the style of "The Master, Wardens, Assistants and Commonalty of Loriners, London". The Civic Livery was granted to the Company, the 57th in the City's order of precedence, by an Order of the Court of Aldermen on 15th July 1712.

New Ordinances were obtained in 1714 and in 1741, the latter set being those by which the Company is governed to this day. Armed though it was with its Royal Charter, its grant of livery and its brand new Ordinances the Company was not able to withstand the economic and social changes brought about from the middle of the eighteenth century by the Industrial Revolution. Its role in relation to its craft dwindled almost to nothing in the space of little more than a hundred years.

The Charter did not require a candidate for the livery to be a working loriner, and by 1850 the members of the Company were of various occupations. Certainly, at the end of the nineteenth century the Company had the reputation of being very attractive in its social aspects, its hospitality according with the best traditions, as well as of being a great force in the public life of the City.

In 1932 the Court of Aldermen fixed the number of Liverymen permitted to the Company at 500, though this figure has not since then been approached. The current number being c400.

Since 1989 ladies have been admitted to the Livery. Since then there have been three lady Masters. In the late twentieth century the Company rebuilt its links with the trade and with many aspects of equestrian affairs and supports courses in lorinery at Capel Manor College. It has published a leaflet on bits and bitting. It has funded veterinary research at Cambridge University and the support of the BS Standards Saddle Trees.

The Loriners' Company Today

The Company

The Company is a fellowship of men and women who are Free of the Company and the City, and therefore, by definition, Citizens of the City of London, regardless of where they live.

The Loriners' Company's main activities are

City of London

Trade (Lorinery)

Education

Charitable

Membership of the Company

The membership of the Worshipful Company of Loriners is made up of Liverymen and Freemen who come from all walks of life – all of whom share an interest in the Horse and the City of London.

Members are initially admitted to the Freedom of the Company, and once they have been made Freemen of the City of London they become Liverymen.

A fine is paid on admission to the Company.

Liverymen

The total number of Liverymen is fixed by the Company’s Ordinances at 500.

New members are proposed by fellow Liverymen, and the Clerk is able to assist with introductions where necessary. The Company is proud to have The Princess Royal as an Honorary Liverymen. She was Master in 1992.

The Company’s strength lies in its diverse membership, all of whom have something to contribute, and much to gain by way of fellowship.

The Court

Liverymen may be invited to join the Court, the governing body of the Company, and thus may eventually become Master.

The Court consists of the Master, two Wardens, Past Masters and Assistants, and is served by the Clerk, Honorary Chaplain, and Beadle.

Social Activities

Liverymen meet at least four times a year for social functions following meetings of the Court.

The Company does not have a Hall. This is often an advantage, however, in that we have the opportunity to visit many of the other Company Halls on these occasions, and the annual Livery Banquet is held at the Mansion House by courtesy of the Lord Mayor.

The Livery Committee arranges a programme of less formal social activities during the year. In common with other Companies, Liverymen are involved in the election of the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs, and have the opportunity to support the policies of the Court of Common Council.

How to join

For more information on the Company and how to join please go to the page How to become a member of the Company or contact the Clerk.