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From: Gordon Barlow <>
Subject: [London-Companys] Peter's essay on Saddlers
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 23:01:46 -0400


Peter's essay on saddlers (14th August) was as interesting as any of his others. I have a few small questions and comments.

1. I'm surprised to learn that London guilds existed before the Norman conquest. How many others, besides the Saddlers? And, what would the population of London have been, in 1066? I don't think it is correct to label Aernaldus a Saxon name. The -us is just a Latin tag, and Arnold is perhaps more common in the French of the time than in the English or Anglo-Saxon. What do you all think? Still on the matter of when guilds began, did aldermen begin at the same time? By which I mean, did the government of London begin WITH the leaders of the trade associations of artisans and merchants?

2. "the company was incorporated in 1395". What does "incorporated" mean, in the context? I know towns were "incorporated", which I guess must have protected their politicians from personal liability. Was that the case with incorporated guilds, too?

3. "a ballot box made in 1619 for the East India Company". I am just reading a history of the East India Company ("The Honourable Company" by John Keay), which reports that the earliest Directors were "usually senior members of one [or other] of the City's livery companies. The EIC's second Governor was a member of the Mercers' Company. "The organization of the [EIC] is usually characterized as a half-way stage in the evolution of the medieval guild into today's public limited company ..." Whatever that means! See #2 above.

4. Peter's information that the Saddlers have a connection with cordwainers, is fascinating. Stands to reason, I suppose, since the word "cordwainer" is a slight corruption of "Cordovan" from Cordova in Spain, home of a certain kind of leather - from which soft shoes were presumably made. Which leads me to ask: About when did shoes or boots take over from clogs as the ordinary footwear of the common man, in England?

Gordon Barlow


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