The Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers seeks to foster and enhance the traditional crafts of joinery and wood carving, particularly through setting standards and encouraging students and apprentices of all ages to learn this ancient craft.
There are today 110 Livery Companies and in 1515 an order of precedence was established with the 12 wealthiest and most powerful companies at the head demonstrating the ascendancy of the merchants over the manufacturers. The order of the companies does not reflect chronological age but power and influence in 1515. The Joiners and Ceilers were ranked 41st.
The Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers shares with all its fellow Livery Companies, whether ancient or modern, a responsibility for maintaining the structure of the City of London, for protecting and promoting their craft not just in London but across the country, enjoying fellowship together as they represent much of what is good in the City of London. The Livery Guilds have survived centuries of change and are now stronger than ever.
The Role of the Company
The Company also seeks to be active in charitable giving, constant in the promotion of fellowship amongst its members, and steadfast in upholding the ancient traditions of the company and the City of London.
The size of the Company is voluntarily limited, so that it is possible for Liverymen to know each other at every level and meet frequently to enjoy each others company The Company admits Freemen who may then apply for the Freedom of the City of London. Freedom of the Company may be obtained by Patrimony, Servitude or Purchase. Admission to the Livery is by election of the Court of Assistants from Freemen who must be Freemen of the City of London.
Admission by Purchase is the more general form of entry to the Company. Candidates require two Sponsors who must be members of the Livery. Guidelines have been produced for Sponsors of prospective Candidates and can be obtained from the Clerk. The Sponsors take responsibility for following these guidelines and in particular for ensuring that they are qualified to propose a Candidate and importantly that the Candidate is fully aware of the responsibilities of becoming a Freeman and Liveryman of the Company.
It is the responsibility of all Liverymen to attend Common Hall for the election of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs and to attend the four Courts of Livery each year. Other principal functions and commitments are the full Livery Banquets in June and November and the Church Service and Apprentices Awards Dinner in July.
The Livery, their families and guests continue the tradition since 1590 of attending the Annual Service in St. James Garlickhythe in July followed by a dinner. A Carol Service is held in the church in December for the Livery, families and guests and there is a further formal dinner following the March Court of Livery.
We also support a Luncheon club, which organises various informal lunches, visits and activities throughout the year to encourage fellowship within the Livery with particular emphasis on newer Liverymen and their families. The Joiners and Ceilers Golf Society promote an Annual Golf Day for members and guests in the Spring.
Members of our craft probably met together in the City of London more than 1000 years ago although it is difficult to be certain of an exact date.
Churches were early meeting places and by the late 1300s joiners clustered around St James Garlickhythe. Today you can still see the church near the Thames, where joiners lived so they could easily access timber brought in by ship.
We evolved across centuries, shaping the City of London with other livery companies. Elizabeth I (1558–1603) granted us our Royal Charter in 1571, which defined our purpose and provided legal protection.
The Company’s Grant of Arms followed the Royal Charter, giving it the right to use a crest or coat of arms with a unique design. The decorative elements were carefully chosen to reflect the identity of the recipient.
2021 is the 450th Anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter on 14th April 1571 by Elizabeth I.
To celebrate this event an exhibition was mounted in the Guildhall Art Gallery which told the story of our company, our history and our crafts of joinery and woodcarving. In the following film Past Masters James de Sausmarez and Clive Turrell along with curator Sian Flynn look back at the key elements of the exhibition
Senior Members of the Company 2022-23
The Master and Wardens are elected in September and serve for one year.