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Title: A Short History of the Worshipful Company of Horners
Author: Rosedale, H. G.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Short History of the Worshipful Company of Horners" ***

                            A SHORT HISTORY


                             The Worshipful
                           Company of Horners


                       Price Five Shillings net.




                             JANUARY, 1912.

                   The Worshipful Company of Horners.



      CHARLES EVES, Esq., Capel House, 62, New Broad Street, E.C.

                             Upper Warden:

                W. B. CRANFIELD, Esq., 6, Poultry, E.C.

                             Renter Warden:

            Capt. L. G. MARCUS, C.C., 65, London Wall, E.C.

                          Court of Assistants:

 *Mr. Deputy MILLAR WILKINSON, Seatonross, Christchurch Park, Sutton,
 Sir DAVID STEWART, Banchory House, Aberdeen.
 *W. SPENCER CHAPMAN, Esq., The Cottage, Warminster, Wilts.
 *A. W. TIMBRELL, Esq., C.C., 44, King William Street, E.C.
 *Dr. W. J. HILL, 25, Craven Street, Strand, W.C.
 *H. BURT, Esq., J.P., Parkfield, Potters Bar.
 *Col. Sir J. ROPER PARKINGTON, J.P., D.L., 58, Green Street, Park Lane,
 *W. PHENE NEAL, Esq., C.C., 62, London Wall, E.C.
 *P. H. P. WIPPELL, Esq., LL.M., B.A., 4, Paper Buildings, Temple, E.C.
 *J. DIX LEWIS, Esq., J.P., 85, Gresham Street, E.C.
 *Rev. C. C. HOYLE, M.A., New Westminster, Canada.
 CECIL HARTRIDGE, Esq., 17, Old Broad Street, E.C.
 *H. S. FOSTER. Esq., J.P., Grosvenor Mansions, 82, Victoria Street,
    Westminster, S.W.
 *J. T. EDMONDS, Esq., 19, Great Winchester Street, E.C.
 W. R. TAYLOR CARR, Esq., 108a, Cannon Street, E.C.
 A. GOODINCH WILLIAMS, Esq., Union Place, Stonehouse, Plymouth.
 Major CHARLES WALLINGTON, V.D., 4, Tokenhouse Buildings, Bank, E.C.
 G. R. BLADES, Esq., 23, Abchurch Lane, E.C.
 Ald. JAMES ROLL, Adelaide Place, London Bridge, E.C.
 Rev. H. G. ROSEDALE, D.D., F.S.A., 7, Gloucester Street, Victoria, S.W.
 A. F. BLADES, Esq., 23, Abchurch Lane, E.C.
 E. PARNELL, Esq., Devon Lodge, 14, Wickham Road, Brockley, S.E.
 Col. and Ald. Sir W. H. DUNN, 11, St. Helen’s Place, Bishopsgate, E.C.
 G. R. GLANFIELD, Esq., 58, Canfield Gardens, Hampstead, N.W.
 Rev. H. T. CART DE LAFONTAINE, M.A., 49, Albert Court, Kensington Gore,
 JAMES WEBSTER, Esq., 38, Wickham Road, Brockley, S.E.
 HUGH T. TAYLOR, Esq., 9, Wood Street, E.C.
 HORACE E. BOWLES, Esq., 66, Bishopsgate Street, E.C.
 A. H. MICHELL, Esq., 5, Devonshire Place, W.
 M. R. SEWILL, Esq., C.C., 2, Porchester Square, Hyde Park, W.
 JAMES CURTIS, Esq., 179, Marylebone Road, N.W.

                              Hon. Chaplain:

 Rev. H. G. ROSEDALE, D.D., F.S.A., 7, Gloucester Street, Victoria, S.W.

                           Clerk and Solicitor:

        HOWARD DEIGHTON, Esq., C.C., 44, King William Street, E.C.


           Those marked (*) have served the office of Master.

[Illustration: shield]


The discovery of the “Old Book of the Worshipful Company of Horners,”
which has probably been missing for some 250 years, has brought added
interest to the consideration of what is, perhaps, the oldest of the
City Gilds.

In studying the documents and compiling the account of that book,
recently distributed to the members of the Company by the kindness of
the late Master, Mr. Edmonds, I was drawn to take in hand the lengthy
and difficult task of reconstructing the life history of this
interesting Craft Gild. Such a work is the product only of years of
patient labour, but, in the meantime, at the request of the Court, I am
glad to offer some preliminary details which may serve at least to show
the age and dignity of the Worshipful Company of Horners.

I have endeavoured, where possible, to incorporate passages from the
late Mr. Compton’s paper before the British Archæological Society, but,
owing to many discoveries having been made which were not at his
disposal, I have had to take a different course in some respects.

I wish, however, to state that this short history cannot in any sense be
considered a complete or even sufficient account of the Company, but
must hide behind the expressed wish of the Court that, in this instance,
it should be of modest dimensions.

                                                    H. G. ROSEDALE, D.D.

[Illustration: Casket presented to King Edward VII]

                           A SHORT HISTORY OF
                         THE WORSHIPFUL COMPANY
                              OF HORNERS.


[Sidenote: Origin of Gilds.]

The study of Gilds, their origin and development, is amongst the most
fascinating of all literary pursuits, but though many whose names rank
high in the world of letters have gone deeply into the problems which
the subject presents, the early days of gild life, at least, in this
country, are still to some extent shrouded in the mists of speculation.

Whether Craft Gilds came to England from the far-off glories of Greece
and Rome, whether they were the descendants of the early Saxon or Danish
“blood brotherhoods,” or even derived partly from the one and partly
from the other, is still a moot point.

There are practically no records of any importance of Craft Gilds in
this country before the arrival of the Normans, though during the time
of the Roman occupation there must have been many such extant. At quite
an early period of the Roman occupation, we know that the Gild of
Smiths, “Collegium Fabrorum,” existed in this country.

At a later period it is clear that England was covered with a network of
Frith Gilds, but whether these were Trade Gilds in the accepted sense or
not has yet to be shown. It seems probable, however, that they were
Agricultural Gilds enforced upon the inhabitants by their Saxon
conquerors, and that in the more populous neighbourhoods and towns,
craftsmen and merchants were included under their own special “tything”
or possibly even had their own “hundred”.

Whether this were the case or not, it will be obvious to all that in
Saxon and Norman England alike, wherever several persons were plying the
same trade, there must have existed some sort of organization for mutual
protection and for the instruction of others. Throughout the known world
from the very earliest periods, workmen of the different classes have
always formed their own aggregations and have always associated
themselves together for mutual assistance and protection. The need for
something of this sort must have been very urgent in days when there was
less security to life and property, and in days when, as we are led to
suppose, the Saxon rulers felt scant sympathy for the towns where trades
would be found to exist most extensively.

[Sidenote: Antiquity of Gilds in England.]

The more we study mediæval life in our own country, the more impossible
it becomes to imagine any regular trade as existing apart from some
official or semi-official organization, combining one or more of the
following obligations: Control of the workers, education of novices,
civil representation (generally through some influential patron or
head), and nearly always carrying out the work of a burial and insurance
society. That such a banding together of those, whether merchants or
craftsmen, interested in any particular occupation, must have existed
during the Saxon period with the object of promoting one or more of the
objects mentioned, is hardly open to doubt. It would be specially in the
towns, such as London, in which, as Sir Lawrence Gomme has pointed out,
the Roman ideals of organization still persisted, even into Norman
times, that Gild life or its analogue would be most definitely marked.

[Sidenote: Gild, not Guild.]

Such Societies, Unions, or Combinations for common interests, whether of
Trade, Religion, or social needs, were called Gilds, the word being
derived from the Anglo-Saxon _Gildan_ or _Gildare_, to pay, an allusion
to the contribution demanded from every member towards the common fund.

[Sidenote: Antiquity of the Horner’s Craft.]

It may be justly claimed that amongst the earliest trades or crafts of
this country was that of the Horner, who was indispensable to the
community, inasmuch as he was the purveyor of many articles absolutely
necessary for domestic purposes. In the days, for instance, of Kings Ina
and Alfred metals of any kind were rare and consequently costly.
Articles required for eating and drinking, such as cups, plates, forks,
etc., as well as vessels for the preservation of liquids and powders,
were made from horn, that being the least expensive and the most easily
attainable material for those who had risen above the use of wooden
articles for similar purposes.

[Sidenote: Laws of Ina.]

That trades did exist throughout the Saxon period is clear, nor should
it be doubted that among the more important of those trades was that of
the Horner. Indeed, though little else of a commercial character is
alluded to in the laws of King Ina (A.D. 688-726), those laws lay down
the price at which horns are to be bought and sold, and thereby indicate
the importance of the horner to the community. “Bovis cornu decem
denariis valeat Vaccæ cornu duobus denariis valeat.”—No mean price,
surely, at that early period.

[Sidenote: Horn Tenure.]

Not only are horns mentioned in the early Norse Runic inscriptions (see
_Deutsches Literatur Zeitung_, April 2nd, 1910), but there have been,
from the earliest days, many well-known instances of beautifully worked
horns used as a method of conveyancing property. Ulphus’s Horn, a
drinking horn now at York, is, perhaps, the best known example. It was
presented by him to the Church in token of the conveyance of his lands
to the Church Authorities. King Edgar granted privileges to Glastonbury
Abbey by means of a horn. For a very long period the family of Pusey
held the village of Pusey by virtue of a horn, given to William Picoli
by King Canute. Edward the Confessor granted the Rangership of Bernwode
Forest, Bucks, to be held by a horn, while Randal de Meschines, third
Earl of Chester, conferred on Allan Silvestris the Bailywick of the
Forest of Wirall by delivering to him a horn, which was ever after
preserved at Hooton. Ingulphus, Abbot of Croyland, mentions the horn
amongst those things whereby land was conveyed in the Conqueror’s reign.
This recalls the lines of Wordsworth in the “Horn of Egremont Castle.”

                 “Eustace pointed with his lance
                 “To the horn which there was hanging,
                 “Horn of the Inheritance.”

                         *    *    *

                 “Who of right claimed the Lordship
                 “By the proof upon the Horn.”

[Sidenote: Drinking Horns.]

Both Pliny and Cæsar allude to the elaborate horn cups of their period.
Johannis Salisburiensis tells us that the Danes used horns as well as
the Saxons, and Giraldus Cambrensis mentions the Horn of St. Patrick.

Sometimes these horns were so skilfully made that they could be used
both for blowing and drinking; _vide_ Chaucer’s “Frank Tale,” l. 2,809:
“And drinketh of his bugle horn the wine.” Perhaps, however, the most
interesting and historic horn cup was that which Witlaf, King of Mercia,
gave to the Abbey of Croyland, “cornu mensæ suas ut,” etc.—the horn from
his own table that the elder monks might drink out of it on Festivals
and Saints’ Days, and that when they gave thanks, they might remember
the soul of Witlaf the donor. Ingulphus mentions that when the Monastery
was almost burnt down this horn was saved.

[Sidenote: Medical Horns.]

From Payne’s “English Medicine in Anglo-Saxon Times” we ascertain that
during the tenth and eleventh centuries, at least, the Horners’ trade
was called into use by the apothecary. The author relates that in
“cupping” operations and the administration of clysters, horns were
used, indicating a nicety of manufacture which must have placed the
trade on a high level.

[Sidenote: Importance in Saxon times.]

To such a pitch of development had the trade of a Horner attained at
least 250 years before the Norman Conquest, that even the patens and
chalices used at the Church services were made of this substance, as may
be evidenced from the fact that at the Council of Chelsea, held A.D.
789, after careful discussion, it was decided that the chalices and
patens used for ecclesiastical purposes should no longer be made of
horn, but of metal, no doubt to distinguish them from similar articles
which had already come into general use for common and domestic

At this time glass was probably almost, if not entirely, unknown in
England, and, in consequence, thin sheets of horn had to be manufactured
to serve many of the purposes to which glass is now applied.

These facts, and the general tendency of town life in this country, make
it practically certain that long before the tenth century the Horner’s
trade, in common with some others, was in full swing, and with it that
which we may deem inseparable from any considerable trade at that time,
something in the nature of what we now call a Trade or Craft Gild.

[Sidenote: Horners’ probably the oldest City Gild.]

Both tradition and documentary evidence are agreed that the Horners’
Gild dates back to the far off ages of antiquity, and we may justly
claim that its foundation is as early as, if not anterior to, any of the
existing City Companies.

[Sidenote: Old book of the Worshipful Company of Horners.]

Considerable light has been thrown on the vicissitudes of the Horners’
Gild by the recent discovery, as well as recovery, of the most
interesting and ancient MSS. book already alluded to. The existence of
this book, which formerly belonged to the Company, and was, in fact, its
official record, was brought to the notice of the Clerk of the Company
by Dr. Warner, of the British Museum. After many negotiations between
Mr. Howard Deighton and the then owners of the volume, it was purchased
for the sum of £40.

A detailed account of this precious possession has been given in the
form of a publication entitled “Some Notes on the Old Book of the
Worshipful Company of Horners,” which was distributed to the members of
the Company and their guests at their last Livery Dinner, by the late
Master, Mr. J. T. Edmonds.

Though records relating to Craft Gilds in the eleventh, twelfth and
thirteenth centuries are very meagre and difficult to discover, the “Old
Book of the Worshipful Company of Horners” has proved extremely useful
in helping to build up a consecutive history of this extremely early
Gild. It demonstrates the fact that at least as early as the fourteenth
century, both Horners and Bottlemakers were taking their full share of
civic and commercial life.

[Sidenote: The Gild in Saxon days.]

Probably, during the Saxon period, the workers in horn, in common with
other craftsmen, were enrolled amongst the members of the Frith Gild and
not differentiated until the Anglo-Norman period. It might even be
admitted that the Horners’ Gild was a subdivision of one of the many
“Gilds Merchant” so prominent as mercantile forces in the eleventh and
twelfth centuries; but it is more than probable that before the end of
the eleventh century, so important a trade as that of the Horner would
have begun to assert itself separately and individually, more especially
as there does not seem to have been any larger or more important Gild
under which it could have found shelter.

[Sidenote: Horn Fair, 1268.]

[Sidenote: Horners’ Statutes in 1284.]

We do not know whether the Horners’ Company had any connection with
“Horn Fair,” which took place at Charlton, in Kent, and for which Henry
III granted a Charter in 1268. Of this fair, Philpot, writing in 1639,
tells us it was called Horn Fair because of “the great plenty of all
sorts of winding horns, cups and other vessels of horn there bought and
sold.” We are, however, on sure ground when we point to an interesting
proof of the great antiquity of the Horners’ Company, which comes to us
from the official letter books of the City of London. In Letter Book A,
fol. 40, 12th Edward I (September 8th, 1284), we find that the ancient
Gilds are drawing up Rules for revision by the authorities, an event
which, no doubt, took place every few years in early times. The entry
includes the following:—“The same day the said John (Pesemers) received
the Statutes of the Horners for correction.”

[Sidenote: Notable Horners in 1303.]

In 1303 (31st of Edward I), an incident took place which illustrates at
once the prominence of Horners at the time and the variety of persons
who were members of the Gild. The Royal Treasury at Westminster had been
robbed. Richard of Pudlicote and William du Palais were accused. During
the Inquisition held by the Bishop of London it transpired that amongst
the friends of this Richard were several persons, notably one “Jacobus
le Horner et Boten^r manens apud Kandelwickestrate,” whose character is
described thus:—“It is unknown whether they were aware of the felony—tñ
male credunt de eis” (_i.e._, they have a bad name). As a set-off,
however, against this undesirable person, it is recorded that two other
Horners, viz., Rogerus le Cornur and Stephanus le Cornur succeeded in
arresting Robert le Convers, another actor in the drama.

[Sidenote: Notable Horners in 13th and 14th centuries.]

Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries there is frequent
mention made of Horners, many of whom seem to have been persons of great
importance. In 1284 we have recorded the name of Thomas att or de
Corner, and in 1285 Clement le Cornur. In 1295, of William le Horner,
and others are mentioned in the years 1226, 1320, 1342, 1346, 1352 as
doing some official act. This frequent mention of Horners to be found in
early records does not apply to London only, but to other places. For
instance, Peter le Horner, resident at the Heywarde, Cambridge, is
mentioned as paying taxes in that town in 1314-1315.

[Sidenote: 15th century.]

In 1441 (20th of Henry VI), we are told that “at the instance of
‘Sympkin horner of London,’ together with two others, the King directed
letters to the Mayor and Bayliffs of Hampton Sandwys, asking how
Englishmen repairing to ‘Pruce, Hanze and Danske’ are treated.”

Well might a learned legal luminary, delivering judgment in 1692,
say:—“A Horner is a particular Trade and a very ancient Company in

[Sidenote: Horners take Bottlemakers under their protection.]

In the year 1362 the Horners were in so flourishing a state that another
Craft Gild, the Bottlemakers, who, as we read in the MS. book just
referred to, dated back, like the Horners, to “time out of mind,” found
it desirable to place themselves under the protection of the Horners’
Company, and, for a period of 115 years, remained under its protection,
until, in the sixteenth year of Edward IV the two Companies became
amalgamated. The interesting document which authorized the fusion of the
two Companies is to be found in Letter Book L, fol. cxvi, of the City of
London. It prays that the Company of “Bottell Makers,” which had been
for some time intimately associated with the Horners, be united with it
and become one and the same Company, and “that from hensfurth the saide
persones of both the said Crafts may be as bretheren and accupie and
Joyne together as well in all things to be borne and doone within the
said Cettie. As in observing,” etc.

The petition to the Mayor and Aldermen was granted, and from that day
forward the three bottles as well as three horns have emblazoned the
arms of the Horners’ Company.

[Sidenote: Important Record.]

In the very ancient and interesting book belonging to the Horners’
Company there are two early entries relating to the period during which
the two Companies were legally separated though in a certain close
relation to each other. The entries, which are identical, are as
follows:—“The bottellmakers have continued in the Company of the Horners
a hundred fourscore nine yeres and nine monthes, wrytten the last daie
of November Anno Dni One Thousand five hundred fiftie and seaven.”

[Sidenote: Horners, the 26th City Gild in 1376.]

Following upon this remarkable evidence of official recognition as a
Craft Gild, carrying with it all the legal privileges which were later
conferred by recorded Charters, we find as early as 1376 an entry of the
fact that the Horners’ Gild was recognized as the twenty-sixth out of
forty-eight “mysteries of the City of London,” and successively sent two
of its members to the Court of Common Council, not only to represent the
members of the Gild in the election of a Mayor and other officers of the
City, but also to form a representative body to withstand all
encroachments on their liberties and those of the City generally, which
the claims and pretensions of Edward III seemed to threaten.

[Sidenote: Petition to regularize Proceedings granted 1391.]

This event preceded a time of great commercial activity, when many
political circumstances compelled the City Craft Gilds to legalize
themselves by obtaining from the Civic authorities (now so considerably
strengthened by the success of the resistance offered to Edward III), a
recognition of the practices which for a very lengthy period they had
made use of, in the conduct of their affairs.

[Sidenote: Gild Officials and their importance.]

Such an application took place in 1391, during the reign of Richard II,
on the part of the Horners’ Company. The petition was mainly concerned
with the recognition of their right to elect two Wardens to preside over
the Horners in accordance with the ancient practice common amongst other
Gilds. At this time it would appear that there were no Masters elected,
but that the position of Master of a Gild was filled either by the
Alderman of the Ward or some other influential and important person,
called the “Guardian,” who represented the interests of the Craft on the
Council of the Mayor and Aldermen.

According to Madox, in his “Firma Burgi,” it would appear that a still
earlier form was to elect an Alderman and two Masters for each Gild.
This will readily account for the fact that some aldermanries were
territorial, as in the case of the Knighten Gild, whose ruler was
Alderman of the Portsoken Ward, others were connected with Gilds apart
from locality, and possibly some were ecclesiastical or even commercial.
A quaint illustration of this practice is found in the Confirmation of a
Norwich Fraternity by Henry V. The members are authorized to elect an
Alderman and two Masters, who, when the name of Gild was changed to that
of Craft Mystery, became respectively the Guardian or Alderman and
Wardens of the Mystery.

The privilege of electing Wardens was always in the forefront of every
grant, since it was of great importance to the Crafts to have this right
at a time when constant efforts were made to put in representatives and
nominees of the monarch, in order to bring the Crafts, and, through
them, the City of London, into subjection.

[Sidenote: William Karlile and Richard Baroun.]

It is highly probable that in 1391 the deputation from the Horners’ Gild
on presenting its petition was introduced by one Richard Baroun, Horner,
of London, Alderman of Aldgate, and Master of the Gild in 1391. He was
not only the Guardianus or Master of the Gild, but a person of great
importance during the reign of Richard II, being Horner to the King. His
predecessor in the office of Alderman, it is interesting to note, was
one William Karlile, Master of the Bottlemakers’ Gild. This fact will
help to explain the close relations existing between the two Crafts.

[Sidenote: Confiscation of Charters and their return in 1397.]

In a newly discovered MS. of great interest which is being edited by E.
H. Dring, Esq., there appears the following passage, A.D. 1397 (?
1398):—“And thanne after the presentacion of the said supplication (from
the Citizens of London to the King) ther were made mony blank charteres
and all the men of every crafte of the said Cite as well as all manne
servaunts and maisters were charged to come to the Guylde halle to sette
her seales to the said blank charteres.” It must, have been from this
MS. that Stow gathered much of his information, and this passage was
copied by Fabian in 1516, Grafton in 1659, and Hollingshead in 1577.

Richard II, furious with the citizens of London for assisting the Duke
of Arundel, had taken the opportunity of a brawl in the City, to
humiliate the citizens. He confiscated their charters and laid the City
under a fine of £1,000,000. This was late in 1397, and the following
Spring (which until March 25th was A.D. 1397, and after that date A.D.
1398, whence possibly the confusion in dates) the City, which, as we
have seen, would be the Common Council, more especially as the King had
imprisoned the Mayor and put in a “Custos” to govern, bought back the
King’s favour, and, consequently, their own charters, by the most
expensive procession and gifts. All the brethren of each Gild, in return
for this forgiveness, had to put their seals to these blank charters,
which were an acknowledgment of the King’s power and their willingness
to do and pay what was left in blank in that charter, so that the King
could insert what he chose in the blank spaces, or, as Grafton puts it,
“by which he might, when he would, undo any of his subjects.”

Amongst the Companies called upon to do this was certainly the Horners,
who would not have been foolish enough to seal the “charters” had they
not needed the support of the City in the maintaining their own
prescriptive rights based on Royal grants. The term sealing is quite a
natural one, inasmuch as no charters were signed until Tudor times.

[Sidenote: Renewed activity.]

Doubtless the troubles of the period and the expenses to which the
fraternity had been put, caused the Gild to value its rights and to
claim further recognition, even to the extent of promoting a special Act
of Parliament. They did not seek to obtain a charter, be it noted, which
rarely meant any advantage to the unfortunate persons who were
practically compelled to accept such charters, but, on the contrary, in
most cases proved to be an invasion by the Crown of former prescriptive

The Horners were successful in obtaining a special Act of Parliament in
the year 1465. The Act is worth quoting as showing to what importance
the Horners’ Company must have risen by that date.

                          IV EDWARD IV, C. 8.

[Sidenote: The Horners’ Act.]

“Our soveraigne lord the Kyng perceyving by grevous complaint made in
this Parliamente, by men of occupation of horners beynge enfraunchysed
in the Cytie of London, howe that the people of straunge landes hath
come into this lande, and into dyvers partyes thereof, and hath boughte
by the handes of theyr hostes and guydes, the great and chiefe stuffe of
Englyshe hornes unwrought, of tanners & bochers, & cary the same over
the sea, and there employ the same in dyvers workes, to the great damage
of this land and to the finall preiudice of a great numbre of men beinge
of the same occupacion: hath by the advice and assent of the sayd
Lordes, & at the request of the sayd commons, and by the auctority
aforesayd, ordeined established & enacted, that from the feast of
Easter, which shall bee in the yere of our Lord God M.CCCCLXV, no maner
straunger nor alien by himselfe or by any other, shal buy any Englysh
hornes unwrought of any Tanners, bochers, or any other persons Gathered
or growing within the sayd city and, xxiii myles on every syde of the
sayd city next adioyning. And that no Englishman nor other personne sell
anye Englyshe hornes unwrought to any straunger or cause them to be
sente over the sea, so that the sayd horners will buy the sayd hornes at
lyke pryc as they be at the tyme of the making of this acte, uppon payne
of forfayture of all suche hornes so bought, sold, or sent. And that the
Wardeins of the sayd mistery for the tyme beyng by the sayd authority
shall have full power to serch all manner ware perteyning to their
mistery wrought or to be wrought in all places within the sayd citye of
London, and xxiii miles on every syde next adioyning to the same citye,
and within the Feyres of Sturbrydge and Ely in whose handes they may be
founde, and if they by theyr serch fynd any suche ware or stuffe in any
place within the sayd citye of London and xxiii miles next adioyning to
the same citye or within the Feyres of Sturbrydge and Elye, in whose
handes soever they be to sell, that is defective & insuffycient. It
shall be lawful to them to take the same ware and stuffe, and bring it
before the Mayre of the same citye of London, the mayre & bayliffes of
the foresayd Feyres for the tyme beynge, and the same there beyng proved
defective to be forfayt: the one halfe thereof to oure Soveraigne lord
the king, and the other halfe to the sayd wardens, to be ordred at their
pleasure. Provyded alwayes that after that me of the sayd occupacion
within this land have taken out & chosen such as many hornes as shal bee
nedefull to theyr occupacions: that then it shal be lawfull to them all
and every of them and other persons of this realme of Englande, to sel
and deliver al the hornes refused, which be not able to be occupyed in
theyr mistery to any straunger or other persons to send or cary beyond
the sea or elles where, as shal please them.”

[Sidenote: Bottlemakers absorbed by Horners in 1477.]

This Act of Parliament must have proved of great benefit to the Horners;
but with it came greater demands from the Company on the part of the
King and the City. The frugal minds of the Craft rulers at once saw the
advantage of paying one set of assessments instead of two, and asked
that in future the Horners and Bottlemakers might be treated as one
Company, and not be called upon to pay the shares of two separate
Companies. Thus the prosperity of the Horners, coupled with the
increasing demands for money made on the City Gilds, led to the union of
the Horners and Bottlemakers just twelve years after the passing of the
Horners’ Act, _i.e._, in 1477 (sixteenth year of Edward IV), facts
indicating in no uncertain way that the Horners must have been very
firmly established and legally constituted at the time, both in order to
make the assessments possible as well as to give them the right to
absorb the Bottlemakers.

[Sidenote: Deeds of Agreement.]

[Sidenote: Deed of 1590.]

[Sidenote: Deed of 1599.]

In the reign of Elizabeth we find the Horners’ Company carrying on its
work as a Joint Stock Company. The stock being held in shares or
half-shares, it therefore became necessary to place the Wardens, who
alone had under the Act just mentioned, power to purchase horns, under
some agreement to do so only for and on behalf of the members of the
Gild. No doubt many such deeds were executed, but amongst the archives
of the Company there are still two extant, the one dated 1590 and the
other 1599. The parties to the deed are the Wardens and the rest of the
members. The Wardens therein bind themselves to buy, and the other
members not to buy, horns in London or twenty-four miles round. The
horns bought by the Wardens are to be purchased for the use of the whole
Company and to be divided equally between them by the Wardens. In the
deed of 1599 the limit within which the purchase and sale of horns was
prohibited was altered from twenty-four to one hundred miles “next in
and about the City of London.”

[Sidenote: Horn industry an English secret.]

From a document in the possession of the Company it would appear that
the horn industry was, during the fifteenth century at least, an English
monopoly, and from the official documents of Germany, Holland and France
the writer has been unable to discover a single record of such an
industry existing before 1600. The following interesting sentence from a
document which is dated 1455 (thirty-third year of Henry VI),
illustrates the contention:—

“Inasmuch as the making of Hornes and other workes perteyning unto the
said mystery be not perfectly had nor knowne in any region or place of
the world, except in this land only: which causeth the people of other
lands & places to resort & repaire unto this Citie for Hornes yeerly,
unto the great proffitt & worship of the same Citie, whereas if such
people of strange lands might cleerly & perfectly understand the cunning
& feat of making of such English Hornes, would not heder repaire yeerly
to buy such English chaffer,” etc.

Consequently, the Wardens were expressly authorized the same year by the
Mayor and Aldermen to punish any who should reveal the secret of the
Craft to any stranger.

[Sidenote: Exportation of Horns.]

So valuable a trade, however, could not remain long unknown to the
Continental nations, who were, in other respects, far in advance of
England, and consequently the demand for English horns on the Continent
became so great that, in spite of the Act forbidding the export of
horns, the members of the Gild seem to have done a considerable trade in
exporting horns, on the excuse that they were refuse horns. Indeed, so
profitable did they find this traffic that, about 1590, two City men,
the one a merchant and the other a scrivenour, entered into competition
with them and managed to secure from Queen Elizabeth,—no doubt for a
substantial payment,—permission to export horns to the Continent, though
not themselves members of the Horners’ Company.

[Sidenote: Competition by Furner and Crayford.]

The controversy which this occasioned between the Horners and their
opponents, Symon Furner and John Crayford, is to be found amongst the
records in the Manuscript Department of the British Museum.

Lord Burleigh attempted to bring about a compromise, and instructed a
Mr. Carmarthen to endeavour to arrive at some arrangement between the
contending parties, but in vain. The issue at stake was a vital one. The
Horners claimed exclusive privileges under some Charter which they were
evidently able to produce, accorded them by one of the Kings of England,
whilst Messrs. Furner and Crayford argued their privileges under the
“letters patent” granted by the Queen.

It would seem that the wealth and influences behind the private
adventurers were stronger than those of the Company, which was already
beginning to feel the pressure of competition from the Pouchmakers and
Leathersellers, who dealt in the same kinds of wares, as well as from
the introduction of glass vessels, etc., which took place in the
sixteenth century.

[Sidenote: Withdrawal from public life.]

From the year 1455 onwards, the Horners seem to have fallen into the
background and to have disappeared from the arena of public life. This
is not altogether to be wondered at, for, towards the end of the
fifteenth century, and for nearly 200 years after, City Crafts or
Mysteries were the object of predatory attacks of so deadly a character,
that though in 1455 we find forty-eight Crafts openly representing the
City, in 1575 only twenty-eight Companies were to be found on whom the
assessment for wheat could be placed. What the remaining Mysteries did
is difficult to say, but no doubt they attempted to carry on their work
unnoticed, either urging prescriptive rights, or claiming none, in order
to avoid spoliation.

[Sidenote: Horners forced to re-appear.]

The once important trade, but now the “little craft of Horners” was
evidently in this category, and had it not been for the necessity of
fighting for very existence, when the export of horns was making their
trade impossible by the increase in price of the raw material, they
doubtless would have preferred to keep in the background, even at the
end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. This contention would seem the more
reasonable from the fact that had not the previous Charters or Royal
grants to the Horners’ Company been of very ancient date, and,
consequently, almost forgotten, and had that Craft not been, as it were,
keeping from the glare of public observation in order to avoid the cost
of “Inspeximus’s,” it is unlikely that the advisers of Queen Elizabeth
would have laid her open to the controversy which the grant of letters
patent to Furner and Crayford was bound to produce.

[Sidenote: 1604. Repeal of Horners’ Act.]

[Sidenote: Petition to Parliament, 1610, and revival of Horners’ Act.]

It must have been a great blow to the Company when, in the first year of
the reign of James I, an Act (c. 25) was passed which repealed the
Statute of 4 Edward IV; but in the seventh year of that King’s reign the
Horners presented their petition to Parliament, stating, “that by reason
of the repeal of the prohibition, the Company had grown so poor and
decayed, as in a short time, if remedy be not provided, they and theirs
shall be utterly undone;” and the Act is thereby revived except as to
the powers of search in Stourbridge and Ely fairs, and a limitation of
the price of horns thereby secured. A penalty was imposed of double the
value of English horns sold unwrought to any stranger or sent over the
sea; one moiety of the penalty to go to the informer and one moiety to
the King.

[Sidenote: 1627. Letters patent from the King.]

Notwithstanding this Statute, the exportation of horns still continued,
and Letters Patent were granted by King Charles I, in the third year of
his reign, 1627, again prohibiting the exportation of horns until the
Company should first have made choice of the best and most convenient
number of the horns to supply the necessary occasions of the realm.

In spite of the protection afforded by these Acts and Letters Patent,
the exportation of horns continued.

[Sidenote: Evil days.]

[Sidenote: 1635. New Orders allowed.]

These were evil days for the Horners’ Craft, and it would appear that
the Horners themselves were not entirely guiltless in the matter.
Consequently, in 1635, to stem the tide of ill-fortune which seemed to
have set in, the Company approached the Mayor and Aldermen to give them
fresh rules “for the reformation of the Crafte.” The following rules
were allowed and confirmed by the then Lord Mayor, Christopher

    1. Horns to be bought for the General good.

    2. None to buy Horns within 20 miles of London.

    3. Everyone to pay for his share as the Wardens shall think fit.

    4. None to keep above one apprentice, except he hath been a partner
      or sharer with the said Company seven years at least, in which
      case he may keep two apprentices.

    5. Apprentices shall be bound.

    6. No one to be set to work at the trade unless he have served
      seven years.

    7. Every journeyman to serve two years after having been made “free
      of the Company.”

    8. None to enter for their shares until called by the Wardens.

    9. Anyone elected a Warden must serve the office or pay a fine
      of 20 shillings.

    10. None shall sue or arrest another without permission from the

    11. The Wardens may commit offenders to prison with the consent of
      the Mayor.

For two years the Company exercised their powers under these new rules,
but still harder times were in store for the Company.

[Sidenote: Further troubles.]

Whether as the result of an information laid by some member who was
suffering under these stringent regulations, or, as would appear most
probable, the King’s growing need of money to carry on the coming
political struggle between himself and his people, the Horners were
suddenly discovered to be acting illegally. Under the powers conferred
by the Act of 19 Henry VII, which was no doubt revived for the purpose,
no Master, Wardens, or Companies could make any acts or ordinances
except such as should be approved by the Chancellor and Treasurer of
England or Chief Justice of either Bench, or three of them.

[Sidenote: The Legal Plight of the Company.]

Though doubtless this Act was never intended to apply to alterations or
additions to regulations already in force, but rather to the
establishment of new Companies, it became necessary for the Horners to
comply with the regulations, and though it does not transpire whether
they were compelled to pay any fines or not, they finally obtained
confirmation of their new rules under the hands of Thomas Coventrie,
Lord Chancellor, and Chief Justices John Branston and John Finch, but
not until after they applied for and obtained a Royal Charter, and as
Charles I, in order to assert Sovereign rights, was unwilling to admit
ancient prescriptive claims, care was taken to justify this subversion
of the ancient rights of the Gild, by stating in the Charter that the
Horners had never been “incorporated.”

[Sidenote: Grave peril.]

[Sidenote: Difficulty evaded by purchase of new Charter.]

The examination of the New Rules by the Judges just mentioned, had
revealed the fact that the Horners were a Joint Stock Company holding
property in perpetuity in opposition to the Statute of Mortmain. Here
was a splendid opportunity for the King to reap a harvest, and nothing
remained for the authorities of the Company but to obtain a Charter as
soon as possible and to avoid the heavy penalties to which they would
otherwise be subjected by assenting to the legal fiction that they had
not acted as a corporation, and never had been one, but merely an
association in existence from year to year, acting under ancient and
well-recognized privileges. Whether this claim was technically correct
or not, the antiquity of the Company was so great and the process of
proving any breach so lengthy and difficult that no doubt Charles I
thought it best to take the cash payment which always accompanied grants
and so close the matter. Thus the Charter of 1638, which is the only one
now extant, was obtained, and the proceedings of the Company as a joint
stock concern holding property in perpetuity were again legalized,
though doubtless long before that time the right to hold property and to
do all that was required of them as a Craft Gild had been regularly
accorded to the members in the persons of their several “Guardians.”

[Sidenote: Charters of little value in determining dates of origin.]

Like many other City Companies, the Horners have been accustomed to
believe that this Charter, which in its preamble for obvious reasons
takes for granted no previous Charter, was the first and only legal
instrument authorizing them to carry on their work as a Gild. Very
little reliance, however, is to be placed on the statements of the
Charters of this period, which were often little more than a temporary
instrument of protection against further encroachments on their
resources and powers by the ruling monarch. For this very uncertain
privilege large sums had to be paid, sums wrung again and again from the
unfortunate City Gilds by threats of suppression.

It is mere than probable that at all times Charters were freely
purchasable by those who could afford to pay for them, and, having
served their particular purpose, were as easily lost or mislaid. For all
practical purposes, however, until the sixteenth century at least, they
offer no indication whatever of the antiquity of any Company, even where
they seem to state in the preamble that there has been no previous
Charter, a statement which should be taken only to indicate that the
Sovereign granting the Charter wishes it to be supposed that he, and he
alone, is the person to whom the Company is indebted for its privileges,
privileges which often existed only in name. In many cases the Charters
were really encroachments by the State on the ancient privileges which
had been inherited from the earliest times, and which were supported by
Municipal law, against which State law waged continuous warfare.

[Sidenote: Previous Incorporations.]

It is widely held by students who are not satisfied to be merely
superficial that in very early days aggregate bodies were deemed to have
perpetual succession without being “incorporated.” When the King granted
to a set of men to be a mercantile community, assembly, or meeting, this
was considered sufficient to incorporate them. As illustrating this
virtual “incorporation” we may note the words of the eminent jurist, Dr.
Williams, in his “Law of the Universities,” published only last year. He
says:—“A corporation, the creature of the Crown, may exist by Charter or
‘prescription,’ which presumes a Charter, even in cases where historical
evidence makes it morally certain that no Charters ever existed.”
Consequently, in the Charters of Edward III (which meant little and were
but a receipt for moneys loaned or given), there is no provision for a
common seal, liberty to accept or buy land, or to sue and be sued, etc.,
all these being naturally taken for granted in the case of Gilds or
similar organizations then existing. It is no doubt true that in the
reign of Edward III Craft Gilds were generally chartered, _i.e._, had
their privileges _confirmed_ by Letters Patent; yet, in still earlier
days, as well as after the death of Edward III, it would seem that these
bodies exercised their functions under special protection or on
suffrance, probably always in return for their “fermes” or annual
payment to the King.

[Sidenote: Horners never an adulterine Gild.]

If further illustration were required, to demonstrate how great is the
right of the Horners’ Company to rank amongst the earliest of the
acknowledged Trade Gilds, that proof is to be found in the study of what
are known as “Adulterine” Gilds. These were unwarranted or unlicensed
Gilds, and from time to time were heavily fined. There is no mention,
however, of the Horners having been among such Gilds thus swooped down
upon by the King, though lists are given of those who were mulcted from
the twelfth century. The Horners could not have escaped had they been
unwarranted at the time, and must, therefore, have possessed
indisputable rights.

Reference has been made to Richard Baroun and William Karlile.

[Sidenote: Royal Grants must have existed.]

Richard Baroun, we read, was one “whom the King retained to serve him
with Horns & other things pertaining to his Mistery, & to whom was
granted the King’s livery of clothing every year, in the great wardrobe,
as other Horners of his condition had been wont to receive.” Thus
William Karlile was a man of considerable importance in his own time,
and a man of great wealth. To suppose that so important a Craft Gild,
under the patronage of such influential persons, would neglect to arm
itself with every possible weapon of defence, such as Grants and
Charters, is to suppose the impossible, and, indeed, in the year 1455,
towards the end of the reign of Henry VI, on petitioning to have further
powers of administration conferred upon it, this Gild is expressly
mentioned as having been already “enfranchised in the City of London,” a
proceeding which could not possibly have been accomplished without
something in the nature of a Royal grant. It would seem that owing to
the very great antiquity of the Horners’ Company it held certain
prescriptive privileges originally obtained by it or its “Guardianus” in
exchange for certain goods from time to time supplied to the Royal
household, and on this point further light may still be thrown. One such
instance has come to light. Either the Company or the Guardianus in his
official capacity as Horner to the King, would provide the Horn Comb
used at the Coronation of every Sovereign until the time of Charles II.
We have evidence that amongst the Coronation relics connected with
Charles I which were sold, was a “Horn Comb.” This, in accordance with
the practice even now in vogue at the Consecration of Roman Catholic
Bishops, was used ceremonially after anointing the King’s head with oil.

[Sidenote: Proof of earlier Charter.]

As a culminating proof that the Caroline Charter was not the first and
only Royal grant held by the Horners’ Company, we have but to turn to
the Correspondence recently found in the British Museum, and it will at
once become evident that the Horners were possessed of a Charter long
before 1638. Mr. Carmarthen, writing to Lord Burghley in 1597, says:

“The question resteth upon one word cheefly in thyr Charter,” etc., or,
again, “By the king’s grant in theyre Charter,” etc. This may allude to
a Charter granted by Edward IV, or, as seems probable, that in reality
the “Cornuarii” were well established as a legalized Gild certainly not
later than Richard II, and, in all probability, owned Charters of a much
earlier date, which would be in the nature of special grants to the
Guardian of the Gild, held by him, and would therefore at a later period
not necessarily be in the possession of the Company. Moreover, on 30th
of March, 1815, the Clerk of the Company stated, as appears by an entry
in the Minute Book, that he had opened and examined the chest containing
the documents relating to the Company, and he found that it contained
... “also the original Charters granted for establishing the Company,”
etc. Had there been but one, it is improbable that the word would have
been used in the plural.

Thus it will be seen that the Charter of 1638 is but an instrument
reiterating and once more legalizing the acts which had been in vogue
amongst the Horners for a very considerable time.

[Sidenote: 1638. Charter of Charles I.]

The Charter of Charles I provides that the Horners, Freemen of the City
of London and Westminster and liberties and suburbs of the same, are
incorporated by the name of “Master, Wardens, Assistants, and Fellowship
of the Mistery of Horners of the City of London,” with power to purchase
and hold freehold and leasehold estates of every kind and all manner of
goods and chattels, and to grant, alien and dispose of the same, and by
the same name to plead and be impleaded, and to have a Common Seal.

One of the said Fellowship is to be chosen the Master, two to be chosen
Wardens, and ten or more of the Fellowship, Assistants. The Master,
Wardens and Assistants, or the greater part of them, whereof the Master
and one of the Wardens are always to be two, have power to make and
alter, amend or make new, “reasonable laws and constitutions touching
the Trade, Art, or Mistery, and for punishment and reformation of
abuses, wrongful practices and misdemeaners, and for defraying the
charges of maintaining and continuing the Corporation, and after what
order they shall demean themselves in their office mistery and work.”
And to impose such fines, amerciaments, or other lawful punishments upon
all offenders as shall seem necessary; such fines, etc., to be raised
for their own uses.

Robert Baker was appointed the first Master to continue in office until
the 2nd February, 1638, and until another person was elected in his
place. Christopher Peele and Thomas White were appointed first Wardens
under the new rules and Charter. Ten brethren were appointed the first
Assistants during their lives or good behaviour, and the Master and
Wardens were upon retirement from their offices, to be assistants in the
same manner. The Master and Wardens were to take oaths before the Master
in Chancery to “well and truly execute their offices” before entering
upon the same.

Power is given to the Master, Wardens, Assistants, and Fellowship to
meet in their Common Hall or other convenient place upon the 2nd of
February, if it be not Sunday, and if it be Sunday, then upon the next
day after, to elect a Master and Two Wardens for the ensuing year; and
they are to take their oaths of office before the late Master and
Wardens, or two of them; and like power of election is given until the
next 2nd of February in case of the death or removal for misbehaviour of
any Master or Warden during his term of office, and also in like manner
to elect an Assistant on the death or removal of any of the Assistants
appointed by the Charter.

Power is given of oversight, rule and search of all persons occupying,
importing, exporting, or using the art or mistery of Horners within the
cities of London and Westminster, and the liberties and precincts
thereof, and of all manner of wares thereunto appertaining, to the
intent that all delinquents may be discovered and punished. They may
purchase for ever one house for a Hall not exceeding the yearly value of

They are to elect one honest and discreet person as Clerk, and also
appoint a Beadle.

[Sidenote: Exercise of Rights, 1689.]

[Sidenote: Buying Horns, 1739.]

The control continuously exercised by the Company over the trade, and
finally secured to them in the Charter just mentioned, has never been
abandoned, though at any rate for the present it is not exercised. In
the first year of William III (1689) the Horners’ Company successfully
prosecuted a Comb maker for pressing horns, he not being a “Horner.”
Maitland, who published his work in 1739, tells us that the Company “had
of late appointed diverse of their members to attend the market of
Leadenhall & those of the neighbouring counties for the buying of horns”
to be sent to their common warehouse in Wentworth Street, Spitalfields,
where they were made up into lots and divided amongst the several
members, not omitting the widows and orphans, who also received their
several shares.

[Sidenote: Last legal claim, 1745.]

[Sidenote: Ceases as a trading body.]

The last occasion on which the Court exercised its rights against
persons infringing its monopoly was in the year 1745. Having ascertained
that certain persons not free of the Company had bought rough horns and
pressed them into lantern leaves, and were disposing of them within the
City of London and twenty-four miles distant, proceedings were ordered
to be taken against them, and, as a result, the Company successfully
established its right to the monopoly in the manufacture of horn work in
the City of London and twenty-four miles round. From that time forward
the trade in horn declined, and during the second half of the eighteenth
century, the Company finally ceased to be a trading community. Thus
ended the operative existence of a Craft Gild which from “time out of
mind” until the present moment has had a useful and honourable career.
The Horners’ Company has been practically contemporaneous with the
history of England, and is, it may be believed, still destined to serve
many a useful purpose.

[Sidenote: Property.]

In spite of legal incorporation the property of the Company has, from
time to time, been vested in certain trustees, the last trust deed being
dated 1756.

[Sidenote: Minutes.]

[Sidenote: Annual Dinner.]

The earliest Minute Book in the possession of the Company covers the
period 1731 to 1796, and is extremely interesting as showing the care
taken in the apprenticing of novices to the trade, in the appointment of
its officers, and, perhaps most of all, in the unbroken continuity of
the annual dinner held generally at some place outside the City, which
though, at the time, partaken of only by the members of the Court,
represented the annual feast of the mediæval Gilds, and finds its
successor to-day in the Livery Dinner, which has become almost a matter
of civic importance.

This ancient practice has long been associated with Trade Gilds,
certainly as far back as 700 B.C. We may believe that the _deipnon_ or
feast of the _hetairoi_, or Greek Trade Gilds, must have had a long
history before the time when such distinguished members as Lysymachus,
son of Milesias, and the son of Thucydides, joined in them.

[Sidenote: Favourite Inns.]

During the eighteenth and first part of the nineteenth century the
favourite inns selected for the annual dinner seem to have been the
“Crown and Sceptre” at Greenwich, the “Plough,” or “Folly House,”
Blackwall, the “Star and Garter,” Richmond, and, in much later days, the
“North and South American Coffee House,” which latter, however, was
probably used more for the ordinary meetings of the Company than for the
annual dinner.

[Sidenote: Aldgate the Horners’ Home.]

It is a little difficult to define the area in which the Horners of
London were originally located, but it may be somewhat vaguely described
as the district of Aldgate. Many were the streets and alleys to which
Horners have given a name, and one well-known Horn Alley was, until a
comparatively late date, to be found on the East side of Bishopsgate
Street, and in Korneman’s book on “Old Street Signs and Tablets” is an
allusion to one with the following inscription:—“This is Horn Alley,
1670.” In Stow’s “Survey of London,” 1633, the following passage
occurs:—“I read in the 26th of Henry VI (1447), that in the parish of
St. Dunstan’s in the East a tenement called Horners Key was granted to
William Harrington, Esq.” Doubtless this alludes to a building used by
the Horners for the purposes of their trade, at a time when all was
_couleur de rose_ with them, and it is extremely likely that upon
further investigation this William Harrington will be found to be the
Guardianus or Alderman of the Gild.

[Sidenote: The warehouses of the Gild.]

Time, however, brought its changes, and when, in 1603-4, the Horners’
Act was repealed, it would seem likely that they found it either
impossible to continue to pay the rent, or, realising that disaster
awaited them, may have sold the property, if it were theirs to sell. It
is, however, certain that in 1604 the Company leased a house with
storehouses and sheds in Wentworth Street, Whitechapel, for the term of
1,000 years at a ground rent of £4. When, in 1789, these premises were
no longer required for the use of the trade, which had declined, they
were let for £30 a year, and in 1879 were sold to the Metropolitan Board
of Works and the money invested on behalf of the Horners’ Company.

[Sidenote: Was there a Horners’ Hall?]

It has been stated that the Horners’ Company never had a Hall. It is
difficult to see quite why this statement has been made, for there is
much to make the student of Gild lore think otherwise. The Charter of
1638 expressly provides for one, and, as in every other respect, it
simply imposes the absolute conditions then existing, there would seem
no reason to doubt that the sum of £40 per annum therein mentioned was
the exact value of the property then held. The Bottlemakers would not
have joined the Horners had the latter Company not had a hall or meeting

As with other Craft Gilds, the Fire of London probably proved very
disastrous to the Company, and, no doubt, very little was saved.

The fact that there are hardly any deeds of importance anterior to 1666,
that the Old Book of the Company, which has recently been recovered,
after wandering so long, ceases to have an entry after 1636, together
with the fact that the two or three early deeds which ante-date the Fire
of London are in a deplorable condition, as well as the fact that the
Company owned a considerable amount of silver plate, which was sold in
1789, makes it not improbable that the Horners, like every other City
Gild, had its regular Hall or meeting place.

[Sidenote: Arms.]

The coat of arms of the Company is Ar. on a Chevron sa., three bugles of
the first between three leather bottles of the second.

[Sidenote: Destruction of Gild monopolies.]

In 1835 the Municipal Corporations Act gave the _coup de grâce_ to any
remnants of monopoly exercised by the extant City Gilds. That Act gave
liberty to all either to buy or sell, and, by so doing, compelled most
of the City Companies, _nolens volens_, to seek for a sphere of
usefulness in other directions.

[Sidenote: 1837. Revived importance.]

Though, as a trading Gild, the Horners’ Company declined, it has
steadily risen in reputation as one of the ancient mysteries of the City
of London, and, in 1837, the Commissioners on Municipal Corporations
classed it as fifty-fourth out of eighty-nine Companies there
enumerated. In 1846 the Company petitioned the Court of Aldermen for a
livery which was granted them, the number of liverymen being limited to

[Sidenote: 1882. Exhibition of Horn work.]

In 1882 the Court of the Horners’ Company organized an exhibition of
Hornwork, both ancient and modern, which was held by the kindness of the
then Lord Mayor, Sir Henry Knight, at the Mansion House. By a strange
coincidence, and without any premeditation on the part either of the
Lord Mayor or the Company, it was held on October the 18th, St. Luke’s
Day, which was the day on which the annual Horn Fair at Charlton took
place. The exhibition of Horns and Hornwork far exceeded, both as
regards quantity and quality, the most sanguine expectations of the
promoters. So great was the interest shown by the public that it became
necessary to keep it open for an extra day, and, during the four days of
the exhibition, it was visited by no fewer than 7,000 persons. Amongst
the exhibitors was Her Most Gracious Majesty the late Queen Victoria,
who sent some interesting specimens from her treasures at Windsor
Castle. In acknowledgment, of Her Majesty’s kind consideration, and by
her gracious permission, the Company presented to Her Majesty a print of
the descriptive catalogue and the account of the Company mentioned in
the preface, bound in horn leaves, ornamented with a beautiful design
from the South Kensington School of Art, selected after competition by
the scholars. It is now in the King’s private suite of rooms at Windsor

[Sidenote: 1900. Royal Casket.]

In the course of the year 1900, at the instance of Mr. A. W. Timbrell,
C.C., it was decided to present Queen Victoria with a horn casket in
order to fittingly commemorate the new century. On being approached upon
the subject, Her Majesty graciously accepted the offer. Before, however,
the presentation could be made, her lamented death occurred. It was then
decided to present the casket to King Edward, and on March 28th, 1901,
the late King’s Secretary wrote to the Clerk of the Company expressing
His Majesty’s pleasure in accepting the proposed gift.

The casket was made of selected specimens of the finest British bullock
horn, mounted with massive silver and gilt straps, and ornaments of the
Early English style of chasing. It is supported upon four pierced feet,
the whole resting upon an ebony plinth, upon which is a silver plate
bearing the names of the Master, the Wardens, and the Clerk. The whole
enclosed in a handsome morocco case, forms one of the finest specimens
of the Horner’s art. Sir Francis Knollys, in acknowledging the
presentation, stated that he was commanded by the King to renew the
expressions of His Majesty’s thanks to the Worshipful Company of Horners
for the casket which they had presented to him, and that His Majesty
admired it greatly and considered that it would form a great addition to
the Horn Room at Osborne.

[Sidenote: Another Royal Casket.]

A similar casket, slightly different in design, was presented to His
Majesty King George V on the occasion of his Coronation, and this, like
the one presented to his revered father, has been designed and carried
out by Mr. Deputy Millar Wilkinson, of Cornhill, the present Father of
the Court.

[Illustration: Casket presented to King George V]

It was constructed in the form of a cigar box, mounted with finely
worked silver-gilt applied strap work, chased with lions’ heads and
dolphins, chased end handles; on the front is a circular plaque
representing the arms of the Horners’ Company. The casket is surmounted
by a figure of St. George and the Dragon, the whole resting upon an
ebony plinth, upon which is a silver-gilt plate bearing the names of the
Master, the Wardens, and the Clerk. Enclosed in a handsome red morocco
case, it forms a beautiful and unique specimen of the Horners’ art.

The deputation which made the presentation was headed by the Worshipful
Master, who, in the course of his address to His Majesty, said:—

“The Horners’ Company, which is one of the most ancient of the City
Guilds, in tendering the casket, desire to assure Your Majesty of their
loyalty to Your Throne and Person, and convey their respectful wishes
for a long and prosperous reign.”

The King, in receiving the casket, remarked that it was a very beautiful
piece of workmanship, and that he would value it the more inasmuch as it
was presented to him during his Coronation year.

[Sidenote: Further increase in Livery.]

In consequence of the continued prosperity of the Horners’ Company, due
to many causes, doubtless, at a time when little life was being evinced,
to the work of Mr. James Curtis, but especially in the present activity
of its esteemed Clerk, Mr. Howard Deighton, it was found necessary in
1905 to apply again to the Court of Aldermen for an increase in the
livery to the number of 100, which was granted subject to the livery
fine being increased to £30.

                       _Sic floreant Cornuarii!_

[Illustration: colophon]


                           TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE

Punctuation has been normalized. Variations in hyphenation have been
retained as they were in the original publication.

Italicized phrases are presented by surrounding the text with

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