The Mercers' Company Timeline

A timeline showing the history of the Mercers' Company from the 12th century to the present day.

1120-08-01 00:00:00

Thomas Becket is born

Thomas Becket was born in his father's house on Cheapside. His father, Gilbert, was a merchant and property owner in the City of London.

1215-08-01 00:00:00

Serlo le Mercier (Serlo the Mercer)

Serlo le Mercier was a wealthy merchant and property owner. He served as sheriff of London in 1206/7 and was Mayor in 1215 during the crisis leading up to Magna Carta. Although the Mercers' Company probably did not exist as a formal association at this time, it was common for people like Serlo to take the name of their trade as a surname.

1227-08-01 00:00:00

Hospital of St. Thomas Acon founded

In the late 1220s a monastery called the Hospital of St Thomas Acon was founded on the site of St Thomas of Canterbury’s (Thomas Becket) birthplace on Cheapside.

1235-08-01 00:00:00

The Trade of Mercery

The term ‘mercery’ comes from the Latin term ‘merx’ which means merchandise. In England it came to refer more specifically to trade in luxury fabrics such as silks, linens, velvets, and other fine textiles and dress accessories which were imported from abroad.

1304-08-01 00:00:00

Origin of the Mercers' Company

A lawsuit in 1304 contains the first written references to the Mercers acting as a corporate body.

1348-08-01 00:00:00

1348 Ordinances

One of the earliest records held in the Mercers' Company archive is a copy, made in the early 1390s, of ordinances which had been drawn up in 1348. The ordinances lay out rules for the governance and running of the Company.

1394-06-26 16:47:38

First Royal Charter

In 1394 King Richard II granted the Mercers' Company its first Royal Charter allowing it to conduct itself as a business known as a perpetual commonality. The Charter provided for four members to be elected each year to run the Company, and for a chaplain to be appointed. Most importantly it allowed the Company to own and manage land to the value of £20 and specified that it would make provision for members who fell on hard times.

1395-09-14 00:23:37

Richard Whittington

Richard Whittington (c1350-1423) is best known today as Dick Whittington, a figure of folktale and pantomime, a poor boy who came to London, had a cat, made a fortune, and was thrice Mayor of London.

1424-08-01 00:00:00

Whittington College almshouse founded

Whittington College, an almshouse for thirteen poor men and women, was founded under the terms of the will of Richard Whittington.

1425-04-08 20:19:36

Second Charter granted by Henry VI

The Second Charter confirmed the 1394 Charter and granted a common seal to be used in business transactions. The seal motif was the Mercer Maiden which is the emblem or heraldic device of the Mercers' Company. The imprint from the 1425 seal is the earliest known depiction of the Mercer Maiden.

The Mercers' Company Timeline

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