Drapers Incorporation

Incorporation of the Drapers of London, 1438.

Henry by the grace of God king of England and France and lord of Ireland. To all to whom these presents shall come greeting. Know ye that we of our especial grace and charitable intent, and on account of the especial devotion which we bear to the glorious Mother of God the Virgin Mary, have granted for us, our heirs and successors, as much as lies within us, to our well-beloved liegemen of the mystery of drapers within our City of London that they may unite, found, create, erect and establish within the City one gild or fraternity in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary from among the men of the mystery and others,and that they may have and hold such gild and fraternity so united, founded, created, erected and established, and the same enjoy to them and their successors to all future times. And that they may increase and augment the gild and fraternity as often and when to them it shall seem necessary and fit, and that the men of the gild or fraternity may in every year elect and make from themselves one master and four wardens, who at the time of their election shall be drapers and freemen of the city aforesaid, to support the burden of business touching and concerning as well the mystery of the gild or fraternity; as also to overlook, rule and govern the mystery, gild and fraternity, and all the men and business of the same for ever. And that the master and wardens and brothers and sisters of the gild or fraternity may be in fact and name One Body and one perpetual community, and that they may have perpetual succession and a common seal to serve as well for the business of the mystery as of the gild and fraternity. And that they and their successors may be fit persons and capable in law to purchase in fee and perpetuity lands, tenements, rents and other possessions whatsoever, from whomsoever persons. And that the master and wardens of the gild or fraternity of the Blessed Mary of Drapers of London may plead and be impleaded before whomsoever judges in court and in whatsoever actions. In witness whereof we have caused these our letters patent to be made. Witness myself at Warwick on the thirtieth day of November in the seventeenth year of our reign.


Source: Drapers Hall, Book of Evidence A, No. 388, f. 156a as reprinted in English Historical Documents: 1327 - 1485, A.R. Myers ed., Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1969, pp. 1088-89.