The archives of the Carpenters’ Company contain an almost unbroken series of records documenting the history of the Company from the fifteenth century to the present day.
The earliest surviving Company document in the Company’s ownership is the Warden’s Accounts volume, dating from 1438.
There are two existing earlier documents relating to the Company: Ordinances of the Brotherhood of Carpenters of 1333, in the form of a return to a writ of Richard II, 1388 (held at the National Archives), and Bible Extracts circa 1250, which may have been acquired at any time between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Other notable documents
Notable series include the Company charters dating from 1607, Court minutes from 1533 and accounts from 1438, the latter two forming an almost unbroken series to the present day.
The earliest references to the Company’s regulation of the carpentry trade appear in the Court minutes, with cases ranging from Company members employing “forrens”, to the Court appointing “daysmen” and umpires to adjudicate where serious breaches of workmanship were claimed.
Other trade records include Building Licences issued by the Chamberlain of London (from 1588); accounts for the Company’s timber wharf at Whitefriars (1624); the demarcation dispute with the Joiners’ Company (1630-1680); and twentieth century records concerning trade education and competitions. Registers of apprentices date from 1654, and of freemen from 1673.
The archive also has records of charitable trusts and estates administered by the Company, and includes many title deeds for properties in London and Stratford (Essex).
Consulting the archives
Click here to find out how to consult the archives at the Guildhall Library.
The archives at Carpenters’ Hall can be consulted at the Company’s discretion. A research service is provided for general and genealogical enquiries.
Detailed descriptions of the Company’s archives and history are on the AIM25 website (Archives in London and the M25 area).
The Company’s Court minutes 1721-1800 are available on the London Lives website.
The names of apprentices bound through the Company 1654-1694 (from the Apprentices’ entry books 1654-1694) are available on the British History Online website.