People Property and Charity

The Clothworkers' Company 1500-1688

About the Project

In October 2010, the project 'People, Property and Charity: The Clothworkers' Company,1500-1688' began in the Centre for Metropolitan History at the Institute of Historical Research. The project was funded by The Clothworkers' Company. The Director of the project was Professor Matthew Davies, while the project researcher was Dr Annaleigh Margey. The website was developed by IHR Digital.

The project focused on the history of benefaction to The Clothworkers' Company in the early modern period (c.1500-1700). It provided the first detailed history of the benefactors, property acquisitions and other bequests of the Company in the City of London from the late fifteenth century through to the eighteenth century. Focusing specifically on the properties that came to the company through the bequests of several benefactors, the project aimed to trace the Company's management of these properties and associated charities using the Company’s Court Orders, account books, bequest records, lease records, and benefactor wills.

Specific research questions related to the Company's acquisition of the properties; their continual surveys and viewings of their lands; reparations undertaken by the company on these properties; their lease agreements relating to the properties; their financial transactions; and the charitable giving by the company from the rental incomes of these properties.

This website provides some of the results from the project under the following tabs:

Benefactors - Biographies of the property benefactors of the Company and identifies other benefactors and their bequests, including monies, silver and plate.

Properties - Property histories for the major landholdings granted to the Company by their benefactors. Based on the Company Court Orders, these histories offer the first overview of the management of the properties by the Company.

Charity - Details of the charities of The Clothworkers’ Company. Benefaction to the Company was often accompanied by specific instructions to use the income generated from the properties for charitable uses in the City of London and further afield. The website provides an overview of this charitable activity on the part of The Clothworkers’ Company.

The site is fully searchable by both benefactor name and property history, using the tabs labelled ‘Benefactor’ and ‘Properties’ on the side bar. You can also access the property histories by clicking on the relevant ‘hotspot’. A further tab labelled ‘Charity’ provides an introduction to the charitable activity of The Clothworkers’ Company in the City of London and further afield during the early modern period.

For articles drawing on the project's research, see: Sources of the Company's wealth and Early charitable giving.

For further information, please contact The Centre for Metropolitan History at or The Clothworkers' Company.