Preface

Sponsor

Centre for Metropolitan History

Publication

Author

J.R. Woodhead

Year published

1966

Supporting documents

Pages

1-3

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'Preface', The Rulers of London 1660-1689: A biographical record of the Aldermen and Common Councilment of the City of London (1966), pp. 1-3. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=31874 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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Contents

Preface

THIS volume seeks to provide some biographical information on the men who were members of the Courts of Aldermen and Common Council of the City of London during the years 1660 to 1689 Thanks to the valuable work of A B Beaven the list of aldermen is complete, although I have in a very few cases questioned some of the information he gives There are, however, no printed lists of common councilmen for these years, and many gaps in such manuscript lists as do exist It is not, of course, possible to say how many names are missing, but lists are most incomplete for the early 1660's

The 1,400 biographies presented here were originally assembled as the basis for an analysis of the personnel of City government in the reigns of Charles II and James II They finally came to rest as a substantial appendix to a London M A thesis, whose chapters-considerably slimmer than the material appended to them-sought to describe the machinery and work of Common Council, the social background, guild and business activities, and the political and religious allegiances of its members

For students of City government in the later seventeenth century the biographies will have, I trust, an obvious value, but I would also hope that they will prove of use to those pursuing other seventeenth-century studies In that century London influenced the affairs of the kingdom largely and in many ways here normally was the Court and the centre of fashion, here was the king's government and its administrative offices, here the king's parliament usually met, here was by far the greatest port and market in the land, and the hub of investment, credit, and banking London, it was frequently complained, tapped off from the shires and the provincial towns the best of young enterprise and talent Many paths taken in a wide field of research into seventeenth- century England therefore either pass through or end up in London it is to be wished that some travellers on them will find these biographies of service

It is true that by the second half of the century "London" included Westminister, Southwark, and many out-parishes in addition to the City proper, and that many men of wealth and influence had put themselves outside the control of the Corporation of London and the City guilds This was part of a process that by the nineteenth century was to leave both City government and the connected guilds far from the apparent seat of power in London It was, however, only the beginning, and in the period 1660 to 1689, as a glance at the pages which follow will show, many of the great bankers and merchants, of the committees of the joint-stock and regulated trading companies, and important wholesalers did not merely submit to the rule of City and guild by taking their Freedom but actively participated in government by gaining election to the Courts of Aldermen and Common Council and serving the high offices of their Companies This hand-list, then, although it cannot claim to fill the role of a "Who's Who" for later-Stuart London, contains the names of men of some eminence in the world of trade, commerce and finance, as well as in national politics, along with more modest merchants, craftsmen and shopkeepers In short, the men in this list are, in the words of Common Council's petition to the king in May 1681, "the valuable, industrious part of your people, by whom your Government, your Revenue and your Kingdom is supported"

It is a pleasure to have to record my gratitude for the help and advice given by many both in the writing of the original thesis and in the production of the resultant hand-list My thanks are due to the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, for producing this volume in their series, and to the Isobel Thornley Bequest and the Court of Common Council of the City of London whose generosity made this possible To the staff of the Guildhall Library, the Corporation Record Office, the Institute of Historical Research, the Society of Genealogists, and Somerset House I owe thanks for their courtesy and co-operation My debts to individuals are numerous, but I must especially name T F Reddaway, who first suggested the topic, then as my research superviser guided me through the work, and finally has advised and aided greatly in the task of preparing it for publication, R C Latham, Dr Albert Hollaender, Mr Philip Jones, and Dr G V Chivers for encouragement, information and advice, and lastly my wife for not only bearing with me but also making the index

My thesis, The Rulers of London the composition of the courts of aldermen and of common council of the City of London, 1660-1689 (approved for the degree of M A (Honours) in 1961) contained in appendices analyses showing -

(1) The distribution of the Common Councilmen recorded in these biographies among the wards of the city

(2) The counties of origin of the members of the two courts

(3) The social status of the fathers of the members

(4) The number of members who held land in England or overseas

(5) The trades and occupations of the members

(6) The occupations (where known) of the Common Councilmen in the years 1660, 1676, 1682, 1689

(7) The relationship of livery company and trade

(8) The number of masters of the twelve "great" companies who sat in the common council in 1660-1689

(9) A select bibliography of the books and manuscript records used

This thesis is normally available to accredited students at the Library of the University of London and the Guildhall Library, London

The thesis did not contain the index now added to this biographical record



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