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Shoes made by John Hose

Courtesy Daughters of the American Revolution Museum


The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers was granted the right to regulate the footwear trade in the City of London in 1272.

During the medieval period, craftsmen formed guilds to regulate their trades and to protect the quality of their wares. The guilds trained apprentices and supported their members through good times and bad.

Granted charters by successive monarchs, Cordwainers were licensed to trade within a particular area, known then, as now, as the Ward of Cordwainer – in fact, we are the only livery company to share our name with a ward of the City.

Like many livery companies, the Cordwainers had an official home, a succession of fine halls that bordered St Paul’s Churchyard. One was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, and the last was damaged beyond repair in the Blitz in 1941. All that now remains is a plaque to mark the spot.

View a timeline of key events on the Company’s history.