Company Treasures

Memorandum Book of William Porlond

William Porlond was our Clerk from 1418 to 1440 (Porlond himself always spelled his name this way, but some later sources use the form Porland).  This unique book is his record of the affairs of the Company during this time and is of great significance since it is a very early example of official written English – most other records up to that time were in Latin or Norman French.

In a passage, written in Latin, Porlond says he is going to follow the example of the King and Parliament and use English in future, because the Brewers “have the knowledge of writing and reading in the said English idiom, but in others, to wit, the Latin and French before these times used, they do not in anywise understand”.

The Memorandum Book contains many interesting items.  These include references to the protracted rows between the Brewers and Richard Whittington, Lord Mayor of the City of London.  The book also contains one of the earliest recorded instances of the game of football – recording that in 1422-23 the Brewers received 20 pence from ‘ye Footballpleyers’ for the hire of our Hall.

The original book is in fine condition and is deposited for safekeeping, on indefinite loan, at Guildhall Library.  A copy is kept at Brewers’ Hall.

Wardens' Crowns of 1628-29

The crowns or ‘garlands’ were made for the three Wardens, John Heylyn, Henry Leake and Henry Bridges.  The accounts for the year include the following entries:-

Paid for crimson velvett to make the garlands: xliiis” [44 shillings or £2.20]

Paid to the Imbroither [Embroiderer] for his work and lace and makinge them upp: iiii li xvi s” [4 pounds 16 shillings or £4.80]

The Crowns are kept at Brewers’ Hall.

Bargemaster’s Badge

The badge, made by John Bignell of London in 1727, was worn by the Bargemaster of the Brewers’ Barge on ceremonial occasions on the River Thames such as the procession for the Lord Mayor’s Show.  The Bargemaster’s Badge has since been converted into a snuff box and is kept at Brewers’ Hall.

Funeral Pall (1490 - 1538)

The Pall consists of a central panel of cloth of gold, probably Italian, with a woven pattern of coiling stems, leaves and flowers, in red velvet pile and gold loops.  The four side panels decorated with gold ears of barley on red velvet carry embroidered motifs including the Assumption of the Virgin, Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Company’s first grant of Arms.  Conservation work was carried out in 1997.  The Pall has been exhibited on a number of occasions and is at present kept at Brewers’ Hall.

Silver and Plated Ware

The Company has a considerable collection of silver which has either been presented or loaned.  The oldest piece is a late seventeenth century knife and fork the case of which bears the inscription “Ex dono Richard Haley to ye Worshipful Brewers Company Mr. Robt. Breeden Master and for ye Use of Every Master for the time being, 1691".

It has been the custom in recent years for the Master at the end of his year to present a piece of silver, a picture or other object to the Company.  These items are all in use at the Hall.


Ceramics, Pictures and Prints

Various items, in the main donated by individuals, are on display as part of the furnishings of the Hall.