London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details

KINGS FREEMEN

Reference Code:

COL/CHD/FR/11/04

From Collection:

CORPORATION OF LONDON

Classification: CITY OF LONDON
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:
    Subseries

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Administrative History:
  • In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Government tried to make it easier for ex-servicemen to enter or re-enter trades, without being hindered by local byelaws or customs which would otherwise have prevented them from exercising particular trades, or working in certain localities. The government passed three acts of Parliament to this end. The Acts permitted servicemen (but not deserters) who had served in the armed forces at any time after 1 April 1763 and their families to exercise trades on their discharge, ‘notwithstanding local byelaws’ such as the requirement to be City
    Freemen in order to be allowed to work within the ‘Square Mile’ of the City. Thus, in the City of London, the ex-servicemen who took advantage of the Acts were misleadingly known as ‘King’s Freemen’, although they were not Freemen of any description. The Acts simply allowed them to behave as if they were, for working purposes.
Physical Condition: Fit