The Tanners Company of Bermondsey
                                                           Royal Charter of 1703

The Company is a trade guild governed and incorporated by a Royal Charter of 1703, granted by Queen Anne as The Master, Wardens and Comonalty of the Art or Mistery of Tanners of the Parish of St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey of Surrey.

The motto "Planto Velieris In Tergus In Vermundesei" is academic Latin for “Make Hide Into Leather In Bermondsey” and may have been adopted in imitation of the old Metropolitan Borough motto which was also in Latin.

Many guilds started as religious fraternities but the company’s patron saints. St John the Baptist and Mary Magdalen are adopted because of the provisions of the company’s Charter, constitutional arrangements, and location.

Its heyday was in the early nineteenth century until the Reform Acts removed trading priviliges as restricted to merchant companies. In a reduced state it has been meeting for many years since the 1950s by personal memory of participants and long before then by others, their predecessors.
D Con Tanners Charter

Anne by the grace of God &c To all to whom these presents shall come Greetings Whereas leather is one of the Staples of our Kingdom of England and the Trade of a Tanner is a very Antient Trade and there are many good laws for the well Tanning of Leather yet Neverthelesse of late yeares severall Persons never bred up or instructed in the said Trade by the space of seaven yeares or otherwise duely qualified by law to use or Exercise the same and being very unskilfull therein do yet notwithstanding take upon them especially within the Parish of St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey in our County of Surrey and other places near adioyning thereto to follow the said Trade whereby the said laws are subverted our People abused and those who have been bred up or instructed in the Craft or Mistery of Tanning or are otherwise duly qualified by law much discouraged in the use and exercise of the said Trade
{ §1 PREAMBLE: TRADE, QUALITY LAWS AND TRAINING}
And Whereas our Trusty and Welbeloved Subiects the Tanners in the said Parish of St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey in our said County of Surrey have by their Petition humbly besought us That for the better Regulacon Incouragement and Improvement of the said Trade Wee would be gratiously pleased to Incorporate them and to Grant them certain Priviledges and Immunities for the purposes aforesaid Wee being gratiously pleased to Condescend to their Request Know yee therefore that Wee of our especiall grace certain knowledge and meer mocon and for divers good causes and Consideracons us hereunto especially moveing have Willed Constituted Declared and Granted and by these presentes for us our Heires and Successors Do Will Constitute Declare and Grant That all and every such Person and Persons brought up instructed or taught as Apprentices by the space of seaven yeares in the said Craft or Mistery of Tanning leather within the Parish of St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey in our said County of Surrey shall be from henceforth for ever one Body Corporate and Politique in Deed and in name by the Name of the Master Wardens and Comonalty of the Art or Mistery of Tanners of the Parish of St Mary Magdalen Bermondsey in the said County of Surrey one Body Corporate and Politique Wee do for us our Heires and Successors fully and really Erect Create Constitute Declare make and Establish by these presents and that by the same Name they shall have perpetuall Succession And that they the said Master Wardens and Comonalty and their Successors shall and may for ever hereafter have a comon Seale to serve all causes and Buisnesses of them and their Successors and that it shall and may be lawfull for them and their Successors to alter and make new the same Seale from time to time when and as often as they shall think fitt
{ §2 GRANT OF INCORPORATION : -  “MASTER WARDENS AND COMONALTY OF THE ART OR MISTERY OF TANNERS OF THE PARISH OF ST MARY MAGDALEN BERMONDSEY OF SURREY” }

And that they and their Successors by the same Name may plead and be impleaded Answer and be Answered unto Defend and be Defended in whatsoever Courts and places and before any Judges Justice or Justices and Officers of us our Heires and Successors in all and singular Actons Pleas Suites Matters and demands of what kind or Quality soever they shall be in the same manner and forme and as fully and amply as any our Subjects of this our Realme of England may or can do plead or be impleaded Answer or be Answered unto Defend or be Defended
§3 BODY CORPORATE ‘COMPANY’ AND GOVERNANCE: -
And further Wee Will and Ordaine and by these presents for us our Heires and Successors do Grant that from henceforth for ever there shall be one Master two Wardens and fourteen or more Assistants of the said Company The said Assistants not to exceed twenty four in Number and to be Constituted and Chosen in such manner and forme as hereafter in these presents is expressed and Declared And for the better execucon of this our Grant as also for the good Rule and Government of the said Company Wee have Assigned Constituted and made
§4 ‘MASTER, TWO WARDENS AND FOURTEEN TO TWENTY FOUR ASSISTANTS ’
And by these presents do Assigne Constitute and make our Trusty and Welbeloved William Jeffreys Senior to be the first and present Master of the said Company and to Continue in the said Office or Place of Master of the said Company from the day of the date of these presents untill the four and twentieth day of June which shall be in the yeare of our Lord one thousand seaven hundred and four if he shall so long live and well demeane himselfe in the said Office and from thenceforth untill another fitt Person of the said Company shall be duly Elected Sworne and Admitted into the said Office of Master of the said Company as hereafter in these presents is expressed And Wee do hereby Assigne Constitute and make our beloved Subiects Joseph Heaton and [blank] Stanton to be the first and present Wardens of the said Company and to Continue Wardens of the said Company from the day of the date of these Presents untill the four and twentieth day of June which shall be in the yeare of our Lord one thousand seaven hundred and four if they shall so long live and demeane themselves in the said Office and from thenceforth untill two other fitt Persons of the said Company shall be duly Elected Sworne and Admitted into their places And Wee do hereby for us our Heires and Successors Assigne Constitute and make our Beloved Subjects Thomas Willard James Lowder James Moore Trustram Maris Richard Baker Jeremy Moore William Cooke Thomas Coe Gilbert Dunton Daniel Shipton Thomas Dockwra Thomas Law Samuel Enderbury John Sherdelle Charles Halsey Robert Leake Thomas Jackson Mathew Lake Joshua Carter and Richard Coe to be the first and present Assistants of the said Company and to continue in the said Office of Assistants during their naturall lives unlesse they or Any of them for iust and reasonable Cause shall be removed from their said Office And further Wee do hereby for us our Heires and Successors Assigne Constitute and Appoint our Trusty and Welbeloved William East of the Middle Temple London Esquire the first and present Clerk to the said Company to execute the said Office by Himselfe or his sufficient Deputy so long as he shall well demeane Himselfe therein And from and after the Removall of the said William East for any iust and reasonable Cause or the Decease or Surrender of the said William East and at all times hereafter whensoever the said Office shall become void Wee do herebyAuthorize and Impower the Master Wardens and Assistants of the said Company and their Successors to Choose one discreet man learned in the law to be Clerk of the said Company the said Office to be Executed by himselfe or sufficient Deputy so long as such person so to be elected he shall well demeane himselfe in the said Office
§5 NAMED FIRST OFFICERS; MASTER, WARDENS AND ASSISTANTS; CLERK SUPERNUMERARY AND ‘LEARNED IN THE LAW’

ANNOTATED TEXT OF BERMONDSEY TANNERS CHARTER  
SOURCE: Patent Rolls, 2 Anne, Part 4, No. 8, National Archives, C 66/3441
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And Wee Will and by these presentes for us our Heires and Successors do Grant unto the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors That the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors for the time being shall from time to time for ever hereafter have full Power and Authority to Assemble and meet together at some convenient place to be appointed by the said Master Wardens and Assistants or their Successors or the maior part of them shall think fitt and appoint within the said Parish of Saint Mary Magdalen Bermondsey or elsewhere and when assembled and mett together the Master Wardens and Assistants or the maior part of them shall Elect and Choose on the said four and twentieth day of June one thousand seaven hundred and four or within fourteen dayes after a Master and two Wardens out of the Assistants of the said Company and so yearly afterwards for ever on the four and twentieth day of June or within fourteen dayes after to Elect and Choose a Master and two Wardens out of the Assistants of the said Company by Plurality of Votes of the Master Wardens and Assistants to continue in such respective Offices till the four and twentieth day of June next following such their Election if they shall so long live unlesse in the meane time they or either of them shall be removed for reasonable Cause And from thenceforth untill other fitt persons be duly Elected Sworne and Admitted into the said Offices of Master and Wardens of the said Company
{ §6 ELECTION OF MASTER AND WARDENS FROM ASSISTANTS AS SUCCESSORS }
And our will and pleasure is and Wee do hereby Grant and Declare that the present Master of the said Company and all others hereafter to be Chosen and Serve as Master of the said Company after they have Served the Office of Master shall be one of the Assistants of the said Company and in like manner the Wardens after they have served the Offices of Wardens shall be also Assistants of the said Company and that they and every one of them be Capable of being Chosen Masters and Wardens againe And when there shall happen to be Equality of votes in Election of any Officers of the said Company or in any other Case whatsoever relateing to the buisinesse and affaires of the said Company our Will and Pleasure is that the Master for the time being have the Casting Vote And upon the Death Removall or Surrender of the Master or otherwise when there shall happen to be no Master in being then the Upper Warden of the said Company to have the Casting Vote And our expresse Will and Pleasure is and Wee do hereby direct and Comand that no Person or Persons whatsoever shall be admitted to be Master Warden or Assistant of the said Company till he hath taken in open Court before the present Master of the said Company the Oathes appointed by Act of Parliament to be taken instead of the Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy and also an Oath for the due Execucon of their Offices and Places And our further Will and Pleasure is And Wee do hereby Direct and Comand that the present Master and Wardens of the said Company before they take upon them the Execucon of their said Offices do take the Oathes appointed by Act of Parliament to be taken instead of the Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy And also the Oathes for the due Execucon of their respective Offices before our Chief Baron or any other of our Barons of our Exchequer And our Will and Pleasure is That after the said Master and Wardens have taken the said Oathes before our Chief Baron or any other of our Barons of our Exchequer the present Assistants of the said Company do and shall take the said Oathes before the present Master and Wardens of the said Company or any of them And afterwards for the future the Wardens or any of them or any two of the Assistants to Administer the said Oathes to the Master and the Master thereafter to the Wardens and the Master or Wardens or any of them to Administer the said Oathes to the Assistants hereafter to be elected And our further Will and Pleasure is And Wee do hereby for us our Heires and Successors Grant to the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors or the maior part of them in Court assembled That if it shall happen the Master and Wardens of the said Company or any or either of them at any time within one yeare after they or either of them be Chosen into his or their Office or Offices to die or be removed or permitted to surrender his or their said Office or Offices (which said Master and Wardens or either of them for iust and reasonable Cause Wee will shall be from time to time removeable by the Master Wardens and Assistants for the time being or the maior part of them)
{ §7  SUCCESSION AND SENIORITY, MASTER, ‘UPPER’ WARDEN; ‘COURT’ OF COMPANY AND ‘OATHES’ }
That then and so often it shall and may be lawfull to and for the said Wardens and Assistants incase of the Death Surrender or Amotion of the Master And incase of the Death Surrender or Amotion of either Warden to and for the Master and other Warden and the Assistants of the said Company at any time within one and forty dayes after such death or Removall at their Wills and Pleasures to meet at such convenient place as shall for that and other purposes be appointed as aforesaid then and there to Choose and make one or more of the said Assistants to be Master or Warden or Wardens of the said Company for the remaining part of that yeare and from thence untill a new Election be made in manner herein declared of other fitt person or Persons into the said Offices And Wee do hereby for us our Heires and Successors do Grant unto the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors or the Maior part of them in Court Assembled That if it shall happen any of the Assistants of the said Company to die or be removed or be permitted to Surrender his or their Places of Assistant or Assistants of the said Company (which said Assistant or Assistants Wee will shall be from time to time removeable for iust and reasonable Cause by the Master Wardens and Assistants for the time being or the Maior part of them) That then and in even such Case the said Master Wardens and Assistants for the time being or the Maior part of them shall and may Elect and Choose in the stead of him or them so dying removed or permitted to Surrender some other fitt person or Persons being a Member of the said Corporation to be an Assistant or Assistants of the said Company and also to make up the Assistants four and twenty in Number when they or the Maior part of them shall see occasion
{ §8 INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS IN REGARD TO DEATH OF MASTER WARDENS ETC; }
And for the further Improvement and Encouragement of the said Trade Wee do hereby for us our Heires and Successors further Grant and Declare that all and every such Person and Persons who are or shall be at any time or times hereafter duly Qualified by law to use and exercise the said Craft or Mistery of Tanning leather and who do or shall reside and use and exercise the same in the said Parish of Saint Mary Magdalen Bermondsey or within thirty Miles thereof shall be from time to time and at all times hereafter capable of being Admitted Members of the said Corporation And the Master of the said Company for the time being is herby strictly required and enioyned upon the request of any such Person and Persons to admitt him or them accordingly and thereupon to Register his or their Name or Names as a Member or Members of the said Company in a Book to be provided and kept by the said Master Wardens and Assistants for that purpose only And every Person or Persons so to be admitted shall be from thenceforth equally capable of being Elected and Admitted into all and all manner of Offices belonging to the said Company and entitled to all benefitts and Priviledges thereof if such Person or Persons used and exercised the said Craft or Trade within the Parish aforesaid
{ §9 QUALIFICATIONS TO PRACTICE THE TRADE AND FOR MEMBERSHIP  ADMISSION }
And Wee do hereby for us our Heires and Successors Grant and Declare that the Master Wardens and Assistants or any eight or more of them timely notice being given by the Master and Wardens for the time being to all the Assistants shall make and be called the Comittee of the said Company (whereof the Master or one of the Wardens to be alwaies one) And that it shall and may be lawfull for the said Comittee to keep a Court where and as often as they shall think convenient and there to meet together and consult concerning the affaires of the said Company And further Wee do hereby for us our Heires and Successors Give and Grant to the said Master Wardens and Assistants or the greater Number of them full power and Authority to Choose Booke Keepers Clerks Beadles and such other Under Officers as they shall think convenient and necessary for the service of the said Company and at their will and pleasure to remove them or any of them from their said Offices as to them shall deem meet and to Sumon the Officers and Members of the said Company to such Sub Comittees to Consult concerning the affaires and good Government of the said Company and to Constitute Ordaine and make such and so many reasonable By laws Orders and Ordnances as to the said Master Wardens and Assistants or the said Comittee or the greater part of them being then and there present shall seem necessary and convenient for the well Ordering and Government of the said Company and the said By laws Ordnances or any of them to alter and Annull as they or the Maior part of them shall see requisite And also to sett impose and inflict reasonable paines Punishments and Penalties by Fines and Amerciaments upon any Offender or Offenders who shall transgresse breake or violate the said laws Orders or Ordnances so to be made as aforesaid and to mitigate or take off the same as they shall find Cause which said Fines Penalties and Amerciaments shall and may be levyed sued for taken retained and recovered by the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors by Distress or Accon of Debt or by any other lawfull wayes or meanes to the use and advantage of the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors without any Account or Accounts to be rendered for the same to us our Heires or Successors All and singular which laws Constitucons Orders and Ordnances so as aforesaid to be made Wee Will and Comand be duly observed and kept under the Paines and Penalties therein to be contained provided always that the said Laws Constitucons Orders and Ordnances be reasonable and not contrary or repugnant to the Laws or Statutes of this our Realme of England And Wee do further hereby for us our Heires and Successors Will Authorize and Comand all and singular our Judges Justices of the Peace Mayors Sheriffs Bayliffs Constables Headboroughs and all other the Officers and Ministers whatsoever us our Heires or Successors now and for the time being that they and every of them respectively be from time to time in their severall and respective Offices and places favouring ayding helping and assisting the said Master Wardens and Assistants of the said Company and their Successors in all things whatsoever according to our Royal Will and Pleasure herein before declared And of our further especiall Grace certain knowledge and meer mocon for the carrying on and promoteing the Interest of the said Company Wee have given and Granted and by these presentes for us our Heires or Successors do give and Grant unto the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors That they the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors shall and may be for ever hereafter Persons able and Capable in law to have
{ §10 ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS  i)‘UNDER OFFICERS’: ii) BYLAWS, ORDERS AND ORDNANCES: POWER TO PUNISH AND LEVY FINES; ACCOUNTS NOT REQUIRED }
{ §11 RIGHT TO OWN REAL PROPERTY (LIMIT OF VALUE):  AND GOODS AND SHARES }
And Wee do by these presentes for us our Heires or Successors Grant that they shall and may have free and lawfull Lycence Power and Authority to take have purchase receive enioy and possesse to them the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors for ever any Mannors Lordshipps Messuages Rents Services Revercons Lands Tenements and Hereditaments whatsoever so as the same Mannors Lordshipps Messuages Rents Services Revercons Lands Tenements and Hereditaments do not exceed the yearly value of six hundred pounds above all Charges and Reprizes and also goods and Chattells of what value nature or kind soever And also to Give Grant Alien Assigne and Dispose of Mannors Lordshipps Messuages Rents Services Revercons Lands Tenements and Hereditaments Goods and Chattells and Also to do and execute all other lawfull Act and Acts thing and things whatsoever by the name aforesaid And further Wee have given and Granted and by these presents for us our Heires or Successors do Give and Grant unto all and every subiect and Subiects whatsoever of us our Heires or Successors now and for the time being especiall Lycence Power Priviledge and Authority to give Grant Sell Alien and Dispose unto the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors any Mannors Lordshipps Messuages Rents Services Revercons Lands Tenements and Hereditaments whatsoever so as the same do not exceed the cleare yearly value of six hundred pounds above all Charges and Reprizes whatsoever And also goods and Chattells of what nature or value soever And Wee do hereby for us our Heires or Successors Give and Grant unto the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors full Power and Authority to make and raise a Joynt Stock of any value whatsoever and the same Joynt Stock to Order Mannage and Carry on from time to time for the purposes aforesaid and to receive the benefitt and advantage of the same to the use of them the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors according to such Shares and Proporcons as they or any of them have or shall have therein and the same Joynt Stock to Augment and increase or reduce and diminish from time to time as they the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors shall find most fitting and convenient
{ §12 CONCLUSION }
And lastly Wee have Granted and by these presents for us our Heires and Successors do Grant unto the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors that these our Letters Patents or the Inrollment thereof shall be in and by all things good firme valid sufficient and effectuall in the law according to the true intent and meaning of the same and shall be taken Construed and Adiudged in the most favourable and beneficiall Sense for the best Advantage of the said Master Wardens and Assistants and their Successors as well in all Courts of Record as elsewhere and by all and singular the Officers and Ministers whatsoever of us our Heires and Successors any Defects or uncertainties in these presents contained or any other matter cause or thing whatsoever to the contrary in any Wise notwithstanding In Witnesse &c Witnesse our selfe at Westminster the fifteenth day of July
By Writt of Privy Seale