Officers and Servants.
The third part of Your Majesty's Commission is as follows:—"To inquire into and
ascertain the officers and servants of the Companies, and the salaries or other emoluments
to which such officers and servants are entitled, and the mode of appointment of such officers
and servants, and the duties which they perform."
Into these matters we have inquired, as the returns show. For the purposes however,
of this report, we venture to combine this head of Your Majesty's Commission with
that which follows.
The fourth part of your Majesty's Commission relates to (1) the amount of the
income of the Companies, and the sources from which it arises, (2) the capital value of
their property, (3) their management of their property, (4) their expenditure. Its
text is as follows: "To inquire into and ascertain the property of, or held in trust for or by
such companies, both real and personal, and where the same is situate, and of what it is
composed, and the capital value of the several descriptions of such property, and the annual
income of such property, and the mode in which the property is managed and the income is
Amount and sources of the companies income.
1. As to the amount of the income of the Companies, the interrogatories administered by us to the courts and officers on this subject were of an exhaustive kind, and
in the cases (they were not numerous), in which the returns in answer to these interrogatories seemed to us to require explanation, we have not scrupled to put further
A few, however, of the minor Companies have declined to make returns (fn. 1) or have
made returns which are not satisfactory; so that we are not in possession of full
Difficulty as to allowance in respect of halls.
Moreover, there is considerable difficulty in estimating the value which should be
placed for the purposes of this head of your Majesty's Commission on certain kinds of
property which the Companies of London possess, for instance, (1) their halls, almshouses, and schools, (2) their plate and furniture, (3) the livings of which they are
patrons. It is obvious that the Companies' property, real and personal, which falls
under any of these three heads is not strictly speaking a source of income; yet, for the
purposes of this head of your Majesty's Commission, an allowance ought probably to
be made in respect of the annual value of this property (fn. 2) .
Increase in last 10 years.
Again, between 1870 and 1879, the time over which we have extended the inquiry,
the yearly income of the Companies has increased by more than 100,000l. (fn. 3) .
Estimate of income.
On the whole we estimate the trust and corporate income of the Companies of
London for 1879 (or 1880) (fn. 4) as between 750,000l. and 800,000l, a sum exceeding
the income of the two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and of the colleges
therein, at the time when these learned bodies were inquired into by the Commission
recently appointed by Your Majesty for that purpose (fn. 5) .
2. As to the "capital value" of the property of the Companies, into which we are
required by Your Majesty to inquire as a branch of this head of the Commission, we
laid a case before Your Majesty's Commissioners of Woods and Forests, consisting of
the materials for forming an estimate which are contained in the returns of the Companies.
Your Majesty's Commissioners referred the matter to gentlemen who are accustomed
to act as surveyors to the department. These gentlemen, however, stated, that they
could not undertake to furnish an estimate, and that none of any real accuracy could
be made without a regular survey, which would require a long time and involve
Taking the real property owned by the Companies at a number of years' purchase,
which we are informed cannot be excessive, and the income of their personal property
as representing an ordinary percentage on the capital, we are of opinion that the
capital value of the Companies' property cannot be less than 15 millions sterling.
Income, corporate and trust.
The income arising from this property is partly (1) corporate income, i.e., income
which is at the absolute disposal of the Companies, that is to say, according to their
present constitution at the absolute disposal of the governing bodies or courts of the
Companies, (2) trust income, i.e., income which the Companies or their courts are
bound to apply in accordance with (1) the wills of founders, (2) Acts of Parliament,
(3) the decrees of the Chancery Division of Your Majesty's High Court of Justice,
and (4) schemes framed by your Majesty's Commissioners of Charities, and your
Majesty's Commissioners of Endowed Schools.
Incomes of the different companies.
The following list shows the income (1) corporate, (2) trust of (1) the great Companies in order of civic precedence, (2) the minor Companies in alphabetical order.
|Income (for 1879 or 1880.)||Corporate.||Trust.|
Halls, almshouses. schools', plate and furniture, livings. Debts.
The rateable value of the halls of these Companies is about 35,000l., that of their
schools and almshouses is probably about 15,000l. The value of their plate and
furniture is approximately, as returned, about 270,000l. The annual income of the
livings in their gift is about 12,000l. a year.
Their debts amount to about 180,000l. (fn. 6)
|Income.||Corporate Income.||Trust Income.|
|Broderers||No return.||—||70 (?)|
|Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers||65||62||3|
|Tallow Chandlers||No return.||220|
|Tinplate Workers||No return.||37|
|Tylers and Bricklayers||834||664||170|
Halls, almshouses, schools.
The rateable value of the halls of the minor Companies is about 20,000l. a year, that
of their almshouses, schools, &c. is about 3,000l. a year. The value of their plate and
furniture is, approximately, as returned, about 50,000l. They are not patrons of
livings. Their debts amount to upwards of 90,000l.
Distribution of income, corporate and trust.; Trust income, small.
It will be noticed that there is great disparity in the amount of the trust incomes of
the Companies. In some cases it is a mere nothing. The strongest instances are those
of (1) the Grocers' Company, the trust income of which is 500l. out of a total income
of 38,000l., (2) the Armourers' Company, the trust income of which is 60l. out of a
total income of 8,000l. Other, though less striking, examples are those of (1) the
Fishmongers' Company, the trust income of which is 3,800l. out of a total income of
upwards of 50,000l., (2) the Leathersellers' Company, the trust income of which is
2,300l., out of a total income of nearly 19,000l., (3) the Saddlers' Company, the trust
income of which is about 1,000l. out of a total income of upwards of 11,000l.
Trust income, large.
On the other hand the trust incomes of the two wealthiest Companies, the Mercers'
Company and the Drapers' Company, are respectively above one-third and two-fifths
of the total income, in the case of the Mercers' Company 35,000l. out of 83,000l., in
that of the Drapers' Company 28,000l. out of 79,000l. (fn. 7) Also in several cases the
trust income greatly exceeds the corporate income. Thus (1) the trust income of the
Haberdashers' Company is probably 20,000l. out of a total income of 30,000l., (2) the
trust income of the Brewers' Company is 16,000l. out of a total income of 20,000l.,
(3) the trust income of the Painterstainers' Company is 3,000l. out of a total income of
4,000l., (4) the trust income of the Ironmongers' Company is 12,000l. out of a total
income of 21,000l. (fn. 7)
Companies without trust incomes.
The above table also shows that some of the minor Companies are not trustees of
charities. These are the Companies of Basketmakers, Blacksmiths, Coachmakers,
Fanmakers, Fletchers, Glovers, Gunmakers, Horners, Joiners, Loriners, Masons,
Musicians, Needlemakers, Playing Cardmakers, Shipwrights, Turners, Wheelwrights,
and Woolmen. The total income of these 18 Companies is, however, only about 8,000l.
a year, and several of them, particularly the Loriners' and Spectaclemakers Companies,
Companies upon the number of whose liveries we have commented, and the recently
resuscitated Companies of Turners, Needlemakers, Fanmakers, Shipwrights, &c., have
scarcely any income, except such as arises from the fees and fines paid by existing
Estimates of (1) total trust, and (2) total corporate incomes of the Companies of London.; Annual balances.
On the whole, we think that of the sum of from 750,000l. to 800,000l. which constitutes
the annual income of the Livery Companies of London, (1) about 200,000l. a year is
trust income, (2) from 550,000l. to 600,000l. is corporate income. (fn. 8)
We should here state, as regards the materials of this estimate, that in the tables
on which it is founded, the balance in hand at the beginning of each financial year
is excluded, as not being income. The sum thus excluded is considerable, and we
have made an addition to the (fn. 9) corporate income of the Companies, which may be
supposed approximately to represent the annual interest of such sum.
Situation of the Companies' Estates.
Situation of the Companies' estates.; City of London. County of Londonderry.
This part of Your Majesty's Commission refers specifically to the situation of the
real property held by the Livery Companies of the City of London.
We have already briefly described to Your Majesty the processes by which the
Companies became large holders of house property within the City and its liberties,
and we have alluded to the facts of the share taken by the Companies in the
"colonization" of Ulster, and of their acquisition in consequence of a large tract of
land in the county of Londonderry.
We have now to state that the real estate of the Companies is situated partly (1) in
the City of London proper, in other districts of London, and in the suburbs of London,
(2) in various parts of England, (3) in the county of Londonderry, Ireland.
1. Metropolitan Estate.—The Metropolitan estate of the Companies consists (1) of the
halls, and such of the almshouses, schools, and other institutions maintained by the
Companies as are within the metropolitan area; (2) of some thousands of houses
in the City of London proper, many of them in excellent situations, and let as warehouses, banks, counting-houses, salerooms, offices, and shops, and also of some wharves
with warehouses attached to them, situated on the banks of the Thames, some on the City
side, some on the Surrey side; (3) of house property outside the City of London
proper, but within the metropolitan area; viz., in Stratford (fn. 10) , West Ham (fn. 11) , Fulham (fn. 12) ,
Hackney (fn. 13) , Hammersmith (fn. 14) , Lambeth (fn. 15) , Islington (fn. 16) , Notting Hill (fn. 17) ,
Stoke Newington (fn. 18) , Stepney (fn. 19) , Walworth (fn. 20) , Hoxton (fn. 21) , Finsbury (fn. 22) ,
St. Pancras (fn. 23) , Southwark (fn. 24) , and Whitechapel (fn. 25) .
2. Estates in English Counties.—The Companies of London are owners of agricultural
land or of house property or of rentcharges in the following English counties:—
Bedfordshire (fn. 26) , Buckinghamshire (fn. 27) , Berkshire (fn. 28) , Derbyshire (fn. 29) , Durham (fn. 30) ,
Essex (fn. 31) , Gloucestershire (fn. 32) , Herefordshire (fn. 33) , Hertfordshire (fn. 34) , Kent (fn. 35) ,
Lancashire (fn. 36) , Lincolnshire (fn. 37) , Middlesex (fn. 38) , Monmouth (fn. 39) , Norfolk (fn. 40) , Northumberland (fn. 41) , Northamptonshire (fn. 42) , Oxfordshire (fn. 43) , Staffordshire (fn. 44) , Shropshire (fn. 45) ,
Surrey (fn. 46) , Wiltshire (fn. 47) , Yorkshire (fn. 48) , Sussex (fn. 49) .
Two Companies possess estates in Wales (fn. 50) , one lands in the Isle of Man (fn. 51) .
3. Irish Estate.—Several of the Companies possess a considerable amount of real
property in the county of Londonderry. The estate is the remnant of the lands in
Ulster which the Companies of London and the Irish Society were respectively compelled to purchase at the commencement of the seventeenth century. (fn. 52)
Income arising from (1) Rents (2) Personal Property.
Rents. Personal property.
We find that the rental of the real property above described is at present above
600,000l. a year. A further sum, exceeding 100,000l., is derived from dividends
Rents. Prospective increment.; City house property.
As regards the former part, it has been suggested that there would be advantage in
our attempting a rough estimate of the probable increase, if any, in the Companies'
rental within the next quarter of a century. On this point we have consulted your
Majesty's Commissioners of Woods and Forests, but the surveyors who are employed by
the Department decline to furnish an estimate. We believe that there are experts
who consider that the value of City house property—the principal property of the
Companies—has reached its culminating point. But on the other hand, a large proportion of the Companies' estates in the City and in the metropolitan area is at present let
on long building leases, on the termination of which, there is a certainty of an increased
ground rent. We regard this circumstance as conclusive evidence that the value of
the Companies' estates is at present rapidly increasing; but we do not forget that the
values of their property in Ireland, and also that of their agricultural property in
England, are respectively, at any rate, for the moment, at present decreasing. On
the whole we think it not unlikely that the value of the estate may rise from 15 millions,
its present amount, to 20 millions in the next 25 years. (fn. 53)
As regards the latter part (1) about 60,000l. a year arises from trust property
invested in consols and other securities: (2) some of the small Companies, which do
not own land, derive their whole permanent income from savings, accumulations of
fees and fines, similarly invested: (3) a part of the sum is derived from the purchase
money of houses in the city of London, in some cases corporate, in other cases trust
property, which the Companies have been compelled to part with under the provisions
of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act for the purposes of railways, docks, and other
Contributions of existing members.
The contributions of existing members, consisting of quarterages, entrance fees,
livery fines, and fines on promotion to the court, or to office, appear to amount to from
15,000l. to 20,000l. a year. In other words, existing members contribute from 1/50th to
1/37th or thereabouts of the total income.
Expenditure (1) Trust (2) Corporate.
Expenditure. (1) trust, (2) corporate.
Of this income of upwards of 700,000l. a year, more than 200,000l. a year arises
from trust property, and is applied, as we have already stated, by the courts of the
Companies in accordance with (1) the wills of founders, (2) Acts of Parliament,
(3) decrees of the Chancery Division of Your Majesty's High Court of Justice,
(4) schemes framed by Your Majesty's Commissioners of Charities, or Your Majesty's
Commissioners of Endowed Schools. (fn. 54)
The fund arises from about 1,100 benefactions, the earliest certainly not less ancient
than the fourteenth century, the latest under wills proved within the last few years.
Of this sum of upwards of 200,000l. a year, about 140,000l. a year arises from rents
and rentcharges; the remainder arises from dividends. (fn. 55)
Your Majesty's Commissioners of Charities in their "Digest of Endowed Charities,"
published in 1877, have analyzed the objects, as reported upon by Your Majesty's
Inspectors of Charities in 1862, supported by the trust income of the Livery Companies,
and have shown that about one half the income was then expended upon the inmates of
almshouses and poor members, about one quarter on education, i.e., on schools,
apprenticing charities, and exhibitions at the universities, and about one quarter on
charitable objects of a general kind; the two principal charities of this third class
being endowments for the relief of the indigent blind (fn. 56) and a fund for the sustentation
of elementary schools connected with the Church of England. (fn. 57)
Present distribution of charitable income.
The returns show that since 1862 there has been a considerable alteration
in the distribution of the charitable income of the Companies, owing to the
increase of the rents of certain of the educational foundations. At present, of the
200,000l. which forms the charitable income, (1) about three-eighths, or 75,000l. a
year is expended on the support of almshouses and the relief of poor members; (2)
about three-eighths, or 75,000l. a year, on education, as above defined; (3) about one
quarter, or 50,000l. a year, on charitable objects of a general kind.
Obsoletc or impracticable charities.
Some of the charities of the third class are bequests for purposes which are obsolete,
such as the relief of the inmates of debtors' prisons; others are bequests for purposes
which seem to have become impracticable, owing to the difference between ancient and
modern times, as for instance, "portions to poor maids" and "loan charities" for
advances to young men commencing business (fn. 58) .
Many of the Companies' charities are for the benefit of the inhabitants of provincial
towns and villages. We believe that this is so as regards all the counties in which the
companies possess lands. It would seem that in early times persons from the provinces
came to London to engage in business, and when they had amassed fortunes, left
legacies to their native places as well as to the guilds to which they belonged.
Almshouses and pensions to poor members.
1. As regards the first division of the charitable expenditure, viz., the sum of
75,000l., which is spent on almshouses and poor members. Most of the great Companies, and several of the minor Companies. maintain almshouses for their poor. The
principal of such almshouses are Whittington College (fn. 59) in Islington, maintained by
the Mercers' Company, St. Peters' Hospital at Wandsworth (fn. 60) , maintained by the
Fishmongers' Company, the Goldsmiths' almshouses at Acton, Middlesex, and
Hackney (fn. 61) , the Merchant Taylors' almshouses at Lee, Kent (fn. 62) , the Skinners' almshouses at St. Helen's and Mile End (fn. 63) , the Salters' almshouses at Watford (fn. 64) , the
Ironmongers' almshouses in Kingsland Road (fn. 65) , the Vintners' almshouses at Mile
End (fn. 66) , the Clothworkers' almshouses at Islington (fn. 67) , the Armourers' almshouses in
Bishopsgate (fn. 68) , the Bakers' almshouses in Hackney (fn. 69) , the Brewers' almshouses at
South Mimms (fn. 70) , the Carpenters' almshouses at Twickenham (fn. 71) , the Coopers' almshouses at Stepney, Middlesex (fn. 72) , the Dyers' almshouses in the City Road and in
Spitalfields (fn. 73) , the Framework Knitters' almshouses in Shoreditch (fn. 74) , the Girdlers'
almshouses at Peckham (fn. 75) , the Leathersellers' almshouses at Barnet (fn. 76) , the Saddlers'
almshouses in Isleworth (fn. 77) , the Tylers' and Bricklayers' almshouses at Islington (fn. 78) ,
and the Weavers' almshouses at Wanstead (fn. 79) .
The dates of the foundation of these charities, as given in the notes, are taken partly
from the returns made to the present Commission by the Companies, partly from the
reports of the Charity Commissions, and of Your Majesty's present Inspectors of
Charities. There is reason, however, for supposing that many of these foundations
are really older. Probably as early as the fourteenth century the Companies had
several almshouses in the City of London.
These institutions have in almost all cases been largely endowed by bequests of land
or money of a date subsequent to their foundation. Upwards of 500 of the 1,100
charities administered by the Companies relate to the sustentation of the almshouses,
or to the relief of impoverished members, or that of the widows and orphans of
members by gifts of money, food, or clothing. Very many trusts of this kind have
been created during the last century, and not a few during the present century, the
benefactors having been in every instance, it is believed, members of the Companies.
Sums spent on the almshouses out of the corporate income Subscriptions by existing members.
The reports of the Charity Commissions and the return of Your Majesty's inspectors
of Charities contain histories of these foundations which show that from a very early
period they have been assisted by the Companies by grants from corporate income.
In many cases also existing members have subscribed out of their private means to
support them. During the past and the present centuries, also, almost all the almshouses have been rebuilt, and for this purpose the Companies have made considerable
grants out of the income arising from their non-trust property.
The almshouses vary in size, some being mere cottages, others like Whittington and
St. Peter's Colleges, large establishments, managed by a governor, a chaplain, and a
considerable staff of servants.
Besides the almspeople, a large number of pensioners, decayed liverymen and
freemen, and widows and orphan daughters of former members, who are in an indigent
condition, are supported or assisted out of the trust income of the Companies. More
than 600 charities exist for this purpose.
There are far more women than men inmates of the Companies' almshouses, and a
large majority of the pensioners are the widows and orphans of members, chiefly of the
mere freemen, the poor members who have never been called to the livery.
The reasons which render it impossible to accurately estimate the number of freemen (fn. 80)
equally prevent us from calculating the proportion of freemen, who either themselves,
personally, during their lifetimes, or after their deaths, vicariously through their widows
or orphan daughters, become recipients of charitable relief from the trust funds of the
Companies. We should infer, however, that the proportion is large.
Number of almspeople and pensioners. Sums paid to such persons.
The present number of almspeople, pensioners, and persons otherwise relieved by
the Companies, we estimate at about 2,500. Of these, one person, a pensioner, who
formerly was a member of the Court of one of the principal Companies, receives 400l.
a year, and we have met with instances in which a widow and the orphan daughters
of a deceased liveryman jointly receive 250l. a year. (fn. 81) But there are very few pensions
of more than 100l., or at most 150l., a year, and the great majority do not exceed 50/.
a year, while many consist of much smaller sums. The expense of maintaining the
almspeople may be estimated at about 60l. a year each.
Examination into cases of alleged distress.; Inability of Charity Commissioners to interfere.
We were invited by several of the Companies to inspect their almshouses; but we
considered this an unnecessary extension of the inquiry which we had been commanded
by Your Majesty to institute. Several of the Companies have stated in their returns
the nature of the examination which they are accustomed to make into cases of alleged
distress, and we questioned on this subject some of their representatives, gentlemen
of much experience in the discharge of this delicate and important part of the duties
of the governing bodies. (fn. 82) We need only, however, repeat that the constitution of
these bodies as above described by us is the only guarantee which the public has for
the propriety of this as of other branches of their expenditure, with the addition that
Your Majesty's Commissioners of Charities, though they are empowered by their Acts
of Parliament to frame schemes under certain conditions for the reorganization of
these charities, have no authority to inspect the almshouses or to interfere with or
even criticise the expenditure of the governing bodies on almspeople, pensioners, and
recipients of casual relief.
Addition from corporate income.
The trust fund for the sustentation of the almshouses, and that for the relief of
pensioners, is at present, and has been for the last 10 years, materially increased by a
large subsidy from the corporate or non-trust income of the Companies.
Expenditure on education.
2. As regards the second head of the charitable expenditure, viz. the sum of 75,000l.
which is spent on education, the objects supported are (1) the Universities of Oxford
and Cambridge, (2) certain schools.
(1) The Arabic Professorship at Cambridge derives a portion of its endowment
from the funds of one of the Companies. (fn. 83) . Several of the great Companies, and a
few of the minor Companies, are trusiees of funds for the maintenance of scholarships
or exhibitions at each university. (fn. 84) The number of such foundations at Cambridge
is considerably larger than that of those at Oxford. The trusts are generally in
terms for the benefit of "poor scholars," and we are informed that in the elections
candidates, the means of whose parents are small, are sometimes preferred.
At the two universities there are generally at present upwards of a hundred undergraduates who derive assistance from the funds of the Companies. We have ascertained
that some of these students acquit themselves extremely well in the University
The Companies make a considerable addition to the trust fund which exists for
these purposes out of their corporate income.
(2.) A. Five schools at which a classical education is given are managed by the companies of London. These are St. Paul's School, (fn. 85) Merchant Taylors' School, (fn. 86) Tunbridge School, (fn. 87) Aldenham School, (fn. 88) and Great Crosby School (fn. 89) . St. Paul's
School and Tunbridge School are two of the most richly endowed schools in England.
Merchant Taylors' School has no endowment; it is supported by the Merchant Taylors'
Company out of their corporate income. The three first-mentioned schools have a
large number of valuable exhibitions at the Universities, of some of which the
managing companies are themselves trustees (fn. 90) . Each of these five schools has a
St. Paul's School is at present being rebuilt, pursuant to a scheme of Your Majesty's
Endowed School Commissioners issued in 1879.
Merchant Taylors' School has recently been rebuilt by the Merchant Taylors'
Tunbridge School has also been recently rebuilt, pursuant to a scheme sanctioned
by Your Majesty's Commissioners of Charities in 1870.
The total number of scholars receiving their education at these schools, assuming
them to be full, may be estimated at upwards of 2,000 (fn. 91) .
The returns show that during the last 10 years the Merchant Taylors' Company have
spent on the Merchant Taylors' School a sum of 140,000l. out of their corporate
income. The reports of the Charity Commissioners and those of Your Majesty's
Inspectors of Charities, show that at times antecedent to the period taken in by our
inquiry, the Mercers' and Skinners' Companies spent considerable sums from the same
source on St. Paul's and Tunbridge Schools respectively.
"Middle class" schools.
B. The Companies are also trustees and managers of several middle-class schools
for children of both sexes. The principal foundations of this kind are (1) in London
the Mercers' School (fn. 92) , the Grocers' Middle-Class School at Hackney Downs (fn. 93) ,
Bancroft's School at Mile End (fn. 94) , the Greencoat School at Greenwich (fn. 95) , Aske's
Schools at Hatcham and Hoxton (fn. 96) , Dame Owen's School at Islington (fn. 97) ,
the Ratcliff schools at Stepney and Bow Road (fn. 98) and the Stationers' school (fn. 99) .
(2) in the provinces,—a school at Horsham, Sussex (fn. 100) , a school at West Lavington,
Wiltshire (fn. 101) , a school at Oundle, Northamptonshire (fn. 102) , a school at Colwall, Herefordshire (fn. 103) , a school at Witney, Oxfordshire (fn. 104) , a school at Tottenham, in Essex (fn. 105) ,
Sir John Gresham's school at Holt, Norfolk (fn. 106) , a school at Cromer, in Norfolk (fn. 107) , a
school at Bromyard, in Herefordshire (fn. 108) , a school at Stockport, Cheshire (fn. 109) , a school
at Ashwell, Hertfordshire (fn. 110) , a school at Wallingford, Oxfordshire (fn. 111) , a school at
Newport, Staffordshire (fn. 112) , a school at Monmouth (fn. 113) , a school at Banbury, Cheshire (fn. 114) ,
a school at Landrake, St. Erny, Cornwall (fn. 115) , a school at Peel, in the Isle of Man (fn. 116) ,
a school at Sutton Valence, Kent (fn. 117) , and a school at Islay, Walton, Leicestershire (fn. 118) .
The number of children of both sexes who are educated at these schools is upwards
On all these schools we find that the Companies which manage them have spent
considerable sums out of their corporate incomes. This will be seen on reference to
(1) the reports of the Charity Commissioners, (2) the reports made by Mr. Hare,
Your Majesty's senior Inspector of Charities, and his colleagues, (3) the returns of the
Companies which show that during the years over which our inquiry has extended the
Companies have shown great liberality in this respect.
Proportion of trust incomes applicable to (1) classical, (2) middle class education.
It is difficult to fix with accuracy the proportions of this item of the trust-income
of the Companies, amounting, as we have stated, to 75,000l. a year, which are applicable to (1) classical, (2) middle-class, education respectively. We believe that,
including under the former head the contribution to the universities, the sam allocated
to classical education is about 35,000l. a year, that allocated to middle-class education
about 40,000l. a year.
3. Of the sum of 50,000l. a year, which forms the third division of the trust income
of the companies, that described by us as devoted to charitable objects of a general
kind (1) an amount of about 9,000l. a year is applicable to the sustentation of primary
schools under the management of clergymen of the Church of England in England
and Wales (fn. 119) , (2) an amount of about 5,000l. is applicable to the relief of indigent
blind persons (fn. 120) , (3) the remaining sum, consisting of about 36,000l. a year (arising
from nearly 500 legacies, bequeathed during a period commencing in the 14th and
ending in the present century), is applicable (1) to the relief of the poor of the parishes
in the City of London, by doles of money and food, and gifts of clothing, (2) to the
relief by the same means, of the poor of parishes in London, outside the City, and of the
poor of many urban and rural parishes throughout England; (3) to clerical objects
connected with the Church of England, such as lectureships of a general or special
character at churches in the City of London, or in connection with certain of the
charitable institutions maintained by the Companies in the provinces; (4) to annual
subscriptions to medical charities, particularly the London hospitals; (5) to those
obsolete or impracticable purposes of which we have given some instances above.
Reports of Inspectors of Charities.
The reports of Your Majesty's inspectors of charities, which are printed as a part of
the Appendix to this Report, contain detailed accounts of all the charities above-
mentioned, setting forth (1) the names of the founders, (2) abstracts of the deeds or
wills constituting the charitable trusts, (3) the property, whether real or personal,
which is charged therewith, (4) the mode in which the trusts are administered. In
the cases (they are very few) in which a private Act of Parliament has been obtained,
the terms of the Act are set forth. In the cases (they are numerous) in which the
Court of Chancery has decreed schemes for alterations in the administration of
charities, or in which Your Majesty's Commissioners of Charities, or Your Majesty's
Commissioners of Endowed Schools have framed schemes for similar purposes under
the Acts of Parliament from which they respectively derive their powers the terms
of the schemes are set forth. The amount of charitable property thus dealt with
by these authorities has been very considerable (fn. 121) .
Gratuitous management of charities.
We believe that, except in cases where (1) the terms of the charitable bequests
authorize the Companies to charge for administering the charities, or (2) where an Act
of Parliament or a scheme in Chancery, or one framed by Your Majesty's above-mentioned Commissioners expressly authorizes them to do so, the courts of the Companies
manage the charities above-mentioned gratuitously. They do not charge the trusts
with the five per cent. on the annual value which is commonly allowed in such cases
by the rules of the Chancery Division of Your Majesty's High Court of Justice.
Corporate income.; Available corporate income.; Spent on (1) maintenance, (2) entertainments, (3) benevolent objects.
We have stated that, including an allowance in respect of (1) the halls and other
buildings used by the Companies, and of (2) their plate, furniture, and other property not
producing income, we estimate the corporate or non-trust income of the livery Companies
of the City of London at from 550,000l. to 600,000l. a year. Taking the smaller sum as a
basis, and deducting from it a sum of 125,000l., which may be taken to represent (1)
such allowance, (2) a sum representing the interest of the debt of the Companies, and
(3) a sum representing the average proportion of income saved annually; an amount of,
roughly speaking, 425,000l. remains to be accounted for. Of this sum, we compute
that (1) about 175,000l. is annually spent on "maintenance," (2) about 100,000l. is
annually spent on entertainments, (3) about 150,000l. is annually spent on benevolent
1. In "maintenance" we include (1) sums spent in the payment of rates and taxes,
in rebuilding, repairs, and other charges connected with the halls, ( (fn. 122) ) almshouses,
schools, and other buildings occupied or used by the Companies, and improvements on
their estates, (2) in the payment of court fees, i.e., fees paid to the members of the
courts or governing bodies for attendance at meetings for the discharge of the business
of management, (3) in the salaries of the officers and servants employed by the Companies in London, and on their estates in Ireland. We estimate that of the 175,000l.
spent on "maintenance" (1) about 75,000l. a year is spent on rates, taxes, rebuilding,
repairs, and improvements, (2) about 40,000l. a year is paid to the members of the
governing bodies as "court fees," (3) about 60,000l. a year is spent on the salaries of
the officers and servants of the Companies. This is, however, a somewhat rough
estimate, the parts of the returns which relate to the subject not being precisely uniform.
Rates, taxes, repairs, improvements.
(1.) Of the above-mentioned sum of 75,000l. rates and taxes, which include the tithe
rentcharge on the Ulster estates of the Companies, form the least considerable item. A
sum which amounts to a very heavy per-centage on the income derived from Ireland
is annually spent on "improvements," in which term are included not only drainage
and farm buildings, but the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, and the
support of places of worship, schools, and dispensaries for the use of the tenants. A fair
proportion of the fund is expended on repairs and improvements in connection with the
urban and rural English estates of the Companies. The largest item, however, is that
which is annually expended on the restoration and decoration of the halls, 34 in number,
which the Companies possess. ( (fn. 123) )
(2.) "Court Fees," in respect of which a sum amounting to 40,000l. is annually
distributed among the members of the governing bodies, are payments to such
members for attendance at the "courts" or meetings of the governing bodies for the
transaction of business, e.g., admissions to the freedom, calls to the livery, elections to
the courts, appointment of officers and servants, management of the corporate and
charitable estates, elections of almspeople and pensioners, superintendence of schools,
invitations to entertainments, and the selection of public or benevolent objects to be
supported out of the corporate income.
The highest fee paid for attendance at a single meeting is five guineas, the lowest
half a guinea. In many of the less opulent Companies, no fees are paid. The courts
of the chief Companies meet about once a month, those of the minor Companies about
once a quarter. Where the business is large and complex, committees are appointed
for special purposes, and in some cases the members appointed to serve receive extra
fees. The prime wardens, the renter wardens, and the other members holding office,
generally receive higher fees than the ordinary members or assistants. (fn. 124)
Owing to omissions in some of the returns, we are unable to state definitely the
largest sums received annually as "court fees" by members of the governing bodies
of the Companies. We should infer that there were cases in which as much as 300l.
was thus paid in a year to an individual. From the returns it appears to be not
uncommon for members of the courts to receive as much as 150l. a year. On the
other hand, there are cases in which members of the courts of wealthy Companies do
not receive as "court fees" more than 50l. a year.
Salaries. English and Irish staffs.
The sum of 60,000l., at which we estimate the salaries and allowances annually paid
to the officers and servants of the Companies, supports two staffs, (1) the one employed
at the halls or clerks' offices of the Companies in London, (2) the other employed in
Ireland in connection with the Ulster Estates. A clerk and a beadle have been
attached to each guild since a date prior to its incorporation. As the estates have
increased, a number of additional offices have been created, such as those of accountants,
surveyors, and assistant clerks, and a staff of domestic servants has been engaged.
Those of the Companies which retain their lands in Ulster have employed resident
agents since they ceased to let to middlemen. As may be supposed, the expenses of
the staff employed in London are much greater than those of that employed in
Salaries of clerks.
The highest salaries paid to clerks of the London Companies amount to about
2,000l. a year. The returns show that there are at present two gentlemen in this
position who receive this sum for their services. The salary next in amount is one of
1,500l. a year. These are, however, exceptional cases. The clerks of most of the
important Companies receive about 700l. a year. The salaries of those attached to the
minor Companies are small. The clerks are mostly solicitors, and in some cases are
allowed to carry on a private practice at the halls of the Companies which employ
In the above calculation we have not taken into account the salaries of the masters
of the Companies' schools, those of the governors, matrons, and medical officers of
their almshouses, or those of the chaplains and clerical lecturers whom they employ
in connection with the charities of which they are trustees.
2. The cost of the entertainments annually given by the Companies we estimate at
100,000l. (fn. 125)
Livery and court dinners.
They are of two kinds, (1) banquets to the liveries, (2) dinner parties which take
place on the days on which the Courts meet. Two or three banquets of the former
kind are held annually in the more considerable Companies. In those of less importance not more than one livery dinner is given annually, and in some cases, owing to
want of funds, the members of the liveries are not entertained. It is the practice of most
of the Companies to invite guests on these occasions. Royal personages, members of
Your Majesty's family, members of the reigning houses of Continental States in
alliance with Your Majesty, during their visits to London, and persons of distinction,
both subjects of Your Majesty and foreigners, are frequently entertained by the
Companies, which thus assist the Lord Mayor and the Corporation of London in
dispensing the hospitality of the city. Their entertainments to persons of eminence
are frequently preceded by the ceremony of conferring their freedom, honoris causâ,
on their distinguished guests.
The Court dinners, which are more frequent, are comparatively small parties. In
many cases guests are invited to these entertainments also.
Public or oenevolent objects.
4. The part of the Companies' corporate income which is d voted to public or
benevolent objects we estimate at 150,000l. a year. If to this sum be added the trust
income of 200,000l. a year, it follows that about half the income of the Companies is
at present allocated either under the term of benefactions or voluntarily to public or
(1) Relief of poor members.
(1.) Of this sum of 150,000l. a year, about 10,000l. a year appears to be expended
on the relief of poor members, an object to which, as we have explained, three-eighths
of the trust income, or 75,000l. a year, is applicable.
(2) Education.; Exhibitions.
(2.) About 50,000l. appears to be expended on education: (1) A large number of
the exhibitions to which the Companies appoint as trustees have been added to by
them out of their corporate income, and several exhibitions have been endowed by the
Companies out of the same source, some at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge,
some at University and King's Colleges, London, some in connection with the
Companies' numerous schools, some in connection with the London School Board, some
in connection with the newly founded colleges for the higher education of women,
Girton College and Newnham College, and other institutions.
(2.) Almost all the schools of which the Companies are trustees are assisted out of
the corporate incomes of the Companies, and some of those enumerated in the above
list, such as the Merchant Taylors' School of the Merchant Taylors' Company, and
the middle class school at Hackney recently founded by the Grocers' Company, are
without endowment, and are supported out of sums voluntarily set aside year by year
out of the corporate incomes.
Technical education.; City and Guilds of London Technical Institute.
(3.) The subject of technical education has within the last few years been taken up
by the Companies. The Clothworkers' Company has promoted the establishment of
Yorkshire College at Leeds where instruction is given in the manufacture of woollen
goods, and similar institutions at Bradford, Huddersfield, and other places, the present
seats of its former trade. The "City and Guilds of London Institute for the Advancement of Technical Education" has also recently been formed. It is an Association
consisting of representatives of the City of London, and of most of the more considerable Livery Companies, and the funds which have been placed at its disposal by
the City and the Companies are very large. A building fund of upwards of 100,000l.
has been contributed, and annual subscriptions have been promised amounting to
about 25,000l. a year. The former sum has been or is being expended on a Technical
College in Finsbury and a "Central Institution" in South Kensington. (fn. 126)
Benovelent and public objects.
Charities in connection with estates in Ulster.; Provincial charities.; Charities of London; London hospital.; Clerical funds.; Mansion House funds.; Exhibitions.
3. About 90,000l. a year appears to be expended on benevolent and public objects
of a general character. Besides the contribution to churches, schools, and dispensaries
in Ulster, which is frequently, as we have stated, included in the returns in the
expenses of the management of these estates, the Companies contribute largely to other
Ulster charities, both religious and secular, and also have of late subsidized new
railways by grants of land and loans. These sums taken together amount to a
deduction from the rents greatly exceeding the sum commonly contributed to such
purposes by private landlords. In the districts of England in which the Companies
possess lands they generally support the religious and secular charities connected with
their estates. As regards London, where the bulk of their property is situated, they
make annually a very large contribution, one probably amounting to 70,000l. or
80,000l., to public and benevolent objects. One hospital, the London Hospital, has
during the 10 years over which our inquiry has extended received 26,500l. from a
single Company, that of the Grocers. The other great hospitals, the hospitals for
special diseases, the dispensaries, and the other medical charities, not only those of the
City proper, but those in other parts of London, receive a very large sum annually
from the Companies. Religious charities also, such as the Bishop of London's fund
and the societies having for their object the building and endowment of churches
and schools in connection with the Church of England, receive a considerable subsidy.
Secular objects, orphanages, refuges, and funds for the relief of distress, such as the
poor boxes at the Metropolitan Courts, are also supported by the Companies, and they
are large contributors to the numerous "Mansion House Funds" set on foot under
special circumstances by the Lord Mayor and the Corporation of London. Of late
also, and particularly since the movement in favour of technical education began, some
of the Companies whose names represent existing trades have given exhibitions at
their halls or elsewhere of works of art or of the processes of manufacture, ( (fn. 127) ) and have
become supporters of trade benefit societies.
Mode in which the corporate estate was acquired.
A part of Your Majesty's Commission ( (fn. 128) ) having been a direction to us to inquire
into "any trust deeds or other documents affecting" the Companies, we included in our
circular of interrogatories a question as to the mode in which the real estate held by
each Company as corporate property had been acquired. The Companies have not,
however, generally answered this question, except by the mere statement that the
parcel of land in question was "acquired by the Company in its corporate right" and
as their title deeds are privileged documents, and we have not been invested with the
power of enforcing discovery, we have not derived much information on this subject
from the returns.
Evidence from (1) the reports of the Charity Commissioners, (2) those of the Inspectors of Charities, also (3) proceedings in Chancery.
The reports, however, of the several Charity Commissions, and those of Your
Majesty's present Inspectors of Charities—the latter form part of the Appendix to
this Report—though nominally confined to the trust estate of the Companies, are
really of great importance as regards their corporate estate, and particularly as
regards that portion of it which consists of house property in the city of London.
The proceedings also which have taken place, from time to time, in the Court of
Chancery have thrown much light on the (fn. 129) circumstances under which this estate
has been acquired. (fn. 129)
The information which is to be derived from the above-mentioned sources may be
Purchasers by "custom of the city."
1. A large proportion of the lands in the city of London held by the Companies "in
their corporate right" was acquired by them outside their licences in mortmain, under
the custom of the city which we have described.
2. A large proportion of the lands in the city of London held by the Companies "in
their corporate right" was obtained under wills constituting trusts for the maintenance
of obits, chauntries, or for other "superstitious uses." This land the Companies were
allowed, as we have already stated, to purchase from the Crown after its confiscation
at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. This was done by means of Crown
grants made in the reigns of Edward VI. and James I. (fn. 130)
Interpretation of Crown grants by Court of Chancery.
Reasons for regarding this as trust property.
The terms of the grants have been held by the Court of Chancery (fn. 131) to have vested
in the Companies the same absolute property in these lands which the Act of the
1st Edward VI. vested in the Crown, and they have thus been since the Reformation
in the eye of the law the corporate property of the Companies, free from any trust.
There is no doubt, however, that the lands were only allowed to be bought back
because the Companies represented to (fn. 132) the Crown, as was no doubt the fact, that
the rental was required for the support of their almshouses, schools, and exhibitions,
many of which depended for their existence on these superstitious benefactions. We
think there is nothing unfair as regards the Companies in a recognition of this state
of circumstances, and though we allow all proper weight to the decisions of the
Court of Chancery, we do not consider ourselves bound by them in framing the
present Report to Your Majesty, and we desire to express the opinion that these Crown
grants may be reasonably taken to have been made in the expectation that the income
would continue to be in great part applied to charitable objects, such as, in particular,
education and the relief of poverty. The amount of these repurchased lands is very
large, though we are unable to estimate it with precision, as the materials for
doing so are not contained in the returns or in the documents with which we have been
supplied by Your Majesty's Commissioners of Charities. We should add that the
reports of Your Majesty's inspectors show that a very considerable amount of this
fund is applied by the Companies voluntarily to charitable objects of the nature
defined in their above-mentioned representation to the Crown (fn. 133) .
Legacies of money to be converted into land.
3. The reports of Your Majesty's Inspectors of Charities contain many cases of early
legacies of money which, by the terms of the bequests, was to be converted into land.
It sometimes, however, appears that the Companies have not been able to prove from
their archives that the trust to purchase lands had ever been executed, and that they
have been in the habit of simply crediting the charities with the annual interest of the
sums bequeathed. Many of the deeds and minutes of court of the Companies perished
in the Fire of London, and there is consequently serious difficulty in ascertaining
the truth as to this matter.
It is obvious, however, that, if these bequests of money were really spent on the
purchase of land in the City, the lands so bought are a part of the trust as opposed to
the corporate estate; and that considering the great recent increase in the value of house
property in the City, a serious loss may have resulted to the charities administered by
the Companies. The history of these bequests is, however, so imperfectly known that
we are not justified in inferring that this undesirable result has occurred in many
Origin of large sums raised by the Companies.
4. For the purpose of the re-purchase of their forfeited estates, as above mentioned,
and also for the purposes of the rebuilding of their halls and house property after the
fire, and of the acquisition of their Ulster lands, the Companies raised very large sums
of money between the years 1547 and 1604. The returns dwell on these facts and in
effect represent the Companies as having been founded anew at their own expense
during this period. The sum paid to the Crown in respect of the Irish estate seems
to have been levied as a civic impost. There is little direct evidence as to the origin
of the funds with which the "chauntry" lands were redeemed, and the halls and houses
were rebuilt (fn. 134) ; but it would seem that part was raised by mortgage, part by the contributions of existing members, or members who were persuaded to join for the purpose of
helping the Companies out of their difficulties. Even assuming, however, that the
Companies were actually founded anew at this period, the second foundation took place
a long time ago, and they are public bodies. Moreover the object of the contributions
which were made to repair the ravages of the fire was in great part the maintenance
of the schools, almshouses, and other charitable institutions, of which the Companies
then were and now are trustees.
Doctrines of Chancery.; Ct-près schemes.; Unexpected increment.
5. Through the courtesy of the two learned gentlemen who have assisted us, we
have been placed in a position to appreciate, however imperfectly, the results of the
interpretation put by the Court of Chancery on wills where the question has been
whether the charities, or the Companies which administer them, were to become entitled
to the increased income resulting from the rise in value of house property in the City
of London, and also the schemes framed by that Court in accordance with the principle
of çy-près to which it has recourse in the case of obsolete or impracticable benefactions. We do not think these results always satisfactory as regards the affairs of
the Companies. We recognize that the function of a Court can only be accurately
to interpret the terms of the wills and to carry out the founders' intentions, and no
doubt the rules as to interpretation adopted by the Court of Chancery are judicious,
while, in framing çy-près schemes, the Court has shown a wise and liberal spirit,
and has done its utmost to recognize changes in the circumstances of the times and in
popular opinion. But we think it impossible to peruse many of the cases without
seeing that the Companies have made good their title to unexpected increment as
corporate income when there was really an intestacy with respect to the fund, or under
circumstances which do not show at all decisively that the testator ever intended to
constitute them beneficiaries. This observation applies to a very considerable sum of
money. We are also of opinion that the applications to the Court of Chancery for çy-près
schemes, and to Parliament for private Acts, have been attended with much unnecessary expense, and have not always led to the results most useful to the public (fn. 135) .
School Board Report on Companies' charities.
In concluding this summary of the results of our inquiry as regards the
first four parts of Your Majesty's Commission, we must not neglect to thank the
School Board for London for their valuable report on the subject of the charities
administered by the Companies. It is exceedingly elaborate, and we have much
pleasure in testifying to its excellence, and in acknowledging the assistance which
we have derived from it. We conceive, however, that it is not necessary for us to
express an opinion on the very numerous questions raised by it as to a better application of the Companies' trust income, and in particular as to the effect of section 30 of
the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, on some of the endowments; which is a question
Assistance rendered to the Commission in the course of the inquiry.
We have also to tender our thanks for valuable assistance in the course of this
inquiry to (1) Earl Granville, Your Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,
and to the Secretaries of Legation who, under his Lordship's directions, have favoured
us with reports with respect to the mediæval guilds of the Continent; to Monsieur
Pigeonneau, of the Sorbonne, and Mons. Levasseur, of the French Institute, to Mons.
Emile de Laveleye, of Liège, to Mynheer Vandereige, of the Hague, to Herr Vispering, of
Berne, to Dr. Brock, of Bergen, to Signor Luigi Bodio, the Director of Statistics at
Rome, to Señor Don Morel and Señor Don Pascal de Gayangos, of Madrid, and to the
Viscomte de Figanière, of Lisbon, gentlemen who have sent us communications on the
same subject; to (2) the Bishop of Chester, Mr. Froude, and Mr. Freeman, who have
given us opinions and advice as to points of history; to (3) Dr. Brentano, of Aschaffenburg, and Miss Toulmin Smith, who have advised us as to points of archæology, and to
(4) Mr. Horace Davey, one of Your Majesty's Counsel learned in the law, and Mr. Francis
Vaughan Hawkins, the two members of the Equity bar who have been so good as to
place their services at our disposal, and who have given us highly useful advice.