The Worshipful Company of Grocers is one of the ‘Great Twelve’ Livery Companies of the City of London, ranking second in the order of precedence. In 1515, the Court of Aldermen of the City of London settled an order of precedence for the 48 livery companies then in existence.
The Company originated as the Pepperers, whose existence as a trade Guild was first officially recorded in the Pipe Roll of 1180. The Guild was already active and will have been originally formed at some date earlier.
In 1345, the Pepperers dedicated their fraternity to St Antonin as their patron saint. The Fraternity was entrusted with the duty of preventing the adulteration of spices and drugs, as well as with the charge of the King's Beam, which weighed the bulk merchandise in which they dealt.
By 1373, the Pepperers were being referred to consistently by way of a new name, the ‘Grosseurs’, reflecting their expansion into a wider range of mercantile activity, operating primarily ‘in gross’. This was subsequently anglicised to 'Grocers'.
In 1425, the Grocers acquired the land upon which to build their first Hall, which is where our current Hall resides today.
The Grocers were granted their first royal charter in 1428, thus formally recognising them as a Mystery or Worshipful Livery Company
Today, we play a significant role in the City’s constitutional and ceremonial life, including the election of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs. With the valuable industry and support of our members nationwide, we maintain and develop the fundamental ethos embodied in our early Ordinances, as well as being, in the words of the Company Clerk in 1682, ‘a nursery of charities and a seminary of good citizens’.
A nursery of charities and a seminary of good citizens
More about us
Company Historian Dr Helen Clifford looks at important anniversaries, forgotten Company connections across the country and hidden gems found in the archive - celebrating the rich and varied past of the Grocers’ Company.
We value our affiliations with four units in HM Armed Forces and with the City of London Police Cadets. We continue to share the same noble values of service to others and are jointly proud of our new and historic ties in an affiliation of mutual interest and support.