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The Company

The history and heritage of The Grocers' Company over more than eight centuries

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 foundations of the Company can be traced back to the Pepperers, who established a Fraternity in 1345, although they were active in London from at least 1180. 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 at least 1373 the Fraternity was known as the Company of Grocers. The name Grocer probably derives from the Latin, grossarius, one who buys and sells in the gross, in other words, a wholesale merchant in spices and foreign produce.

More information on our history, including videos, can be found on the History page.

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’.