Arthur Price CEO Simon Price is made Honorary Freeman of Lichfield in recognition of services to the city. At a Mayoral service at the Guildhall, Lichfield, Simon was installed, along with others as a Freeman
The Smiths are members, known as Freemen, of the Worshipful Company of Smiths, Goldsmiths, Cardmakers and Ironmongers, Pewterers and Braziers, Cutlers, Nailors and Spurriers of the City of Lichfield.
The Company was already recognised in 1601 as ‘an antient society’ when its charter was renewed and it is more than possible that its history goes back centuries further.
Guilds, Companies and Mysteries were mainly of medieval origin, coming into being to protect the often precarious livelihoods of craftsmen. Lichfield was too small for each craft to have its own guild which brought about the amalgamation of the trades into a single company, known for short as ‘The Smiths.’
The guilds became powerful and often took on responsibilities later to be performed by municipal councils. Abuses of the power of the guilds led to curbs on their activities and the need for charters to be granted and ratified.
Subsequent legislation gradually whittled away the power of the guilds and many died away. The Lichfield Company is one of a comparatively few to remain, not, now, to protect the livelihoods of its members but to encourage craftsmanship. To this end, men and women skilled in their craft living or working in Lichfield are invited to become Freemen, apprentices are sponsored and people who have been singled out for their services to the City are appointed as Honorary Freemen.
The major events of the Company’s year are the Mayoral Court in February, at which new members are sworn, followed by the Annual Feast chaired by the newly installed Worshipful Master; the Annual General Meeting, still held in the week following St Clement’s Day according to ancient custom; the Garden Party in July and visits throughout the year at the whim of the Master.