Livery Companies of London
The freedom of the City is not an honour or award.
The freedom today confers no special privileges.
Any British or British Commonwealth citizen - man or woman - of good character, over the age of 21 may apply for the freedom
The freedom of the City relates back to the medieval term 'freeman', meaning someone who was not the property of a feudal lord and who enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land. Town dwellers who were protected by the charter of their town or city were often free - hence the 'freedom of the city'.
To find out about applying for the freedom of the City, phone the Chamberlain's Court on 0171 332 3055.
The Freedom of The City
The Freedom of the City of London has always been a much sought-after privilege, the attainment of which was at one time essential to anyone who wished to trade or exercise his craft within the City's bounds. As long ago as 1275 Andrew Horn, a City Chamberlain, wrote,
"it should be known that there are three methods by which a man acquires the Freedom of the City; first that he be a man born in the City lawfully from his father, secondly, that he be an apprentice with a freeman for seven years and not less, and thirdly that a man may compound the Chamberlain for his freedom before the Mayor and other Aldermen."
These three methods, known respectively as Patrimony, Apprenticeship and Redemption, still apply today though from the fourteenth century until 1835 it was also necessary for any would- be freeman of the City to become first a freeman of a guild in addition to satisfying one of the aforementioned requirements. Now this is only necessary in certain special cases.
The Declaration of a Freeman