We are honoured to be the first City Livery Company to be granted a supplemental Charter from His Majesty King Charles III in 2023.
The petition for the Charter was arranged with the Privy Council some time ago, but then delayed by the sad demise of Her Late Majesty.
The Dyers’ Company was first incorporated by Royal Charter in 1471 by King Henry VI, bringing the ‘mistery’ of dyeing and the science of colour to successive generations. (“Mistery” is a synonym for a trade or craft). This Charter and other records of the Company were destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, and another at the rebuilt Dyers’ Hall in 1681.
In addition to Inspeximus Charters granted by Elizabeth I and James II which are displayed in the Hall today, our Company Charter has also been re-granted by Edward IV, and the right confirmed by Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and James I, but it is the re-incorporation by Queen Anne in 1704 which governed the Company until now.
In addition to the modernisation of the Company’s objects, powers and governance provisions, a key point to note is that this now officially ratifies our name as The Dyers’ Company, also known as The Worshipful Company of Dyers, thus formally dropping the longer moniker “Wardens and Commonalty of the Mistery of Dyers of the City of London”
The supplemental Charter from King Charles III is written in English (not Latin) and is beautifully illustrated with Dyers’ Company symbolism, including our swan motif.
Henry VI granted the guild of dyers their first charter in 1471. The granting of a Royal Charter was important to confirm that the Dyers’ had the authority to control the quality of workmanship and hence the reputation of London Dyers. It was also important because, once the guild became incorporated by having a charter, it was legally possible for it to own land. It is no coincidence that the Dyers had acquired their first Hall by 1482.
The Company’s oldest document is a Ratification of Ordinances granted by Elizabeth I in 1578. It is thought that there may have been up to nine charters in all, but most were destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Download the translation and see the story behind the Dyers’ previous Charters below.