July 5, 2019 12:00 pm

The Court of Assistants was delighted to take delivery of a pair of brand new robes for the Clerk and Beadle. These vestments are a key part of the Guild’s Treasures, and play a vital role in the ceremonial functions of the Guild.

But why do we wear robes?

Historically, members of a Livery Company literally wore the livery (a coloured gown) to show their affiliation to and rank within the Company. The key officers of each Company had unique robes to denote their office (those eagle eyed members will have spotted that the Master’s robe differs subtly from those that the Wardens wear!), and this is also the case for the Clerk and Beadle.

The Beadle’s role requires him to be instantly visible, both as a standard bearer for the Guild in public and as a master of ceremony at events – his robe therefore is trimmed in the blazing red colour of the Guild.

The Clerk’s role is rather more academic (some Companies do in fact use an academic gown as the vestment for their Clerk), so the robe is trimmed in black velvet and features the crossed quills of the Clerk on the collar’s back.

Both robes feature the Young Freemen dragon on the shoulders in white cord, are heavily tassled on the sleeves and backs; this is a traditional accoutrement of Livery Clerks and Beadles, and apocryphally dates back to the time before clean running water was in homes in the City, and before proper sewerage existed. Fresh herbs and spices would be twisted into the tassles in order to prevent any foul odours from reaching the Master’s nose when they were introduced to members of the public by their Clerk or Beadle!

Back to stories