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Association Oath Rolls - Background to the Documents


In response to one of many actual or suspected Jacobite plots, in 1696 all substantial people and office-holders were 'invited' to subscribe to an Association Oath of loyalty to William III. They swore vengeance if any harm came to him. The Quakers refused to countenance any threat of violence or indeed to swear an oath at all, but most Protestants were only too eager to subscribe. No doubt many felt obliged to sign, regardless of their feelings, by the 17th century equivalent of peer pressure.

The text of the oath was as follows:
Whereas there has been a horrid and detestable conspiracy formed and carried on by Papists and other wicked and traitorous persons for assassinating his Majesty's royal person in order to encourage an invasion from France to subvert our religion, laws and liberty. We whose names are hereunto subscribed do heartily, sincerely and solemnly profess, testify and declare that his present Majesty King William is rightful and lawful King off these realms and we do mutually promise and engage to stand by and assist each other, to the utmost of our power in the support and defence of his Majesty's most sacred person and government against the late King James and all his adherents, and in case his Majesty come to any violent or untimely death (which God forbid), we do hereby further freely and unanimously oblige ourselves to unite, associate and stand by each other in revenging the same upon his enemies, and their adherents, and in supporting and defending the succession of the Crown according to an Act made in the first year of the reign of King William and Queen Mary, entitled 'An Act declaring the rights and liberties of the subject, and settling the succession of the Crown'.
The rolls are a very useful inhabitants' list and seem to survive fairly complete mainly in class C 213 in the National Archives, Kew. They exist not only for England and Wales (with separate returns for the clergy), but also for the king's subjects abroad in such places as Barbados, the Channel Islands and North America. Most males over 20 seem to have signed.

However, they are not easy to edit, being written on long and often very large strips of parchment, usually by the subscriber and thus in a vast variety of hands, many virtually illegible. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that they have not been a favourite subject for record publication.

Wallace Gandy identified the use of these rolls in a booklet published in 1921. He followed this up with part 1 of an edition of the Lancashire rolls. He followed this up with an edition of some of the overseas rolls. He intended to do more work, announcing that he was editing Buckinghamshire, Cheshire, Suffolk and the London Livery Companies. In 1985, Michael Gandy, the grandson of Wallace, reprinted the Lancashire work in a fascimile edition and this was reprinted again in 2000.

Neither part 2 of Lancashire nor any of these other rolls were, sadly, ever published. The London Livery Companies were put in what appear to be galley proofs to the end of the Fruiterers, and a copy of this survives in both the Corporation of London Records Office and the Society of Genealogists' Library.

I drew renewed attention to the use of the rolls in an article in the Genealogists' Magazine and edited the Surrey returns (11,000 names) other than Southwark, which were originally published on microfiche but are are now online on British Origins. A table of the surviving rolls, taken (with one or two corrections from this article) was published by Jeremy Gibson. The Channel Islands Family History Society has printed the Jersey return, sadly without an Index. The Society of Genealogist's library also has a typescript transcript of the Monmouthshire return.

Other than that there appears to be no transcripts of this most useful list. It seemed very worthwhile to finish Wallace Gandy's work on the Livery Companies. To this, I have added a few other miscellaneous London rolls.

The Documents - London Association Oath Rolls 1696

The following documents which were included in this edition, constitutes Table I.

Piece Company No. of entries Percent
C 213/171/1 Grocers 372 1.69%
C 213/171/2 Mercers 229 1.04%
C 213/171/3 Drapers 221 1.01%
C 213/171/4 Fishmongers 260 1.18%
C 213/171/5 Goldsmiths 462 2.10%
C 213/171/6 Skinners 241 1.10%
C 213/171/7 Merchant Taylors 757 3.45%
C 213/171/8 Haberdashers 814 3.71%
C 213/171/9 Salters 188 0.86%
C 213/171/10 Ironmongers 180 0.82%
C 213/171/11 Vintners 271 1.23%
C 213/171/12 Clothworkers 349 1.59%
C 213/171/13 Dyers 321 1.46%
C 213/171/14 Brewers 100 0.46%
C 213/171/15 Leathersellers 328 1.49%
C 213/171/16 Pewterers 260 1.18%
C 213/171/17 Barbers 470 2.14%
C 213/171/18 Cutlers 240 1.09%
C 213/171/19 Bakers 249 1.13%
C 213/171/20 Wax Chandlers 84 0.38%
C 213/171/21 Tallow Chandlers 253 1.15%
C 213/171/22 Armourers and Brasiers 157 0.71%
C 213/171/23 Girdlers 120 0.55%
C 213/171/24 Butchers 318 1.45%
C 213/171/25 Saddlers 121 0.55%
C 213/171/26 Carpenters 80 0.36%
C 213/171/27 Cordwainers 170 0.77%
C 213/171/28 Painter-Stainers 123 0.56%
C 213/171/29 Curriers 180 0.82%
C 213/171/30 Masons 119 0.54%
C 213/171/31 Plumbers 136 0.62%
C 213/171/32 Innholders 189 0.86%
C 213/171/33 Founders 151 0.69%
C 213/171/34 Poulters 152 0.69%
C 213/171/35 Cooks 186 0.85%
C 213/171/36 Coopers 626 2.85%
C 213/171/37 Tylers and Bricklayers 92 0.42%
C 213/171/38 Bowyers 39 0.18%
C 213/171/39 Fletchers 47 0.21%
C 213/171/40 Blacksmiths 355 1.62%
C 213/171/41 Joiners and Ceilers 441 2.01%
C 213/171/42 Weavers 2738 12.46%
C 213/171/43 Woolmen 26 0.12%
C 213/171/44 Scriveners 47 0.21%
C 213/171/45 Fruiterers 57 0.26%
C 213/171/46 Plaisterers 187 0.85%
C 213/171/47 Stationers 384 1.75%
C 213/171/48 Broderers 176 0.80%
C 213/171/49 Upholders 148 0.67%
C 213/171/50 Musicians 34 0.15%
C 213/171/51 Turners 272 1.24%
C 213/171/52 Basketmakers 88 0.40%
C 213/171/53 Glaziers 212 0.96%
C 213/171/54 Horners 63 0.29%
C 213/171/55 Farriers 77 0.35%
C 213/171/56 Paviours 87 0.40%
C 213/171/57 Lorimers 183 0.83%
C 213/171/58 Apothecaries 378 1.72%
C 213/171/59 Shipwrights 183 0.83%
C 213/171/60 Spectaclemakers 41 0.19%
C 213/171/61 Clockmakers 352 1.60%
C 213/171/62 Glovers 245 1.12%
C 213/171/63 Combmakers 132 0.60%
C 213/171/64 Feltmakers 513 2.34%
C 213/171/65 Frameworkknitters 243 1.11%
C 213/171/66 Silk Throwers 89 0.41%
C 213/171/67 Carmen 278 1.27%
C 213/171/68 Pinmakers 187 0.85%
C 213/171/69 Needlemakers 114 0.52%
C 213/171/70 Gardeners 123 0.56%
C 213/171/71 Soapmakers 40 0.18%
C 213/171/72 Tinplateworkers 131 0.60%
C 213/171/73 Wheelwrights 138 0.63%
C 213/171/74 Distillers 156 0.71%
C 213/171/75 Hatbandmakers 51 0.23%
C 213/171/76 Pattenmakers 123 0.56%
C 213/171/77 Glass-Sellers 83 0.38%
C 213/171/78 Tobacco Pipemakers 273 1.24%
C 213/171/79 Coachmakers 406 1.85%
C 213/171/80 Watermen 1445 6.58%
C 213/171/370 Officers and Yeomen of Guard 107 0.49%
C 213/171/393 Trinity House 185 0.84%
C 213/171/394 Ordnance Office 288 1.31%
C 213/171/395 Officers of Tower 54 0.25%
C 213/171/396 Officers and builders of St Paul's 34 0.15%
C 213/171/397 Heralds 15 0.07%
C 213/171/398 Lutestring Company 110 0.50%
C 213/171/407 Clergy: Archdeaconry of London 38 0.17%
C 213/171/408 Clergy: Archdeaconry of Middlesex 86 0.39%
C 214/9 London Dissenters 99 0.45%
Total 21970 100.00%


The number of entries is with two stated exceptions probably a very good guide to the numbers in each Livery Company. Firstly, the Watermen declare that there are at least 4,000 of them already in the King's Service, who could not therefore sign the roll. Rather unexpectedly, the Musicians also stated that "the rest of the members are in the king's service and could not be found" without any estimate of the number. It is possible, of course, that other companies also had members away on military or naval service.

However, allowing for these reservations, the following Table II shows the same information as Table I, but in order of size.

Piece Company No.of entries Percent
C 213/171/42 Weavers 2738 12.46%
C 213/171/80 Watermen 1445 6.58%
C 213/171/8 Haberdashers 814 3.71%
C 213/171/7 Merchant Taylors 757 3.45%
C 213/171/36 Coopers 626 2.85%
C 213/171/64 Feltmakers 513 2.34%
C 213/171/17 Barbers 470 2.14%
C 213/171/5 Goldsmiths 462 2.10%
C 213/171/41 Joiners and Ceilers 441 2.01%
C 213/171/79 Coachmakers 406 1.85%
C 213/171/47 Stationers 384 1.75%
C 213/171/58 Apothecaries 378 1.72%
C 213/171/1 Grocers 372 1.69%
C 213/171/40 Blacksmiths 355 1.62%
C 213/171/61 Clockmakers 352 1.60%
C 213/171/12 Clothworkers 349 1.59%
C 213/171/15 Leathersellers 328 1.49%
C 213/171/13 Dyers 321 1.46%
C 213/171/24 Butchers 318 1.45%
C 213/171/394 Ordnance Office 288 1.31%
C 213/171/67 Carmen 278 1.27%
C 213/171/78 Tobacco Pipemakers 273 1.24%
C 213/171/51 Turners 272 1.24%
C 213/171/11 Vintners 271 1.23%
C 213/171/4 Fishmongers 260 1.18%
C 213/171/16 Pewterers 260 1.18%
C 213/171/21 Tallow Chandlers 253 1.15%
C 213/171/19 Bakers 249 1.13%
C 213/171/62 Glovers 245 1.12%
C 213/171/65 Frameworkknitters 243 1.11%
C 213/171/6 Skinners 241 1.10%
C 213/171/18 Cutlers 240 1.09%
C 213/171/2 Mercers 229 1.04%
C 213/171/3 Drapers 221 1.01%
C 213/171/53 Glaziers 212 0.96%
C 213/171/32 Innholders 189 0.86%
C 213/171/9 Salters 188 0.86%
C 213/171/46 Plaisterers 187 0.85%
C 213/171/68 Pinmakers 187 0.85%
C 213/171/35 Cooks 186 0.85%
C 213/171/393 Trinity House 185 0.84%
C 213/171/57 Lorimers 183 0.83%
C 213/171/59 Shipwrights 183 0.83%
C 213/171/10 Ironmongers 180 0.82%
C 213/171/29 Curriers 180 0.82%
C 213/171/48 Broderers 176 0.80%
C 213/171/27 Cordwainers 170 0.77%
C 213/171/22 Armourers and Brasiers 157 0.71%
C 213/171/74 Distillers 156 0.71%
C 213/171/34 Poulters 152 0.69%
C 213/171/33 Founders 151 0.69%
C 213/171/49 Upholders 148 0.67%
C 213/171/73 Wheelwrights 138 0.63%
C 213/171/31 Plumbers 136 0.62%
C 213/171/63 Combmakers 132 0.60%
C 213/171/72 Tinplateworkers 131 0.60%
C 213/171/28 Painter-Stainers 123 0.56%
C 213/171/70 Gardeners 123 0.56%
C 213/171/76 Pattenmakers 123 0.56%
C 213/171/25 Saddlers 121 0.55%
C 213/171/23 Girdlers 120 0.55%
C 213/171/30 Masons 119 0.54%
C 213/171/69 Needlemakers 114 0.52%
C 213/171/398 Lutestring Company 110 0.50%
C 213/171/370 Officers and Yeomen of Guard 107 0.49%
C 213/171/14 Brewers 100 0.46%
C 214/9 London Dissenters 99 0.45%
C 213/171/37 Tylers and Bricklayers 92 0.42%
C 213/171/66 Silk Throwers 89 0.41%
C 213/171/52 Basketmakers 88 0.40%
C 213/171/56 Paviours 87 0.40%
C 213/171/408 Clergy: Archdeaconry of Middlesex 86 0.39%
C 213/171/20 Wax Chandlers 84 0.38%
C 213/171/77 Glass-Sellers 83 0.38%
C 213/171/26 Carpenters 80 0.36%
C 213/171/55 Farriers 77 0.35%
C 213/171/54 Horners 63 0.29%
C 213/171/45 Fruiterers 57 0.26%
C 213/171/395 Officers of Tower 54 0.25%
C 213/171/75 Hatbandmakers 51 0.23%
C 213/171/39 Fletchers 47 0.21%
C 213/171/44 Scriveners 47 0.21%
C 213/171/60 Spectaclemakers 41 0.19%
C 213/171/71 Soapmakers 40 0.18%
C 213/171/38 Bowyers 39 0.18%
C 213/171/407 Clergy: Archdeaconry of London 38 0.17%
C 213/171/50 Musicians 34 0.15%
C 213/171/396 Officers and builders of St Paul's 34 0.15%
C 213/171/43 Woolmen 26 0.12%
C 213/171/397 Heralds 15 0.07%
Total 21970 100.00%


Christian Names

It will be no surprise that the number of forenames of London inhabitants was limited, even allowing for the substantial number of foreigners, principally Huguenots. The top ten names accounted for nearly 70%, and the top four (John, William, Thomas and Richard) over half of the population. Ninety-four names had ten or more entries each, and these represented nearly 97% of the sample. Table III shows these ninety-four names and their frequency.

Christian Name No.of Entries Percent
John 4347 19.58%
Thomas 2764 12.45%
William 2522 11.36%
Richard 1357 6.11%
Robert 956 4.31%
Edward 817 3.68%
James 797 3.59%
Samuel 701 3.16%
Henry 644 2.90%
Joseph 579 2.61%
George 570 2.57%
Francis 379 1.71%
Charles 356 1.60%
Daniel 283 1.27%
Benjamin 267 1.20%
Peter 209 0.94%
Nicholas 201 0.91%
Nathaniel 196 0.88%
Isaac 182 0.82%
Abraham 165 0.74%
Mathew 163 0.73%
Christopher 151 0.68%
Stephen 147 0.67%
Anthony 124 0.56%
Edmund 124 0.56%
Jonathan 122 0.55%
Philip 111 0.50%
Ralph 100 0.45%
Jacob 95 0.43%
David 91 0.41%
Andrew 88 0.40%
Roger 84 0.38%
Michael 83 0.37%
Alexander 81 0.36%
Jeremiah 76 0.34%
Jean 75 0.34%
Simon 72 0.32%
Joshua 68 0.31%
Walter 67 0.30%
Hugh 65 0.29%
Humphrey 60 0.27%
Pierre 56 0.25%
Jacques 54 0.24%
Lawrence 51 0.23%
Timothy 51 0.23%
Paul 45 0.20%
Adam 41 0.18%
Arthur 38 0.17%
Gabriel 34 0.15%
Giles 31 0.14%
Mark 31 0.14%
Moses 31 0.14%
Bartholomew 29 0.13%
Josiah 26 0.12%
Lewis 26 0.12%
Elias 25 0.11%
Zachariah 25 0.11%
Oliver 22 0.10%
Ambrose 21 0.09%
Leonard 21 0.09%
Caleb 20 0.09%
Gilbert 20 0.09%
Jasper 20 0.09%
Solomon 20 0.09%
Job 19 0.09%
Randall 19 0.09%
Aaron 18 0.08%
Geoffrey 18 0.08%
Martin 18 0.08%
Clement 17 0.08%
Luke 17 0.08%
Obadiah 17 0.08%
Rowland 17 0.08%
Valentine 17 0.08%
Noah 16 0.07%
Augustine 15 0.07%
Brian 15 0.07%
Gervase 15 0.07%
Jeremy 15 0.07%
Abel 14 0.06%
Owen 14 0.06%
Theophilus 14 0.06%
Israel 13 0.06%
Marmaduke 13 0.06%
Tobias 13 0.06%
Jonas 12 0.05%
Lancelot 12 0.05%
Miles 12 0.05%
Adrian 11 0.05%
Cornelius 11 0.05%
Josias 11 0.05%
Ebenezer 10 0.05%
Evan 10 0.05%
Godfrey 10 0.05%
Total 21509 96.89%


Editorial Method

All the entries have been sorted into one alphabetical sequence. This does have the disadvantage of losing the position on the various rolls of entries. However, many rolls distinguish between ordinary members, and those who were liverymen, i.e. senior members, and virtually all name the main officers of the company, such as the master and wardens. These designations have been included in the index.

All surnames have been rendered as they appear in the original. Christian names have been standardised and common ones abbreviated as necessary, but foreign versions such as Jacques have been retained. All titles such as master, yeoman etc. have been retained but again abbreviated as necessary. Company, etc. names have also been abbreviated.

No biographical information has been appended to the signatories. This is (I trust) a worthwhile contribution to a future prosopography of early modern London citizens, but not in any way an attempt at such a work.

Thirty entries which have been counted in the tables above do not appear in the index. This is because:
  1. in one case neither surname nor christian name is legible; this citizen was a liveryman of the Plasterers'
  2. in fourteen cases the christian name was legible but the surname was not. These consist of three men (all called Thomas !) in the Ordnance Office, two Pattenmakers (Nicholas and Richard), Edward another liveryman and Plasterer, two vintners, Charles a freeman and John a liveryman and six Watermen, two Johns, two Roberts and two Thomas's.
  3. in three cases the christian name was legible but the beginning of the surname was lost. These were a Broderer called Edward ...all, and two Coachmakers both called John ...olings.
  4. in the last eleven cases, no surname is given in the original. Four of these were Bakers, Edward, Henry and two Williams, four also were Coachmakers, two Thomas's and two Williams, and there were single entries from the Curriers (John), the Feltmakers (William, a journeyman) and the Frameworkknitters (Robert who has to make his mark).
I am extremely grateful to Michael Gandy, as representative of his grandfather, for allowing me to make extensive use of Wallace Gandy's work. Any errors, of course, remain entirely my responsibility.

Cliff Webb, The Feast of St Stephen, protomartyr, 2006.