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FreemEn of the City of London

The medieval term ‘freeman’ meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord but 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 term ‘freedom’ of the City.

From the Middle Ages to the Victorian era, the Freedom was the right to trade, enabling members of a Guild or Livery to carry out their trade or craft in the Square Mile.

A fee or fine would be charged and in return the Livery Companies would ensure that the goods and services provided would be of the highest possible standards. In 1835, the Freedom was widened to incorporate not just members of Livery Companies but also people living or working in the City or those with a strong London connection.

From the City of London website

Documents show that several notable Grenfells were made Freemen of the City of London:

FullnameProfessionLivery CompanyDate
John GrenfellIronmongers29 September 1797
George St Leger Ommanney GrenfellFounders12 November 1840
Henry Riversdale GrenfellDirector of the Bank of EnglandCoopers8 June 1892
George GrenfellMerchantFounders31 January 1904
Lord GrenfellField Marshall British ArmyGardeners15 July 1913
John Sidney Granville GrenfellGardeners9 December 1913
Edward Charles GRENFELLMerchant BankerNeedleworkers8 May 1922
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