Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers

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The Worshipful
Company of Wax Chandlers
Truth is the Light
Wax Chandlers' Hall
Location: Wax Chandlers' Hall
Gresham Street, London
Date of formation: before 1330
Company association: Beeswax products
Order of precedence: 20th
Master of company: Lt Col John Chambers
(2013-14)
Motto: Truth is the Light
Website: Wax Chandlers' Company
Wax Chandlers' Hall

The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers is one of oldest, but one of the smallest (with about 120 members), of the livery companies of the City of London.[1] It ranks 20th in the order of precedence of Livery Companies. Its Guild Church is the nearby Church of St Vedast alias Foster, Foster Lane.

History[edit]

Although in existence prior to 1330 (when it was invited to make a contribution of funds to Edward III), the organisation was more formally established in 1358 by the granting of by-laws and ordinances by the Lord Mayor (John Stodeye) and Court of Aldermen. New ordinances were issued in 1371 and the company received a Royal Charter in 1484 – one of only two known Royal Charters of King Richard III. The company is currently governed under a 1663 Royal Charter of King Charles II and by ordinances of 1664.

Wax Chandlers, or merchants in beeswax products, traded separately from Tallow Chandlers – beeswax candles were customary in churches and in the homes of royalty and nobility, while tallow candles were generally used in ordinary homes.

The Company today[edit]

As is the case with most other Livery Companies, the Wax Chandlers' Company is no longer a trade association of wax candle makers. It exists primarily as a ceremonial, social, educational and charitable institution, in addition to supporting the City of London, its governance and the Lord Mayor.

As examples of its work, the Company has armed services' affiliations, it supplies candles to St Paul's Cathedral (on Holy Cross Day in September each year), supports those in need in the City of London, Greater London (particularly in the London Borough of Bexley), it is Patron of the National Honey Show and the British Beekeeping Association, and awards an annual "Wax Prize" to support innovation in the design or use of waxes.

Wax Chandlers' Hall[edit]

The company has had a hall at the same site (6 Gresham Street, London) since 1501. The Wax Chandlers' current hall is the sixth and was substantially rebuilt in 1954 after damage during World War II  – now refurbished, it is available to hire for special events. Tenants of the Wax Chandlers in their Hall include the Plumbers' Company and the Engineers' Company. The Hall may be visited by prior booking during London Open House Weekend.

Membership[edit]

The Wax Chandlers' Company comprises Freemen and Liverymen and is governed by the Master Wax Chandler, two Wardens (the Upper Warden and the Renter Warden) and its Court of Assistants. These are elected annually at the Election Court in June and installed ceremonially in office on the first Thursday in August.
The company is administered by the Clerk, and the Hall is managed by the company's Beadle.
Liverymen of the company include The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor (2013-14: Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, former President of the Law Society of England and Wales), HM King Michael of Romania GCVO, The Most Revd & Rt Hon The Lord Williams of Oystermouth PC (Master of Magdelene College, Cambridge and former Archbishop of Canterbury), and His Honour Judge Sir Gavyn Arthur (675th Lord Mayor of London).

Arms[edit]

Shield of the Wax Chandlers' Arms

The company was granted arms by Sir Thomas Holme, Clarenceux King of Arms, on 3 February 1485; supporters were added in 1530.

The arms of the company are blazoned:

  • Shield: Azure on a chevron Argent three roses Gules seeded Or between three mortars royal Or.

(A mortar is a type of candle-holder, similar to the mortar of a pestle-and-mortar; a mortar royal is particularly splendid.)

  • Crest: On a wreath Or and Gules a maiden vested in a surcoat of cloth of gold furred with ermine, kneeling among divers flowers proper and making thereof a garland. Mantling: Azure doubled Ermine. Motto: Truth Is The Light.
  • Supporters: On either side a unicorn Argent gorged with a garland of various flowers proper, the horn wreathed Or and Gules.

References[edit]

External links[edit]